Wednesday, November 30

You Have Reached the Summer of My Discontent


In what surely is another small step towards the erasure of Jose Macias from the 40-man roster, the Cubs have reportedly signed IF/OF/RP/MAN utility dude John Mabry from the St. Louis Cardinals, pending a physical. His contract is modest (1 year, $1 million), and it seems like an absolute steal considering Jose "PacMan" Macias gobbled his way through $1.6 million last season.

Mabry can play average ball just about anywhere. He filled in admirably for the Cards through several injuries, although his offense was far below his career line:

.240 BA, .295 OBP, .407 SLG
.269 BA, .325 OBP, .412 SLG

That being said, he can play both corner infield spots and both corner outfield spots. I hope that he's used primarily as a spot-start guy or as a PH (he's not a good career PH, as my man Mabry needs time to warm his bat, man), but in Dusty's trusty hands, who the fuck knows.

So, we've apparently wrapped up our third low-key signing of the off-season, and in relatively short time too. Our bullpen is sorted, our bench is a lot more stable (Neifi and Mabry will do the job in that department), and now all we're waiting for is the big gap-filling FAs to pad out our starting lineup.

In retrospect, this was probably the best way to do things: fill in the small, easier part first, and then figure out what money/trade bait is left to get the big names in the door. It's also a lot more straightforward to bring in major players when you show them that there's a clear structure in place that is committed to winning (well, at least trying to win), and I think all our small holes have been filled.

Now, we should have 3 major priorities:
1. Center Field
2. Right Field
3. Shortstop

(the lead-off issue should hopefully be addressed in fulfilling one of those 3 needs, don't forget)

So let's see it Hendry! I hear rumblings that Furcal could make a decision as early as Tuesday of next week, and I've also been hearing/reading that the Cubs are looking at volatile OF Milton Bradley (temperamental, but reaching the peak of his career), which I may comment on at a later time. But hey, at least it's another player to add to the mix.

Bradley, Giles, Furcal, Pierre..... who can say?


At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

No Furcal. No Bradley. No Pierre.

We save money by NOT going after Furcal (yes, I know it's a little late for that), we don't trade away any pitching prospects or young outfielders going after Pierre (I seem to remember everyone complaining about how poor our defense was last year anyway, and Pierre is not going to help that issue), and we prevent unnecessary havoc in the clubhouse and on the sports pages by not signing Bradley. We get a fairly quiet, incredibly consistent player in Giles. I don't foresee spending more money on Giles than we would on Furcal, but I don't know for sure. If Tribune is still willing to spend some money, we do our best to get Nomar back.

Who's the lead off man then? Well, traditionaly the youngsters learn to fill whatever role you put them in. Cedeno should be given a shot at it, if he doesn't cut it you try Murton, then you try Walker (leadoff for the Red Sox), and when all else fails you go to Giles. He may not have incredible speed but he walked twice as much as he struck out last year. And if Giles fails? Ummm... Uh... Barrett? We'll be to the trade deadline by that point and maybe Hendry would go after someone to fill the spot in that case.

With Giles and Nomar in the lineup that we've already got who cares about a leadoff man? That offense would score runs. That offense would scare any pitching rotation in baseball. It might break the bank too, but I have no sympathy for the Tribune company when they plead "but I'm broke!"

JT- why not Ramon Martinez for the bench? He'd be better than Macias. I don't think he's necessary at this point though, especially if we've still got Hairston to start the season.

At 11:55 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Okay. Scratch Giles from all plans. Looks like the Padres have signed him to a three year 30 mil contract. So much for your Yankees, JT. I think we could have picked him up.

At 6:25 PM, Anonymous lazlo said...

Uh oh. We traded Van Buren to the Red Sox. What could we possibly be getting in that deal?

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Evidently, the Tribune Company is perfectly happy with ticket sales and a losing team.

At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

It seems increasingly likeley that Neifi Perez will be our starting shortstop and leadoff hitter next season, from the talk of Jim Hendry. Also, it seems likely that Walker will be traded in search of a right fielder and Cedeno will be asked to play second. Why are we not trying to keep Nomar? Why are we not going after a great right fielder? And also, why are Cubs fans obsessed with Juan Pierre? He's comparable to Jerry Hairston in everything but base stealing, and I think Hairston has enough power to compensate for Pierre's stolen bases. Not that I'm saying Hairston is a solution for center, but I don't think Pierre is either. We need a right fielder and we need to keep Nomar. This could be a really rough year if things progess as they have.

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Okay, I thought I would play at being JT for a few minutes, so here is a comilation of stats. The last set of stats is of my own creation, thank you very much. As you can see, the only major difference between these two players is Juan Pierre's speed, yet very few people think Hairston should be the main leadoff hitter, but no one seems to be upset about Pierre. Check these out:

Jerry Hairston in 2006-
OBP .336
TB- 140
SB- 8
CS- 9
Games- 114
AB- 380
SO- 46
BB- 31
TB per game= 1.228
TB + SB – CS per game= 1.219

Juan Pierre in 2006-
OBP .326
TB- 232
SB- 57
CS- 17
Games- 162
AB- 656
SO- 45
BB- 41
TB per game= 1.42
TB + SB – Cs per game= 1.679

As you can see, the speed does make up for some of Pierre's other numbers, but Hairston's OBP is actually ten points higher than Pierre's. I don't think either is a solution for centerfield or leadoff.

At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Oh, by the way, in many of these games Hairston came in for just defense or for only an AB or two. So here's a comparison based on ABs.

TB + SB - CS per AB= .414

TB + SB - CS per AB= .415

Surprising? Not to me. =) Anyone else reconsiderring the Juan Pierre for CF in 2006 campaign.

Note: Those years in the first post should be 2005, not 2006, obviously. Sorry about the mistake.

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

Perhaps my calculations are off a bit...

hmm... math isn't exactly my thing. I'll let JT go back to being JT for a while.

At 5:23 PM, Blogger JT said...

Holy guac, where do I begin?

1. If we go into the 2006 regular season with Neifi Perez as our regular everyday SS, we are sending a message to the rest of the NL that we do not care. It shows no sense of having learned from what went wrong before. Those stats I spat out showed it in black-and-white terms: he is not an everyday guy anymore. His best months directly correlated with months where he platooned/didn't play every game. It couldn't be clearer to me.

2. Regarding the Trib, it does make me wonder when we'll make moves that matter. The Lee for Hee Seop Choi move was huge, but at the time a lot of people scoffed at it. However, when we bring in Nomar in 2004, we were getting the sucker end in taking that saddlebags contract and his age. Look at those injuries = huge flop in Chi-town.

3. Let's put all talk of JHJr. as a starter out the window. The guy has good defense and a spring in his step, but play him everyday and we will falter. He is a good role player in limited situations, and we should be f*cking thankful that not only is he aware of that, but he's willing to be that guy on our bench. Neifi has exhibited a similar attitude, so Dusty shouldn't go deluding himself with notions that they're built for the day-in, day-out rigors of the league. It shows a defeatist attitude to not try and rebuild/augment a lineup, instead opting to trot out whoever's currently on board.


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