I understand the bias of the crowd I'm preaching to. However...
I invite any member of the GROTA Army to offer up an NL team that they think is better than ours (i.e., the Cubs). I strongly encourage position-by-position comparisons. Is there a better lineup? A better rotation?
Is anyone else out there incredibly pleased with the terms of Milton Bradley's contract? Only $7MM for 2009?! Potential buyout for 2011?! I mean, we got our guy, for an incredibly reasonable price, with team protection in the third year! This is good news! Really, really good news!!!
Zambrano - $17.75M
Soriano - $16M
Ramirez - $15.65M
Lee - $13M
Dempster - $8M
Lilly - $12M
Fukudome - $11.5M
Bradley - $10M
Harden - $7M
Vizcaino - $3.5M
Reed Johnson - $3M
Aaron Miles - $2.2M
Chad Gaudin - $2M
Neal Cotts - $1.1M
Smardjz - $2M
Gathright - $0.8M
Wuertz - $0.8M
Those players total near $125M
Players not included in the total: Soto, Marmol, Theriot, Fontenot, Gregg, Guzman, Pie, Hart, Hoffpauir, Marshall, Cedeno, Hill
The cub's offseason seems to be speeding towards completion, but the moves yet to be made could greatly impact the performance of this team in the coming season. As it stands today, the team is pretty well set in the outfield and the infield, and now the team only looks to add a backup catcher, a lefty for the bullpen, and a 5th starter - all of which could possibly be filled from within the organization. So here are a few moves that could be made to round out this roster and head into 2009:
(1) Make a 3 team deal with the Padres and Giants. The trade would look something like this:
Cubs trade --> Derrek Lee (to SF), Sean Marshall (to SD)
Padres trade --> Adrian Gonzalez (to Cubs)
Giants trade --> Jonathan Sanchez (to SD)
(2) Complete a trade with the Orioles. A deal can be made that would surely benefit both teams involved, especially if the Orioles can't sign any of their star players to extensions.
Cubs trade --> Mike Fontenot, Ronny Cedeno, Felix Pie, Chad Gaudin, & Hill/Hart
Orioles trade --> Brian Roberts
(3) Go completely insane and make another deal with the Marlins, even though every other deal the cubs have made with them has been awful.
Cubs trade --> Rich Harden, Ryan Theriot, Felix Pie, K Hart, W Castillo, & J Vitters
Marlins trade --> Hanley Ramirez
(4) Stick with what the team has, make a few minor trades, and sign a free agent or two. The way it looks Pie and Cedeno are headed out of town; either west to San Diego or east to Baltimore, but certainly somewhere. Once the Pie/Cedeno situation is resolved, then the team likely will get a backup catcher such as Paul Bako, and from that point on the talk will likely only involve acquiring pitchers for the back-end of the rotation and the bullpen. The free agent market has some interesting names that could fill the cub's pitching needs.
Pitchers available for rotation: Andy Pettitte, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz
Pitchers available for bullpen: Joe Beimel, Juan Cruz, Trevor Hoffman
I would prefer to see any one of the names listed above on the roster as opposed to Jason Marquis part 2, also known as Tim Redding. At this point, nothing is certain; except that soon moves will be made and I am still the proud owner of a healthy imagination.
We've finally had some winter action. Like it or not - we did make some moves. I'd like to add a Cubs sidebar which I'm sure Kurt, Rob and the gang will probably delve into as we get closer to Monday.
Monday we have a few favorite Cubs - Lee Smith, Mark Grace & Andre Dawson - being mentioned for enshrinement into Cooperstown. The last few years the HOF has been a place of 'controversy' or just a down right elitist mentality. Let's not even start with the Santo debacle.
This year there's a rumbling that Lee Smith has a legitimate shot at getting in. Since the 'closer' role has some HOF presedence with Sutter, Eckersley & Gossage, there is more acceptance of this position as being a viable choice and solidifying it's importance to the game we love.
This being said, is it the big fella's turn? We still have the Hawk waiting in the wings. Will he get any closer? Or in? We've recently covered the possiblity of Gracie getting in. Sorry Mark, that poll didn't turn out so well for you.
Does any of this even matter? Has the HOF lost it's ideals and foundation to what it once represented?
Here's the list of the candidates:
ha ha had to throw in the bill goldberg one for all of ya! time to play with the snakes- now we have m brad to add to our arsenal now we can speculate who's next. i keep readin the possiblity of rehashing the peavy ordeal but i dont think it is absolutely needed- per se but dont get me wrong i would love to see us have another arm good for 15+ wins per yr in the rotation but cannot see us dumping to pads just to get him and the 64 mil still owed to him. plus my key here is we have good arms ready to pitch when do we pull the trigger and let em? we might have a 15+ game winner here already and didn cost us a dam thing but a slot in the rotation and patience to let it happen. i do however agree we are not done yet- still to many extra players that need a new home( pie,cedeno, etc etc), maybe another bat for bench and maybe a new lh rel for the pen, but at the same time i think it will be something big maybe another salary dump and a better bat somewhere or as stated WHO's NEXT?????
With Milton Bradley now officially in the fold, it's now time for us to consider how our Cubs bench should be ideally put together. My main thoughts on this come from several different ideas:
1. It seems obvious to me and most others that Milton Bradley, while a dynamic hitter, is unlikely to play more than about 100-120 games in right field maximum due to fatigue, defensive issues, and his injury prone nature.
2. I am of the opinion that our 3 corner playing big sluggers (Soriano, Ramirez, and especially D Lee) would be more effective throughout the year and perhaps fresher in October if we could give them slightly more rest during the season. While he will not like it, I especially think it is time to try and limit Lee's at bats slightly, maybe give him a more occasional day off....day games after night games, against very difficult right handed pitchers, etc etc.
3. We need someone who makes very little money probably, who can bat lefthanded off our bench perhaps, and who could ideally play both outfield corners, third base, and first base, all at least reasonably well.
4. As our bench is likely to be constituted currently, our best right handed hitters off our bench would be Cedeno and Johnson...not exactly scary for the opposition. We could also use a right handed hitter with some thump off our bench.
So, factoring all that in, in my view we could use a couple of quality bench players, with one of them having the possibility of getting 400-500 at bats. That sound too high to you? Here is how I estimate it:
Supersub: Starts 40-50 games in right field, 15-25 games in left field, 10-20 games at third base, and 20-30 games at first base. My estimates assume there will be some injuries throughout the year, but nothing catastrophic or season ending. I think those are realistic possibilities for Bradley, Soriano, Ramirez, and Lee to not get the starting nod due to rest or injury for each.
Ok, so who fits that description?
I think Mark Teahen of the Royals should be a Jim Hendry trade target. He makes on 2.35 million in 08, and he isn't signed long term after that. He can play serviceable defense at all 4 corner spots in the field, and he bats left handed with a little thump and good doubles power. He is on the good side of 30, so it is at least possible that he hasn't hit to his full potential yet. But even if he gives 400 at bats or so, hits something like 10-12 home runs and drives in 50-60 runs with a .270 or so average, he would still be a huge piece for our ball club. On top of that, he can be our primary left handed pinch hitter off the bench.
I think Mark Teahen makes alot of sense for us to pursue as a bat off our bench, and we may have a piece or 2 the Royals would like in our farm system, including perhaps Felix Pie, or maybe even the blocked Wellington Castillo. I'm not sure what the Royals would want from us, and I wouldn't give up the farm for Teahen, but there is a definite need for a player who can do for us what his skill set is.
As far as the right handed hitter with power I think we need off our bench, I'm open to suggestions. Cub nation, any thoughts?
With Milton Bradley signed lets look at the 25 man roster heading into 2009:
Simply from a numbers standpoint 5 guys won't make the final cut. Some of the guys could remain in AAA for the season, while others are out of options and likely wouldn't clear waivers. Two spots on the roster could be cleared if the team could find a place to trade Felix Pie and Ronny Cedeno for a decent return, as each are buried up to their necks on the depth chart anyway. Its also an unreal expectation to be able to carry 6 OF, 7IF, & 2 C, so something has to give with a couple of the position players. All signs point to trades coming soon.
In game 4 of the 2006 American League Championship Series versus the Detroit Tigers, Bradley became the third player in Major League History to hit home runs from each side of the plate in a playoff game, joining Bernie Williams and Chipper Jones.
On June 21, 2007, the Athletics designated Bradley for assignment. Eight days later, the San Diego Padres acquired Bradley and cash considerations from the Oakland A's in exchange for minor league pitcher Andrew Brown, marking the second time the two had been traded for each other. The Padres did not require Bradley to pass a physical examination before signing him, as he would have failed it and gone elsewhere. Bradley started his tenure with the Padres on the 15-day disabled list, but came off it right before the All-Star break. After the break, he was a continual starter in left field and one of the most consistent hitters for the Padres throughout the rest of the season.
According to the The Dallas Morning News Bradley attempted to confront Kansas City Royals television announcer Ryan Lefebvre in the press box following a game due to what he believed were unfair comments made on the air. As the Rangers' designated hitter, Bradley was able to watch the broadcast when he wasn't on the field and took offense to a comparison Lefebrve made between him and Josh Hamilton. Manager Ron Washington and general manager Jon Daniels chased after him and stopped Bradley before he got to Lefebvre, at which point Bradley returned to the clubhouse in tears and said
"All I want to do is play baseball and make a better life for my kid than I had, that's it," Bradley said to a quiet clubhouse. "I love all you guys. ... I'm strong, but I'm not that strong."
Daniels said that Bradley was upset that someone that didn't know him was passing judgments about him.
Let's hope to God Milton Bradley doesn't know about this blog.
Each of these ideas, in my opinion, would be a better use of $10M than signing Milton Bradley to a 3 yr $30M deal:
1.) Finish the Peavy deal
2.) Sign Bobby Abreu (RF)
3.) Sign Adam Dunn (RF)
4.) Sign Derek Lowe (SP)
5.) Sign Oliver Perez & either Joe Beimel or Juan Cruz (SP & RP)
6.) Sign Orlando Hudson (2B)
7.) Make a trade for Brian Roberts (2B)
8.) Make a trade for Michael Young (SS)
9.) Use the money to sign some of the team's current players to longer deals
10.) Hold onto the money until the trade deadline & use it to make a trade then
Some of the moves wouldn't even take the full $10M, while others (especially Lowe) would take a little more than that. The signing of Milton Bradley looks like an act of desperation, where the team is paying too much to get too little in production. For that type of money I would rather have Geovany Soto and Rich Harden signed to long-term deals as opposed to knowing that Milton Bradley was going to be on the Cubs through 2011. The point I am trying to make here is that there are much better uses for that kind of money than signing a player, that never stays with any team for a long amount of time, to a 3 year deal. There are better, more valuable players already on the team that the money could go to, along with better options still available on the market.