Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Felipe Lopez...I'd do that

Ciao friends. I've just returned from two weeks gallivanting across Western and Southern Europe and looky looky what I've come back to find.

Kurt's latest post about sums it up: Trouble is a brewing and changes need a making. When I left the Cubs were 25-25, so a .500 record at 30-30 doesn't seem like a big change. From what I can tell however, the offense has taking a significant turn to Crap Town, USA.

Now I've been out of the loop for a while, so I haven't heard the latest trade rumors, but I'd like to put my own idea out there (forgive me of this has been mentioned already).

How about Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Felipe Lopez?

Currently Lopez is hitting .305/.359/.425 with 4 HR and 11 RBI. Although his run production doesn't seem particularly impressive, the guy has been getting on base. For comparison sake, annual wet dream Brian Roberts is hitting .299/.366/.462 this season. Pretty close if you as me.

In addition to having a solid stick, Lopez is also a switch hitter and (if my memory serves me correct from when he was with the Cardinals) he can play a little third base.

According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, it appears that the Diamondbacks won't be participating in any trading, but I don't see why the Cubs can't pry Lopez away from them.

The Backs are 15 games out in the West and Lopez is due to be a free agent at the end of the season. I'm sure the Cubs could make a deal that wouldn't drain the talent pool or require them to give up any current big league talent.

Again, I apologize if this has been mentioned already in the past few weeks. It just seems like Lopez could be a cheap and quick upgrade for the offense, no?

That is a remarkably sound

That is a remarkably sound idea. How about Ryan Freel (to clear roster space) and some minor league grab-bag? Surely we have a couple of players not named Samardzija or Vitters that can be used... If we eat all the salaries, It'll go over even better.

Too Many

Perhaps he would fit in nicely with Aaron Miles, Andres Blanco, Bobby Scales, Ryan Freel, Ryan Theriot.....

no thanks

Lopez is carrying an unsustainably high .360 BABIP, with a 2.26 GB/FB ratio against a career average of 1.68. Since he has no career power, he's probably just getting lucky hitting doubles on the ground. He is a likely candidate for regression. No trade.

"No career power" is a bit of

"No career power" is a bit of a misstatement.

Regardless, whether Lopez maintains his numbers and finishes with a .305 AVG, .359 OBP, and .784 OPS or he reverts to his career line of .265, .332, and .729, answer me this question:

How many Cub starters are currently putting up better numbers than either of the lines I just presented?

Line A: No Cub with 100 at bats or more is batting .305. Only 2 have better OBPs - Lee and Fukudome. Only 2 have better OPS's - also Lee and Fukudome.

Line B: 4 Cubs have better AVGs than Lopez's career line, from Fukudome's .266 to Theriot's .283. 5 Cubs have better OBP's, from Soto's .332, to Johnson and Bradley's (.333 and .335) and up. 6 Cubs would have better OPS's than his career figure.

The point: Even if he completely reverted the rest of the way -- and he doesn't appear to be doing that, or else they wouldn't call them "career YEARS," Lopez would still be outhitting portions of the Cubs lineup. And no matter what he would be putting up much, MUCH better numbers than the guy he'd be immediately replacing in the lineup -- Aaron Miles.

So if the Cubs had to choose between using Aaron Miles at second base or trading for Lopez, are you telling me you wouldn't do it? Even if Lopez completely regressed? Really?

i just don't see it being that helpful

i suggest that lopez is likely to regress to his career averages over the season, so that means he'd be playing worse than his career average in order to get there. is there a chance that he'll play above that? sure. but you are suggesting that the cubs buy high on a commodity that i think is likely to fall in value. i don't think that's the wisest strategy.

lopez's career SLG is .397 to a league average SLG of .430.

other issue is that the dbacks wouldn't just give him away. dbacks tend to make pretty fair trades.

having aramis on the DL is what is killing this team the most. attempts to improve the offense through methods that will have significantly less impact that aramis back in the lineup are misguided.

But Lopez wouldn't be

But Lopez wouldn't be replacing the league at second base, he'd be replacing Aaron Miles (.200 AVG, .252 SLG)

I mean this with no disrespect to you, Matt, but the line of thinking you're using doesn't actually make a lot of sense. You want to compare a guy's career totals to the league's current totals ... pointless. The league isn't playing for the Cubs, a guy named Aaron Miles is. You want to compare said player's career totals despite the fact that he's playing above them. Again, pointless. We might as well look at the career ERA of Pedro Martinez when deliberating whether or not the Cubs should pursue him ... except his career ERA is totally irrelevant to how he'd play in 2009.

Not to mention the fact that the "league average SLG" is actually .405, and at second base it's .404.

All of which ignores the fact that Lopez's slugging is at .425 THIS year and he happens to be the age in which players tend to perform above their career numbers at a sustained clip.

Again, whether he's a .265 hitter with a .729 OPS or he's a .305 hitter with a .784 OPS, he's practically TWICE the hitter of who the Cubs are presently using at second base. How could that possibly NOT help?

you assume that lopez is

you assume that lopez is either a .265 hitter with a .729 OPS or he's a .305 hitter with a .784 OPS. what if he's a .276 hitter with a .611 OPS (that would be his june splits). is he the player that the washington nationals released (!!!!) last year after hitting .234/.305/.314 or the player the cards picked up and hit .385/.426/.538?

sure, aaron miles sucks. we all agree with that. i hated his acquisition from day 1. i'd rather see bobby scales get some more time than miles.

i think you see a player who is out-performing his career averages and say 'why not replace one of our steaming piles of crap with him?' fair enough.

i see a player who is playing above his head and say 'why is this guy's performance out of the ordinary, and what would happen if he fell back to his normal performance?' looking at the career numbers of a 29 year old player and seeing that he's been fairly consistent in his performance tells me that he might not present much of an upgrade at all. it seems that trading for him would be change for the sake of change, not necessarily for the sake of improvement.

Again, on a Cubs team in

Again, on a Cubs team in which only 2 players are outhitting him right now, even if he reverts -- or meets in the middle -- he's an upgrade on Miles.

The Cubs aren't going to get a super bat to replace Ramirez. Hell, when Ramirez comes back he might not even be the same this year. Realistically any upgrade will be one that's made to cover the time between now and the return of Aramis, and after that point the upgraded player will probably fall into the super sub role that Miles seems desperate to vacate. Whether the player they get is a Lopez or a Huff, I'm sure you realize that it won't be a Wright and whoever they get won't be a regular starter by August.

But, again, we can't compare a player with the league when deciding if he's a worthy upgrade... we have to compare him with who he'd be replacing. He'd be replacing a turd and for that reason alone is worth pursuing.

and we can't assume that

and we can't assume that felipe lopez's production is going to be sustainable if there are signs that it is not. we don't get credit for the stats that he has already produced this year. you are projecting a much more optimistic performance for lopez than i am. all the stat-y gobbledegook i am spouting is to say that i expect lopez to be a turd for the rest of the year (sorry lopez, and if you do come to the cubs, prove me wrong!)

[sarcasm] and how to you suggest we go about replacing miles's use as an emergency reliever? he's got a spiffy career WHIP of 1.000.[/sarcasm]

But who cares if his

But who cares if his production is sustainable? It's still dramatically better than the guy he'd be replacing! Or who would be your alternative target?

I don't get how anybody could argue against upgrading at second base when Aaron Miles is your starting second baseman.

Here's My Thing...

Regardless of his production, which I imagine would probably fall somewhere between his current season totals and his lifetime averages (yeah...how completely arbitrary was that statement?), we'd probably only see that that production for a little over three weeks.

Ramirez is due to come back probably after the all-star break, at which point he'll take his spot at third. At which point, Lil Mikey Fontenot and his career line of .275, .356, .440 should take over for Lopez and his .265, .332, .397 line. That makes a pretty crowded bench of light-hitting middle infielders, although if you add Freel in the deal, cut Miles, and send either Blanco/Scales to the minor, that problem could be solved.

So, yeah, it will be a good pick-up for those few weeks, and yes, probably even after as Lopez could be the best backup middle infielder we've had on the bench all season once Font takes over at second.

Having trouble seeing my point? Yeah, me too...

I guess to start with I was against the signing. Then I was kind of luke warm. Now, I don't think it will have THAT big of an impact and I'm kind of indifferent towards the whole thing. I guess if it doesn't cost too much and it gives the front office something to do, why not?

Nevermind

You know what? Just ignore all of that.

Here I am, a fan of a team who can't score any damn runs, and I'm arguing against signing a guy hitting above .300.

Why the heck not? Go for it!

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