News, Notes and a Few Cubs Rumors

The next five days figures to be anything but boring for the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs announced on Tuesday that pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park on February 13 with the first workout on February 14. The first full squad workout for Q’s crew is scheduled for February 19 … 31 days before pitchers and catchers report and 46 days until Chicago Cubs Baseball is on the air from Mesa.

The Cubs kick off their caravan on Wednesday with a luncheon at Harry Caray’s Restaurant. The two-day caravan leads up to the Cubs Convention on Friday.

Four to five teams have checked in with the Cubs about Tom Gorzelanny. Add Doug Glanville’s name to the search for Pat Hughes’ new partner according to Bruce Levine … Gary Matthews, Sr., Keith Moreland and Dave Otto are also in the mix.

Here is the update as the countdown has begun to the 26th Cubs Convention

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat Tuesday on ESPN Chicago.com … here are the highlights:

  • The Cubs “really like” Koyie Hill. In the wake of the Cubs claiming Max Ramirez off waivers Levine does not think that signals the end of the Koyie Hill era with the Cubs.
  • The consensus is that Andrew Cashner will be a starter in Spring Training. Cashner could also push the other candidates for the last two spots in the rotation, which could create a lively competition for the fourth and fifth spots.
  • The Cubs were not in on Zack Greinke because of the $26 million he is owed over the next two years. The Cubs discussed Greinke during the organizational meetings but they did not have enough room on the payroll to afford him.
  • The Cubs are re-structuring their business plan … and the city and the state have both shown interest in talking to the Cubs about a creative plan to renovate the ballpark.
  • Levine thinks the Cubs “have put themselves back in position to compete” in the division. It is up to Mike Quade and company to get it done.
  • Levine does not think the market is “all that good” for Kosuke Fukudome.
  • Four to five teams have contacted the Cubs about Tom Gorzelanny. Detroit was interested before they inked Brad Penny and the Orioles are one of the other teams that have checked in. The Cubs feel they could do without Tom Gorzelanny.
  • Starlin Castro could be an option to hit leadoff for the Cubs in 2011.
  • It looks like the talks between the Rangers and the Cubs are dead … Robinson Chirinos was the key to a deal with Texas.
  • Levine thinks Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Tyler Colvin will be the Cubs’ Opening Day outfield.
  • Levine also thinks Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Carlos Zambrano, Andrew Cashner and Jeff Samardzija will be the starting staff when the season begins.
  • The Cubs still believe in Jeff Samardzija but this spring will be his final shot … Samardzija is out of Minor League options.
  • Levine thinks Randy Wells will end up either in the rotation or as a long-man out of the pen … or back in Triple-A. Levine said Wells has one more option left.
  • The Cubs never considered trading Carlos Marmol this winter.
  • If Carlos Silva shows up to camp in shape he will compete for a spot in the rotation.
  • Levine has the Cubs down for 87 wins in the upcoming season … as for the South Side, Levine thinks they will win 93 games.
  • Levine thinks Mike Quade will bench Alfonso Soriano this season if he does not perform.
  • The Cubs aren’t done yet this winter according to Levine.

A Couple of Numbers
According to Cubs.com, Matt Garza will wear number 17 with Carlos Pena hanging onto number 22 (Pena wore 23 and Garza wore 22 with the Rays). The Cubs announced before the holidays that Pena would wear number 22. On a side note, Garza and Pena will likely see more in attendance at the Hilton this weekend than in many of the Rays home games.

2010-2011 Off-Season Calendar

January

  • 5 – 15 – Salary arbitration filing period
  • 14 – 16 – 26th Annual Cubs Convention
  • 18 – Exchange of salary arbitration figures

February

  • 1 – 21 – Salary arbitration hearings
  • 13 – Voluntary reporting date to Spring Training for pitchers, catchers and injured players
  • 13 – Cubs Pitchers and Catchers Report to Fitch Park
  • 15 – End of Waiver Period
  • 16 – Beginning of New Waiver Period
  • 18 – Voluntary reporting date to Spring Training for other players
  • 19 – Cubs First Full-Squad Workout of Spring
  • 27 – Cactus League Opening Day – Cubs vs. A’s at HoHoKam Park, Mesa

March

  • 1 – Mandatory reporting date to Spring Training for all players
  • 2 – 11 – Teams may renew contracts of unsigned players
  • 14 – Last day to place a player on unconditional release waivers and pay 30 days termination pay instead of 45 days
  • 28 – Last day to request unconditional release waivers on a player without having to pay his full 2010 salary
  • 29 – Cubs Final Spring Training Game – Cubs vs. Diamondbacks, Mesa
  • 30 – Cubs’ Intrasquad Game at HoHoKam Park, Mesa
  • 30 – All clubs must reduce their active roster to 25 players
  • 31 – Opening Day for 2011 Baseball Season

April

  • 1 – Opening Day for Chicago Cubs – Cubs vs. Pirates at Wrigley Field

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Quote of the Day

"Change is inevitable, but personal growth is a choice." - Bob Proctor
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  • http://twitter.com/JMattWeaver Matt Weaver

    Day by day, I’m slowly feeling better about the 2011 Chicago Cubs.

    • Ripsnorter1

      It’s called Spring Fever. You are going stir-crazy in all of this snow. It’s not because of the roster. It’s kinda like a sailor who’s been six months at sea. Every woman looks like a doll-baby to him.

      General Custer’s wife (that’s right, the Custer who died at the Little Bighorn) wanted to hire a housemaid. But at Fort Abraham Lincoln,on the North Dakota frontier, there was none to be found. She advertised out East in a newspaper and hired a girl. On the very day she arrived at Fort Abraham Lincoln, the soldiers all overwhelmed her, and she was married to a soldier she just met–the very day she arrived. So she advertised again, and this girl, too, was married on the first day she arrived at Fort Abraham Lincoln. So Mrs. Custer gave up the idea of hiring a girl from the East since they would just get married, and she would be out the expense of getting the girl to Fort Abraham Lincoln.

      Moral of story: if you haven’t seen baseball in a long while, they all look like pennant winners.

      • paul catanese

        Absolutly great post.

      • http://twitter.com/JMattWeaver Matt Weaver

        I live right off Gulf Shores. No snow to mess with my head =) I’m clear-headed.

        I just happen to feel better about this team than I thought I would.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Max Ramirez has thrown out a terrible 18% of base stealers in the minors that is simply unacceptable. From what I have heard the Cubs are so high on Koyie Hill because of the way he calls the game all the pitchers like the way he calls the game and pitch well when he is calling the game.
    Wellington Castillo isn’t very good at calling the game and that is his biggest downfall, from what I have heard.

  • Tony_Hall

    Neil – We have discussed the roster status of Samardzija and Wells.

    Samardzija, though out of options, has an expensive price tag, if claimed, on irrevocable waivers. Therefore, he would “most likely” clear waivers and be able to be sent to AAA, for the year. If someone claims him, its money in the bank, as that means he didn’t earn a spot on the team. If he earns a spot, than this doesn’t matter, but he must “EARN” the spot.

    Wells – though he has an option, is not able to be sent to the minors, without his approval. From the CCO 40 man roster tab – “Thomas Diamond and Randy Wells have accrued less than three years of MLB service time, but they have been outrighted previously in their career and both could shve the right to decline the outright assignment and choose free agency” Wells would get a bigger payday, as a FA (not huge, but more than $427K, on the open market.

    Neil – My question, If we know this and understand this, why doesn’t Levine, report this correctly?

    Instead, he’s spreading word, that he thinks Samardzija is in, and Wells could be out, due to their optionalability to AAA.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Tony, I’ve thought about this for a while this morning and the best answer I can give you is I don’t know. The roster on Opening Day could come down to a numbers game and could see quite a few changes over the first month to six weeks.

  • Tony_Hall

    The Cubs “really like” Koyie Hill.

    That explains alot, about this management team.

    What’s not to “really like”!

    Lifetime 215 avg, 276 OBP (Wow that is awful)

    He does slug at a 302 clip.

    But I could almost live with this pathetic bat, if he was a stud defensive catcher. But his CS% was only 18% last year. His pitchers ERA was 4.11.

    Soto (the defensively challenged) CS% 22% last year, His pitchers ERA was 4.23.

    Career –
    Hill 28% CS – 4.19 ERA
    Soto 25% CS – 3.99 ERA

    Hill has Zero bat. The production, we get from Hill is easily replaceable, at 414K, not the insane $1M range, some arbitrator may give him. And he is not a stud defender.

    • paulcatanese

      I totaly agree. Watched a taped game(again) last night,in particular Hill at bat,totaly inept with anything over the center of the plate. Reminds me of Berra,but then everything else Berra hit…well. Koye does not have any pitch he can hit consitantly and is as always a sure out. as you pointed out he is not the catcher Soto is, and could be replaced easily with anyone and have better results.

  • Sfmarino1

    You are right on with Silva and Soriano. Why trade Gorzelanny and not Wells. Lefty starters are nice to have???
    I like Perez as the 5th outfielder……….
    .

    • studio179

      I’m not sure the reason why the Cubs want to trade Gorzy. Maybe the Cubs feel they can get a slight bit more for Gorzy because he is a lefty and would fill the back end for a team and do a decent job. When Big Z was coming back from his anger management absence, Gorzy went on record to say he did not want to go back to the pen. He felt he should stay in the rotation. The Cubs do not like players going public with that kind of tone. It was not a big issue and he went to the pen and left it at that. But maybe that small issue and other things rubbed someone the wrong way. It could also be they feel Wells is better than Gorzy. I’m not sure on what the reasoning.

      • Tony_Hall

        Gorzellany is not a guy you build a rotation around. He is a good #4/#5 guy, but not a difference maker. He is the only real option to trade and get a return, so that makes the choice pretty easy. IF they are going to trade a starter in the offseason, it is Gorzellany.

        • studio179

          No, you don’t build around Gorzy…or Wells. After rereading my post, it made it seem like I was confused on why they would deal Gorzellany. I was just trying to lay out reasons. I agree he is gone.

  • Tony_Hall

    The trade market for Fukudome isn’t all that good. JH will keep Fukudome, as he is a very good 4th OF option. He can play CF and RF with a good glove, and will give you a decent bat, when he isn’t whirly birding himself into the ground, especially in April and May.

    For the money he is getting, no matter what, they will keep him, unless someone is willing to pay at least $3-$4M for 2011. But think about it, on the FA market would he get even a 1 year deal at $4M, so why would you give up prospects (I know they are just prospects) and pay him $4M. I doubt anyone would do that.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I doubt Fukko would ge over $1.1 million of the FA market. His stock has ‘corkscrewed’ itself right into the ground.

      • paulcatanese

        Hey Rip it’s not so bad,look at it this way,now we have a Corkscrewer and a Bunny hopper in the outfield.

        • Ripsnorter1

          LOL

          Let’s see:
          LF BunnyHopper
          CF Bird
          RF Corkscrew

  • Tony_Hall

    Gorzellany will be traded. It’s all but done.

    For the last 2 spots in the rotation, who would be surprised if…

    Wells gets a spot – no one.

    Cashner gets a spot – its his to lose.

    Silva gets a spot, if not on the DL – classic JH move, no one.

    Samardzija gets a spot – not Levine, most everyone else, but if he has a good ST, that is where he will end up. They have a lot invested in him.

    Coleman gets a spot – most would be surprised, but shouldnt’ be, by the way he finished. Many teams, would be happy to let him be their 5th starter.

    So with all of these options, and Gorzellany, the only one that you can and will be, willing to trade. He won’t be on the Cubs for long.

    I have stated this before, but I would go with Wells and Gorzellany to start the year, with Cashner, Coleman, Samardzija, even Silva (on a DL rehab stint) at Iowa, getting regular starts, with strict pitch counts for Cashner and Coleman, to control their 2011 work load. When a rotation spot opens up, they are ready to go.

    Teams need 6,7,8 starters. Don’t trade a LH starter in the offseason, when you have options to keep him.

    • studio179

      As we know, Samardzija is out of options. I highly doubt Hendry places him on waivers to clear. That is a big risk. A team with money might roll dice. I think Samardzija goes to spring trying for a rotation spot. If he is not cutting it after mid May, they will move him to the pen. I agree with all your other scenerios and points.

      • Tony_Hall

        How is it a risk? And who would take his $3M contract this year, and give him a spot on their 25 man roster. That sounds like a bigger risk to me, than putting Samardzija on irrevocable waivers (if he stinks up the joint).

        There is no downside, if he stinks, and someone is willing to take his contract, so be it, if not, he goes to AAA for the year.

        • Ripsnorter1

          If he is put on waiver, Mr. Jeffrey Eugene Samardzija can go to any team he wants IF HE CLEARS WAIVERS. So let’s say that the Cubs put him up on waivers, he clears waivers. Then the Cubs are stuck Eugene, STUCK paying the $3 million, and any team can pick him up for nothing. He doesn’t have to report to AAA Iowa if he doesn’t want to go.

          • Tony_Hall

            This is how a player with no options, can be assigned to the minors. – But reading this again, it says that you may not use this with players, with Full No-trade clauses.

            Neil – Does Samardzija, really have a full – No trade clause? If so, there is no way to move Samardzija to AAA, unless he clears waivers and accepts the assignment.

            From the 40 man roster tab on CCO

            Irrevocable Outright Waivers
            A club that wishes to remove a player from its 40-man roster but keep him in its minor-league system must first place him on outright or special waivers. Outright waivers are not revocable, so a player claimed on outright waivers may not be pulled back by his original club. A club may not request outright waivers on a player with a complete no-trade clause or on a player ten-and-five rights.

        • studio179

          Has Hendry ever done this with a younger pitcher? I can not recall it. Just not his MO.

  • Corn Cob Dress

    The only way I would trade Gorzelanny is if a second baseman who can lead off comes back in return. As the season gets closer a platoon of DeWitt and Baker really scares me. I would love to see Barney get a chance, but I doubt that will happen

  • Cheryl

    Could Silva be packaged with G in a deal? G would be an attractive starter and Silva could possibly be in long relief for some club.

  • tex

    I believe if Samardjia is put on waivers….a team could claim him for minimum salary,so he would definately be picked up. I would like to see the Cubs give him a shot as a starter. With Levine’s predictions of Dempster,Garza,Z,Cash and Samardjia….those are some pretty good power arms!!!!

    • Tony_Hall

      A team would have to pay his contract, which Neil shows on the 40 man roster tab as $3M. On that tab you can see how waivers work.

      If Samardzija earns his spot, that would be great.

  • Corn Cob Dress

    A bullpen of Marmol, Wood, Marshall and Cashner would be outstanding. I would keep Cashner in the pen and keep Gorzelanny as the 4th starter and let the rest slug it out for the 5th starter.

  • Cheryl

    Long-term who’s better Samardija or Coleman? I think I’d substitute Coleman for Samardija in yoour scenerio, Tex.

  • cubs1967

    trading any starters would be asinine…………considering there is no guarantee big Z won’t have another mental breakdown and need time off again.
    cashner may not pan out as a starter…..maybe he’s best suited as a closer someday.

    anyone could get hurt.

    that could be 3 spots…….so if big Z, Demp, Garza,Cashner, Gorz is the preferred rotation moving Wells to long relief and Coleman to AAA plus Smardz will never be a good starter and s/b in the pen as the power 6th inning arm (w Grabow) this gives the Cubs 2 options of decent starter fill-in’s w/ Wells and Coleman….basically 7 starters.

    That is a HUGE advantage if the Cubs should contend as no one else in the division has decent 5th starters let alone 6th or 7th options.

    Silva……………….can’t be counted on, but if he pitches great in the spring (and is completely untradeable)………I guess ya pitch him till he gets hurt or pitches poorly enough to just release him (if he does not do that in the spring).

    what’s the saying………you can never have enough pitching……………

    103rd yr in 2011 of no championships………and year 1 of No RYNO at Cubs convention…………..something I’ll never attend agan till he is there.

  • Aaron

    I’m just going to dissect Levine’s points, because I found them to be hilarious:

    1) “Cubs really like Hill.” I’m sure a lot of meth heads really like crystal meth too, but it doesn’t mean it’s good for them. The Cubs need a divorce from this bad player, and sadly, (and I feel awful saying this) about the only way that’s possible is if Hill cuts off his fingers again, and this time, can’t find them to sew them back on…because Hendry will keep him around, as long as he wants to be around. Isn’t that pathetic? The stats don’t lie…Hill, known for his defense, was actually worse than Soto, who is known more for his offense. That should tell you all you need to know about the Cubs decision-making

    2) Wow, did Levine just become the Oracle or what with his Cashner statement? LOL…I think every fan, and anyone with half a brain knows that Cashner will be competing for a rotation spot. But fans that pay attention will also note that Cashner most likely will end up back in the pen, as the Cubs struggle with optioning Wells down to Iowa, and they don’t really want to eat Silva’s contract, otherwise, they likely would’ve already done so. So, while they say he’ll be “given every opportunity to win a spot”, that’s usually Cub-speak for, “we really hope he makes this decision easier for us on a PR stand-point and fails in Spring Training”

    3) The Cubs were not “in” on Greinke, because Hendry had his laser focus set yet again on one particular player, and he lacks the ingenuity necessary to free up payroll through trades to get an Ace-caliber pitcher. I’m not going to sit here and tell you for sure that Greinke would’ve thrived in a big city like Chicago given his social anxiety disorder, but I will tell you that hands down, he’s Ace-caliber and Garza is, at best, a #3. Hendry will spin it all he wants, but Greinke was the better pitcher, and the Brewers actually gave up less to get him than the Cubs ponied up for Garza, a pitcher that not only didn’t fit in the Rays budget, but was about to be surpassed on the depth chart by Hellickson

    4) I’m sure they are “restructuring their business plan”…it’ll probably involve more “fees” on tickets, AND personal seat licenses. They’ll probably also seek more money from rooftop owners, and we’ll likely see more ads around the ballpark, including the walls. It’s quite possible they will do what they did with the Northwestern game, and have ivy printed padding on the outfield wall with All-State sponsoring it or someone else, and they’ll spin it as trying to make the game more safe for the players. While that’s true….it’s been this way for almost 100 years, and nobody in recent memory has been seriously injured by that wall.

    5) Somebody please tell Levine to lay off the crack pipe. “put themselves in position to compete”….Yes, in a race for 4th place. The Cardinals, Reds, and Brewers are all superior both pitching-wise and offensively. In fact, I’d argue that across the board, all but the Brewers in our division, are better defensively. I’ve already done a team-by-team analysis of rotations and offense for you, so I’ll spare repeating myself, but simple research shows that we’re NO better than a 4th place team in the division, and therefore, statements like Levine’s are hilarious to read. But at the start of the season, it’s still anyone’s guess as to who wins the division. It’s still also very true that the oft-used statement “that’s why they play the games” is particularly applicable in baseball, just as it is in the NFL where injuries are prevalent. In any given year, a team could lose their Ace starter to injury, and a major offensive player….or, they could suffer through multiple injuries in their rotation, and while entering the season as the favorite, they’d likely finish at the bottom of the division. This has happened to the Cubs in recent memory with injuries to Wood and Prior dramatically affecting the expectations on the season. But, in this case, we’d have to hope all 3 teams face major injuries, otherwise, on paper, we’re no better than 4th place.

    6) The market is good for Fukudome if the Cubs would just bite the bullet and pony up about $8-9 million of the $14 million owed…

    • Gary J

      Aaron – for #3 you’ve been bashing Hendry forever on his trades to clear up salary over the last couple of years… and now you’re bashing him for lacking the ingenuity to free up salary to make a play for Grienke? The only player with a salary significant enough to trade that anyone might want would be Zambrano – and only a playoff team with a group of vets (like the Yankees) would make a move like that because as good as he was at the end of last year, he was equally as bad at the start of the year plus being a distraction and a crappy teammate. I hope he’s sane this year because if he can stay the pitcher we had for the second half would go a long way to making this team a contender…. but that’s a different discussion.

      Soriano? Nope. Fukudome as a $14M one year rental before he high tails it back to Japan? Nope. Heck – eating $8-9M and trading him… I’m not sure anyone would want him as a $5-6M rental either.

      And for a team with payroll issues, $26M over two years for an admittedly good pitcher (Cy Young 2009… 4.15 ERA 2010) vs $10-12 after arbitration for a slightly less but still good pitcher. And if you toss out 2009 and look at 2008 and 2010 for Greinke – the two guys aren’t that far off – maybe the stars just aligned for Grienke that one year and he’ll just settle into being a very good but not great pitcher the rest of his career…. who knows? Personally I think the pressure of being the “reigning Cy Young winner” got to a 26 year old and he’ll do closer to 2009 than 2010… but who knows? If we made the deal and he put up another 4+ ERA season we’d be bashing Hendry for just going out and getting another high priced player coming off a down year and praying he’d revert to being good again. (although I know the traditional argument by the critics is getting a high priced player off a good year and hoping he keeps it up… but I’ve seen both criticisms LOL)

      And haven’t you said time and again that the team isn’t going to contend this year no matter what happens? So why spend that kind of cabbage of Grienke? He’d be nice to have around sure – but if Garza’s not turning the Cubs into a contender, then Greinke wouldn’t either.

      The good thing is though – the books start to tidy up next year. Dropping form the 2011 payroll numbers will be Fuku, Pena, ARam (after a $2M option buyout), Grabow, and Silva (also a $2M buyout) to the tune of $56.65M off the books… that’s almost half the salary of the entire team. Oops… forgot that $5.5 of Silva is being paid elsewhere this year… so that’s $51.15M. Yeah there’s the $4M in buyouts and there’s arbitration increases that will happen (as of right now a whopping 10 guys are arbitration eligible in 2012). I would have also included Shark ($3.5) and Woody ($1.5) but Wood will likely be back with a raise if he has a decent year and Shark has a club option so no telling if that gets picked up.

      So personally I think playing the kids this year (Cashner, Coleman, Capenter, Shark, and maybe McNutt late season for the arms and Colvin, Jackson and maybe finally Vitters and maybe Guyer or Golden thrown in late season) along with the vets is a good mix and maybe – just maybe – Ronnie smiles down from above and some of the youngsters inject a little magic into the team.

      But for the future at least we see who sticks and take some of that $50M budget and fill in with two all-stars and three or four solid MLB caliber players and this team suddenly looks a whole lot healthier :-)

      I know – I’ve got the Cubbie goggles on LOL – but I still think there’s a slight glimmer of hope for this year’s team based on their finish last year… and the future doesn’t look half bad either.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Good post Gary, with these minor comments . . . .

        1. Ronnie ain’t got no power to help this team. Only God can help the Chicago Cubs.

        2. Nobody wants Funko for 2 cents more that $1.1 million. Cubs better just keep him and play him against RHP. Besides–ya’ll go ahead and hate me for saying this–Colvin will decline this year. It says so right here It’s called the sophomore jinx. In reality it is the pitchers studying the tapes over the winter and figuring out his weaknesses. “Just don’t throw him anything besides a curve ball.” For Soriano, “just don’t throw him anything besides a slider.”

        3. Yes, Aaron was a little too enthusiastic in clearing payroll, since Funko can’t go anywhere, and Silva??? Sori-hahahahahaha–Soriano? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA! Nobody in MLB in a suit is that foolish. If the payroll could have been pared down, it was a brilliant idea. And I think the Cubs would be much better off with Aaron as the GM, but alas, he ain’t, and it ain’t ever gonna be, so FORGETABOUTIT.

        4. SLIGHT GLIMMER OF HOPE. Why Gary, that’s the same glimmer that Cubs’ fans have seen for 102 years.

        • Gary J

          I’m with ya on Fuku – I don’t think he’s a complete waste of a roster spot by any stretch… but just not worth 14 mil. He gets on hot streaks and he’s worth riding in the two hole when that’s happening… but he also goes cold for a month or two. He’s a solid defender and good arm – so if we can move him at mid season to a playoff team looking for an injury replacement or platoon player while eating half his remaining salary and then use whichever youngster seems most ready for a shot at the show… seems like a plan anyway.

      • Aaron

        Okay, you forced me to dissect your post now…LOL:

        1) I’ve criticized Hendry all around for lacking ingenuity. The common complaint about Hendry is he’s FAR more (I’d argue almost exclusively) reactive versus proactive in his approach to trades and even free agent signings. My point about Greinke, which you took to an entirely different level that simply was not true…..was that if given the choice between the two pitchers, I think about 80-90% of the baseball community would take Greinke over Garza, especially with the prospects involved. Why? Because Greinke is regarded as a true Ace caliber pitcher who played on very crappy teams in KC. Someone on here, I believe (or maybe it was TCR), did a PHENOMENAL comparison of the two pitchers, and I do not care to do the research myself at this time…but it compared the % of victories for their team, and true value to their respective teams, and Greinke was far ahead of Garza. In 2009, he had a WAR of 9.0. Garza’s best season was 3.8 Greinke has a better overall WHIP 1.264 vs Garza’s 1.315….better walk/9 2.3 vs Garza’s 3.2….better K/9 7.6 vs Garza’s 7.1…and he gives up about 20 hr on average to Garza’s 24…and he’s been fairly consistent as a starter for 5 full seasons to Garza’s 3 full seasons. We paid more for a #3 starter than the Brewers did for an Ace….Sorry, but head-to-head, we lost that trade hands down. And what’s worse? Hendry pulled the trigger, because everyone else was getting better, NOT because it was what was best for the team. What was best for the team was to let Archer, Jay Jackson, Cashner, McNutt, Carpenter, Samardzija, etc., battle it out in Spring Training (and during the year) for the 4th and 5th spots, and just keep the rest of the rotation somewhat intact (except for releasing Silva, and letting Wells and Gorzelanny battle for the other spot, and whoever loses would get traded)

        2) Since when did Soriano EVER enter the discussion by me?!? I guess you’re looking at players to trade/release. In that case, I’d give you a good number: Baker ($1.5 million), Hill ($850,000), Gorzelanny (likely $2-3 million), Byrd ($5.5 million), Fukudome ($14 million, but we’d have to eat $8-9 million of it, and possibly more, which I’d do in a heartbeat, because I think Snyder, at the MLB minimum could produce at LEAST what Fukudome did last year in part-time duty)….All told, that’s a savings of almost $15 million (and I’m going off eating $10 million of Fukudome’s deal even). You’d use someone like LeMahieu (minimum), Castillo/Ramirez (minimum), one of the afforementioned starters like Archer, McNutt, etc. (minimum…except if Samardzija one…but his salary is already factored into our budget), Brett Jackson (minimum), and Snyder (minimum) respectively, which would total $2 million…So, you subtract that from $15 million, and you just fit Greinke in your budget…PLUS, I’d argue that you got better at every other spot too.

        3) I NEVER said that Greinke wouldn’t struggle here, but the foundation of my argument holds true, regardless, because no matter who we have between the 2 of them, we’re going NOWHERE…which I’ve said all along. It seems you’ve clearly missed my point on this, as I’ve been consistent throughout my arguments about pitching NOT being the problem…the point is, if you’re trading a good chunk of your premium prospects away in ANY trade (not just this one), it sure as hell better be for an Ace caliber pitcher, or a young, power hitter. Otherwise, don’t you think among those prospects you trade, you could find a suitable #3 starter, or at least an average MLB hitter?!? Here’s what I said about Greinke, by the way, in case you skimmed it: “I’m not going to sit here and tell you for sure that Greinke would’ve thrived in a big city like Chicago given his social anxiety disorder, but I will tell you that hands down, he’s Ace-caliber and Garza is, at best, a #3. Hendry will spin it all he wants, but Greinke was the better pitcher, and the Brewers actually gave up less to get him than the Cubs ponied up for Garza, a pitcher that not only didn’t fit in the Rays budget, but was about to be surpassed on the depth chart by Hellickson”

        4) *I answered this above with not making the trade at all…but given the fact we did….my point was that we could’ve done better than Garza with all the prospects given up

        5) True, things start to “tidy up”, but after dealing away some very solid prospects, which limits trading power next offseason…..how, exactly, do you propose that we improve the team?!? We’d have a hole at 1B still, with the likely departure of Pena. The best 1B options are Pujols, AGON, and Fielder, the first two, who almost certainly will sign extensions with the Cardinals and Red Sox, respectively before next season…so that limits it to just Fielder…which would certainly help us. Rickie Weeks would solve multiple holes for us at both lead-off and 2B, but if he posts another outstanding season at the plate, the Brewers would be foolish not to extend him, after likely watching Fielder leave for FA. Outside of Weeks, there aren’t any good FA options for 2B. And we’d also have a hole to fill at 3B if ARAM leaves, or we let him go. Jose Bautista would likely be the best FA there after ARAM himself. Vitters certainly isn’t ready. As for the other positions, LF is locked up with Soriano, CF is locked up with Byrd for another season after 2011, and RF is likely locked up with Colvin, and even if it weren’t, there are no solid FA options there, so we appear locked in at every position except 1B, 2B, and 3B.

        Yes, you are blinded by your Cubbie Goggles, which I firmly believe now must be the same type of “drunken” goggles, cops often show people to simulate what a drunk driver sees.

        My problem with Hendry, is he took our top prospects from catcher (Chirinos), middle IF (Lee), OF (Guyer…though, that’s a stretch, as Brett Jackson is, though Guyer was MLB ready, so I guess that counts for something), and pitcher (Archer, who projected as a #1). So….just look at how these players could’ve helped us going forward….it’s not so much that I believe all of them will be stars, but I do think they will all be solid MLB players. That’s a hefty price to pay for a #3 starter, isn’t it?!?

        • Gary J

          LOL – knew you’d respond :-)

          You put forth great arguments – as always. I don’t always agree with you but I have to respect your viewpoints.

          That said….

          I don’t argue the worth of Grienke over Garza with all things taken into account. Straight up in a vaccum, I’d rather have Greinke as well. But when salary is taken into account, I just don’t think Grienke commands twice the salary of Garza. He had a phenomenal year for KC in 2009 and definitely earned the Cy Young – but the rest of his career to this point has been a study in unrealized potential. Add in the salary and it’s truly a toss up for me.

          As for Grienke vs. Garza experience wise of 5 years in the rotation vs 3 – flawed comparison. Grienke was drafted out of high school – Garza college. Grienke had two years starting to start his career… and led the league in losses the second year. Even for a poor team that’s saying something. Spent most of the next year (2006) in the minors and came back in 2007 starting the first half of the season in the pen. Of his five seasons as a full-time starter, 2 have been pretty damn bad (his first two), 2008 was better than average, 2009 was stellar obviously, and 2010 was all things considered pretty mediocre. Had a 4+ ERA last year.

          So saying that he’s been pretty consistent as a starter for 5 seasons – not true at all.

          If you just look at Garza’s stats for the three years in Tampa and Greinke’s numbers for 2008 and 2010 (toss out 2009) then they are very comparable pitchers stat wise.

          Greinke is the better pitcher – but not by a huge margin to me at least. I can’t discount his potential to BE a #1 with that year he had in 2009. That’d be foolish – it was an amazing year. But other than that one year, he’s been pretty pedestrian. Not worth paying $10-12 mil more over two seasons.

          Also – Archer is projected by SOME as a top of the rotation starter – not necessarily a number 1… by others he’s projected to have issues due to control issues – and that’s a valid concern because in 5 seasons in the minors he’s averaged over 5 walks per 9 innings. And that’s facing minor league hitters with (theoretically) less command of the strike zone. Pitchers like that typically come to the bigs and struggle. Could he harness things? Sure. But please stop selling that he’s a number 1. He was our top rated starter (or second rated depending on the publication… of the three that Neil used earlier in the offseason in an article, only BA listed Archer ahead of McNutt). And that’s in a system that many many many analysts say lacked any truly elite talent. A lot of depth (which is better than it used to be around here) but nothing elite… and that included Archer. He may have potential – but it’s as of yet unrealized and with a walk rate of 5 a game it’ll likely stay that way until he harnesses things.

          As far as the salary cutting thing… you didn’t say Soriano and I didn’t say you did. You said salary cutting and that’s the biggest target.

          Trading away the players you listed – problem is finding takers. Fuku we’d have to give away for a bucket of balls, and from reports Hendry has tried exactly that with no takers. As for the rest of them the only one with real trade value is Gorzo and he’s actively being shopped by all reports. The others? I admit I don’t overly like Hill… but the others are solid but unspectacular MLB players. Capable but very vanilla. Byrd I’d say is a better than average player and at $5.5 is reasonably priced for his talent level – but players like him can be had for that price off the free agent pile without giving up anything.

          But taking prospects and plugging them into those 5 spots…. to me it’s a bad idea. Doing that to a roster does not make a team better – it makes a team shaky. I’d love to see an in depth article somewhere on the success rate of major league prospects in their first year in the majors. If you took success as being better than the average major league player statistically, I’d venture that 80% don’t come hear that criteria in their debuts and half of those never amount to anything. And the majority of the ones that do produce are the “elite” prospects. The guys on everyone’s radar – this last year it was Heyward and Posey… the Cubs system does not have anyone of that caliber. Very rarely does a player come out of the middle fo the pack of a team’s prospects one year and into MLB success the following. Of our prospects – only Jackson and McNutt have that potential this year… and Archer if he was still here. But Chirinos? Unlikely.

          That said – if this truly was a throw in the towel and admit defeat before we started type of year – then that strategy has some merit. Because every player coming up has to get that first year under their belt at some time. But I don’t think it’s a lost year (and you do).

          And speaking of those elite prospects… Garza was one of those. The dude was on the cover of USA Today and and a couple of fantasy mags. And FAR more highly regarded at the time than Archer is now. And by your assessment he’s nothing more than a number 3 and you sound like you don’t think he’ll ever be anything more (which I’d disagree with – but that’s another debate). What it does show though is that even with good scouting reports, Archer’s guaranteed of absolutely zip. I bet we could spend a full day bandying back and forth can’t miss prospects that missed. Heck we could do that just with Cubs top prospects from the last decade that were “untouchable” for one reason or another.

          I don’t think we got hosed – and I think it’s highly debatable that we could have gotten more than Garza for our prospects because even though they were in our top 10 – other than Archer and Lee they weren’t in the national top 100. And other than Greinke and A Gon – there wasn’t anything of that caliber to be had either hitting or pitching on the market. Yes – We gave up a bunch. But saying that we gave away our top prospects doesn’t mean much unless you put it in context of how those players compare nationally. With the exception of Archer and Lee, not a single expert I’ve seen analyzing the trade gives more than a passing mention of the other players involved. Chirinos is at an age where a solid major leaguer is having his break out… not where he’s getting his first break. He might be out top catching prospect – but he’s not “A” top catching prospect.

          So that’s my debate…. take it as you will.

          But please don’t tell me that I’m obviously nuts or wearing drunk goggles to be thinking it. I try to give you (and everyone else on this board) respect even though I disagree with you at times. We’re all Cubs fans here.

  • Aaron

    sorry…hit post accidentally…

    …continued with 6) The problem with cutting ties with Fukudome at this point, is we lose a lefty bat, and outside of Brett Jackson, who is not ready yet, and Hermida being off the market..and Chris Carter taken off the market….who are you going to replace him with?!?

    7) Cubs have waited too long to trade Gorzelanny. They should’ve done so in December, when his value was most likely at its peak. It’s true that teams figure out needs later on, and in some cases, right before Spring Training begins…but the market for him is drying up fast, and a lot of teams will look at the free agent market, and see there are still plenty of options out there. Remember, most teams operate in intelligent fashion, which is direct contrast of how Hendry operates. Hendry would rather have his guy now, than be patient, and realize that teams have to make cuts in Spring Training, or in past years, non-tenders. Other teams don’t overpay in prospects when they can essentially get the guy for nothing after he’s released.

    8) Moving Castro to lead-off is ridiculous. He’s NOT that type of player. He’s a hacker, almost in the mold of Soriano when he batted lead-off, only with far less power.

    9) Of course there’s nothing doing with the Rangers. They were only using us in the first place to get Chirinos to flip him in a trade with the Rays for Garza. I’m pretty sure the Rangers, given their stocked system, aren’t interested in any of our discards either.

    10) Of course that’s going to be our OF…I hope Levine didn’t waste too much brain power on that. That’s going to be our OF by default, because we have no other NRI’s or minor league outfielders on the cusp of earning a starting job on the MLB roster. It is also our OF by default due to salary, and in Colvin’s case, because Hendry has already stated he’s going in as our starting RF.

    11) Now this is the one I happen to disagree with, as it’s not a no-brainer. I believe it’ll be Z, Dempster, Garza, Wells, and Silva. Cashner will either be in the pen, or starting in Iowa, and Samardzija will definitely be in the pen, even though he’s best suited for a starting role. I just don’t see him earning it in Spring Training.

    12) Agreed. This is the Shark’s last stand

    13) Wells will be in the rotation

    14) What’s amazing, is that was actually a topic of conversation. Why in the hell would there even be talk of Marmol being traded. He’s a rising star.

    15) Bruce…buddy….I think you got this all wrong too. Fact is, if Silva simply shows up to camp, he’s in the race. The only thing that can prevent that, is if his Visa doesn’t go through or whatever….But weight has NOTHING to do with it. It’s all about his contract.

    16) 87 wins?!?!? That’s laughable. I hope I eat crow, but I don’t see them finishing any better than 5 games below .500. All teams play a TON of games in their division, and when the only team on paper that they should be able to easily beat (the Pirates) has had their number the last few years…well….that doesn’t really bode well for you in a 6 team division, when you’re no better than 4th place on paper and you struggle against the perennial 6th place team

    17) Really?!?!? Does he actually believe what he’s saying? Since when did Quade prove to us that he’s willing to sit underperformers? I believe with August and September combined, the Cubs hit something like .230-ish. We had plenty of young guys on the roster, and Quade continued to roll the veterans out there…So…like I said…Since when has he proven that he has the balls to sit veterans?

    18) Aren’t done with what? Raising ticket prices? The Cubs have a TON of dead weight on the roster that not only doesn’t project to be with the team next year, but shouldn’t be on any MLB roster, such as: Berg, Diamond, Smit, Stevens, Gaub, Koyie Hill, Baker, Fernando Perez, and Fukudome (who obviously won’t be dealt or released outright). Absolutely NOTHING has happened with the rest of our roster, and since Hendry tendered contracts to both Hill and Baker, we’re locked in with them. Our bench will likely consist of Hill, Baker, Barney, Fukudome, and the newcomer Perez. So unless he finds a cheaper player better than Perez, this is what we’ll have. So, the only moves he will be making are in regards to the pitching staff. If LeMahieu shines in Spring Training, along with Max Ramirez, I’d prefer a bench of Ramirez, LeMahieu, Marquez Smith, Fukudome (who isn’t going anywhere as mentioned), and LaHair (to fill in for Pena when he inevitably sucks)

    • Gary J

      the Cubs hit .232 in September… but .274 in August

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Will have report up later but Koyie Hill avoided arbitration today. He agreed to a one-year deal worth $850,000

    • Ripsnorter1

      He’s smart enough to try to save his own neck. If he took Jim Clueless to arby, why, he’d be as welcome as . . . as . . . Ryan Theriot!

  • paulcatanese

    Under the criteria JH uses if we had Buster Posey he would still be in the minors.

    • Tony_Hall

      And he would still be…just a prospect!