Goatriders of the Apocalypse

The Sox suck less today - what does this mean to us?

Atlanta seems to have sold the farm to bring in Javy Vazquez from the Sox.  As you may remember (and I don't have the link anymore) I predicted the Sox would repeat as AL Champs when they brought in Vazquez in the Winter of 2005-6.  At the time, I thought him to be THE premier Latin pitcher in the world in terms of talent.  Yes, I know full well who Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Zambrano, etc. are. 

But as you all know, he did not exactly come up large for the South Siders, and Ozzie Tourette famously ripped on him last year for his lack of testicular fortitude in games that mattered.  However, Ozzie's boss still managed to extract the best catching prospect in all of ball, along with possibly a top pitching prospect.  Not bad work for a guy your own manager managed to discredit, in print.  Oh, but you know those Mexicans...always bringing down property values in their neighborhood!!

(Just kidding.  I know Ozzie isn't Mexican)

Anyway, what this means to us is, pretty much, the Braves weren't kidding when they declared themselves OUT of the Jake Peavy Sweepstakes.  So Jake's 2009 baseball home will either be San Diego or Wrigleyville.  The whole Peavy Trade Rumor story has been quite entertaining to me, at least, over this particular Winter of Discontent. 

Maybe that's the whole purpose of this thing - instead of being royally and understandably pissed off that the so-called Best Cubs Team in a Century got swept in the NLDS, the Braintrust is holding the whole "trade for Peavy" thing in front of us, just like you might hold a shiny object in front of a kid with ADHD to distract him from his homework, or whatever else he should be doing. 

I agree with all of you who say that we have bigger needs than another live arm to what arguably is the best rotation in all of ball already.  We all agree that we need to identify a leadoff man.  Many of us would like to see a pursuit for Rafael Furcal, which would push Theriot to second, and DeRosa in RF.  Others think we need a 35 year old guy like Bobby Abreu or Raul Ibanez in RF. 

I myself prefer a trade for Brian Roberts, for these reasons.  First, it would provide good homes for some of our assets who are literally "dying on the vines" for lack of opportunities - Hofpauir, Marshall, Cedeno, Pie, maybe Fontenot.  Secondly, it would give us that leadoff man and left-handed bat.  Then we could have a setup where DeRosa plays right, Johnson plays left and Fukudome does some of both, getting maybe 400 ABs against right-handed pitching while he spells Johnson in CF at times, spelling DeRosa in RF other times when he needs rest and/or while DeRosa goes to spell Ramirez or Roberts. 

But, as we've mentioned the past couple of days, our national trade deficit might become a surplus before THAT particular trade is consummated.  I think Peter Angelos has jpegs of Roberts on his computer, and McFail can't function until the nurses bring him his pudding around 2.  I'm not really willing to wait around all winter while those two douchemarks get their shit together.

So, all the excitement we have left is to see if Hendry really does go through with his bizarre experiment, to determine once and for all if you really CAN have Too Much Pitching.  I personally don't think you can.  God knows we've never come close in all the time I have watched this pistolwhipped trainwreck of a ballteam.  Most years, I've had to watch things like Ray Burris and Bill Bonham throw batting practice to the rest of the league, the whole 1985 rotation go on the DL within 3 weeks time, and Andrew Lorraine and Kyle Farnsworth searching for a way to keep their walks under double-digits during their starts.

So, why not?  We watch the Cubs to see them win, primarily, but on a lower level, we want to see excitement, regardless of its source.  If the most entertaining thing that happens to us this off season is that Dr. Henderstein builds the most monstrous pitching staff in all creation, what the hell?  Give it a whirl.  Let's see what happens.  Give John Moores what he thinks he needs.  Slide him a couple of classy hookers from Lakepoint Towers - he's recently single.  Whatever it takes, man.  Just give us something real to talk about here.  I have a hard enough time being funny as it is - without a real topic to run with, whatever I come up with is going to sound forced, lame, and contrived.

A lot like this, you know?

When the Cubs can

upgrade both offensively and defensively for every game with one player like Furcal, it makes little if any sense at all to spend even more money to add a player that could only help the team once every five games, even if his name is Peavy.

Another 2B?

We have DeRosa, Fontenot, and Theriot on our roster already, and you want to add Brian Roberts? I don't know about all that.

Getting Roberts for one year would cost Fontenot and then some. Then we presumably stick Theriot at short and DeRosa in right.

Signing Abreu or Ibanez puts Theriot at short and DeRosa and Fontenot at 2nd.

Signing Furcal puts DeRosa in right and Theriot/Fontenot at 2nd.

I vote Furcal.

I think the fundamental thing

I think the fundamental thing here is that we'd have Roberts.

Worrying about two years from now wouldn't matter with the subtraction of a 9.875 million dollar stinker in Jason Marquis. Roberts makes 8 million next year, and would be poised to still make less than Jason Marquis once he's off the roster.

I guess the big inequality here is: Abreu + Roberts > Derosa + Furcal...

Hell, if you expand it a little, Abreu + Roberts + Theriot > Derosa + Furcal + Theriot/Fontenot...

What's the cost difference? Assuming Abreu gets something like 2/16, and Furcal gets something like 3/39 again. Add Brian Roberts in there... Advantage Abreu, Roberts, Theriot over Furcal, Derosa, Theriot. Of course the latter would significantly easier to do. Just beat out the A's in negotiations with Furcal.

Theriot/Fontenot platoon isn't really 'special' in any regards. I don't think you need to platoon a guy who's career splits are .300 vs RHP and .290 vs LHP. Certainly Mike has more power than Theriot, but, for the cost of B-Rob, we'd probably lose Fontenot.

Fine with me.

People don't really agree

People don't really agree with me, but I really don't see Roberts as a huge upgrade at 2nd base over DeRosa. Maybe I'm too in love with OPS, but looking at their slashes over the past three years, DeRo and Roberts have provided remarkably similar offensive output.

(You may argue that Roberts' defense at second is better than DeRosa's, but I'd say in response that a defensive upgrade at shortstop is much more valuable to the Cubs.)

So grant me that Roberts and DeRosa have similar OPSes. Then here's some algebra for you:

Abreu+Roberts > DeRosa+Furcal
(-Roberts) (-DeRosa)

=> Abreu > Furcal

Uhhh... no.

You may want to bring in the positional aspect of this discussion, but I'd say Abreu's offensive ceiling is not much higher than DeRosa's, and that DeRosa's defense in right is probably better than Abreu's.

Also, in terms of depth, I argue we are weakest at shortstop. If not Theriot, then who - Cedeno? We have a few guys who can play second base, and a couple quasidecent options in right field as of right now.

Furcal provides the biggest upgrade, and does so primarily in terms of something the Cubs were sorely lacking in last October - middle infield defense.

When you can upgrade

defense and offense at the same time with one player, what case can Hendry make for not doing it, unless it's all about the benjamins.

Of course I have a hard time believing that it's all about the money when all indications are that Hendry is more than willing to get Peavy.

You say we could offset Peavy's salary by trading Marquis, and I say you could offset Furcal's salary by trading Marquis. What's the diff, biff?

Signing Furcal makes room for Marshall and allows Theriot, coming off what might be a career year to be moved elsewhere. One possible team that might be interested are the Tigers. They need a SS and seem to have no interest in spending the kind of money Greene and Wilson would cost.

I think Hendry will upgrade

I think Hendry will upgrade the offense with one free agent, and won't take Peavy unless he can move Marquis.

I was attempting to bring in

I was attempting to bring in positional aspects by default, as well as frugality and injury history.

As far as saying middle infield defense was a big issue in October, I'd agree that it WAS an issue, but not because of anything other than massive random coincidence. Comparing the rest of the season to the massive lapse in any sort of goodness or holiness that series doesn't help. I will be the first to admit that Theriot's glove isn't bad at all, he does throw like a 12 year old girl. But, I'm not willing to count on furcal as the solution at 3/39, 4/40, or 2/28. He's pretty much been plagued with injuries between the feet and the back for the past two and a half years. He's got a better arm then Theriot, but, what we'd give for him, and the risk/reward i think is too high. Way too high.

Defense is based on three

Defense is based on three things: glovework, throwing arm, and also range.

The glove is fine, sure, and we agree the arm sucks, but you forgot to mention that he can't move laterally as well as the other guys who play short.

no kidding. he's still better

no kidding. he's still better than JJ Hardy though.

i guess part of my logic, overall has to do with theriot's offensive ceiling, the combined defense of 2B and 3B, and the fact that Furcal will cost us about 20+ times what Theriot does.

Yes, I agree we need a top of the order lefty bat. We also could use some better defense behind Theriot (beauty of the NL imo, the double switch). But if we don't get a lefty middle order of the bat. We're in the same situation we are now.

Barney.

Furcal would end all chances of acquiring said middle of the order bat. If we start DeRosa in right, and Theriot on second. Soriano batting lower in left. Nothing changes. We move our #8 hitter to our #1 hitter for 13 million dollars. It's a neutral acquisition in 'adding' lefties to the order. Does nothing to break up our righty 3-4-5 hitters (which was MORE the problem in October than Theriot's defensive 'handywork'). Fonzi batting first scares me a little less than paying 13 million a year to not actually solve the problem. Would you bat Furcal 3rd? 6th? Negate his base stealing ability.

I'd rather pay for Abreu (which will be cheaper), and trade for BRob to bolster our middle infield defense over moving Theriot to second (which, as been said a bajillion times, will just mask his poor arm and minus range). Now, here's the great question, considering his range will be the same, how many more outs will he make moving to second over staying at short. I guess that depends partially on how often cubs pitchers and defense allow a man on first with < 2 outs.

Sure if we had the ability to really spend our yankee hearts out, i'd say: Pay Furcal and Abreu. Fix it with one shot. But, then assume Theriot's the odd man out, what's his trade value over say, Fontenot or DeRosa?

Then again, what if Fukudome produces. I think that's what we're all hedging our bets against.

I agree that Furcal will

I agree that Furcal will likely end up being prohibitively expensive. Gotta remember dollars here.

Also true that Abreu addresses what Piniella, and pretty much everyone else, has said about needing a LMOB (leftymiddleorderbat).

Ignoring cost and handedness (...yeah, pretty big factors admittedly) make Furcal the best upgrade, I think. But dollars and team needs do matter quite a bit.

Having said all of that, trading for Brian Roberts still makes absolutely no sense to me. We don't need more 2nd basemen! The whole reason I got on the Furcal kick was because we are much less deep at shortstop, as well as right field, than at 2B.

To end on a note similar to yours: if Fukudome puts up a .300/.380/.420, all this signing and trading crap is meaningless and the Cubs sweep any AL team that makes it to the World Series.

Trade Theriot or Fontenot to

Trade Theriot or Fontenot to the Giants for Emmanuel Burriss. He's a younger, healthier and waaaaaaaaayy cheaper version of Furcal who hit very well in 300 at bats last year. The Giants are about to sign Renteria to play SS, Burriss will most likely end up on the trade bait pile and they have no second basemen. meanwhile we have like 9 so make the trade and get a SS!!! That still leaves us the $$$ for Abreu or Peavy or whatever the hell Jimmy wants to spend it on.

And then what? He had 240

And then what?

He had 240 AB's, but 270 PA's. I'd still probably pick theriot over burress just based on production stats. If you're going to extrude projections, we can project what Fontenot will hit, but is it likely? No. Do I ever want what the giants and Brian Sabean are selling. Probably not.

I know, we're on the same

I know, we're on the same side of the fence for the most part (sans brob, but i'll get to that in a moment).

Furcal is Expensive. Abreu, less so. Furcal is the best upgrade, by far for the cubs roster. I'll agree with that, but it does give us a headache elsewhere with rearranging players. Which means we have to move people for prospects to give us the best ROI over the long haul. Basically the key to survival and not sucking like we have for oh, the better part of 100 years.

Trading for Brian Roberts allows 2 things. One, a move of talent to the O's that we can't use responsibly and early enough, and the ability to lock up BRob long term (which we CAN do, and the O's cannot). Is that a smart move? I think so. From the top of the order, I'd pick Roberts over Furcal in a long term move both financially and statistically... We move players to get players. Getting Roberts means reducing 2B depth with Fontenot/Cedeno probably on the block with PIE.

To the last point. If fukudome throw a monster year. Hell hath no fury like fukufever.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award