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Cubs Sign Wade Miller

Jim Hendry took a nice low-risk gamble today, inking Wade Miller to a one-year pact for $1MM. He can reach $2MM with incentives.

Miller gutted his way through 91 innings in 2005 for the Red Sox, posting a 4.95 ERA.  Miller had the dreaded labrum surgery on his shoulder in late September 2005.

UPDATE:  First, a few notes on labrum tear survivors.  Chris Carpenter and Jose Valverde are the best examples, and Carpenter sat out almost two years.  Valverde still hasn't matched his per-surgery velocity.  Six months is a general guideline for a pitcher to resume activity.  (Tip of the cap to Will Carroll for the info).

Also, Wade Miller and his agent Bob Garber were on WGN's Sports Central with Dave Kaplan tonight.  Miller had many teams inquire, but all of them required an option for a second year or just a non-roster invite.  Hendry pushed for the option at first as well.  Garber indicated that Miller never considered accepting anything but a one-year deal with no option.  The interested parties came down to the Cubs and Mariners, and the Cubs were Miller's preference all along (or so he says).

Miller has already begun throwing at 60 feet, and he plans to join the Cubs' rotation by mid-May.  I'm paraphrasing here, but Garber and Miller seemed entirely confident that Miller is considered a lock for a rotation spot upon his Cubs debut.  Obviously the Cubs will have too many starters on their hands, but it sure beats throwing John Koronka and Sergio Mitre to the wolves.            

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So is this any indication that Hendry will probably trade one of the many starters he has this off-season?

I don't believe so. Labrum surgery is nasty and the recovery rate low.

Didn't Morris and Carpenter have labrum surgery? I know carpenter took a year or two before he was "healthy" but hopefully Miller can have similar success.

Either way, good signing. Low risk/High reward that is rare.

Here we go again with this team signing a guy coming off an injury and hoping/praying they can get something out of him. I;ve got to hand it to Hendry, he might've found the one guy in baseball that gets hurt more than Wood and has worse mechanics. I've heard reports that he wont even be ready till June, if that is the case this is an even worse signing than I first thought. We'll be out of the race by the time June rolls around with this roster the way it is now. Hendry keeps pissing in the wind signing these always broken down pitchers. Labrum surgery is nasty, I've been through it myself. If Miller is a shadow of his former self, I'll be surprised. Labrum is a career ender and at best makes your velocity and durability serious problems over the rest of your career for those who can come back from it. Another worthless signing by Hendry. Hey some teams are going after Barry Zito, some teams make trades for good pitchers that arent hurt. Not us we sign broken down guys to minor league contracts and hope we can catch lightning in a bottle. Now at least we can have a contest, Who can spend more time on the DL this year Kerry Wood or Wade Miller? or we can play guess how much that inning pitched just cost us. I'll be shocked if Miller wins more than 5 games and is anything but a mop up duty guy. This team is headed for a 4th place finish, while Jim and Dusty are headed for contract extensions. It makes me sick as a Cub fan. On the south side, World Series here we come again. On the North Side 4th place here we come again but we all will look forward to the annual season ticket increase at the end of this year. What a waste this signing is and what a waste 06 will be at Clark and Addison.

omg what a move

I'll look forward to coming back here this time tomorrow and reading all the Cub and Hendry asskissers who will rip me for not saying "oh the Cubs will win it all this year." Yeah it's tough facing reality that this team sucks.

shutup idiot, they spent nothing on hom, and its got high reward so chill out, were a better team then last year and the cards and stros are worse

First off, I absolutely hate Hendry, Dusty Baker and the entire Cubs organization. But that said, this is a good signing. Wade Miller at 1-2 Mill is a freakin steal! If he never pitches an inning it's only a million bucks which in today's baseball scene isn't much money at all. and If he somehow wins 8-10 games? that's a hell of a steal for what they're paying

nothing but upside here..

Cubs4ever,
Go back to your position under Hendry's desk. The cards and stros are worse and we are better, which makes it even more sad we are still gonna finish 4th this year.

shutup you dont know anything were going to take the division this year... are team isnt as bad as people keep saying

Any chance that Wade Miller can be converted into a reliever? He's got the stuff.

Cubs suck, 'nuff said

Actually, im likin all these offseason prediction. Im lovin it, all these bad predictions, which I like alot. At first i hate it, but suddenly, Im starting to like this. I love being the underdogs, and my TRUE fellow cubs fans, lets be the underdogs this year. :)

Jake, I gotta hand it to you. You take the cake on unintelligible, unintelligent, unreadable rants spiked with 98 years worth of subjectivity.

Yes, the Cardinals and Astros are worse. Yes, the Cubs are better, though that doesn't make this a good offseason for us.

However, anyone objectively analyzing this deal would come to the conclusion that this is not a bad and in fact a good deal for the Cubs.

1) Wade Miller, if healthy, is a very good pitcher, arguably #3 on the staff.

2) This is very low cost. Most assumed Miller to get at least $1.5 to $2 mil in base salary with as much as $4 mil in incentives. I'm a bit surprised Miller went for this.

3) This most likely means the Cubs will NOT go for $40 mil worth of headcase mediocrity aka Jeff Weaver.

4) Instead of Weaver, we still have the cash and prospects needed to possibly trade for Zito and ink him to an extension.

With the sole fact that Hendry couldn't include an extension on this deal, there is nothing wrong with it. Get serious, Jake.

What makes you so sure that the Cubs will land Zito?

By the way, Pie is not that great of a prospect. Another player who doesn't take enough walks. Hendry and the rest of the Cubs Management seem to like those kind of players.

Forgot to say this: I also dislike Hendry/Baker, but Wade Miller is a very good signing.

Looks like a great deal for the Cubs - low risk, high reward not to mention the fact that the overall cost (plus possible incentives) is a good deal bit less than many in baseball circles were expecting him to get. As a Phils fan, I'm jealous of the pickup.

Zambrano, Prior, Wood, Maddux, Williams, Rusch, Hill, Guzman, Ryu, Marmol, Gallagher, Marshall and now Miller. There are a lot of teams in baseball--like, pretty much all of them--that would kill to have that much starting pitching talent in the bigs and high minors.

And last year's #1 pick (Mark Pawelek) may end up being better than them all.

firstoff,the cubs are not any better than they were last year.the bullpen might be better but the offense is worse,with the addition of pierre it does help but that doesn't make them much better mainly because jones replaces burnitz that is a wash or maybe even down grade--then there is cedeno/perez the same as last year or worse--hendry wil get rid of walker before opening day so they will be weaker at 2cnd unless hendry pulls something off and gets a legit 2cnd 0r ss----i can almost say for certain that baker will platton murton and grissom/mabry even tho i think murton should be allowed a chance as an everyday player but baker will not allow any young players a real chance veterans---veterans thats what he wants.the way i see it is if even if the cubs starters are healthy (that is a big ?)the o will struggle to score runs again and without another bat or two i do not see 80 wins this year!!! i do bleed cubbie blue and will for years to come but this team is not even close to a contender!!!

Will Carroll, Baseball Prospectus, wrote an article on May 20th 2004 for Slate explaining labrum problems. (AKA Robb Nen Mike Sirotka) They are not like elbow or rotator cuff which have good rates of recovery. Loss of velocity and durability are common and careers are commonly done. That's why Miller tryed to pitch through it in 2004 and 2005.

One million is a lot of dough to throw away on what appears to be a long shot. However, I don't know if the Cubs have another use for the money for 06 anyway. Its like us Cub fans to believe in miracles so I guess this is tailor-made.

Just for the sake of discussion, with O'Brien gone in Cincy, does anyone have a projection how Hendry might do there if he were their new GM for 5 years?

wow, I can't believe anyone with any knowledge of baseball would even think that the cubs have improved, while the Astros and the Cardinals have both taken a step back.

Why Cubs aren't better -Derek Lee will not reproduce the numbers he had last year. Nefi Perez is still starting. An everyday RF (Burnitz) was replaced with a guy that should be platooning (Jones batted .201 against lefties). Pierre is not going to be an impact player. Woods and Prior are still penciled in as starters. At best the Cubs are the same, not better.

Meanwhile the Cards have replaced 2 aging outfielders with younger more athletic players. Still have Albert Pujols, Rolen will be healthy and Chris Carpenter shows up to pitch every 5 days. And the Astros added offense with Preston Wilson (a much better signing that Jacque Jones) to a team that just went to the World Series and was only outscored 20 to 14. The only loss was a 13 win pitcher. Also consider that Berkman will be healthy all year long, instead of returning to form in mid June, which is when the Astros became the best team in the National League last year.

Sorry Cubs, the best is 4th place, and you didn't get any better this year.

Danny I hope you weren't serious when you said Pie isn't that great of a prospect simply because he doesn't take enough walks. Pie is a five-tool prospect who is only 21 years old. If the Cubs do the smart thing and keep him down at AAA at least until September then Pie will have a shot at working on his patience. It's also worth noting that Pie was rated as the best hitter for average in the Cubs system. If that is the case then the lack of walks won't hurt as much.

And the Wade Miller signing is a good one. Period. Similar to the Ryan Dempster/Scott Williamson deals. They had elbow issues as opposed to shoulder but those have worked out pretty well so far. I think Williamson is going to be good this year. He'll never be the unbeliveable flamethrower he used to be but I think he can be a servicable reliever with high strikeout rates. If he can find his slider this year he'll be nasty.

I kinda wish the Cardinals had gotten him -- Ponson scares me, but having both Ponson and Miller around would make me feel a little better about the potential rotation.

Good move for the Cubs.

Agree 100% with Darin - someone please explain to me how the Cubs have gotten better? Lee certainly won't produce like he did in '05, and it's a longshot that Ramirez will. Jones and Pierre just aren't difference makers. The bullpen will be slightly better, but thats the only area of the team I see as improved over last year.

Ahhhh....I love it when cubbie fans have such a bright outlook on the upcoming season. Makes their 4th place finish much more sweeter...

You guys keep saying that this cubs team is better than the cards??? I really hope you're joking. Starting pitching is worse, Bullpen is worse, Lineup is worse....how can you possibly put the cubs in the same breath as the cards right now? And the Stros- Better rotation, better pen....and a lineup that rivals the cubs. Unless Prior stays healthy for at least 30 starts this season, which won't happen, the cubs are going to finish fifth in the division...right behind pittsburgh and in front of Cinci

I don't know how you guys can say that Pierre will not make any difference. Our lead-off hitters hit like .003 last year. Even if he hits .276, like last year, that will be better. He also seems to know how to run bases and mess with pitchers(something new in Wrigley!)

Are you guys kidding about the Cardinals being better this year? Who did they add? Ponson...he;ll be in jail before the year is up and if he isnt, hes a .500 pitcher at VERY best. you lost Morris. you lost Walker. you arent gunna start rodriguez in left. Grudz is gone. Tavarez and king are gone. Who did you get to replace these guys? A crappy platoon-calibur OFs in encarnacion and Bigbie. A terrible 2B who couldnt cut it with the rockies, Miles. A steroid using wash-up, Rincon. Oh and the most inconsistent pitcher EVER in Looper. I guess the cards could be good IF carpenter plays way over his potential again, and IF rolen can stay healthy, and IF their additions ALL have career years, and IF ponson stays out of jail and IF their depleted bullpen can somehow survive without taverez and king and IF an aging edmonds doesnt fall apart. I also guess the cubs could suck IF miller, wood, AND Prior cant stay healthy, and IF Pierre, Lee , Ramirez, and Jones all have terrible seasons, and IF their MUCH BETTER bullpen somehow doesnt get the job done. THats a lot of ifs for the Cards to be good and the Cubs to suck. My moneys on the cubs getting some pieces workin and takin the central. Show me one cardinal addition that was better then the cubs! GO CUBS

Thank you Andrew! Well said

Singing Wade Miller is a good move for the Cubs. Period. End of sentence.

Even if he doesnt pitch a single inning in the bigs, it was worth a shot. Like many have said, this is a low risk/high reward type of move that could work wonders for the Cubs. From what I've heard Miller is expected back in May-June and if this is the case he, along with Wood, will turn a decent rotation (Prior, Zambrano, Maddux, J. Williams and G. Rusch) into a solid one (Prior, Zambrano, Maddux, Wood, Miller/Williams).

And to those who dont think that the Cubs have gotten better over the offseason, please look at last year. The Cubs leadoff hitters had an obp of .298. If Pierre is anywhere near his career numbers he will improve that by 50pts.

Yes, I agree that Lee wont have another monster year, but he might not have to. With Pierre infront of him, he will likelly have more RBI even if he hits 30 pts less. Also, please note that Ramirez probably could have played the last portion of the season but chose not to because he wanted to rehab his injury fully with the Cubs out of the postseason contention. Had the Cubs been a game or two out I bet he would have played half the games he missed.

Finally... look at the bullpen. The Cubs went from a horrible BP (2003) to a decent one (2004) to a good/possibly dominant one (2006). Dempster and Howry are quality guys, and Ohman's .173 batting average allowed to lefties was pretty nasty last year. Dont discount the 2006 bullpen as being a big key to the success or failure of the 2005 team.

Darin, Ryan: While it is unlikely that Lee can duplicate what he did last year, the Cubs should be a better team. They have a more balanced line-up, they are a more athletic team, and they have a much better bullpen--the area that hurt them the most over the past couple of years. To call Preston Wilson a better signing than Jones would make me question your knowledge of baseball, Darin. If you don't like the Cubs, that's cool; if you want them to lose, go ahead and say that you hope they lose. However, it is asinine to say that a team has made no improvement simply because you don't like them, which seems to always be the case with you, Darin. Try being a little more objective--it'll help give your arguments, which are generally well-articulated, more credibility.

Jake: Relax...try taking a little blue pill to help you calm down, or something. The Cubs have some great starting pitchers and a good bullpen. Give them a shot before you jump off the ledge, bro.

Rock: Yeah, the Cubs may have the best AA-AAA pitching depth in MLB. Producing talented pitchers hasn't ever really been a problem for them; it's been developing good position players. That said, I am excited about Pawelek, but don't think he's gonna surpass Prior. When it's all said and done, he's gonna go down as one of the greats.

Andrew: Like your first point in regards to not wasting money on Weaver.

Danny: Pie doesn't walk enough...yet. That doesn't make him a bad prospect. The bottom line is that he is one of the most coveted prospects in baseball, which makes him a good prospect. If he never learns how to take a walk, he'll just be (hypothetically) a bad MLB player.

A-ROD: Thankfully, I don't think anyone cares what you think:)

In regards to the Miller-signing, a very good move. His mechanics make me want to punch a wall, but his pure stuff is flat-out filthy.

Having said that, this would be a bad signing if the Cubs were counting on him to be their ace, or even counting on him to be a workhorse. I think, though, that this is a good signing--that Hendry is taking a very, VERY low-risk gamble on a man who has the ability to dominate opposing NL teams. If Miller only pitches a couple of games, no big loss; if, however, Miller is healthy in May or June, and pitches like he's capable, it gives us a great weapon.

For $1 million, you can't do too much better.

Andrew: Correct me if I'm wrong.. but, Juan Rincon of the Twins tested positive for some sort of steriod. He's still with the Twins. Ricardo Rincon, on the other hand, signed with the Cardinals this off-season. ... He hasn't tested positive for steriods.

Cubs are helping Miller through a rough stretch in hopes that he can pitch in 2007 and 2008. Hopefully he remembers his friends ala Dempster. No matter what you say about Hendry (and I happen to love him), he is respected by players and baseball "people".

Yeah.. about Pie learning how to take walks..

Baseball players can't be taught plate discipline.

Felix Pie is from the Dominican Republic. They have a larger strike zone in the DR. Dominican baseball players are known for having a lot of power, but having little to no plate discipline what-so-ever. Even Sosa has a career .338 OBP.

As said in Moneyball: "You can't walk to America"

Ryan:I'm a bit lazy, so I don't like to sit and spell everything out, but I don't think that the cubs are an improvement. Like I said at best they are the same as last year - Which I think is a stretch because they have not solidified their starting rotation (Maddax could be their #2 at some point) they did pick up 2 decent/good relievers but don't have a front line closer - Pierre had a down year and could be declining. Jacque Jones can't hit anything thrown at him by a left hander. Who knows who's going to be in left field - knowing Baker it'll be Grissom by the time May rolls around. Nefi Perez is a decent defender at SS (and probably 2nd too) but is a bit sub standard at the keystone position. And SS will be manned by a guy who played out of his mind last year compared to everything he had ever done before.

Now onto questioning my judgment of Preston Wilson vs. Jacque Jones (granted I didn't back that up with any stats). But here we go

Both are the same age, and Wilson has 1 year of experience on him (by now that's not an important factor).

Jones - the past 2 years he has declined in avg. obp. and slg. compared to his lifetime averages. And I'm not talking a little, this is a 2 year slump, and he hit .201 last year against lefties. He's the 3rd "power" hitter on the team probably going to bat 5th because I'm not sure who else would. I like Lee and Ramirez but who else is there?

Wilson - has had some injury issues the really in just 2004 but did manage to put up 520 at bats(3 less than Jones) and posting numbers within or close to his career line. He hasn't shown any decline, and will probably put up his career line next year. And if he doesn't play oh well, the Astros can plug someone in.

So in short, for the same price, do I want someone who's been in a 2 year slump and even when playing at career line is not as good as the other player who hasn't begun his decline yet. Preston Wilson was a better signing.

Now the Miller signing is not necessarily a bad move, since by baseball standards it's not alot of money. It just doesn't make sense since it appears to be a one year deal. I would think that if the team really thought he was going to bounce back from the injury they would have at least offered some kind of option year based on performance. I also think that Boston let him go for a reason, and that's probably because he shoulder's about to fall off. But if any team's medical staff knows pitcher's injuries it would be the Cubs, since they have alot of experience with Woods and Prior. Man if those guys woud have stayed healthy, the Cardinals and the Astros would have been looking up the last 2 years.

All I got to say is the Brewers are deffinitely better than the Cubs. Astros and Cards are better than the Cubs, even the Pirates might be better than the cubs, so all you cubs fans better realize you arent any better than last year and your curse will stay for another year.

HAHA this Brewcrew guy is a moron. Last year the Cubs played no where near their potential. They were injured most of the year. Last year's Cubs team was one of the best in the league. Put a leadoff man on that team, a solid bullpen, and health, and u got a WS contender. And thats what the Cubs did this offseason. Pierre is a top leadoff guy, bullpen got the 2 best FA's. The only injuries we have goin into the year are Wood and Miller. Williams and Rusch can do the job for a month before these 2 come back. Then with a rotation of Prior, Z, Wood, Maddux, Miller, thats one of the best in baseball. Right now the Cubs are better than any team in the NL Central. Brewers got really lucky last year, and they still really suck. Astros lost their best pitcher, and they will suck. Cardinals lost a really good pitcher and their corner OF's.

LOL.. even a devil ray's fan would laugh at that brewers remark.

brewcrew, you obviously havent taken into consideration that A} the cardinals had a poor offseason. B) the astros even worse.. no more clemens, and they signed preston wilson as an IMPROVEMENT. C) the pirates? mkay.

as much bitching that goes on about the cubs offseason, id take that over the stros or cardinals.

It's quite ironic. A little modesty from Cubs fans... I implore!

The Cubs aren't going to lose the Central because of pitching. They will lose it because of their heavy dependence on players who had career years in '05. While they get above average production at the corners, where else will the O come from? The Outfield is underwhelming, both offensively and defensively. Juan Pierre desperately needs a return to form if the Cubs want to compete with the Cards and Brewers.

I'm picking the Brewers to take the Central.

The fact is that nobody knows at this time of year what any team will do on the field and what injuries they will face. A lot of experts did not like the starting 8 for the White Sox last spring but they played great team baseball. Also, the Cubs have always done better when nobody expected them to succeed. When they have been picked to win they haven't. On paper the Cards and Astros both got weaker BUT the Cards always seem to make average players into great role players. Duncan is one of the best along with Mazzone in correcting mecahnics that have held back many a pitcher. he will probably do the same this year. Only time will tell if the Jones bashers will be right. He was one heck of a player two years ago and isn't that old. Many experts and Jones himself think swinging for the fences hurt him. He used to use all fields. If he does that again he will be a great addition and is much faster than Burnitz. Miller is a great pickup. One million used to be a lot of money but it isn't anymore. Heck, Patterson signed for 2.8 million with the O's. One mil is chump change in baseball these days. If the Cubs stay healthy, and nobody can say for sure they won't, it will be interesting at Wrigley this summer.

Walt

Weak is a relative term. The Cards are still a powerful team with Rolen, Pujols and Edmonds.

Enough of injury talk! Not only is it very bad karma, but a complete waste of time. One must look at a team as presently constituted and adjust from there.

I'm sure there are Brewers and Stros' fans saying, "Well, if Derrek Lee and Pujols get hurt, we can take this."

Frankly, i'm fed to the teeth with this kind of speculation and wishful thinking.

All I got to ask is, If the cubs win the NL Central are you guys saying the Mets will win the whole NL title, cause if the competition is the Cubs, I deffintely like the chances of the Mets winning that one.

I love to see Cubs fan going at it in late January. As an outsider to Cubs nation, I'll give my perspective on the Miller signing. I think it could be a good signing for Hendry and the Cubs. Miller if he can somehow stay healthy (whoever said this guy gets hurt and has mechanics like Wood is right) he is easily a #3 on their starting rotation. It's basically like alot of people have said a low risk possible high reward signing for Hendry. 1 million dollars is chump change especially for the Tribune company. Even if Miller only wins 8 games it's worth it for the Cubs. The only way this is a bad signing for the Cubs is if by some stupid reason the Cubs decide this is the boost to their rotation they needed and decide to not go after Zito or a Zito type. Other than that I think the move could pay off for Jim and the Cubs. Miller when healthy is definitely a quality pitcher and like I said slides rigtht into the #3 hole. The only problem is how long or how healthy is this guy coming off of labrum surgery? Regardless for a million bucks there really isnt a downside to Hendry taking a shot unless it the scenario I described earlier happens.

As a White Sox fan I just want to clarify something I hear Cub fans say all the time in regard to the Cub team on paper for 06 compared to the White Sox team of 05. You have to realize something first off. Yes the Cubs and White Sox do have similiar lineups 1-8 but the biggest thing everyone misses is if you compare the two starting rotations 1-5 that's where this Cub team suffers compared to last years Sox. 1 and 2 when healthy the Cubs probably have the advantage, but 3-5 is a different story. Noone knew Garland would blossom into a #1 pick quality pitcher last year, nor did anyone expect Contreras to have the second half he did as well. The pitching is what really put the White Sox over the top. With McCarthy they were at times 6 deep in the starting rotation and going into this year the same is true. Lineup wise there are several big differences between last year's sox and cubs. Dye had a career year last year and stayed healthy. The odds of Jones putting up Dye like #s at least in HRs and RBis are probably slim. Pierre and Podsednik compare favorably with Pierre probably being a little better. One thing I think that gets overlooked is Pierzynski, this guy is possibly the best at calling a game and working with the pitchers. Barrett while pretty good offensively doesnt compare to Pierzynski in that way. The White Sox also had alot of guys (Crede, Dye, Uribe) get hot during the playoffs. Perhaps the biggest reason I dont agree with comparisons between the two teams is the managers. Ozzie Guillen seems to always find a way to get the best out of each player and was a master at using his bullpen last year. Dusty is well Dusty, I dont have to explain to Cub fans what that means. In all honesty I could see the Cubs winning the division with the team they have right now but almost everything would have to go right (wood and miller stay healthy, Murton and Cedeno come through with offense as rookies, the 3-5 starters improve drastically, Lee has another year like last year, Jones gets back to his .285-.300 hitting) and the Cards probably have to fall a little more than what they will now. Don't forget they missed Rolen almost the whole year last year and got basically no production from Walker in right and still ran away with the division. They lost Morris but assuming they keep Marquis they are still pretty deep in starting pitching and Isringhausen as long as he stays healthy is still a top closer.

Hell of a discussion y'all...

I've got an update in the post now that sheds some light on Miller's plans.

The Tribune said Wade Miller had a clean up similar to Kerry Wood and Matt Morris, not a serious labrum surgery.

Darin: Fair enough. But while Wilson put up similar numbers to his career line, that's still pathetic. Jones, on the other hand, while always K'ing too much for my taste, has shown the ability to hit for a high average. He also happens to be a better athlete. Jones' career line, BTW, is better than Wilson's.

To defend the Jones signing: His average at the end of last year wasn't good. However, his average before Hunter went down was about .300. That also happened to be about the same time that he strained his oblique, so I'm betting that there is a bit of substance to the argument that not having to be the main HR hitter on the Cubs will help him. I would have preferred plenty of other RF's, but I prefer to focus on MLB and not fantasy baseball. Simply put, no way we could have gotten Abreu for a decent price.

Brewcrew: Wow...sensing some deep-rooted anger at the Cubs. I'd think you'd love the Cubs, since it's our fans that keep Miller Park in business:) Seriously, though, the Brewers look like a good team. I'm not as big a fan as Weeks or Hardy as most people, but they are an impressive young team. They lack, however, what they need the most--good starting pitching. The Sheets mystique seems to be fading, and I'm not exactly intimidated by Capuano or Santos. I like Turnbow, but their bullpen, as a whole (especially with Kolb back in it) isn't exactly fierce, either. I think they'll finish 3rd this season, but in 2-3 years, they should be contending for the NL Central.

I don't really want to jump into this, but the Sheets mystique isn't fading. He's still one of the best pitchers in the league. Doug Davis is very good, Capuano is an OK #3, and Dave Bush is a solid pickup. It's a good rotation.

I thought Mitre went to Florida.

Yeah, he's gone, but the Cubs won't have to dip down to Triple A for guys like that is my point.

Ryan,
Apparently you cared enough to address my last comment.
But don't worry a lot of things must go right for the cubbies to even contend in the NL Central.
Remember you guys still have Dusty;)

Enjoy watching the ChiSoX & Yanks in the 2006 playoffs.


Danny: Actually, plate discipline CAN be learned, but it is very difficult--especially at the major league level.

Valid point about the size of the strikezone in other countries, but technically the strikezone in MLB is bigger than what umpires call (umpires have pretty much cut the strikezone in half--one of the reasons that I feel it is harder for modern pitchers to dominate the way pitchers used to years ago).

Matt: Good points, as usual, but the Sox starting rotation isn't, and wasn't, exactly "sexy." I would take Zambrano and Prior over any other 1-2 in baseball, but I am biased, as well. Just to bust you a little bit, though(sorry, but I like to debate:)

Contreras: He had a phenomenal second half, but don't expect the same numbers again.

Garland: Please don't get me started on him. He had a good first half as a #5 starter. Period. End of story.

AJ vs Barrett: Well, AJ is a better game-caller, but I love Barrett's work ethic. Don't think he's gonna be as good as AJ this year, but I think he'll be improved over last year.

Dye vs. Jones: You don't expect high numbers from Jones, but no one expected Dye to be able to stay healthy all year. But he did. Let's give Double J a chance, eh?

I don't like comparing the '06 Cubs to the '05 Sox, for the same reason that I don't like comparing teams in general: They are two different teams. They play in different divisions, in different leagues, in different years. The Cubs have a better team than last year, in a slightly weaker division. Whether that translates into a play-off berth or not is something that only time will tell.

Rumor: When did you see a dominant Sheets last year? Because that's what he was in the first half of '04--utterly dominant. I know that he traditionally doesn't do well at the end of the season, which can be used to explain his numbers at the end of the '04 campaign, but between injuries, infections, and some other intangibles that I can't quite put my finger on, he simply didn't look like the guy that NL teams feared facing last season. Capuano is the only starter on their roster who doesn't have a losing record (career), but he's not exactly intimidating anyone, either.

Like I said before, on the whole, I think they are a good young team, but their pitching isn't good enough yet to win a division. In a couple of years, probably, but not just yet.

I would take
Oswalt & Pettitte
over Prior & Big Z
anyday

Oswalt has back to back 20 game win seasons & Pettitte coming off of surgery won 17.
The two of them do not have a history of injury problems and are have been able to succeed though they pitch in a hitter's park and have an anemic offense backing them up.

On Sheets:

A 3.17 ERA after the break in '04 is still top-notch. Sheets is still that elusive combo: tough to hit, great control, massive K rate. This means a ton of missed bats and not many baserunners.

Why do records matter? Good pitchers are good pitchers despite how their team plays when they're on the hill.

Rumor: I do agree that pitching performance matters more than a win-loss record--that's why Clemens deserved the Cy last year (and subsequently Johnson deserved it in '04, when Clemens won it).

Having said that, the fact that he cannot seem to win in the second half is not something that should be put on his team--not when it's been that way for the past couple years. He had a better ERA in the second half last year than in the first half, but again, I didn't see dominance from him. I can't remember a game where I felt like the other team was going to lose because Sheets was on the mound. He had that presence in '04. That's my point when I say he's losing his mystique.

Fair enough, but if he's healthy in 2006 I think you'll see an incredible performance.

Sheets will have a better year than Clemens in 06'. No question in my mind.

if you would take oswalt & pettite over prior & zambrano you'd be probably the only one.

Oswalt and Prior are very similar pitchers. Oswalt is more of a sure thing year in/year out.

Zambrano, on the other hand, i'd take any day of the week over Pettite.

The Cubs have the best pitching staff in the NL. Unfortunately, their closer doesn't put the fear of God in other teams. Dumpster might determine whether or not the Cubs make a run.

The Wade Miller is a okay signing.
Cubs rotation
Zambrano(1) -- is good for the whole season. +15 wins
Prior(2) -- is good for
70 % of the season.
10-15wins
Maddox(3) -- starts slow and
ends up with 12-15 wins.
Rusch(4) -- expect upto 10 wins.
Williams(5) -- expect upto 5 wins.
Then you have Wood, Miller,
Hill are the fill ins expect
a combined 10 wins.
I hope there is a spring training surprise.

Miller is a good signing for the Cubs.

They may get a 10 win season out of him, they also may get 4-4 like with the Red Sox last year, they may get nothing. 1 million isn't that much of a risk.

I'm disappointed that the Astros didn't get him back, (They were interested) but they have a few 4-5 starter prospects that may step in.

How could they have thrown "Sergio Mitre to the wolves" when he's not even on their roster anymore?

For the second time, I was referring to the general practice of dipping down to Triple A for starters who are bound to fail. Yes, I am aware that Mitre is a Marlin.

The Cubs rotation isn't overly strong in terms of ace power (Although a 1, 2, 3 of Big Z, Prior, and Maddox/Wood isn't too shabby), but it is far deeper than almost any in the major leagues. They have Zambrano, Prior, Maddox, Wood, Rusch, Williams, Hill and now Miller. That is 8 possible MLB starters, a number that would be able to absorb a variety of injuries throughout the season. Hendry has been burned the past couple of years by blows to both Wood and Prior, and it is clear that he is backing himself up for the 2006 season. Anyone who sees a problem with that doesn't know crap about baseball.

Now onto Wade Miller. He's had Labrum Surgery, and he's probably not going to be posting another 183 K season in his lifetime. However, when you consider his numbers in the few injury free seasons he's had, it's clear he has the ability to be a solid 4 hole starter. (Using 2001-2004 as my sample) here's the numbers:

52-32 record with a 3.45 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP, an average of 140.5 Ks and around 18.5 HRs.

Those kind of numbers suggest, that even after a surgery like that, he could be posting a 4.00 ERA and have 10-12 wins. To me, it sounds like that is worth spending only $1.0 Million (of a $110 million budget) to try and find that production. Can anyone give me a decent reason as to why Hendry made a mistake?

BT,

I'm with you. I;m still hoping a bat like Huff is in the works before spring training. Coming to terms with Tampa for Huff and Lugo would be just awesome.....

Anyone can get the injury bug. Yeah the Brewers stayed healthy and had a flukey season. The Astros are all going to need hip-replacements and denture cream IF they all come back next year. Yeah the Cardinals will contend, but they are not as strong as last year, and Rolen is having trouble staying healthy. What do they have with, let's say, a Pujols injury? The Cubs are much improved, and it can't be hard to be healthier than we were last year. The Miller signing is a very good gamble, let's remember there are way bigger and more expensive risks. A one-million one-year risk will not hurt you. Hendry still has lots of time to sign another starter and hopefully one more bat (Lugo). I'm sure we will be competetive this year, if not, you can jump on the band-wagon like A-ROD or whine for one more year like JAKE.

Rumor: Agreed; Sheets very well may come back and blank all comers. I hope for his sake that he can return to that form, but I don't think he will. BTW, any word on Welly getting traded? I read the earlier reports of the Cubs not wanting to trade him to Colorado, but since they seem to have a surplus of relief pitching, and since he's out of options, I was hoping you'd tell me that we may be able to deal him for a mid-level prospect somewhere...

Charlie, Darin, jokey: A very valid point in regards to injuries. It's not illogical to assume Woody will not have a full season--his problems have been proven to be mechanical. Prior, on the other hand, has spot-on mechanics and a history of freak accidents. If you want to assume Prior will be injured, assume that Rolen will, as well, with his bad luck the last 2 seasons.

Ryan,
Good points yourself as usual. Yeah my point sorta was with the Sox rotation of last year was that everything came together for them last year. I agree with you on Contreras. I do not believe he will duplicate his success of the second half in 06 and I believe the Sox feel the same way which is why you hear his name mentioned in trade rumors. He's also mentioned of course because his deal is up at the end of the year. I'll disagree with you a little bit on Garland in that I think it is possible Garland could duplicate his first half of last year again this year. Even though he didnt win a ton of games the second half, his ERA was still around 3.75 I wanna say so even that isnt horrible. The reason I think there is a chance that Garland could actually be as good as 05 is he was a 1st round draft pick of the Cubs who has always had the stuff and potential, it was just between his ears and between his legs that he lacked the fortitude. If he has found that (with the help of Cooper and Pierzynski) like it looked like he did last year, he's certainly still young (25 I think) and possibly could've blossomed into the pitcher he was thought to be when he was drafted. He could however just as easily fall back to his 02-04 stats so i'll take a wait and see but more optimistic than Contreras approach with Garland. The only reason I said Dye would probably put up better numbers last year than Jones would this year is cause Jones has never hit 30 HRs and driven in as many as Dye did last year. While I think Jacque could and probably will hit better than he did last year avg wise, I just dont think a player at age 30, switching leagues for the first time and also switching from faster turf to long grass at his home park will establish career highs that first year. With the two teams starting rotations it's not that the Cubs dont have decent starters at the 3-5 spot cause they do, they just cant stay healthy and that also factored big time into the Sox's success from last year and will factor into the success they will or wont have this year. The last thing was the managers. I really believe Ozzie was one of the biggest reasons the Sox won the World Series last year. He knew where to put guys in the best spot to help them have success. When the pennant race heated up at the end, he helped keep those guys loose and focused. I'm not sure Dusty possesses those qualities. I also dont believe the Cardinals particularly will fall as far as people think. They lost Morris but also assuming Rolen stays healthy and even though Encarnacion isnt great i think he will give them more production in right than Walker simply because he will be able to play every day. The Astros are one team I think that has fallen and the Cubs could jump in front of but the flip side is the Brewers a team that finished ahead of the Cubs last year has improved more than the Cubs have this offseason, at least thats my opinion, but youre right really all you can do is wait and see where the chips fall plus Hendry still has two months to tweak the roster and I believe he will do something to improve the team more.

Matt: I do agree about Ozzie 100%. I don't particularly like a lot of his antics, but he understands that you have to light a fire under your players' asses sometimes. Baker may have been a good player, and he is a better manager than he's given credit for...when his players are motivated. What he lacks is the ability to put his players in line when they make stupid moves. It happens to every player occasionally, but Ozzie will bench Uribe for not running out a fly-ball, while Baker would have told Uribe that it was smart to save the energy by not running.

What kills me is Ozzie's recent quotes in the paper...since when did he become PC??? He makes quotes saying that he hopes he can be half the manager Baker is, which is simply mind-boggling to me.

In regards to Garland: I've never been a fan of him, and never will be. While his stuff is good, it's not as good as a player along the lines of Wood (nowhere near as good, actually)--a player who frustrates you by not performing at the level he's capable of. Garland, I've always felt, is an average pitcher. In the bottom of the rotation, he can win games by beating other teams sub-.500 pitchers. In the top of the rotation, he's gonna lose, and then in turn lose his confidence and not pitch well. I think we're going to see a record along the lines of 14-12 or 15-13, but not much better than that.
There is one other thing to watch with Garland: Even when he was tearing it up early in the season, he still seemed to get in trouble at around the 80 pitch mark...

A-Rod is a fan of the White Sox and the Yankees? Being a fan of two teams?...Yeah that's cool.

1. Signing Miller is a good move. They are not giving away much money and when healthy, the guy is a very good experienced but still young pitcher.

2. Due to the nature of the cubs being the cubs, Miller will probably end up starting more games than any other cub pitcher. Even if he doesn't start until June.

3. The cubs will ofcourse have a losing record. They are the cubs.

4. cub fans will always think the cubs are good no matter how bad they are because... well.. they are cub fans.

Teetz,
Yeah I'm assuming AROD is a young fellow or a Yankee fan first. I'm a lifelong Sox fan and after all the possible World Series and playoff appearances cost the Sox in the 60's there is no way any older fan would be first a White Sox fan and then a Yankee fan

Hey guys I'm from Chicago and what do I read in all 3 Chicago papers this morning... quotes from Jim Hendry saying that he is essentially done making moves and the team you say on paper today will be the team that is in Wrigley Field come opening day. If this is indeed true, as a Cub fan I couldnt be more disgusted and have already resigned myself to watching another .500 or sub .500 season and a third or fourth place finish to boot. Please rumor tell me what the 3 big papers in town here are saying about Hendry being done making moves is false.

Sorry Jake, but that sounds about right. I'd assume the Cubs are out of the Zito chase.

Wow. How can someone be a Yankee fan and a White Sox fan? A-ROD you are a joke!

Second, the Cubs have certainly improved this off-season. Analyze them position by position:

1B - Lee might not have the spectacular year that he did last year, but will still be good
(SLIGHT DOWNGRADE)

2B - Walker is steady every year; no change here. However, if the Cubs pick up Lugo this is ruled as an upgrade.
(SAME)

SS - Cedeno is far better defensively than Nomar, and though he is nothing offensively compared to him, Nomar only played 26 games at SS last year. Cedeno (and his .356 OBP in 41 games) is better than Perez and his anemic OBP (.298).
(SAME OR SLIGHT UPGRADE)

3B - Ramirez had a great year last year despite not staying healthy (he only played in 123 games). If he plays anywhere near 145 games he puts up the same or better #s.
(SAME OR UPGRADE)

LF - The Cubs are far better of w/ Murton in LF everyday this year than they were with Dubois and Hollandsworth this year. In addition, the Cubs have a good backup in Mabry.
(UPGRADE)

CF - Pierre is the most obvious upgrade the Cubs made this offseason. He is hands down better offensively than Patterson, and his OBP trumps Pattersons (.326 to .254). Plus, he is an excellent example of a hard worker.
(HUGE UPGRADE)

RF - Okay, so Jacque Jones' numbers are almost identical to Jeromy Burnitz's. However, Jones is a great guy in the clubhouse and in the community, and he is 5 years younger. He certainly has more potential to put up good #s this year than Burnitz does.
(SAME or SLIGHT UPGRADE)

BENCH:
C Blanco (WASH)
IF Perez (WASH)
IF/OF Hairston (WASH)
OF Mabry (UPGRADE over HOLLANDSWORTH)
OF Grissom (UPGRADE over MACIAS)

ROTATION

PRIOR made right around 3/4 of his starts last year, and if he does the same this year he is a WASH when compared to last year. WOOD made less than 1/3 of his starts last year. If he makes even 1/2 or 2/3 of his starts this year he is an UPGRADE over himself. MADDUX is steady as always, his age may make him a SLIGHT DOWNGRADE. ZAMBRANO had another great year last year. Hopefully he will perform well enough again to be a WASH. Having WILLIAMS, RUSCH, and MILLER filling out the #5 spot in the rotation is a definite UPGRADE over the Cubs revolving door of poor performers at the beginning of last year.
(OVERALL: ROTATION UPGRADED)

BULLPEN:

RYAN DEMPSTER in the closer's role for a full year is a definite UPGRADE. After playing various roles at the beginning of the season, he settled into the closer's role, where he LED THE NL IN SAVE %.
BOBBY HOWRY is an UPGRADE over LaTroy Hawkins. I don't even have to explain why. SCOTT WILLIAMSON should improve after recovering fully from his arm surgery; he is a WASH at worst and probably an UPGRADE. SCOTT EYRE is clearly an UPGRADE over Mike Remlinger. WUERTZ and OHMAN are probably washes when compared to themselves last year. Guys like WELLEMEYER and NOVOA, who will rotate between AAA and the bigs, are at worst WASHES compared to themselves last year.

The Cubs have clearly upgraded their team over last season's. How much and how big of an impact this will make remains to be seen.

OutofDarkness,
Well I will agree with you that the Cubs have upgraded their team, I dont believe they have upgraded to the extent you and everyone else are implying. First off regarding Lugo, according to all 3 Chicago papers and Rumormonger, not Lugo nor Zito or anyone will be coming to the Cubs this offseason as all three articles and Rumor have said per Jim Hendry the Cubs are basically done with their roster before opening day. So Lugo wont be here, it's all but certain Walker will probably be traded and then you can bet your butt Neifi Perez will be the everyday 2B and #2 hitter which the stats back up as an absolute disaster as Neifi is a horrible OBP guy. Once again I must've missed the Matt Murton hall of fame induction. The guy is brutal defensively and he hit .260 against righties. That .321 avg you see from last year is inflated cause he only hit and dusty for the most part only played him against lefties which he did fine. Unfortunately if you want to play every day and make an impact you need to hit better than .260 against righties. As for Jacque Jones, I'm not sure he will improve that much over Burnitz. Defensively Yes but this is his first year in a new league, he is already 30 and has declined horribly over the last two years not to mention he is going from turf where he had alot of singles to long grass where some of those singles might not be there this year. Another guy I missed the hall of fame induction is Jerome Williams, I hear Cub fans compare this guy to guys who have won 15 games with an ERA under 4. This guys has never thrown more than 130 major league innings and the innings he has thrown have been inconsisent. As for Miller while it is a good signing, the early word out of Chicago is that this guy MAY be ready by May, if not May June. I'm not gonna put any stock in a guy that gets hurt more then Wood and is coming off of labrum surgery for any type of positive performance. Rusch is a journeyman .500 pitcher at best. Maddux is a year older and I'm certainly not counting on him to win more than 10-12 games this year. I'm not sure Grissom is an uprgrade over Macias either. He's older, and cant play all the positions Macias can. Dont get me wrong though they both suck. I agree with you on the bullpen assessment but how effective will the bullpen be when essentially your #3-5 starters are all 5-6 inning guys and they will do a good job wearing the bullpen down by august? I agree with you on Pierre, Cedeno, Lee and pretty much everything else. While the Cubs have improved, so have the Brewers (and improved more than the Cubs) who already finished ahead of the Cubs. The Cards while they arent as strong as they were last year, I really dont believe they are going to fall as hard as alot of people think. People make it out like they just did what the Florida Marlins did this offseason. In my opinion the Cards will still easily win this division by 5 games or more. I see the Brewers next, then Houston and the Cubs fighting it out for third. In short another disappointment on the Northside.

Great point Uncle Charlie. I didnt even consider we are still stuck with Dusty this year. With that nimrod it wouldnt surprise me to see Grissom in left as much as Murton. Yep this year is gonna be a disaster and then Dusty and Jim get extensions and we're stuck with 3 more years of this crap

You have to love a guy that claims to hate the entire Cubs organization, however would like to be reffered to as Cubs4ever! Please change it to Clown.

Sorry to get off the subject of Wade Miller/Cubs rotation/upgrades/downgrades/suck/don't suck, but I was wondering about these Contreras and Abreu rumors. I know Rumor said the White Sox wouldn't have a problem adding payroll to get Tejada... would the same hold true for Abreu?

The cubs are only slightly upgraded over last year.

A small upgrade in CF with Pierre's weak arm and no power.

The bullpen is better.

That's it - oh, and they are starting 2 rookies. So, with one quarter of your lineup inexperienced, you never know what can happen.

They are still looking at 3rd of 4th place which is sad considering how weak the National league is these days.

Oh i wholeheartedly agree with you Uncle Charlie. The guy I would like to see is either Jones or Cedeno (not sure its a good idea to put that much pressure on a rookie) Jones in the second hole instead of the fifth hole (where the Cubs project him at right now) is certainly better. Jones in the fifth hole is also a disaster waiting to happen. Nice protection for D. Lee and Ram. I'm not sold on Murton, like I said the guy hit .260 against righties. While that isnt horrible, I dont consider it great for a guy who will probably be hitting 6th behind a weak hitting Jacque Jones. I'm not saying putting Neifi in #2 is a good thing, but just watch it happen if they trade Walker. I'll bet you almost anything.

If prior is healthy, they have the 3rd best 1-2 punch in the NL Central.
behind the Astros and Cards of course. Carpenter/Mulder, Oswalt/Pettite are both better. In all fairness, the cubs did add pierre, who is a good leadoff hitter, but lost pop....believe it or not, jones is a downgrade from burnitz. Cubs got no shot of winning the central this year...sorry cubbies... it's gonna be at least another season before you taste the playoffs again. And mark my words....DUSTY WILL NOT BE MANAGING THEM NEXT SEASON!

90 comments over such an insignificant transaction? Puhh-lease.

Aren't there enough message boards specifically related to the Chicago National League team so as obviate the need for posting so many comments here about the travails of such a mediocre team?

CubsSuck: Do you have any legitimate reason to think Zambrano/Prior aren't as good as Carpenter/Mulder or Oswalt/Pettite other than the fact that you hate the Cubs? Try looking at things objectively:)

Jim: The Cubs are a very, VERY popular team. If you don't like the attention paid to a team that you consider mediocre, don't read a thread posted about them.

"Wow. How can someone be a Yankee fan and a White Sox fan? A-ROD you are a joke!"

1991 - My first baseball game at the Cell. I remember little from it I was about 4 at the time and
did not know what the hell was going on...

1995 - Became a Baseball fan by watching with my "Donnie Baseball" & Paul O'Neal lead the Yanks to the Wild Card & a showdown against the Mariners

1999 - Throughout this season went down to the Cell with my friends and gradually became a SoX fan.
Partly it was about time that I selected a hometown baseball team to cheer for. However I couldn't just throw away all those memories of 95, 96, 97, 98, & 99. Thus I continued to cheer for the Yankees.

Whenever they play against each other...Yes I am torn between the two aways praying for:
SoX take two out of three from the Yanks at the Cell.
Yanks take two out of three
from the SoX in the Bronx.

Whats most important is that they do not siginificantly hurt one another in terms of the other's standing.

This past years Yankee VS SoX series went perfect since both were 3-3 against one another.

I guess you can think of me as one of those
Cubs/ChiSoX (Chicago)fans
EXCEPT
I'm a
AL Chicago/New York Fan

Still I will be looking forward to a
2006 Yankee VS ChiSoX ALCS
May the BETTER Team WIN!!!

Hey Ryan,

There is no doubt that Zambrano and Prior have terrific stuff.

The problem with your team, however, is your manager's propensity for PITCHER ABUSE. That's an objective factor which will impede the success of your team.

"believe it or not, jones is a downgrade from burnitz."

No their about the same players offensively (though Jones does have a bit more upside) but Jones's ability to get to balls in the gap (Overall defense) is much much better

Hey Ryan,

That the Cubs may be popular in no way diminishes their utter mediocrity.

Seriously, though, the Wade Miller blah signing does not warrant 90 comments. You guys ought to start a thread over at one of your Cubbie message boards. You can post about Neifi Perez and Ronnie Woo Woo all you want.

Jim: Actually, it warrants as many responses as it gets. As long as people are motivated to talk about the signing, they will talk about it.

Now, if you mean that Wade Miller is not a superstar, that is a much more debatable point (I would say he's not a superstar, but if he could ever stay healthy he could easily revert to that form). But the fact that people like yourself who dislike the Cubs continue to post about it only shows how much buzz the Cubs create. Either way, not bad that a team which you consider "mediocre" can generate that kind of pub, is it?

As for Baker's pitcher abuse...very, very debatable point. While he has a propensity for allowing pitchers to stay in the game longer than they should, that is an argument that any fan can make about the manager of their team at any point in time. Sometimes you're the hero for keeping Big Z in a game long enough to get a game-winning HR (as was the case in '03 in Houston) when everyone else wants you to put in a pinch hitter. Other times you're the goat for not pulling Mark Prior after the Bartman incedent.

Now, if you want to say that Baker is abusing pitchers in the sense of causing the injuries to Prior and Wood, that is simply ludicrous. As stated numerous times, Prior has been befuddled with freak injuries. Should Baker be blamed for the Giles collision in '03? Can we sincerely blame Baker for Hawpe's 117 mph line drive off of Prior's elbow last season? The answer in both cases is a definite "no." You could make a little bit more of a statement to blame Baker for Wood's problems, but that is again unfounded. Rather, I think that Wood's coaches in high school who utterly abused his arm should take the blame for that over Baker (of course, his poor mechanics and the coaches who never worked on correcting those mechanics are culpable, as well). The only pitcher who Baker has really ridden too much is Zambrano, who, aside from e-mail-related cramps and toe stubbing incedents, hasn't needed any time off.

Nothin' wrong with all the Cubs chat. It's January and you guys are debating baseball...I like it. One of these months I may start a Cubs blog so you can really go nuts.

Ryan:
Career lines
Jones - .279 .327 .455
Wilson- .264 .333 .478

Jones has Wilson beat on average, but Wilson makes it back up with on base percentage and sluggage. Also take into account Wilson has hit over 120 rbis in a season twice, while Jones has not hit 90 once. Both strike out way too much, while not walking enough. Neither are stellar defenders or threats on the basepaths. I think going by the numbers and the potential, Wilson is the better player. I understand some players are going to have down years, but 2 in a row is a bit of a scare. Plus take a look at their careers and Jones has had 3 good years and 4 average to sub par years. Wilson has maintained status quo (good, not great) through his career when healthy (missing parts of 2 seasons). To sum it all up, the Astros aren't going to rely too much on Wilson, they could even get by without him. But Jones has to have a career year to help put the Cubs over the edge.

Also somone said that it's not fair for me to assume Berkman will stay healthy all year and that Woods or Prior would get hurt.(I can't remember if they said woods or prior). I never assumed Berkman will be healthy all year, but last year he started the season on the DL and took about 4-6 weeks to get back into form. This year he appears to be on track to start the season on form. I'm not trying to second guess last season, but if I were, I might say something to the point that April and May would not have been a bust, and the Astros might have been able to take the Central, and maybe Clemens would have won the Cy Young.
--But since Prior and Woods always seem to break down for whatever reason, I will use my American right to assume they will do so this year too. I will throw Rolen in with them on this. It's called the Law of Probability. I don't mind being wrong on this either, I just think it that since they've broken down before, they'll probably do it again. I can't back it up with science.

Ok I'm tired of being a homer now, so I'm not going to comment on the stupid remark about how "old" the Astros are.

Uncle Charlie--you're a class act. I didn't know you were William Ligue's other son. Anyway, my added comments were on the number of comments, not the merits (or lack thereof) re: the signing. So right back at you.

Ryan--So you think it's a "debatable" point re: whether Wade Miller is a superstar. Heh. You really ought to give it a rest with that blue KOOL-AID.

Ryan--also, I cannot believe the depths to which you defend Baker. The Cubs have some very talented starters. But Baker's abuse of them is well-documented by the likes of Baseball Prospectus. If I were a Cubs fan, I would want Baker out the door.

RumorMonger--One thing I respect about you is that you actually have knowledge of the rest of the league, and are fairly objective in your analysis, rare traits among Cubs fans. But really, you ought to start your Cubs fans blog so the rest of us who otherwise enjoy your site don't have to endure such frivolity as 90+ comments on a ho-hum signing.

Well Jim, it's not like anyone is making you read the 90 comments...I mean, you knew it would be a Cubs discussion given the topic.

Hey RumorMonger, you have a great website. And if you can get all these comments re: such a blah signing, then all the more power to you!

You ought to start imposing a monthly fee for the "premium" portion of your site, where Cubs fans can congregate and discuss such compelling topics as whether Neifi Perez should bat second or eighth in the batting order.

For the record, Uncle Charlie, I don't think it was a bad signing. Just a BLAH one!

Unle C:
hmm, the american right to make assumption was tongue in cheek.

I don't hate Kerry Woodssssssss, I think if he'd stay healthy he could be one of the greatest pitchers in recent history. The fact is he can't stay healthy, or at least hasn't stayed healthy.

I'm not petty, as you are insuating. I don't hope players get hurt. I love baseball. Minor League, College, MLB, I just love the sport. I tend to follow the 'Stros because I live in Houston. I watched them when they fielded Franklin Stubbs and Rafeal Rameriez, wow what crappy teams. But I've never hoped a player for the Cubs or the Cardinals would get hurt, so that the Astros wouldn't have to play against them. But I do expect Wood (better?) and Prior to spend some time on the DL. As I do Nomar, Rolen, or would Kevin Brown if he pitched.

Uncle Charlie:

I don't think I'd call it a stellar signing right now. I'd just call it a signing. If he had as much potential as you are hoping, I don't think the Red Sox would just let him walk away. If he does do the unthinkable and return to his early Astros form, or even near to it, it won't be a stellar signing, it will be flippin' lucky signing.

Uncle Charlie,

Sorry, but any possibility that Wade Miller will return to his pre-injury form must be discounted by the likelihood that Dusty "PITCHER ABUSE" Baker will severely overwork him.

Jim: Do you know how to read? Or did you simply not read my post? I said that I don't feel you can call him a superstar anymore. He used to be a superstar. I went on to say that if he could revert to his old form, he would easily be a superstar again. I didn't say that he would--rather, just gave an analysis.

Didn't really defend Baker, either. In fact, if you scroll through the archives, you'll see a post directed to Matt where I pretty much tear Baker apart for some aspects of his managerial style. He's definitely not my first choice to be the Cubs manager. I'm not, however, going to blame him for everything bad that's ever happened to the Cubs. I'm not going to pin the Kennedy assassination on him, nor will I try to infer that he is the real Jack the Ripper.

A case can be made to state that Baker is responsible for overworking starters. But which pitching injury on the Cubs can you attribute to Baker? Are you going to blame him for Fox going down, or for Remlinger's "broken pinky?" Are you going to accredit Wood's bad mechanics to him, even though Wood had those mechanics before Baker was even managing the Cubs? Is it his fault that Prior took a line drive off the elbow? The answer to all of those is "no."

If you feel this thread or others are too biased and subjective in favor of the Cubs, you have the right to ignore the thread. Have a nice day.

Ryan,

Uh, you wrote the following: "Now, if you mean that Wade Miller is not a superstar, that is a much more debatable point (I would say he's not a superstar, but if he could ever stay healthy he could easily revert to that form)."

In other words, you said that while you yourself do not think that Wade Miller is a superstar, it is nevertheless "a debatable point." Those are your words, not mine.

And by the way, Miller was NEVER a "superstar", as you say in the above post. That's patently ridiculous. (This is not to say that it's out of the realm of possibility that he can recover from his injury, and suddenly become a superstar; it's just unlikely given he never was a superstar to begin with.)

As for Baker's pitcher abuse, it's really a red herring fo you to argue that his overuse of pitchers is a cause of their injury. The real point is whether his overuse diminishes their effectiveness as the season goes on. Games Six and Seven of the 2003 NLCS are Exhibits A and B. Grady Little got fired over this issue. And it's shocking that Hendry and Co. do not appear overly concerned with this issue.

But hey, if you want to be pollyanna-ish about this alarming issue (as Cubs fans invariably tend to be), then so be it. It's your team, not mine.

Out of Curiosity Monger
What happened to Kevin Brown?
Is he going to retire?
Or show up at spring training with the Braves?

You guys need to get a life and stop arguing over opinions. We all have them. Why don't you just debate over the facts? We all have a favorite team or teams, but the fact is no matter what you post about a particular player/team, you're going to have some type of biased feelings towards them... good or bad. The topic was about Wade Miller... For those who dislike the Cubs, don't take the time to push your mouse over to a Cubs link to click on their threads. You sound like little kids fighting over a pack of skittles. I personally though the Wade Miller was a great signing. Can someone tell me the equivalent of 1 million dollars in MLB payroll standards? Not much... My 2 cents. Alright guys, let me have it... Go CUBS!

Hey Pete' Sake,

This story is not "a Cub's thread." It's a tread on a general baseball site about a signing by the Cubs. Those who are not Cubs fans have a right to put in their two cents without being accused on interloping. If you cannot stand less than 100% rah-rah, go-Dusty-go Cubbie propaganda, then you should go to an exclusively Cubs site.

And I am happy for you that you like the signing.
But just wait until Baker starts abusing Miller's arm, as he has done with Prior and Wood.

I hate the cubs....solely because mark prior empregnated my mother last night. I also have a small penis

The above "counterfeit Jim" comment was written by William Ligue's other son.

Hey Jim, I feel for you but you have to give it up.

It will never make sense to real baseball fans or any sports fans why a team so pathetic as the cubs have been could possibly be popular.

It just is and you have to let it go. Cub fans are the only sheep that pay hard earned money year after year to be treated like crap. They don't get it and they never will.

Just consider yourself fortunate to have enough sense not to be a cub fan.

"If you don't like the attention paid to a team that you consider mediocre, don't read a thread posted about them"

This site isn't (although it possibly could be confused for) a Cubs site.

Everyone has their opinions and favorite teams, and while objective criticism is good, finger-pointing and personal attacks are not.

"If you don't like the attention paid to a team that you consider mediocre, don't read a thread posted about them"

This site isn't (although it possibly could be confused for) a Cubs site.

Everyone has their opinions and favorite teams, and while objective criticism is good, finger-pointing and personal attacks are not.

I'm a White Sox fan and while I do strongly dislike the Cubs, the Cubs vs Sox debate to me is a moot point since the White Sox did what they did last year. I know it's a new year now and anything can happen, but I'd be willing to bet a decent amount of money that unless injuries and things get crazy this year, Cub fans wont have much to say to Sox fans this time in 07 either. I generally look at the Cubs and more or less think the whole organization from McPhail down to Dusty and even some of the players can be good for some comedic relief. I have alot of good friends who are Cub fans so while I dont necesarily wish the Cubs to be absolutely brutal, I just wish they finish worse than the Sox every year. It really doesn't matter though if neither team makes the playoffs and in all honesty since the White Sox won the world series last year, I think my Cub dislike isn't as strong as it was this time last year. Mostly because we have the ultimate comeback now when Cub fans try to say "oh your park is never filled, and U.S. Cellular Sucks" Anytime a Cub fan wants to rip on the Sox or Sox fans, the response is real simple guys, "Let us know when you win a World Series." In short this site (fellow posters like myself mostly cause Rumor himself is very fair in covering all the teams evenly if there is news or rumors to report), the rest of Chicago can talk about the Cubs 99% of the time and the White Sox 1%, just as long as the Sox get the same result as last year, thats a pretty good trade off for me.

Honestly, I find Sox fans to be the most pitiful and pathetic fans in MLB today. I have been working in Wrigely in 2 years already ,and I know the truth about Sox fans today. For example, it was the Mets vs the Cubs series, and it was full house. But, it turned out to be their wwre fans wearing Mets Mike Piazzas, Cameron, and Beltran jerseys in that series. However, those people werent really Metys fans, but Sox fans. Many of those "so-called" Mets fans would tell me "no, we r sox fans and we just come here to boo the cubs." I was like, man, Sox fans are truly pathetic. Spending their money just to boo the cubs. Honestly, Uncle Charlie, ur right, they are sore winners, and you what, i wouldnt be surprised if they come to all the cubs home games against teams like the Cardinals, Astros, or whatever. Hey Randy, yeah we rooted for a mediocre team for many years, so what. Just look at that word "fan" and define it. And fan doesnt mean rooting always for winning team, no.

It's unfortunate that because this site is not neutral we have these discussions on here about the cubs.

The truth is that based on the cubs being the worst franchise in professional sports history (defined as being the only franchise to have 7 straight losing decades and counting), there should be almost no fan interest or no franchise altogether.

I've lived in the NORTH suburbs of Chicago all my life and was a fan of both teams until reaching my mid-teens(age of reason) and realizing that the cubs were a waste of time and that that "most" ardent cub fans were not baseball fans at all and didn't even follow the sport.

I found everything about the White Sox, including the stadium but especially the fans, to be superior to the cubs. Ofcourse, the product was almost always better on the South side as well.

Basically, with a few exceptions, cub fans are a joke and "the flubbies" will always be losers.

Randy,

I hear you, bro. Sometimes it's difficult trying to engage in rational discourse with Cubs fans. Anytime you try to talk baseball, the discussion devolves into an insipid "Sox vs. Cubs" debate.

I even said that the Miller signing could be a good move, but the Cubs still have to address their manager's propensity for massive PITCHER ABUSE. Beinv force-fed into Dusty Baker's brutal regimen for pitchers is not exactly the best way for a pitcher seeking to return from an injury. This seems to be the consensus among those in the Prior camp.

Anyway, pollyanna seems to be the coin of the realm in Cubs Nation.

"now sore winners."
- Uncle Charlie

Sounds like Someone is JEOLOUS!!!
Hey go back to the Losing is Cute Identity, and Their Won't be a Problem!!!

"I find Sox fans to be the most pitiful and pathetic fans in MLB today."
- diehardcubbiefan

You know what, I feel exactly the same way about Cubs fans when they come to the Cell to root for the Red Sawx or Twinkies.
Thats okay though the SoX WON A WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP before the Cubbies.
REMEMBER LOSING IS CUTE
on Clark & Addison.

Cubs fans have absolutely nothing and essentially no right to say a damn word to SoX fans!

BY

"You make your own luck. This is a gamble, but it's a very good gamble. If it works out, Hendry should get more credit than a simple "it was lucky.""

My head's spinning with this one Uncle Charlie. Ok, it can be a gamble if you want. Kinda like picking squares for the superbowl, that's gambling. You LUCK out and get squares with 7 and 4 and the score ends up ending up 27 to 14. Well my friend you were lucky.

A gamble would have been if there was some interest from other teams (driving up his cost), and the Cubs invested needed money into him, and were counting on him to get to the playoffs. The truth is there wasn't much to any interest in him, the Cubs signed him for just about nothing (per baseball economic standards) and cross their fingers they get something out of it. If not, oh well, they'll just put him on the DL, like they have to do to most of their pitchers. (ok some maybe not most, but some)

astrofan: I agree partially with you; I am tired of the personal insults thrown back and forth, but I do need to disagree with you for misquoting me: I never once said that people shouldn't come to the site. What I said is that if you don't like the Cubs, and don't like seeing 90 replies to a "blah signing" as Jim put it, then don't read or comment. That way, if you don't want to see the comments, you don't have to, and the people who do want to comment on the topic (which was lost about 25 posts ago), they can. Everyone wins:)

Randy: Everyone has the right to cheer for whatever team they want, but no one can objectively prove that one franchise is better or worse than another, or that one franchise doesn't deserve to be in existence. You're a Sox fan--good for you. Congratulations on winning the World Series! I'm happy for ya. But just because I'm not a Sox fan doesn't mean that I understand baseball less than you (I've been playing for 14 years, pitching for the last 10, and have a full scholarship, so odds are I know quite a bit about baseball).

Jim: Um, actually, for 3 seasons Miller was considered an ace of the Astros staff. Do you consider Beurhle or Garcia to be a superstar? What about Oswalt? Because he created more buzz than any of them a couple of years ago. He was generally considered one of the best young starters in the game. I'd say that means he was a superstar.

As for Baker, you brought up some valid points. Yes, Little did get fired for over-using Pedro. Yes, Baker did get in trouble for keeping Prior in the game too long (he should've walked out to the mound the second Alou started throwing his tantrum, and if he had decided to let Mark stay in the game, should have removed him as soon as Castillo reached base--baseball is highly contingent upon momentum, and while Bartman is in no way, shape, or form responsible for the Cubs losing, the momentum shifted when that happened, and Baker failed to stop that momentum shift). But if Pedro had come out of the game and the Yankees won, everyone in Boston would hate Little for not leaving Pedro in long enough. If Baker sent for Farnsworth or JoeBo and they blew the game, Cubs fans would try to lynch Baker for taking out one of the best pitchers in the game.

Like I said, you're either the hero or the goat. If the Cubs had won based on Baker leaving Prior in, or if Wood hadn't gone down in '04 (which could be directly related to his overuse in '03, but was probably bound to happen anyway, what with his mechanics), people would be hailing him as a genius for not taking them out. Things didn't work out for him, so people want to blame him. As someone who has seen bad managers get credit for work that my team has done, and who has seen good managers get blamed by the student body for us failing to win, I understand that it's not always the manager's fault.

Darin -23 Jan. Hey Darin, let the rest of us look into your crystal ball! You sure seem to KNOW exactly who's going to have a great year or can't duplicate a year. Who will be healthy for the entire year and who won't. I agree that the Cubs have only slightly improved - but your crystal ball should tell you that Kid K is spelled WOOD - not WOODS

I wont bother reading all the cubs bs about low risk high reward on miller, its low risk low reward, thats the point, miller will suck as always, so lets sum up the cubs offseason

jones sucks
eyre over paid
howry over paid
miller useless

Typical Rem, trying to come in here and mix things up in the midst of devouring a generic frozen waffle.

at least you know im not incorrect, you hold do disagreement bc you realize you should just throw in the towel for 12yrs and see how many times the cubs finished over .500 in those yrs, if not more than 5, go into hiding for another 12yrs and repeat

the fact of them being over paid is in correlation of their value. they are both pitchers who had injury problems who came off solid yrs so the cubs throw money at them in an attempt to solidify a terrible bullpen. and yes jones does well against the chi sox, too bad he wont be playing them but 6 times.

"You are such a fag! We don't need your kind on Clark and Addison"

Isn't that the only kind around Clark and Addison ?

"...True
...how very true
...damn it"

My guess is you're a Sox fan pretending to be an idiot Cubs fan hiding behind someone else to do it Charlie. Nice try but noone in Wrigleyville is as stupid as you sound buddy. Go back south where you belong.

"Shut Up!
I don't need you to defend me!"

I am not defending you. I think you are a phony with nothing interesting to say. You are a hater. You are a ranter. I just don't like you whoever you are..... Uncle Charlie or not. I know you don't even use your own email address. You're hiding. Get in now?

P.S. you misspell more than anybody on this web site so save the lectures

I have deleted all Uncle Charlie posts. Whoever is doing silly imposter stuff, please stop. We're just here to talk baseball, please put your personal differences aside.

Thanks

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