Baseball Diamond News

Monday, December 21, 2009

What were they thinking?

By now every Cub fan has given their opinion about the Carlos Silva-Milton Bradley trade, so now I will give mine.

I have no idea what Jim Hendry was thinking. I understand that last season Milton Bradley was a bad year for him all around, but these are all grown-ups, right? If this was all the Cubs could get for Bradley, then why not keep him and work out things out like adults. Bradley is primed for a rebound year, while Carlos Silva is well primed to get lit up again. Carlos was good for the Twins in 2005 and had a decent season in 2007, but in 08 he was bad, and in 09 before being shut down he was just awful. I am hoping that the Cubs aren't planning on putting Carlos Silva in the rotation except for if they need to due to injuries.

Right now I see the rotation in April, it looks like Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Tom Gorzelanny, Randy Wells and Jeff Samardzja/Carlos Silva. I have left out Ted Lilly due to his surgery and don't think he will be ready until May. This is not a Division winning rotation, let alone a Championship rotation. This is going to be a LONG LONG SEASON...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Neal Cotts and other news

Neal Cotts was non-tendered which is no big surprise. Neal had gotten plenty of chances to prove himself as the Cubs lefty reliever, but never stepped up to the opportunity. This move saves the Cubs 1 million dollars and gives them an extra spot on the 40 man roster (currently at 37).

I read somewhere (, I think), that the Cubs have some interest in Matt Capps. I know he had an awful year for the Pirates last year, but that was because he had an abnormally high hr/9 rate (1.66) and BABIP (.370). Neither is consistent of what he has done throughout his career and he even increased his k/9 and he increased the ground balls batters hit against him. Now after saying all that, as long as the Cubs don't brin him in to close, I think it would be a great move. Especially since he was non-tendered by Pirates and would probably cost the Cubs about 1.7-1.9 million a year and if he puts up his past numbers, than he would definitely be worth it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Just an idea

I saw the other day that the Atlanta Braves designated OF Ryan Church for assingment. I think he would be a great fit for the Cubs. He can step in and start when needed without hurting the team and would fill many needs. He would be a good lefty bat off the bench, a good baserunner and lastly he isn't bad on defense. I know in past he has had some injuries, including the lingering concussion problem, but it is not like he will command 10 million dollars a year.
I have also read lately that the Milton Bradley trade talks haven't progressed and if the Cubs want to get anything useful for him, it is becoming more evident that they will need to eat more of his salary. I would almost say with his talent the Cubs should keep him if they can't get anything for him, but this is a time where I would say it is definitely "addition by subtraction". I know Luis Castillo isn't much these days, but he may be better than putting Mike Fontenot at 2b as the starter.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Mike Cameron and other tidbits

I have been reading that the Cubs are interested in getting Mike Cameron to take over the Center field spot. With Mike, you know not to expect too much in hitting for average, expect a lot of strike outs, and get some above average defense in center field. The problem is that he will command a bunch of money and Hendry will probably want to give him a 3 year contract. He will be 37 in a month and if Bill James predictions amount to anything he expects him to decline to the point offensively he won't be worth the money Hendry is going to offer.

Instead of going for Cameron, how about this, sign a RF that produces some runs, keep Fukodome in CF and re-sign Reed Johnson to platoon with Fukodome in CF. Reed can't hit righties too well and Fukodome can't hit lefties at all. Then trade Milton Bradley for Pat Burrell (if that rumor has any legs to it) and then either keep Burrell for 4th OF and ph or trade him for another player with more mobility or ability to start at 2b.

The Cubs have also been rumored to be interested in either Mike Gonzalez or Rafael Soriano from the Braves. While both have been offered arbitration, it would be worth signing one of the to split the duties with Carlos Marmol in the late innings. I am not sure if the Cub's first round pick is protected, but even if it is not signing one of these guys would tremendously upgrade the Cubs bullpen.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I am back!!!

Well just like the Cubs, I decided to take last year off. I was disgusted with the way the sale of team was going, the management and the players, so I watched them from afar. Also I have to admit I was really really wrapped up in Chicago Blackhawks hockey. I was going to wait until New Year to come back, but over the last few weeks, the Cubs have made a few moves that I disagree with.

First was signing John Grabow to a 2/7.5 million or something type deal. John Grabow walks too many batters. In 2008 he walked 4.38 per 9 innings and then in 2009 he walked 4.98 while only striking out 7.09 per 9 which was his lowest in his major league career. I understand that he was better than any lefty we have had over last few years, but that isn't saying much. The Cubs could have signed him for a lot less or found a replacement for about 3 million less over 2 years than what they are paying Grabow.

Second, not offering salary arbitration to Rich Harden. I understand we have a huge salary, but that was a what 8-10 million dollar for a starter that we will try and replace and surely get someone that will underperform. And that was assuming he would sign the contract, had he signed elsewhere we could have gotten compensation of picks for him. If we weren't going to offer him arbitration, then in July or August he should have been traded for any prospect we could get as it was very obvious to anyone in June that the Cubs weren't going anywhere. If this is the cheapness the new ownership is going show us, I would almost wish we were back in the Tribune's control.

The last transaction that has me perplexed is the trading of Jake Fox and Aaron Miles (he I don't care is gone, very happy actually) to the Oakland Athletics for RHP Jeff Gray, RHP Ronny Morla and INF/OF Matt Spencer. Jeff Gray will help out in the pen and is a hard thrower though it doesn't translate into many k's per 9. He does however not walk anyone and that was a major problem last year. The other 2 may or may not ever turn out to be spare parts, but not much about them out there. What I don't like is the Cubs never gave Fox a chance, and I mean ever. Since they drafted him all they did was find flaws or a reason not to play him. All he ever did was hit, especially last year. The Cubs should have kept him to play a utility role, but a very active one. Giving a rest to Soto, Ramirez, Soriano, Lee, and whoever we put in RF once a week. He probably would have helped put up nice numbers, but we won't know.

I also read that the Cubs have asked Theriot if he would move to 2nd base in case Starlin Castro can start at SS. Well Theriot was a +7.7 UZR, while the year he was at 2b was a 4.1, so he is better at SS it shows. Secondly Theriot weak bat suites him more at SS than 2b. Lastly, if you are a contending team, you should not count on a 19 year old SS to be your starter with no more than a 122 pa's in AA. Things like this make me question why Hendry is still GM.

Things I am glad about now:

First, next year Kevin Gregg is not going to be on team. It was very obvious before the trade that he was overrated, but after the trade, it proved that he was utterly useless.
Next is I am happy the Cubs are going to dump Milton Bradley. While he can get on base, he is such a headcase he needs to go. All I have read lately is that the Rays might be sending Pat Burrell to the Cubs for him. If that is the case, hopefully we can quickly trade him or trade Soriano as we don't need 2 high paying left fielders, but I'd rather have Burrell than Bradley.
I am also very happy that the Cubs got Rudy Jaramillo as hitting coach. I know some of his stats were padded by Arlington, but he still has a good reputation and good results as hitting coach.
Another move that tickled me is no more Aaron Heilman as the Diamondbacks were so kind to take him off our hands for Ryne White and Scott Maine. Ryan White got high compliments from Will Lingo in last year."

Will Lingo: He is indeed. Arizona picked up several polished college hitters in last year's draft who could move quickly, and White also is the best defensive first baseman in the organization already. He's athletic enough to play in the outfield if necessary. He's a strong all-around hitter, and the question will be how much power he develops. The best comparison I heard for him (on the optimistic side) is a slightly more powerful Sean Casey.

", but had an offseason last year in minors. Hopefully he can turn it around in 2010 and beyond. Scott Maine is a hard throwing left hander who strikes out over 1o per 9 and could have been a viable replacement in the pen for Grabow.

So what is next for the Cubs? I am not sure, but with Winter Meetings coming up, let's hope they can revamp this team.

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