centerfield

better example of the state of local baseball coverage

- 7 days and running dedicated to commentary on Sammy Sosa’s face without, I dunno, having someone find him and take another picture.

- Phil Rogers writing a column about how little budget room the Cubs have, then writing about how the Cubs must pick up Curtis Granderson’s 3/$24 salary ASAP.

This is why they are what they are. And by that, I mean the Cubs, who race into situations like that without thinking long term, and all the sudden you’ve got a slumping DH playing left field for 5 more years.

I’m mixed on Granderson. I think he had the fortune to sign a contract at the exact best moment for him, and someone is going to be stuck paying for that good year for the next three. If he was in some nice spot in between his really good 2008 and eh 2009, I think he’d a fine pick up, but there’s no guarantee. FanGraphs already has the Bill Jamies projections for next year, which tend to be a lot closer 2008, but my worry is another number on that page – 13% of his outs were on infield fly balls. Seems like a guy who was trying to hit for more power, and ending up too far underneath balls.

Maybe he can correct that in an easier park to hit. And the league adjustment will certainly help. Just not so certain that I want to give up the whole farm system.

He’s definitely a better idea than giving a multi-year deal to Marlon Byrd, which seems like the current rumor. You’d think the Cubs would learn not to take hitters from Texas. The 479 slugging is not going to work out well outside that park, and the 329 on base will. He’s already the wrong side of 30, and they’d be paying for decling years. A one year deal for a reasonable price might work, but Byrd’s the sort of fungible player you don’t sign long term, because you don’t want to be stuck with him if a better option comes along (or he suddenly becomes a worse option.)

I think Mike Cameron is every single team’s back up choice, so he’s going to end up getting a lot better deal than casual people expect. Maybe it’ll secretly be the year people pay for defense.

Kinda cool that the Burrell deal is the closest, having called it a while back. I stil think it’s the best the Cubs can do – they’re going to lose any deal they make for him, because they’ll be giving up the better player. You’ve just got pick the best bounce back candidate.

Roster note few have picked up on: Mike Fontenot being declared a Super Two player means he’s eligible for a big pay raise thru arbitration unless the Cubs non-tendered him. So, he’ll be cut, and the Cubs keep Aaron Miles around as a backup instead of eating his contract this year.

In my mind, the current opening day 25 looks like

CA Soto
1B D Lee
2B ???? (let’s say Baker)
SS Theriot
3B A Ram
LF Soriano
CF ???? (someone not on the roster)
RF Fukudome

SP Zambrano
SP Dempster
SP Wells
SP Gorz
SP yo-yo Marshall or Samardzija?

CA Hill
IF Miles
OF Hoffpauir??
OF Fuld?? or Colvin? or Johsnon??
IF Blanco or ???

RP Stevens?
RP Marshall or Samardzija
RP Caridad
RP Grabow
RP Guzman
CL Marmol

DL Lilly – he’s not late if he starts on May 1st. Bet on it.

A lot of question marks. Doesn’t really seem like it’s a 90 win team there.

This might be a good place for baseball comments.

7 thoughts on “centerfield”

  1. Hmm,

    My chart posting here needs some work.

    Noneheless, 23 of what will end up to be 33 or so (counting SS) games are posted now http://www.springtrainingonline.com/features/master-schedule-cactus.htm.

    The Cubs have not released their spring schedule yet, but most everyone else in the Cactus League has, and therefore you can see from those schedules most of the Cubs games.

    I’, looking at a trip of 3/18-3/21 inclusive (6 games) or 3/19-3/22 inclusive (5 games).

    Sniff, no one want to go to Wrest Hold Mania (Fan Axe Ess, Hall of Fame) with me.

  2. Granderson first but how about Upton (CF) next? Crawford? Trading Milton Bradley for Juan Pierre? (PS, with the owners’ divorce, Dodgers’ outfielderss may come REAL cheap in July 2010 – Ramirez, Pierre, Ethier, Kemp, in that order.)

    Will the new owner spend, though?

    Cubs final ST schdule up now at cubs.com. ~85 days ’til pitchers and catchers, as of today 11/20.

    Anyway, starting Sunday, the posts will flow, and hopefully a conversation as well.

    I was really sad to see the Cubs schedule the 18th AND the 19th away from Mesa. That disrupts my carefully-planned out schedule, if any visitors from Chicagoland decide to hike out to ST in 2010. If not, then it actually doesn’t matter too much – six of one or half dozen of the other whether I go 3/18-3/21 or 3/19-3/22. 6 games in 4 days either way as Fri and Sat nights have games.

    While pushing for anyone and everyone to come to ST in 2010, a side note – 2011 will be the final season EVER for spring training baseball in TUCSON, so there will be quite a bit of history, sadness, and nostalgia in ex-Mayor Rondstadt’s Old Pueblo the final week of March 2011. Somthing to put in one’s pipe and smoke while cogitating.

    ***********************************************************

    Yo soy tu gominola, osito gomi gomi gomi gomi gominola – add it to Kurt’s Haloween 2010 iPod playlist. Now, I bid you farewell, as I must envia al dos dos seis seis seis.

    I wonder why no one ever answers.

  3. On the above points:

    Sosa: No comment, couldn’t care less

    Budget: several similar comments in the press would indicate that once Hendry finds someone to take the Bradley contract, presumably before Christmas, Hendry will then have in his head the amount that he calculates he can spend, now and in July. Not sure that he’s sold on Granderson. I think Granderson would just kill right handed pitching at Wrigley, and some of the fly ball outs will be fly balls out of the park, but I would not spend 26 million on him. As always, the devil is in the details – for who goes so that Granderson can play? Save the money and go for Cameron. Here in San Diego, the Padres openly and for attribution said their biggest off-season mistake in 2007 was letting Cameron go.

    No to Byrd. No to Burrell.

    Lilly? Do you trade him (after his first 2 wins after returning form surgery, his price will be Randy-Wolf-esque) or Dempster or Zambrano to get the money for Roy Halladay? Maybe, maybe not on the surface but what if it is specifically to keep the Cardinals from getting Hallday? What price tag do you put on having to face him 20-30 times the next 5 years versus his representing you versus STL 20-30 times the next 5 years? If Grabow is worth 7 million, how much is Halladay worth considering the above?

    Cubs, what would you do in this scenario if you were convinced that an NL Central rival was close to signing Hallday?

    Roster:

    I’m going to guess by July 1, Castro is in at SS and Theriot is moved to 2B, Miles as a backup; my guess ins this scenario: Hendry will want t to hold $ close (well, close in comparison to NYY, NYM, Boston, Angels CWS) to have the financial wherewithal to try to go for the needed July 31 acquisition (RF Ethier from Dodgers? A bullpen arm or two and maybe the prize catch from next year’s off-season, Zach Greinke) that will clinch the playoff spot.

    Only other major comment is I’d think a Samardzija-Grabow-Marmiol 7-8-9 firm back end of the bullpen would be effective. But in a year in whose pos-season every closer except one blew a crucial game at a crucial time for his tama in the post-season, maybe closing-by-committee is not such an odd concept.

  4. Costs

    Cheapest flight from Chicago to Phoenix
    Leave 3/17, return 3/21, would see 4 Cubs games
    $333 non stop, $322 one stop after fees (as low as $303 if you stay a whole week)

    Cheapest hotel room:
    Motel 6, Phoenix Airport, $172.76 (close to Oakland A’s stadium, this would save much $ in gas and be less expensive overall than the Super 8 below)

    Super 8, I-17 and Northern, $167.50

    Cheapest Mesa Motel room is $211.96 at any Motel 6 there – the one by the Superstition Freeway is actually pretty nice, all redone

    Of course rooming with someone saves $$$$$$

    Food – depends what and when you eat, one can REAL cheaply in Phoenix – or not, a lot of that is based on how much ball park food one conusmes

  5. Shame on you Steve! How dare you suggest Milton Bradley to the Dodgers for Juan Pierre! We’re already dealing with this messy divorce, no need to even bring that name from the past up again!

  6. Hmm, don’t appear to be getting all of these comments. I can totally relate to the Cubs current situation – how much money do you want to eat on a bad deal? Don’t want to limit your budget, don’t want to have a disruptive influence.

    I almost got games & days confused. Thinking more a 3 day weekend of some kind, but since I haven’t actually figured out vacation time yet.

    I don’t think I have to go to Mesa to see the Cubs – sure, most of the vets won’t make the road trip, but spring training is more about sorting out the non-vets anyway.

    I think I’d actually go to WM weekend, but for the DG/ROH stuff and related wackiness rather than HOF (especially after the reports of last year.) Axcess might be okay, but I’m not really interested in autograph signings and the interaction stuff.

    Cameron’s definitely the best option. But I’m just worried about how many teams will want him, and how many years he’ll end up demanding for it. Defensive CFs can last long, but you don’t want to be holding on to them when they fall out. He really should be on a one year deal, but he’ll do better.

    When it comes down to it, I don’t believe the St. Louis Cardinals have the money & prospects to afford Halladay. Even with them making the Holliday move last season, it’s looking pretty clear it was a half season rental which still only happened because Holliday’s value was so low. Even with the new stadium, St. Louis really hasn’t raised it’s payroll, and would have to churn out an insane amount of prospects if 50% or more of their payroll went to Pujlos and Halladay. If there’s any two players I’d try that trick with, it’d be those two, but I don’t know that you can put enough good pieces around them.

    The thing about the NLCentral is you never have to be worried about a team making a big splashy move against the Cubs that way.

    - Pirates & Brewers focus on building from the farm system, with vastly varying level of success, supplementing with midlevel free agents (at best)

    - Astros & Reds go for big splashy move to fix everything in one fell swoop, but pick the wrong guys and don’t surround them with enough help to make it work. If the Astros could possible find a way, I’m sure they’d make a run at Halliday, and I’d let them do it.

    - Cardindals focus on reclamation projects, but are pretty well locked up in what they’re going to spend on pitching.

    I expect the Cubs will extend Lilly, as soon as it’s safe to. They love him in the same way they love Dempster, and at least it’d be a better player to overpay.

    My guess is Castro does not see the MLB until the end of September, at the earliest. Theriot only moves to 2B this season if a Miguel Tejada is looking very affordable in January, and even then they might go with Jeff Baker and spend the money elsewhere. They’re so overrun with backup middle infielders (as always), there’s really no need to spend money at the positions unless you’re getting a big increase in production.

    And Miles will get cut sometime in July or August, but not before taking another long DL stint and a longer rehab.

    With Lilly out, I think they’re committed to Samardzija starting. If he doesn’t grab the spot in Spring Training, it’ll probably be too late to switch him back, so off to Iowa he’ll go (at least for a while.) No idea where it ends up.

    $500 + tickets + trans = when do I get that tax refund? Hmmm. (No, I think I actually might be able to swing it.)

  7. Hmm. Get rid of Fox and Miles for a middle reliever and 2 prospects. Those are two prety versatile stopgaps whien the inevitable injuries come along – or the prospects do. Salary dump? Figuring Vitters and Castro to be up to the big leagues sometime in 2010, we’ll see where this money gets spent. Or if it does. Now the hot stove is burning with the newspaper reports of the Braves’ wanting Marlon Byrd; good for his agent to jack up his offering price this way.

    Now, off to BP and BA and MILB.com to find out more about Ronny Morla and Matt Spencer, especially Morla who I don’t recall ever having heard of. PS, we Dodgers fans have HUGE respect for the A’s minor league and farm system, the belief being that the A’s do about as well as anyone around in teaching skills and work ethic.

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