Kap's Corner

The Cubs Need to Sign the #1 Free Agent This Winter

Fresh off of a great weekend in Las Vegas with my wife I am back to working the phones and looking at what the Cubs can or might do this winter to overhaul their very disappointing team. That means every area of the team and the organization is under review with new ownership taking over after the World Series.


There are some solid players available in free agency, but as a whole this year's crop of free agents is not particularly strong. However, there is one bona-fide superstar available, and if you land him you land a second piece of your puzzle as a bonus.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa's contract expires after this season and there is speculation throughout Cardinal Nation that he may walk away from St. Louis and look for a new opportunity. What better move could new Cubs owner Tom Ricketts and his family make than to hire one of the greatest managers in baseball history to inject some life into his struggling baseball team?

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The best first move the Ricketts Family could make would be to hire Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan for the Cubs. Both men will be free agents this off-season


And, if you hire LaRussa you will probably get the game's best pitching coach in Dave Duncan who is very upset at how his son Chris was treated by the Cardinals and the St. Louis media before his recent trade to the Boston Red Sox. In a rare interview that he granted to St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Joe Strauss last week, Duncan talked about the decision he his facing this off season when he will have to decide whether or not he wants to return to the Cardinals. He has been the pitching coach for LaRussa for the past 14 seasons and he plans on working next season whether it is with the Cardinals or not.  "I'm not ready to make that decision right now," he said. "When I do, it will be a personal decision, not a professional one."

Let me tell you something.  After you read that article you have to believe that he is hurt, angry, and looking for the ultimate opportunity to stick it to Cardinals management which he believes has not given him the respect he deserves as the best pitching coach in the game. What better place to find that opportunity than on the North Side of Chicago, where he would be greeted with a hero's welcome?  (Especially if he arrived riding shotgun to a new Cubs manager named Tony LaRussa.)

Duncan might be the only chance that Carlos Zambrano has of ever developing into the superstar that his talent indicates he should be.  Is Zambrano an ace or a wildly overrated primadonna that is holding the Cubs hostage with his long term, big money contract? Duncan would be the perfect person to look at Zambrano, highly talented but erratic closer Carlos Marmol, and free-agent-to-be Rich Harden.

Should the Cubs re-sign Harden who has a 6.21 ERA in his 13 starts at Wrigley Field this season? Keep in mind that he has not pitched more than 7 innings in any game all season and in 1/3 of his starts he has failed to complete 6 innings. That puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your bullpen and on the next game's starting pitcher who has to be an innings eater to compensate for Harden's lack of durability. Duncan immediately makes your pitching staff better and he helps you figure out what your needs are BEFORE free agency and the Winter Meetings.

The key, though, is signing LaRussa who might relish a chance to help the Cubs overtake the Cardinals and to accomplish the ultimate dream of winning a World Series on the North Side of Chicago. LaRussa would put more emphasis on accountability and fundamental play and the air of enabling that has gone on this season from Zambrano to Alfonso Soriano to Milton Bradley would never be tolerated.

If LaRussa does leave St. Louis for greener pastures their will no doubt be many pursuers offering him big money to fix their clubs. However, Tom Ricketts can offer not only money but input into player personnel and the chance to drive Cardinals management and their passionate fan base crazy by helping the Cubs to a championship. What better lure to entice Tony with than getting in on the ground floor of the Cubs starting a new way to run a franchise and developing an organizational philosophy?

Lou Piniella is a solid baseball man and he will be remembered as a wonderful manager in his career for a lot of years.  But this season he has been forced to work with a bad chemistry mix, and he has also not had one of his better seasons as a field boss. His teams look uninspired, they have had multiple incidents that cannot be tolerated such as Carlos Zambrano's repeated immature acts, Milton Bradley's multiple incidents that have been a distraction for the team, and Piniella's stubborn refusal to change his lineup. Leaving Alfonso Soriano in the leadoff spot as long as he did was ridiculous. Continuing to run Kevin Gregg out there as his closer was a poor decision given Gregg's propensity for the long ball which is often fatal for a closer.

The Cubs have had some wonderful things happen for them under the direction of Lou Piniella but it appears as if he is resigned to the fate of his team which has been saddled with players that have underperformed and in some cases such as Milton Bradley have been a major distraction for the team off the field. If Tom Ricketts want to change the culture of his franchise he needs to let everyone in uniform know that it will no longer be business as usual because that plan hasn't worked. He needs to shock everyone's system and the first move he needs to make is to hire baseball's best free agent, Tony LaRussa and his trusty sidekick Dave Duncan. Together they would be a great start to fixing what ails the Chicago Cubs.

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43 Comments

tbianco592 said:

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Kap, I like the way you're thinking, but at this point, I'd take Deidra Duncan as Pitching Coach over Larry Rothschild.

JustinB said:

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Before we beg to sign up LaRussa and Duncan consider a few things. First of all Duncan's success comes mostly with right handed pitchers who are willing to develop a 2-seam fastball. I won't argue that he could help Z become an even better pitcher, but he won't do a damn thing to his perceived mental problems.

Duncan hasn't had success with left handed pitchers though. That means you are putting Ted Lilly (who has flourished with Rothschild), Sean Marshall, and Tom Gorzelanny in a tough position. Duncan's style never really has translated to lefties. If you resign Rich Harden, he isn't exactly a two-seam guy either, he is more of a flyball pitcher.

Do you really think LaRussa can handle the pressure that comes with managing the Cubs? He has had a number of run ins with St. Louis media types, and frequently resorts to threats when asked tough questions (see anytime Mark McGwire and steroids are mentioned to him). If he didn't win right away the media and fans would be on him like never before. I mean that's what Cubs fans do now isn't it? Jump all over the new guy if he isn't perfect right away. LaRussa won't be able to push around or intimidate members of the Chicago media the way he does St. Louis writers.

I think LaRussa needs a small town team without the crazy media that exists in a town like Chicago or New York.

IrishYeti said:

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KapStone strikes again!

David Kaplan said:

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Yep, I sure needed Stoney to give me this one! It is only the most obvious move out there for a franchise that is struggling and is getting new ownership. I'd write more but I gotta ask Stoney what I should have for dinner...

fan said:

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Sorry Kap, but Larussa was truly the first of many enablers. The steroid era really began with his Oakland teams.

IrishYeti said:

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Kaplan, in all seriousness, I don't think replacing the manager is the change this club needs. I don't think Lou was even in the top 7 or 8 of things wrong with this team this year.

*dan bradley said:

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Ok I'll buy it. I mean, if it doesn't work they'll boo the hell out of him, but really.. when have LaRussa and Duncan not worked?

TTH said:

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McGwire, Canseco, Giambi, Ankiel.... Baseball's greatest enabler.

Did everybody already forget the past two seasons when Piniella's teams finished an average of 9 games better than the enabler's?
I guess 2 of 3 isn't good enough.

David Kaplan said:

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So we are going to blame LaRussa because McGwire, Canseco and Giambi used steroids? Then you have to blame almost every manager in the game because they all had someone do something with steroids, that's how widespread steroid use was. LaRussa and Duncan inject a shot of energy into the franchise and their hiring is an upgrade. Lou did a good job the first two seasons but he has been questionable this season and he looks like he doesn't want to be here next season. Hiring LaRussa and Duncan sends a message that things are going to be run differently now.

waxpaperbeercup said:

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kap, how does hiring larussa and duncan send a message? please explain.

DannyBoy5874 said:

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Yeah, but if the Cubs sign LaRussa they'll finally get to and win the World Series and the losing tradition would be over. Do we really want that to happen?

reppend said:

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Maybe we can get a buy 2 get 1 free and grab Dero while we're at it!! You can't mention a Cubs/Cardinals trade without mentioning DeRosa lol

drankin said:

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Kap,
I love this idea. It would be the right shot in the arm and it would help me survive the curse of living in west central Illinois among too many Cardinal fans. One little thing: the college professor in me hopes you check your spelling of their/there. Keep up the good work!

demonopie said:

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Too many bars near Wrigley, LaRussa would never make it to work. Kapstone for manager/ pitching coach. They have all the answers.

Max Power said:

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Players are more important than managers. I'd much rather see money spent on payroll/player development than for two high priced managers--Lou's 2010 option was already picked up last September.
Plus, as was pointed out before, Lou's teams did pretty much kick LaRussa's ass the past two seasons, which for whatever reason is erased from people's minds.
And also a good point from demonpie. LaRussa in Wrigleyville? For the love of God, somebody hide the keys.

Adrob said:

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One minor problem. Who wants to manage the Cubs? Tony would be comming from the two teams that have a true hatred of teh Cubs the Cards and the Sox. And why would anyone want to manage in this microscope. Its like managing for Steinbrenner but with out the wallet.

And who would want to take over this lot. Unless the Ricketts are willing to eat a whole lot of $4 they have got Soriano Fukudome and Bradley for a while. They have no farm system to speak of and the stars are now on thier way down.

On another subject Kap I had a question. has anyone done a study of how teams that buy a lot of free agents fare? I'm not talking about one or two but a whole lot. Maybe it pays off but it seems to me that the teams that win have developed young talent not bought the crown? What were the # of marquee free agents on the last 10 series champs? Look at how the Mets are doing. I seem to remember a lot of sports writers saying that the Cubs couldn't let Beltran go anywhere else.

Finally, with the Ricketts locked in to a 20 year deal at Wrigley Field do you think that impacts the Cubs chances. I love the field. But I place some weight in, was it Joshua's comment, that Wrigley messes up the players swings. They TRY to hit everything out instead of just trying to hit the ball hard and let it go where it goes. The opposing teams don't have time to let the field mess with their swings but I think it effects many on the last couple of Cubs teams.

Young Hot Ricardo said:

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Lou Piniella all the way

drwallyball said:

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Leave a comment...

drwallyball said:

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This is the year of Sam Zell. We don't know how much his greed in holding out for the highest bidder affected this team from top to bottom. Yeah everyone is supposed to be pros and it shouldn't affect them but who knows.
I say let Lou come back if he wants, he's earned that right. Girardi, Ryno, Brenly etc are possible replacements in 2011 or earlier if needed. And they have a Cubs history.

HarryandJimmy said:

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HEY, Kap! the last time Tony was in town, he wanted to kick my and Jimmy's butt (I think Jimmy could have beat up both him and Leyland)...aHaw, aHaw, aHaw, for questioning his managerial abilities. As you have stated, Pinella treats players differently, but LaRussa wont take any crap! If he doesnt take it from players, he surely wont take it from the media. Brenley has already questioned Lou's actions, i.e. "why was Bradley bunting, hes one of our best hitters now? That was a ridiculous move". I dont think that will fly with Tony. Either Brenely leaves, ala, Chip and Steve, or Tony gets a whupp'in....aHaw, aHaw, aHaw! By the way Kap, did you know Dave Kaplan pronounced backwards is nalpaK evaD? Ahaw, aHaw, aHaw.

Stateline guy said:

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The suggestion of going out and getting LaRussa/Duncan brought out some interesting viewpoints. I would be very much in favor of this move, ie. as Mr. Kaplan stated to show that "there is a new day a dawnin' on the northside. But the 1st move would certainly be to give the heave-ho to Jim Hendry if only because he has no master plan - no vision for the Cubs. He operates in a helter-skelter fashion and has done so for several years. It would seem like there is no thought given to player availablility and need. (JUST BUY). I'm getting tired of hearing all about blaming the players. It's true they must shoulder a good part of the teams demise, but let's face it........Hendry is the one who dealt the hand and put out all those backloaded contracts. He has to be run out of this town.-------Yes, I think Tony LaRussa would be a good GM for the Cubs.

arch21002 said:

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I love the idea. One of your better ones yet Kap. I like it for the only reason to get LaRussa/Duncan out of Stl. Who can STL get that is better than LaRussa/Duncan? The money and the best baseball men in the division will be on the northside with this kind of a move.

However, Rothschild deserves more credit. Larry has done a WONDERFUL job with this pitching staff overall. If they had any decent run support the Cubs would be ridiculously better right now.

I still don't understand your fascination of killing Carlos Zambrano. Was it his fault that he signed "ace" money at 26? That is what the market dictated at the time. Stoney has you fooled on him IMO. Stoney always says......"Zambrano has the best stuff in baseball, he should be winning 20+ games a year." BS, 100% BS. He says that to rile Cubs fans up even more. There are several guys with better stuff than Z. Z doesn't have an overpowering fastball. He doesn't have a great breaking pitch. He has a good slider, and a great sinker. But if he leaves the sinker up, he can be hit as hard as anyone. IMO Carlos is and always has been a quality #2 type starting pitcher. He isn't what ails this team. IMO he is free to have a "bad" type season, and this was it. Two DL stints, and seven wins. But he, along with everyone else on this staff, would have 3-5 more wins a piece if they wouldve gotten decent run support. He still only has six freakin' losses. His durability has separated him from the other top pitchers in the game. IMO he never pitched like an elite pitcher, but his durability made him an elite pitcher. 200IP, 14+ wins, 3.30-3.90 ERA, and great with the stick. I'll take that on my staff every year. This year lack of run support and two DL stints really hurt him. Hopefully this is the end of him being on the DL, and he doesn't make it a habit like so many others in baseball.

Edelweiss said:

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When Lou said, "go ahead, blame me", it was just something for him to say. If he were to own up to what he did poorly, it would better indicate that he wants to do better in 2010. Quite a few fans feel that the season would have gone much better if he had found someone else to play third base when Aramis got his second, and more serious injury. Up to that point, Fontenot was tearing the cover off the ball, and the team was winning. He played a pretty good third base, but it took its toll on both him and the team. Rumor has it that little Mike was tossing up his breakfast, and chewing his fingernails almost off because he was afraid he couldn't be another Aramis, yet he went out there every day, played his little heart out, and never complained. (He's sort of like that Butters kid on South Park). When his hitting went away, it affected the morale on the rest of the team; they could see the pain he was in, even if Lou was oblivious. When he finally got back to second base, his worst fears came true - the second base job was given to Jeff Baker. Then, a funny thing happened...Baker went on a hitting spree, but it did not help the team. They slid from one game in first place to 12 games back in second, with no chance to catch up. Baker can hit, at least temporarily, but he doesn't get along with team mates, and he doesn't feel the need to hustle. He has allowed more runs to score than he has produced. He is not cut out to be a middle infielder. His reflexes are too slow. But the worst thing is what he is rumored to have done to his team mates in Colorado. I have no idea if the rumor is true, so I won't repeat it, but the Cubs players have surely heard it, and that could also have affected team chemistry. Lou seems to be letting players do what they want if they make big salaries - the opposite should be true. He benches the players who hustle, which sends a bad message to everyone. If he is to mend his ways, he must own up to his mistakes. It is easy to criticize a manager after the fact, but the manager, himself, should be the one who does it.

backslap said:

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Kap why even start this, LaRussa aint coming to the Cubs no way no how. He and Reinsdorf are best friends he aint going to the Cubs. Besides Lou has a contract ($4 million dollars I believe) for next year and he aint going anywhere either, nor probably should he. Kap just three seasons ago I remember listening to your show and you going on about how your sources in the clubhouse said Lou was too demanding, dressing guys down in front of teammates, etc. and the team was in dissaray....D. Lee in fact went to the press and said it wasn't true and it came from YOU! The team turned around after Lou's tirade about how he "now knows how this team lost games the last few years." Now Lou is too soft, I don't think so. This is a bad mix of players, plus it has had way too many injuries to fight through. And I bet they still win 88 games (the same amount they won in '03 when they were 5 outs away and 3 more than in '07 when they won the division). This team needs a few player changes, Lou aint the problem quit making him out to be.

hjb4971 said:

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First comment, ask Santo what he thinks about LaRussa. He will tell you LaRussa is a manipulative game player, and is not right for the Cubs.

The biggest problem with this team is that they only win when they hit hoime runs, remember they play in a home-run ballpark and have very little team speed. This year Cub home runs are down significantly, and therefore so are runs. My guess is that the team will be down 50-75 home runs from 2008 and probably at least 130 runs scored. The team needs power. Those are usually produced from corner infielders and outfielders and the catcher.

1.Right now Fox should be in left field EVERYDAY, to see if he really can hit in the majors, and Gregg should not be trusted as a set-up man for the eighth inning. Put Gregg and Miles on waiver now.

2. The Cubs should resign Harden, Grabo, and .

3.Cubs should get rid of Heilman, Gregg, Bradley, Miles, and Johnson for whatever they can get. If Fox hits the last month he should platoon at multiple spots like DeRossa did the last two years (find someone who can hit for left handed power in right field), and they should get a legitimate center fielder with speed or power. If not, continue Fukadome in center and seek a power hitting outfielder for right field as SHOULD have been done last year.

4.They should trade Zambrano for Halladay.

5. Send Soto, Soriano, and Marmol to Arizona for the winter to (in this order) get in shape, learn to hit a breaking ball, and find the strike zone.

6. Cubs should acquire a real closer like Heath Bell.

7. Reacquire DeRossa if possible. If not pick up Tejhada for shortstop and move Theriot to second. Let Baker, Fontenout, and Blanco compete for a utility and pinch-hit spot. As good as Duncan is, he probably will go with LaRussa, and Rothchild has done a good job of juggling the staff through injuries as well as re-habing Marquis into a quality starter. It is not his fault that Marquis was traded away.

8. I would meet with Pinella and ask him if he still has the fire he exhibited in past years to kick butts as is necessarry to correct problems as in the past. If he can't, start working on getting Girardi as they should have done three years ago when they acquired Pinella. (Unfortunately, I believe his Yankee contract runs through 2010 meaning Lou stays through next season or you hire a one-year stop-gap manager.

Finally, be ready and willing to make adjustments and trades during the 2010 season to improve the team as the Cardinals have done this year.

IrishYeti said:

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There is so much wrong here:
First comment, ask Santo what he thinks about LaRussa. He will tell you LaRussa is a manipulative game player, and is not right for the Cubs

Anyone taking advice from Santo needs to get out of baseball.

Cubs should get rid of Heilman, Gregg, Bradley, Miles, and Johnson for whatever they can get. If Fox hits the last month he should platoon at multiple spots like DeRossa did the last two years

Despite what Kaplan and Stone think, overall, Bradley's been quite good. Stop looking at the BA. It's not the best stat out there. Jake Fox cannot platoon many positions as he can barely play 1 position.

4.They should trade Zambrano for Halladay.

Straight up? I don't think that's happening.

7. Reacquire DeRossa if possible. If not pick up Tejhada for shortstop and move Theriot to second. Let Baker, Fontenout, and Blanco compete for a utility and pinch-hit spot. As good as Duncan is, he probably will go with LaRussa, and Rothchild has done a good job of juggling the staff through injuries as well as re-habing Marquis into a quality starter. It is not his fault that Marquis was traded away.

I don't mean to be a jerk (well, maybe I do) but pleas learn to spell these guys' names. DeRosa. Tejeda. And what's your plan with DeRosa? RF?

8. I would meet with Pinella and ask him if he still has the fire he exhibited in past years to kick butts as is necessarry to correct problems as in the past. If he can't, start working on getting Girardi as they should have done three years ago when they acquired Pinella. (Unfortunately, I believe his Yankee contract runs through 2010 meaning Lou stays through next season or you hire a one-year stop-gap manager.

So what's Lou going to say if he wants to stay? "No, I don't have the fire, but please retain me." Come on. And Girardi is not coming to the Cubs. I mean, if you want your manager making Soriano money, maybe, but you have the Yankees to compete with and they have more money than the Cubs.


IrishYeti said:

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Great, I give you crap about spelling and I leave off the "e" on "please". Well done

cc002600 said:

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Kappy,
I listen to your show and I agree with what you say, 95% of the time.

But I would rather see cubs get a younger manager (Sandberg ?) who can maybe be there for the next 10-15 years. LaRussa ain't no spring chicken anymore either, just like Lou.

Also, I find it interesting to hear opinions about managers. I have found over the years that its sort of like the backup QB. The grass is always greener on the other side after you watch your manager day-to-day for a couple years.

Here's the mentality: "Someone else' manager MUST be better than ours, cause I don't like ours. " The reason I say that is becuase I have friends who are Cardinal fans and they absolutely HATE LaRussa. They think he is a horrible in-game manager and an enabler (i.e Steroids fiasco).

And remember all the excitement when we first hired Dusty and then Lou ? How quickly that fades with a losing season or two.


cc002600 said:

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Kappy,
I listen to your show and I agree with what you say, 95% of the time.

But I would rather see cubs get a younger manager (Sandberg ?) who can maybe be there for the next 10-15 years. LaRussa ain't no spring chicken anymore either, just like Lou.

Also, I find it interesting to hear opinions about managers. I have found over the years that its sort of like the backup QB. The grass is always greener on the other side after you watch your manager day-to-day for a couple years.

Here's the mentality: "Someone else' manager MUST be better than ours, cause I don't like ours. " The reason I say that is becuase I have friends who are Cardinal fans and they absolutely HATE LaRussa. They think he is a horrible in-game manager and an enabler (i.e Steroids fiasco).

And remember all the excitement when we first hired Dusty and then Lou ? How quickly that fades with a losing season or two.


cc002600 said:

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Kappy,
I listen to your show and I agree with what you say, 95% of the time.

But I would rather see cubs get a younger manager (Sandberg ?) who can maybe be there for the next 10-15 years. LaRussa ain't no spring chicken anymore either, just like Lou.

Also, I find it interesting to hear opinions about managers. I have found over the years that its sort of like the backup QB. The grass is always greener on the other side after you watch your manager day-to-day for a couple years.

Here's the mentality: "Someone else' manager MUST be better than ours, cause I don't like ours. " The reason I say that is becuase I have friends who are Cardinal fans and they absolutely HATE LaRussa. They think he is a horrible in-game manager and an enabler (i.e Steroids fiasco).

And remember all the excitement when we first hired Dusty and then Lou ? How quickly that fades with a losing season or two.


waxpaperbeercup said:

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i was a huge fan of ryno as a player, but i don't want to see him manage the cubs. honestly, i'm not sure he could handle the stress of this job.

undorgre said:

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Be logical for a second here folks. Why in the world would La Russa leave an organization that (1) has a front office which has proven year-in and year-out that they'll do what it takes to be competitive and (2) has a team comprised of some of the classier players in baseball (Pujols, Carpenter, Molina, Wainwright). La Russa would cringe at coaching the likes of Bradley, Soriano, and Zambrano... who have all proven they can be a real pain in the side.

Duncan may leave St. Louis, but there isn't anyone that follows the Cardinals these days that believes there will be anyone coaching in St. Louis next season other than Tony La Russa.

joeydafish said:

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Of the 4 free agents Hendry must keep Grabow as he is one of the few LOGICAL acquisitons Hendry made this year, plus, if he loses Grabow the Kevin Hart deal looks a lot more suspect even though Gorzelany seems to be at least a SERVICABLE pitcher. As far as Reed Johnson goes I'm sorry to say he has reached a point in his career (age, injury...) that his contract money should be spent more wisely, he can easily be replaced by a rookie such as Fuld. Harden is a little tougher, which Harden shows up next year? Hendry must offer him a contract in order to get draft pick compensation in case he walks. If he accepts the contract he's a reasonable gamble to keep in the rotation. Gregg...Ha...OMG!!! I'm still laughing. I still think Hendry should be fired just for signing Soriano to an 8 year deal and Miles for two....Good Lord, Miles again next year... Hendry again next year....
I don't see how Derek Lee can think Soriano and Bradley will rebound. Soriano will rebound to be the exceptional outfielder...HE NEVER WAS, and Bradley will rebound to be the exceptional LEFT handed hitter...HE NEVER WAS, and Fukodome will rebound to be the exceptional center fielder and offensive juggernaut...HE NEVER WAS. Only Aram can "rebound" to perform to WHAT HE WAS, and that's if his shoulder is completely healed.

Paul said:

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As for my wish for a new manager, I'd say a relative nobody who has only gotten a small taste, if any, of winning; I'd seek someone who is hungry to win, just like all of us Cubs fans. Obviously he would have to be a baseball guy. But if you look at Piniella, Baker, Frey, Franks, and Durocher, we have brought in proven competitors and winners here to end the drought. None have worked. I'd just like to see a Francona or a Girardi leading our Cubs; why not try something new. What the Cubs have been doing for the past century obviously hasn't worked out too well.

Edelweiss said:

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No matter who manages, we need to, and can get rid of Miles, and Gregg. I am not so sure about Bradley. Johnson is a fan favorite, but he is injury prone, and Fuld is a younger version of him. Baker has hit well, and should be good trade bait; we should dump him for what he does to team morale. If I were to say on this blog what he did in Colorado, it would be reported as abuse, and I can't clean up the language well enough to do it. There is a possibility that he has done the same thing in Chicago, but the pictures have not yet surfaced. It would be nice to get Figgins, but it will probably not happen. If they want an upgrade at shortstop, the smartest thing to do would be to switch Fontenot and Theriot in Spring Training. Theriot is a steady enough hitter to solve the second base problem, and Fontenot has better range and a stronger arm. He played a good defensive game at third this year, so he learns well. If he is limited to one position, he will be able to start hitting again, and we will finally be able to see how well he can be as an everyday player. We didn't get the chance this year because they switched him to third, which messed up his hitting. No other regular player had to make that sacrifice, and none of the Cubs star players are versatile.

edmondshalfshirt said:

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Yo baseball experts. It's La Russa, not LaRussa. I guess you'd actually have to follow baseball to know that, and most Cub fans are trained to watch about half a season.

TTH said:

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He is also refered to as the Enabler, because his clubhouses often resemble steriod or alcohol distribution centers.

Or Dewey. You know, slang for DUI.

edmondshalfshirt said:

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Clever. Is it still 2008?

joeydafish said:

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Is it reasonable to assume that Jeff Stevens, one of three pitchers acquired in the terrible trade for DeRosa is the "most ready" for the big leagues since he is the only one of the three to ACTUALLY APPEAR IN A MAJOR LEAGUE CUB UNIFORM? And if so, what does his over 7.00 era tell us? Wait, he just gave up a 3 run bomb so make that an over 9 era??? How can anybody justify allowing Hendry to CONTINUE BEING THE GM??!!???!!! Why would any of us fans anticipate ANY minor league outfileder breaking in with the team next year as a regular while Hendry's three stooges are fixtures for years to come?? What's it gonna take for Hendry's release? Are they waiting for him to sign Ricky Henderson to a 6 year deal to bat lead-off??? Whoever extended Hendry's contract is just as guilty of handcuffing this team as Hendry is for signing Soriano to an 8 year deal, Bradley to a 3 year deal and Miles to a two year deal. The "Handcuffing" of this team has NOTHING to do with the "new ownership" regardless of what some columnists write in the paper....makes me sick when they use that as an excuse or reason for Hendry's failed tenure.

Edelweiss said:

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The Cubs could probably go into next season with most of their present team, minus Miles, Gregg, and any other player who makes money that could be better spent. As for getting rid of the non-performing players with expensive contracts, there is an easy solution...bench them, and they will say "Play me or trade me" There goes the no-trade clause. Instead of always looking for players from other teams, who will come to the Cubs and perform poorly, we need to make better use of the guys we have. We have enough speed; we just don't use it. I have seen players hit balls into the outfield and be limited to one or two bases because the guy on base ahead of them was either not paying attention, or was not sent on. We have players who can steal, but are discouraged from it. There have several players caught stealing because the guy at bat takes the pitch on a hit and run. Maybe we need to take a long look at Mike Quade.

joeydafish said:

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Mike Quade like most if not all 3rd base coaches are the least of a team's concerns. The players that lack instinct on the bases can make any third base coach look bad. I agree with the "play me or trade me" philosophy. I would like to see how long Soriano and Bradley can sit on the bench and hold their tongue while players that can AT LEAST CATCH THE BALL AND RUN AFTER BALLS play the outfield. Until we get a manager (Sandberg?) that would consider the TEAM'S payroll instead of an INDIVIDUAL PLAYER'S pay check we will probably see the over paid, underacheiving, one dimensional prima donna "superstars" that HENDRY KEEPS ACQUIRING get their chance to "rebound" to their career numbers, as if they keep getting younger and more athletic. I don't know what Hendry is smoking but something is fogging his mind. And the Cubs renewed/extended his contract??? Whoever was resposable for that lame decision DROPPED THE BALL, OH NO!!!!!!! (nod to Santo and Brant Brown)

Edelweiss said:

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The trouble with the Cubs baserunning is that Theriot is the only player that has the green light to use his baserunning instincts.
There are other players on the team who could steal, but are not allowed to make the decision.

joeydafish said:

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The only other players on the team whou could steal a base are...???? Maybe Fukodome? or Fontenot? Neither of which brings great speed or great base stealing instincts to mind.
I can't blame Lou for putting the brakes on his team since there is not a great chance of success for stealing bases.
Just another indictment on Hendry's failed attempt at building an all-around, NATIONAL league team. Hendry would be better off working for an American league team (and so then would the Cubs) then he can sign all the defensively challenged, slow of foot, one dimensial type of players he wants like Soriano and Bradley. Two players like that in the SAME outfield in the NATIONAL league is ludicrous.

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