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Cubs To Target Hiroki Kuroda, Gary Sheffield?

Some interesting rumors coming from Cubdom, ideas that surprisingly don't seem too foolish.  At least compared to last year, when the budget was spent on middle relievers, Jacque Jones, Glendon Rusch, and Neifi Perez.

The first one comes from the Chicago Tribune.  Paul Sullivan indicates that the Cubs may turn their focus to Japanese hurler Hiroki Kuroda instead of Daisuke Matsuzaka.  Not that Matsuzaka isn't the better pitcher; he certainly is.  But Kuroda won't require a posting fee, and he posted the best ERA (1.85) in Japan's Central League.  Kuroda also posted a 6.9 K/BB ratio, which is awesome.  If Hendry can snag Kuroda for an under-the-radar two-year, $15MM deal it wouldn't be a bad move.  Of course, it's not a guarantee that Kuroda wants to pitch in the United States as of right now.

Second, Joel Sherman names the Cubs as a strong possibility for Gary Sheffield.  We've all read Sheff's comments, about putting up a huge stink if the Yanks pick up his option and then trade him.  But as Sherman says, Sheffield has always been like this.  He's still got a lot of reasons to play and play hard in 2007.  It'd be a low-risk acquisition with .900 OPS potential.  Maybe an Angel Guzman type does the trick?  Maybe a little more, but it won't be requiring Rich Hill like some other sluggers would.  From the Cubs' point of view, where would Sheffield play?  Left and right field seem locked in with Matt Murton and Jacque Jones

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Piniella said he wants a young bench, guys who are trying to prove themself and win a position...so guys like Murton, Cedeno, Theriot could probably end up as subs next year while the team brings in vets and imports to try and 'win now.' That leaves left field open for Sheff. Unless Ramirez opts out and they have Sheffield play 3rd for a year. His quick wrists and crappy D should fit right in.

I'd like to see someone analyze Shef's arm (from a right field perspective) against Jones's. 10 bucks says Shef could get it into the infield on less than 2 hops...

The Fielding Bible has Sheffield listed as one of, if not THE worst fielding player in the game. If I remember correctly, he has an Enhanced Plus/Minus value of -39 or something.

Any team that wants to put Sheff in RF would do well to have an amazing Centerfielder to make up for his shortcomings. It would have to be someone better than Pierre.

Sheffield needs to be in RF, if not for his fielding ability, for his body as well.

That being said, picking up a guy like Sheffield would be a winning move for any team. He's probably the most underrated player of his era. While being cantankerous and a FO headache, the dude exudes toughness in the box. For a team like the Cubs where underperformance seems to be the norm and not unacceptable, I think his attitude would really shake things up in a positive fashion.

I'd love to see my Astros add him, but Carlos Lee is the much better option long term and offers similar production.

Sheffield is exactly the type of guy every team can use in the lineup, power with low K's, high OBP and extremely aggressive at the plate, high RBI and will sacrifice to move a runner up. It gets said way too much, but the dude is the definition of a pro hitter. I hope his plaque in Cooperstown bears a scowl... people give too much credit to "nice guys". 5 Silver Sluggers and no MVPs.

Agreed, it'd be a nice signing. Maybe pairing him with Gary Matthews Jr. in center would make up for his weak D.

Left field seems locked in with Matt Murton? Whaaa?

I dunno, he's young and cheap and had a sweet second half. It would be tough to demote him.

Hmmmm Sheff with his bad defense in left, with tons of power and a great arm with a high OBP. Or matt murton's bad defense in left, with no power, and average or below average arm with a decent OBP.

Ok, I have to admit that I didn't really realize HOW good of a second half Murton had. I knew it was decent, but I didn't realize it was .531-SLG-and-.393-OBP good. Maybe Murton could work in left, freeing up money elsewhere. Probably more important to get some offense from at least one of 2B and SS (personally, I'd like to see Julio Lugo at 2B - and I understand Piniella is a Lugo fan).

Murton is NOT a bad outfielder. In fact, he plays one of the better LF's in the NL.

Like I said... if the Cubs don't want him, he'll have a home with the Metropolitans.

Sheff is getting a little old and is not a very good defensive outfielder. so I don't see how you could consider him a good definsive player. And I don't think ethier of the cubs young players ( murton and cendeno) have proved themselves. So I don't think It would be a bad signing. But with the Yankee signing it probably wont happen.

I don't wanna overrate half a season, but Murton slugged .522 after the break. He just turned 25. Could be some decent 25 HR power developing.

Cedeno, he sucks.

sheff would be a very good signing for the cubs where they could put him in right becasue as roto said "Cedeno, he sucks"

As a player, I've always liked Sheffield. His presence in the Cub clubhouse would concern me though. There have been too many clubhouse-type issues with the Cubs over the past two seasons, I'd just be a little leary.

Another red flag with any Cubs/Sheffield relationship is that he clearly wants a 3-year deal. This wouldn't be such a problem if he hadn't been linked to steroids and hadn't spent almost the entire past season on the DL. I know he's tough as hell, but the Cubs don't need to acquire anyone who could be a health risk. We've had too many injuries and injury excuses over the last 3 years. Of course that was under Dusty. Lou's policy about playing through injuries will be a lot different.

I just don't see this happening. I could be wrong, but I don't think the Cubs/Sheff thing is real likely.

As far as Kuroda...go for it. I didn't know his stats were that good.

The thing with Sheff IMO, is that he has never been a clubhouse cancer. Most of the Yankees guys really like him. He has always been more of a headache for the front office. Also Sheffield has played through injuries for three years with the Yankees. Its not like he is injury prone, he ran into Shea Hillebrand at first base and broke his wrist and then reagitated it trying to come back too early. That isnt a getting old injury its more of a freak accident

I like the idea of getting Sheffield. Maybe Murton or Jones with Izturis and Pie can be used to lure Toronto into trading us Vernon Wells

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