Thursday, November 24

The Cubs strike Again!

Sleeping with the (former) enemy

Well, the Cubs have struck once more, signing former Indians/White Sox middle reliever Bobby Howry to a 3-year, $12 million deal. Our relief/bullpen corps is now set, and funnily enough, it's not so dire.

Despite having poked run at Scott "ADHD" Eyre for a while, with the addition of Howry, another early-30s middle-reliever, our bridge to Dempster appears pretty complete. Ohman/Wuertz/Novoa/Wellemeyer/Williamson (I doubt we'll carry them all) in the 6th and 7th innings, Eyre/Howry to set-up in the 8th, and then Dump in the final stanza.

Howry is also coming off the best year of his career (like Mr. Ritalin), so who knows what to expect. It was reasonably sensible to get bullpen depth to augment a struggling relief corps, and now we're showing at least some logic in providing enough depth so if someone like Wood gets hurt in the 4th, we're not waving the white flag and bringing in a dope like Remlinger or our 5th starter to get us into the late innings. Plus, another thing I didn't think about is that we're paying Eyre and Howry about the same amount in '06 that we'd be paying one chubby, aging RF in Jeromy Burnitz. That ain't so grim, in retrospect.

So now all our of attention absolutely positively has to shift to the offense, with CF, RF, and SS our major points of concern. Our lead-off questions will be addressed in filling one of those slots (the Florida Fire-Sales will cough up Pierre to some lucky club, hopefully ours, in their Wal-Mart "Everything must Go!!!"), and then we'll hopefully have a competitive team next season. It's worrying to see Omar Minaya go delirious with money in Queens, but I'm sure they'll find a way to falter. Wagner and Delgado doth not a team make.

Howry's Stats
79 G, 73 IP
7-4, 3 SV, 2.47 ERA
0.89 WHIP, .191 BAA, 5.92 K/9, 3.00 K/BB
434 G, 460 1/3 IP
25-26, 3.58 ERA
.235 BAA, 7.64 K/9, 2.33 K/BB

He's actually a decent pickup, but I hope this isn't as good as it gets for our off-season dealing. I expect we'll trade Hot Rod Todd Walker, for which we'll get something reasonable in return, and this is my current dream line-up as I envision it happening:

C Barrett
1B D. Lee
2B Cedeno
SS Furcal
3B A. Ramirez
LF Murton
CF Pierre
RF Giles?/Pie

SP Prior
SP Wood/Williams
SP Maddux
SP Zambrano
SP Rusch

RP Williamson
RP Ohman
RP Novoa
RP Wuertz
RP Eyre
RP Howry
CP Dempster

That ain't bad at all.

Sorry if this is disjointed -- it's Thanksgiving (even though I'm a limey, I'm on this bandwagon of holiday fun) and I'm already drinking. Now that's something I'm thankful for -- it's not even noon!

Happy Thanksgiving all, more next monday about Howry and our plans.


At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Not a bad line up at all. If you take Pierre and Furcal out of there. If you've got to keep one of those guys I'd much rather it be Pierre, except he'll hurt us on defense, big time. I still think Cedeno could lead off if you let him. And where is all this money coming from to possibly get Pierre, Furcal, Giles, and the two relievers we've added? We'll get one of those guys, and it's not likely to be Giles. I also think Atlanta is going to go out of there way to keep Furcal, and he will have a poor season in '06. That's my prediction. Too much mony slows players down, typically. Anyway, the additional to the bullpen is pretty good I think, but we're finished messing around with relief now until spring training. Hopefully we can have at least a mediocre bullpen in '06, with those young guys continuing to learn and pitch.

Happy Thanksgiving.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger JT said...

Well, the money isn't so bad. Burnitz paid for Eyre and Howry, we no longer have to pay Nomar, so that could get us one/1 1/2 players. We'll likely have to trade for Pierre, and we might not have Walker next season also thanks to a trade. Throw in a little extra money from our Trib overlords, and we'll get all these dudes.

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

I'd still prefer to keep Nomar. I don't think he'll be any more expensive than Furcal is gonna end up being. If not then I'd like to let Cedeno play short. We really should be going after Giles. Are we doing anything about trying to get a right fielder? Jacque Jones is probably not the answer. He won't be any better than Burnitz, and I think we all agree that Burnitz's offense was why we didn't keep him.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger gone said...

WHy another middle reliever? CLOSER?

At 8:01 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Dempster did a good enough job last year to be given another shot at closer. I just hope he can keep up his recent success. is implying lately that the Cubs have basically signed John Mabry, supposedly to ride some bench in 2006. Is anyone else afraid the Cubs will fail to sign or trade for someone else and will end up playing Mabry (who appears strikingly similarly to a more experienced Dubois) in right field?

Also, I'm still mortified by the prospect of Furcal being a Cub, but I'll admit that we should still have a decent shot at winning next year with him on the team. I don't especially want Furcal or Pierre though. Get me Giles and either keep Nomar or play Cedeno at short and I will be a happy man.

At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Okay, here's my more realistic wish list. Outfield- Reggie Sanders. Might be able to get him with a good offer. Gives you good defense, some speed, and respectable power. Or- Still interested in Brian Giles. Same reasons as before.

Bench- Ramon Martinez. Yes, we had him before, but he can hit, and he'll play any spot in the infield. He'd be more productive than Macias. It looks like we will sign John Mabry, and he can play outfield, 1st, or 3rd. Anyone opposed to a Perez, Martinez, Mabry bench? All of these guys give you decent defense (Perez gives you phenomenal defense) and solid hitting from the bench. I don't know if we've got space for all of them. There are a few other guys out there.

I think we're set for pitching, and we've got what we need for infield. Obviously there are still issues in the infield, like who will be the short stop and how we will adjust second to accomodate whoever that shortstop happens to be. But we've all made our opinions heard on that front. I think moves for the bench are really overlooked. A great bench is one thing that separates a winning team from a championship team. Anyone else got some guys on their wishlist we haven't been talking about? I'm sick of discussing Furcal and Pierre.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger JT said...

CBT -- we kinda need that 7th/8th inning bridge, and we got the 2 best guys available. Compare their combined salaries to those of Burnitz and any major closer (BJ Ryan - 5 years, $47 million, Wagner - 4 years, $43 million), and we made a killing.

Lazlo -- as for Ramon Martinez: no no no no no. Sanders has a rough injury history, and he's not nearly the force he was. Plus he's a left-fielder mainly, and apparently we don't need one of those.

Giles is definitely still on my list, although we'll have to bid like a motherfucker to get him. The Yanks are on his case, and the perennial big-money wasters will almost certainly drive us his price.


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