Tagged: Milton Bradley

CARLOS SILVA

Sorry, but I had to chime in on Silva.  

It was only a matter of time before the Chicago Cubs cut ties with Carlos Silva.  As most of you already know, Silva was dealt to the Cubs for volatile outfielder Milton Bradley.  Essentially, the trade was one bad contract for another…..Bradley with his temper and Silva with his health issues and inability to get batters out.  I’ve read that some fans feel the Cubs were foolish in trading for Silva and I understand their thinking, but I disagree with them.  He surprised almost everyone the first half of 2010 for the Cubs, but that was just a glimpse of the pitcher that he once was.  Silva may be upset over the handling of the situation, but he was terrible this spring with an ERA almost at 11.00.  That’s not how you win a job with a major league team.  Randy Wells has posted a 2.10 ERA this spring and Andrew Cashner a 4.41.  These are the two players that beat out Silva for the 4th and 5th spots in the starting rotation.  Marcos Mateo beat him out for the final bullpen spot by posting a 1.29 ERA this spring at the time of this post.  Silva has no one to blame but himself.  If he had pitched as well as these other pitchers he may still have a job with the Cubs.  Instead, he will still be collecting a nice salary that will be paid by the Cubs and Mariners.
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A CLOSER LOOK AT JIM HENDRY: PART II-TRADE HISTORY

Well, yesterday I attempted to breakdown free agent signings and resigning of players.  It only leads me to believe that when Hendry makes modest moves he does well, however, when he tries to make a big splash in the free agent market it seems to backfire. 

Now, I am going to try and focus on his trade history as GM for the Cubs.  I won’t feature every trade just ones that I think that help define Hendry.  Hope you enjoy!

I’ll begin in December of 2002.  Hendry traded Todd Hundley and Chad Hermansen for Mark Grudzielanek and Eric Karros.  This was an excellent trade.  Both players helped the Cubs in 2003 make the playoffs. 

July 2003.  Jose Hernandez, Matt Bruback and Bobby Hill were traded for Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton and cash.  Another excellent trade as both of these players helped lead us to the playoffs in 2003 and Aramis is still with the team.  Kenny Lofton became a free agent and I really wanted the Cubs to sign him, but we didn’t.  Oh well, still a great trade!

November 2003.  Hendry made another excellent trade this time moving Hee-Seop Choi for Derrek Lee.  Lee quickly became one of my favorite players for the Cubs and he still is. 

December 2003.  Traded Damian Miller and cash for Michael Barrett.  This trade worked out real well for Hendry until Barrett and Zambrano came to blows.  We did manage to get three consecutive years of 16 homers from Barrett before he was traded to the Padres in 2007.

December 2005.  Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco and Renyel Pinto were traded away for Juan Pierre.  Terrible trade in my honest opinion.  We should have resigned Lofton to play CF after 2003 and bat leadoff.  Instead, we traded away 3 pitchers for Pierre who played one season with the Cubs then signed with the Dodgers as a free agent. 

November 2007.  Traded Jacque Jones for Omar Infante.  Bet you didn’t know Infante was a Cub!  Well, he didn’t last long because he was traded less than a month later along with Will Ohman for Jose Ascanio.  Then we traded Ascanio in 2009 along with Josh Harrison and Kevin Hart  for John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny.  Maybe we should have held onto Infante to play secondbase.  This one’s a tossup.  I’ll let you decide for yourself.  

December 2008.  Very unpopular at the time by trading Mark DeRosa for Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub.  Both Stevens and Gaub pitched in the majors for the Cubs in 2010 and Archer was one of our best starting pitchers in the minors.  This may end up being a good move by Hendry.  Still too early to tell.

December 2009.  Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva.  GREAT TRADE!  “Meltdown” Bradley was a terrible free agent signing, but Hendry turned around and traded him for Carlos Silva and his bad contract.  The good news……after the 2011 season we can buy out Silva for $2 million!

So, that’s a quick summary of trades that help define Jim Hendry as a General Manager.  If history tells us anything, I look for Hendry to make a move before the new year.  I see us trading or signing for another starting pitcher soon.  Anyway, I think Hendry has made some good trades for us and maybe I need to be more patient with our GM.  He’s done pretty good with his trades.  We may need to limit him to modest free agent signings though!   

A CLOSER LOOK AT JIM HENDRY: PART I-FREE AGENTS

Jim Hendry.jpgOkay, I’ve been a little critical of our GM, Jim Hendry, this year.  I’ve been frustrated with him and the fact that I feel we should have been in serious talks with the Padres about Adrian Gonzalez.  I also want him to go after Matt Garza as well.  Anyway, I decided to dig a little bit and look at his “stats” as a GM.  I decided to breakdown his trades and free agent signings over the years and what success or failures he’s experienced. 

I’ll begin by taking a closer look at his free agent signings.  This will be in chronological order, but I will only list signings or re-signings that I think are relevant to this post.  Beginning in 2003, he signed LaTroy Hawkins to a 2 year/$8 million deal.  At the time, this was a needed move.  In 2004 he signed Ryan Dempster after he was released by the Reds.  Dempster only pitched 20.2 innings in 2004 and was our closer for three years before moving to the rotation the last three where he has really succeeded.  This was a great move and Dempster has been a key part of the Cubs rotation.  In 2004, Hendry also signed Greg Maddux.  This was a good move for a lot of reasons.  First, it was 3 years/$24 million.  Not bad in my opinion.  Maddux has always been a fan favorite in Chicago and it was great to bring him back home.  Maddux now works for the Cubs and I can’t help but think that his relationship with Jim Hendry is one of the reasons why.  In 2006, Jacque Jones was signed to a 3 year/$16 million deal.  Not a bad price and Jones performed really well that year hitting 27 homers and batting .285.  He was later traded by Hendry in November of 2007.  So, I chalk the signing of Jones up as another good move by Hendry.  There were 3 more significant signings in 2006 that have helped define Jim Hendry and the Cubs.  First was Mark DeRosa to a 3 year/$13 million deal.  GREAT MOVE!!!! DeRosa became a fan favorite and a lot of that had to with his willingness to play anywhere on the field and his success at hitting too.  Then Hendry made his first mistake.  Signing Alfonso Soriano to an 8 year/$136 million deal.  I understand that a big move needed to be made at the time.  I agreed with that idea at the time as well.  However, 8 year deals don’t work out very often and that’s why you rarely see a player get one.  So, Soriano’s signing was necessary at the time, but was too long of a deal and has come back to bite Hendry a little bit.  The next signing was Ted Lilly for 4 years/$40 million.  This was another great move.  Lilly was a solid pitcher and provided us with a good lefty in the rotation.  Also, before I forget, Hendry resigned Derrek Lee to 5 years/$65 milion and Aramis Ramirez to 5 years/$75 million in 2006 as well.  I like both of these moves because they were only 5 years and I don’t feel we overpaid for either player.  Then 2007 rolled around and Jim signed Jason Marquis to 3 years/$21 million.  It wasn’t necessarily a bad move, but wasn’t a great one either.  We also resigned Carlos Zambrano in the summer of 2007 for 5 years/$91.5 million.  Okay, I know the Cubs needed to keep Big Z at that time.  He won 18 games in ’07 and just had his fifth straight year with over 200 innings pitched.  However, between 2008 through 2010, he has only won 14, 9 and 11 games and hasn’t reached 200 innings since the ’07 season.  He got his money, but hasn’t produced.  This move has made Hendry look bad, but at the time I agreed with it.  Longer deals for pitchers are a big risk and this one is a perfect example.  In the winter of 2007 we signed Kosuke Fukudome for 4 years/$48 milllion.  With that kind of contract and from what I had read, I expected him to be a combination of Ichiro and Hideki Matsui.  Some speed, some power with a good average.  Well, he’s not panned out that well and he’s finally in the last year of his contract.  This is another move that Hendry took a risk on and it’s backfired.  Soriano, Zambrano and Fukudome have all hurt Hendry and the Cubs at this point.  Then with have 3 more moves that I want to focus on from 2009.  The first is the terrible move of signing “Meltdown” Bradley in 2009 to 3 years/$30 million.  I wanted the Cubs to pursue Raul Ibanez or Bobby Abreu that offseason.  Instead, we ended up with Bradley and we all know how that turned out.  Hendry was looking to add some pop from the left side and ended up with a “bust” in Bradley.  Then Hendry resigned John Grabow after 2009 season to 2 years/$7.5 million.  That’s not much money when you first look at it, but he’s a setup man at best!  Plus, he spent almost all of last year on the disabled list.  Sean Marshall filled the role of lefty setup man beautifully.  Goes to show you that sometimes you need to trust the players you already have in your organization and spend the money elsewhere.  Grabow has the chance to rebound this year, but I doubt it happens.  And then in December of 2009 Hendry redeemed himself by signing Marlon Byrd to 3 years/$15 million.  Byrd plays the game the right way and was a great price! 

This offseason we’ve signed Carlos Pena to a one year deal worth $10 million and Kerry Wood for 1 year at $1.5 million.  I’m cautiously optimistic about Pena’s deal and really excited about Wood coming back. 

When I look at all the signings and resignings Hendry has made it’s up in the air.  Here’s the names of guys that I don’t think worked out too well:  Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley and John Grabow.  And the names of guys that did work out:  Ryan Dempster, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Mark DeRosa, Ted Lilly and Marlon Byrd.  So, I guess it’s about 50/50 when Hendry signs or resigns players.  I’ll breakdown his trades later today or tomorrow.

TIME TO TRADE FUKUDOME

kosuke fukudome.jpgThe Kosuke Fukudome experiment has not worked out as planned.  He has not been terrible, but not nearly as good as the Cubs needed him to be.  The contract was a risk and it has backfired to some extent.  I expected 15-20 homeruns per year and instead we’ve gotten 10, 11 and 13 homeruns in his 3 major league seasons.  I was hoping for a .280 average.  Unfortunately, he’s hit .257, .259 and .263.  He’s not a huge threat to steal bases or drive in runs.  While he does well drawing walks he also strikeouts more than I expected.  Despite playing stellar defense, Fukudome has not lived up to expectations.  I remember his electric start in 2008 and how he’s faded ever since.  I think we were expecting him to be some kind of savior.  In reality, I think he would make a good number 2 hitter with his ability to work the count and even bunt when needed.  But the 4 year $48 million contract was too much and this is the last year of the deal. 

With that said, I think it’s time to trade Fukudome.  Trading him would ensure that Tyler Colvin would be the everyday rightfielder for the Cubs in 2011.  Colvin needs to play everyday and Fukudome would be an overpriced 4th outfielder.  I don’t know who would be interested in Kosuke, but I didn’t think anyone would want Milton Bradley last year either.  My first suggestion is to trade him to the Red Sox.  It’s obvious they aren’t worried about spending money (Carl Crawford contract).  That would give them insurance when J.D. Drew gets injured next season because everyone knows he will.  To be honest, I don’t care what we get in return as long as it doesn’t strain our budget. 

Outside of Boston, I don’t have any good ideas where to send Fukudome, but I do realize we need to trade him now.  No since keeping him on the bench or taking atbats away from Colvin.  If you’ve got any good ideas of where to trade him I would like to know….Thanks!

CUBS WINTER MEETING PROGRESS…..OR LACK OF IT!

This offseason has been a slow one for Cub fans.  We haven’t made any visible progress on acquiring someone to play first or strengthen or starting rotation and bullpen.  Instead, we sat on the sidelines while the Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez.  We sat on the sidelines while the White Sox signed Adam Dunn.  We sat on the sidelines while our “Arch” rival, the Cardinals, signed Lance Berkman.  We’ve absolutely made no progress…….yet! 

We still need someone to play first.  Paul Konerko is available as of this post….heck, by the time I finish this someone else may have nabbed him.  There’s Carlos Pena too.  But I’ve been reading that the Cubs are interested in two other options.  The first option would be via free agency in Adam LaRoche.  I think we could sign him for $6-$8 million per year.  I vote against that option.  I think we would be better suited with Colvin at first instead of LaRoche.  The second option, which I just read about, is more intriguing is making a deal with the Rangers for Chris Davis.  Davis bats left, has plenty of pop in his bat, but strikeouts a ton and doesn’t hit for a high average.  I don’t know who we would trade, but a couple guys that the Cubs are shopping are Tom Gorzelanny and Kosuke Fukudome.   

I still say we need to sign Kerry Wood to help strengthen the pen but I haven’t read any updates on this issue as of late.  I did read that he may go back to the Yankees though.  I hope Hendry at least makes an offer.

Then there is the possibility of signing Brandon Webb.  I doubt we go after him.  I see him landing with the Nats.  But if we did get him I think he could help our rotation if he’s healthy.

Whatever happens, I would rather see Hendry make a trade instead of a free agent signing.  To be fair, Hendry has done okay when signing guys like Marlon Byrd, Ted Lilly and Mark DeRosa.  However, his deals with Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley and Alfonso Soriano haven’t worked out that well. 

I guess all we can do is to stay tuned and hope Hendry can still make a good move or two. 

GREG MADDUX….GM OR PITCHING COACH?

Ever since Larry Rothschild left the Cubs for the Yankees I have heard, read and even written that it would be great if Greg Maddux became the next pitching coach for the Cubs.  Maddux was a player/pitching coach the last several years of his career.  He is a guy that dominated with out having Nolan Ryan heat during his playing days.  So, it would be great to have him as a pitching coach.

On the flip side, Maddux is known for his high baseball IQ.  The man simplye loves the game.  I remember when he was with Atlanta he would go and watch little league games.  People didn’t always recognize him either.  He looks/looked like an “everyday joe”. 

When I think about all the troubles the Cubs have had I have to place a lot of the blame on Jim Hendry.  Sorry Jim!  I know you have had a lot of pressure from the fans and it’s got to be difficult trying to win a World Series for a team that hasn’t won one since 1908.  Yet, the signing of Alfonso Soriano to an 8 year contract hasn’t panned out.  Signing Milton Bradley didn’t work out.  Signing Kosuke Fukudome hasn’t gone over well either.  It leads me to believe that Hendry is better at making trades than free agent signings.  Hendry traded for Lee in 2003 and we definitely got the better end of that deal.  Hendry also traded for Aramis Ramirez in 2003 as well and we got the better end of that deal as well. 

When it comes to making a free agent signing splash Hendry’s track record isn’t all that great.  However, he knows how to make a trade.  Maybe he should let Maddux take over signing free agents. 

Anyway, in my estimation, Maddux is learning all the ins and outs of being a General Manager.  Maddux already knows the game and how to play it.  Once he becomes the GM I could see him getting his brother Mike, current pitching coach for the Rangers, to come over to the Cubs.   I trust Maddux.  I think he will eventually be our GM and I think he will have a greater impact as a GM as opposed to being a pitching coach.  Plus, I don’t think he wants the pitching coach gig right now.   

Winter Meetings….what did the Cubs accomplish?

Last week I was excited about the winter meetings held in Indy.  I was thinking the Cubs would deal Milton Bradley and try to find a center fielder.  Well, that still hasn’t happened.  At this point, I feel like Bradley’s contract has the Cubs all tied up in knots and unable to make a decent deal.  Hendry took a risk on Bradley and it has not worked out.  Bradley did not produce on the field and was unable to handle the criticism that accompanied his lack of hitting.  We need to trade him soon. 

Mike Cameron.jpgNext we have the search for a centerfielder.  I have read with great interest that the Cubs are considering Mike Cameron.  He will be 37 next year but plays great defense and could a welcome addition to the Cubs in 2010.  I suggest the Cubs sign him to a 1-2 year deal.  Maybe the second year could be a player’s option or club option.  I know he played for Lou in Seattle and that may be something that would help lure him to the Cubs.  It would also allow Fukudome to play rightfield. Whatever the Cubs decide I believe that a veteran player like Cameron can perform well and help this team in 2010 the same way Jim Edmonds did in 2008.  I think there are several players in the mix to be bench players next year that will be able to play in the outfield.  Sam Fuld and Tyler Colvin are two young guys that have had a small taste of the big leagues.  We also have Micah Hoffpauir who can play the corner outfield positions as well as firstbase.  So, the Cubs do have a few options for the outfield, but having a veteran like Cameron would be huge in my opinion.

 

Matt Capps.jpgFinally, there is the possiblity that the Cubs will sign reliever Matt Capps.  This would be a great addition to the Cubs bullpen if they are able to do so.  He has valuable experience as a closer and would be a great setup man for Carlos Marmol. If Marmol is unable to handle the duties of closer then Capps could take over for him.  I read this morning that the Cubs and D’Backs seem to be two of the teams going after the former Pirates pitcher.  Let’s hope Jim Hendry is able to sign him to a deal and improve our bullpen.  The Cubs don’t need major changes just a few tweaks here and there and I think we will be back at the top of the central division. 

 

So, basically, the Cubs didn’t accomplish much during the winter meetings. Hopefully, Hendry is close to trading Bradley and signing Cameron and Capps.