Goatriders of the Apocalypse

kp's blog

still a novel.

 

Here's my grand plan.

 

I tend to break it down by must have/needs/wants.

 

My must haves this season is: left handed hitting. stay under $130m.

My needs this season is: a leadoff hitter. more speed.

My wants this season is: prospects!, get younger. upgrade defensively. left handed pitching.

 

How do we go about doing this? I agree with kurt on one part. The need to trade with the Royals. I prefer just acquiring DeJesus over Teahan (see player notes below). And this could be done without as many strings pulled as a Teahan + DeJesus trade. DeJesus would probably be had for Fontenot and some extra (mind you my ability to determine what values are relatively bad with potential vs current productivity). And this would begin the free-ing up the middle infield.

 

Getting DeJesus will give them two things: the start to the must have list in some lefty batting, and a leadoff hitter who hits for a high average. Agreeably he doesn't have tons of speed, but he is definitely an upgrade at the top of the order able to not only throw down some RBI's with his avg, and with about 55 xbh's, and the strength of batting at the bottom of our to be proposed order (seeing as DeRosa, Fontentot, Fukudome, all decent hitters bat 8th sometimes, along with King Carlos, holes or no holes in his swing), an unconventional proposition indeed. I think the thing everyone fails to remember is that with RISP his BA was in the top 5% in the AL last year (.421avg RISP, .380avg RISP/2 outs). (I'll get more to this later)

 

So, bring it back up a notch. Left field will be Soriano everyday (until he gets injured. but the Cubs have Micah, DeRosa, Johnson), center has three starting options, the starter would be a Fukudome on RHP days, with DeJesus playing right. Two Lefties in the lineup then. Hot Dog. Fontenot hits a respectable .247 against lefties, and as pretty much the go to backup player for the middle infield on RHP days, but keeping Cedeno as the defensive option. I'm still not ready to give Font-a-tot the nod at starting full time, it'd keep his trade value higher and allow us to keep the best 8 in the field at all times.

 

So. Lets take a look at the probable lineup, moving soriano down to the 4 hole, ARam up to the 3 hole. Keep Soto at 5, DeJesus leading off, Theriot actually putting the ball in play with runners on base 37% of the time between the first and second baseman batting second, Lee batting 6th, Fukudome 7th, Derosa 8th. Major problems to resolve is that their heart of the order guys are still predominantly righty. Bummer.

 

Unfortunately they're not going to be able to get that middle of the order bat yet. And you know what? The Cubs'll still kill teams with their superior pitching. They need a left handed bat in the post season. Not in the regular season. Ergo the Cubs'd move to pass Pie + Marshall off to Baltimore for Roberts, seeing as Roberts IS in the last year of his contract, McFail probably will still not be able to sell anyone if his demands are too high. The O's don't want him. They need youth. They need pitching. Give them Pie, whoever else we can scavage up at the bottom of the minors (Donnie Veal and Marshall, for Roberts. Two decent prospects for arguably the best 2B in the AL.

 

What does this do?! Oh my, it makes the Cubs lineup scary good. Roberts at the top, Theriot batting 2nd, DeJesus (which he has previously) batting third playing right, ARam, Soriano, Soto rounding out the 4-5-6, Lee batting 7th, Fukudome in center batting 8th.

 

DeJesus isn't the BEST choice to hit third. But he's certainly not a bad choice to hit third as a replacement to DLee. He makes contact often (i.e. good for hit and runs between theriot and Roberts), and they have similar not GB%'s (about 55%) for sac hits. The minor difference is DLee has a .335 career average of BABIP in the 3 slot, where DeJesus has a .322. With a more powerful lineup behind DeJesus as opposed to with the royals, I don't see why he wouldn't ALSO be able to perform in the 3 hole. I'll also bring up the one power point for DeJesus. BA w/RISP. Close to .360. What do you ask of your #3 hitter? Bat runs in. With a BA w/RISP around there, with Roberts and Theriot above him, I wouldn't be surprised if his RBI numbers grow a bunch. Considering he's bat leadoff for the better part of two years in the AL, with the NL on his side on this one, He may not be the 'best' hitter on our team, but he is with RISP. Production matters. And he produces at the top, I'd like to see how he produces with Ramierez behind him.

 

Now. My other primary roster move is to sign a lefty relief pitcher who doesn't fair too badly against righties. Dennys Reyes comes to mind as not only LOOGY quality, but another meat in the BP. Shark-Gregg-Marmol doesn't sound too bad in my opinion, but beyond that the cubs have mostly young talent (except Cotts/Wuertz) who's rather inexperienced. Adding Reyes or even Will Ohman (again) would both be benificial steps for the Cubs BP.

 

So. Finacially, we've added part of Brian Robert's contract (3.5 mil, w/o extention), Will Ohman or Denny Reyes (~1.2mil), David DeJesus (2 mil). Oh. Resign Hank White too while we're at it... I'm sure he's cool with that. He's cool with me throw down an extra mil, Koyie 'three fingers' Hill and Josh Donaldson can wait!

 

Now, here comes the part where I'd like to bring up Teahan. Why not? Sure he'd be grateful to get out of KC, but, he's been statistically regressing over the past two years. Then you say, if he bats .250 with 15 hr, and can play right field... we should totally get him as another lefty bat... and then i think to myself, wait. Don't we have that in Fukudome? He theoretically should be the .250-.260, 10-15 hr player in right field. But Fukudome can take walks, and he's better defensively... wait a second. Why are we trading to get the same player we have? Sure, i'd think Teahan has the greater eventual upside, but right now he hasn't proved that he can reach that yet. And in the meantime, we can't wait for that. Defensively Fukudome will be better anywhere in the outfield than Teahan. DeJesus may be a worse fielder, but he is certainly a much more consistant hitter than Teahan has been.

 

Now, back to the middle of the lineup brings to mind only one name. Micah Hoffpauir. The problem is, again, there's no place to play him. Spelling DLee on occasion or maybe Soriano if he's feeling like he has a head cold or brain fart will allow us to be flexible with the order again with say on a Soriano DL trip (again), you'd have Roberts, Theriot, DeJesus, Ramierez, Soto, Hoffpaiur, Lee, Fukudome, P (during the second half of the season), or DLee would flop the 4-5-6-7 hitters around like, Ramierez, Soriano Hoffpaiur, Soto... if you look at it. Everyone's very well protected, everyone has a place, we just would have to get Soriano on board and make him think, I like RBIs. I like RBIs a lot, I like lookin like a superstar! I'm not gonna steal bases because my hamhocks are too fragile and I carry too heavy of a bat. In other possibilities, with an offensive left handed PH situation,

 

Lastly, I would love it if we could get Kerry Wood back. Have him pitch the 8th, to make it Gregg-Wood-Marmol, and further more, allow Samardjiza to go back to AAA and work on becoming our 5th starter to allow Marquis/Marshall to play LRP/SP. Of which, I'm not on the Marquis hate-wagon. Sorry fellahs. But he gives you solid innings for a #5 guy, and keeps you rather competitive in most of his games. Yes he's being paid WAY more than he's worth, but he is worth keeping.

 

I'm very long winded, so I'm sorry for all the tl;dr crap but, the second half roster (i.e. the more important part), would be vs righties:

 

2B Brian Roberts (god, makes your heart flutter a little!) S

SS Ryan Theriot R

RF David DeJesus L

3B Aramis Ramierez R

LF Alfonsie Sorianoe R

C Geovany Soto R

1B Derrek Lee R

CF Koskuke Fukudome L

P

 

vs LHP:

 

2B Brian Roberts S

SS Ryan Theriot R

CF David DeJesus L

3B Aramis Ramierez R

LF Alphonzie Sorianoe R

C Geovany Soto R

1B Derrek Lee R

RF Mark Derosa R

P

 

Bench: Micah Hoffpaiur, Mark DeRosa (will keep everyone fresh, since we'll have the divsion wrapped up in July), Fukudome, Ronny Cedeno, Reed Johnson, Hank White.

 

SP1: Carlos Zambrano

SP2: Ryan Dempster

SP3: Ted Lilly

SP4: Rich Harden

SP5: Jason Marquis/Sean Marshall

 

LRP: Jason Marquis/Sean Marshall

MRP: Jose Ascaino

MRP: Will Ohman/Dennys Reyes

MRP: Neil Cotts

MRP: Jeff Samardjiza

MRP: Angel Guzman

SU: Kevin Gregg

CL: Carlos Marmol

 

Increase in payroll: about 8 million this year (bumping us right to that 130 mark-ish)

 

Outlook: the Payroll will be pretty neutral in 2010 as well seeing as we're getting Marquis off the books with that awful contract, Soriano expects to make more but more importantly, it'll give us the opportunity to sign Brian Roberts for some longer length of time. Rich Harden will probably get a new deal done if he stays relatively healthy, Samardjiza will probably move to the Fifth Starter position.  Trade Mark DeRosa and Cedeno/Fontentot for some pieces in the Minors (which we can use something... please). We'd be able to hopefully bring up Hoffpauir in some capability to provide that heart of the order lefty we've been coviting for years when convenient. We need to find a sucker who needs a left fielder in Soriano for some change in a dumping maneuver. I guess my outlook is to say, not that we won't make a playoff run in 2009, but that we can ALSO make it to the playoffs in 2010 (as every NLC team is rebuilding... still...).

 

So to go back to my original part.

 

My must haves this season is: left handed hitting. stay under $130m.

 

Check. Check-ish. Two-Three left handed hitters. I guess if you're hopeful like I am (you know, the always next year syndrome), Fukudome can bounce back, develop his power stroke and patience from the bottom of the order. Again, to DeJesus vs LHP (which, LHP vs LHB is normally the case), his splits have been about 5 points to his BA vs LHP verse RHP. I think this addition would put us about about 130, maybe a little higher. We'd lose a lot to our 'tradable prospects', but we'd become a more 'complete' team. Sure, a LH POWER bat would be great, but picking that up at the Trade Deadline is probably more our cup of tea, especially if we are completely unable to break Andy McFail.

 

My needs this season is: a leadoff hitter. more speed.

 

Check. Check.

 

I'm thinking the differences in a legit leadoff hitters here between Furcal and Roberts. Both are, from an offensive standpoint, very good. Things you'd like in a leadoff hitter, who's a lefty. Both are 30. The difference between the two is: their position, their salary, and their injury history. Furcal would be the best, because it fixes our leadoff issue, our defensive issue, and a speed issue. What it doesn't fix is anything. He's the best candidate for fixing our problems in the perfect world. Unfortunately, it won't ever be the solution.

 

 

My wants this season is: prospects!, get younger. upgrade defensively. left handed pitching.

 

Fails across the board. For now....

 

End of Story.

 

My note to KP

Dear KP,

Goat Riders comes with a fully equipped typing program that already takes html for granted.  You don't need your br's, your p's, or your a href's to post.

However if you want to play with html, just click on the option below which says "disable rich-text" and you can go buck wild.  But really, you don't need to.

Best of luck next time,

Kurt

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award