Baseball Diamond News

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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