Catching Up With the Cubs Rumor Mill

When play resumes on Thursday, the Cubs will have 70 games remaining on their 2011 schedule and Jim Hendry will have several decisions to make that could impact this organization for several years.

The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is 19 days away and the overpaid, underachieving roster that Hendry assembled should have a different look come August 1. But in reality the changes that could be made all depends on the direction the Cubs want to take moving forward. The Cubs GM has already said there will not be a fire sale and they will only make trades that they feel will help them moving forward. The Cubs are rumored to be looking at adding as much pitching as possible … of course, if the right deal comes their way.

Many figure players such as Kosuke Fukudome, John Grabow, Reed Johnson and Carlos Pena could be traded … and reportedly the Cubs have been asked about players such as Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano.

With all of baseball focused on the 82nd Mid-Summer Classic … here’s what has been happening in the rumor mill.

Aramis Ramirez
The Cubs hold a $16 million option on Aramis Ramirez for the 2012 season that includes a $2 million buyout. Before Ramirez started hitting again, there was no doubt that the Cubs would pay the buyout and move on at the end of the season … but things have changed.

Not only is Ramirez hitting (and fielding) again but the players in the system that figure to take over for Ramirez are not progressing the way the Cubs had hoped. To put it simply, it could be Ramirez at third next season or a platoon … think along the lines of a Jeff Baker and a Blake DeWitt sharing time at the hot corner.

Ramirez recently told the Sun-Times that he and Hendry have not addressed his status for next year and likely will not until after the season. Ramirez also has not thought about renegotiating his over-market $16 million deal into maybe a two-year deal that is a little more affordable for the Cubs.

The Tribune reported that the decision to keep Ramirez or not might not be up to Hendry and the Cubs are likely to exercise the $2 million buyout. But like the Sun-Times, the Tribune left open the possibility of the Cubs bringing back Ramirez at a lower price.

Hendry said Friday that he would not open talks with Ramirez anytime soon.

According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Angels appear to be the team with most interest in trading for Aramis Ramirez. The Mariners could also be interested … along with the Giants, Braves and possibly the Diamondbacks.

Could the Yankees Come Calling?
According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Yankees had three scouts watching the Nationals and the Cubs last week. New York is looking for bullpen help as well as a bat or two.

Levine reported, “it appears the Yankees may have some interest in Cubs left-handed reliever John Grabow” as well as both Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano.

The recent injury (and surgery) to Alex Rodriguez may open up a spot for a player like Aramis Ramirez and/or the Yankees could choose to trade for Alfonso Soriano to use as their designated hitter.

If the Yankees decide to bring back Soriano for a second tour of duty in the Bronx, “the Cubs would likely step up and share a good portion of that contract obligation if they found an interested party.” According to Levine, Soriano would likely jump at the chance to return to the Yankees.

More from the Rumor Mill
Jon Paul Morosi tweeted Sunday that Reed Johnson would be a good complimentary player for a contender and will have value on the market.

During the fifth inning of Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh, Judd Sirott mentioned that Marlon Byrd is the type of player the Pirates are looking to add. Sirott explained that the Pirates are not looking to rent a player for a couple of months and the fact Byrd is under contract for 2012 ($6.5 million) makes him appealing to Pittsburgh.

If the Cubs decide to listen to offers for Matt Garza, the Yankees and Red Sox could have interest according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

According to a report from CSNNE, there is nothing to the Matt Garza trade rumors … the Cubs are not looking to trade a starting pitcher.

Stay tuned … it should be an interesting two and a half weeks.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Now there's three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain." - Casey Stengel 

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  • Tony_Hall

    We can only hope that this happens.

    ““I know it’s heat of the moment and I know stuff happens but that was disturbing. I like Quade. I’ve said this to you guys before, I would hate to see him get swallowed up in this malaise that they’re in, but considering that they certainly are going to consider changing general managers, well if they bring in a new GM, the new GM will most likely want to pick his manager.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/cbsports-quade-looks-like-he-could-be-one-and-done-analyst-20110711,0,4008155.story

    • Tom U

      A rising star may be Brian Harper. Like Sandberg, he has “street cred” as being a former major leaguer. He was part of winning organizations in Minnesota and St. Louis.

      Harper has done a masterful job at Tennessee, moving  players around and creating good match ups. If ownership sees that as the way for the Cubs to play in the future, Harper already has the experience.

      The only red flag is season ending injuries to pitchers David Cales and Robert Whitenack, along with an injury plagued one for Trey McNutt. Just bad luck, or is it something else?

      • Brp921

        I would still rather see Sandberg come back as manager. I think the question is, would he be willing to come in as manager with Hendry still running the show?

        • paulcatanese

          I don’t believe he would under Hendry.

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

        I really like Brian Harper. He had some really solid days as a back up catcher in the majors. He seems to have his pulse on playing winning baseball as well. Hopefully he can continue to improve and get to the majors eventually.

    • Brp921

      I cant believe Ken Rosenthal has followed the Cubs very closely if he say’s he likes Quade. I hate to contiually dump on Quade because he hasn’t had a decent team to manage, but if Rosenthal has paid attention to the decisions Quade keeps making on a game to game basis he wouldn’t be giving him the credit that he’s giving him.

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

        I think he meant he personally likes Quade. Never commenting in a baseball sense.

        • Brp921

          That makes sense.

        • Aaron

          I don’t know about that one Richard….he spoke of him very positively to start the year, and defended both him and Hendry….I don’t really understand his motives, because he’s not a local media guy

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

            I know Rosenthal did early in the year but that is not really how this article read. That is why I thought he was making seems like he was talking about personally.

          • Aaron

            That’s still a very poor argument on his behalf, and just shows the political games people play in baseball.

            I’ve dealt with it my whole life, which is why I played with a chip on my shoulder….I remember in high school, a kid making the JV team over me my freshman year because his dad donated money for lights at our field. The kid NEVER once saw playing time….just took up a damn spot on the roster….and I mean NEVER saw time, even as a pinch runner or anything.

            Nepotism reigns supreme in the draft with people getting signed/drafted that had no business even being there, because their dad is a scout/coach/manager/GM of that team, or another team. Remember Hendry drafting Jocketty’s son as a sort of favor to him a few years ago?

            Anyway, I don’t want to give a lecture on the politics or nepotism in MLB….just wanted to point out how stupid some of these journalists really are. I actually had a chance to meet the smurf, named Rosenthal, at the Winter Meetings a few years ago. Rosenthal, Olney, Phillips, Gammons, etc. were gathered in the lobby, desperately trying to eavesdrop on conversations GM’s were having. Hell, I even tried to do it, going up to the bar, trying to find out if Hendry was about to land Peavy or not…I even met Peavy, Oswalt, and some other dude I didn’t recognize that was probably one of their teammates at a blackjack table. I even asked Peavy if he was getting traded to the Cubs, and he indicated it sure seemed that way.

            But my point is….THAT is what journalists should be doing. NOT, going off assumptions (ie.-Josh Paul, Yankees scout spotted at Cubs vs Nationals, must be scouting Grabow, ARAM, and Soriano based on holes the Yankees have, and players the Cubs have available), instead of actually going to the horse’s mouth (meaning the players…and especially the agents), asking what movement might be happening. The journalists should also have enough integrity to leave personal relationships or feelings out of their research when reporting on certain people. They should be objective. They’re the ones actually “breaking news” after all, so I don’t want a wishy-washy spin on anything…I want the facts. And it’s not like I’m saying journalists can’t go off assumptions either like the example I mentioned…..it’s just that it seems like that’s all they’ve been doing in recent years. Most of these so-called experts have been so wrong on trades, free agent signings, and other matters….that there has to be some level of truth to them being “too assumptive”.

            Guys like Mariotti, Rosenbloom, Haugh, Rogers, etc. are NOT subject to the same scrutiny, because they have opinion pieces. Gammons, Olney, Rosenthal, are supposed to report the news, and have unbiased opinions. I guess with the new-age media, there’s no such thing….just pointing out how it used to be. In other words, you used to be able to look at a newspaper, and tell which columns were factual and which were opinions. Unfortunately, the black and white has now become more gray than anything, and you don’t know if they’re reporting based on actual knowledge or just opinion.

            Rosenthal needs to check any personal relationships at the door, prior to writing anything…so do Levine and Miles (who also need to return any money given to them by Ricketts and Hendry to write favorable articles)

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

            I do agree that the days of objectivity by any sports writer are over. They can not afford to be very critical and still be considered “in”. Where it use to be that guys would take a critical stand against ownership or baseball in general now they won’t because of the perks that are being offered to be a beat writer or national correspondent or what ever.

            But now it seems all sports writers has personal relationships with players and management and what ever. I think that is why I like Skip Bayless so much. He seems to be overly critical to some guys and down right hostile with others. It doesn’t matter if he has a personal relationship with them or not. Just listen to him go off of Billy Beane from time to time to get what I mean.

          • Dorasaga

            Aaron,

            I once read from Joe Posnanski’s blog that sportswriters are not capable of truthful blades of journalism that you described here. Sports franchises are one Big Boy’s Club with closed door and no public monitoring. Sportswriters (or sports journalists, i suppose) need to keep a certain wee-wee-wa-wa kind of nice brotherhood with players and management.

            Heck, sportswriters used to buy players drinks and meals if they want news. I think until the ’70s, a player of the visiting team would even call his amicable local beat writer for a treat in exchange of a news-line.

            Even sportswriters nowadays (say, Bruce Miles) if offended the management (J.Hendry) even once, would be fended away by the whole organization from “insiders’ tale” such as trade rumors that will keep fans interested, hence the writer’s respective press valuable.

            It’s give-n-take in pro-ball.

  • J Daniel

    Although the options for third base are slim I do not see Ricketts picking up the option of Ramirez.  This is strictly a financial deal and I will believe, until I see otherwise, Rickets wants all of the contracts gone.  Also, don’t believe it will be a platoon with Baker and DeWitt.

    Cubs should explore options for Marmol to see if this is the type of move that can be made to quicken the rebuilding process as he has fairly high value.  I agree with the suggestion that Wood can close with Carpenter taking over in a year.  Keep Marshall.  If they can get someone to overpay for Garza between him and Mamol maybe they can re-shape the path they are on now, the path to nowhere. Although someone has to pitch next year I believe Garza and Marmol are the two players that can get the highest value in return.

    The only problem is do you trust that the right players will be gotten?   The only real value the rest of the guys – Byrd, Johnson, Fuko, Soriano, Baker, and Grabow will bring is salary relief (even after eating large portions), roster spaces, and a clear fresh start.  If they were any good the Cubs would be winning.  The odds of any player received being an impact are remote but maybe hell will freeze over.

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

      You might be surprise on getting a return on Baker or Johnson. If the chatter is right about Boston wanting Baker and Hendry wanting Lars Anderson and both just trying to figure out a way to make it even. Andersons stock has fallen a little bit but he is still the number 6 firstbase prospect by MLB.

      • Aaron

        Richard,

        I saw those rumors about Anderson, but most were on blogs. Was there any credible source listed for them?

        I’d do that in a HEARTBEAT….friggin’ heartbeat….he’s still only 23 years old, which is younger (obviously) than Pena, LaHair….but also Ridling, and he’s the same age as Bour, who is currently at high-A. Granted, this is Anderson’s second year repeating AAA, and he hasn’t even improved. If anything, he’s regressed…but he’s still young. Maybe Rudy can prove he’s worth his salt by helping him out….or better yet, how about this move:

        Cubs trade Johnson, Grabow, Wells, and Baker to the Red Sox for Anderson and Franklin Morales (whom the Red Sox recently acquired from the Rockies)

        The Red Sox need some SP depth, and Wells is likely to be non-tendered next year anyway. He’d be nothing more than depth for them. Grabow would be a veteran presence in the pen to take over for Morales (with the Cubs eating all of his remaining salary) The Cubs get a young 1B to compete with Ridling, LaHair, and possibly even Bour next year (face it, they’re NOT going after Fielder or Pujols), and then the Cubs switch Morales back to the rotation to replace Wells.

        Immediately after the trade, the Cubs send Pena to the Giants for:
        Eric Surkamp
        http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=surkam001eri

        Because the Giants will have Cain, Sanchez, Lincecum, and Bumgarner for years to come, they won’t have room for both Wheeler and Surkamp, and Wheeler gets the most pub, so Cubs pay for ALL of Pena’s deal and get a good prospect.

        The 6’5″, 190 lbs lefty sits in the 87-91 mph fastball range. Surkamp could realistically add a few lbs, and mph on his fastball.

        ….then, these moves immediately open up a middle IF, OF, 1B, and relief position

        The Cubs could then bring up Ridling as he plays OF and 1B, Anderson, and Marwin Gonzalez. Then, they could bring up Beliveau to fill Grabow’s slot in the pen.

        If the Cubs wanted to expand the deal to include Soto, they could ask for Wheeler (instead of Surkamp) and one of Brandon Belt (1B/OF), Gary Brown (OF), Jarrett Parker (OF) or Francisco Peguero (OF), and in my opinion, that’d be a fair deal…kind of like the Marcum for Lawrie deal. It’s a one-for-one situation with both Pena and Soto.

        Keep in mind that just because Belt, Wheeler, etc. are top prospects, they have done NOTHING at the MLB level to prove they’re the next big thing. Giants fans might be up in arms over a deal like that, but without Posey at catcher, and a legitimate 1B, they likely won’t make much noise come playoff time. Plus, the Cubs could even throw in Jeff Baker to fill in for the injured DeRosa, playing multiple positions.

        Also…further illustrating my point…here’s the Giants’ production at 1B and C:
        Huff-.236/.290/.361, 16 doubles, 1 triple, 8 hr, 44 RBI, 27 walks, 59 K’s

        Whiteside-.229/.315/.385, 4 doubles, 2 triples, 3 hr, 12 RBI, 13 walks, 28 K’s, 21% CS rate
        Stewart-.172/.273/.241, 4 doubles, 0 triples, 0 hr, 3 RBI, 8 walks, 7 K’s, 35% CS rate

        ……what they’d get….
        Pena-.225/.339/.461, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 19 hr, 49 RBI, 49 walks, 88 K’s

        Soto-.228/.322/.402, 15 doubles, 0 triples, 8 hr, 23 RBI, 28 walks, 62 RBI, plus a 32% CS rate

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

          I like that trade but I imagine that we would have to take Huff back to even the money out and get better prospects by doing so. Then we can probably ship Huff to a lower market team that needs 1st base help (Pirates?).

           I also like the idea of getting come front line pitching that is just about ready. I can not see SF giving up on Belt though.

           But as the chatter on some of these guys heat up it is nice to see how our minds work compared to what actually is going to happen.

          The source the Boston thing keeps citing is Phil Rodgers but I can not find one story where he mentions it.

          • Aaron

            We all know how Neil cannot stand Rogers. He’s NOT very accurate with anything he says.

            My mind thinks logically. I checked my emotions at the door a long time ago with regard to the Cubs. Up until college, I’d basically been an emotional Cubs fan, meaning every spring I thought the Cubs were going all the way….then I had an epiphany one day where I was like, “How come it’s never happening? How come they’re so dreadful, and out of contention, and yet I still think they have a competitive team at the start, and I still think that with 30 games remaining and the Cubs 20+games out of contention, that they still have a chance to win…or the Cubs are down by 9 in the bottom of the 9th after just blowing a lead in the 8th…and there’s 2 outs, 2 strikes, nobody on base, and I still believe they can pull it off”…..I mean, that’s LITERALLY how I used to think. And I believe that’s okay….up to a certain age, but then it becomes downright unhealthy.

            Nowadays, unless it’s very early in the game, if the Cubs are down 5 or more runs, I turn the game off, and start doing work around the house, or whatever, and get on with my life. The Cubs are NOT like the Red Sox, where they can routinely come back from such deficits and pull off an improbable victory.

            Anyway, with the logical thinking with the Cubs I now possess, my mind tells me that the Cubs aren’t going to do anything under Hendry, and just sit idly by.

            The moves we can probably expect would be trading away Baker, and possibly Fukudome..and either trading or releasing Grabow, and that’s about it.

            I don’t even know if anyone wants Pena. We really haven’t heard rumors, other than pure speculation about the Giants, Pirates, and Rays (that one make no sense since they let him walk though). And while we’ve heard rumors surrounding ARAM, Grabow, Soriano, and even Zambrano to the Yankees, it doesn’t seem like “credible” sources. Plus, all of them have big $$ contracts, and only Grabow would appear to be movable with the Cubs having to eat around $2 million, which they’d likely do if they got a low level prospect in return.

            Hill is attached to Hendry’s hip. Hendry thinks Soto, Marmol, and Marshall are “a big part of the future”, and Byrd is too much of a team player and high energy guy for them to consider trading. Randy Wells has almost no trade value, and would just be insurance for another team, such as the Red Sox in any deal….and Dempster, like Byrd, is a high character, team player, so he’s going nowhere either.

            The Cubs just got Garza for a big haul of top prospects, so he’s going nowhere.

            So, just by the process of deduction, Baker, Fukudome, and Grabow are the most likely to go, and that’s about it, because ARAM’s deal becomes guaranteed for next year if he’s traded (at least that appears to be the consensus now, though debate has raged the whole year regarding this clause in his contract).

            So……with any normal GM at the helm, I’d say that logic would tell you anyone besides Castro…and maybe Marshall, would be on the block. But this is Hendry we’re talking about……..the eternal optimist (just like I used to be….along with so many others). He does NOTHING logical.

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

            I think all the one year players end of contract player have a chance to be traded. Not that they will all go but that there is a chance we will see a lot of movement. My only problem is that is Hendry reads his own press clippings he is going to be in CMA mode ( a navy term for all you that need an explanation I am sorry this is a PG site). He will be all over the place in his dealings. Maybe getting a Loney here and giving up on a young guy there just to get a bigger splash a lot like the Angels were last year. That is why I have not really been too hot on trying to figure out where the best fit is because we do not know how much retooling Hendry will be doing.

            If Hendry cleans house is that an admission of guilt over last offseason? I don’t know how to read into it. The front office seems to be going left to get right and blowing in the wind with the stuff that has been put out to the press. So making any kind of prediction until closer to the deadline maybe a little premature.

            I would love to read a “from the wire” about Ricketts cleaning management out and starting fresh but that needed to happen 3 weeks ago. Today I am not too solid on where anyone is going but man we do have some pieces that can work for other clubs.

  • GaryLeeT

    Players are only human, so I don’t know how someone like Castro, watches his bungling right fielder, day in and day out, then rectifies the knowledge that Soriano will make more in 4 games than he will make all year. Deserved or not, Soriano is the symbol for all that is wrong with the Cubs, and even though starting pitching is more of a problem, no true rebuilding process can start, until he is gone.

    • paulcatanese

      Castro watches Soriono because Soriono is his self proclaimed tutor and Castro probably thinks it’s worth the money. It’s already paying off for Castro as he has increased his errors, and is learning to swing and miss low outside pitches. And he is so in tune with Soriono that every thing hit to left, Castro is out as far as he can be to cover for him. ( meant to be a joke),but it is close.

      • Brp921

        I agree about Soriano being a horrible example for young players and thats one reason I like having a guy like Reed Johnson on the team. Hopefully his hustle and attitude can help counter act the bad vibes Soriano’s dogging it style puts out. Soriano is the epitomy of the bad side of free angency. He has signed the big contract with guaranteed money and couldn’t care less about putting out effort to help his team.

        • Dorasaga

          In this case it would serve young players better to hire Ryne Sandberg, who’s a winner, connects with these young Cubbies, knows them since their days riding buses, and understands the importance of motivation, baseball smart, and fundamentals.

          And among these, what does the Cubs own right now? Desolated fans.

        • paulcatanese

          You are correct,Johnson is a great example for the youngsters. On another line here. About Soriono, his style is not entirely dogging it. I really believe it’s his legs, as I feel they are gone, and he is out there day to day and his hustle depends a lot on how his legs feel that day. I agree their are alot of balls that he should get to and he dosen’t. However based on his physical condition and his lack of knowledge to be an outfielder hurts him. When he feels good he does try, just flat out have the ability to do so. He never has had a glove, only the bat and leg speed early in his career.

          • Brp921

            Maybe I’m being to hard on him, but when I think about him stopping five feet from the wall only to see a catchable ball bounce off, or see him watch a ball he hits bounce off the wall for a single, with what he is getting paid I just cringe. I could mention quite a few more examples as well, but I know you watch the games too.

          • paulcatanese

            Your’e right,I watch every stinking one of them. I think I have not missed more than ten since the beginning of the year, and then watch the tapes of certain ones.I don’t think you are hard on Soriono, and for what any of them are getting paid I also cringe. But as I said Soriono is just not a good fielder and never has been. I think that all major league fielders have a tendacy to accept the double in the corner or off the wall too easily and give it half an effort. The same goes for the off the wall single, they take it for granted to be a double and loaf down the line and are surprised when they go into second and deserve to be out. The ones that hustle out of the box are few and usualy they are younger players that need a spot. Byrd hustles,Fukodome hustles, but even they are at best 4-5 outfielders on other teams. In essance I agree with you, but bad legs, and not knowing what he is doing out there explains a lot for me. He does a lot of assuming and that is his downfall.

  • Brp921

    I could see JH picking up Ramirez’s option but I don’t think it will be his decision either. The only way I see him coming back is with his contract renegotiated. I believe if he is not traded, and he is willing to renegotiate, then it will probably happen.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Jim Clueless really needs to take advantage of these opportunities right away.

    Trade Aram! If only it could be so! Even if we get little in return, it’s instant salary relief. He’s in decline and we don’t need Jim Clueless to rework a two year deal to keep his aging bat. And as for his fielding–it’s awful. And call up Marquez Smith instantly. 
    Yanks want Grabow? Maybe. Cashman and Girardi are not fools. They really want Russell or Marshall, imo. But they might take this guy on a waiver deal.

    Soriano? I am sorry, but I don’t believe any team in MLB wants this guy. 

    Reed Johnson could be dealt.  Byrd–I’d love to see him go, and maybe he will go. 

    If Jim Clueless could deal all of these away in the next 19 days, I think it would be a cause for celebration.

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

      My only problem with the dealing ARAM is that we need a run producer moving forward. If Jim Hendry is in save his job mode do we really want him trading away pieces? I don’t know. It is one of those damned if you do and damned if you don’t situations.

      • Aaron

        Agreed: .298/.346/.497, 21 doubles, 15 hr, 51 RBI and let’s not forget….99 hits (ranks second on the team to Castro’s 117 hits…who would’ve thought that?). Let’s also not forget that he’s been the most consistent player by far for the Cubs the past decade.

        However…..he’s also 33 years old, and for 2 seasons in a row now, he’s barely even showed up the first 2 months.

        For 6 straight seasons with the Cubs, he had 25+hr, 90+RBI, until his injury in 2009. Even one year removed from that devastating shoulder injury, he still finished with 25 hr, 83 RBI….which is saying something.

        I would not be shocked if he’s traded, based on a youth movement, but I also wouldn’t be shocked if he remains, because if Hendry and Ricketts intend to go after Fielder or Pujols (again, I say it’s doubtful…but just posing a hypothetical here), they’ll need to pitch a solid lineup centered around ARAM, Barney, Castro, and possibly even Soriano to attract them, otherwise their only pitch is “hope” with some of the younger talent like Cashner, McNutt, Dolis (who they should’ve left in the rotation), Kirk, Carpenter, LeMahieu, Flaherty, B. Jackson, Vitters, Castro, Barney, Colvin etc. Winners like Pujols don’t go for “hope”. And I don’t really care, because I don’t really want him over Fielder anyway due to the age factor.

        Speaking of which….how’s this for some #’s….
        Fielder-.297/.415/.575, 95 hits, 21 doubles, 1 triple, 22 hr, 72 RBI….and check this out…..59 walks vs 58 K’s. OUTSTANDING!!!…oh, and he’s just 27 years old

        Pujols has good numbers too, but he started slow, had a wrist injury (remember Lee’s?), and is 31 years old
        Pujols-.280/.357/.500, 84 hits, 12 doubles, 18 hr, 50 RBI, and 35 walks vs 27 K’s….again, outstanding numbers considering the time he missed, and starting off really slow…but he’s 4 years older than Fielder

        But either way, like I said, the risk the Cubs take is neither find the Cubs an attractive FA destination, and the Cubs are left holding their hand out, and will likely have to settle for a second tier player like Pena.

        That’s why getting rid of ARAM is dangerous. But if the Cubs actually have an organizational plan, and they think they can compete in 2013 and 2014, then the right move is to get rid of ARAM for a top prospect or two, go with an interim option like LeMahieu and Marquez Smith…or even Flaherty until/if Vitters is ready, and aggressively sign their remaining draftees such as Baez, Vogelbach, Gretzky, Dunston Jr., Zych, DeVoss, Shoulders, Maples, etc., otherwise they’re going to be in a very bad position if Fielder/Pujols turn them down, and they’ve exhausted depth at the minor league level through promotions replacing veterans that were traded away like Pena, ARAM, etc.

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

          I think that Ramirez is the key as to if we are going to be players for Fielder or Pujols. If we trade him then those guys are not a part of our plan. If we do not then there is a possibility that a play for one or the other is in the future.

          • paulcatanese

            I agree Richard, and have also said that Aram will be back,I just can’t see Ricketts letting a favorite of some fans that is a run producer being let go, and the reasoning of one of those two being here depends on Aram and what they do with him. And an added note, the Cubs a famous for keeping these one or two that has home run power (Sauer, Kiner and that type) around. Someone to cheer in an otherwise dismal day at the park.

  • GaryLeeT

    Between his time on the DL, and his disappearing acts when the team needed most, Ramirez owes the Cubs a HUGE rebate. After the $2 mil buyout, Ramirez should come back for 2 years at $8 mil per.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    It is official: Brett Jackson, Ryan Flaherty to Iowa; Jae-Hoon Ha to Tenn; Matt Szczur to Daytona

    • JW

      any idea who the cubs are moving off of the I-Cubs roster?

      • Tedtop16

        Ojeda and Perez were released.

  • Kojak Osborne Jr.

    I would like the Cubs to trade some of these guys but can we really trust Jim Hendry to get good players back in return.

    • zonk

      Hendry’s trading history isn’t bad in balance; some of his trades have been pretty good.  Much of his success was early in his tenure, though.

      The trades that netted D-Lee, A-Ram, Harden, were excellent, not to mention Gorzelanny (though we also gave him up cheaply).  The Nomar trade didn’t quite work but was very good at the time.  Hendy has had a couple very good “dump” trades, starting with Todd Hundley, and ending with Bradley for Silva. 

      The Juan Pierre trade was a bad one.  But overall there are more plusses than minuses in Hendry’s tenure

      Where he has not performed well is FA signings, Soriano being the best example (or worst!)

  • zonk

    POP QUIZ:  What Cub position player currently has the highest WAR, according to Baseball Reference/Fangraphs?
    …..
    …..
    …..

    Time’s up:  Would anyone say Kosuke Fukudome, without looking it up?

    I wouldn’t, apparently that is mostly due to his 1.2 WAR for defense.  He is a good outfielder.  He also has a positive offensive WAR, mostly because he does get on-base.

    Fuku isn’t useless, he just is what he is:  A good outfielder, who gets on base, and doesn’t have much else in the plus column.

    • Brp921

      Does that reflect well for Fukudome, or just terrible for the Cubs?

      • paulcatanese

        It reflects well for Fukodome, as he is the best outfielder they have at this time,period. It reflects badly for the Cubs for that reason. Fuko makes very few mistakes in the field, and plays the best right field at Wrigley bar none.I would like to see if he could be replaced at leadoff and pushed further down in the lineup where he has better numbers but there has been no one that can match his on base percentage. If he could not improve his power and rbi stats lower in the order, then and only then he should be traded. Don’t forget Quade makes the lineup and more than one player has not showed their real ability where they are placed in the lineup. Again most players under Quade have been put in positions to fail.

        • Brp921

          Yea, Fukudome should hit maybe 6th or 7th. I could even see him in the eight hole. He takes a lot of pitches and could do well hitting in front of the pitcher, work a base on balls and get the pitcher up with two outs so you could start the next inning out with your leadoff guy.

          • paulcatanese

            Sounds like a plan to me.

        • gocubs

          Fukudome has said many times that he wants to stay in Chicago after this year.  If he is willing to work out a deal for 2 years at 3mil or so a year, I would do that in a second.  He can play all the OF spots including a great RF, his OBP at the top of the order will be hard to replace.  He would be a great asset off the bench.  If Jackson struggles, he would be a perfect backup.   

          • paulcatanese

            And I agree with you, Fukodome has always been a favorite of mine. I would like him to remain in any capacity, and truly believe he would take a lot less to do so, like Wood, he is sold on Chicago.

          • cc002600

             A $3M backup OF’er ?

            Are you kidding ???

            no power, no speed, can’t hit lefties, fades like a cheap suit after Memorial day, not fast enough to play CF, can’t bunt, etc, etc….but yea, he draws walks….goodie

            NO WAY

            …  I would take Reed Johnson or Montanez for a fraction of the cost in a heartbeat over this guy.

            CANNOT WAIT TILL HE IS GONE

    • cc002600

      That just tells me that some of these new metrics aren’t that great and goes to show you that there’s more to the game than some of these new stats.

      The guy has zero speed, zero power, cannot hit lefties, and is completely useless after Apr / May. Let’s not forget that he has 3HR,s 11 RBI’s through more than 1/2 of the year. Does anyone realize how incredibly bad that is ???  you could fall out of bed and have 11 RBI’s at this point. Reed Johnson in VERY limited time has like 25. 

      and yes, I know he has a good OBP, but is that what we really want out of power position ?? a guy with no power, no speed but oh yeah, he walks a lot ?  Come on

      WTF. 

      If they bring this guy back next year, I will absolutely puke.

      NO WAY

  • roseyc

    The first move the Cubs have to do going forward is to fire Hendry and bring in a baseball man (President) that means Kenny goes too. So that we can clean house. Look at the Indians and Pirates they took their lumps and have hit bottom and are moving upward. The Cubs aren’t going to contend next year no matter what. the longer they waddle around the longer it will take to right this organization.The Cubs no matter what are going to have to eat as much of Soriano’s contract as needed. First thing the Cubs have  to decide they aren’t contending and to get as much talent in this organization as possbile.We need to find out if what’s in the minors worth keeping. It all starts with firing Hendry and getting rid of Soriano and Zambrao and Fukedome’s contracts.We can’t dilusion ourselves that we can contend  

    • JW

      Even though Ojeda and Perez were released, they are still currently 24 players on the active roster of the I-Cubs so 2 players will have to be moved off of the active roster, either to the DL or demoted. Does anyone know who this will be?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        The official announcement on all of the moves is expected Thursday

      • Tom U

        JW, you asked yesterday about any thoughts on who the Cubs’ top ten prospect are? Here’s my guess, based on the fact that scouting services are enthralled with “stats” and “stuff”.

        10. Ben Wells, RHP
        9. Alberto Cabrera, RHP
        8. Reggie Golden, OF
        7. Rafael Dolis, RHP
        6. Ryan Flaherty, IF-OF
        5. Austin Kirk, LHP
        4. Matt Szczur, OF
        3. Nick Struck, RHP
        2. Brett Jackson, OF
        1. DJ LeMahieu, IF

        • cc002600

          Tom,
          Wow, you are really high on DJ.
          Do you think he has a chance to start at 3B next year for cubs ?  or possibly 2013 ?  Do you think that 3B is his future ?

          Although I would not be surprised if Aram is back for one more year. Their options are not great for next year at that position.

          Thanks for the great work on the minors. I really enjoy reading your posts.

          • JW

            DJ would have to develop a whole lot more power (which I’m guessing is at least another year away) or else we would have to get power from a different position for him to stick at 3B. To me, he is a super util IF or a 2B at best.

          • Tom U

            cc002600, I really think LeMahieu may be the real deal offensively. However, I have been consistent in saying I don’t exactly know where he will play. 

            What I have found intriguing is how several players at several levels are playing multiple positions. This is more than the usual “let’s see if he can handle this position” moving around. 

            What we could possibly see is a Cubs team in the future that only has a few players in set positions. The rest will move from position to position, depending on match ups. That’s where players like LeMahieu, Flaherty, Clevenger, Cerda, Lake, and even players like Colvin and Ridling fit in. They may not be “starters”, but could get anywhere from 350 to 450 at bats playing multiple positions. 

            There will be a lot involved in bringing Ramirez back, including money, philosophy, attitude.

            Thank you for the nice words on the minor league report. I’ve had a blast an feel fortunate to have the opportunity.

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

          No Trey McNutt? Hmm I thought he was just injured and would be fine?

          • Tom U

            Whoops!

        • JW

          Thanks for your thoughts. I have to say I’m not real high on Alberto Cabrera, his numbers are abysmal since he moved up from high class A last year. I don’t think his command is that good. There is a lot of talk about Ben Wells, but he hasn’t proven it on the field yet. Dolis could only be on the list for his “stuff” as his control is fair. Also I think left off are Wellington Castillo (24 yo with solid numbers at Triple A), Robert Whitenack (22 yo with incredible numbers at A+/AA before getting injured), Dallas Beeler (22 yo with solid number between A-/AA), Trey McNutt (has been very injured this year, but has pitched well in longer stretches), and of course you left off Hayden Simpson (although I don’t really like him either despite being a 1st round draft pick)

          • JW

            I would probably amend the list to:
            10. Rob Whitenack, RHP
            9. Marwin Gonzalez, SS
            8. Reggie Golden, OF
            7. Trey McNutt, RHP
            6. Josh Vitters, 1B/3B
            5. Austin Kirk, LHP
            4. DJ LeMahieu, IF
            3. Matt Szczur, OF
            2. Nick Struck, RHP
            1. Brett Jackson, OF

            I left off Flaherty because he is about to turn 25, which is a bit old for a minor league prospect, but would consider adding to the list if he rakes at Triple A. I think Beeler, Castillo, Wells, Dolis, and Cabrera would be 11-15, although I am very suspect about Cabrera and I have moved Simpson to 16-20 at this point. 

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

      You do realize before this year it had been 20 YEARS since the Pirates had a winning record and they are one loosing streak from making it 21? I like what they have done so far this year and it is good to see a pinnacle franchise come back to relevance but curb your enthusiasm on this taking there lumps stuff.  See they are only 4 games over .500 with a lot of young pitching. We have no idea where they will end up but they are on the right track for building of the franchise. But I would rather not spend 20 years in cellar dwelling purgatory till we get a winner here.

      • Chicagozach

        In my personal opinion, I would just like to see a youth movement without Ramirez moving forward. Sure, if Vitters ever produces, we can trade him so he doesn’t block his call-up, but I’d be more content seeing a Soriano, Jackson, Colvin/Scuzur (when he’s ready) outfield, with Barney and Castro up the middle, and maybe Soto. I’d consider Z, Garza, Marshall, Cashner, Russell, maybe Marmol as part of the staff future. I just want to see some kids up see what they can do. That might not be the Ricketts plan, considering they’ll most likely want some “seat-fillers”, but honestly, if they hire Sandberg, they can make up for that in Year 1 at least. Just my random thoughts being thrown around

        • Denny Hittme

          Jackson moving up is another example of “don’t try and confuse me with stats.  When we draft them high and declare them a prospect – they are going up!”  Jackson is striking out at a rate of once every 3.7 plate appearances.  He’s hitting UNDER .260! 

  • Tom U

    As expected, Tennessee activated Matt Camp.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Cubs are last in MLB in fielding. 77 errors.
    Cubs are next to last in unearned runs allowed. 43
    An error results in an unearned run 56% of the time.

    Cubs are last in MLB in BB allowed. 349 is 30 more than the next team in line, Houston.

    Cubs are last in MLB in quality starts.
    Cubs are 27th in MLB in BAA. League hits us at a .269 clip.
    Cubs are 24th in MLB in saves. Can you believe Houston has only 10? Cubs have 20; the Reds have 19.
    Cubs are dead last in MLB in OBP allowed: .346.
    Cubs are 27th in slugging allowed: .417.

    Cubs are 28th in MLB in number of hits allowed.
    Cubs are 23rd in 2Bs allowed.
    Cubs are 29th in 3Bs allowed.
    Cubs are 16th in HRs allowed.
    Cubs are 17th in SB allowed.

    Cubs are 8th best in catching opponents stealing.
    CUbs have the worst WHIP in MLB.
    Cubs have the 29th lowest K/BB ratio. Only KC is worse.
    Cubs pitchers throw more pitches. We are 28th in MLB in pitches per plate appearance.

    Clearly, our pitching is pretty weak. Specifically, our starting pitching is atrocious.