Wednesday, November 2

Top 5 Guys I want from FA (from those who have filed so far)

Rondell White, OF
Jeff Weaver, SP
Kevin Millwood, SP
Jamie Moyer, SP
Keiichi Yabu, RP

Why? I dunno. They have good ERA for castoff pitchers, reasonable WHIP. Yabu is young and cheap, and Rondell White can knock in some runs while fielding reasonably (.364 BA with RISP in 2005). I feel like we need a good #4/#5 SP for our rotation, although on paper we have it covered:

Mark Prior
Kerry Wood
Carlos Zambrano
Jerome Williams
Glendon Rusch
Greg Maddux (please come back for one more year)
Rich Hill
Sergio Mitre

I don't think that the 8 of them will be in the rotation come Opening Day. Wood and Prior love the DL, and Hill/Mitre/Williams could all be quite useful trade bait in any kind of package deal we figure out. That being said, both Jon Garland and Dontrelle Willis have been those "trade bait" guys in recent years, and look at those magnificent bastards now. So, who can say. Nevertheless, if we have a proven guy in the 4 or 5 slot, we don't need to spend all season playing pitcher yo-yo with Iowa and West Tenn.

Of course I'd rather see some big names, so let's see what happens. I read in some Chi-town rag that Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno had "earned" starting spots for next year, although I, like Desipio, hope that's not a euphemism for "sitting on the bench while some older, less talented guys take the field."

At least we have some forward vision in not picking up an admittedly ABSURD $7 MILLION OPTION for Jeromy Burnitz. Whether we use that money for good or evil, remains to be seen.

Guys like Furcal and Damon and Brian Giles will be flooding the market, and I bet that them and any other of the "big names" will not end up in Cubbie Blue. There are a lot of sharks with big bank balances out there looking for glory, like the Mets, Yanks, Red Sox, Phillies, and just about any other "nearly" team with some money in the kitty. Goddamn, I hope Hendry gets just enough rope to buy some guys as well as hang himself with.


At 10:06 PM, Blogger Jim said...

I'm guessing Giles is the best bet to end up in Cubbie blue, but I wouldn't give you odds. He's got good career numbers in Wrigley, although he's a bit long in the tooth.

Inside dope says Manny Rameriz will end up with the Mets, although how much they'd have to give up is a concern. Boston is looking for pitching, and the Mets have some.

Cubs' pitching looks set, whether you like it or not, but with six starters, not five. Probably Williams will serve as long reliever until one of the starters goes down or is ineffective. Rush has been told he's earned the right to start.

I'm going out on a limb and say that I think Wood and Zambrano are going to have break-out seasons. Prior will look more like he did in '03. The big question marks will be Rush, Williams and Maddux.

Throw in Dempster as a closer with a question mark too. Was this season for real? Or was it just a curiosity? I think it looked real enough, but he needs a second dominant season before he can be crowned king of the saves.

Will Lee have another year like the past one, or will he return to the good but not great player he was for the rest of his career?

Can Aramis remain injury free. He's proven to be a run producer throughout his career. There should be no reason to doubt his abilities, but his awkward legs seem to cry out "problems!"

You've got to believe that Walker will continue to hit, but will he keep us alive defensively at second.

Then come the big questions: Who's playing short? Cedeno? Is he going to fill the bill? He looks ready to play in the major leagues, but will he have enough punch at the plate? Could be he's the answer as a lead-off hitter. And what about Corey? The Cubs seem committed to another year, unless they can come up with some sort of trade that actually improves the club. What team out there wants to take a chance on him? Finally, there's the concern about who will end up in right field.

Lastly, there's Murton. He's one of truly bright spots that came out of the '05 season, along with Dempster. I get the same feeling about this kid that I had about Billy Williams, and believe me, I haven't had that feeling very often in the past 45 years. In fact, I've only had it one other time, and that was with a kid who ended up playing quite a few years at second base before he entered the Hall of Fame this year.

In other words, this kid's got it. If he can stay healthy, he's going to have one heck of an outstanding career.

At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...


I agree on a few points. Murton is the real deal. And the Cubs starting rotation is not a worry. That list you put up JT, I'm not so thrilled with some of them (Rich Hill needs more time in the minors to learn to really pitch, and Mitre has only looked really good in two games I've seen him pitch), but the six guys who've started with some regularity are solid.

If the Cubs are gonna go out and get outfield I think it should be Giles. Rondell White has already had one round with the Cubs a few years back. The problem with him is always the injuries, and he's not a young guy these days. Giles isn't so young either, but he's been remarkably consistent over the years (disregarding number of homeruns and looking at OBP and AVG). He seems to be the best fit. Then again, Jim Hendry always seems to know something the rest of us don't. Anyone notice that Kenny Lofton is on the free agency list?

About there being teams with bigger cash- New York is the only market that should be able to contend with Chicago for money. Tribune has got money, and those seats at Wrigley are always filled, as well as people wearing Cubs merchandise across the nation. We've got the money, the question is will they spend it.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger JT said...

I think that all makes a lot of sense. Hey, don't get me wrong, I'd love the biggest baddest FA out there, whoever that may be, but in the end it might not be the best move.

Something like this:

C Barrett? (Ramon Hernandez is looking mighty good as an FA, or a Molina!)
1B Lee
2B Walker?
SS Cedeno/Neifi?
3B A. Ramirez
LF Murton
RF ???

SP Prior
SP Zambrano
SP Maddux (fingers crossed)
SP Rusch
SP Williams?

CP Dempster
RP Who cares, most of the guys from last year.

Does that sound about right?

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

So you really don't think Wood has even half a season in him? Wow. That's kind of depressing. I hope that's not true.

Also, why are people so down on Barrett lately? He was this year's NL single slugger as catcher (that means he topped Piazza, who is only in the majors because of his offense)! I know that there have been some defensive questions, but he's actually been pretty solid. He's gotten into some of the trouble people call attention to (poor run downs, etc.) because of situations that are completely out of his control. He came here as an offensive catcher, but I think his defense is pretty good too. Give him a chance. A year where he works with the same pitchers over and over again would be good for him, and if Blanco can continue the run he had in the second half of this past season, there will be less pressure on Barrett.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger JT said...

Hey, regarding Wood, I'll believe it when I see it. That's how it has to be with him. No more speculations, no more predictions -until he does it, there's no reason to say that he will or he won't.

And why lead ourselves on? Let's not do what we've done every f**king year, where we say "OK, Wood and Prior are healthy, NL Wild Card here we come." We pin our hopes on it, we set our team around it, and bam, he gets hurt again. So why set it up that way again? We should have a solid, no-bullshit contingency plan in place.

The sayonara of Burnitz is huge in that respect -- it at least gives the illusion that we're not going to fuck around. Let's hope that continues to be true, and when the real heavy FA grab-ass begins, Hendry's in the thick of it with his sleeves rolled up.


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