Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mr. Cub celebrates his 75th Birthday Today!

Ernie Banks turns 75 years young today! Ernie is not only Mr. Cub, he is in my opinion the greatest ambassador the Cubs have ever had. The smile, the energy, the enthusiasm that Ernie brought to the park everyday was awesome!

Fan favorites come and go at Wrigley Fd. I am certain there will never be another player who captures Cub fans hearts the way Mr. Banks--the one and only Mr. Cub--did.

Happy Birthday #14,

Your friends at 1060w

Monday, January 30, 2006

the madness of crowds

despite everything that has and has not transpired in this offseason, the fanbase of the chicago cubs remains as obscenely maniacal as ever. what we are entering is often touted to be the season of hope -- when, in confluence with the heady emergence of the spring, with not a game having been played, wild flights of fancy dominate discussion and the denial of reality becomes acceptable in a saturnalia of sport. polls like this almost invariably result in half the public calling for the cubs to win the world series, much less the division, while their most likely landing spot as currently constructed -- fourth in a competitive national league central -- can't find sufficient attention to garner even 7%.

it is the results of such polling that have given this writer over the course of years and endless repetition a rather jaded view of the mob and its capacity to think. gustave le bon and charles mackay long ago turned empirical eyes on the crowd to reach their simple but startling conclusions -- that men acting in unison without law forfeit their souls and free will to become not heroic but stupid, mechanical drones subject to the command of their basest nature and animal passion, gullible to deceptions and susceptible to suggestions that even a simple man acting alone would easily suspect and reject.

the examinations of these studies and the social sciences that have filled the intervening centuries have convinced this writer of the absolute need, in a time of lawlessness, to be a contrarian in all things. this worldview is by definition unpopular -- so much so that wikipedia has not yet managed to say much of anything about it -- and yet finds itself a consistent improvement on popular wisdom. the employment of individual reason, while itself a miniscule and miserable power in the vastness of accumulated wisdom, cannot but help to be more sane than the willful blindness of a doctrine of complete introversion -- which is all that the madness of a crowd can profess to be.

in joining a mob, consciously or no, all men succumb to the compulsion of their nature to be alike; this compulsion is so deeply rooted and basic that this writer has little doubt that it stems not from any learned behavior but the very nature of our construction. tribalism is an excellent genetic preservative that can be found throughout the natural world. man, at once unique apart from and the same with the animals, submits to the laws of his animal kin in acquiescing to the herd -- and in so doing, abdicates his free will to be a creature transcendent of his nature and alike with a conception of god.

doing so requires submission not to any externality -- there is no rationality, no empiricism, no weighing of facts in following. personal responsibility is deferred with the will to act. it is instead the ultimate indulgence of the inward -- a nameless, consuming desire welling up from within sated with complicity. it is ultimately a selfish negation of the phenomenal world.

many have confused the crowd with civilized community -- but it is nothing of the kind. civil society is man acting not in a mob but under law, restrained by the wisdoms of solon and solomon. it is man submitting not only his right to act in contravention of others but in concert with others against wisdom, the traditions and institutions which protect it, and the rhetoric and dialectic which define it. the use of reason and the search for transcendent wisdom is as old as civilization itself -- indeed, is the very first rung in jacob's ladder, the first step from the slough of despond toward the wicket gate. its abdication for the dark, brooding resorts of emotion is the rejection of all that is good in community and, to this writer's chagrin, the hallmark of our times.

this page would implore you, dear reader, to be more than a lost soul in a sea of animal madness. embrace reason and wisdom alike. use the intelligence that what gods may be have endowed unto you to seek the measure of truth where you can. reject such indulgences of pleasant fantasy as delude you from reality, not to seek some harsh asceticism or a malefactory pessimism but to claim the right to and responsibility for this society, its wisdom and continuity, its maintenance and gradual perfection.

a baseball team can only be some insignificant microcosm within that much broader and more important task. but it is a place to start.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Opening Day Boxscore

Let's get in the "Wayback Machine" and head to April 4, 1989. We should have known following the ninth inning of that very day that the '89 club would be different.

The Cubs had finished 1988 in 4th place at 77-85(24.0 games behind the Mets). Following an offseason that included Jim Frey's controversial trade of Raffy Palmeiro to Texas, the Cubs had low expectations. They played horrible in Spring Training, finishing with a 9-23 mark in the Cactus League. That all changed when the Cubs came North. Here's Opening Day 1989!

Chicago Cubs 5, Philadelphia Phillies 4
DayGame Played on Tuesday, April 4, 1989 (D)
at Wrigley Field

PHI N 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1 0 - 4 10 0
CHI N 0 0 1 2 1 1 0 0 x - 5 12 2

Philadelphia Phillies AB R H RBI BB SO PO A
Dernier cf 5 0 2 0 0 0 1 0
Herr 2b 5 0 1 0 0 0 4 4
V. Hayes 1b,rf 4 1 1 0 1 1 6 1
Schmidt 3b 5 1 1 1 0 1 2 3
James lf 5 0 1 0 0 1 2 0
Jones rf 3 1 2 0 0 0 1 0
Harris p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Parrett p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ford ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
McWilliams p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ryal 1b 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
Thon ss 2 0 0 0 2 1 1 6
Daulton c 1 1 1 1 1 0 3 0
Jordan ph,1b 1 0 1 2 1 0 2 0
Bedrosian p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Youmans p 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 0
Lake ph,c 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Totals 37 4 10 4 5 7 24 17

DP: 3.

HR: Daulton (1,5th inning off Sutcliffe 0 on, 0 out); Schmidt (1,8th inning
off Schiraldi 0 on, 0 out).
IBB: Daulton (1,by Sutcliffe).
Team LOB: 11.

CS: Dernier (1,2nd base by Sutcliffe/Girardi).

Chicago Cubs AB R H RBI BB SO PO A
Walton cf 4 0 2 1 0 0 2 0
Webster lf 4 0 1 0 0 0 8 0
Sandberg 2b 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 2
Dawson rf 3 1 1 2 1 1 0 0
Grace 1b 4 0 2 0 0 0 6 2
Law 3b 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 3
Dunston ss 3 1 0 0 1 2 2 2
Girardi c 3 1 2 0 1 0 7 1
Sutcliffe p 2 1 2 0 0 0 2 0
Wilson p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Schiraldi p 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Williams p 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 32 5 12 4 4 3 27 10

E: Walton (1), Girardi (1).
2B: Sandberg (1,off Youmans); Grace (1,off McWilliams).
HR: Dawson (1,4th inning off Youmans 1 on, 0 out).
IBB: Dawson (1,by Youmans).
Team LOB: 7.
CS: Dunston (1,2nd base by Bedrosian/Lake).

Philadelphia Phillies IP H R ER BB SO HR
Youmans L(0-1) 5 9 4 4 1 3 1
Harris 0.1 1 1 1 1 0 0
Parrett 1.2 1 0 0 0 0 0
McWilliams 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Bedrosian 0.2 0 0 0 2 0 0
Totals 8 12 5 5 4 3 1

Chicago Cubs IP H R ER BB SO HR
Sutcliffe W(1-0) 5.2 5 3 3 3 4 1
Wilson 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Schiraldi 1.2 1 1 1 0 0 1
Williams SV(1) 1.2 3 0 0 2 3 0
Totals 9 10 4 4 5 7 2

BK: Parrett (1), Williams (1).
IBB: Youmans (1,Dawson); Sutcliffe (1,Daulton).

Umpires: Bruce Froemming, Terry Tata, Dana DeMuth, Steve Rippley
Time of Game: 3:06 Attendance: 33,361

The above boxscore does not do the ninth inning justice. For that let's goto retrosheet.org for play-by-play of the top of nine:
PHILLIES 9TH: Dernier singled to center; Herr singled to left [Dernier to second]; V. Hayes singled to shortstop [Dernier to third, Herr to second]; Schmidt struck out; James struck out; Ryal struck out; 0 R, 3 H, 0 E, 3 LOB. Phillies 4, Cubs 5.
Add to that craziness that Mitch Williams had relieved Schiraldi in the 8th put the go ahead runs on via the walk and got former Cub Steve Lake to flyout. That day would begin the up and downs of Mitch Williams as Cub closer. Thankfully in 1989 there 36 ups (saves).

Following the Opening Day Magic the Cubs would lose two games, then win 7 in a row! En route to their second NL East title in 6 seasons, the '89 Cubs were refreshing. These Cubs were not classic underachievers like so many Cub teams. They played way over their ski's all season. Their 93 win season has not been matched since by this franchise, still you can make the argument that several clubs had more talent.

They would end up losing to the Giants 4-1 in the NLCS, still I feel this Cub team got more out of the talent they had than any other Cub club I have watched in my lifetime. This team was dramatic as well. The '89 Cubs had 33 comeback wins (20 of those coming after July 20).

The 1989 Cubs season is my favorite season. When I'm pissed off and need to go to my "happy place", I go to August 1989, no box seats for me, I'm in SRO down the left field line at Wrigley Field on a hot afternoon. That boys and girls is my "happy place". Ahh the smell of first place.

The World Cup of Baseball?

So I'm having a little trouble getting behind the whole World Baseball Classic. I like the idea, but I think the timing is a little off. I'd love to see an event like this at the end of the MLB season instead of the beginning.

There are 16 teams participating in four pools. The set-up is similar to the World Cup for soccer, but since there are no qualifying games to get into the tournament. Are there really any more countries in the world that even play baseball? Here are the four pools:

Pool A: China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea

Pool B: Canada, Mexico, South Africa, United States

Pool C: Cuba, Netherlands, Panama, Puerto Rico

Pool D: Australia, Italy, Dominican Republic, Venezuela

Here are a couple Q and A parts of the site that I found a little interesting:

Q: How were the pools determined?
A: Teams were divided into their respective pools based on geography and competitive balance. (So why are Australia and Italy playing in the same group as the DR and Venezuela? And don't South Africa and the Netherlands look out of place in their grouping?)

Q: What is the format of the World Baseball Classic?

A: The World Baseball Classic will feature 16 teams in a four-round tournament. The 16 teams will be divided into four pools of four teams for Round 1. Round 1 pool play will be held in a round-robin format as all teams within each pool will match up one time (total of six games per pool). The top two teams by record* from each of the four Round 1 pools will advance to Round 2. These eight qualifying teams will be split into two pools for Round 2 and will again play one another in a round-robin format of games (total of six games per pool). The top two teams in each pool by record* will then advance to the two single-elimination Semi-Final games. The winners of the Semi-Final games will advance to the tournament's single-elimination Final. In total, 39 games will be played. (*Tiebreaking methods for Rounds 1 and 2 will be announced prior to the start of the tournament.)

Ticket prices are pretty reasonable in Arizona, they range from $10-$50 and in Orlando from $14 to $25.

I wonder what network will be covering this? Please don't subject me to Chris Berman for this, it will ruin this event before it can even get started.

What do you think? Will you watch? Are you concerned that you're favorite player could get injured and not make it for the MLB season? Is MLB's attempt to export baseball around the world a failed exercise? Let's hear it...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

frayed labrums on the cheap

in signing wade miller to a one-year deal yesterday, cub management has at least showed some recognition of one of the points of constant attention on this page -- that the cubs starting rotation is simply insufficient to win at the major-league level, especially when coupled with what weakly promises to be the cub offense. and at $1mm plus incentives that might equal that again, why not? the money surely shouldn't stop them.

but there remains a vexing question: why is wade miller, a starting pitcher with a 3.98 career era, available at this late date for that paltry sum?

sadly, this question has an answer -- and that is that wade miller is kerry wood without the fastball.

miller, like wood, has had persistent arm problems. miller, like wood, is notorious for the poor mechanical trait of throwing across his body. miller, like wood, has only managed 30 starts in two of six big league years. miller, like wood, is game to walk 100 if he can actually pitch 200 innings. miller, like wood, can when healthy be hard to hit -- thanks to a big curveball and what at least used to be a quality fastball.

kerry wood is worth more than $1mm, though, one might say, whatever his troubles. why so low? the answer to this may be two-fold.

miller last year, in the 16 starts he did manage to make in 2005 -- beginning, much as is hoped for 2006, in mid-may thanks to what was originally thought to be rotator cuff pain that shut him down in the second half of 2004 and never really went away last year -- showed quite possibly that he's lost it thanks to the damage in his shoulder. the strikeouts weren't there, and he became much more hittable than he's been in the past. much of that was due to a considerable drop in velocity -- miller was tossing fastballs in the high-80s in may, working up to the 90-91 mph range over time, and was frustratingly hit-and-miss all year, working with no margin for error and vulnerable to the big inning. finally the pain in his arm became too much.

it must be said that the red sox did last year almost exactly what the cubs are doing this year with miller. they were excited to have signed him and many thought, even when he struggled mightily, that his velocity and therefore quality would come around. as late as september, after miller's year was done, bosox watchers were speculating on moving bronson arroyo to make room for miller in the 2006 rotation.

but labrum surgery will change the outlook of many. the red sox non-tendered miller this winter, as the astros had done the previous year, and the reason why is the real difficulty this page has with the deal the cubs just signed. labrum surgery, unlike some others, is not a small thing -- indeed, it's probably the most fearsome surgery in the gamut familiar to pitchers. the recovery time of labrum surgery often runs well more than a year, and the odds of full recovery are horrible, indeed almost non-existent. from will carroll's article:

Leading baseball surgeon Dr. James Andrews estimates that 85 percent of pitchers make a full recovery after an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, aka the once risky Tommy John surgery. (USA Today has even called the surgery the "pitcher's best friend.") But if pitchers with torn labrums were horses, they'd be destroyed. Of the 36 major-league hurlers diagnosed with labrum tears in the last five years, only midlevel reliever Rocky Biddle has returned to his previous level. Think about that when your favorite pitcher comes down with labrum trouble: He has a 3 percent chance of becoming Rocky Biddle. More likely, he'll turn into Mike Harkey, Robert Person, or Jim Parque, pitchers who lost stamina and velocity—and a major-league career—when their labrums began to fray.

what's left of miller's major-league career -- however much it is -- will probably not be much. what there is of it probably won't come in 2006 at all. and the cubs just signed him to a one-year contract with no option.

while this writer acknowledges that at least jim hendry wasn't dumb enough to splash out a four-year deal for a pitcher coming off labrum surgery, one also has to wonder what the cubs expect to get out of miller this season. it would seem that their expectation is more than what they likely will receive but for the fact that they agreed to harbor miller for such a minor sum.

in the final analysis, then, the page is compelled to say that the miller signing is a complete flyer, one of the longer long-shot contracts to be agreed to this year -- and with a price tag that reflects it. fans should expect absolutely nothing from miller this year; if he pitches at all, he won't be much good -- and that statement probably applies not only to 2006 but to his entire future. one wishes to say that the cubs probably got better for this deal -- sincerely, one wishes -- but if they did, it was in a miniscule way.

as such, the signing is completely in keeping with the cubs lightning-in-a-bottle philosophy of management -- why be good when you can be cheap, sell it hard and pray to get lucky? this signing is ryan dempster and scott williamson all over again, but without the virtue of mere elbow problems. at least you can't say that the macfail regime is inconsistent.

the second part of the answer to the question involves kerry wood. wood's surgery this last august, unlike his previous elbow problems, also involved a frayed labrum. the terrible track record of full recovery from labral procedures does much to explain why wood and the cubs held off on the surgery -- the possibility of misdiagnosis or of simply nursing the pitcher through the pain without surgery is more attractive than the surgery itself. just as this page suspects wade miller will never again be the pitcher that compiled his previous statistics, it also suspects the same of kerry wood, who may well be almost unrecognizable when he comes back.

in short, wood himself might look very much like a one-year-$1mm-plus-incentives pitcher in 2006 and beyond. and that depressing fact only reinforces this page's simultaneous calls to do yet more to strengthen the rotation in 2006 and to move wood to the bullpen (rumored to be under discussion at clark and addison) where he may yet make something of his career.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cubs sign Wade Miller

You can never have enough arms! Jim Hendry ain't gonna stand pat with his fragile pitchers. He's adding numbers. Earlier today the Cubs came to terms with former Astro and Red Sox starter Wade Miller...

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Chicago Cubs today agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher WADE MILLER on a one-year deal for the 2006 season. Financial terms of the deal with Miller, who will be added to the Cubs' 40-man roster before Opening Day, were not disclosed.

The 29-year-old looks to return to the mound after spending much of the 2005 season on the disabled list with right shoulder problems. He opened the season on the DL and was reinstated to the active list May 8 - but returned to the DL August 9, where he remained for the rest of the season. Prior to going on the DL, Miller was 4-4 in 16 starts spanning 91.0 innings.

The right-hander has gone 62-43 with 5 complete games and a 3.98 ERA during his major league career. He has won 10 or more games on three different occasions - and has posted a .500 or better winning percentage in all but one of his seasons in the majors. Miller has worked 6.0 or more innings in 96 of his 139 big league starts and allowed 2 or fewer earned runs in 69 of those games. He recorded a career-high (and franchise-best) 12-game winning streak for Houston July 7-September 21, 2002.

Miller signed with Boston as a free agent in December 2004. In addition to Boston, he pitched in the major leagues for Houston (1999-2004). He began his professional career in 1996 after being selected by Houston in the 20th round of the 1996 June draft - and rose quickly through the minors, making his major league debut for the Astros on July 7, 1999.

Miller has struggled with injuries since 2004. He battled shoulder tendinitis in '04 with Houston. In '05 he moved to the Red Sox and had issues with his rotator cuff and ended the season with surgery to repair his labrum.

We are in a day and age where the medical professionals can make these guys better than ever. It may not always work, but a pitcher like Miller is worth a one year flyer. While Miller was with the Astros he had some good seasons. He was 16-8 in 2001 and 15-4 in 2002. At only 29 years of age this seems to be a good gamble for Jim Hendry.

Update 3:57: the deal is for $1 million with incentives that could bring Miller another $1 million based on his starts. Hendry said this in the Cubs Official Release:
"This is a very competitive guy and a winning type pitcher," Hendry said Monday. "The doctors felt he was on a track procedure-wise like Kerry [Wood's] but maybe a month behind him. We're not counting on him Opening Day. We're hoping somewhere in the month of May he'll be ready. We felt it was a good guy to have in the inventory."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Inside Info

Not that I really have a bunch of sources, but I do happen to be acquainted with someone "in the biz". This person recently relayed to me a couple of interesting tidbids.

1) Kerry Wood wants to be the closer and has expressed as much to the coaching staff/manager and the front office. It's management (on-field and front office) that want him to continue to start.

2) Mark Prior's right shoulder is bothering him.

Before anyone flies off the handle and states that I'm making this up. Let me just say that everyone can choose to believe this or not. The person who told me these items truly believes they are fact and really is "in the business" with contacts within the Cubs organization.

Here's to the hope that at least one of these is wrong. Lord help the Cubs if Prior isn't fully healthy all season.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Opening Day Boxscore

The '95 Cubs were not scheduled to open in Cincy. The strike, that cancelled the '94 World Series, made this opener possible. This was the first game under the MacPhail/Lynch/Riggleman regime. At that time I was just happy that the Himes & Treblehorn were mercifully gone. The '95 team would finish 2 games over at 73-71. It was actually the teams second winning season in three(the Lefebvre team in '93 was the other). The Opening Day starter for the 1995 Cubs...Jim Bullinger. Take a peak at the leadoff hitter for the Redlegs.

Chicago Cubs 7, Cincinnati Reds 1

DayGame Played
on Wednesday, April 26, 1995 (D)
at Riverfront Stadium

CHI N 0 1 0 0 0 4 1 1 0 - 7 10 0
CIN N 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 - 1 7 1

Chicago Cubs AB R H RBI BB SO PO A
McRae cf 5 0 3 1 0 1 4 0
Sanchez 2b 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 2
Sosa rf 4 1 1 0 1 2 5 0
Grace 1b 5 1 3 1 0 0 10 1
Wilkins c 3 2 1 0 1 0 4 1
Dunston ss 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
Buechele 3b 4 1 1 2 0 1 1 4
Bullett lf 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Timmons ph,lf 0 1 0 1 2 0 0 0
Bullinger p 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1
Perez p 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
Totals 32 7 10 6 6 5 27 10

DP: 1.
PB: Wilkins (1).

2B: McRae (1,off McElroy).
3B: McRae (1,off Rijo).
SH: Dunston (1,off Rijo); Sanchez (1,off Rijo).
SF: Bullinger (1,off McElroy).
HBP: Wilkins (1,by Hernandez).
Team LOB: 8.

SB: Sosa (1,2nd base off Rijo/Santiago).

Cincinnati Reds AB R H RBI BB SO PO A
D. Sanders cf 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 1
Larkin ss 3 1 2 1 1 0 3 5
Morris 1b 3 0 0 0 1 1 10 0
Gant lf 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 0
Hernandez p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Harris ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ruffin p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Boone 2b 4 0 1 0 0 0 3 2
Santiago c 4 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
R. Sanders rf 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Greene 3b 4 0 1 0 0 2 0 4
Rijo p 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
McElroy p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Howard lf 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 33 1 7 1 2 3 27 15

DP: 2.
E: Morris (1).

HR: Larkin (1,8th inning off Perez 0 on, 0 out).
IBB: Morris (1,by Bullinger).
Team LOB: 7.

SB: Larkin 2 (2,2nd base off Bullinger/Wilkins 2); D. Sanders (1,3rd base off

Chicago Cubs IP H R ER BB SO HR
Bullinger W(1-0) 6 5 0 0 2 2 0
Perez SV(1) 3 2 1 1 0 1 1
Totals 9 7 1 1 2 3 1

Cincinnati Reds IP H R ER BB SO HR
Rijo L(0-1) 5.1 6 5 4 2 4 0
McElroy 0.2 1 0 0 1 0 0
Hernandez 2 2 2 2 2 0 0
Ruffin 1 1 0 0 1 1 0
Totals 9 10 7 6 6 5 0

WP: Hernandez 2 (2), Ruffin (1).
HBP: Hernandez (1,Wilkins).
IBB: Bullinger (1,Morris).

Umpires: Jim Garman, Larry Randall, Bob Hernandez, Jim Pacheco

Time of Game: 2:58 Attendance: 51033

Friday, January 20, 2006

Your 2006 Cubs - Fun with Slogans

I think something that's lacking for the 2006 Cubs team is a slogan. I've come up with a few just to get the ball rolling. Feel free to add your own.

2006 Chicago Cubs:

Same bs, different package.

Now with more Kerry Wood simulated game wins.

OBP? We just want batters to hit the ball.

Taking ridiculous signings to a whole new level. (I wrote this one back in October of last year, how prophetic)

Guess correctly how one of our starting pitchers is injured during the season and get a free popcorn. (Only redeemable if that starting pitcher has thrown 120+ pitches in that game.)

Get a scorecard with donut glaze on it and win a free small soda (Only redeemable during the bottom of the 9th of value games in April)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Arbitration numbers

Andy MacPhail's perfect record is on the line. Arbitration numbers for the Cubs were reported the other day by the mothership. No surprise to Cub fans the big winner will be Scott Boras(see the update below) client Carlos Zambrano. Z is looking to double his contract. Here are the numbers:

Carlos Zambrano
Asks for: $7.2 million
Cubs offers: $6 million

Mark Prior
Asks for: $4 million
Cubs offer: $3.3 million

Juan Pierre
Asks for: $6.5 million
Cubs offer: $5 million

Jerry Hairston
Asks for: $2.6 million
Cubs offer: $1.95 million

Will Ohman
Asks for: $775,000
Cubs offer: $500,000

My view on arbitration in baseball is that it's one of the uglier parts of the CBA. Here's hoping that Hendry and MacPhail keep their perfect record and don't allow any of these cases to reach and arbitrator. Cruller Jim had this to say on the matter:

"We feel like we always do, that we're trying to be fair to the player," Hendry said. "We've proven in the past we're willing to be more than fair. Once again, we will do what we can to avoid going to a hearing with anyone.

"But there may come a day when we have to go. That's just part of the business."

Most of these will probably be resolved by the Cubs and the player "splitting the difference". I tend to wonder when(not if but when) Scott Boras is gonna push the envelope with the talented Zambrano. The way the numbers went up for free agent pitching this offseason, has to have Boras licking his chops.

Here's hoping Hendry and MacPhail keep a clean sheet.

UPDATE 1/19/06 -- 9:47: Happy Days! Al from BCB and 1060west's very own Vehere have reported that Z dumped Boras as his agent! WOW! Hopefully that will be good news for the Cubs and allow them to get Z under a long term deal. Thanks for the update guys and keep the good news comin'.

My bad, my favorite offseason site MLBTraderumors reported this on Tuesday!

Willie Smith 1939-2006

This morning a sad note caught my eye on ChicagoSports.com. Willie Smith who hit the dramatic game winning homer in the 11th inning of the '69 Opener died of a heart attack.

"Wonderful Willie" only played for the Cubs from '68-'70. As long as there are Opening Days we will always see and hear Brickhouse's call of Willie's roundtripper.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Opening Day Boxscore

Back in 1982 the traditional Opening Day was always in Cincy. That season the Cubs were filled with hope. Gone were the Wrigley's and it was the start of a new regime with Tribune Company and Dallas Green. "Building a New Tradition" was the team slogan, Harry Caray had come over from the southside to broadcast the games. The Cubs had a rookie playing third named Sandberg. Cub second baseman Bump Wills led off the season with a memorable blast...

Chicago Cubs 3, Cincinnati Reds 2

DayGame Played on Monday, April 5, 1982 (D)
at Riverfront Stadium
CHI N 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 - 3 10 2
CIN N 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 - 2 7 0

Chicago Cubs AB R H RBI BB SO PO A
Wills 2b 4 1 2 1 0 2 1 2
Bowa ss 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 7
Buckner 1b 4 0 3 0 0 0 14 0
Durham rf 3 0 1 0 0 1 2 0
Moreland c 4 1 3 2 0 0 2 0
Henderson lf 2 0 0 0 1 2 2 0
Sandberg 3b 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Waller cf 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 0
Bird p 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 2
Morales ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Smith p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hernandez p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 30 3 10 3 1 10 24 11

E: Wills (1), Buckner (1).

HR: Wills (1,1st inning off Soto 0 on, 0 out); Moreland (1,2nd inning off Soto
0 on, 0 out).
HBP: Durham (1,by Shirley).
Team LOB: 5.

SB: Durham (1,2nd base off Soto/Trevino).
CS: Wills (1,2nd base by Shirley/Trevino).

Cincinnati Reds AB R H RBI BB SO PO A
Oester 2b 4 0 1 1 0 0 2 1
Driessen 1b 3 0 0 0 1 0 5 3
Concepcion ss 4 0 1 0 0 1 2 3
Cedeno cf 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Bench 3b 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Householder rf 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0
Hurdle lf 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
Vail ph 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
Milner pr 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Trevino c 3 0 0 0 1 0 12 0
Soto p 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Barranca ph 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Shirley p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Kern p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Landestoy ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 33 2 7 2 3 1 24 10

DP: 1.

2B: Barranca (1,off Bird); Vail (1,off Hernandez).
IBB: Trevino (1,by Hernandez).
Team LOB: 10.

Chicago Cubs IP H R ER BB SO HR
Bird W(1-0) 7 5 1 1 2 1 0
Smith 0.2 1 1 0 0 0 0
Hernandez SV(1) 0.1 1 0 0 1 0 0
Totals 8 7 2 1 3 1 0

Cincinnati Reds IP H R ER BB SO HR
Soto L(0-1) 7 6 2 2 1 10 2
Shirley 0.2 3 1 1 0 0 0
Kern 0.1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 8 10 3 3 1 10 2
WP: Soto (1).
HBP: Shirley (1,Durham).
IBB: Hernandez (1,Trevino).

Umpires: John Kibler, Dick Stello, Bruce Froemming, Jim Quick
Time of Game: 2:19 Attendance: 51894

Sunday, January 15, 2006

what you need to know about the cub convention

obviously, this page isn't going to promise you much, dear reader. but it will promise you this: none of this lot are ever going to be attending a cubs convention -- for many of the same (albeit the lesser) reasons that we wouldn't have been attending the event you see pictured here. groupthink is dangerous -- it addles the mind, slows the wit, obfuscates truth and all too often reduces the logos of men to an afterthought in the rush to standardize oneself to fit the madness of a starstruck crowd.

taken in at a safe distance, then, the cub convention -- whose agenda reads far more sedately than my daughter's lesson plan at daycare ("celebrating 20 years of vineline"? are they serious?) -- reduces over a steady boil from weekend of baseless propaganda and self-reinforcing delusion to a few trite lines:

  • the cubs just might use wood in the pen a bit after all -- or not:

    "It just depends on how Woody is," Baker said. "We have Woody slated as a starter, but if his endurance isn't up and he's ready, then that might be another way. That's just an option."

  • jim hendry will never land a first-tier free agent, though the cubs will probably continue to be exceptionally profitable:

    "[Furcal] got $13 [million] a year, which in the industry was almost absurd," Hendry said.

  • there are a number of bloggers out there pretty desperate for some publicity, however deserving or undeserving.

  • but finally and most importantly, the cubs convention once again transmitted this much information loud and clear, as it does every year:

    virtually all the complaining and ranting of the team's fanbase is just so much sound and fury signifying nothing -- for anyone who actually pays money to the team in order to procure the right to bitch about the team will never and probably can never be an effective agent of change.

    the cubs, in the end, have manipulated the angst of these unfortunately dedicated people about the on-field ineptitude of their profit engine into a profit engine itself. if that doesn't say simultaneously everything there is to know about how insidiously well this corporation is run and what goal is always and only in its soulless mind -- as well as the complete ridiculousness of the eternally hopeful cast as a source of opposition or reform -- this writer cannot envision what could or will.

    Friday, January 13, 2006

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    Report: Prior Peeved

    It comes as no surprise to this page that my hometown paper the USA Today reports that Cub starter Mark Prior is upset about the trade speculation involving him. In an article discussing the fallout from the Tejada rumors Bob Nightengale reports:

    Mark Prior is staying with the Cubs, although he's peeved that they were willing to trade him to Baltimore.

    That's a shocker. The Cubs young phenom is hurt that his name came up in trade rumors for Tejada.

    I am not here to make the case for or against that trade. I am fine with the fact that Hendry is looking at all available avenues to improve this miserable team. What I question is Jim Hendry's handling of the situation in the media. Why did this trade offer ever make it into the press? How come Cruller Jim never denied the rumor? How does it benefit the Cub franchise to allow this rumor to be leaked?

    The only result that I see from this rumor is that the Cub pitcher will be upset. Combine that with a potential arbitration case and you could have some real hard feelings between Prior and the Cubs. Prior won't bash the club Friday at the annual LoveFest. He has too much class for that. Still, the Cubs handling of their young right handed stud is perplexing.

    as good as it gets?

    my desk calendar gets imperceptibly thinner with each passing day as i tear off every morning another page, each representing another wasted opportunity for the cubs front office to do something miraculous to rectify 2006 and save yet another season under their ostensible guidance from angst, disgust and baneful mediocrity.

    while some maintain that now is the time for temperate patience as jim hendry works to make this club a winner, this page feels otherwise. to be sure, the patience argument was valid at the end of november. but in mid-january -- with the holes this club has, with the payroll they've already expended, with the indications they've given -- that's simply no longer so. what you see now isn't radically or even materially different from what they're going into battle with in april; some fringe changes, but nothing that's going to amount to more than dressing the pig in heels.

    last year between january 12 and april 1, the cubs:

  • extended barrett

  • dumped sosa for hairston

  • signed jeromy

  • shipped farnsie for novoa

  • signed chad fox and scott williamson to minor-league contracts

  • in 2004 between those dates, they:

  • extended wood and lee

  • signed dempster and maddux

  • in 2003 they:

  • signed guthrie

  • signed tom goodwin to a minor league contract

  • if that gives you hope, dear reader, for a massive facelift before the beginning of regular season play, you're more an optimist than i.

    again, this writer will insist on refraining from overt predictions of what 2006 holds for the cubs on the field for a while still -- after all, some things certainly will change between now and opening day. but the extent of the changes that can be expected is well approximated by the remembrances listed above, be that to your joy or chagrin. one might guess, i suspect, which of those two emotions is being experienced with the writing of these words.

    tavarez signs with boston

    for all the turmoil in boston this offseason, there is one thing they've done right in the fens -- and that is rebuild their bullpen.

    julian tavarez signed for $6.7mm over two years yesterday, following on acquisitions of guillermo mota and rudy seanez. with closer keith foulke coming back after a forgettable, injury-plagued year and mike timlin still hanging around, boston has suddenly positioned itself with five relievers of a high caliber -- decisively ending a lot of the angst that went through boston last year regarding the worst bullpen in the american league. with this lineup, it would not at all surprise me if boston went from worst to best in one fell swoop.

    meanwhile, in chicago, while tavarez languished on the market unsigned and the cub bullpen mix still included names like novoa, wuertz and wellemeyer, jim hendry didn't bother to lift a finger in tavarez's direction. the cubs front office apparently remains content with what they have -- feeling free even to move jermaine van buren for a ptbnl -- and what they have is no better than they had around this time last year, which ended up mediocre.

    while it still isn't too late to get some help, the field has thinned considerably as the cubs have watched reliever after quality reliever -- dotel, stanton, hammond, hoffman, gordon, seanez and tavarez -- taken off the market since they penned howry at the end of november. felix rodriguez and alan embree remain available, both cheaply. if they seem to represent a risk, dear reader, consider the alternative certainty.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Lame ducks?

    In today's Bright One Mike Kiley reports that GM Jim Hendry is likely to receive a two year extension. As most of you know this is old news. It was reported at the end of last season that MacFail was considering giving extensions to both Hendry and Baker this coming spring training. It looks like nothing has changed:
    If Hendry gets at least a two-year extension, as anticipated, it then would fall to both Hendry and his bosses whether to offer manager Dusty Baker a two-year extension. Indications are that is likely to happen, as well, with both Hendry and Baker entering the last year of their contracts.

    Nothing new here. But next, Kiley dropped this little nugget:
    Baker has downplayed questions about an extension, and some believe he wouldn't accept it.

    Dusty won't accept an extension!?!? Does this mean the Cub skipper is going to go into next season as a lame duck manager? Serve the fourth year of his contract with the Cubs and head off to greener pastures? I find this very hard to believe. Maybe Dusty does not realize that the trail following the Cub managerial post usually does not lead to these pastures. Rather it leads to a graveyard.

    Nationally Dusty Baker's image is nowhere near where it was when he was in San Francisco. Baker has been exposed as a poor in game manager and strategist. His handling of the Cubs pitching staff has been laughable. If MacFail and Hendry are dumb enough to offer Hard Bake a two year extension, I'd advise Dusty to take the money and run. Lord knows he has not earned it.

    Alderman Tunney and the Rooftops
    Also in today's Bright One, Fran Spielman reports from City Hall that Tom Tunney and the rooftop owners have come to an agreement that will allow them to build up another 8'. In exchange the rooftops will increase some safety precautions and contribute to a neighborhood fund.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Sutter gets the call!

    #42 has been elected to the HOF in Cooperstown!

    Earlier this afternoon the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that Bruce Sutter will join the baseball elite in Cooperstown, NY. Here's how the voting came in:

    Name Percentage
    Bruce Sutter 76.9
    Jim Rice 64.8
    Rich Gossage 64.6
    Andre Dawson 61.0
    Bert Blyleven 53.3
    Lee Smith 45.0
    Jack Morris 41.2
    Tommy John 29.6
    Steve Garvey 26.0

    Bruce Sutter, along with Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage, was the prototype closer from the late 70's and early 80's. While Sutter's numbers may not compare with today's closers their was no doubt that you were watching greatness when he entered the ballgame. When Sutter entered it was gameover.

    I have long thought that Sutter deserved this honor. Sutter was the best closer that I ever saw in the Cub pinstripes. In some pretty bad years for the Cubs, Sutter was brilliant. As a relief pitcher he won the Cy Young Award in 1979. His split-fingered fastball was often unhittable. Sutter also notched four NL Rolaid-Relief Man Awards. From a historical standpoint: Fingers, Gossage & Sutter were the prototypes for the modern day closer.

    While Sutter will join Fingers with a plaque in Cooperstown, one has to wonder what Goose Gossage has done not to earn that same recognition. Gossage was just as intimidating and just as dominant as Sutter. I also feel that Jim Rice, Andre Dawson and Bert Blyleven are deserving.

    Congrats to #42.

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    the korey trade

    sometimes reasonable rumors do actually become real trades -- and this was one of those! bells tolled around the north side as long-deplored, much-maligned and often-mocked korey patterson was moved to baltimore today for two kids named nate spears and carlos perez.

    perez is a 24-year-old lefty starter in the single-a south atlantic league, and he isn't doing very well even there -- pitching included for the sake of the comment, "we also got some pitching", in our estimation. spears is 21, a former 5th-rounder and playing short at single-a. if his output seems unspectacular... well, consider that he at least is not a spectacular failure.

    color me impressed anyway. jim hendry took a terrible risk when he offered patterson a contract at the arbitration deadline; when grissom signed, he made clear to everyone that almost any offer would do. hendry could very easily have had to have packaged patterson along with the majority of his salary. i've heard not a whisper of money heading to maryland -- making the net effect of hendry's decision the acquisition of a someday-maybe shortstop and a slightly larger dent in baltimore's salary outlay. bully for them. (this page's sympathies are extended to oriole fans everywhere, of course.)

    some commenters here have forecast some possibility of korey's rejuvenation in other climes, under other management. it is perhaps beyond even this page's capacity for irony that it could be so, so let us say this: korey was never, is not now and in all likelihood will never be a major-league-caliber baseball player. we wish him no ill, but each of us are bound by our nature even as we are free in our will. whatever his quicksilver "potential" may have counted for at any point in the past, and whatever fate we would hope for a nice kid from kennesaw, that much is inescapable. this writer hopes for korey not that he impossibly finds a hall of fame career, but that he merely finds peace.

    Saturday, January 07, 2006

    Attention Orioles Blogs!

    This page is a page of giving.

    In the spirit of fandom. If (hopefully when) the Cubs send Korey Patterson to the Orioles for a suspect (or a can of string beans maybe even beets would be enough) I would like to extend the olive branch from us 1060westers to you the Baltimore Orioles bloggers. We will be happy to give an O's blog the Korey Patterson graphic on the right hand column of this page. I know, I know. Really you can have it!

    This graphic was designed by 1060west guru gaius marius. This was all that we had during the past season, as we watched Korey swing and miss his way through another NL season. It got so bad I actually bought a round at the Pub one day when he took a fourth ball. Now you O's fans will be able to track the misadventures of our hero Korey as he battles the evil strikezone in his pursuit of plate discipline.

    Happy base on balls everyone and long live the walkathon!

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    a rumor worth discussing

    for all the orgiastic fantasies that have resonated with desperate cub fans in this offseason, there finally is a rumor to discuss involving the cubs that seems realistic enough to consider. the mother ship is reporting that a deal to move korey the klown to baltimore is close.

    the acquisition of juan pierre was signal that patterson no longer had a starting place in center. as the rightfield saga drew on and the cubs floated a trial balloon about korey in right, the outcry from cub nation was enough to seal jacque jones, for all the good that will do. hendry must have continued to believe that something would emerge from somewhere for patterson, however, as jones signed the same day as the deadline to offer arbitration -- and hendry proceeded to extend a contract to patterson anyway, locking his minimum salary reduction in.

    the signing of marquis grissom, however, made it clear that there were no takers to be found -- and that jim hendry was prepared to dump patterson at virtually any price. "virtually any price" looks to be about what the cubs will receive for him.

    as this page has said, in offering arbitration to korey, they effectively destroyed the market for him. there was no way to get more than a handful of magic beans for an epic failure of patterson's dimensions, and hendry should be faulted for receiving effectively nothing in this deal only to the extent that the cubs may also have to include cash in the deal -- to help pay for the part of patterson's salary that he would not have made had it not been for hendry's ridiculous offer.

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    expanded: keeping wellemeyer

    our recent look at the cub bullpen was today expanded to include a better assessment of what the acquisitions of bob howry and scott eyre mean to this cub team.

    forget zito

    rumors have been circulating for months on the eventual destination of oakland ace and former cy young award winner barry zito. at 28 years of age, with 86 wins and that hardware already in tow, with free agency looming after 2006, billy beane's oakland a's are thought to need to trade zito before losing him to the market without compensation.

    this page might dispute that assertion -- after all, beane's low-overhead operation has already seen fit to pay him some $8.3mm for 2006, a significant commitment. however, the reality of zito's payday, considering the results of the 2005 free agency session, might be something on the order of six years at $14-16mm. that's an obligation that a team like oakland -- with dan haren, joe blanton and rich harden all under 25 and on staff, and with dan meyer and juan cruz in the system -- needn't bother with.

    if we postulate that zito could be moved, the question for most cub fans becomes simply, "how can we get him?" but this page would not go that far -- in fact, this writer would advise you, dear reader, to forget about barry zito.

    this isn't a commentary on zito, who is frankly about as good as pitchers come. blessed with incredible durability (five consecutive years over 213 innings pitched), stunning stuff (7.57 career hits/9) and reasonable control despite it, he's almost certain to be the top pitcher in free agency in 2006.

    but that is specifically the problem for cub fans.

    we can say with fair certainty at this stage of the offseason that the 2006 cubs, whatever they will be, will most likely not be contending to win anything meaningful. this team is currently constructed of a very average bullpen and a starting eight that looks to include two rookies, jacque jones and neifi perez (if we are to believe that wodd talker has mouthed his way down the depth chart). even if zito were to join a rotation already including zambrano and healthy prior -- which is no guarantee -- on either count -- this is simply not enough to contend within the national league central, where the quality of other teams, though not perhaps as superlative as last season, is considerable.

    landing zito, then, would have to be a move not for an already-irremediable present but for the future.

    as this page has said, this team is built for now or never -- derrek lee, aramis ramirez, juan pierre, greg maddux and kerry wood are all currently headed to free agency -- lee and ramirez quite possibly to massive paydays on the back of their considerable abilities. it should be apparent that, whatever the cubs might be able to afford, the reality of how the team is run all but precludes them from resigning all of these players. in truth, the cubs have done very little in the way of top-flight free agent signings since george bell and danny jackson -- greg maddux ($9mm), nomar garciaparra ($8.25mm) and jeromy burnitz ($4.5mm) were the biggest free agent signings on the 2005 squad, all of them second-tier acquisitions. it seems to this writer, then, farfetched to imagine the cubs simultaneously sealing first-tier contracts which will certainly approach the vicinity of $15mm a year over several years to both lee and ramirez.

    while it is often hoped by some that these players will sign cut-rate contract extensions in lieu of testing the free agent waters, it is not wholly apparent to this page as to why they would. the better case, it seems, would be for derrek lee -- whose fantastic 2005 could be viewed by some as a one-off, something to be capitalized on now before it fades from view. but one should note that the new york yankees go into this year with jason giambi, a fine designated hitter, playing first base. this cannot have escaped the notice of lee and his agent. if lee feels capable of achieving anything like 2005's triumph in 2006, it would be hard to see why he would turn down what may be one of the largest free agent contract opportunities yet seen. aramis ramirez, for his part, specifically negotiated a player option following 2006 knowing that, if he hit as well as he has, he would then be a proven 29-year-old third baseman with a track record of .570 slugging percentages behind him. it's almost inconceivable that he would not take that opportunity to give himself a tremendous raise.

    then imagine jim hendry and andy macFail trying to sign lee, ramirez and zito. and zito, it must be said, has arn tellem for an agent -- the very same arn tellem who talked mike mussina into leaving his beloved baltimore for richer waters. the chances of an extension, it would seem, are rather remote.

    it seems quite clear to this page that hendry and macFail would not resign more than one of these three, indeed quite possibly bringing back none of them -- nor probably really even try, instead perhaps content to meet increased profit targets. seen in this light, zito's acquisition could almost only be as a rental.

    so we have established that zito cannot solve the manifold problems of 2006, and in all likelihood will not be a cub in 2007 and after. but the question must be asked: what would he cost? for if acquiring zito could be done at no opportunity cost, what would the team have to lose?

    in terms of prospects, the price for zito would almost certainly be high. paul sullivan has reported as much.

    The A's reportedly have to be "overwhelmed" by an offer for Zito, Oakland sources said Friday. Oakland reportedly will demand a major-league pitcher and at least one top prospect. Any team that acquires Zito could lose him to free agency after 2006, a risk the Cubs would not take unless they were certain they could re-sign him.

    with oakland positioned to win the american league west, one can imagine that this is true. moreover, beane is wise enough to know that zito's value is likely only to increase as the july 31 trading deadline approaches -- it is in his interest to wait, making the necessary deal to dislodge zito all the more spectacular. would the cubs pay this price, considering hendry's detrimental fixation with young talent? and -- at least as importantly -- should they?

    though it may be controversial to say so -- especially considering that some top cub prospects may not be worth keeping -- this writer would rather take his chances with jerome williams, rich hill and matt murton at this point than throw good talent after bad money in trying to rectify the cubs' wasted offseason with a splashy but insufficient rental. winning teams are built in november and december of the previous year, and the cubs simply have not done so again this season. with so many holes in the dyke, and zito, good as he is, only representing his few fingers for a short time, it is the considered opinion of this writer that followers of the cubs should abandon hopes of barry zito.

    this was a critical offseason, and it seems more with every passing day a conclusive failure. perhaps the job the cubs should be applying themselves to now is not scrambling to fill the holes of 2006 but setting their house in order -- cleaning it from top to bottom -- and cultivating a core of young players that will be the nucleus of the 2008 club.

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Rumor: 3 way deal involving Korey?

    One of my favorite offseason sites MLB Trade Rumors has a Cub rumor front and center today. The deal involves the Northsiders, Red Sox, and Mariners. Here's the deal as it was rumored:

    Here's the scenario:

    BOS gives: Bronson Arroyo, Tony Graffanino, PTBNL
    BOS gets: Jeremy Reed, Will Ohman

    CHC gives: Corey Patterson, Ohman
    CHC gets: Raul Ibanez, Graffanino, cash

    SEA gives: Reed, Ibanez, cash
    SEA gets: Arroyo, Patterson, PTBNL

    So let's get this straight--not only would the Cubs rid themselves of Patterson, they would actually receive money from the Mariners. A couple of years ago Jim Hendry performed a similar miracle when he dealt the untradeable Todd Hundley(along with Chad Hermansen) to the Dodgers for Karros and Grudz. While I'm not ready to predict the same results, this trade could have a HUGE impact on the clubs outlook for 2006.

    Most of you know what this page thinks about Patterson. Our very own gaius marius will be happy to drive Korey from his home in suburban Atlanta to Seattle, WA. So the loss of Patterson is the old addition by subtraction-right? I think Ohman would be a loss for the Cub pen (and who would give Len the Word of the Day on the TV broadcasts?). What would Ibanez and Graffanino bring to the Cubs?

    The left handed hitting leftfielder Ibanez would bring respectable numbers to the Cub outfield. As MLB Trade Rumors notes it would probably mean the end of Matt Murton, at least in a starting role for 2006:

    I don't have any information on where Matt Murton would find himself if the proposed trade takes place, but he wouldn't have a starting gig for the Cubs.

    Ibanez's career numbers look like this .283 BA, .341 OBP and .436 SLG. Last season, at spacious Safeco Field, Raul hit 32 doubles, 20 HR's, scored 92 runs, drove in 89 runs, hit .280 with a .355 OBP, and .436 SLG. Ibanez is a solid big league outfielder. He'd make you wish Hendry hadn't wasted a dime on Jacque Jones.

    Graffanino is what Dallas Green used to call a "gamer" or what Kenny Williams calls a "grinder". He plays every infield position and last year put up good offensive numbers splitting time between the Royals and Red Sox. In 110 games Graffanino hit .309 with a .366 OBP. Graffanino would allow the Cubs to trade Todd Walker. He could split time with Hairston and Perez at 2B and Dusty would love having him on the bench on days he didn't start.

    What's not to like about this rumored deal? Nothing I can see as a Cub fan. The Seattle GM covets Patterson? Hendry would give Dusty two experienced professional players. Is everything upside down?

    Monday, January 02, 2006

    Shout Out to Talking Chop

    During a little blog surfing I found an interview with John Schuerholz. The link is to part III and the best part for me was the answer to the first question.

    Joe Hamrahi (JH): Looking back at the acquisition of Tim Hudson, it appears like
    you made a great deal. Hindsight is always a great thing, however, but with Dan
    Meyer injured, and Juan Cruz and Charles Thomas making limited progress, you
    have to be happy with how that deal turned out.

    John Schuerholz (JS): I don't look at things that way. I just never do. My view is that when you make a deal, the most important thing is to make your team better. The next most important thing is to make the other team better...because if you do that often enough, there's going to be a lot of guys lined up to do a deal with you. That's
    always been my philosophy in the 25 years I've been general manager. Why would
    you want to do anything else? So somebody writes something or says something
    about what a steal we made...I don't care about making steals. I care about
    making our team better. And the second most important thing is that, hopefully, the other team gets better.

    Interesting philosophy.