A League of Her Own

Wednesday Headlines: Don't Expect Brandon Webb Under Your Tree

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - DECEMBER 20: Christmas lights illuminate the Town Hall at La Grande Place on December 20, 2010 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images)

I can't imagine you were hoping for a weathered, beaten Brandon Webb with a shiny new shoulder for Christmas, but if you were, things aren't looking good.
The Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals continued to show strong interest in Brandon Webb on Tuesday, while a third reported suitor, the Chicago Cubs, fell off the pace in their pursuit of the free-agent starter.

There's even talk of a mystery NL Central team trying to swoop in on the action. It's probably just as well for the Cubs, as Brandon Webb would likely stand in the way of Andrew Cashner making the rotation. I think we'd rather see him have a go at starting than watch Brandon Webb rehab here and go elsewhere after a year.


The Cubs released this year's Cubs Convention attendees, and if you haven't already bought your tickets, what're you waiting for?

Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano and new first baseman Carlos Pena will be among the players attending the 2011 Cubs Convention, Jan. 14-16 at the Hilton Chicago. Wood, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract last Friday to return to the Cubs, will be among the players attending the winter fan fest and will be joined by Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Carlos Marmol, Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro.

Cubs manager Mike Quade will answer fans questions, and attendees will get to meet prospects Chris Archer, Jay Jackson, Chris Carpenter and DJ LeMahieu.

Finally, the Cubs signed another butthead lefty reliever to a minor league contract.

The Cubs signed lefty Polin Trinidad, who posted a 4.81 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 149 2/3 innings in the upper minor for the Astros last year

Could he be the next Daniel Garibay?

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100 Comments

gravedigger said:

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meh, not really a big deal to me.

sloan peterson said:

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As a service to those of us whom cannot attend the Cubs convention,perhaps LOHO could collect the questions we would ask Aramis,Quade, & co......

flyball said:

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hmmm, depends on the question

Doc said:

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"Hey Aramis...why did you suck donkey balls last year?
"Hey Carlos Peña...why did you suck donkey balls last year?

Yeah...I think that might be a bad idea.

flyball said:

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well that at least I can revise and class up a bit, I refuse to be the person who gets up and asks things like "will you give me a hug?"

sloan peterson said:

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A sample might be: Coach Quade-looking at the upcoming season, how many games do you think the Cubs might actually win?50?60?

JulieDiCaro said:

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If you can at all make it to Cubs Con, I HIGHLY recommend it. Those of us who hang out together have a ton of fun watching mouth-breathers ask idiotic questions and watching the Cubs front office try to restraing themselves.

jarowcliffe said:

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I love the word "mouth-breathers"

Doc said:

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Supposedly the Cubs have been discussing Webb with a number of doctors...

Knowing Jim Hendry, if they felt comfortable about Webb, the deal would have been done by now. My impression now is that the Cubs have been unwilling to up their offer for him because of concerns about that shoulder.

It's probably for the best then.

jarowcliffe said:

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I agree, do you think Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil are the "doctors" that Hendry uses as advisers in these situations though?

berselius said:

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I'd feel much more comfortable if he were consulting Dr. Nick or Dr. Spaceman

Doc said:

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I'm a little pissed I haven't been consulted on the subject.

jarowcliffe said:

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That is a true...You are a doctor

sloan peterson said:

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Why no consult with Dr. Drew,Dr.90210,or even Dr. Love?

jarowcliffe said:

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I assume Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil are readily available in Chicago but while we are at it...Dr. Dre? Dr. Pepper?

Doc said:

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It looks like the Orioles are going to sign Derrek Lee for one year at $8 million.

Um...

WTF! I'm not saying that the Cubs should have signed Derrek Lee, but, honestly, I don't see Peña, for one year, offering all that much more than Lee would have provided. I still have to scratch my head about the $10 million they signed Peña for. An extra $2 million for a guy that swings from the left side? I don't see that as being worth it...especially with his issues against left handed pitching.

gravedigger said:

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I don't think D-Lee was an option.

Doc said:

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I understand that...my point is that why did the Cubs think that $10 million was an appropriate price for Carlos Peña?

Proggy said:

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While I agree that 10MM is overpaying for the 1 WAR Pena put up last season, the extra 2MM spent isn't keeping the Cubs from the promised land this year. And it may have been the amount necessary to hold the contract to 1 year.

JulieDiCaro said:

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basically, we're paying him a premium to go away after the season is over.

Proggy said:

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If he blows, then, basically, yes.

What frightens me is not that Pena will suck, but that he won't. And then the Cubs will lock him up for another 4 years and stupidly forgo the chance at Fielder, Pujols, or Gonzalez.

JulieDiCaro said:

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My two lose-lose scenarios have been as follows:

1) he sucks; or

2) he doesn't, wants $15 million per year, and we can't afford him and wind up with no one to play 1B (again).

berselius said:

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*cough* Fielder *cough*. He's certainly worth $15 million a year, the only question is how many years a team is going to give him.

Proggy said:

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That could happen. But decent-sized chunks of money are coming off the books after this year, and if Ricketts is serious about winning, he's going to have to pony it up at some point.

jarowcliffe said:

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I think that the idea of Fielder, Pujols, or Gonzo being available are delusions anyway. Let alone the idea that the Cubs will have a shot at them.

berselius said:

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Now that the Brewers have Greinke the already small chance that Fielder wouldn't hit the FA market has now gone to zero.

jarowcliffe said:

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If the Cubs even consider Fielder, Im done. I will swear off everything baseball.

berselius said:

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He's a lot younger than you might think, and his weight hasn't stopped him from putting up elite batting numbers in all 4 of his full seasons.

jarowcliffe said:

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Its not his performance or even his weight that bothers me...its just him. I just do not like him at all. I never have.

berselius said:

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Fair enough. Just see me and Jeff Francouer (laughing)

berselius said:

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Throwing an 8 year deal at him would be dumb, but he would be a great sign at the right number of years (4-5)

http://www.anothercubsblog.net/major-league-baseball/articles/a-look-at-prince-fielder.html

Proggy said:

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Unfortunately, "dumb", is likely the only way the Cubs will be able to sign a top tier 1B next offseason. Pujols would require an A-Rod type deal, with Gonzalez and Fielder not too far behind.

berselius said:

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It's relative to the players. Everyone gets injured, but Fielder's body type doesn't age quite as well (assuming the cherry picked comps of Vaughn and Cecil Fielder from my ACB post). Aside from the obvious skill-based reasons, I'd be far happier with a 8-year deal for Pujols than Fielder.

Proggy said:

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This could very well be the case. Fielder, Pujols, and Gonzalez could all be extended by this time next year (with Fielder being the least likely).

But the Cubs aren't losing out on anything by going with a stopgap for one year and seeing what happens with those three situations.

berselius said:

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I thought Gonzalez was already extended for some reason. Maybe they just made an offer.

Proggy said:

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In all likelihood a deal will get done by the end of ST, but as of right now, no extension.

berselius said:

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For what it's worth, the lefty power bat has been this team's white whale for several years and Pena is a much better fit for the role than Fukudome or Bradley were. Lee is also older, his bat speed is slowing down, and has that chronic back/neck spasm issue. Pena will be worth the contract.

Doc said:

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We'll see...you and Maddog are saying that the contract should payoff...judging his steady decline over the last 3 seasons, I don't see that happening.

JulieDiCaro said:

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FWIW. he and Maddog also said that Milton Bradley's contract would pay off. (Sorry, couldn't resist) :P

Doc said:

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and you wanted to keep him last year.

JulieDiCaro said:

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that was all about minimizng damage.

berselius said:

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When you post a 6+ WAR season, it's pretty tough not to decline. Same if you post .250 and .222 BABIPs in back to back years. Just sayin'

I'm quite surprised that the valuation for Lee just one season removed from a .412 wOBA season is so low. He should be making a lot more. My guess is most teams agree that Lee is the one on the decline not Pena.

Proggy said:

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Or both are, but Lee is on a steeper grade.

Proggy said:

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plamorte said:

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Julie, tell your StateStSports friend to stop writing "Of course it's on my site!" in his tweets. It bothers me for some reason.

HackWilson09 said:

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The problem the Cubs have is that they don't have an ace. There is one eighth of a percent of a chance that Webb can be an ace again. Everyone else is a #2 or #3.

And last I checked, nobody makes the playoffs without a bonafide ace. Dempster and Z are not aces. They are #2's, not bothering to pardon the pun. Potential future pitchers such as Cashner and Archer have not shown to be ace material, and McNutt is too young.

There is talk that Garza is right on the edge of becoming a genuine ace. If that's for real, it could be worth sending Archer for him, but I'd hold onto McNutt - that kid is putting up crazy numbers.

berselius said:

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Garza is not an "ace", whatever that title means. He's just another #2 pitcher from what I can tell by your arbitrary criteria.

An ace doesn't make a team. Lots of good players do. The 2008 Cubs was one of the best teams I've ever seen, and they did it on the back of 4 good to great pitchers.

HackWilson09 said:

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They were blown out in 3 games on the backs of three of those good-to-very-good pitchers.

You need aces to win playoff games. That's what I'm saying. Good pitching always beats the good offense, which we don't have either, by the way. You need a Lincecum to beat a Halladay or a Cliff Lee. Dempster is never going to beat one of those guys. There was a day when Zambrano was rising to the potential of winning any given game, but those days are gone.

That's my "arbitrary" definition of an ace. A guy who, when he takes the mound every fifth day, gives you a feeling that he could beat anyone, hold the opposition to two runs or less and give your 7 or more quality innings - every time out. With Z and Dempster, I see guys who make me think, "I hope he has his stuff today, because when he's bad, he's just bad."

I mentioned Garza because I think he's shown that kind of stuff and he has been very consistent with occasional no-hit stuff, and he could hit a stretch of 3 or 4 very strong years. He's only 27, and could be on the verge of figuring something out. I could be wrong. But he's more of a sure thing than Archer or Cashner.

berselius said:

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They were blown out in three games because that's baseball. I think everyone can agree that the best team doesn't always win. Sometimes that happens three times. The Cubs had a chance in all three games and it just didn't happen.

Garza has good stuff, but it's highly unlikely he'll ever be in the same class as Halladay or Lee. But you never know. If you looked at Cliff Lee three years ago you would have said the same thing. So yes, Garza could turn into an ace but that's not something you bank on. You acquire him with the expectation that he's an above-average starter and hope for more just as you do with any player.

berselius said:

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Cashner and Archer haven't shown they're ace material? When have they had the time to? Cashner was nails in AAA before the Cubs stupidly called him up to be in the pen last year so the Cubs could win 75 games instead of 73, and if he hadn't he'd be in the rotation going into this year. Instead they burn another peak year of Cashner while he gets stretched back out.

plamorte said:

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Cool Marmol stats from ESPN:


We're still trying to figure out our favorite Strange But True Carlos Marmol feat of the year. Here's one: He piled up more strikeouts in relief (138) this past season than 63 starting pitchers who made at least 20 starts.

• And here's another one: Marmol faced 332 hitters this past season. Only 134 of them figured out a way to have the ball leave the batter's box. Everybody else (all 198 of them) either walked, got hit by a pitch or whiffed. No kidding.

JulieDiCaro said:

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MLBTR says the average FA price for a 1B this off-season is $6.53 million. We paid $10.

Awesome.

berselius said:

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That just means the Cubs paid him to be an above-average 1b, which he should be.

JulieDiCaro said:

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i wish a had a list of all the guys who "should have been good" on this team over the last 5 years.

berselius said:

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Ted Lilly, Derrek Lee, Ryan Dempster for starters

berselius said:

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Aramis Ramirez (after Hendry re-signed him when the Angels were making all sorts of noises about backing up the money truck)

berselius said:

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Mark DeRosa, Jim Edmonds

berselius said:

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Greg Maddux

jarowcliffe said:

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FUKUDOME!!

berselius said:

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Whoops, I thought you meant guys that actually were, and exceeded expectations

gravedigger said:

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I see what you did there.

Doc said:

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I'll start my list...

JJ
Uncle Milty
Fukudome
Soriano
Groggles
Jon Lieber (the second time)
Rich Harden
Grabow
Nomar (that was more like 6 years ago...but still)
Juan Pierre
Jerome Williams
Cliff Floyd
Michael Barrett
Tony Womack
Jason Marquis
and
Aaron Miles

gravedigger said:

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So what you're saying is, llike most teams, some players worked out, and some didnt?

Proggy said:

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Oooh...burn.

I also think a strong argument can be made that OGDJM surpassed expectations. He outperformed his salary in each year he was with the Cubs. Perhaps the only mistake made was when the Cubs traded him for Luis Vizcaino.

And while Harden did end up disappointing in 2009, he was out-freaking-standing down the stretch in 2008, and for what the Cubs gave up for him, a good deal by just about any perspective other than that which will hate anything the Cubs do that doesn't generate neverending Ruthian returns.

gravedigger said:

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I hate to say it regarding OGDJM, but yeah.

Doc said:

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In the last 5 years...players who have been acquired who have worked out...

Mark DeRosa
Marlon Byrd

...

um

...

Ted Lilly, I guess...

um...

I'm running out if people...

Jim Edmonds I suppose...

Koyie Hill?

I give up.

I think the other list is bigger.

plamorte said:

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August 31, 2007: Steve Trachsel

Proggy said:

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I know, which makes it even more incredible that during this five year period, despite almost nobody working out, the Cubs put together three winning seasons (including the best record in National League in 2008) and two division titles.


berselius said:

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2009 is the one that weirds me out the most. Absolutely *everything* went wrong with that team and it still posted a winning record.

berselius said:

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I'd post some, but I got all my names above from maddog's Jim Hendry analysis pieces last year.

http://www.anothercubsblog.net/analysis/articles/jim-hendry.html

berselius said:

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The Soriano deal will likely drag those numbers down further but I'm conflicted on how much blame should go to Hendry instead of McDonough/the Trib overlords for that one.

Doc said:

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I've heard at least two different stories about the fact the Jim Hendry was only willing to go 5 to 6 years with Soriano and that it was indeed John McDonough that insisted on the extra years which extending the peek salary on the contract.

If that would have been the case, the deal would have sat much better with me.

I read through that analysis by Maddog back when he wrote it...and for the most part, I have agreed with it.

At the same time, for this team to have won a total of zero playoff games with the amount of money that is spent makes me quite bitter...especially as ticket prices have escalated.

Proggy said:

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I definitely share your pain on that one, but the best a GM can do is build the best team he can with the resources he's given, and once the playoffs start, hope for the best.

As good as those 90s and early 2000s Braves teams were (fourteen consecutive division titles!) they only got one WS title out of it.

Proggy said:

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I'd forgotten how thorough and fair that analysis was (and is). Thanks for reposting it.

gravedigger said:

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yes, that was pretty awesome. i've been one of hendry's biggest defenders. good to know there's something i can back it up with other than the usual whatever-i-pull-out-of-my-ass.

Arkansascubfan said:

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I would say trading Josh Hamilton to the Reds for Cash would be his worst trade. I do think that he is doing a decent enough job though. No one knew what to expect from Hamilton at the time though...I guess hindsight is 20/20

gravedigger said:

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maddog was ignoring any rule 5 trades, but i think if those were included there'd be no argument that the hamilton trade is by far the worst.

berselius said:

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For serious? What would the Cubs have done with Hamilton? He was and is a drug addict and the Reds had Johnny Narron on staff, who was the only one in baseball with the personal rapport to help him.

If the Cubs had kept him he'd likely be dead or out of baseball now.

gravedigger said:

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No, I totally agree -- but if you look at the way Maddog listed his criteria, he looked strictly at the gain/loss only, no other factors. Using only that criteria, it would be the worst.

I don't think there was anybody here crying about that trade, and nobody can criticize Hendry for not having seen it coming.

Proggy said:

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The same MLBTR that feels the need to put up a How To Use This Site every three or four days?

JulieDiCaro said:

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that reminds me, i need to put up a "how to use this site" post . .

Proggy said:

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What you need to do is bring back the sidebar diaries.

And let me post a damn picture every now and then.

JulieDiCaro said:

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there may be some changes in the works.

Doc said:

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We've heard that before.

plamorte said:

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She means it this time!

Doc said:

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I don't really care if she means it or not...it's whether or not ChicagoNow means it.

plamorte said:

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said changes are probably not ChicagoNow related. This comment will self-destruct in 3...2..

Doc said:

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That would be a cool, kick-ass feature.

gravedigger said:

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Not being able to post pictures is fighting with the comment monster and the log in gatekeeper as my #1 annoyance on this site.

plamorte said:

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I love when i type out a huge comment and hit "Post Comment" and then it decides to tell me it logged me out at some point and everything I wrote is now gone, please log in for the 12th time.

gravedigger said:

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Exactly.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Proggy, you're the true meaning of Christmas.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Let's go team! I scored $100 at work today.

plamorte said:

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you left out the part of the unspeakable things you did for it

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I think that's implied any time I get money.

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