Weekend Update … Cubs Accomplish Off-Season Goals

Jim Hendry began the off-season with three main goals … add a frontline starting pitcher, add a left-handed power-hitting first baseman and add a power reliever. And with very little payroll flexibility, the Cubs’ GM accomplished what he set out to do.

With the addition of Matt Garza, Hendry has added three of the pieces on his off-season to-do list and in the process added less than $10 million to the Cubs’ 2011 payroll … Kerry Wood, $1.5 million plus incentives, Carlos Pena, $3 million ($2 million paid in December of 2010 and $5 million deferred to January of 2012) and Matt Garza who figures to earn around $6 million in his second year of arbitration.

Here is the rest of the update, including notes from Gordon Wittenmyer’s interview on XM Radio and tidbits from Bruce Levine …

Talkin’ Cubs Baseball
Before getting into the highlights from Saturday morning, Bruce Levine checked in several times Friday updating the news on the Matt Garza deal.

  • There is a possibility that the Cubs could begin the year with three lefties in the bullpen … Sean Marshall, John Grabow and James Russell or Scott Maine.
  • The Cubs did not want to include Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee in the Garza deal. The Rays asked for either Chris Archer or Trey McNutt. The Cubs feel McNutt was the better of the two and decided to let Archer go.
  • The Tigers and Rangers had deals on the table for Matt Garza. Jim Hendry had to include Archer in order to get Garza.
  • There are rumors still floating around that Tom Gorzelanny is still available.
  • On Friday, Levine said it could be two to three weeks before the Cubs and WGN Radio announce Pat Hughes’ replacement.

Fred Huebner discussed the latest on Matt Garza and the Cubs with Bruce Levine on Saturday morning (ESPN 1000), here are the highlights …

  • Levine thinks adding Matt Garza is huge for the Cubs and it will help them compete with the Cardinals, Reds and Brewers this season.
  • The Cubs want Andrew Cashner to be the fourth starter in the rotation this season … behind Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza.
  • The Cubs have lots of options for the fifth spot …Randy Wells, Jeff Samardzija, Casey Coleman, Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva.
  • The Cubs consider Trey McNutt a superior prospect to Chris Archer.
  • Chris Carpenter was never a part of the discussions in the Matt Garza trade … was going to be either Archer or McNutt.
  • Jim Hendry started working on the Garza deal at the Winter Meetings and kept in touch on just about a daily basis with Andrew Friedman.
  • The Cubs feel the addition of Matt Garza takes a little pressure off Andrew Cashner to perform well right away in the rotation.
  • The Cubs are projecting Chris Carpenter and Trey McNutt to be in the rotation in the near future.
  • The addition of Matt Garza does not impede the development of the system.
  • Levine pointed out the fact Jeff Samardzija is out of options and will make the team out of Spring Training. The Cubs feel they would lose Samardzija if they tried to send him through waivers.

Wally Hayward, the Cubs Executive Vice President of Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, joined the Levine and Huebner Saturday morning to discuss the upcoming Cubs Convention.

Hayward confirmed that Aramis Ramirez will be making his first appearance at a Cubs Convention.

As for the tributes to Ron Santo, Hayward said it will be an emotional but uplifting session. The Cubs will not be making the announcement on Pat Hughes’ new partner during the convention. The Cubs will take their time and it could be a few more weeks before the announcement is made … and it might not happen until just before the games begin in Arizona on February 27.

Gordon Wittenmyer on XM Radio
The Cubs’ beat writer for the Sun-Times joined Casey Stern during Inside Pitch (XM Radio) on Saturday morning.

Wittenmyer did not think the Cubs would be able to acquire Matt Garza from the Rays. The talks for the right-hander began at the Winter Meetings and Wittenmyer knew Hendry was trying to make the deal happen.

Wittenmyer said he got wind that the trade was on the verge of happening on Tuesday. He said that Hendry had to get ownership on board before he could get aggressive on the prospects he could offer in the deal.

The Cubs did not want to include Chris Archer in the deal. Wittenmyer thought that Archer was one of the two or three untouchables in the Cubs’ system.

The Cubs also like Hak-Ju Lee’s upside but he does not think there were ever any internal discussions about Lee being able to move Starlin Castro to second base down the road.

Wittenmyer does feel the acquisition of Matt Garza is in response to the pitching the Cardinals and Reds already have and the additions the Brewers made this winter. The Cubs felt they had to improve their starting pitching and the pitching within the central may have caused Hendry to be more aggressive in his pursuit of Garza.

Wittenmyer thinks the Cubs are a much, much improved team. He feels the team should be right in the middle of the conversations about the central in the upcoming season.

As for how Matt Garza will pitch for the Cubs … Wittenmyer thinks Garza will put up good numbers in the National League.

With the three additions Jim Hendry made this off-season, according to Wittenmyer on paper it looks like a strong winter for the Cubs.

Fernando Perez
This is not the first time the Cubs tried to land Fernando Perez. The Cubs tried to trade for the speedy outfielder a couple of years ago … and once again, Jim Hendry got his man.

A report from the Daily Herald indicated Perez, who was a switch-hitter, will hit only right-handed after dealing with injuries to his hand and wrist.

Perez is eager to join the Cubs.

Click here for a Rays perspective on the Matt Garza deal.

Follow the CCO on Twitter

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • Tony_Hall

    How many guys will we have in our rotation?

    Dempster, Zambrano, Garza are are 1-3

    Cashner is going to get 4, unless he has a bad spring.

    We have 5 options for the 5th spot.

    Wells, Gorzellany, Coleman, Samardzija, Silva

    And Chris Carpenter and Trey McNutt will be in the rotation in the near future.

    Maybe we will go to the Japanese rotation, with 6 guys.

  • Tony_Hall

    Gorzellany will be traded, his $1.5M (estimate) in arbitration needs to go away, to help pay for Garza. It wouldn’t surprise me if Baker and Hill now become expendable (why it took this long), to help pay for Garza as well.

    I show the 25 man roster to be almost $143M with arbitration estimates.

    Why would Samardzija not clear waivers????

    Who would be willing to pick up his $3M for 2011?

    Neil – Can you explain that one?

    • Ripsnorter1

      Samardzija won’t clear waivers because when the Cubs demote him from the 40 man roster, if any team claims him, they only pay the minimum salary. The Cubs would be stuck for the rest of the $2.5 million he is owed in 2011. And if I were a MLB GM, I’d grab him for the minimum and let him try to learn to pitch in my system.

      IMO, he’d never clear waivers.

      • Tony_Hall

        If a team makes a waiver claim, they are responsible for the contract (white sox – Alex Rios). That is why teams wait for a player to clear waivers, so they can get the player for the league minimum.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Here are the rules on trying to pass players through waivers:

      A player designated for assignment is removed from his club’s 40-man roster and, within the next 10 days, traded, released or, if he clears waivers, assigned to the minor leagues. A club may not designate a player for assignment if the corresponding transaction is to recall a player on optional assignment.

      A player designated for assignment may be traded. A club interested in acquiring a player who has been designated for assignment may try to work out a trade before the player is placed on waivers, eliminating the possibility he might be claimed by a club with a higher waiver claim priority.

      A player designated for assignment who clears waivers and is not traded may be released. The player then becomes a free agent.

      A club wishing to send a player designated for assignment to the minor leagues must first place him on irrevocable outright waivers, making him available to the other 29 clubs in reverse order of won-lost record.

      If the player is claimed, he is lost to the claiming team for $20,000. (Irrevocable waivers may not be reversed.) The claiming team is responsible for the balance of the contract.

      If the player is not claimed (clears waivers), the club may option him or assign him outright to the minor leagues, though he must continue to be paid according to the terms of his contract. A player may be assigned outright to the minors only once in his career without his permission. Thereafter, he may either 1) reject the assignment and become a free agent, or 2) accept the assignment and become a free agent at the end of the season if he’s not back on the 40-man roster. Additionally, player with 3 years of major league service may refuse an outright assignment and choose to become a free agent, regardless of whether he has been sent outright to the minors previously. A player with 5 years of major league service time who refuses an outright assignment is entitled to the money due according to the terms of his contract

      • Tony_Hall

        So, if I read that right, the Cubs can place Samardzija on irrevocable outright waivers, where is a team claims him, they pay his salary. If he is not claimed, he would be assigned to AAA.

        If I read that right, then, the only way anyone would claim Samardzija, is if he is pitching well, and if that was the case, the Cubs wouldn’t be trying to send him to the minors. If he is pitching bad, they can do this, and I really doubt anyone would gamble $3M on him.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Tony, I agree. Also keep in mind, he is out of options that means if a team claims him he would have to be placed on their active 25-man roster. Options are not added when a player moves from team to team.

          • Tony_Hall

            That means, he will be able to be sent to the minors, which means, he needs to earn his spot in the bullpen, if not he can spend another year in Iowa.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Tony, I can’t. Other than from the Cubs, I have not heard/read anything positive about the Shark in a while. They keep trying to spin last year in Triple-A as a positive but if you look at the numbers, he was not good. Then picked up where he left off with the big league team.

  • Tony_Hall

    The man crush continues. Fernando Perez is going to be on the 25 man roster, as our 5th OF

    OF – Soriano, Byrd, Colvin, Fukudome, Perez

    The batters are set.

    IF – ARAm, Castro, Dewitt, Pena,Baker, Barney
    C – Soto, HIll (Castillo, maybe)

    • Ripsnorter1

      I do not have any desire to see Fernando Perez on the Cubs’ roster. .234 MLB average with absolutely no power. .279 lifetime minor league hitter with never more than 8 HR, usually 4 HR in 500+ PA. Even discounting that he was hurt in 2010 (he still had 426 PA and “slugged” an amazingly poor .299), he has only once hit as much as 20 doubles. 2005–AAA, 579 PA, 17 doubles, 11 triples, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 156 K!!!, and 43 SB, 12 CS.

      He’s Joey Gathright.

      Men, we need a Jim Edmonds, not a Juan Pierre.
      We need a RUN PRODUCER. That is accomplished by hitting with POWER.

      Edmonds was a HUGE, HUGE key to winning in 2008. It wasn’t Felix Pie that won it for us. It was
      Jimmy Eugene Edmonds that provided the punch that won it for us. I have mentioned several times here that Jim Clueless was too clueless to know it was the bottom of his batting order than won the divsion for us: DeRosa 87 RBI, 21 HR, Edmonds, 21 HR, Soto, 23 HR 85 RBI, and Theriot’s .395 OBP.

      This guy is not an OB machine, not a power machine, but he is a strikeout machine. I hope he doesn’t make the team, because if he does, we are in trouble.

      • Tony_Hall

        But you know, that JH’s man crush syndrome, will put this guy on the roster.

      • paulcatanese

        I had posted earlier that Edmonds should never have been let go,he is a solid competitor and provided the Cubs with clutch hitting. If I’m not mistaken the present lineup the way it stands right now would produce a huge amount of strikeouts on a DAILY basis. I’m not too good at stats but I wonder if one took the amount of strike outs the Cubs have on record and divide it by 162 games ,how many non producing outs on an average would they have per game?It leaves scoring at a minimum each time they take the diamond.This puts tremendous pressure on the pitching and defense,and you and Tony are right they desperatly need contact and offense.

  • Tony_Hall

    I cut this from an article in the Trib about the Bulls, about why they won’t mortgage the future to try and get a SG for this year, but lose they payroll flexibility in the next few years.

    Thought is made sense.

    “Teams that overreact trying win now seldom win now or later”

  • Ripsnorter1

    I think the Cubs better keep Gorzelanny if they have any sense [ed. note: they don't have any sense]. My rotation would have Casey Coleman starting in it.

    I don’t know how Jim Clueless will be able to move Silva. Who on planet earth would want the guy? And he gets millions of dollars, so will P.K. Ricketts just cut the guy? I doubt it very much.

  • paulcatanese

    Yes,JH has done what he set out to do. But at what cost? What he has brought here looks good only on paper(and the not even there),And Garza is the only semi-proven commoditie.The others are below average and must have career upgrades to be of any value. So what do we have? A glove,an uproven minor leaguer, a proposed outfielder who can run but can’t throw or hit the ball and a pitcher who may have temper problems.This is pretty much what we had before JH made the deals and we still had our prospects for the future.but its done and they are Cubs now and I will hope for the best and support them. Good luck.

  • joejoed

    If you take a look around at some of the Rays fans’ comment boards, many of them are bummed on the list of prospects. They expected Cashner and Colvin. Gotta try and see all sides of this one. I supported the trade early on, but my first reaction on hearing the news was that the Cubs over-payed. Really thought Lee was worth holding onto. That being said, they kept Jackson, McNutt, LeMahieu and Carpenter. As reported earlier on this site, the Cubs system has been getting better but with few standout stars. I think this trade is interesting and can benefit both teams. With Wilken in charge of our draft days, we’ll continue to improve on the farm. Everyone’s predicting the Brewers to dominate, but has their bullpen vastly improved? That seemed to be their weakest link in 2010. And the Cards proved themselves to be beatable as well. Got to play the games.

    • paulcatanese

      Yes,I agree that the Rays fans’ would be bummed,but every team I would imagine feels that they got the short end of the stick. I do see all sides of this but as you did,I thought the Cubs overpayed. The comment about the Brewers and the Cards is also true but I would throw this in. How often does the Cubs get into the other teams bullpens? They usually face closers because of run production problems and very few middle men. That makes it much more difficult for them(the Cubs) and how many times has the strikout bug plauged them in the last innings.I still think we have too many strikeouts in the line-up to go anywhere this year.

      • joejoed

        Its true it’ll be tougher to get to the Brewers pen this year but if they continue to throw guys like LaTroy Hawkins out on to the mound the Cubs will always have a chance. I love to watch Braun seethe as the Cubs torch their 7th and 8th inning bums. And yes, he is a TERRIBLE outfielder.

        • paulcatanese

          It’s true with Braun is a terrible outfielder and they are suspect at second base. All of this would help the Cubs IF they can hit the ball with any consitancy which is lessened by the contact factor of their bats,again they will have too many strikeouts to make this happen.I hope you are right…but. RUNs we need RUNs and not every fourth or fifth game.I am not disagreeing with you,just expanding a little further.

    • Tony_Hall

      Of course they were wanting better prospects. They know the names of Cashner and Colvin. They don’t know the names of the guys they got, because they don’t scout other teams systems. They just lost a pitcher, mainly due to the economics of baseball, they should be bummed. If money wasn’t a factor, they would have had competition for their 5th spot with Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, and Jeremy Hellickson, instead of trading away Garza to make room for Hellickson.

    • The Maven

      The Brewers may also have the worst defense in the majors this year.

      • Guest

        The Cards aren’t much better. BERGMAN IN RF!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

    If you think about it we actually did a wash with them. What we gave away was not enough to get him if we were the Redsox or Yankees. But was just a little better than what the Rangers were willing to give up. I thought it was funny that our whole conversation about Chirinos to Texas for Davis was so that they could add another piece for them to get Garza. Now I expect JH to go out and trade some our pitching for young corner IF prospects that are close because now we are in desperate need of replacement of the guys we got if this year does not go well.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    I am not saying Fernando Perez will be a star or anything I just want to point out a few possible positives to think about as I try to be the optimistic fan!
    Fernando Perez will be 27 this year and under team conrol through 2014 when he will be age 30.
    I can’t find the Link now but I read the other day one scout said he could easily see Perez stealing 30 to 40 bases if he played everyday.
    Fernando Perez has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in the majors.
    Bad points
    2008 .250/.348/.433/.781 2009 .206/.206/.206/.412
    Possibilities-
    Under his second year with Jaramillo in 2006, Mark DeRosa turned the corner and posted a .296/.357/.456/.812 line. at AGE 31

    Marlon Byrd had back-to-back dismal seasons as well in 2005 and 2006. Byrd put up a sub-.700 OPS and a line of .264/.318/.380/.698 in 2005 and it got worse with .223/.317/.350/.667 line in 2006.

    Byrd joined the Rangers at AGE 29 and started working with Jaramillo in 2007 and showed improvement in each of his three seasons under Rudy’s tutelage (2007 – .307/.355/.459/.814, 2008 – .293/.380/.462/.842, 2009 – .283/.329/.479/.808) … and had a good year in his first season with the Cubs, despite slowing down in the second half (2010 – .293/.346/.429/.775).

    I don’t think Perez will be a star but I think his numbers will improve a lot and he still has upside and at worst could be a cheap 4th or fifth outfielder for a couple years.

    • paulcatanese

      On Perez,I believe I read a short blurb above about Perez decides to go stricktly right handed because of an injury to his hand-arm? Wouldn’t that negate his speed to first base?Also mean chances of full time are lessened? Good stats though and too bad I always like someone who can bat from both sides.

    • RynoTiger

      but it’s hard to steal that many bases when you have a difficult time getting on base in the first place

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        I agree and I was just commenting on Jarramillo working with him and hoping he can turn him around some. I know Perez won’t likely make it as a starter, but I was just commenting on his speed potential.

  • paulcatanese

    The fifth spot in the rotation should go to Gorzo. I my opinion he has performed better than Wells. In fact I think Wells,Silva and the Shark should not be considered at all. Think about it you start these guys to see if they are a help and guess what,you have a loss on the board. All three have had serious and quick meltdowns in games making it impossible to come back. Every loss is a big one for this team, they have( 0) room for error and those losses come back to haunt you at the end of the year..Each game is important,each and every one of them.

    • JLBCUBS

      What I wonder is why the talk about trading Gorz but nothing about Wells I think he should be on the market at this point
      No One sane would even look at Silva . And I agree Samardzija needs to go I would have liked to see him do well but he is just dead weight
      As for Garza hes a good card added to a bad hand

      • Tony_Hall

        Wells has no trade value, except as an added player. Gorzellany is LH and more “potential”, so teams would be willing to make a trade.

        I think your last line is right on – “As for Garza he’s a good card added to a bad hand”

  • Steven Petty

    So now we have Garza. I feel that this is a great trade on the Cubs part. Hendry outdid himself. I do remember a time when everyone was upset when Hendry did not pull the trigger on Hill or Pie for Roberts and others. Well guess what, Hendry pulled the trigger this time. He got a MLB READY pitcher that is ready to compete against weaker lineups in the NL. We all know the AL East had lineups that produced alot of runs. I am predicting that both Garza and Dempster will win 15 games this year along with Big Z winning 14. That is 44 games won with just 3 pitchers. I still think IMO that Wells will win 11 and Gorzo will win 10. There is another 21 games won by starters. We have a great pitching staff.

    I feel Hendry went out and got Garza to replace Big Z when his contract expires. Please, tell me how anyone can be upset with the “could have been” vs the “what is now”?

    I am excited that we have put together a team that has a bullpen and starting rotation. I feel the same way as others, lets play ball to see who is the best!!!! BTW, Cubs will win it all in 2011!!!!

    • Tony_Hall

      Can’t wait for ST, myself. But this is not a great rotation.

      If Zambrano,Dempster, Garza, CASHNER, Gorz/Wells is great what does that make this rotation –

      Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton

      The Cubs are not even great in the NL Central comparisons.

      This trade made the team more competitive this year. For the fans that wanted to be competitive in 2011, because they don’t want a rebuilding year, here you go. But don’t think this is JH’s last move to get better, this year, by mortgaging more of the future.

      • Steven Petty

        I understand that people want to build with youth. Isnt 27yrs old youth? Proven talent? Cmon, we have yet to have a home grown talent stand out since Grace. Castro needs more than 1 yr in the MLB to say he is the future. Look at the trade for Holliday to the A’s for Carlos Gonzales. Did anyone expect these numbers? NO, they were all upset. I would not mind giving up a McNutt and another player to get a proven solid 3b. Would you?

        As far as the Phillies pitching staff, IF the say healthy, that is a step above great. PHENOMENAL…..and of course, exciting.

        • Tony_Hall

          27 year old that will cost $6-$8M,was not what I wanted added to the 2011 Cubs.

          I am also tired of hearing people talk about the past, inability to have home grown talent. Tim Wilken, has drafted and signed players for the farm system, that will get to the majors. We had more 1st year players last year, then I can ever remember, that were productive.

          We have a proven solid 3B, when he wants to play. How much of an upgrade do you think is out there?

          IF the Phillies pitching staff has an IF involved, in any way shape or form, what size IF does the Cubs chances have this year. HUGE!

          Also, I didn’t want to name all of the rotations out there, that are still better than the Cubs, as it would take a long time to put together a list that long.

          JH made a move to give us HOPE for 2011. IF that is all you want, you got it. I, for one, want to build a team, that will be competive, every year, and for the long term, that re-supplies itself, and sells off pieces like Garza and like the Rays, just did, to re-stock, from a position of strength. Then, unlike the Rays, has the ability to add the payroll of an AGon, Pujols, Lee, Crawford, since we would have control of our payroll, using our sytem for the base of our team.

          • Steven Petty

            Tony,

            I am not a guy that likes to talk about the past. In fact, my motto is “No regrets, only memories.”

            As for the the proven 3b, who do you speak of. Aramis. Cmon man. He is just there for his paycheck. He does not have the will or want to win with the Cubs. Aramis is an “all about me individual”. Always hurt. Plays when he wants. So again, I ask, who is this proven 3b? As for an upgrade, I think there are many out there. Casey M (Brewers), Alberto C (LAA), J Lopez (Rockies) are to name a few.

            There may be rotations that are better than the Cubs on paper. But last year the Cubs starters turned in the 2nd most “quality starts” in the MLB. So, the bullpen was an issue. Starters did well. We only solidified our starting staff and are going to add more “quality starts” to our numbers. Hendry solidified the bullpen. Wood is a good pick up, and with the addition of Cashner, we have a great set up in Wood, long man in Cashner and Marshall, and Marmol to close.

            Is it not the work “hope” that any MLB team leans on? Did anyone really think that the Giants were going to win the World Series? Did anyone really think the Rangers were going to beat the Yanks? Did anyone really think that the Cubs were going to land a legitimate home run, left handed, 1B? No, we were all hoping. So, I will take all the hope that you speak of. It does give me the willy’s inside to know that we have good pitching and pitching that we could trade for a possible 2b? Would you not rather add quality pitchers that are under your control for 6-10 mil per year rather than the astronomical contracts of Demp and Big Z?

            Every player on the Cubs now that there is pressure on them to perform. I do believe in my heart that we will have 5 all stars on our team this year. Pena, Castro, Garza, Z, and Marmol.

          • Tony_Hall

            I never said, I liked ARam, only that we are not going to get anyone better right now.

            Casey Mcgahee – JH’s ego, is much larger than you estimate, if you think he would bring him back, after losing him.

            Alberto Callaspo, and his 8 hrs in 349 AB’s last year or his 11 hrs in 576 AB’s in 09. He will most likely be the Angels starter, after losing out on Beltre.

            Jose Lopez – and his 10 hrs in 593 AB”s at Coors.

            You didn’t name 1 player that is better, and available.

            As for as our starting rotation, we didn’t solidify, we replaced Ted Lilly. That is all we netted, was a younger version of Lilly.

            Long man in Cashner – Where are you reading that? He is going to be given 1st chance at the 4th spot in the rotation, and if somehow he doesn’t hold the spot, he will be a late inning (7th or 8th) guy.

            I love Woody, and hope he can finish his career, as a productive reliever, but I don’t think he is close to great anymore.

            I would love to move Z and Dempster’s contracts, mainly Z’s, but it is not going to happen, so we are stuck with them. If our system is loaded with arms, why would we add an arm with our prospects, instead of a legitamite bat. We have enough arms!!

            We will not have 5 All-Stars! Pena – Are you crazy? Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard are the All-Stars for the NL Pena isn’t even close to these guys.

            Castro – I could see, but Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki are auto picks, so he will have to beat out Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes, Rafael Furcal, so I don’t expect it in 2011.

            Zambrano – I would love to see it, but he will have to be a no doubter, to make it by coaches and players votes.

            Garza – I could see it, His 1st half should be the best part of the year, as he goes through NL lineups the first time.

            Marmol – Absolutely – but lots of competition and it isn’t always a closers #’s as much as teams record and players dominance. H Street, F Cordero, J Broxton, K Rod, Lidge, H Bell.,B Wilson. Lots of competition.

            You must have some good Cubbie kool-aide, you really should share with others.

          • Steven Petty

            Crazy like a fox you are Tony.

            Who is this 3b available that I did not mention?

            Also, I understand that you are thinking that the Fab Four will be the 1b all stars. But I am sorry, I see it differently. Pena is new to the league. Pena is in a contract year. I just see it differently here.

            Lastly, the Cubbie kool-aide is good. 50% less sugar!!! Come join us. Don’t be so skeptical or call it being a realists. Just hop on the bandwagon and take a seat next to me as I will serve you the Kool Aide of your choice.

          • Tony_Hall

            This mysterious 3B…doesn’t exist, that is the point.

            Let me ask you a question about Pena…Who did his contract year, last year work for him and the Rays????

            Well it is being realistic about the state of affairs of this, JH led Cubs. If they fired JH, the future would be brighter.

            Trust me, I will root for the Cubs every game, and will have bad days and weeks, along with the Cubs, but I will not act like every move is this great move that puts us over the top. I did that for far to long.

            Garza will help this team win games in 2011. He will be a great addition to the rotation, he gives them a better chance in 2011, it’s still not a very big chance. I just wouldn’t be going for it, this year, and would have let the prospects develop in the system and waited until next offseason, to start making moves.

            I hope you are right, which would mean we are celebrating a World Series title in the Fall of 2011.

          • paulcatanese

            Steven,I admire your loyalty.Their is no chance for Pena,Castro and Z to make the all star team,none at all. Marmol yes and maybe,maybe Garza. But pitchers need wins to get to the all star team,and again if the Cubs don’t score they will not win and the pitchers will not have votes because of individual records. Marmol easily makes it, and maybe Marshall.

          • cubs1967

            no chance for castro or pena or Z to make the all-star team???………based on what………new MLB rule????

            please………..I would bet garza-marmol and castro do.

          • paul catanese

            Hey,I hope your’e right and I am wrong. The only way Castro,Pena and Z make that team is if the fans stuff the ballot box. Sorry but I just don’t see it.He (Castro-Z) they have a chance if one player from every team has to be on the squad. Do not mis-understand me I have been a Cub fan since 1940 and I do hope you are right.

  • Sanspaugh

    OK, I’m trying to think of this in the best light I can and here’s what I see if I put my best rose colored goggles on in reviewing this trade. Let me first start by saying my initial reaction was the same as most, JH overpayed, AGAIN, and in a big way. Since my initial reaction, I’ve thought about this trade more and analysed it more and come up with this, which seems to make a little sense. First off, Garza will be the best pitcher on the staff, which means we acquired at least our #1 even if he wouldn’t be a #1 on other staffs. Next let’s just say Perez and Fuld are a wash, even though Perez to have more upside. Next you can say that Archer hasn’t accomplished anything yet, other then hype, and Garza is an established #2 or #3 guy on some very good Tampa teams and our new #1 in my mind. That obviously is a lopsided trade for us, so you throw in some more “prospects” and add Lee, Guyer, and Chironis. Well if the accounts are even remotely accurate that Lee was never going to push Castro to 2B, then you gave up the organizations second best SS prospect, not bad. Then you add Guyer, again, probably the 3rd best OF prospect on the team or organization with Jackson and Colvin above him for sure. Now, finally throw in a suspect C prospect with nothing above the other C’ing prospects we have and this seems like a hell of a deal to me. Is my thinking on this THAT far off to make me/us change our mind? I don’t know, but it seems plausable laid out this way. Comments??

    • Steven Petty

      I agree with your whole post. But what I am reading is that there are a few readers who feel that Hendry overpaid by including the guys you suggest. I have yet to read a post by an author such as yourself that put it like this.

      I still think that we can trade 2 more of our studs in the minors for a 2b or 3b to solidify our team. I feel after this year, Hendry will spend the money on Fielder as our future 1b. I feel we are just a 2b and 3b short to being in the playoffs year in year out.

    • Tony_Hall

      Et tu

  • Aaron

    The most disturbing part about this whole trade is the fact that the trade hurts us in multiple ways:
    1) We lose the only true lead-off prospect in our system (Lee)
    2) We lose a potential Ace starter in Archer, who, from most scouting reports projects as such….and, I might add, would be MUCH cheaper than Garza
    3) We aren’t even projected to compete in the Central anyhow….So, basically, even though you’re getting a pitcher under control for 3 years, you’re still getting him at an expensive rate, as he’s in arbitration years now. This was Hendry’s prime argument for making the trade. He almost admits defeat to begin with by stating that they weren’t dealing the farm away for one season, as they have Garza under control for 3 years…….
    That type of logic befuddles me, because the issue at hand is we’re NOT going to make the playoffs next year. It’s just mathematically (stats-wise) and logically impossible. As was accurately pointed out on the CCO by someone else a few weeks ago after the Pena signing….if the Cubs are going to win the World Series, it would make sense they’d do it in a season they aren’t even projected to finish in the top 3 in their own division. But nevertheless, Hendry’s logic is flawed, especially considering prospects such as Lee and Archer…centerpieces in the trade, weren’t expected to make their debuts until 2012 at the earliest, and likely 2013. In the latter case, that’d be 3 years, which would be the time all the bad contracts roll off our books, and make it highly likely that we’d be in primed for a rebuilding effort utilizing our prospects.

    Hendry was happy to have Garza under control, eluding to the fact that the trade was made with the future in mind, with less emphasis on the present (and I know I’m taking significant liberty with his comments, as it’s just my interpretation, but given our extreme shortcomings on offense last season, and adding a .196 hitter like Pena, you’d have to be an imbecile to actually think you can correct the problems from last year…and given how long he’s been in the game…and even though I give him a TON of grief…I simply cannot fathom that Hendry really is that big of an idiot to actually think we have what it takes to compete next season)

    If you want my honest opinion on this matter, I actually think part of Hendry knows he’ll be fired after this season, and it was sort of a Hail Mary pass, as he knows there was absolutely no impact bat available at this time on the trade/FA market that could put us over the top…and he had to do something to make it look like he was at least trying. I also believe as part of the deal to get approval with ownership in trading away the future, there is an agreement in place that if the Cubs are out of it in July, everyone is up for grabs in trade, including the recently acquired Garza…and here’s where I want to insert my own commentary….

    I hope recent acquisitions like Pena and Garza, plus Byrd from last year, will do exceptionally well next year (I do not believe this will actually happen, it’s just my hope). It is then my hope that we tank it, and guys like ARAM, Zambrano, etc. have resurgent seasons as well, and ownership will force Hendry to make good on their agreement for a firesale.

    In my mind, even though they have no trade clauses, guys like Zambrano, Dempster, and ARAM, would jump at the opportunity to leave a sinking ship like the Cubs behind, as they’re getting older and want to win a championship.

    And just think about it for a second. If our recent acquisitions perform at a high level, and our own three veterans have good seasons, just think of what we’d receive via trade at the deadline for those guys. They’d go to the highest bidder.

    Garza-aside from his rookie year, 10 game stint, he’s never had higher than a 3.95 ERA, and is known as an innings eater. That’s pretty valuable for any team, and he’s even more valuable with his AL East experience, in a division known for prolific offenses.
    Dempster-never had an ERA as a starter higher than 3.85 with us…yes, he was up and down earlier in his career, but given the consistency the last 3 years, it seems he’s figured things out
    Zambrano-has NEVER had an ERA higher than 3.95, and averages about a 3.50 ERA, which is incredible…yes, he’s a ticking time bomb, but his stats are incredible, and if he were on a better team, he’d likely be a perennial 15+game winner
    Pena-his average sucks….very bad, but you could reasonably expect 25+hr, 80+RBI from him
    Byrd-10+hr, 60+RBI average for a CF is pretty good, especially if he continues to hit for a high average
    ARAM-25+hr, 100+RBI average

    So…like I said, given the fact these guys (aside from Pena and Byrd) all seem consistent throughout their careers, it appears we could ask for a pretty good return at the deadline for their services. Byrd, Zambrano, Dempster, and Garza would probably fetch more than ARAM and Pena, as they’re all under control for at least 2012, and in Garza’s case, til 2013.

    So, I do have a little glimmer of hope, because I know that if the Cubs tank it again this season (as I predict), we’ll still have the opportunity to retool for next year and beyond by trading away proven veterans at the deadline. But the absolute worst thing that could happen is if all of these guys tank next year and/or get injured, as that’d not only make next season uglier, but it’d completely screw us for the future, especially given the king’s ransom we paid to get Garza, and desperate need to restock the system after that trade.

    The absolute best case scenario in my mind is if we tank it and the Giants are thick in the race, but have issues at 3B. It’d also help if the Angels also had a hole at 3B, or some other playoff-bound team had a hole at 3B, because then we could ask the Giants for Brandon Belt, their stud 1B prospect, in exchange for ARAM. And if the Angels are in the thick of things, and have a hole in their rotation, and possibly 1B if Morales can’t come back, we could offer Pena, plus Zambrano, Dempster, or Garza for Mike Trout. Don’t laugh at that either….Big market teams like that know that it’s far better to win now than try to win later, and they will pony up top prospects to get over the hump. Nobody thought the Phillies would trade away Taylor and Drabek, let alone in the same trade, but they did, because they knew Halladay would put them over the hump. Same goes for the Braves when they dealt Salty, Feliz, Andrus, and Harrison for Teixeira.

    We desperately need a true lead-off hitter, corner IF and OF prospects, and to determine if Castillo is the answer for back-up catcher and/or future replacement for the oft-injured Soto, and if he isn’t, then we need depth there too. Brett Jackson is currently our only true OF prospect right now, and he’s a CF. Outside of him, I guess Golden would be the only other one, and he won’t even sniff the majors until 2013 at the earliest in my opinion. We have no exciting 1B prospects, and Vitters has taken a dive as a good 3B prospect, so we need help there.

    That reason alone is why I am completely confused as to why Hendry dealt for a position of strength (starting pitching) instead of for a young power hitting corner IF or OF.

    Anyone else feel the same way?

    • paulcatanese

      Hate to admit it, but yes I do agree with you. Hitting,hitting,hitting is the need.

    • The Maven

      Aaron, the cupboard isn’t totally bare as far as a lead-off hitter goes. Outfielders Evan Crawford and Matt Szczur are potential lead-off hitters, as is second baseman Pierre LePage and shortstop Wes Darvill.

      • Aaron

        Szcur would be foolish to accept the Cubs offer, unless the NFL is guaranteed to be in lock-out mode, which, from what I understand, Goodell has informed owners and the NLFPA that he means business, and wants to avoid a lock-out at all costs. Szcur could end up being a 2nd or 3rd round pick in the NFL. Even at that round, he’d still be guaranteed probably around $500k, and with the Cubs, he’s looking at that bonus, plus minor league earnings (about $30,000/year), and with the Cubs, he’s likely looking at 4 years in the system for total earnings of about $620k. In the NFL, if he even just makes the team on special teams, he’s likely to earn $2-3 million during that same 4 year period, meaning he’d be absolutely foolish to not go with the NFL.

        Crawford is a joke…I’m not trying to be a jerk or anything, but can you be serious?!? Here are his totals for his first 2 seasons of pro ball:
        174 games, 666 ABs, 108 runs, 179 hits, 22 doubles, 17 triples, 5 hr, 62 RBI, 41 SB, 11 CS, 50 walks, 169 K’s, .269 avg, .326 OBP, .375 SLG

        Translated to MLB, that’s 12 games over a full season. Basically the scouting report says he’s a light-hitting CF with speed, and he’s NOT prototypical for that role, because he appears to be a hacker, which his low OBP and high K totals would show. Even at the time of the trade, Crawford was seen as nothing more than a roster filler.

        The only one you mentioned that even has a chance for that role is LePage, and he is certainly diminutive at only 5’8″, 168 lbs. That type of body normally doesn’t translate well to MLB success. Nothing against small guys….but history is our best guide, and it’s not on his side.

        And while Darvill has youth on his side (only 18 yrs old), he’s terrible. Some guys end up having success when they struggle at an early age, but they’re too few and far between.

        I guess the only other TRUE lead-off candidate is Tony Campana, who turns 25 in May….and is also very diminutive at 5’8″ and just 160 lbs…he has speed, but his CS is alarming, having swiped 48 bases last year, but was caught stealing 20 times.

        Basically, Fernando Perez=Crawford
        and LePage=Campana

        So, at that point, you have to start looking at the positions these guys play.

        Perez, Crawford, and Campana are CF
        LePage is a middle IF

        We have Soriano locked in for 4 more years in LF, so Brett Jackson, who is our CF of the future can’t move over there. We have Byrd locked in for 2 more years, which prevents Jackson from being full-time even in CF, and we have Colvin, most likely entrenched in RF, unless he is shifted to 1B if we can’t find a long-term replacement next offseason like Fielder, etc.

        Our other positions that don’t appear locked in for the foreseeable future are 1B, 2B, and 3B (after ARAM’s deal expires at the end of the year). You’re NOT going to want a lead-off hitter at 1B or 3B, so by deduction, the only spot it could come from is 2B, unless you want to move Castro into that role, which really doesn’t fit him. He’s more suited for a 2 hole or lower as he adds more muscle.

        Therefore, LePage is the only option right now, which is why the Hak-Ju Lee trade pissed me off so much, as Castro or Lee could’ve slid over to 2B, creating an extremely dynamic middle IF for years to come.

        • The Maven

          There are no guaranties in Pro Football for Szczur. He comes from a lower level of competition, had injury problems this past season, and his 4.50 40 time is almost pedestrian for wide receivers. The first clues will come at the Senior Bowl later this month. He will spend a week practicing against some of the best defensive backs in the nation. How he performs will set the bar for where he might be drafted, if he is drafted at all.

        • The Maven

          Since coming over in the Mike Fontenot deal, Crawford hit .278 with 3 stolen bases in 18 games for high A ball Daytona. While he did have 16 strikeouts, he is only 22 years old with 2 years pro experience. The door hasn’t quite closed on Crawford at this time.

        • The Maven

          Since returning to Rookie ball after being a bit over his head at low A Boisie, Darvill would hit .301 with a .387 on-base percentage and 12 stolen bases in 26 games. A small sample size, but as you said, he’s just 18 years old.

          • Aaron

            True, he’s just 18 years old, but Mesa is equivalent to basically High School All-Stars. College hitters usually go there and absolutely tear it up, on their way to advanced Rookie Ball. Darvill was chosen out of high school in Canada. He played on their national team, but he struggled a bit. The scouting report on him also does not seem to be very impressive. I believe the Cubs give him next year, and if he doesn’t take a step forward, he’s going to be released.

        • cubsbub

          Wow Aaron, you seem to think Lee is the next Ricky Henderson. Lee is a slap hitter, with a swing ala Fukudome. One of the huge questions with him is his offense, but you have him plugged into our starting lineup after a season at class A ball. He’s 20 years old and he needs to bulk up or he will be eaten alive by major league pitching and fielding. You don’t last very long slapping the ball and beating out infield hits, which is what he does at this point in his career. In the Cubs system he was still 2-3 years away from the majors, if he would have made it. The big question is will he be able to make the adjustment, he’s rated high with the hope that he can progress physically, that’s why he’s a prospect, like Felix PIe, Josh Vitters, Eric Patterson, Corey Patterson, Brian Dopriak,

          I even heard someone say that Lee would probably be the Rays starting shortstop this year. I find it amazing how Cubs fans overvalue their own prospects. He was rated high in a very average farm system. A single A player with good upside, great defensively but very questionable in the offense, a lower slugging percentage than obp at single A .351 vs..352 Also, he has plus speed but he did get caught stealing 20 percent of the time against single A pitching and catching. 32 steals in 551 ab’s. I just don’t see an elite A+ player like you seem to be insinuating.

          • Aaron

            absolutely to the contrary. I do not think he’s of that caliber at all. However, I DO think Lee will end up being a spitting image of Ichiro. And I do NOT believe that is an exaggeration just looking at his pro numbers thus far.
            I think he’ll have slightly less hits, but I would estimate he’d hit about .300-.315 avg, .350-.360 OBP with about 180+ hits per season. But the main offensive numbers (ie.-doubles, triples, hr, and RBI, I believe he’ll be a spitting image of Ichiro….somewhere around 20-30 doubles, 5-10 triples, and 5-8 hr, 50-60 RBI). Ichiro averages about .331 avg, .376 OBP, 229 hits, 26 doubles, 7 triples, 9 hr, 57 RBI and 42 stolen bases.

            I don’t know why there are so many Cubs fans that doubt this guy. He was only 19 freaking years old last year, playing at Peoria, and he held his own. That just doesn’t happen very often.

            122 games, 485 ABs, 85 runs, 137 hits, 22 doubles, 4 triples, 1 hr, 40 RBI, 32 SB, .282 avg, .354 OBP is what Lee produced at Peoria, age 19, when most in that league are over 21 years old. He also played in the Futures Game, and looked pretty good.

            His most impressive stats came the year before as an 18 year old at Boise with:
            68 games, 264 ABs, 56 runs, 87 hits, 14 doubles, 2 triples, 2 hr, 33 RBI, 25 SB, .330 avg, .399 OBP

            I’m completely guessing here, but I’d assume you might be in the crowd that believes Castro will be a star. If you’re in that crowd, then I suggest you look at both their pro stats, as Lee had more impressive stats than Castro prior to Castro’s MLB debut.

          • Trevor_P

            My exact feelings on Lee (with a lot more stats to back it up). I don’t think Lee was the typical Cubs PR hype machine, the numbers at his young age tell you that this guy could be a star. As far a slap hitter, I thought I read he had a more line drive swing and he was in the process of bulking up. Time will tell I suppose, and I don’t normally become enamored with prospects, but I just really thought Lee could be special combined with Castro up the middle.

        • paul catanese

          I have to agree with the Maven on Szcur and football,there is no gurantee on where he would be drafted,but there is a great probability his body will not last in the game. I speak from personal experience. I talked my son into signing with the Twins and not UCLA for football as a QB.One season and he didn’t want any part of baseball(18)when he signed. Football was his game and several injuries Knees twice he got to play a season with Tulane and his athletic career was over,but with a masters degree . My grandson Zach(look it up)Catanese Arizona State was a draft pick by the Jets but had to wait a year after knee surgery in Hawaii in a bowl game,and then was the last cut when he came back.My point being if an athlete has the gift of both sports I would certainly hope it would be Baseball,leess chance of injury and if he’s good the money will come.

  • Chuck

    Our prayers and condolences go out to the family of Dallas Green. His granddaughter was the 9 year old that died in the senseless Arizona shooting. Dallas Green was a former GM of the Chicago Cubs and was responsibel for people such as Larry Bowa and Ryne Sandberg coming to the Cubs. Dallas Green’s son is involved in scouting for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    • paulcatanese

      I agree, Dallas Green was the best GM the Cubs ever had. I offer my prayers and condolences to the family. That was senseless on the highest order. What a sad Dec and Jan for all of Baseball. Many now have departed, and a nine year old is special,I have seven grandchildren and I cannot imagine the grief the Green family is going through. I am truly sorry.

      • Wickitkevin

        As a father of 2 beautiful little girls my heart goes out the the Green Family.

    • The Maven

      As an author of an article on Dallas Green, I am saddened to hear of his loss. My prayer will go out to him and his family.

      • paulcatanese

        I agree on the article you wrote and just looked for it,, a great tribute to Green. Thinking of it made it a little sadder for me.

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

    Not sure if it was mentioned on here at all or not….but in that horrible shooting tragedy in Arizona…the 9 year old little girl who was struck and killed was the grandaughter of former Cubs GM Dallas Green.

  • paul catanese

    Neil,Tom. I sure wish I could make the convention as I would like to meeme of the bloggers. They are more interesting than the Cubs right now,but it’s a long way from California. I will rely on youTom and the rest to bring all of that to me.It’s a great site and the posters are very interesting Thanks to all.