Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Looking like an unrelenting idiot

On the weekend, I wrote two articles highlighting some of the suggested moves by the Goat Rider Army, and then discussing those moves in greater detail while ripping them apart.  This led to a brief war of words between gunsnascar (or g&n, as I call him) who thought I was talking down to everybody while elevating myself.

Far from it.  I know I'm an idiot - I write on a blog that has a hooded figure with a scythe riding atop a goat as its logo.  I also know that while I've been proven to be pretty good at guessing value and cost regarding free agents, my trade speculations are just as absurd as anybody's.  I also believe in fair play and I might as well open myself to the same level of criticism as everybody else.  So let us begin.  Read On.

I will be breaking this down into two sections, really.  After outlining the needs and whatnot, I will list the free agents of most interest to me.  I will then actually suggest the direct moves I think the Cubs should consider making.

The Needs: Middle Relief, Kerry Wood, and RF are top priorities.  2B, SS, and a backup C are secondary priorities.

Players who should get off my planet!: Jason Marquis (9.875 million)

Players of interest: On the free agent front, the following guys might look good in Cub uniforms:

Juan Cruz - 30, 51.2 IP, 4-0, 2.61 ERA
If Hendry doesn't trust what he already has, then Cruz might be his top choice on the market for a middle reliever.  Chances are he will command between 3 and 5 million per year for 3 or  4 years.

Brian Fuentes - 33, 62.2 IP, 1-5, 2.73 ERA, 30 SV, 4 BLSV LHP
Chances are, Fuentes doesn't fit the needs of the Cubs.  While they certainly could use a lefty reliever better than Neal Cotts, Fuentes has been a successful closer for 4 seasons and will probably attach his star to a team looking for a guy to get the last out.  He should make more than 5 million a year, although at his age anything more than 3 years would be a risk.

Kerry Wood - 31, 66.1 IP, 5-4, 3.26 ERA, 34 SV, 6 BLSV
Well, this won't happen.  I kind of wish it would.  If Hendry was able to deal Marquis and clear some payroll space, Wood gives the Cubs 2 great setup men in Samardzija and Marmol, a quality righty middle reliever in Gregg and possibly Wuertz, and 2 respectable lefty relievers who can be used as per their ability and situation in Marshall and Cotts.  Plus he'd probably come back for 6-8 million a year, and said he'd accept a 1 year deal although Hendry should offer him a 2fer.

Joe Beimel - 32, 49 IP, 5-1, 2.02 ERA, LHP
Beimel was one of those annoyingly successful pitchers for the Dodgers last October.  He had good numbers, he's a lefty, and his inclusion on the team would mean no more Neal Cotts.  He'll probably get a 3 year deal for 4 million per year.

RF Bobby Abreu - 35, 609 AB, 39 2B, 4 3B, 20 HR, 100 RBI, 22 SB, .296 AVG, .405 OBP, .903 OPS, Switch Hitter
Abreu is coveted by a lot of Cub fans because of his long experience of succeeding in the major leagues.  My concern is that he's 35 next year and defensively meh-diocre.  He should very well receive similar pay to what he made last year - he'll probably get a 3 or 4 year deal for 14 million a year, or more.

RF Adam Dunn - 29, 517 AB, 23 2B, 40 HR, 100 RBI, .236 AVG, .386 OBP, .898 OPS, LHB
Adam Dunn is a conundunn.  Er, a conundrum.  A typical fan will ask "ok, so Dunn's statuesque defensive skills are ok, but Abreu's not?"  The difference is that Dunn hits twice as many homeruns as Bobby, making him such a superior offensive player that his defensive misgivings are forgivable.  Not to mention his love of smacking the ball around Wrigley Field.  He's probably going to earn 14-16 million a year over either 3 years of 5, depending on whether or not he wants to exit early for another payday.  Also, if he signs with the Cubs I will nickname him "Justice," as in Justice Dunn, because it sounds incredibly ... well, incredibly lame, but that's the way I roll.

RF Raul Ibanez - 37, 635 AB, 43 2B, 3 3B, 23 HR, 110 RBI, .293 AVG, .358 OBP, .837 OPS, LHB
Another guy who doesn't really play right field.  The value of Ibanez is debatable due to his age, but he very likely will sign a 2 year deal for less money than Abreu or Dunn.

OF Pat Burrell - 32, 536 AB, 33 2B, 3 3B, 33 HR, 86 RBI, .250 AVG, .367 OBP, .874 OPS, RHB
The poor man's Adam Dunn does what Dunn does from the right hand side of the plate and for probably 3 or 4 million less in a season.  Unlike Dunn, Burrell has zero - none - experience playing RF.

RF Milton Bradley - 30, 414 AB, 32 2B, 22 HR, 77 RBI, .321 AVG, .436 OBP, .999 OPS, Bats Switch
Bradley may not be healthy enough to play RF for a full season, but he's actually such a good offensive star that he might be worth it.  Especially consider that he'll be comparatively the free agent loser when it comes to dollars paid out to him for his services.

2B Orlando Hudson - 30, 407 AB, 29 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, .305 AVG, .367 OBP, .817 OPS, Bats Switch
Hudson is hardly Brian Roberts, but he is infinitely more acquirable.  He is a defensive Gold Glover, he's offensively solid, and he shouldn't make more than 8 million next year.

SS Orlando Cabrera - 34, 661 AB, 33 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 57 RBI, .281 AVG, .334 OBP, .705 OPS, 19 SB, 6 CS
Offensively, he's Ryan Theriot with slightly more pop and a better glove.  Cabrera is a little too old for my tastes, but his defense alone makes him worthy of consideration.  Last year he made 10 million.  If he'd accept a 3 year deal for no more than 8 million a year, the Cubs should look to pursue him.

SS Edgar Renteria - 33, 503 AB, 22 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 55 RBI, .270 AVG, .317 OBP, .699 OPS, 6 SB, 3 CS
If he can play his career averages - .290 AVG, .347 OBP, etc., this 7-time All Star might be worth pursuing.  He is also a 2 time Gold Glove winner, although it has now been half a decade since his last trophy.  Renteria also made 10 million last year.  At 33 and with such a bad '08 behind him, I'd hope that no team would sign him for more than 6 or 7 million a year on average.  Maybe a 2 year deal, so he could have the opportunity to sign with another team at 35 for a bigger payday.

At long last, what I would actually advocate the Cubs do:

First, what is next year's payroll?  I'm assuming it will be $130 million - a far cry from the $150 million we were once told it might be.

Assuming arbitration figures and payroll increases to non-arbitration eligible players who deserve it anyway, I'm going to assume that the Cubs payroll for next season, as it stands right now, is closing in on $130 million.  I could just as easily take the other "pile o' money" stance, but if Jim Hendry says there's not enough money to sign Kerry Wood, then I can't believe they have a lot of cash to roll around in.  I want to clear some "cap" space, so here's what I'll be doing:

1. Trade Jason Marquis, Felix Pie, Tyler Colvin, and Reed Johnson to the Royals for David DeJesus and Mark Teahen
Why this might work: Colvin and Pie are both young players projected to have upside.  Pie and Johnson give the Royals players immediately ready to perform at the Major League Level while Marquis gives them another reliable arm.  The Royals might not be able to afford the expense of Jason's contract, but the Cubs will be off-setting it by taking more than 5 million off their books through DeJesus and Teahen. 
Why I'm a flaming idiot: Colvin's worth is debatable, but what's also debatable is whether or not he's got enough value at this point to be considered a bargaining chip for ML caliber players.  Additionally, while the Royals might be receptive to a proven starting pitcher who they won't have a long-term obligation to, Marquis might not be the kind of arm they are looking for.  Either way, this trade frees up as much as $6 million in payroll space once everything is settled.

2. Trade Mark DeRosa, Ryan Theriot, Ted Lilly, and Donnie Veal (minor league SP) to the Colorado Rockies for Jeff Francis, RF Seth Smith, and IF Jonathan Herrera
Why this might work: It depends on a number of factors.  Are the Rockies trying to compete next year?  Are they rebuilding?  The trade of Holliday might spell doom on this trade before it even has a chance to begin, as the Rockies look like they might be going with a straight up youth movement.  But if they are trying to compete next year, DeRosa and Theriot bring depth while Lilly becomes one of the best pitchers on the team.  Francis is a younger, less expensive starting pitcher who had arm problems and an off-year, although his K/IP and K/BB aren't awful, and my general theory in this regard is that if you can get a younger, less expensive version of the player you're dealing, even if there is some risk, then you need to go for it.  As for Smith and Herrera, they might be the real gems of the deal.  Smith is a left-handed RFer who could compete with Teahen for the job while Herrera is a young middle infielder with some speed and discipline who could develop into a leadoff-hitter type.
Why I'm a flaming idiot: Actually I pretty much already described why I'm an idiot.  The Rebuildin' Rockies aren't going to be interested in taking a lot of salary.  Even if they would trade Francis, it would be adding a third injury-risk arm to the rotation - and a third Canadian.  However, if this trade actually occurred, the Cubs would free up probably more than 12 million on next season.

So, suddenly, where they were once at their 130 million cap, they would now have about 16 million to play with.

Sign 2B Orlando Hudson to a 4 year, 36 million dollar deal paying 5 million in Year One, 9 million in Year Two, 11 million in Year Three, and 11 million in Year Four.

Sign SS Orlando Cabrera to a 2 year, 16 million dollar deal paying 5 million in Year One, 11 million in year 2, and with a 3rd year for a $12 million mutual option which kicks in automatically based on performance.

Sign CL Kerry Wood to a 2 year, 14 million dollar deal paying 6 million in Year One and 8 million in Year 2.

Sign C Henry Blanco to a 2 year, 3 million dollar deal paying 1 million in Year One and 2 million in Year 2.

Kurt's Final Roster

SP Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Jeff Francis, Rich Harden, Jeff Samardzija
MR Neal Cotts, Sean Marshall, Michael Wuertz, Kevin Gregg, Angel Guzman, Rich Hill, Chad Gaudin, Carlos Marmol
CL Kerry Wood

C Geo Soto, Henry Blanco
1B Derrek Lee, Micah Hoffpauir
2B Orlando Hudson, Mike Fontenot, Jon Herrera
SS Orlando Cabrera, Ronny Cedeno
3B Aramis Ramirez, Mike Fontenot
LF Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teahen, Micah Hoffpauir
CF David DeJesus, Kosuke Fukudome, Seth Smith, Jon Herrera
RF Seth Smith, Kosuke Fukudome, David DeJesus, Mark Teahen, Micah Hoffpauir

For the record, that's a 29 man roster, but I figure that Herrera can probably return to the minors or perhaps one of the 9 relievers wouldn't make the cut.

Here's the ideal lineup:

CF Kosuke Fukudome - high OBP, good steal potential
2B Orlando Hudson - high OBP, fair bat potential
3B Aramis Ramirez - best pure hitter on the team
LF Alfonso Soriano - ability to hit homeruns and outrun DP balls make him an ideal candidate
C Geovany Soto - A talented hitter who should be 3rd in the team in homeruns next year
1B Derrek Lee - Still a good hitter, but he doesn't have the pop to belong at the top of the lineup anymore
RF David DeJesus - If he doesn't bat 7th, he might be an ideal #2 hitter, if not leadoff
SS Orlando Cabrera - doesn't have the hitting skills he used to, but he should still be a good #8 hitter

The Cubs would suddenly have an influx of lefties in the lineup and they'd have a number of choices for RF and CF.  Maybe DeJesus would emerge the winner, maybe it would be Smith, maybe even Teahen.  Regardless, the Cubs would be versatile, they'd be younger, and they'd still have a team built well enough to win.

So ... how crazy am I?  Am I even crazier than I said I would be?

in a word,

yes.

the theme of your recommendations is absurd - you're breaking up the core of a 97-win team. why would you do that?

the craziest individual idea you propose is moving mark derosa. cub fans have been in love with brian roberts since trade speculation began last offseason, but over the past three years, based on slash lines alone, derosa has been better. while roberts has the better speed (which i guess in a way understates his slugging since a lot of his walks and singles end up like doubles), derosa has 20 HR power (see: last year). also, he can play almost every position on the gosh darn field! an invaluable asset. i almost guarantee .280/.360/.440 - that is, an .800 OPS player that can start in the middle infield. to prove a point, that's about what bobby abreu hit in 2007 (.283/.369/.445, against derosa's absurd .285/.376/.481 in '08), even with the short right field in yankee stadium.

also - trade ted lilly? ...what?

...

i mean, what?

---

the only change we'll be seeing in the line-up between now and the beginning of next year is in right field. EVERYBODY wants orlando hudson, and there are a ton of teams that need more middle infield help than the cubs. furcal looks like a west coaster, likely an A, so he's out. roberts isn't gettable. greene's salary is too big to take on in a peavy trade. that's it, right?

right field is either abreu or ibanez. lefties that can play in RF, even if it is at a poor level. i mean, we have fuku to upgrade defense at a moment's notice. makes too much sense for any of our other absurd ideas to supplant them.

also, the rotation is 4/5s of the way done. z, demp, harden and lilly will be cubs sp's on 4/1/08. the fifth spot goes to one of four guys. in order of likelihood: marquis, randy johnson, peavy, marshall. if jon garland ends up with 3 years for 30mil, is one year of marquis for 10mil that bad? if we can move him, we will, and then i think we sign the unit on the cheap.

the bullpen is impossible to figure out, even during the season. so many changes could happen there. lots of eligible arms in the cubs' possession already, as well as several effective free agents on the market. really, who the hell knows?

i'm taking bets (i'll need odds since i'm being so specific) on this starting lineup and rotation for the cubs on 4/1/08:

soriano
theriot
abreu
ramirez
lee
soto
derosa
johnson
zambrano;

z, demp, harden, lilly, johnson.

To answer your questions...

1. DeRosa. Sure, he put up good offensive numbers as the Cubs second baseman last year. I don't think it's realistic to expect him to ever put up similar numbers again. More realistically, he's likely to put up numbers next year comparable to his '06/'07 seasons ... and if that's the case, then he has high trade value at this moment.

Besides that, AJ, DeRosa and Theriot were both involved in some of the most heart-breaking defensive errors I've seen in a long time. I think the Cubs should look to upgrade defensively in the middle infield ... which means DeRosa is expendable. Realistically speaking, AJ, Hudson - who is younger than DeRosa too, btw - should put up comparable-or-better numbers offensively.

2. Lilly. If I'm working with a $130 million budget, then that means that a) I can't afford to sign Abreu, and b) I can't really afford to sign ANYBODY at this point. Nobody. Cubs are already maxed out if they're not going over 130 million. So if I want to keep the team competitive on the pitching front, and if I want to improve the team defensively, and if I want to improve the team *offensively* it's going to have to be through salary-cutting trades.

So while I would love to keep Ted Lilly for 2 more years, as he's been an outstanding lefty starter, if I could trade him for a younger lefty with a good track record who's making less money, then I'd do it in a heartbeat. Otherwise, I won't have any salary room to improve elsewhere, you dig?

Therefore, your suggestions of grabbing Abreu and Johnson - regardless of whether or not they are good ideas - are not possible. The money is apparently not there. So, my suggestion to you is this: reconsider the moves you'd like to see the team make based on the premise that they are not expanding salary beyond what they have already - which translates into roughly 130 million for next year. And post it in the reader blog's section. I'll give it front page promotion and we can look at your ideas in detail.

Do you really think

the Cubs are only going to spend $130M next year? Without resigning Wood, Lieber, Howry and resigning Dempster they are already at $130M.

If they don't expand payroll and try and work within the $130M, do you think the fans will stand for it?

Do you think Hendry gives a shit if the fans like it or not?

If Hendry tries to improve the team through trades, who are the most likely candidates to bring the Cubs what they need?

Can we realistically expect to to save more than half of Marquis's salary and receive more than a box of used jockstraps in return?

Would the Cubs receive more from a Lilly trade than exploring what it would take for Lee to waive his no trade clause?

If the Cubs aren't going to increase the payroll to more than $130M, Hendry going to have to do his best Houdini act to improve this team. As the team sits right now, the only noticeable difference is the bullpen will be weaker than last year and that is unacceptable to most Cub fans.

If the Cubs try and work within the $130M payroll I can't see how they would further risk weakening the pitching staff by trading Lilly.

Considering how strong the

Considering how strong the pitching staff already is, it's pretty much the one place where they have room to cut salary.

When the off season began, I saw an article that said the Cubs would have a $150 million payroll next year. Then, I saw articles saying that the money wouldn't be there and the Cubs wouldn't be able to make the big moves that we'd seen in previous seasons. Then Jim Hendry said to Kerry Wood "sorry about your luck, kid, I can't afford to keep you."

At that point, all bets are off as far as salary goes.

Realistically, I can't see Lee waiving his no-trade clause, and I especially can't see a single team in baseball who'd be willing to take on his contract considering the position he plays and the production he exhibits. That isn't to say that he's a bad offensive player ... it just means that he doesn't quite put up $13 million's worth.

So, my line of logic is simple. Don't assume that there's more money to spend. Hendry wouldn't be looking for inexpensive outfielders like Teahen if there was more money to spend. And if there is NOT more money to spend, how do I-as-GM bring in lefty bats and improve the defense of the middle infield?

The answer is, I have to deal one of my expensive players. Out of my expensive players, Zambrano, Ramirez, Soriano, Fukudome, Lee, they're unlikely to go anywhere. Dempster is a non-option. Harden's tradable, but I don't think I'd find a pitcher of his ability for less money than 7 million.

Meanwhile, Ted Lilly is locked up for 2 more years and he's put up 15 wins or more the past 3 seasons. He should have high trade value and he's not really being overpaid for his production. But, although the Cubs have Marshall, Gaudin, Guzman, and Samardzija ready for their shot to start, I don't feel comfortable replacing 17 wins with any of them. Therefore, I need to find a starting pitcher who had an off-year but has had previous success. Looking at the Rockies, Francis has pitched exceptionally well in past seasons, he's in his 20's, and he probably won't make half of what Lilly makes.

I think Colorado would actually be stupid to take the bait, but if the Cubs could unload Lilly's big contract and get that kind of return for it, then it's not a bad move. It also frees up enough money to make a couple of free agent signings for players of comparable offensive ability to the middle infielders currently on the team, but with better gloves and defensive range. Since I remember all-too-well the price of Theriot and DeRosa in the middle infield, I can't sign those guys fast enough.

done and done.

i look forward to being absolutely torched.

I'm not seeing it. Remember,

I'm not seeing it. Remember, when you finish your post you click "preview", look it over one last time, and then click on "save" to actually publish it.

sorry - done and done as in,

sorry - done and done as in, i will write up a post. should be done soon.

My version of a "masterplan" for 2009 and beyond

This seems like just as good of a thread to post this as anywhere else. Hopefully, it will create some good discussion.

Here are some of the core beliefs I'm working from when putting this plan together:
1. We do have at least some payroll limitations.
2. We do need to add left handed hitting and athleticism, and we will have to be creative to do it.
3. We need to understand that some of our players had career years they may not replicate again, and that likely we won't lead the league in runs produced from the 6-7-8 hitters again, so to produce offense comparible to last year, we need to make some improvements on how we utilize our personnel.
4. To get something, you must trade something.
5. The single best thing we can do is to improve our defense and speed.

Ok, so let's go:
First, our existing free agents:

We've already re-signed Dempster. I'd let Blanco, Wood, and Howry all go. I would offer Wood arbitration just to get the draft picks, and if he accepted arbitration I'd try to just live with the extra expense. In case that happens, My other moves should help us financially. As far as back up catchers go, I'd live with Koyie Hill and Wellington Castillo.

Next, a series of trades that are somewhat complex:

Trade #1: Trade 2B Mike Fontenot, CF Felix Pie, and P Michael Weurtz to Kansas City for CF David Dejesus and OF Mark Teahan.

I know everyone loves Fontenot, but as I view the roster, I think his limitations of only being able to play one position makes putting together the roster problematic. Plus, I don't see him as an being able to replicate last year's productivity. This is a "sell high" moment. Pie is a cheaper alternative for them, and I think by including him I can get the Royals to take Weurtz instead of Marshall, who I would prefer to keep. If they won't take Weurtz instead of Marshall, that is not a dealbreaker for me.

Trade #2 :Trade OF Mark Teahan to Cincinnati for P Homer Bailey and OF Ryan Freel.

Cincinnati is in need of a corner outfielder. Plus, Teahan gives them insurance at 3rd base in case they move Edwin Encarnarcion.Freel is injured a ton, and the Reds would also like to shed his 4 million or so salary. But Freel is also super-energetic, and can play multiple positions very well. Bailey is a once highly touted prospect whom the Reds are very down on currently, and with their pitching depth they don't have a spot for him currently.

Trade #3 is a 3 way deal.

Cubs trade 2B Mark DeRosa and P Jason Marquis to New York Mets
Cubs trade P Homer Bailey, CF David DeJesus and P Neil Cotts to Colorado Rockies

Mets trade P Aaron Heilman, P Scott Schownweis, and cash to Chicago Cubs
Mets trade P Bobby Purnell, OF Ryan Church, and PTBNL to Colorado Rockies

Rockies trade P Huston Street to New York Mets
Rockies trade OF Brad Hawpe to Chicago Cubs

For the Cubs, this gives them a pitcher they have long coveted in Aaron Heilman, who becomes a 5th starter for Chicago this season, with the flexibility to work as a set up man if needed later on. Absorbing Schoenweis helps the Mets financially take on the contract of Marquis, as there is about a 7 million differential between the 2 pitchers.

This also gives the Cubs what they need badly, which is a younger, power hitting, high OBP left handed hitter in right field by the name of Brad Hawpe, and the move in its entirety is revenue neutral for them.

For the Mets, they get a much better replacement for their biggest offensive hole (2nd base) than they can in the open market. DeRosa helps them by giving them a much beter hitter than Luis Castillo, and can play occasionally in the outfield as well. Marquis for Schoenweis and Heilman in their eyes makes sense as it gives them an inning eating 5th starter for about 4 million extra, and Heilman is wanting out of New York and may be a distraction anyway.

P Bobby Parnell and the PTBNL would cost them 2 of their minor league depth of pitching, but they would make that back with the draft picks in 2010 after letting Marquis go. Street gives them a cheaper alternative as a closer, so they can afford to sign a better free agent outfielder or starter, such as AJ Burnett or Derek Lowe, or perhaps even both.

For the Rockies, they get to spin Hawpe and Street for a cheaper alternative in the outfield in Church, plus 3 pitchers of varying degrees of value (probably highlighted by Purnell from the Mets), and their agreed upon PTBNL from New York. By taking Cotts from Chicago, they save 3 million or so in expense by not having to sign someone like Will Ohman, who they reportedly are looking at. Bailey is still in some circles considered a strong prospect, although I don't think the Reds think so. DeJesus is a good player who will cover lots of ground for them in their spacious outfield. If they wanted Fukodome instead that would be awesome, but I highly doubt that would happen.

Ok, so I am glad that is over. Now we need to sign some free agents. I'll devide these into big ticket players, and small ticket players.

Big ticket signing:

Sign SS Rafael Furcal to a 4 year, 48 million deal, with a mutual option for a 5th year.

Small ticket signings:

Sign P Mark Mulder to a 1 year, 2 million dollar deal with a team option for a second year.

Sign 2B Tadahito Iguchi to a 1 year, 2 million dollar deal with a team option for a second year.

Sign P Juan Cruz to a 3 year, 12 million dollar deal.

Sign OF Kevin Mench to a 1 year, 2 million dollar deal with a team option for a second year.

Furcal gives us a huge defensive upgrade at SS, a player with great speed, and a left handed bat. He is dynamic, energetic, and a winner. He fits us like a glove, and it enables us to move Theriot to 2nd base, where his defense overnight becomes a plus instead of a slight negative.

Mulder is a low risk gamble. He is only 31, and we might need a starter during the year. He hasnt been healthy for a long time, but when he was a few years ago he was an excellent starter. Once upon a time we signed Ryan Dempster in a similar situation, and that worked out extremely well for us. Mulder is worth rehabbing, and putting in the bank for 2010 if nothing else.

Cruz is a pitcher I have always liked, even when we had him before. I think he is a nice piece for our bullpen, and in 2010 I think having him under contract enables us to make Jeff Smardijia starting pitcher.

Mench can rake against left handed pitchers, and can be a primary bat off the bench in key spots, or to spell Hawpe in right or Lee at first. (I hope)

My last move I would make if I were Lou Pinella would be to bat my pitcher in the number 8 spot, letting someone bat ahead of Alfonso Soriano who could actually be on base when he bats. Unline 99% of the public, I agree with Pinella, and would leave Soriano batting leadoff.

So, here is my proposed batting order and roster after these moves:

1..LF Alfonso Soriano
2. SS Rafael Furcal
3. 3B Aramis Ramirez
4. RF Brad Hawpe
5. 1B Derrick Lee
6. C Geovany Soto
7. CF Kosuke Fukodome
8. SP Zambrano/Lilly/Dempster/Harden/Heilman
9. 2B Theriot

25 man roster:
SP: Zambrano/Lilly/Dempster/Harden/Heilman (Mulder on DL)
Bullpen: Marmol/Cruz/Gregg/Smardijia/Marshall/Schoenwise/Guzman

Bench options: Kevin Mench, Reed Johnson, Koyie Hill, Ronny Cedeno, Micah Hoffpauir, Ronny Cedeno, Ryan Freel, Tadahito Iguchi.

That would be my general outline of what I want to do, if I were Jim Hendry, with my best effort made to figure out how to pay for it.

If Wood DID decide to accept arbitration, I'd adjust my plan to either not sign Juan Cruz, or I would try and spin Kevin Gregg somewhere.

Ok, that is my best effort. Everyone can compare that to the other ideas, see what you think.

Tbird

Comprehensive to say

the least Tbird, and I thought I had to much time on my hands. Seriously though your outline is very detailed and brings up some interesting scenarios. Whether Hendry is capable of doing any such a detailed analysis between runs to Dunkin Donuts, is another point altogether.

With a plan involving so many teams however, Hendry will really have to burn up the cell minutes to explore these possibilities in great detail with all the GM's involved to see if they were open to such a swap.

I do agree with the basic premise that defense up the middle needs to improve and if payroll could be freed up to secure Furcal, you'd accomplish a defensive upgrade while securing a legitimate leadoff man to boot.

Another interesting move you suggest is the securing of Brad Hawpe, who I've long thought would look good in blue pinstripes but never felt the Rockies would make him available.

The biggest problem I see with the trading scenarios is where the Mets are involved. The Mets need for a starter and closer unfortunately can be addressed by a glut of both on the free agent market this year and they are not exactly strapped for cash with a new stadium coming online in 2009.

Thanks for the reply....

.....I appreciate it.

I think for the Mets, the key would be getting DeRosa. By doing so, they can play him at 2nd base instead of the terrible Luis Castillo. Then, instead of signing just one of Derek Lowe or AJ Burnett, they can sign both of them. Or, they could sign on of those 2 and Orlando Hudson, and play DeRosa in the outfield (where they also have a hole or 2). Or, they could play DeRosa at 2nd and bench Castillo, sign 1 of Lowe and Burnett, and sign another big time outfield bat to add to their already strong lineup, like Adam Dunn perhaps. Or, they could still add another closer candidate like Fuentes, and use Street as a set up man, thereby solving their biggest team weakness of a year ago. The acquisitions of Marquis, DeRosa, and Street give them a huge amount of flexibility with the rest of their offseason.

There is no second base option better for them than DeRosa...that is the key for them in these proposed deals. The Mets are rich no doubt, but even they have some limitations in payroll that these moves would really help.

Short Novel. (the double post)

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: 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. If they're really wanting to get/give more, I'd suggest spending a little more to get Greinke + DeJesus. I will note, I'm absolutely atrocious at coming up with what value prospects are actually worth in trade situations. I'm assuming it'll take Pie, Donnie Veal (if we still have him after the Rule 5 draft), Cedeno or Fontenot and Tony Thomas... Probably the short list of guys it'd take to nab those two. DeJesus solo would obviously probably take less finaggling. But, to score both would be huge, even with a bigger drain on the minors (read on).

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, an unconventional proposition indeed.

Moving on. Seeing as it'd probably take P.I.E. PIE out of the conversation (in aforementioned trade), they'd be rather useless in the outfield. So, bring it back up a notch. Left field will be Soriano everyday (until he gets injured. but the Cubs have Micah or DeRosa), center has two 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, but I'm still not ready to give Font-a-tot the nod at starting full time.

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.

In this last trade we gained around a million two (excluding grienke) in just Dejesus.

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 Grienke off to Baltimore for Roberts, seeing as Roberts IS in the last year of his contract, McFail probably will stillnot 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 Cedeno/Fontenot (whoever's left), Marshall and Grienke, for Roberts + Pitching Prospect. Three starters for arguably the best 2B in the AL (yes. that includes scrappy mitey mite of bostonia) and maybe (since my trade values suck), a warm arm in the minors that might be better than bob howry on a good day.

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.

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), part of Zach Grienke's (750k), 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 'thre 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.

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!)
SS Ryan Theriot
RF David DeJesus
3B Aramis Ramierez
LF Alfonsie Sorianoe
C Geovany Soto
1B Derrek Lee
CF Koskuke Fukudome
P

vs LHP:

2B Brian Roberts
SS Ryan Theriot
CF David DeJesus
3B Aramis Ramierez
LF Alphonzie Sorianoe
C Geovany Soto
1B Derrek Lee
RF Mark Derosa
P

Bench: Micah Hoffpaiur, Mark DeRosa (will keep everyone fresh, since we'll have the divsion wrapped up in July), Fukudome (vs LHP, no more twirlybird!) Ronny Cedeno/Fontenot, 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. In our checklist of musts/needs/wants...

My must haves this season is: left handed hitting. stay under $130m.
Check.
My needs this season is: a leadoff hitter. more speed.
Check.
My wants this season is: get younger. upgrade defensively. left handed pitching. Fail-ish.

End of novel.
Yes, double posted from the wrong-ish thread?

double oops

oops.

Speak of the devil

Kurt I cant see breaking up the B grade players of the cubs either.
I like some aspects of both of your trade proposals but I cant see it happening.
Derosa and lilly are 2 guys that I cant see being traded and besides the cubs would be a weaker team next year if those proposed trades happen exactly as you have stated.
I will be more carefull with my trade speculations ,but I cant help but think you threw this out there to look as dumb as the rest of us here. Not necessary bud. You have a good ideas that to some degree make some more sense than other trade speculations here.
I feel like a fool yesterday for misunderstanding your 2 posts. MY BAD
It will be very interesting to see what happens in the coming months with the FA signings and the trades.

My basic theory gunsnascar is

My basic theory gunsnascar is that if the Cubs KEEP those guys, they'll see weaker production next year. I'll be incredibly surprised if either DeRo or Theriot have equally good - or better - seasons offensively ever again. I think we'd all agree that they had career years in '08, and you cannot rely on career year players to ever match those numbers.

The only problem is, there really aren't many shortstops or second basemen OUT there who put up numbers as good as '08 Theriot-DeRosa, so the Cubs will need to step up and try to find increased production elsewhere, like in RF/CF. If they are willing to risk - if it IS a risk - having a middle infield combo that doesn't match Theriot and DeRo's 08 numbers, but have superior gloves (and a trophy case to show it), then going after the Orlandos might be the best direction to head in.

If you're playing with an unlimited budget, it is very easy to say "I sign Dunn! I sign Randy Johnson! I sign this other guy, too!" But in real life, the budget has a limit.

dero & theriot

Maybe just maybe theriot did have his career year last year but hes still young and coming off that career year and would be looking to improve in the defensive area of his game and hopefully his obp. Personally I do like the way that you would juggle the mid infield but I dont see it happening.
Dero probably did have his career year and both players trade values are at all time highs. Maybe if you did trade both include marquis and get some one with a pedigree then you may have money to get johnson to replace marquis cedeno (maybe ronnie is finally ready to have that break out year) to replace theriot and make a short term offer to loretta(maybe as 1 option to be an insurance policy if fontenot wouldnt work out at 2nd and promote or trade for a mid infield prospect. You would still be saving about 7 m next year to put toward a RFer that would be that pedigree player. Just spitballin here though.

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