Goatriders of the Apocalypse


I'm OK With A Mark DeRosa Trade

There are so many reasons why trading Mark DeRosa, if it were to happen this offseason, would be a fine idea.


Mark DeRosa is known to many Cub fans as the super sub - he's seen time in the outfield, and at three of four infield positions. However, one has to assume there's a reason he's known for his versatility, rather than his play at one specific position.


Mark DeRosa is not the best defensive 2nd baseman. And really, aside from his 20HR season in 2008, he's not quite first-rate from an offensive perspective, either. Perhaps an accurate description would be to refer to him as a solid player with decent upside - upside that was fully realized last year.


If DeRosa is in fact a 20HR player, rather than a 10-12HR guy (like every other year in his career aside from 2008), then he's a steal at $5.5 million, and an outstanding asset at 2nd base. If not, then the Cubs would be wise to sell high on him, and move him this offseason.


The Cubs have another 10HR, .280 hitter that can play 2nd base on their roster. That man is Mike Fontenot. Furthermore, Fontenot brings something to the Cubs offense that they desperately need - left-handedness.


Trading Mark DeRosa accomplishes three things: 1) it creates payroll flexibility; 2) it gives more at-bats to a left-handed hitter with arguably just as much power potential; 3) it presumably helps the Cubs obtain an outstandingly talented starting pitcher.


Many Cub fans will likely be sad to see Mark go. Admittedly, to an extent, so will I. But as was the case with Kerry Wood, you can't fall in love with one year from one player, no matter how charming or determined or committed he seems. You've got to do things like sell high, balance your lineup, and obtain quality starting pitching, to win in this league.


That's why I'm OK with any deal that lands us Jake Peavy in exchange for Mark DeRosa.

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



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



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.


An Easy Fix?

So its finals time for me so I've been very busy lately doing nothing more than looking over the world of baseball gossip.  what I've seen has somewhat sparked my interest, all this crap about the Giants close to signing FA shortstop Edgaar Renteria.  what confusifies me is that they already have first round draft pick Emmanuel Burris waiting in the wings at half the cost, twice the skill and four times the upside.  So to me this makes no sense.  but then I look at the rest of their teem and see that they have no secod basemen who are ready.  What a coincidence!  We have like 9.  so then the gears in my head start to turn and after hours of hard though i think (lightbulb appears) why not trade one of our many secondbasmen to the giants for Burriss.  This can easily benefit both teams.

Cubs:  Burris- a low cost switch hitting leadoff man with doubles power and a high OBP to fill our biggest hole (in my opinion) at SS.  Lose one of our 312 secondbasemen.

Giants:  Theriot- a proven major league hitter entering his prime for a cheap price that is more suited to play 2B than SS anyway with a high OBP and good speed


Fontenot- a reliable lefty bat off the bench or a starting 2B with some pop and a high AVG. and OBP.


DeRosa- proven veteran talent with a power for his position and an ability to get on base.  (won't happen)


I would gladly make this trade, preferably for Theriot as his stock will never be higher, even if i had to throw in a low end prospect to go with it.  This deal would help both teams at a position that they are lacking.  But most importantly this would solve our shortstop/lead off problem without having to spend $12 million on Furcal giving us the ability to spend on right or center field or Peavy.  And if Marquis somehow is gunned down behind an adult book store or even simply traded we could do both.

But for right now, lets just pretend that we traded Theriot for Burriss and called it and offseason.  Useing only what we have now...


Against Righties...

S  SS  Burriss

L  CF  Fukudome

R  3B  Ramirez

R  LF   Soriano

R  C    Soto

R  1B   Lee

R  RF   DeRosa

L   2B   Fontenot



Against Lefties...

S  SS  Burris

L  RF  Fukudome

R  3B  Ramirez

R  LF   Soriano

R  C    Soto

R  1B   Lee

R  2B   DeRosa

R  CF   Johnson


*Fukudome actually hit lefties better than righties last year and even with his suck-ass second half he still kept his OBP above .350 the entire year.

From Robothal

From Ken Rosenthal's latest column*:


"Abreu is no slouch, mind you — he batted .296 with 20 homers and 100 RBIs last season. But he turns 35 on March 11, and the Yankees feared that his best offer might be something like two years, $16 million."


16MM/2 years? Tell me, Riders, which of you would not sign Bobby Abreu to that contract???



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,


Things I am thankful for ... of the Apocalypse

I'm probably not going to make "of the Apocalypse" a part of every post, but I'm amused to do so at this moment.

South of where I live right now, millions of families are digging into large turkeys covered in gravy, with gratuitous quantities of stuffing piled nearby, buried under heaping spoon fulls of mashed potatoes and corn, while a shelf full of pies await to be eaten.  Unfortunately, I won't get to join in the festivities until Saturday.

But while I sit here, I thought I'd share with you some of the many things that I am thankful for.

  • I'm thankful that the Cubs are headed in the right direction for once and aren't painful to follow
  • I am thankful that our readers are intelligent, mostly cordial people happy to get involved in a debate regardless of how illogical I make the premise
  • I am thankful for the GROTA staff.  If the internets was a real place, the act of them "coming to work" would be seen as five beaten, broken men shuffling into a dank, dark room, where they then hunch over to slave on stories while I crack the whip and promise to pay them with pain.  Well, maybe it's not that bad
  • I'm thankful for the opportunities we've had in the past year.  As I've already mentioned, we've grown massively in readership, we've been covered repeatedly by the national media, I got inducted into a society of 700 Cub fans including Dick Cheney, John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and our website got a kick-ass design that has apparently inspired many other Cubs blogs to follow suite.  Yep, that's us, leading the way ... ya followers!  Hah!
  • On a personal level, I'm thankful for my fiancee, known in some circles by the name She's Canadian I Met Her At Niagara Falls You Wouldn't Know Her, or C. for short.  Hey, anybody worth immigrating to a new country for is special, right?
  • Most importantly of all, I am thankful of my immense talent to write.  Someday I'm gonna be famous and you'll all be choking on my dust trails, motherf***ers!  That's right!  I said it!  Because although the turkey's not here in Canada, the Wild Turkey is and I'm right where I wanna be ... at the top of the heap!  What'reya gonna do about it?  Huh?  Huh?  You wanna fight me?  You wanna fight me?!  Bring it on!

...ahem.  Sorry about that.  Got a little out of control with that last one.  But in all seriousness, we've all stumbled across those blogs precociously written by people with 5 readers in total, and there's nothing quite as depressing as those... which isn't to say that I don't have other blogs with 5 readers in total.  A blog is no better than the company it keeps, and you guys are awesome.  I give thanks for that.  So ... who wants to trade DeRosa and Lilly?  C'mon, don't be shy, step up!

The lineup as it stands today

Just thought I'd throw this up on the site ... as this will be a short article, I'm writing it as a "blog post" and since I own the keys to the kingdom, I'm promoting it to the front page, as well.

If I'm building the Cubs lineup, this is what I'd do with the players the Cubs have at this moment:

1. Kosuke Fukudome RF
2. Mark DeRosa 2B
3. Aramis Ramirez 3B
4. Alfonso Soriano LF
5. Geovany Soto C
6. Derrek Lee 1B
7. Ryan Theriot SS
8. Felix Pie CF

If Reed Johnson starts over Pie, I place him 7th and bat Theriot 8th.

While I think we'd all agree that the Cubs should pursue another bat, all things being equal this is by no means a bad lineup.  The only problem is the fact that it goes L-R-R-R-R-R-R-L or, if Reed starts, L-R-R-R-R-R-L-R, which just won't cut it.


Who goes where

Ok, here's what I say we do for right now.

Given that Lou Piniella has just announced we're "set" for starting pitching, I'm taking that into account and not adding any starters.

SP1: Zambrano

SP2: Dempster

SP3: Harden

SP4: Lilly

SP5: Note 1

SP6/Swing man: Note 1

Closer 1: Note 1

Closer 2: Note 2 and Note 4

Set-up 8th inning: Carlos Marmol

Set-up 6-7th inning: Kevin Hart *OR* Michael Wuertz

Long Reliever/Mop-up guy: Rich Hill

Lefty One-Out GuY: Neal Cotts

Catcher 1: Soto

Catcher 2: Blanco (Having this good a backup catcher is worth 3 million)

1B: Lee

2B/Util: DeRosa

3B: Ramirez

SS: Cedeno

Backup 2B/SS: Theriot

LF: Soriano

CF1: Edmonds

CF2: Reed Johnson

RF: Fukudome, presuming he can re-learn to hit

Util/PH 1: Hoffpauir, or if he suddenly starts sucking, sign Doug Mientkiewicz while his price is low (We need a backup first baseman other than Daryle Ward)

Util/PH 2: Note 3

Util/PH 3: Note 4

Note 1: As of now, Marquis is the fifth starter, and Samardzija is the closer. If we can sign/develop someone else to be closer, than Samardzija is the 5th starter, and Marquis is the Swing Man.

Note 2: I believe in having two closers: that way you can bring in one in a critical situation (i.e. bases loaded, none out, small lead) early in the game, and bring in the other in the 9th inning. However, the 9th-inning closer should be gotten as cheaply as possible, as he's not as important (in my opinion) as the guy who can get you out of bases-loaded no-out jams with minimal damage.

Note 3: I don't know who's available to fill this slot. I advocate Nick Punto, who can play 2B, 3B, and SS, and well (although he might need some practice at wrigley, being used to the Metrodome) and who earned $2.4M last year while putting up decent numbers. He can probably be had for a discount.

Note 4: Realistically, we aren't going to get the two closers I advise, so drop one of them for another backup bat, preferably an outfielder who can play all outfield positions. Maybe Scott Podsednik, who earned $750,000 last year, doesn't hit too well, but can play both LF and CF fairly well, and has just over 100 career innings in RF (and did well in those games.)


In short, the three guys not on the Cubs last year I advocate signing are 1. a closer, any closer; 2. Nick Punto, 3. Scott Podsednik. For the closer role, one possibility that can be had cheap is Juan Rincon; yes, he's sucked the last two years, but was dominant for 3 years before that; if we can make Lilly not suck, and Marquis suck less, we can probably fix up Juan Rincon. He made $2.5M last year but
can probably be had for less given the ERA the last two years; maybe even sign him to a minor league contract and see if he can put it together in spring training.

I think these three guys can be had for a total well under $10M, as we'd be "buying low" on all three. This wouldn't put much of a dent in the budget while retaining the other 22 guys I mentioned.

Hey - I Have An Opinion!

Admittedly, blasting away at others' ideas is much easier than creating your own. I've been all over the Shout Box and Comments these days saying how craaazy Rob and Kurt and Colin's ideas are, hiding in the shadows and failing to take an official stance.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the wait is over! Random Goat Rider You've Never Heard Of, and likely don't care about, is ready to make your Monday shine! Because what's more fun than ripping on a guy who has even less of an idea of what he's talking about than any of the regulars on this blog? (Other than most things.)

I give you Cubs Offseason '08/'09: The AJ Plan.

The AJ Plan is based on a few key assumptions that people may or may not generally agree with.

1. In professional sports, inertia rules.

While the sports media love to generate tons of buzz about potentially crazy mega-deals, it seems to me that, more often than not, these things just don't happen every day.

2. For a 97-win team, inertia rules even harder.

Jim Hendry himself has said this. For the most part, the guys that won in 2008 will be back for 2009. That includes Theriot's weak throwing arm, and DeRosa's... solid bat?

3. The Cubs are one, or maybe two, major moves away from being done.

1 + 2 = 3.

4. The team appears to have one, or maybe two, major needs: an upgrade in right field, and perhaps another starting pitcher.

3 + common sense = 4.

5. This team is built to win now.

A lot of people didn't like the Ceda/Gregg trade because we gave up several years of a guy, who might be able to overpower some major league hitters with a high-90s fastball, for one year of a player with major league closing experience (who blew a few saves--albeit with a crap defense behind him) and gave up three home runs in 2008 (one of which was huge for the Cubs). A lot of people didn't like the Dempster signing because it locked in a pitcher with little starting success for too many years. To me, both moves accomplish the same goal: make some balanced sacrifices (a little from the farm, and a little future payroll) in the future, to win in 2009. In that sense, while Mark Teahen may end up with the Cubs, which would be cool because he's young, I don't think he's the final answer to start in right field, because he's young--and unproven.

Speaking of assumptions, I'm going to reject one that Kurt threw out recently--that $130MM is it for the budget. To me, not signing Wood doesn't mean the Cubs are stuck with this level of payroll; it means they can't go too far over it, which is what happens when you give an injury-prone, high-priced reliever the money he's due to receive based on his absurd 2008 (that is, unfortunately, unlikely to be repeated).

Having said all that, let's talk moves.

AJ Plan Move #1:

Sign the cheaper of Bobby Abreu or Raul Ibanez.

This will take a while, because I don't think we can really say, in this market, what these guys' true value is. There was a great article about Abreu at FanGraphs that said Abreu's value was much lower than he perhaps thinks. There was a rush to sign Dempster because everyone wants starting pitching. I may be missing something here, but what other teams are really in the market for an older, left-handed corner outfielder with mediocre defense? I claim none. In the end, I'll bet it's Abreu, 3 year deal in the $8-10MM range. Because I know a lot about contract values and stuff.

AJ Plan (Non-)Move #2:

Either keep Jason Marquis on as the fifth starter, OR, move him for whatever crap you can, and sign Randy Johnson to a one-year deal.

If Jon Garland gets $30MM and three years, who wouldn't want (to use an NBA term) Jason Marquis' expiring contract? As for the Unit, yes he's old, yes he's been hurt - which is exactly why he's obtainable for a short-term deal and not a lot of money. You get what you pay for, and I think the Unit is worth the cost.

And that's it.

The AJ Plan has a remarkably low impact on the Cubs' 2009 budget. If we're at $130MM now, and spend, say, $10MM on Abreu, we're still under the $150MM that has recently been offered as a target (I know Kurt doesn't like this number, but I still think $140-150MM is reasonable). If we move Marquis' whole contract, and grab Johnson for, what, $5-8MM? We're even under $140MM.

Depending on what the budget actually calls for, there may be one more free agent reliever signing in the mix. But barring that, I think this is the most realistic approach to the offseason a Cub fan could expect.

I guess, let the roasting begin?

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