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  • Walker, Pierre most likely to go; The future's market

    Walker, Pierre most likely to go

    May 26, 2006

    BY MIKE KILEY Staff Reporter


    The for-sale sign could be out soon for Cubs players. Which one do you want? How about a discount for taking two or more?

    Maybe second baseman Todd Walker and his reliable bat finally will be dealt before the July 31 trade deadline, a process the Cubs began last November. There seems little doubt that general manager Jim Hendry will be trying to move Walker, given that it's unlikely he will return next season.

    Center fielder Juan Pierre might not even log one full season as a Cub. Pierre could command between $10 million and $12 million a year as a free agent after the season, based on the three-year, $39million deal the Los Angeles Dodgers gave leadoff man Rafael Furcal last December. Even though Pierre has performed poorly, that often isn't reflected in what agents seek in salary.

    Pierre could be Hendry's most difficult decision in the next two months. He and Pierre's agents agreed to wait and see how Pierre played this season before discussing a new contract.

    That puts Hendry in a tricky position. With the Cubs unlikely to recover enough to get back in contention, Hendry could be forced to sell off assets that don't figure in next season's scenario. If they don't trade Pierre and he leaves via free agency, they would have nothing to show for trading three pitchers to the Florida Marlins last December.

    As for other potential trade targets, Kerry Wood has a no-trade clause and no reason to waive it. Plus, this early in his comeback from right shoulder surgery, he wouldn't have much appeal in the marketplace.

    Greg Maddux doesn't officially have a no-trade clause, but the Cubs have a handshake agreement that he won't be moved during the three-year term of his contract. Will the Cubs want to re-sign Maddux? He likely will want to continue to pitch, and the Cubs might be leery of letting him go a second time.

    Who's safe on the roster? Put first baseman Derrek Lee, third baseman Aramis Ramirez, right fielder Jacque Jones and shortstop Ronny Cedeno on that list. They are signed for 2007 and seem certain to return.

    If the Cubs deal Pierre, prospect Felix Pie can begin his indoctrination into the major leagues. But if you are projecting Pie in center and Jones in right as two-thirds of the Cubs' '07 outfield, Matt Murton can't be the left fielder. As promising as Murton has looked at times, he hasn't shown enough power to justify bringing him back alongside those two. The Cubs will have to look for a veteran presence with proven power numbers, a younger version of Moises Alou.

    Getting a new left fielder and a solid second baseman will be high on Hendry's to-do list.

    Hendry has gotten what he wanted from the signing of free-agent setup men Scott Eyre and Bob Howry. But their excellent seasons are getting overshadowed by the poor performances of their teammates.

    A midseason Mark Prior trade isn't on the Cubs' radar. They would need someone of Miguel Tejada's caliber to entertain that, and those kind of stars aren't readily available at the trade deadline.

    One trade possibility could be right-handed reliever Scott Williamson, who received a lot of interest from other teams in the offseason. Williamson is 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA and is the only Cubs pitcher who hasn't allowed a home run this season.

    Williamson, Pierre and Walker could be Hendry's most lucrative bargaining chips, depending on how he decides to reshape this disappointing club.

    Waiting till next year won't do for Hendry. He has to try fixing the short-term problems with long-term solutions -- and do it by July 31.

    http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-cub26.html
    98 years of futility and counting...

  • #2
    The futures market
    Cubs must decide whether to be patient or break up team


    By Paul Sullivan
    Tribune staff reporter

    May 25, 2006, 10:51 PM CDT


    In the summer of 2002, with the White Sox 13 games out of first place, general manager Ken Williams unloaded Ray Durham, Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Bob Howry in a seven-day stretch in late July, purging the clubhouse of players who weren't in the team's future plans.

    Most of the prospects the Sox received in return turned out to be minor-league roster fillers, but Williams was making a statement about his '02 club while giving young players such as Aaron Rowand and Willie Harris an opportunity to audition for roster spots in '03.

    n another month or so, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry may find himself in the same position as Williams was only four years ago. If the Cubs can't snap out of their May malaise and continue to swoon in June, Hendry will be forced to answer the age-old question baseball GMs have dealt with forever:

    Hold or fold?

    Should the Cubs keep this team together and hope for a rebound in '07, or start dismantling and start over again? Here are some reasons to keep or dump some of their most tradeable commodities if things don't change soon:

    Juan Pierre

    Hold 'em: He came into the season with a lifetime .305 average and deserves a chance to turn it around, especially because the Cubs sent three pitching prospects to Florida for him. Felix Pie shouldn't be rushed.

    Fold 'em: He hit .276 last year in Florida and has shown no signs of coming out of his season-long slump. He will be a free agent in November, anyway, and will ask for big bucks, so why not give Pie a two-month chance in July?

    Aramis Ramirez

    Hold 'em: He's the Cubs' best hitting third baseman since Ron Santo and always has heated up with the weather. Ramirez says he wants to stay, has a limited no-trade clause in his contract and is their only real power hitter besides Derrek Lee. Oh, and there's no replacement ready.

    Fold 'em: The Cubs could get two or three prospects in return and would be able to invest the millions they save on Ramirez to put into other areas of need. Ramirez hasn't carried his share of the load since Lee's injury.

    Kerry Wood

    Hold 'em: He also has a no-trade clause and loves being a Cub. Although his $13 million option year may be out of the question, the Cubs still could negotiate a new deal if they decline the option.

    Fold 'em: If he shows some signs of being the Kerry Wood of old, he could become a valuable commodity to a contender, and every contender is looking for starting pitching in late July. Let Wood get a fresh start in a new town.

    Greg Maddux

    Hold 'em: He's a future Hall of Famer and should finish his career in a Cubs uniform. They already made the mistake of letting him go once before.

    Fold 'em: His sensational April was followed by a poor performance in May. The Cubs should think from a practical standpoint rather than an emotional standpoint when assessing Maddux, just as Williams did last winter with Frank Thomas.

    Carlos Zambrano

    Hold 'em: He's throwing like the Zambrano everyone knows and has been one of the few bright spots during the dismal month of May. He's not a free agent until after '07, and probably should be signed to a multiyear deal before then.

    Fold 'em: He can bring the most in return, and questions remain as to whether he really has the ability to stay focused for a prolonged period. His emotional outbursts are getting old.

    Jerry Hairston

    Hold 'em: He won't fetch much in a trade at this point, so why not keep him and see if he can become a valuable utilityman, even if he hasn't proved himself as a starting second baseman in Chicago.

    Fold 'em: He has shown no evidence of becoming the player the Cubs thought they got when he was acquired in the Sammy Sosa deal. Why prolong it?

    Todd Walker


    Hold 'em: He has handled first base for the most part since Lee's injury and remains one of the better hitters in the lineup, even though his production has dropped off since the move to the No. 3 hole.

    Fold 'em: The Cubs probably have no intention of re-signing him as a free agent and spent most of the off-season trying to trade him in the first place. He should have more value playing two positions.

    Mark Prior

    Hold 'em: He's Mark Prior, the building block of the future. He deserves a chance to fulfill his promise in Chicago, and, generally, has pitched very well when he's healthy.

    Fold 'em: He's Mark Prior, the accident-prone pitcher who can not be counted on to remain healthy. Just because he's called "Franchise" by some doesn't make him a franchise player.

    [email protected]

    http://chicagosports.chicagotribune....ck=1&cset=true
    98 years of futility and counting...

    Comment


    • #3
      I think if they trade anyone soon, I will be so upset that I will not watch any more games this year.

      Comment


      • #4
        My no trade list:
        Maddux
        Lee
        Zambrano
        Walker
        Prior
        Barrett
        Cedeno
        Howry
        Eyre
        Dempster
        Pie

        Everyone else is expendable.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by The Big C
          My no trade list:
          Maddux
          Lee
          Zambrano
          Walker
          Prior
          Barrett
          Cedeno
          Howry
          Eyre
          Dempster
          Pie

          Everyone else is expendable.
          well, i think you have to wait until June 15th to dump jones since he signed as a free agent. I do think ramirez should be kept around too, being that there is no one near major league ready to play 3rd base in the organization.

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, I was thinking along the lines of getting a lesser 3B and some prospects or something. A-Ram just hasn't impressed me this year, and he isn't good defensively or on the bases to compensate for his slump.

            As for Jones, if we could find another suitable outfielder, using Jones and Murton in a platoon could work. But I don't consider Jones untouchable, and I think it would be fairly easy to get equal value for him.

            Comment


            • #7
              Quick question: if they dump Jones for a prospect, (to say...Baltimore, for example) wouldn't that mean Felix Pie gets playing time in RF if the prospect wasn't an OF? I want to see him in the bigs one day.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Solair Wright
                Quick question: if they dump Jones for a prospect, (to say...Baltimore, for example) wouldn't that mean Felix Pie gets playing time in RF if the prospect wasn't an OF? I want to see him in the bigs one day.
                yep. and I wouldnt mind seeing that. the one problem being that an outfield of pierre murton and pie is not very good and would probably be worse than current. of course that would presuppose that pierre isnt dumped too.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rockin500
                  I do think ramirez should be kept around too, being that there is no one near major league ready to play 3rd base in the organization.
                  That kind of depends, Casey McGehee is in Iowa and he's playing 3B, but he's more like a Tyler Houston type player, not a starter but a good utility guy. The 3B kid to watch out for Scott Moore (in AA), the best return we got out of the Farnsworth trade to Detroit (Novoa and Flowers-who was released- were the others). Moore has an above average glove and an average arm, while having good walk rate, contact and power. So far this season in 47 games, he's 48 for 165 with 22 runs, 16 2B, 9 hr, 32 rbi, 16 bb, 53 k, 7/11 sb, .291/.368/.552/.920. The kid won't be 23 until mid November, and was a former first rounder (8th overall in 2002). This is Moore's second year of hitting well, last for Daytona, he appeared in 128 games, going 131 for 466 with 77 runs, 31 2B, 2 3B, 20 hrs, 82 rbi, 55 bb, 134 k, 22/29 sb, .281/.358/.485/.843
                  What a Batted Ball is Worth (in terms of a run):
                  Line Drive: .356
                  HBP: .342
                  Non-Intentional Walk: .315
                  Intentional Walk: .176
                  Outfield Fly: .035
                  Groundball: -.101
                  Bunts: -.103
                  Infield Fly: -.243
                  Strikeout: -.287
                  It's now officially Doctor Bob Sacamento, D.C., C.S.C.S., and working on my D.A.B.C.O. (Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedics)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rockin500
                    yep. and I wouldnt mind seeing that. the one problem being that an outfield of pierre murton and pie is not very good and would probably be worse than current. of course that would presuppose that pierre isnt dumped too.
                    I think it's past time to stop thinking about what will be good this year and start planning for what could be good in the future. The Cubs can lose with a bunch of AAA players just as well as with these overpaid underachievers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If Jones keeps hitting righties he will be tradeable for what in return I don't know but I think he can be moved if he continues hitting despite the multi-year contract. Maddux isn't going anywhere.

                      Pierre is going to have little trade value in this market. Sure someone will probably take him but the Cubs would probably get someone like Miguel Cairo in return. In otherwords no real reason to trade him.

                      Todd Walker is probably the best trade chit they got and they need Walker to bounce back a bit with his bat. Unfortunately for the Cubs the only people who are going to be interested in trading for Walker are going to be playoff teams in the hunt this year. Walker is not going to be looked at as a long term answer or someone you want to get the inside track on by trading for them. The problem with trading with teams that are in the hunt is that for the most part (at least for this year) their cupboards are kind of barren in the minor leagues. The Red Sox might be interested but do they have anything that solves any problems or any players that would do any good for the Cubs left? Maybe the DBacks but I'm not totally sure on what they go to offer the Cubs.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Unfortunately they are a team that needs a fresh start, with fresh people, but as Ubiq says they have limited tradeover value. Most of all the kind that brings in quick results. They cant do anything with Maddux because the mans a legend and they promised him they wouldn't try and move him. They have a few key positional players they cant afford to lose.

                        Rusch, Jones, and Neifi have multi-year contracts given to them by Hendry, "don't even ask why"?, and none of them, or Wood or Prior, would get you pocket change, "Wood has a no trade". Jones has a huge contract good thru 2008 and worth 16 million. Thats a lot of money for a defensive liability that hit .249 the year before genius Hendry signed him. Neifi was signed thru 2007 for 5 million. Pierre is the logical choice to go because hes going to be a free agent anyways. Ramirez as well. They both demand to much money for the return, especially for a club on the rebound.

                        But how many playoff bound teams have holes at 3rd, center, and leadoff? What teams want during the stretch is pitching and theres no sense breaking up a bullpen that you tried so hard to rebuild in the first place. The Cubs dont have starters to deal. Sean Marshall is going to be a great pitcher, you cant trade Zambrano or Maddux, and who wants Wood, Prior, or Miller?

                        And no matter what they do the "gang of three", "Mcphail, Hendry, & Baker", will be back next year. The architects of this disaster are right now busy dodging blame and trying to keep those $19.99 T-shirts selling by comparing the Cubs to the '05 Astros. Then again this highly profitable team drew 41,000 again today so maybe they are the real geniuses.
                        "Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never." :hyper:

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Whitesoxnut
                          And no matter what they do the "gang of three", "Mcphail, Hendry, & Baker", will be back next year. The architects of this disaster are right now busy dodging blame and trying to keep those $19.99 T-shirts selling by comparing the Cubs to the '05 Astros. Then again this highly profitable team drew 41,000 again today so maybe they are the real geniuses.
                          That's right WSN. Remember, the execs at the Tribune are perfectly happy with they way things are going. They consider Andy McPhail a great success because he keeps the cash rolling in.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rainout
                            That's right WSN. Remember, the execs at the Tribune are perfectly happy with they way things are going. They consider Andy McPhail a great success because he keeps the cash rolling in.
                            even if no one showed up, they still would have probably 25,000 (MINIMUM) paid attendance. thats what the season ticket volume is. I'm one of those and yes i was there today, but the cubs were going to get my money anyways, so i felt like it was better to be there than sitting on my ass at home or doing yardwork for my father.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I want to know why Baker insists on putting Neifi Perez in the game almost everyday when he is terrible? He's got to be the worst guy on the team and Dusty keeps putting him in there to kill all our rallies!
                              Tinker, Evers, Chance & Steinfeldt: The nucleus of our elite World Series teams!!!!

                              Comment

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