Blog Entry

Cubbies on the move

Posted on: November 18, 2008 4:44 pm

The Cubs didn't necessarily guarantee themselves a World Series win by re-signing Ryan Dempster on Tuesday. Depressing truth on Chicago's North Side, of course, is that the move probably didn't even guarantee them one playoff win.

But it's important to remember that, before the fall, this is a team that won 97 games last year and, as general manager Jim Hendry swings to get better this winter, bringing Dempster back so swiftly was a key move.

It frees up Hendry to set out for new business, and not worry about the old.

"A week before Thanksgiving, pitching-wise, we're in good shape compared to a lot of teams in the industry," Hendry said Tuesday afternoon.

Don't underestimate the Cubs getting pole position in the winter race to set 2009 rosters thanks to the ultra-aggressive Hendry.

Think Atlanta, which needs two starting pitchers, failed to trade for Jake Peavy and was spurned in negotiations with Dempster, isn't envious right about now?

The Yankees, who made a monstrous offer to CC Sabathia and are also chasing A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe and every other starting pitcher in Free Agent-land?

The Cubs' rotation is at least four-fifths set now with Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden and Ted Lilly. Chicago's rotation led the National League in ERA (3.75) and winning percentage (.633) in 2008, and the winning part wasn't even close.

In going 69-40, the Cubs' starters far outdistanced St. Louis' rotation (second in the NL with a .587 winning percentage, 64-45).

Now, things change, and none of this guarantees cake and ice cream in 2009. But as far as starting points, the Cubs are far ahead of most of the rest of the industry.

There is still plenty Hendry would like to do. The Cubs' never-ending quest to add a significant left-handed batter remains a high priority. Adding even more depth to the rotation would be helpful, too. The Cubs have had several conversations with San Diego about Peavy this winter, and free agent left-hander Randy Johnson sure would be a nice fit in the rotation's No. 5 slot.

Dempster, 31, was 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA for the Cubs in '08.

"It's huge for us," Hendry said. "It was such a priority. Ryan did a terrific job. He had a phenomenal season. He's as good a clubhouse guy and teammate as we've ever had here."

Hendry, who acquired Kevin Gregg from Florida last week to help strengthen the bullpen, plans to meet with assistant Randy Bush and the rest of his brain trust again on Wednesday to plot where the Cubs' next moves.

"I don't think we're ever done looking," Hendry said. "There's always ways to get better. ... I wouldn't necessarily rule out anything."

Dempster's deal is four years at a reported $52 million, and he freely acknowledged he probably took a hometown discount to stay.

"For me, it's about being somewhere you like being," Dempster said in a conference call with reporters. "It's about being somewhere you think you can win.

"For me, it's more money than we deserve to be getting, but it's the marketplace."

Here's one more glimpse at the marketplace: Dempster said he did not receive any other firm offers, but since the free agent period opened up on Friday, he named Atlanta, the Mets, the Yankees, Toronto and the Los Angeles Dodgers as some of the teams that expressed interest.


Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: November 21, 2008 3:36 am

Cubbies on the move

Hahaha. No he doesn't. But playing for the White Sox will make anyone look bad unless their name is Carlos Quentin. Although, I won't be surprised if Quentin severely regresses next year. Once again the curse of Kenny Williams strikes again. I expect Swisher to rebound and a have a great season next year. Yes...he is that good. Of course he just might really suck as a hitter and decide to become a pitcher like those other losers who couldn't make it as a hitter or those hitters who couldn't make it as a pitcher. Really...if a player decides to switch positions because he can't make it playing his current position then maybe I should give baseball a try. I didn't play baseball in my youth, in high school or in college. If I sign with a team and make the roster I will have a good chance of winning the Triple crown and the Cy Young Award. Yes, what I just said is extremely ludicrous. But not as insane as the Cardinals for keeping Ankiel while his value is high. He will regress as a hitter. No surprise since he was never much of one. If he was a great hitter in his youth wouldn't he had become a position player rather than a pitcher. Lol!

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: November 19, 2008 1:41 pm

Cubbies on the move

I said I made a mistake on Lamb.  I also said he hit .132 the year before.  They said he'd be in the mix at 3B they didn't say he was their starting guy.  They said it would be up between him, Enrique Wilson and Erick Almonte.  I already said I think that Tex is there 1B and Swisher is in the OF.

DeRosa is still a utility man.  Yes he starts a majority of games but you can't trust him for 162 games a year.  Thats why his career high is only 520 AB and he is shuffled around between multiple positions (actually isn't that the definition of a utility man?).  Yes he's good enough to be in RF part time.  At this point in his career every team knows he doesn't have the arm to play their everyday.  And again, if the Yankees would get him, they would have to start him 2B meaning his flexibility is useless to them anyway. 

Again, look at Derrek Lee's home/road splits.  The past 3 seasons, he's hit .277 with 14 HR on the road, and .325 with 36 HR at home.  I'm not distorting stats.  He can't hit away from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.  And again, his HR rate has drastically dropped each of the last 3 seasons.  Those are facts, I'm not distorting anything.  And again, I said Nick Swisher was more valuable to the Yankees then Derrek Lee.  He's younger, cheaper, under contract for longer, more flexible defensively and has more power.  The only thing Lee has over Swisher is defense and batting average.  The batting average advanatage is less important considering they both have similar career OBP.  Take off your Cubs blinders and look at his recent split stats, that shows everything.  Your hometown bias is obvious.  And again there is no chance at all Lee is traded because he would not waive a no trade clause.

Soriano's contract can't and won't be moved for many reasons.  First of all, like most players you want to trade, he has a no trade clause.  He, unlike Lee, I think would waive it, but not to go to the Pirates, only to go to a contender.  Secondly, because there is too much time left on the contract.  When a player making that much is traded the team would always either have to pay some of the salary or exchange another bad contract.  The only bad contract that fits is Barry Zito (you need the years to matchup for it to work), who isn't performing on the level of Soriano to get the job done.  And it doesn't make sense for the Cubs to pay $5-8 million a year over 6 years for Soriano to play somewhere else.  Do you have any idea how many players with 6 or more years left were traded over the past 10 years?  Two.  Alex Rodriguez and Mike Hampton.  Soriano isn't the best player in baseball and want out as Arod was.  The Cubs can't pay 45% of the money on the remaining contract like the Rockies did.  Even if the Cubs could somehow find a fit for Soriano, there is no way management can OK a deal where they would have to pay $30-$50 million of his remaining contract with a pending ownership change.  That is why Soriano won't be moved.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think he'll finish the contract as a Cub, but he won't be traded for at least another 2 years when he has a more managable contract.

and I'm not a Cubs hater.  I just can't stand when people make stupid statements and then defend them blindly despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: November 19, 2008 10:53 am

Cubbies on the move

Rasroka, that kind of guy sounds a lot like Brian Roberts to me. I wonder if Hendry will pull the trigger on that, they were close to getting in done last offseason and even talked about it at the deadline this past yr. I don't know what would have to go back to Baltimore other than that a lot of starting pitching would have to be included.

Since: May 26, 2008
Posted on: November 19, 2008 10:12 am

Cubbies on the move

Doesn't matter who is on the move or who the cubs get in FA.  A born loser is a born loser!

Since: May 22, 2008
Posted on: November 19, 2008 8:18 am

Cubbies on the move

Lets look at the facts - or better stated - the facts that you have distorted in a vain attempt to discredit me:

1)  You claimed Mike Lamb was never a Yankee - only backtracking when proved otherwise.

2)  You claim DeRosa is a career utilityman.  He has started full-time the past 3 years,  1 year with Texas in RF and 2 years with the Cubs at 2B - during which time he continues to have better numbers every year.  You love quoting the stats - look it up.

3)  You claim Nick Swisher is a more highly regarded player by Brian Cashman and most of MLB then Derek Lee.  Crazy assumption but your opinion.  We disagree obviously.  Lee has hit over 20 HRS 8 times in his career and has over 80 RBI's 6 times.  He has hit under .290 once in the past 4 years.  He is a 2 time all-star, 3 time gold-glove winner, and has won the batting title once.  At age 33, he is far from washed-up.  You may not like the deal and it very well might not happen but to call it ridiculous and hometown bias is absurd.  Calling Swisher a better player than Lee is just wrong no matter how you try to spin it. 

4)  Saying there actively trying to dump Soriano is also wrong.   Why is it that people like you assume any player with a big contract can't be traded?  There is no salary cap in baseball.  This isn't the NBA.  So, you're basically saying he's overpaid and another team won't trade for him because he's overpaid?  Well, let me take you to school here dude,  People are traded in baseball usually because of bad contracts or underperformance.  It's called a change of scenery.  If the Cubs put Soriono on the open market there would be several bidders.

It's OK to be a Cubs hater dude - just come up with better arguements next time and quit trying to rely to manipulate stats to prove your point.  



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: November 19, 2008 1:13 am

Cubbies on the move

So the Yankees and Cubs both need to upgrade and somehow they both end up better with this deal?  You say the only thing the Cubs should worry about is winning a world series this season, so they trade away their older players who you claim are better?  You are contradicting yourself everywhere.  Teams in need of a World Series trade young questions marks for veterans not the other way around.  Cashman has been trying to build from within for the past few years, so he trades away the players he controls for 3-4 year for an aging past his prime veteran and a career utility man?  No chance at all.

Derrek Lee isn't that good anymore.  In his last 600 AB away from Wrigley Field he has 11 home runs.  That isn't getting the job done.  His career averages don't mean anything because he isn't the same player he was pre 2005.  Comparing him to Arod is idiotic.  Arod is the best player of his generation, and aside from 2005, Lee has been a league average 1B.  The stadium did effect Arod's home run numbers if you look at them.  He averaged 52 HR a year in Texas and only 42 in New York.

Your thoughts on Lee are just ridiculous Cubs fan rhetoric.  A .295 hitter?  He's only hit above .286 twice in a 12 year career.  90-110 RBI a year?  He's only broken 100 once with a career high 107 four seasons ago.  I already proved to you he isn't a home run threat outside of Wrigley field.  And stop bringing up defense, its 1B.  If it was SS, CF or C, a key defensive position, it would matter a lot.  It's 1B, the least important position defensively.  We know he can play defense, it isn't anywhere near a deciding factor.  There is no way at all that Lee would waive his no trade clause.  The Cubs had the best record in the NL and he's been there for 5 years.  Players who want to be somewhere only waive their no trade clauses for a better shot at the World Series.  The Yankees are in a stacked division where they aren't guaranteed a playoff spot and the Cubs are in the weak NL. There is no chance at all he waives to go to NY.

I never said Swisher was the solution at 1B.  I said the Yankees need him more because of his flexibility.  I still think they  end up with Teixeira and play Swisher in the OF.  DeRosa's position flexibility is irrelevant because if they trade Cano they have to start him at 2B, and besides he doesn't have the arm to play RF everyday or the range to play CF.  He also isn't even close to any type of player that would be considered the right deal to trade Cano in.  He's a utility player coming off a career season.  Thats it. 

Enough with all your bull.  All your stats on Lee are lies and all your GM reasoning contradicts other things you've already said.  You have no idea at all what you are talking about.  All you say is the Cubs should do this for this reason, but the deal makes no sense at all for the Yankees.  Yes the Yankees say Cano is available.  But they want the same value they could have gotten for him last season.  This deal is no where near his value last season, and no GM is going to be willing to give up that much for him. 

Even your Cubs reasoning is ridiculous.  As every columnist at every website has said, the Cubs are going to try to get rid of Soriano, but there is virtually no chance they can move his contract.  Give up on it.  It would also be stupid to move DeRosa.  I can guarantee you no team is going to give up a young player like Cano for him so you would have to get a FA to replace him.  Whats the point of trading him when you would have to either overpay Orlando Hudson 7 figures or finally cave in after a year of negotiations and give Josh Vitters up for Brian Roberts?  And as I already said, there is no chance at all that Derrek Lee waives his no trade clause.  I'm sure you would like to get rid of those three and Fukudome for that matter.  But there is no chance it will happen.  It's the same thing as having stupid Yankees fans saying they can trade Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui for Matt Cain or BJ Upton or some other untradable player.  The only position players on your team with the kind of value you assume Lee and De Rosa have are Aram and Soto and we can both agree that they aren't moving anywhere.

bottom line.  give up.  you have some of the worst hometown bias I've ever seen and you are making yourself look bad.

Since: May 22, 2008
Posted on: November 19, 2008 12:04 am

Cubbies on the move

Tyldak23 - Nick Swisher was benched by the White Sox last year in favor of Dwayne Wise.  The Sox thought they had a better chance to win down the stretch and in the playoffs with a journeyman career minor leaguer than Nick Swisher!  He hit .216 for the year and struck out a gizziion time - mostly looking.  Derek Lee was an early MVP candidate after the first two months.  Lee's career averages indicate a .295 hitter with 20-25 homers and 90-110 RBI's along with being a yearly gold glove candidate.  Plus, he is a line drive hitter, with good opposite field power.  The left field distance hasn't seemed to slow A Rod much and wouldn't Lee either.

Regarding Lamb, first you were dead wrong, now you're saying they had no intention of starting him at 3B.  They indeed did before they traded for A Rod, go back and read the stories - it was widely reported at the time..  I was pointing out that the Swisher deal is very similar and it's true.  If the Yankees sign Texiera or trade for Lee or any other considered upgrade over Swisher, they very well could turn around and deal Swisher.  They've done it before and they could do it again, end of story.

The Cubs should deal Lee because they have a cheaper alternative in Hofpauir and it's better to deal while a player's value is high.  Lee is still highly regarded throughout baseball and DeRosa is coming off a career year.  I just think the Cubs have to upgrade their lineup in other positions.  They have options at 2B if they move DeRosa, even if they don't get Cano in return.  But, according to numerous sources, the Yankees would consider dealing Cano in the right deal.  Their major holes are SP, CF, & 1B.  Lee would waive his no-trade to go to New York - probably with a money incentive.

The Cubs need to change the mix of players they have.  Nothing matters except winning the World Series.  They can only get back so much dealing Marshall, Cendo, Pie, etc.  They are going to have to seriously consider moving bigger pieces such as Lee, DeRosa, & Soriano to bring a better, more balanced lineup to Chicago's northside.

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: November 18, 2008 11:22 pm

Cubbies on the move

Why would the Braves be envious of not signing Dempster?  If we would have had to over pay for him I would just assume them putting Ho Ho Reyes in the starting five.  Dempster's year was an abberation.  We've all seen the real Dempster and now that he has his money he'll revert back to his former self, closer to the way he pictched against the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs.  Anyway Peavy is probably still going to end up in Atlanta if Towers uses his brain.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: November 18, 2008 11:12 pm

Cubbies on the move

yeah. I'm sure the Pirates will take on Soriano's ridiculous salary and give up one of the games best young leadoff hitters who makes nothing.  Ok.  Back to PLaystation.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: November 18, 2008 11:05 pm

Cubbies on the move

I guess I missed the Lamb one, but the Yankees never said he was their starting 3B, they got him for depth at the position.  He hit .132 in 38 AB the year before that, he was never going to get significant playing time even if he stayed.  You're point on Lamb is still completely irrelevant.

And you are also dead wrong on Derrek Lee over Nick Swisher.  It's Derrek Lee for $26 Million over 2 years at age 33-34, or Nick Swisher for $22 million over 3 years at 28-30 (and the option for another year at $9 million at age 31).  For the record, historically age 27-32 are the best years for hitters.  Derrek Lee is in the decline, Nick Swisher will be in the heart of his prime.

That's also Derrek Lee whose HR rate dropped drastically from 1 in 12.91 ab in 2005, to 19.44 AB in 2006, to 25.77 in 2007 and an abysmal 31.15 last year.  Derrek Lee doesn't have the power to play 1B anymore.  Plus his power is aided a lot by playing in HR friendly Wrigley Field.  In the past 3 years he's hit 36 HR at home and only 14 on the road.  That's one HR per every 49.64 AB since the start of 2005 away from Wrigley Field.  That means in a home park that does not significantly favor hitters or pitchers, you could expect Derrek Lee to hit 12 HR in a 600 AB season.  That does not include a decline due to age, changing leagues, the NY media, or the fact that Yankee Stadium has a deep left field wall.  All of these are factors that would further bring down Derrek Lee's performance.  These are things teams look at when they evaluate players and every GM knows it. 

Defense and leadership are great, but NY is a veteran team, it doesn't need leadership.  A team like the Rays or Dbacks would value a veteran leader, not the Yankees. Besides the Cubs got swept out of the playoffs two years in a row.  That leadership sure helped out when it really counted didn't it?  To the Yankees, who currently have questions at CF, RF and 1B, Nick Swisher's position flexibility is much more important than defense, especially defense at 1B.

You're trade was ludicrous.  Derrek Lee is a bum on his way out.  No serious contender will take a guy with 12-15 HR (a high estimate for him away from Wrigley) as their 1B.  He has a no trade clause anyway, and I really doubt he'd waive it.  

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