From the Wire … Cubs Claim Max Ramirez Off Waivers from the Red Sox

According to a tweet from Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, the Cubs claimed catcher/first baseman Max Ramirez off waivers from the Boston Red Sox … the Sox claimed Ramirez off waivers from the Rangers last week.

Baseball America ranked the 26-year old (October 11, 1984) the 11th best prospect in the Rangers’ organization prior to the 2010 season. Ramirez will be added to the Cubs 40-man roster.

Max Ramirez has played just 45 games in parts of two seasons (2008 and 2010) with the Rangers. Ramirez owns a .217/.343/.357/.699 line with four doubles and four home runs.

The right-hander hit .286/.373/.381/.754 in 56 games at Triple-A last season with nine doubles and three home runs.

Ramirez was once considered one of the best prospects in baseball. Prior to the 2009 season Ramirez was ranked 84th in Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects.

With the addition of Max Ramirez, the Cubs big league roster stands at 39 players … with four of the 39 being catchers Geovany Soto, Welington Castillo, Ramirez and Koyie Hill.

According to a report from the Tribune, Ramirez will compete for a back-up job in Spring Training. Koyie Hill is expected to be Geovany Soto’s backup and Welington Castillo will also compete for playing time as well.

The Red Sox tried to sneak Ramirez through waivers after needing to open a roster spot for reliever Hideki Okajima. The Red Sox announced Okajima’s deal on Monday.

Max Ramirez’s Minor League Page on Baseball-Reference

Max Ramirez’s Page on Baseball-Reference

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  • Gary J

    Wow. Interesting. I remember when the Rangers had a big quandary about having him, Saltalamachia, and Teagarten as the three-headed “catchers of the future”. Of the three, this kid always showed the most pop (and I think least defense). Anyone interested can find his minor league stats at baseball reference (http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=ramire001max). Wouldn’t be surprised to see him make the team as the 3rd C and backup 1b as he’s out of options as the Boston claim a couple weeks back and the Cubs claim today show.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Gary, thank you for posting the link to Baseball-Reference. I have a link to his major league page in the report as well. Ramirez will be added to the CCO’s 40-man roster soon.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        Neil, Is Ramirez out of options as Gary J said ? I wouldn’t think so since he has only played parts of 2 seasons he should still have an option left right! Boston just didn’t have room for him on the 40 man roster right.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Boston did not have room for him after picking him off waivers last week. Gary is right though, Ramirez is out of minor league options. Remember it is when a player is added to a team’s 40-man roster not time in the big leagues.

          I will add him tonight on the CCO’s 40-man roster …

          Garza was just on WGN Radio and put me a little behind schedule for the evening.

      • Gary J

        Oops – sorry – didn’t see the minor league link Neil. My bad :-)

  • tex

    Can we waive Koyie Hill now please??????

    • Anonymous1

      I Agree, release him NOW.

  • stormyweather

    This kid was once a top prospect, back when the Indains received him in the Victor martinez trade, I beleive. Hed likely be an offensive upgrade over Koyie Hill(Jason Kendall would be an improvement on Hill), but hes been held back by his defense.

  • daverj

    Very nice waiver pick-up.

  • cubs1967

    perfect example of a once top 100 MLB prospect who now has been waived twice in a matter of weeks; yet all the bitchin’ on here about trading an old catcher like Chirinios (who I would trade for Ramirez), a Matt Murton clone like Guyer(who we are better off w/ a speed guy like Perez) and 2 prospects like Archer (he of the famous “we got nothing for DeRosa” trade, and Lee; who I admit wa not part of the trade, but I would trade a 15 game winner for a SS at least 2 years from a MLB debut and prob 3-4 before having any meaningful impact.

    If Ramirez can catch; good RH back-up for 1b. and if not, send him to AAA, let Castillo play. Luv Koyie, but need better than a .200 avg in the NL w/o the DH.

    2011…………beginning 103rd season and no championship.

  • Ripen Boy

    Great move. He has a real good bat and he can be our 3rd catcher and back-up firstbaseman. He can also learn to play the corner outfield spots as well. He is a below average defensive catcher but having 3 catchers and one that can play multiple positions gives the Cubs some flexibility. He can be the modern day Tyler Houston.

    • The Maven

      Or Jake Fox?

      • daverj

        Ramirez was a much better prospect than Fox. I don’t see a similarity other than potential position flexibility.

        • The Maven

          It’s hard express “tongue-in-cheek” in a blog.

    • Ripsnorter1

      The man is a Catcher, and that’s about it. Forget about him playing 3B. He has exactly 9 games at 1B in 2008–and that’s it, folks. All of his other games at are C.

      About his decent bat . . . I dunno.
      He has never had 400 AB in a single year–ever.
      In 2008, he moved from the Rookie league to AA, and in AA he raked to the tune of .354BA, .450 OBP, .656 slugging in 243 AB. But when he was moved to AAA, he hit .243 in just 41 PA, and in 2009 struggled at .234 BA, .323 OBP and .326 slugging. OUUUUUCH!!! He spent some time in the rookie league again where he hit .154
      In 2010 AAA he was a parttime catcher again hitting
      .286, .373 OBP and .381 slugging. NO POWER in the upper levels, folks. Just 5 HR in 2009 and 3 HR in 2010. He isn’t progressing at the upper levels.

      Maybe he makes the team–I dunno. But I’ll tell ya’ll right up front: as far as Jim Clueless is concerned, Koyie Hill will stick around for his “defense”–you just wait and see. This guy had better tear up the town in ST in order to stick with the big club.

      As for the Red Sox go–they didn’t think enough of him to keep him on their 40 man roster.

      Max Rameriz is Brad Synder, Brian LaHair. He is not as good as Jake Fox.

  • The Maven

    After quickly consulting Cot’s, I’ve come to the conclusion as to how the Cubs are going to pay for Matt Garza’s contract this year. After picking up Max Ramirez, the Cubs can dump Koyie Hill, Jeff Baker and Justin Berg in spring training. If they then trade Tom Gorzelanny for players that don’t have a major league contract, the saving will almost equal the 3.35M Garza will earn this season. The roster spots would be filled by M. Ramirez, Wellington Castillo, and Fernando Perez (Berg didn’t figure to make the major league roster this year). The only problem is that the Cubs would start the season like 2009, with only one back-up infielder (most likely Barney).

  • Aaron

    This is the type of pick-up I like to see. I commend Hendry for making this pick, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing if he doesn’t release Koyie Hill (which, I suspect will NOT happen…meaning in Hendry’s world, it’s just another camp body to give competition in Spring Training and fill the void left by Chirinos). But, nevertheless, usually Hendry doesn’t get this type of talent, so I like it.

    If only he could’ve thought ahead to get Hermida, Cabrera, Franceour, or Chris Carter….because with the inclusion of Guyer in the Garza trade, we basically have Brett Jackson as the only OF that has a chance of making an impact. Fernando Perez, at this point, is nothing more than Joey Gathright part 2, and will likely be released anyhow. It would’ve been nice to have signed one of those young free agent OF I just mentioned in the event he doesn’t pan out, or if Colvin has any setbacks, and Byrd or Soriano show their age.

    But…I digress, and back to the main point. If you look at Max Ramirez’s minor league stats, it appears that the dude struggles at containing the running game, so that, perhaps is one of the reasons he hasn’t been given a full shot, but his offensive stats are incredible. He’s bounced around a lot for some reason, which could mean one of two things really…either a) he has been a very attractive top prospect and a must-have in every trade. He was dealt by the Braves for Bob Wickman in 2006 when Wickman was a hot trade target. He was dealt the following year at the deadline yet again for Kenny Lofton, as the Indians were trying to load up for the playoffs. or…. b) he could have some character issues that have kept him switching addresses.

    If you gave me these choices:
    Player A: 21 yrs old, .292 avg, .417 OBP, 23 doubles, 13 hr, 63 RBI
    Player B: 21 yrs old, .271 avg, .355 OBP, 16 doubles, 9 hr, 48 RBI

    Who are you picking? Obviously you’d pick Option A, and that would be Max Ramirez, who posted 4 straight seasons of at least a .292 avg and .417 OBP. His streak ended in 2009, and it appeared he must’ve dealt with some injuries or something, and last year he came close in 56 games at AAA with .286 avg, .373 OBP…It just seemed that either the shuttling back and forth between MLB and the minors messed with him, or he was injured.

    But he’ll be just 26 yrs old next year, and if Castillo doesn’t produce in the spring, I think you have to go with this guy as the back-up. He’s clearly got talent.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Aaron,
      I love ya man–but let’s talk things over . . . .

      Before we all get all Cubbie Blue google-eyed over Max Rameriz . . . why not compare his minor league stats to none other that the hated Mario Mendoza of the catching world: Koyie Hill.

      I have previously posted Koyie Hill’s ML batting statistics, and shown you all how Koyie and Mario Mendoza have the same lifetime batting average: .215. Koyie has 2 more homers than Mario. Otherwise their batting statistics are mirror perfect.

      SO how does Mad Max Rameriz compare to Koyie in AAA?

      Lifetime AAA stats for Mad Max:
      500 AB–.254BA–.340OBP–.360slugging (AWFUL)
      Lifetime AAA for Koyie Hill (hated catcher)
      1413AB–.281BA–.339OBP–.439 slugging

      I’d rather had Koyie Hill’s bat for the better BA and power.
      I’d rather have Koyie Hill’s glove for his defense.

      WHAT??!!!??? DEFENSE???!!!
      Why yes. Koyie has played C, 1B, 2B, and 3B.

      You didn’t know?

      Let’s talk about K. Hill’s glove at C vs. Ramirez glove at C.
      Careerwise, Ramirez is a .986% catcher, with a mere 22% CS rate.
      Careerwise, Hill is a .985% catcher with a 31% CS Rate.

      BUT—BUT–BUT——
      At AAA, Ramirez is a 16% CS rate, vs. Hill’s 37% CS rate.
      (Early in his career at A- ball Hill was a 7% CS rate catcher).

      So don’t get too excited about Mr. Max Ramirez, folks. He just ain’t worth it.

      And one other thing: Mad Max is another case of a “top prospect” that fizzled in AA and AAA. A dud.
      Bob Wickman was a stud. And so was Kenny Lofton. I don’t mind dealing a prospect away for a stud like Kenny Lofton.

      • Aaron

        I have absolutely NO idea why you’re comparing AAA stats for those 2 guys. AAA stats are NOT a good way to judge talent. If you want to have a true barometer of where a player is at, I highly suggest you look at age comparisons.

        Hill’s best minor league season came at age 22 in low A when he hit .301 with a .368 OBP and a paltry .398 SLG with 20 doubles, 8 hr, 79 RBI. He would soon go on to repeat AAA for 5 seasons in a row, showing just how little teams value him. He also owns a career 31% CS rate in the minors, which is good, but not great.

        Hill is pathetic, and yes, he can play C, 1B, and 3B, but he had 5 errors in 16 games in 3B in the minors, and 3 errors in 8 games at 1B in the minors. And, supposedly his strong suit, catching, he has an astounding 64 errors in 584 games. If you average that over a 162 game season, that equals about 3 1/2 full seasons, which means he averages a mind-boggling 18 errors per 162 games season at catcher. LOL….and you trust this joker?!?

        C’mon….get real man…I normally don’t disagree with what you’re saying….I disagree with some of the rhetoric, but not the basic premise of most of what you say. But this is one of the most ridiculous posts I’ve ever seen from you.

        You also skewed your stats a bit. Ramirez averaged a 22% CS rate, which is average…not great…but average. A 16% would be horrible, which he had last year, but put that into context at least….that was in 34 games. Ramirez has a total of 34 errors at catcher in his minor league career…44 total (10 of which came at 3B). Koyie Hill had an astounding 72 errors total in 9 minor league seasons versus 44 in Ramirez’s 7 minor league seasons. What’s worse? Hill had 56 passed balls versus Ramirez’s 33. So….in both errors and passed balls, Ramirez had nearly half of what Hill had. PLUS, Their offensive totals aren’t even close….Not even close man. That’s why I just cannot understand why you’re trying to make this argument.

        Let’s see….a career minor league .298 avg, .396 OBP, .476 SLG

        or…

        .279 avg, .346 OBP, .411 SLG

        It’s not even close brother….sorry

        Ramirez wins hands down, and what makes matters worse in a “pro Hill” sense was last season for him.

        Not only was he one of the absolute worst hitters in the entire game at .214 avg, .254 OBP, .298 SLG, but he had a paltry 18% CS rate to boot, and that’s supposed to be his strong suit. He was also worth a -1.0 on WAR rating, which is terrible.

        Ramirez also has just 45 games, 115 ABs under his belt at the MLB level, producing .217 avg, .343 OBP, .357 SLG, 4 hr, 17 RBI

        Hill’s had 256 games, 699 ABs, .215 avg, .276 OBP, .302 SLG, 6 hr, 66 RBI

        So…in 211 less games, and 584 less ABs (or roughly equivalent to a full MLB season’s worth of ABs), Ramirez has about the same average, but nearly 70 points better in OBP, and over 50 points better in SLG, plus, he has nearly the same amount of home runs. You’d have to think that given a full season, Ramirez would produce at least 49 RBI, which would equal Hill’s career output.

        Face the facts, Ramirez is the better choice….sorry to burst your bubble

        • Ripsnorter1

          Aaron,
          Well then, can we agree that this guy isn’t Hank Aaron, II?
          Can we agree that Ramirez isn’t even Tyler Houston, II?

          I am not sure why Jim Clueless picked him up, except to indicate that he has no desire to bring up Wellington Castillo in 2011. The way I see it is that Jim Clueless has just nailed the AAA coffin shut on Castillo. And Koyie’s only real challenge for a roster spot will be Mad Max.

          Do I think Koyie Hill is a decent sub? No way.
          But I don’t think Mad Max is any better at all. His stats say he is even worse than Hill.

          You want to compare age to age stats? Okay, let’s take a look at these players at the same age:

          Ramirez is 26 (Oct, 1984 birthdate), so during the season he was 25.

          AAA; 226 PA..3HR….286 BA…373 OBP…381slugging–.754 OPS year: 2010

          Hill, age 25, AAA, 383 PA…13 HR….286BA….339OBP….471 slugging…OPS .811

          I’d rather have the 10 extra HR’s and the big slugging than the paltry .381 slugging.

          My point: Ramirez was a big prospect until he hit AA and then he hit a wall. Sure, he takes a few more walks–that’s great–but he doesn’t hit for power or average. His stats are less than Hill’s in the upper levels.

          And his major league batting average is a Koyie Hill like .217, with less defensive capability.

          Ramirez’s big virtue at this moment: he is younger than Hill.

          I agree: Hill isn’t worth more money than Soto. Hill isn’t worth $1 million dollars. Release him. But if you do and replace him with Ramirez, let’s be honest: he’s a Koyie Hill clone, or worse.

          • Ripsnorter1

            That’s the answer: Jim Clueless is taking Tony Hall’s advice, and planning on cutting Koyie Hill (along with others) to come up with the cash to pay Garza. Ramirez is a Koyie Hill type bat, but it saves some dough.

            Goodbye, Koyie. The party is over.

          • Tony_Hall

            Oh, if only he would take mine or others on here advice.

            I would say it was more of an observation, as to how he works. He will move out any movable parts to save the difference between their pay and 414K to make it all fit.

            K Hill, J Baker, T Gorzellany will be gone, not that many haven’t been calling for Hill and Baker to be gone.

          • Aaron

            I wholeheartedly disagree with that take, as for 4 straight years in the minors from age 20 (advanced Rookie ball), 21 (low A), 22 (high A), 23 (AA and AAA), he had NO less than a .292 avg, .417 OBP. That shows very good progression through the system with consistent results. For whatever reason, at age 24, his first full season at AAA, he struggled, and someone else pointed out that he had a shoulder injury. The guy hasn’t been the same since, so perhaps that injury had something to do with it. I just think a guy that hits nearly .300 with a .400+OBP at every stop, moving up a rung in the minors every year, is EXTREMELY rare. Guys like that just don’t grow on trees.

            We’ve had so much inconsistency at the MLB level with prospects and veterans alike, that if you just look at minor league stats alone, it should come as NO surprise to anyone. Fact is, we need consistency, and it starts by identifying those types early at the minor league level.

            It’s why I love the non-flashy type of guys like Mitch Moreland versus guys like Soto and Colvin, who in their rookie years just go insane, and have years unlike anything they ever produced at the minor league level. Can guys like Soto and Colvin figure things out at the MLB level all of a sudden? Sure, and it’s happened before, but when you’re talking about sustained success, it’s quite rare that guys like that are able to maintain that level of production.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Aaron,
            You are most welcome to disagree with my take. But I wonder if you and I can’t agree on this much:

            1. Mad Max ain’t what he used to be. Was it shoulder injury that robbed him of his power? That’s happened before. Or did the league(s) just figure him out, and he didn’t readjust?–that’s happened before, too. But for whatever cause, Aaron says, ” The guy hasn’t been the same since.” Now I agree with that.

            2. Released twice in a week. That’s two suits on winning teams THAT NEED CATCHING that think he was the #41 most valuable man on their 40 man roster. And like you said, Cubs’ kingom is celebrating his arrival.

            Now, can we agree on that much? I should think so.

            I think this signing says two things:
            1. Koyie Hill’s future with the Cubs is past.
            2. The Cubs are not going to rush Castillo to the majors to ride the bench behind Soto. The one person who had a chance to unseat Koyie was Chirinos, and he’s gone.

            Where you and I disagree is over the point that Ramirez is an upgrade over Hill. I don’t think he’s a defensive upgrade, and I don’t think he’s an offensive upgrade. IN the past he demonstrated much promise, but that “for whatever reason” came into play, and you think he might recapture the glory, and I think it is gone for good.

            Now, do you agree with that?

  • Tony_Hall

    Just read an article, and this is how the article finished.

    “In case you were wondering, pitchers and catchers report to spring training in a bit more than a month. I’m counting the days!”

    If that doesn’t put a smile to your face, nothing will.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Let’s talk Garza (again). Let’s compare him vs. Randy Wells (you know, the piece of junk ya’ll want to ditch into AAA Iowa). Take my advice: DON’T YOU DARE DO IT. Garza’s and Well’s stats are roughly equivalent. (Don’t choke on your spaghetti, Luther! Look at the stats and see for yourself).

    Dare to Compare Garza 2010 vs. Wells 2010:
    Quality Starts–32 starts/18 quality for EACH one.
    (HEY! I thought this Garza was a stud??!!???).

    Wild pitches:
    Garza 12–Wells 2

    Balks:
    Garza 2–Wells 0
    WHIP

    Garza 1.25—Wells 1.40 (sophomore jinx year Garza: 1.54).

    Career Complete games:
    Garza 118 GS, 6 CG
    Wells 59 GS 0 CG

    Career No-hitters:
    Garza 1 Wells 0

    k/9 IP 2010
    Garza 6.6 Wells 6.7

    HR/9 2010
    Garza 1.2–Wells 0.9

    ******************Run Support 2010*************************
    **Tampa Bay was #3 in MLB for runs scored****
    Garza: 5.2 per start
    Wells 3.4 per start

    Cheap Wins in 2010
    (ie, pitched less than 6 innings, gave up more than 3 runs):
    Garza 3—Wells 1

    Tough Losses 2010 (QS but lost anyway)
    Garza: 4–Wells 5

    Bullpen effect:
    ie, the first number was a game where he was winning when he left the game, but bullpen turned it into a loss. The second number is when the starter left the game in a position to lose, but the bullpen came back to rescue the starter’s bacon:
    Garza: 1-5—Wells 2-3

    So Garza’s bullpen was much more effective than Well’s bullpen. Garza had one blown save, and 5 times the bullpen pulled his bacon out of the fire.

    Wells had 2 blown saves in which he would have won, and 3 times the bullpen saved his bacon.

    If you are looking for 20 wins out of Garza, forgetaboutit! He’s Randy Wells with some real run support.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    He was with Texas when Jaramillo was there so hopefully he can get Ramirez headed in the right direction. At least he can take a walk.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Before we all get all Cubbie Blue google-eyed over Max Rameriz . . . why not compare his minor league stats to none other that the hated Mario Mendoza of the catching world: Koyie Hill.

    I have previously posted Koyie Hill’s ML batting statistics, and shown you all how Koyie and Mario Mendoza have the same lifetime batting average: .215. Koyie has 2 more homers than Mario. Otherwise their batting statistics are mirror perfect.

    SO how does Mad Max Rameriz compare to Koyie in AAA?

    Lifetime AAA stats for Mad Max:
    500 AB–.254BA–.340OBP–.360slugging (AWFUL)
    Lifetime AAA for Koyie Hill (hated catcher)
    1413AB–.281BA–.339OBP–.439 slugging

    I’d rather had Koyie Hill’s bat for the better BA and power.
    I’d rather have Koyie Hill’s glove for his defense.

    WHAT??!!!??? DEFENSE???!!!
    Why yes. Koyie has played C, 1B, 2B, and 3B.

    You didn’t know?

    Let’s talk about K. Hill’s glove at C vs. Ramirez glove at C.
    Careerwise, Ramirez is a .986% catcher, with a mere 22% CS rate.
    Careerwise, Hill is a .985% catcher with a 31% CS Rate.

    BUT—BUT–BUT——
    At AAA, Ramirez is a 16% CS rate, vs. Hill’s 37% CS rate.
    (Early in his career at A- ball Hill was a 7% CS rate catcher).

    So don’t get too excited about Mr. Max Ramirez, folks. He just ain’t worth it.

    • The Maven

      While in the Dodger system, Koyie Hill also received their Mauy Wills award for stealing 20 bases in a season.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yeah, but waht drunk awarded it to mhim? Koyie stole 21 bases, but was gunned down 12 times. Still, that was a great post by you.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Check this out for anybody that want Baseball America’s breakdown after the trade for Garza!
    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2011/2611134.html here is a small excerpt
    As for the Cubs, Brett Jackson would ascend from No. 2 to replace Archer as the system’s best prospect, while Alberto Cabrera, Darwin Barney and D.J. LeMahieu would come into the Top 10. Quick scouting reports on the newcomers: Cabrera is a righthander with a 92-97 mph fastball and mid-80s slider; Barney is a proven winner and quality middle-infield defender who plays above his tools; and LeMahieu is the best pure hitter in the system but needs to find more power to make it at third base, his best defensive position.

    • paulcatanese

      Patrick,I agree about Barney as a quality defensive player. the few times I have seen him play impressed me with his smoothness and confidence of his moves. Undoubtably I think he will improve with the bat as he is allowed to play more and look forward to Brett Jackson’s appearence on the scene. I have not seen him play,but reports from the top posters on this site have said he is one that would make a difference for the Cubs and they have been more informed than I so I take their word for it.

  • Cheryl

    It appears that Ramirez has never had a solid opportunity because of being bounced around so much. If he gets some solid work with the Cubs we may have a better idea of how good the guy is. Has he ever had a chance to work consistently with the same pictchers? That makes a difference.

  • http://www.go-for-it-productions.com JoeS_SanDiego

    Just a few years ago I would have been very excited to see a headline Cubs claim M. Ramirez from Red Sox….

    • Aaron

      my how far our star….(and his as well) has fallen, when a signing like this makes big news to Cubs fans.

      He’s already been waived twice. A few years ago, a lot of us were talking about how Soto was our catcher of the future, and we were projecting a long run of competitiveness and playoff appearances.

      Now, we’re making news for all the wrong reasons. This might be one of Hendry’s best moves, because he actually addressed a need with a capable guy like Ramirez for back-up catcher.

      However, it doesn’t take away the piss poor moves he’s already made this offseason (the ill-advised signing of Pena, coming off a .196 avg to “solve” our 1B problem), then the trade for Garza, where we clearly overpaid to a get a no-better-than #3 starter AND we dealt our lead-off hitter of the future (Lee), a potential future #1 starter (Archer), and in a more relevant to this particular debate—-our potential back-up catcher in Chirinos…plus, we essentially swapped 4th/5th outfielders in Guyer and Perez, essentially becoming worse in that area. In response to dealing the likely back-up catcher in Chirinos, it necessitated the signing of Ramirez. I’d argue that Ramirez is better, so that likely means Hendry’s best move of the offseason was signing him. Isn’t that kind of ironic….and sad at the same time?

      About the 2 best moves he has made this offseason, won’t really have an impact….signing Wood is an upgrade for sure, and getting Ramirez is only an upgrade, provided that Hendry actually grows a pair and does the right thing for the team by sending Hill packing.

      As for the others…

      Pena is NOT an upgrade over Lee…in fact, he’s probably a downgrade

      Garza is NOT an ace, but he’s a very good #3 starter. But since Lilly was our #3 for most of last year, and they’re both essentially the same pitcher, with Lilly being the southpaw being the primary difference. Both are fly ball pitchers, and Lilly topped out about 93-94 mph, but sat mostly in the 88-90 mph range (so I guess that’s another difference as Garza is mostly in the 90-94 mph range…but it’s not that big of a difference). And Lilly has 8 straight seasons of 10+wins, and 3 of which were 15+. Garza only has 2 seasons of 10+wins, and 1 of 15 wins. Ironically, both pitched in the difficult AL East.

      The way I see it, Garza is essentially Lilly’s equal, but younger. And I think it’s absolutely paramount to put everything in context in this situation….

      Riddle me this…If you Gain players like Wood, Pena, Perez, Ramirez, and Garza, who did you have last season in their spots, and what were their stats.

      I don’t think I’d get much argument from anyone that Wood is a significant upgrade over the revolving door in the pen with the likes of:

      Berg, Gray, Atkins, Howry, Diamond, Stevens, Schlitter, etc. Combined, they all had 2 wins, 7 losses, 6.29 ERA, and 93 IP

      *Wood had 3 wins 4 losses, 3.13 ERA, and 46 IP
      Verdict=Cubs improve, hands down

      Lilly was 3-8, with a 3.69 ERA in 117 IP before his trade, and was 10-12 with a 3.62 ERA in 193 IP overall (keep in mind Lilly was on the DL at the start of the season as well)
      *Garza had 15-10, 3.91 ERA in 204 IP
      Verdict=wash

      Lee had a .251 avg, .335 OBP, .416 SLG, 21 doubles, 16 hr, 56 RBI with us, and overall after trade, had a .260 avg, .347 OBP, .428 SLG, 35 doubles, 19 hr, 80 RBI
      *Pena had a .196 avg, .325 OBP, .407 SLG, 18 doubles, 28 hr, 84 RBI
      Verdict=wash, and actually, given Pena’s high K totals, and low batting average, I think we actually lose a little here

      Koyie Hill had a .214 avg, .254 OBP, .298 SLG, 13 doubles, 1 hr, 17 RBI (in 215 ABs)
      *Ramirez had a .217 avg, .341 OBP, .348 SLG, 3 doubles, 2 hr, 8 RBI (in only 69 ABs)
      Verdict=I find it hard to believe that given 146 more ABs, that Ramirez couldn’t at the very least, equal Hill’s RBI output. If you double his ABs at the current rate, he’s nearly equal Hill’s output in about 130 ABs, leaving him with approximately 80 ABs to add to that total, in which case, at that rate, he’d likely have 25 RBI at the very least. I’d say with Ramirez in for Hill (which is no given with Hendry at the helm), we’d be better off

      Please tell me I’m making sense to everyone. I feel like sometimes it might not dawn on people just how badly the Cubs PR machine has brainwashed them to believe they’ve improved on the team every single offseason. I kid you not, EVERY offseason, I’ve read in papers, or online, or talked to fans on here or in bars, or wherever, and I hear a lot of the same things, “…we improved from last season, so hopefully it all works out, if ____(fill in the blank) doesn’t get injured, performs up to expectations, etc.”

      My question, as I alluded to earlier should make fans think twice before believing what the Cubs are trying to tell them.

      Ask yourself these questions when you see these press releases:
      “The Cubs improved in a big way offensively by adding Pena.”
      -Compared to what? If you say, compared to having nobody manning 1B with any MLB experience, then I’d say we improved, but if you say we improved compared to last year, I’d have a strong debate with you.

      “The Cubs just drastically improved their rotation, and thus their chances of competing in the NL Central by acquiring Garza”
      -First off, I disagreed with this statement in so many ways it’s not even funny. I don’t think anyone in the Cubs PR room or the media realized that the Cardinals have the best 1-3 in the division already, so how could we possibly beat that by adding Garza. Furthermore, the Brewers already had an Ace-in-waiting with Gallardo already proven himself in that role, plus they had a solid veteran in Wolf. Then they go and trade for a solid 3 in Marcum, and a bona-fide Ace in Greinke, which gives them 2 bona-fide Aces on their staff, just like the Cardinals 1-2 punch of Carpenter and Wainwright. And the Reds have several young, intriguing arms in their rotation with Cueto, Volquez, Wood, and Leake, and that doesn’t even take into account the veteran Arroyo. So, that begs the question again…compared to what? Compared to the division? I think NOT!!! Compared to internally? Hmmmmmmmmm….If you’re comparing it to last season with Lilly, it’s a complete wash, but if you compare it, as in the 1B situation, to having nobody in the 3 spot in the rotation, I’d say it’s most definitely an improvement.

      In any case, we’re all being fed a bunch of bull sh$t from Hendry and the rest of management. We’re essentially the same team.

      If we’d gone out and signed guys like Cabrera, Franceour, Hermida, etc. for the bench, and signed Dunn, and traded for Uggla, PLUS, went out and got a Cliff Lee, I don’t think there’s any possible way you could say that we weren’t dramatically improved from the prior year.

      But that’s what we’re measured on. What did last year’s players do? For the ones that are not coming back, who are you bringing in, and what did they produce last year?If the answer is your replacements produced about the same as your other players, then how the hell can you possibly make the ridiculous statement that you improved?!?!? It just doesn’t compute.

      In plain terms…

      1B-Lee: 19 hr, 80 RBI
      vs
      1B-Dunn: 38 hr, 103 RBI
      =net gain of 23 runs

      2B-DeWitt: 5 hr, 52 RBI
      vs
      2B-Uggla: 33 hr, 105 RBI
      =net gain of 53 runs

      back-up OF-Fukudome: 13 hr, 44 RBI
      Franceour: 13 hr, 65 RBI
      =net gain of 21 runs

      =total gain of 97 runs. In case you didn’t pay attention to our lack of offense last year, I basically just fixed our problem right there with 3 acquisitions…and to pay for them, we would’ve non-tendered Baker, and Hill, not signed Pena for a savings of $5 million, dealt Fukudome, eating up to $8 million of the $14 million remaining, trading Silva, eating up to $2.5 million of the $5.5 million we’re paying him, and dealing Byrd and his affordable $5.5 million.

      That’d give us $19.5 million. We’d back-load Dunn and Uggla’s deals so that when salaries roll off next year, we could increase theirs to market value, but we’d make them both take $9 million each for next year, and we’d still be able to afford Franceour.

      Then, we look at trading Gorzelanny to save more money, and go with a proven veteran like Garland, who ended up taking $5 million. In that case, we would’ve had to approach management about taking on more salary, but otherwise, everything fits.

      Why can’t Hendry think like this?!?

      • Ripsnorter1

        Aaron,
        Don’t forget: we didn’t sign Dunn because he strikes out too much.

        HAHAHAHHAHHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        SO we sign Pena instead!
        HAHHAHHQHAAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!!!

        It’s like the Cubs dumping Edmonds because he was too old–couldn’t hit anymore. Hhahahahahahaha
        Edmonds was one of 4 keys for us in 2008, sat out 2009, and in 2010 hit .276 BA….342 OBP …..504 slugging….846 OPS.

        His OBP is exactly the same as Byrd’s.
        He would have led the Cubs in slugging (except for Wellington Castillo and his 20 AB.
        And he would have been 2nd in OPS behind Soto
        (with the exception of Castillo and Bobby Scales handful of ABs).

        I was listening to the scouting report on Pena, and the former playboy GM Steve Phillips said, “He’s got a huge hole in his swing. He can’t catch up to anything waist high and middle of the plate in. If he’s going to hit it, it’s got to be low and on the outside part of the plate. Maybe . .hahaha . . .maybe. ..the Jar-Man can fix his swing.”ahahahahahhahahahaahahahahahahaha

        Lee and Aram thought alot of the Jar-Man.

  • Ripsnorter1

    We didn’t sign Dunn because he strikes out too much!

    Hhahahahahahahahaha
    Get it? HE strikes out too much!
    AHhahahahahahahahhahahahahhahahah

    • AustinJGuy

      We didn’t sign Dunn because he wanted a multi-year deal and his defense his horrible.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I understand–there were multiple excuses–certainly the cash was a big reason. Also listed among the reasons was the huge K totals, and Mr. Carlos Pena fans a lot.

        • Austin

          Understood, but he also plays gold glove defense, something we sorely need with Ramirez and Castro. Also, as I said before, Dunn was looking for a multi-year deal while Pena was not. Not completely defending the deal, but you have to look beyond the similarities in strike outs.

          • paulcatanese

            I thought that 1b and 3b were reserved for power hitters. If the glove determines the aquistion of a player,in this case Pena,because his K totals certainly off sets the glove factor. Certainly if Aram could not hit the ball he would no longer viable at 3b. In essence Pena,in my opinion was picked up to catch and decrease the wild throws of two players R and C. This is alot of money spent to catch wild throws. I think anyone could do the same at 1b with fewer unproductive at bats. Having said this,it is what it is and we have to accep t the results, either way.

          • paulcatanese

            Another point. 1b is the easiest transformation defensive position on the field many players,older infielders (Banks,Musial etc) have made the switch without a problem and wasn’t Pujhols a different position player before 1b? What I am trying to say Pena does not have a complete role as a hitter. Dunn(and I didn’t) want him because of $ would have been a better choice because as a hitter he would have been heads over Pena.