Thursday, December 30, 2004

Money Poorly Spent

The Cub Reporter's latest post addresses the point that the Cubs don't have a skimpy payroll and for people to stop blaming money for the reasons why Beltran can't be signed by the Cubs.

While it is true the Cubs have one of the top payrolls in the league they blow money on bad contracts which bloat the over all payroll of this team.

For example these are players on the team that could be easily replaced with minor league talent and get just as good if not better production from the minor league guys. ..

Glendon Rusch - $2.0 Million
Ryan Dempster - $2.0 Million
Mike Remlinger - $3.8 Million
Todd Hollandsworth - $900,000
Jose Macias - $825,000
Neifi Perez - $1.0 Million
Total - $10.525 Million
Replaced with minor league talent cost at $325k per season - $1.95 Million.

Factor in Maddux's un-needed $9 million dollars this season and the Cubs have $17.575 million to fix needed holes in the team. Again, I will say Maddux is a nice luxury but was never a piece we needed. Zambrano, Wood, and Prior are more than enough to contend with. That is a lot of money on over-priced contracts. Go even farther, after this season the Cubs wipe Sosa's $18 million off the books. Now your looking at $35.825 million in cash to work with. The signing of a Beltran, regardless of Sosa's contract, at $16 million per season deal doesn't break the team. And when Sosa is gone after next season the Cubs have an additional $18 million to do what they please with.

The Cubs try and act like a big market team in the wrong damn place. All those million dollar contracts for basically worthless players adds up. For every 1 Neifi Perez signed the Cubs can field 3 minor leaguers. I want the Cubs to spend the money, but it just seems the Cubs get far less bang for their buck for a payroll approaching $100 million dollars a season than other teams do with far less.

I don't like all the $2 million and $3 million dollar contracts in the bullpen. The Cubs are dishing out money in the wrong spot. Find a freaking closer, then fill your bullpen out around him. Hawkins makes $3.75 million, Borowski $2.3 million, and Farnsworth $1.5 million could all be thrown away and replaced by 1 dominate closer who will do more good than all three of those guys combined. But the Cubs seem hell bent on spreading the wealth in the bullpen.

Basically give me Carlos Beltran, Armando Benitez, Hawkins and everyone else I mentioned from the minors and I will have the Cubs in the playoffs with around the same payroll as last years team with Sosa still remaining a Chicago Cub. The Cubs can build a much better team by just spending their money more wisely. It is idiocy to be handing out $2 million dollar deals to Rusch and Dempster and another $2 million combined for Holly and Neifi who have never been good players. Guess what? That is Armando Benitez's contract right there. Who is going to be more helpful to the team during the season? Rusch, Dempster, Holly and Neifi or Armando Benitez? And for $1.0 million I replace Rusch with Brownlie/Meat tray (Mitre), Holly with Kelton, and Neifi with Richard Lewis. Now I am sure that looks like pure heresy to the Cubs fans who loved the contributions and heroics that Rusch and Hollandsworth displayed last season, but I have two names for you...Gary Gaetti and Jeff Fassero. Mediocrity does not go away because of one good season mired in between many bad ones.

I guess my ideal way of running the Cubs would be like the way the Oakland A's are run, except we can afford to keep our Tejada's, Giambi's, Mulder's and Hudson's and fill out the rest of the team through the minor leagues.

To go along with that, I don't see injuries as a problem for a team. Injuries in my mind should open up opportunities for our minor league talent. A team learns nothing by trotting out Rey Ordonez, Lenny Harris or Jose Macias to stink up the joint when starters go down. Everyone says the Cubs have no one ready, position wise, to play in the majors. Really? How do we know that if none are actually given a chance? I bring Oakland up again, but I will mention the D'backs, Angels, and Marlins as teams who use their minor league talent to replace injured starters instead of just using a veteran bench player to replace the guy. Sometimes you find someone useful sometimes you don't. But one thing is for certain, you never find anything useful by not allowing your minor league guys the chance.

What did the organization learn by signing Rey Ordonez? Or by allowing Hollandsworth to start for Sosa? They both suck. Oh wow, didn't we know that before? Sure would of been nice to find out, for example, if Dubois hot season in AAA was a sign he was ready for the majors or not. In my mind Sosa's injury was a golden chance to find out if Kelton or Dubois was the real deal or not. I don't give a damn about Holly's future. In the end the Cubs learned very little last off-season. They might have found some reliable bullpen arms in Weurtz and Leicester, but ohhhh the horror! They were only pitching because our high priced veteran bullpen arms were all coming up injured. Otherwise the organization and fans would of passed them over as not ready.

Sometimes players just need that one chance to shine.

Thinking Comes in Bunches

Some days I have tons of stuff to write about, other days none at all. Anyways, View from the Bleachers weighs in on Carlos Beltran.

Joe makes a good case for signing Maggs instead of Beltran and sums it up in the comments section...

The whole point to signing Mags is because we're not going to be able to trade Sosa. That is why I say keep him and take a chance on Ordonez. He's never been an injury risk before last year, so why not take a shot?

Maggs is a fine player but would it not be nice to get some players on this team without huge question marks hanging over them? I think we have enough question marks on this team to fill 3 or 4 seasons. Garciaparra, Borowski, Hawkins, Sosa, C-pat, Rusch, Prior, and Wood all have HUGE question marks hovering around them. Will any of them live up to the hype? Will any of them return to their old selves? This team needs sure bets, not 50/50 chances of success or failure depending on the roll of the dice.

I would not be upset with Maggs signing, but I would be worried if he was fully healthy and his ability to contribute for 162 games. I have no such worries about Beltran and even expect him to become even better. Baseball is a thinking mans game. Assembling a team with a ton of question marks and hardly any sure bets is like bad karma. This team needs players where we know what they are going to put up, production wise, before the season starts. It makes everyone else including the fans rest easier and takes the pressure off.

Further Proof

The Tribune's latest article helps prove, a little bit, my theory on Jim Hendry's poor job as a GM. The latest article is discussing that the Cubs are still in the running for Carlos Beltran but also mentions Greg Maddux.

Boras insisted nothing should be read into the fact that the Cubs aren't making plans to meet with him and Beltran together. He said he respects the Cubs ability to "fly below the radar" and pointed out the Cubs didn't show interest in Greg Maddux until around this time last year. Hendry didn't meet with Maddux face-to-face until a week before spring training and signed him on the day before pitchers and catchers reported.

In other words, when all other teams have passed on all-star type players the Cubs come swooping in and scoop them. Moises Alou was not signed until late in free agency when the Cubs got him as well. And that is basically how Jim Hendry and McPhail handle free agency. It isn't about getting the best talent on the market and filling holes. It is about picking up the left over scraps of talent and trying to form a team around everyone else's hand me downs.

Did we need Maddux last year? Hell no. But he was the only worth while free agent left on the Market and the Cubs needed a big name to distract fans from the fact that the offense was still disfunctional. It is a never ending magic trick for Cubs management. They will show you something shiny and bright in one hand while trying to make you forget about something else. So the question now is, what free agents will be left 1 month before Spring Training? Who ever is left is likely to be the major upgrade on offense. And he won't be named Maggs or Beltran.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Pudge Fetish

I have to get my Ivan Rodriguez fetish out of my system before the new year. I am still mightly pissed at the Cubs for dissing him. I remember the big fuss was the Cubs would not sign him to a 3-4 year deal. Pudge brought his demands down and was willing to accept a 3 year deal at $10 million dollars a year.

But no way were the Cubs going to pay Pudge $10 million a year for any amount of years. STUPID MOVE!

If the Cubs had signed Pudge more than likely this franchise would of already been celebrating a World Championship and Pudge would be in year #3 of his deal with no signs of slowing down. Averaging a .315 BA, .370 OBP, 17 HR's and 85 RBI a season to go along with his stellar defense Pudge would of been well worth his contract by now regardless of what he did in the up coming season.

Always nice to look back in hindsight. Oh what the Cubs could of accomplished with Pudge behind the plate. But knowing the Cubs luck he would of blown out his knee and never played again.

Look on the bright side we have Michael Barrett on the cheap. "Cheap" being the key word.

Other Options?

The Seattle Mariners may need to deal Randy Winn in order to get more pitching

Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi has said that in order to step into the bidding for a highly paid starter, he might have to move payroll. With rookie Jeremy Reed penciled in as an outfield starter, Randy Winn could be expendable and his $4 million salary put toward pitching. Bavasi said last week he won't move Winn "unless there's a heck of a deal."

Winn is a solid yet unspectacluar player. He will hit around .280 with a .340 OBP, 80 RBI, and 20 SB's a year. He would fill the Cubs need of a lead-off hitter plus he is Dusty freindly because he is 30 years old and switch hits. In fact Winn is good from both sides of the plate. .302 average against LHP and .290 against RHP in the last 3 years.

We could do much worse by allowing Hollandsworth/Macias to become the everyday LFer. Throw a few prospects at Seattle and pick up Winn. Whether the Cubs trade Sosa or not this team still needs a left fielder. Hendry should be looking at the bigger picture and Winn should be on that radar. But then again the Mariners are looking for a deal for quality talent, Hendry can't negotiate deals unless players are being given away.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Best Blog 2004

View from the Bleachers is running his annual best Cubs blog of 2004 and it seems I have made the eight blogs up for contention.

I will run down my favorites...

Ivy Chat - Always like to read what he writes. I don't agree with some things he writes about, but it is fun to get a different take on things.

And Another Thing! - I probably put him down as the best pure blogger. He attends games, gives you a feel for the local flavor and I love reading about the tomatoe inning.

Northside Lounge - Good blogger who will occasionally break down statistics for better understanding.

Other blogs up for the award are, Cub Fan Nation, Cubs Now!, and Rooftop Report.

All are outstanding blogs. I am probably the only Bush supporter in that group. You don't think that will count against me will it? LoL. Either way, I write for my own pleasure and as a means for venting. And for some odd reason I LOVE bashing Dusty Baker. Some blogs have cornered the market on Sosa, I guess this is my niche.

Good luck to the other blogs, but I have a hunch And Another Thing! will probably win with Ivy Chat close behind.

So It Begins

The Cubs are slowly leaving signals of not upgrading the offense again for the 3rd straight year.

With all this uncertainty in the air, it should not come as a shock that Hendry said Monday after signing outfielder Todd Hollandsworth to a one-year contract that he "would be comfortable if the season began tomorrow'' with a starting outfield of Sosa in right, Corey Patterson in center and Hollandsworth and Jason Dubois in left.

I have hoped and prayed for a signing of one of the big three but have always stated the Cubs would let down the fans again and fail to sign either one of them. Ordonez really looks like the only option left. The day Beltran is signed the teams that were after Beltran will immediately turn to Ordonez for their offensive needs and drive up his price. This will automatically knock the Cubs out of contention for his services.

So we watch as another very talented mix of off-season free agents, who fans and the Cubs have expressed interest in, never end up signing with the Cubs. Beltran has not even visited with any one with the Cubs yet, and probably never will just like Pudge. Lots of talk but no action in the Cubs front office.

It could be worse Todd Hollandsworth could get a ton of AB's in LF.

"Jim and I had some extended talks on the subject," Hollandsworth said. "Basically, it will be good to get back out there and get 350, 400 or 500 at-bats or however many I get. But they weren't going to say, "This is your defined role, and you're our guy in left field."

Hollandsworth is expecting to go in as the primary starter in LF. Which shows he is not to worried about the Cubs bringing in a replacement. In the end the Cubs always have an excuse not to get the impact players they need. When Beltran and Ordonez are gone, the off-season is over. Two players left to make or break the off-season Hendry. Tick Tock Tick Tock.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Hendry Asleep at the Wheel

When Wade Miller was made a free agent the Cubs should of jumped all over him. Instead Wade Miller jumped over to the Redsox.

Miller, who was 7-7 with a 3.35 ERA in 15 starts before going on the disabled list June 29 with a season-ending rotator cuff injury, passed a physical exam Wednesday in Boston and agreed to a contract with a $1.5 million base salary and $3 million in incentives. Agent Bob Garber said the deal will be finalized on Thursday.

A very good deal for the Red Sox. If Miller makes his incentives and starts 30+ games he will be a 20 game winner for the Redsox. If he runs into the injury bug and is shut down again the most the Redsox lose is $1.5 million. Hendry could not come up with something close to that? I know we don't need the pitching but he is a hell of alot better pitcher than Glendon Rusch. Great pick up by the Redsox.

UPDATE: I just realized that instead of signing Pedro Martinez the Redsox turned that cash into David Wells, Matt Clement, and Wade Miller.

Has there been a better free agent signing this offseason than Wade Miller? Granted, the former Houston Astro starter is coming off a rotator cuff injury that prematurely ended his season last June. But how much risk is there for the Red Sox at a base salary of $1.5 million next year?

EXACTLY! Via Rich's weekend baseball BEAT.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Our Martian Friends

I know this isn't baseball related (never stopped me before) but this is too good to pass up. For the last several months scientists have been baffled at how their little Mars rover has actually increased its energy performance when it should be going down.

An unexplained phenomenon akin to a space-borne car wash has boosted the performance of one of the two U.S. rovers probing the surface of Mars, New Scientist magazine said on Tuesday.

It said something -- or someone -- had regularly cleaned layers of dust from the solar panels of the Mars Opportunity vehicle while it was closed down during the Martian night.

The cleaning had boosted the panels' power output close to their maximum 900 watt-hours per day after at one stage dropping to 500 watt-hours because of the heavy Martian dirt.

Weird, but cool.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Yeah this Sucks

You know its a depressing off-season when the sports writers are getting down.

Mark Mulder goes to the Cardinals, and Sammy Sosa immediately comes to mind. As in, had the Cubs dealt Sosa by now, they might be the National League Central team making the big offseason splash.

Instead, they barely are treading water as the biggest bargaining chips keep splashing down around them.

Lets not forget Atlanta getting the pieces they need as well. Hell lets mention the D-backs and Mariners making big time splashes into the free agent market. I mean geez if the supposedly bankrupt Arizona Diamondbacks (They are far from bankrupt!) can pull free agents what is the Cubs excuse? I still think Hendry is peddling the, if we cant trade Sosa, we cant deal for Beltran angle, in order to deflect blame of not pursing an offensive upgrade. Its a lousy cop out, but it helps Hendry save face if the season goes sour. Hendry can just blame it on Sosa.

Like I said earlier with Beltrwe heading to Seattle it makes the Dodgers a major player for one of the big three OFers.

And in the Cubs latest move to assemble the worst bench in baseball Hendry has locked up Jose Macias for another year. My loveable nickname for him is "Auto-out." Rey Ordonez was "Auto-out V 2.0." Neifi Perez it looks like will be "Auto-out V 3.0" which may be closely followed by Henry Blanco "Auto-out V 4.0." Lenny Harris falls into the pre "Auto-out" era. He will forever be known as "Why in the hell did we keep him over Mark Bellhorn?" I know, its a skin thing according to Baker.

I would dump Macias and Neifi right away and sign Eckstein and see if I can add A.J. Pierzynski. Yes I know 3 catchers on the roster but anything is better than Macias. Besides Pierz and Barrett would form a nice lefty righty combo and help keep each other fresh during the season. Then I would take a flyer on Wade Miller, provided he passes a physical. I am sure he would love to pitch against the Astro's to show them they made a bad decision.

Now why would I want Pierz and Miller? Mainly it keeps the Cards from getting an offensive catcher and keeps the Cards away from another potentially good starter. Imagine if the Cardinals added Miller. Morris, Mulder, Miller form a very nice 1-3 in the rotation. It is called denying your rival the pieces they need.

You could probably land those 3 players for around $7-9 million together. Eckstein I doubt will ever be a full time starter again, Pierz would probably make the most around $3-4 million, with Miller coming off an injury plagued season seeking a much smaller contract of $3-4 million to re-establish his value. Were paying Rusch $2 million a season and he does not have the track record of Miller. I know, everything is in a holding pattern while the Cubs figure out how to trade Sosa. A good GM would be tightening up the loose ends of the ship before he ends up with no options.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Poor Alou

Moises Alou spun his car out in the Domincan Republican Sunday night. But that does not really matter to me, only this one sentence does.

Although Alou topped 100 RBI for the fifth time and said he wanted to return to Chicago, the Cubs were looking for a younger and cheaper player as they remake their roster after a late-season collapse that cost them a playoff spot.

Younger and cheaper? Says who? Where they getting their information? If that is true it means no Drew, no Magglio and certainly no Beltran. I would not read into it that much if it didn't sound like a classic Cubs move in the making.

Friday, December 17, 2004


The Cub Reporter has a nice article on whether Renteria was a good signing for the Sox.

My take on Renteria… If the price is $10-million per at four years, I’m not disappointed he’s gone.

I think he’s an overrated player. Take away his 2003 season, which looks aberrant when considered with the balance of his statistical record, and he’s a tick above league average for the position with an overvalued glove.

I was going to do a post awhile back comparing how Nomar was a superior offensive force over Renteria. Mainly because I was hearing how people wanted Renteria more over Nomar. I had one major problem with that thinking, to Renterias credit he hit in the #7 hole most of the time and actually sported pretty good numbers when he batted higher in the order. I never fully understood why the Cardinals batted him so low his entire career, I would of made him the #2 or #1 hitter in that lineup.

I will be interested to see how Renteria responds by hitting higher in the order for a full season. If his past splits hold he should return to the 100 RBI mark which will make him well worth his contract. If the Cubs signed Renteria he would never even sniff the 100 RBI mark the rest of his career. Much like Bellhorn excelled in a very good offense in Boston I expect Renteria to do much the same.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Keeps Getting Stranger

From Richie Sexson playing left field to Kerry Wood as the closer.

According to a team that has spoken with the Cubs, Chicago has at least kicked around the possibility of trying out Kerry Wood as a closer, if they can't obtain one elsewhere.

"You need a closer," Baker said. "Where would the Dodgers be without [Eric] Gagne? Where would the Yankees be without Mariano Rivera? That's mandatory in baseball now if you're going to win."

Baker wasn't asked about moving Wood into that role. But one scout who had heard of that idea said: "That has John Smoltz written all over it."

Atleast Baker knows the closer is important. It is a very sensible approach I believe. It will take some balls to actually name Wood as a closer though.

I believe a rotation can get by with 2-3 excellent starters and the rest average to mediocre at best. You dont need good starters 1-5 in your rotation to win 90-100 games a year. Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano, and Greg Maddux make a nice 1-3 combination.

And if you really want to get whacky the Cubs could make Wood a closer and pursue the idea of maybing swapping Johnson and Sosa or somehow prying away Tim Hudson from the A's.

If the Cubs deal Sosa to the Mets for Floyd, it's been widely assumed their next move would be to chase Carlos Beltran. But the Cubs have also been exploring other outfield options. And one of them is Twins outfielder Jacque Jones, who could be available if the Twins re-sign Corey Koskie and need to free payroll space.

I love Jaque Jones defense and he has been a decent hitter for his career but his over all numbers are nothing to cry home about. His OBP is not very good, and strikes out a good number of times. For awhile I have been pushing for the Cubs to pry away Shannon Stewart from the Twins. He solves the leadoff problem right away. Jones is just another middle of the order hitter.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Say What?

Northside Lounge points out the Cubs may be interested in Richie Sexson.

Chris Yarbrough pointed out this story that has the Cubs supposedly after Richie Sexson out at the winter meetings. "But we've already got a first baseman," you might be saying. Ah, but the story is saying he would play left field.

Something is going to come out of left field like the Derek Lee trade but I dont think Richie Sexson will be that guy in left field, lol.

I like him, but I dont like his 150 punch outs a year.

Bad Decision

Phil Rogers has a nice article on the Cubs getting Beltran...

Tribune Co. should allow him to do exactly that. Beltran is an exceptional talent who will mean more in terms of winning than the one-dimensional Sosa ever has. Playing together, alongside Garciaparra, Ramirez and Lee, Beltran and Sosa should keep the Cubs from wasting their state-of-the-art starting rotation, as they did in 2004.

Once Sosa leaves as a free agent after next season, the payroll could shrink back to a slightly more comfortable level. And don't forget that this isn't the last time the Cubs can consider a Sosa deal. He could be traded in January or February, before camps open, during spring training or at the trading deadline.

If the Cubs excuse not to pursue Beltran is because they can't trade Sosa that is an extremly poor excuse and just shows that the Cubs organization cares little about winning a World Series after 96 years of futility. I personally think the Cubs will pass on Beltran and end up signing Magglio Ordonez to a lower contract strictly because he will be cheaper after coming off an injury. It is the Cubs way, cheap, cheaper, cheapest. Whatever it takes to save a dime and put a semi-competitive team on the field.

Don't get me wrong I will be happy if Ordonez was signed but compared to Beltran, Beltran is the total package.

And Then There Was None

Looks like Danny Kolb will be traded, but not to the Cubs. Atlanta is supposed to announce any minute they have traded for him. I will be interested to see what the Brewers got in return. What are the odds Juan Cruz is in this deal and he becomes the closer for Milwaukee?


The Milwaukee Brewers have traded All-Star closer Dan Kolb to the Braves for Jose Capellan, the team's top pitching prospect, the Sporting News has learned.

Capellan, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound right hander, appeared in three games for the Braves in 2004, going 0-1 with 11.25 ERA in eight innings pitched. At three different minor league levels, Capellan went 14-4 with 2.32 ERA and 152 strikeouts over 139 2/3 innings.

So Cruz wasn't involved. Would the Cubs have traded their #1 pitching prospect for Danny Kold? Not in a million years. That is exactly why I said Kolb would never be traded to Chicago. Milwaukee will only want premium talent in return and the Cubs are unwilling to do that. Just further reinforces my point that Jim Hendry cant negotiate deals unless another team is willing to give away a player.

So with Kolb now gone that pretty much ends the Cubs quest for a closer this off-season. You snooze you lose at this point and the Cubs snoozed right through fixing the bullpen. Maybe it is just an attempt for the Cubs to give us something to talk about. Who is the closer?

Latroy Hawkins - Posted some nice numbers once he settled down but blew some key games down the stretch

Kyle Farnsworth - You never know 2005 is an odd numbered year and Farnsworth excels in those years.

Joe Borowski - Can a journeyman who was once closer regain that form with a high 80's fastball at best?

Ryan Dempster - He has had one decent season his entire career, and walks way to many people. Do we shake the magic in the bottle again and roll the dice?

Will Ohman - Yeah like he will get anything more than garbage time.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Thats Odd

I thought Matt Morris would get more than this...

Morris agreed to a one-year deal with the Cardinals on Tuesday. Morris is guaranteed $2.5 million and can earn another $4.5 million in incentives.

The funny part...

He turned down a two-year, $15.5 million deal before the season, figuring he could get more in free agency. Then he posted his worst season in the majors (4.72 ERA), although he did still manage to win 15 games. Morris underwent shoulder surgery last week to repair fraying of his labrum.

So he might start next season on the DL. But still it seems like every time he pitches against us he beats us or makes it atleast tough. I was hoping Morris would cost them much more than that.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Oh Yeah This Guy

Cubs signed a 3rd person today, Henry Blanco.

The Cubs capped off a busy day by signing Henry Blanco, perhaps the most coveted backup catcher on the free-agent market, Sporting News has learned.

Blanco, who agreed to a two-year contract, will replace Paul Bako as the backup to Michael Barrett. One of the game's finest throwing catchers, he worked with Cubs right-hander Greg Maddux previously when the two were together with the Braves.

Blanco, 33, batted just .206 for the Twins last season, but had 10 homers in 315 at-bats.

His defense is considered stellar behind the plate and will make an awesome backup catcher for the Cubs. I especially like his 49% rate of throwing out runners last season. Interesting to note is that Blanco's lowest years of throwing out runners was with Atlanta whose philosphy is to ignore base runners. He will probably end up catching Maddux on a regular basis.

But is 2 years $2.7 million too much for him? I like the addition. He is 10 times better than Bako.

BCS is a Joke

I used to live in Arizona and am a huge Arizona Wildcats fan. I hate schools like USC and Cal but when it comes to bowl games it is all about Pac-10 pride. I am slowly being innoculated into the Big Ten Conference and the Iowa Hawkeyes now that I live in Iowa.

But the travesty that happened to Cal is down right criminal. First you have Cal beating teams by an average of 23 points a game and their only loss was on the road and by 6pts to USC. Cal was ranked 4th all year long yet is shut out of the BCS because Mack Brown of Texas went begging for votes.

"If you've got a vote, vote for us," Brown said, pleading directly to voters in The Associated Press writers poll. "I'm asking you to do that and I'm asking everyone across the nation. This team deserves to be in the BCS. They deserve to go more than some teams that are being talked about."

And Cal still played another game and won while Texas sat idle. Yet Cal was bumped by Texas. Maybe it should of been known at the time he was begging that Mack Brown gets a $50,000 bonus for getting a BCS berth.

The other thing going on is making votes public to see who is voting for the financial gains of a conference over who is really the better team. I feel sorry for Auburn as well but they will atleast reap the financial rewards of a BCS berth to the tune of #17.5 million or so. Cal will only recieve $4.7 million.

Players Signed and Misc:

Nomar Garciaparra:

Nomar Garciaparra agreed Tuesday to an $8 million, one-year contract that could rise to $11 million with performance bonuses.

The Cubs also agreed to a $2.5 million, one-year deal with second baseman Todd Walker that includes an option for 2006. The Cubs' option is at $2.5 million, and Walker has vesting options at $2.5 million and $2.75 million based on plate appearances.

I feel much better with these two players coming back. They are two of my favorite players from last years team. They are both contact hitters who don't strike out a ton. If both manage to play a full season they should help cut down on the Cubs team strikeouts.

If you want it in simple terms Garciaparra takes Alou's salary and Walker takes Grudz salary from last year.

Rumor: Caught this interesting rumor from And Another Thing!

Latest rumor: Sosa and a pitching prospect to Kansas City for Mike Sweeney and Scott Sullivan. The Cubs would then flip Sweeney to the Mets for Cliff Floyd.

I don't agree with Al's response of doing this in a heartbeat. I would flip Derrek Lee instead and keep Mike Sweeney. Lee is a nice defensive 1b man but he gets way over-valued for that. His stick is nothing spectacular and I am tired of all the SO artists on this team. Mainly I never liked Derrek Lee because he hits only .267 against right hand pitching over the last 3 years.

Sweeney is another right handed hitter but hits both righties and lefties well. He is a better hitter against right handed pitching hitting at a .317 clip over the last 3 years. Our division is dominated by good right handed pitching and the Cubs need to stock up on hitters who can mash against those guys. To go along with that Sweeney will only SO 50-60 times the whole year. Sweeney is an injury risk but he is no more a risk than keeping Sosa in RF.

Now imagine for a second a Cubs lineup built around contact hitters who don't strikeout much and generally have a high OBP.

#1 Todd Walker - .280-.300 BA; .350 OBP; 60-80 SO's a year
#2 Mike Sweeney - .290-.310 BA; .390 OBP; 50-60 SO's a year
#3 Nomar Garciaparra - .300-.320 BA; .350-.360 OBP; 60 SO's a year
#4 Aramis Ramirez - .280-.300 BA; .350 OBP; 60-90 SO's a year
#5 (Who knows - Beltran/Drew/Magglio? I would have a different order for each one but all would work in the #5 spot for a default in this case.)
#6 Cliff Floyd - .280 BA; .350-.370 OBP; 80-100 SO's a year
#7 Patterson - .260-.270 BA; .320 OBP; 140-160 SO's a year
#8 Barrett - .270-.280 BA; .330 OBP; 60 SO's a year.

You flip Derrek Lee instead of Sweeney and add one of the big three outfielders, now you have a kick ass offense. I don't like the idea of trading Floyd for Sosa basically. If that is the case just give me Sosa. And in this scenario we will only have to pay money to the Royals to bring the cost down for them. If we deal Sweeney to the Mets then they will probably want some cash as well to match up the money (I might be wrong about that depending on how much is left in each players contracts). I figure if we are dishing money around to rid this team of Sosa, don't be paying off two teams when you could only be paying off one and get an upgrade offensively at 1b.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Moving Along

The Cubs dodged a bullet when Kenny Lofton was traded today.

The New York Yankees began reshaping their roster Friday, sending outfielder Kenny Lofton and cash to the Philadelphia Phillies for setup man Felix Rodriguez and nearing a trade to reacquire Mike Stanton from the Mets.

On the flip side it is one less thing Jim Hendry can fall back on if he misses out on getting one of the big three OF free agents.

Just Erase It

I loved the little rant by Smitty at Hoosier Daddy? that I had to reply on my own.

The whole little pissing contest is erased off his site like it never existed. I find it odd that a person complaining about PC ****sticks does not have the same integrity to keep up what he posts. The beauty of the internet is things rarely disappear. My comment to that post is erased and lost as far as I know.

My quick response centered around his scolding me about misspelling a word(I probably have more than one,lol). But for some odd reason a person correcting me on my grammar could not figure out how to spell a word either or understand that you need capital letters when starting a sentence. I know I do not hit the spell checker a lot and I am not very good at punctuation but damn I know to at least capitalize the beginning of a sentence.

If your going to scold someone on grammar you better damn well be perfect on your end. I just don't like the fact he erases the post to prevent himself from looking bad. Have the integrity to keep up what you post no matter how much of a fool it makes you look like. I make a lot of off the wall comments in my beliefs of the way the Cubs should be run. And when looking back at them I slap my forehead thinking did I say that garbage? But I do not act like it never happened.

Update: For the record Smitty sent this e-mail before I wrote this post but I never checked my e-mail.

You're right about the Sloth. I had a few too many that night and
when i read you're comment, it kind of set me off. I was trying to
make light of people (not necessarily you) who resort to name calling
and personal attacks instead of debating the issue at hand. Obviously
in my drunken state, I wasn't too effective. Reading it now (until
your email, I hadn't read it since I wrote it) I came off as one of
the asshats I was attempting to make light of. For that, I apologize.

In light of that I would of never written what I wrote above and the whole matter would of quickly died off into the night. I apologized in return to Smitty and hope this mis-understanding is resolved now. In the end I ended up with the asshat, lol. Now move along nothing to see here!

I Didn't Know

It now looks like Barry Bonds was on the juice but denies he never knew what he was taking.

Bonds told a U.S. grand jury that he used undetectable steriods known as "the cream" and "the clear," which he received from personal trainer Greg Anderson during the 2003 season. According to Bonds, the trainer told him the substances were the nutritional supplement flaxseed oil and a pain-relieving balm for the player's arthritis.

According to a transcript of Bonds' Dec. 4, 2003, testimony reviewed by the Chronicle, prosecutors confronted the slugger with documents allegedly detailing the steroids he used -- "the cream," "the clear," human growth hormone, Depo-Testosterone, insulin and a drug for female infertility that can be used to mask steroid use.

Bonds said that, to his knowledge, Anderson had only given him legal drugs to treat his arthritis and fatigue, which were especially bad when the Giants would play a day game after a night game. He said the trainer brought the substances to the Giants' clubhouse, where Bonds would use them.

The playing dumb act is not going to wash. The other athletes that Anderson was supplying steroids to knew what they were recieving and recieved them for a number of years. But Barry Bonds was the only one being duped by Anderson? Yeah right. It is the classic guilty arguement of "I didn't know."

At this point Barry Bonds should be put on indefinite suspension pending a completion of the grand jury investigation. Bonds whole legacy it appears is now nothing more than a sham. His great MVP seasons the last couple of years are by products of steroid use. How utterly pathetic. Sad sad day for baseball.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The Bright Side

I love to hear this...

If the Cubs aren't able to sign CF Carlos Beltran, they may attempt to trade for CF Kenny Lofton of the Yankees.

Yeah, that sounds like a typical Cubs move.

The First Shoe Drops

Well it looks like Giambi was on the juice.

New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi injected himself with human growth hormone in 2003 and used steroids for at least three seasons, according to his grand jury testimony that was reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle.

So far the reaction is saddness that Giambi was using steroids. I am pretty harsh when it comes to using steroids in baseball. I believe if a player is found out to be on steroids all of his accomplishments in baseball should be erased from the record books from the date it is exposed. Doesn't really matter if you are a 10 year veteran and only used steroids for 2 seasons. A players existence should be erased from baseball history and only allowed to play again till tests show he is steroid free.

Suspensions for a month or whatever will not deter people from using steroids. When you start messing with peoples legacy in the game of baseball is when they start to pay attention.

This admission now increases the spotlight on Barry Bonds. Giambi and Bonds both had the same trainer/doctor from BALCO and it gets harder to believe that Bonds was not juicing. It will be interesting to see what the other athletes are saying to the grand jury. This investigation is leading to Barry Bonds. With the most coveted record in all of sports on the line, I am happy this investigation is trying to find out the truth of whether Bonds is juiced up or not. His connections to BALCO are extremly disturbing and damaging to the game of baseball.