Goatriders of the Apocalypse

The Big 25 for 2009, as I see it

Note: this is NOT my Dream 25.  Oh no.  I wish Colorado would trade us Brad Hawpe and Brian Fuentes for Micah Hofpauir and Ronny Cedeno, San Diego trade us Jake Peavy for Rich Hill, and we snatch CC Sabathia out of the jaws of the Yankees.  This is my Realism 25. 

Be sure to check out the first of our upcoming series/report card of the 2008 Cubs, recapping the performance of one Ryan Dempster, who naturally looms quite large in our 2009 plans.

For, in fact, I will start with him.  The latest 'legitimate' media feedback indicates that Demp is not interested in hometown discounts.  Someone WILL overpay for Ryan Dempster.  The legit media also seems pretty unanimous in their feeling that that Someone is Jim Hendry.  Any deal over three years is overpaying for Dempster.  The Cubs will eventually make that deal, which takes us out of the Jake Peavy Relays.

Feel free to take the last paragraph, replace "Ryan" with "Kerry", and "Dempster" with "Wood".

Ryan Dempster is not a Staff Ace by definition, but he did set a good example for the rest of the staff with his brutal off-season conditioning regimen.  He is a great teammate by all accounts, and he is worth keeping at the right price.  Kerry Wood is not a Dominating Closer by definition, but he did set a good example for the rest of the staff with his endless persistence.  He is also a great teammate by all accounts, and he is also worth keeping at the right price.  Keeping both will preserve our decently-performing 8th-9th inning tandem, and I will step out here and predict that Dempster will be good for 45 wins the next three years.

It is the Cubs' bad fortune that this is also the winter of CC Sabathia and K-Rod.  Sure, Dempster and Wood will get less money than either, but they WILL get as much money as Your Typical Staff Ace and Dominating Closer of years past.  From us.

Which pretty much blows us out of the water for any other big-name free agents, if you believe what you hear from the brain trust.

I only have one trade on my page, and a couple of relatively minor free agent signings.

We are going to end up with Brian Roberts.  It makes too much sense, now.  We wanted him last winter, to help the offense that ground to a halt in the playoffs.  We went to the playoffs again, and the offense ground to a halt again.  He is going to play second and bat leadoff, and Mark DeRosa is going to become the (principal) right fielder.  No, DeRo is not my "plus" fielder I have been chanting about, but we had one this year (Fukudome) and as it turned out, his sparkling RF defense was an unnecessary luxury in the playoffs.  DeRo will play it well enough, and as he gains reps throughout the year, I am confident he will grow more comfortable in the role.

Roberts is going to cost us, way more than the spare parts we all talk about slipping McFail.  Marshall/Pie/Cedeno ain't gonna do it.  It didn't get it done last year, and the price has only gone up.  Now, Pie can come or go, I don't really give a rip.  If they want him, give him.  I'm thinking they won't take another chance on our CF rejects.  They don't want a fundamentally flawed player like Cedeno, either.  Maybe they do, but they will probably ask for Theriot first; we will have to counter with Fontenot.  Yes, they gave US Fontenot, but they probably also didn't figure on him ever hitting 9 dingers in 150 ABs like he did this year.  His trade value is at an all-time high.  Move him, now.

Finally, the pitching portion of the deal.  They ain't gonna take Marshall; his upside is pretty limited.  They are going to want Marmol, we will refuse; then they will want Jeff Samardjia, and that's the deal.  Samardjia, Fontenot, and Pie and/or other "prospects".

We resign Hank White, and make a couple of smaller FA signings, Juan Cruz and Eric Hinske.  Cruz gives us what Howry was supposed to give us; Hinske fills in every so often at one of the corner OF spots. 

Other fill-ins on the staff include Gaudin, Wuertz, and Cotts, along with the $8MM Long Island native, Jason Marquis du Suc.  Marquis will probably be your fifth starter, again.  He's being paid 2nd starter money, but as a 5th starter, we could do much worse.  In my world, Hofpauir never goes back to Iowa, again.  It would be lovely if he could be part of the Roberts deal, but that just makes too much sense.  It would be far better for us if McFail would accept Marshall/Hofpauir/Fontenot, but once again, I am sure that was probably already on the table last year.

My guy Fukudome - they ain't gonna trade him, and they ain't gonna come north with him.  He will either accept a nice trip to Des Moines, or a plane ticket home.

Some folks will have to adjust to new places in the batting order.  Soto will have to step up to the cleanup role.  He should see better pitches there.  Lee will go back to batting sixth, where he was the last time he won a title.  Soriano is going to have to deal with batting fifth.  We're all sick of the strikeouts to start games, which happens far more often (23, .302 OBP) than when he goes yard to start games (5).

So here's the Grand All-Majestic 25 Man Roster (realistic version) to start 2009:

P (12) - Z, Harden, Lilly, Marquis, Dempster, Wood, Marmol, Marshall, Cruz, Gaudin, Wuertz, Cotts.

C (2) - Soto, Blanco

IF (6) - Theriot, Cedeno, Ramirez, Lee, Roberts, Hofpauir

OF (5) - Soriano, Johnson, DeRosa, Pie, Hinske

Order: Roberts, Theriot, Ramirez, Soto, Soriano, Lee, DeRo, Johnson, P

Hopefully Fukudome can adjust himself to American Baseball by the time that Felix Pie's batting average dips below .100. 

Doesn't Samardzija

have a no trade clause? Anyway Rob, it's a shame you're probably right about Dempster and Wood. The history of Hendry's signings has always been to much money and to many years, Jones, Eyre & Howry to state just a few.

Don't get me wrong, I like both Dempster and Wood, but the top flight organizations don't overpay for most free agents unless it's a piece that puts them over the top. I just don't see how either Dempster or Wood do that.

Trading for Roberts is another example of how the Cubs open themselves up to get pantsed for a player that they don't have a defensive need for. Yes Roberts is a quality leadoff man but how many second baseman do the Cubs need? Their need for a superior defensive SS is far greater. When you consider signing Furcal would allow another LHB, Fontenot to play 2B, it would seem your lineup would be more balanced, better defensively and at least as productive as a Roberts/Theriot tandem.

The key of course is if Hendry overpays to resign Dempster and Wood. If Hendry lets them walk, you don't have to trade away what few bargaining chips the Cubs have to possibly help the team in other ways.

Their biggest need

by far, is a real leadoff hitter. Two playoffs in a row, we have spun our wheels without a real offense. I am willing to move gloves around for an real leadoff hitter, which buys us five times the runs that a superior SS saves.

I am also not convinced that spending big money to bring in Furcal is the answer, esp. if the cost is letting both Dempster and Wood go, without bringing in a replacement for either.

We may disagree, which is fine, but do YOU see the Tribune letting both Dempster and Wood go, and then turning around and handing all their money to Furcal? I will become a plus-size model first.

If we could get him for

If we could get him for cheap, Nick Punto would be a highly superior defensive SS, and while he may not be a huge offensive contributor, he hits decently, and he bats switch.

Good Point Rob...

but this is why I prefaced my remarks by the audaciously incompetent Captain Crueler, making decisions on the makeup of the team based on public opinion and his blood sugar level.

Hendry has a history of

Hendry has a history of signing players for too much money and too long? I hate to defend Hendry, but that's just a lie. Not to mention, the 3 players you mentioned are hardly examples of too much money and too many years. And what about Kerry Wood all these years? And Aramis Ramirez? And Derrek Lee? And Carlos Zambrano? And Mark DeRosa? And Ted Lilly? The only player he's signed to a long-term contract above market value has been Alfonso Soriano. That's it.

Yes, Carlos Zambrano

And Jason Marquis, and Derrek Lee. And Fukudome, although I myself thought it was a good idea.

And yeah, Soriano.

How in the world has Derrek

How in the world has Derrek Lee's contract been too long and for too much money? I'm one of his biggest critics, but $13 million per year for his production is still a bargain.

Jason Marquis? 2 years of league average pitching at well under the market price for average pitching. Not even remotely close to too long and too many years.

Fukudome? Good point. That was a bad contract when it was signed. And Soriano.

That's it. 2 or 3 or even 4 examples don't create a history when there are more examples of the exact opposite happening.

There's hardly a history here as Clute tried to pass on as the truth. If you want to be critical of Jim Hendry there are ways to do so, but this is not one of them.

Maddog, how you tend

to rewrite history after the fact. Looking at most free agent contracts only in terms of todays contract environment is absurd.

If you're telling me that any other GM on the planet would have plunked down 3 years for Jones, Eyre and Howry, you're delusional. And I don't recall including Lee in my discussions of an out-of-whack contract.

Have all of Hendry's signings been poor? Of course not but when you take in account, that most of the players Hendry has acquired, they primarily fall into the too many years and money contracts of Eyre, Howry, Jones, Marquis and Soriano, with Lilly and DeRosa being the only recent free agent signings that are likely to turn out.

On the trade front it's a little better mainly due to the total ineptitude of of the Pirate's GM even surpassing that of Hendry's. Yes he made an exceptional trade for D Lee, but Pierre, Garciaparra, and with the jury still out, possibly Harden, Hendry's record is lackluster at best.

And let's not forget the ubsurdity of the dribble he tried to get all of us Cub fans to swallow when Sosa and Alou were let go, when we were told that Hollandsworth, Dubois and Burnitz were going to replace their production.

I'm not defending Hendry

I'm not defending Hendry overall here. You claimed he had a history of doing something and I showed he did not. I also said there were many things we could be critical of Hendry about (and you just were and they had nothing to do with what you initially wrote).

You stated "The history of Hendry's signings has always been to much money and to many years, Jones, Eyre & Howry to state just a few."

I showed that to be incorrect.

You did not say anything in that comment about Dubois, Holly or whatever. You said what I quoted above. Please don't change your comments after the fact. His signings have not ALWAYS been for too much money and too many years. You said they were.

That's what this discussion was about and nothing else. I gave you multiple examples and you didn't like it so you changed what you mean. You moved the goalposts.

You don't think any other GM would have given Eyre and Howry 3 year deals? Have you not paid attention to what relievers are getting in free agency? There are undeniable facts that exist yet you are claiming those facts to be wrong. I don't get it. What purpose to a baseball discussion is there in doing that?

I didn't change

any goal posts, I just further elaborated. No GM had made any oveture at giving Eyre, Howry or Jones a 3 year deal and Hendry just made a knee-jerk reaction on signing Jones after the Dubois and Hollondworth fiasco. He further compounded the lunacy by giving 3 year contracts to not one but two set-up men who essentially would perform the same function. And like I said, today's environment was not what it was three years ago and I can't think of any GM that would have offered or had any offer on the table for 3 years for any of these three guys..

As far as bringing up the litany of Hendry's other miscues, it was stated to support my arguement over the Eyre, Howry and Jones signing, nothing more, nothing less.

So what you're saying is that

So what you're saying is that Mark DeRosa, Ted Lilly, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee were all offered bad contracts then?

Do you realize how silly this is? Of course some of the contracts were bad, some of them were good. Name ONE general manager you can't say that about.

Do you know what teams with money and the goal to win do? They sign players at above market rate to keep them from going to other teams? Perhaps we should go back to 2002 and before.

What part of the

English language don't you understand Maddog.

I believe I excluded Lee, Lilly and DeRosa, although I sure remember many of you stat heads screaming about the DeRosa signing. As far as Ramirez is concerned I believe I pointed out that because the Pirates GM was even more clueless than Hendry, that the Cubs were very fortunate to get Ramirez. But lets face the fact that if Hendry didn't break the bank and sign Soriano, resigning Ramirez would have been a much tougher deal for Hendry to make, let alone the home town discount he recieved.

Ok, if you excluded DeRosa

Ok, if you excluded DeRosa and several others, why on earth would you say Hendry has a history of ALWAYS blah blah blah. If you did exclude players and then made that comment, you yourself even admitted it was not accurate.

Face what fact? Do you have facts to present to me or are these your opinions about Soriano/Ramirez/Hendry? All I see so far is opinions (often contradicted by yourself as well as the facts). You pass these off as facts even though they're anything but. If you have evidence and information, post it. Don't expect me or anyone else to believe or leave your comments unchallenged when they don't match up with the facts that we do have.

I understand the English language just fine. You're just not using it well. You can't say something ALWAYS except for this, this, this, this, and this. And then name 3 players to prove your assertion that it ALWAYS happens while also naming several it didn't happen to. Can you honestly not see the flaws in your arguments?

If it would make you happy, I'll leave and you can pass off these opinions as facts all you wish. I don't really care one way or the other. This little meaningless argument has gone on way too long anyway. All I did was point out your errors and you've backstepped, questioned my intelligence and my knowledge of the English language. You know what they say, when someone begins using personal attacks, they've accepted defeat. And that was not what I was looking for. I was hoping we could have a discussion. A more rational and fact-based discussion. I'm sorry for thinking of you as an adult.

Fact #1

It was stated publicly that Ramirez in fact said that the Soriano signing played a key role in his resigning.

Fact #2, my statement of you not understanding the English language was a rhetorical one.

Fact #3, it is true that I'm a kid at heart and you may feel that I'm not an adult, but just because you say that I'm not doeasn't speak much for you acting like an adult.

Fact #4, I'm rubber and you're glue, everything you say about me bounces off of me and sticks on to you.

How's that for a grown up attitude?

Take a chill pill Maddog, I never meant anything to be personal and if you were offended, I apologize. You little child.Smiling Take it easy, take it easy, just kidding.

darn it

I suppose if this arguement really is over, I'll have to go back to reading about the election.
Oh, well.

CONTRACTS

It's not Hendry's fault if the players under perform in regards to their
contracts. It's easy to say after the fact..oh that was too much and too long for that person. Can't you do that with any GM and their signings?

I have a tendency to rewrite

I have a tendency to rewrite history after the fact? Please, elaborate for me. I'm not the one changing facts here. I'm not the one offering opinions that include false information. And I'm certainly not the one basing my opinion off of that false information.

missing pitchers

What happened to carlos zambrano? Shouldn't he be on there somewhere?

He's teh first name on the

He's teh first name on the list...

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