Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Are we just bored or anxious?

All these speculations on what moves we should make.  Peavy or not.  Roberts or not.  Hudson or not.  Packaging prospects.  Milton/Dunn/Abreu, etc.

Why do so many people think we have to make such drastic moves on a club that won 97 games and in 2009 is still the easy favorite to win the division?  Again.

Tweak a few things and let the team meld another year.  We have a really solid team.  We can't predict injuries.  We can't predict on who we have from last year may go down in production or who will better themselves.  Adding new faces doesn't guarantee the same or better stats just by switching teams (let alone staying healthy).

We can only go with the actual stats/history on the back of the player's baseball cards.  Hope that we don't get any key injuries.  If we are looking good by the AllStar break, we can tweak again for the playoffs.  Just like 2003.  That's really all we can ask for.

Welcome to baseball in the offseason

This is what its all about, speculation & what might-be or could-be. The picturesque portrait that you paint of this team is lovely, but there are areas that the team could surely improve in. You pick any area of the team and I can tell you 7 different ways that it could be improved. Tweaking little aspects here and there isn't going to add much marginal value to a 97-win team, and I think our versions of the word "tweak" are quite different because I wouldn't call what the cubs have done this offseason tweaking.

Like it or not, as the team currently sits right now they have regressed, at least slightly in some respects. Kerry Wood swapped for Kevin Gregg isn't an improvement, Joey Gathright or even Fuku in place of Jim Edmonds is a significant loss of production in CF, and Mark DeRosa being replaced by Mike Fontenot is a never-ending debate. I see the bullpen as a chink in the armor right now, and that is simply because even if Marmol steps it up and takes the closer's role, who then can give you what Marmol did in the set-up role? Also Neal Cotts and Garrett Olson will do little to strike fear into the hearts of opposing lefties late in ballgames. Why spend more money on So Taguchi playing in AAA than what it would have taken to bring back a needed quality backup catcher such as Henry Blanco? The team is spending nearly $5M on Aaron Miles and Reed Johnson to be backups and utility guys when the rotation and bullpen could each be greatly improved with those limited dollars.

It should be no secret that the team is continuously trying to improve. And how does a team do that? Usually by finding the best players they can to put out on the field, as I don't see the team getting any better because they got better popcorn at the food stands. Imagine if you showed up at work tomorrow and when you got there all you saw where your desk used to be is a lawn chair and a TV. Then your boss says that, "Yep we are in such a good position right now that it would be hard to get better so we're not gonna even try." Well your boss would be an idiot right? And that's because the competition is getting better all around you as you stand-pat waiting for what you've got to gel together. I would have to argue that after the 07 season that the belief was much the same as what you now hold, just make small moves here and there and see what happens next year. So, in the next year, 2008, what happened? I watched and what I saw was a nearly exact repeat performance from the roster that was minimally tweaked from the previous season. Most good teams need that one key trade or free agent acquisition to put them over the top, and the cubs are no different, and in this offseason or last the cubs have yet to make that move. I trust what I got when it works, not when it almost works.

To answer your question I am both bored & anxious, but I am also not content with what I see on the roster by any means. Also winning the division is no mark of achievement for this team, much more should be expected than that.

You forgot to mention Bradley

Gathright's not replacing Edmonds, Bradley is. It's a huge, huge upgrade.

In RF yes MB is an upgrade.

In RF yes MB is an upgrade. What do you see coming out of CF? Edmonds played CF and provided a huge lift and played at an unheard of value for what he was being paid. Fukudome falls into CF by default and contract size alone, but a fall-off will be seen in CF regardless of whether its Fuku, Reed, or Gathright. Edmonds as much as I love to hate the guy came in and provided leadership, a LH presence in the batting order, and solid defense in CF. I'm not really convinced any of the current options can do more than one of the things that Edmonds was able to do. I saw a far different team on the field when Edmonds' production fell-off towards the end of the year, and I hope that Bradley has that same effect on the order that Edmonds was able to have. Fukudome holds the key to unlock the teams' potential in 2009, I like Reed Johnson as a solid option B, but it would be sweet to see Fukudome hit how he is capable over the course of a full season. Batting stance adjustments will have to be made I'm afraid.

Fuk's defense will be an

Fuk's defense will be an upgrade over Edmonds. That's worth a few runs right there. Then, if So Taguchi and Ken Kadokura can help him actually understand what coaches are telling him, maybe the offense will come too--.280/.350/.450?

Perhaps that's wishful thinking, though.

How in the hell do So

How in the hell do So Taguchi and the other guy even make the roster to do those things that you speak of? It won't be in Spring Training while Fukudome is playing in the WBC either.

Wasn't that the whole idea

Wasn't that the whole idea behind signing these guys?

It probably was, but how can

It probably was, but how can they be expected to have an impact if they don't make the team?

Why would they be signed

Why would they be signed with that intention if they weren't going to have a chance to work together? I think they'll hang out at some point.

So its a good idea to spend

So its a good idea to spend a million bucks to find Fukudome some pals to hang out with? The team is low on dollars to spend, but lets grab a couple guys buried so far under the decent free agents that neither can breath

If they're on minor league

If they're on minor league deals, I don't think they'll make millions unless they make the major league roster.

I thought So Taguchi signed

I thought So Taguchi signed for 900K?

I think that's what he makes

I think that's what he makes if he hits the major league roster.

This is correct

This is correct

ah well I hope he doesn't

ah well I hope he doesn't make the MLB roster then

yeah, god forbid he does

yeah, god forbid he does well! =)

we're talking about So

we're talking about So Taguchi, how well do think he can do?

So so?

So so?

You're looking at it from

You're looking at it from the wrong angle, HC.

DeRosa's offensive production in '08 couldn't have even been matched by himself in '09. DeRo and Fontenot is a wash, with some experts thinking that Font will be overall more valuable to the team due to his superior defense at 2B.

Fukudome's offensive production should be better in '09 for a bunch of reasons. I don't think it'd be unfair to say that he's going to be a modest improvement when compared to how he hit last year.

Bradley is an upgrade on Edmonds for a bunch of reasons, and he's DEFINITELY an upgrade when compared to how Edmonds would likely perform in '09.

You can't compare Fukudome to Edmonds because the bat replacing Edmonds in the lineup is Bradley.

Even then, defensively speaking, Fukudome is a huge improvement over Edmonds. Fangraphs notes that in part due to his defensive strengths, Fukudome was worth more than Edmonds even in '08.

I think that offensively, the Cubs should at the very least come close to matching their output from 2008, but more importantly I believe that they will be more well-balanced in October. While we should all ache from the loss of Kerry Wood, this team is in no way, shape, or form worse than they were last year.

Right on...

Right on...

I agree with all of what you

I agree with all of what you said, except Kerry Wood will be a significant loss to this team whether he tugs at the heart-strings or not. No one in that bullpen currently, can do what he did with a baseball in his hand. He and Marmol complemented each other very nicely in the pen, but now Marmol has no one else to work off of. There's a hole in the ship any way you look at it, it really only depends on whether you want the hole to be in the set-up role or the closers role.

I see fukudome and Reed

In CF. Let's just say that the outfield is an overall upgrade and leave it at that to simplify things.

a little of both

After 40 some years of just try to believe that the Cub's had a .500 team going into spring training and hoping for career years to to make the play offs, I am happy to know "on paper" the division is their's for the taking. It was not Hendry's fault that for the last 2 years that they could not get out of the first round of the play offs. Here are the 3 reasons that come to mind 1) the players did not play, 2) Lou can not manage, or my personal choice 3) they are the Cub's therefore they choke. As far the Peavey trade goes that is all Jake's decision. He has a no trade clause in his contract and the only team he has okay'd are the Cubs. Unless he changes his position the Cub's will be bidding against themselves and the only person that can pull that off is Scott Boras. The tweaks that were made last year were R. Johnson at the end of spring training, Edmunds after he was cut during the season and Harden later in the year. Would I prefer (just to throw out names) Blalock and Teahen over Hoffpauir and Gathright with Peavey, right now yes. But, since I don't know who is or may-be available I think waiting is not a bad course of action for right now. On a more personal note I am starting to wonder if winning is worth it. AS a fan of BASEBALL, yes I do miss going to games last minute and not having to worry about getting a seat or dealing with the 15,000 or so people that are there to call all their freinds to let them know they are at the game and what a wonderful party it is. I had no problem seating in the stands watching Jamie Moyer shut down the Cub's. It was a good ballgame with a bad out come. That is a marvel when you get to see a 46 year old man compeat at the highest level when how many of us could even make our high school team as a pitch runner. I will get off of my soap box know, but think about it.

I agree that winning the

I agree that winning the central is important, but it shouldn't be key. You're right Jim Hendry can't play for anyone, but nothing changes what has happened on the field for the last two postseasons. Its happened pretty much the same way twice in row with virtually the same team, I can't really call that a coincidence. The cubs were the better team going into both series, and yet they were knocked silly both times really before most of the other matchups even got interesting. I can't call the teams' performance in the Playoffs a coincidence anymore, and if choking under the pressure is to blame I don't see the pressure letting up much as time rolls on either. It usually doesn't pan out to continually do things the same way and expect a different result.

wasnt that

wasnt that the whole reason that we have spent the entire off season bringing in lefties?

the cubs are better right now overall than they were in 08. you could argue they are worse in the bull pen but better offensive and defensively, so....... that would make them better overall.

kevin gregg is not as good as kerry wood. carlos marmol is better if just for that fact that he doesnt miss an entire month in his so-called "healthy" season with a blister. I mean that is some stupid ben sheets injury. personally i thinkwe are about a wash in the pen but.... that is just opinion.

however, MIke fontenot is equal to dero. bradley is an upgrade on edmonds. gathright can at least run the bases so he is more useful than felix pie. miles makes up for the lost diversity. this is a 100 win team. or at least could be.

Marmol can do what Kerry

Marmol can do what Kerry Wood did as the closer, but who you do hand the ball to in the set-up role to make sure that saves are there for Marmol to get? The cubs had two dangerous arms in their bullpen in 2008, and now in 2009 the team is minus one of those arms with no replacements in the fold.

kevin gregg

has significant late inning experience. and if you are going to bring up blown saves then i ask you to look no further than the 6 that kerry wood blew in 08. i am not saying wood and gregg are equal because they are not, but gregg would do fine in the 8th inning. i said it is not an improvement but the other improvement on offense and defense cancel this out. if gregg can stay healhty in 09 we are not that far away in the pen from where we were in 08.

There's no canceling things

There's no canceling things out when the team needs outs in the 7th and 8th innings. Adding Milton Bradley and doesn't even those things out. The bullpen presently is an issue no questions asked.

if the cubs

want to play their best team this season then they put samardzija in the 7th, gregg in the 8th and marmol in the 9th. regardless of what you think, that is no worse than last year with howry, marmol, and wood. we have a ton of guys that can contribute in the bull pen. it is not a major concern. the only need the cubs have in the bull pen is a lefty specialist. that is something that neither of neal cotts or sean marshall are.

of course all of that would change if they were going to send the shark to iowa. but, based on recent piniella and hendry comments about shark being able to start or pitch late makes me think he makes the team coming out of camp as the 7th inning guy at the very least.

are you suggesting you would rather have howry, marmol, and wood, then samardzija, gregg, and marmol. it is a complete wash and yes it cancels itself out. with the offensive and defensive additions that the cubs have made we are a better team in 09 than 08.

You're forgetting the highly

You're forgetting the highly effective Samardzija ... who shouldn't be used as a reliever, but if they need one he seems entirely capable of putting up outstanding numbers from the bullpen.

The Cubs could have upgraded their pen more, but they hardly have a BAD bullpen ... just not an elite one.

thank you for

thanks for soem reason there kurt. the cubs have a good bull pen. it isnt the best in baseball but it is still one capable of winning games

i would also add - we have

i would also add - we have to have the lead to protect in the first place.

how many meaningful outs did our bullpen get in the postseason last year?

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