11.19.2006

Damn, How About them Cubby Bears?

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous. I'm jealous. Very, very jealous. The Cubs have apparently landed the premier free agent of the offseason, signing Alfonso Soriano to an 8-year, $136 million contract. I'm sad Kenny Williams doesn't have that kind of cash to play with... but what's up with the Cubs recently? Maybe it was a Dusty Baker sabotage job, or maybe they just really hated the past two years living in the shadow of the White Sox, but whatever the reason is, the Cubs are definitely the biggest mover thus far this offseason.

They've committed over $200 million in the past week, and their lineup is fast becoming one of the scariest in the NL. The combination of Soriano, Derrek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez is about as good as any in all of baseball. And with Houston apparently close to signing Carlos Lee (according to Buster Olney), the NL central is looking tougher by the day. Too bad, Reds fans.

But who's going to pitch on this offense-oriented Cubs team? Maybe they're just hoping to make it to the playoffs on a janky pitching staff, crossing their fingers that an overworked Zambrano-Prior tandem can stay healthy through October. Foolproof!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The decision to sign Soriano (which I'm all in favor of - even though I hate the Cubs) makes the decision to sign Ramirez the other day all the more confusing. Wouldn't you rather have Zito for 6/$90 instead of Ramirez for 5/$75?

Is it possible the Cubs have more $$$ to spend to land Zito or Schmidt?

Do they really plan on going into next season with Prior as their #2 starter? You can't count on him for more than 120 innings/season. Who was the last team to bludgeon their way to a World Series?

Jason said...

I told you the Cubs would spend money this off-season. I'm excited. I can't wait for all of the 14-2, 13-10, 15-12, 12-15, 10-24 games. (I'm just assuming our fifth starter will be so bad that he'll give up 24 runs at least once next season.)

trout said...

Well, you can't look at Ramirez as 5/$75 working directly against money they can put towards a Zito signing. They gave him a pay increase of about $4 mil/year on top of last year's budget. But yeah, if it came down to one or the other, I'd much rather have Zito; a 1-2 punch of Zito and Zambrano would be tough to beat. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs went out and signed him... they be crazy with their cash this year. The Old Style must be flowing even more than usual in Wrigley...

Andy said...

8 year deal for an 30 year old 2 *maybe* 3 tool player for 17/18 million a year. Yeah...good move cubbies....

That being said the offense should be pretty scary for the next few years, but the Cubs tend to spend and nothing comes out of it. Players go to Wrigley to die.

As for Zito, as I recall he has said several times over he hates pitching in the midwest. Also, would the Cubs want a fly-ball, defense dependent pitcher on the mound in front of their (suspect) defense and small park?

trout said...

Well, yeah, 8 years for anybody is ridiculous. Plus, Soriano is probably actually 35 or something. While I'm jealous that they got Soriano, I wouldn't be thrilled to see the White Sox shell out that kind of money.

I think the Cubs would want a big name, and Zito's a big name. And there's no telling how he'd do coming to the NL... I thought Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder would tear up the NL, but it hasn't happened.

Gage said...

This is definitely a positive for the Cubs short term which pisses me off, but 8 year deals are killers. What happens in 3 years when Soriano and Ramirez are in decline and you've still got these huge bills to pay them? You certainly can't afford any other free agents. Just seems like mortgaging your future. Then you become the Texas Rangers and start begging the Yankees to take them off your hands.

Notorious B.O.B. said...

This signing reminds me of last year when the Sox traded for Thome. Fans were drooling over the 1-2 punch of Thome/Konerko as are Cubs fans about Soriano/Lee. Adding big bats doesn't bring wins always. I mean, look at the two World Series teams this year. But whatever, it's fun to dream. BTW what's the over/under on Soriano to the DL, Mid-May?

andy said...

Christina Kahrl (baseball prospectus' transaction analyst) just wrote this today about the Soriano deal. Thought some here might be interested in it...enjoy. My subscription ends in 4 days, better reup!:

Is Soriano really this valuable? This may may well be a situation where the Cubs are trying to impress their prospective Owners-TBNL, and perhaps also a matter of keeping their latest expensive ex-famous manager fat and happy over the promise of the season to come. He did rate 16th in the NL in Equivalent Average, and only two of the people ahead of him are free agents. However, both of those two—J.D. Drew and Barry Bonds—play outfield corner slots, and while both have durability questions and probably aren't the most popular people around the game, either one of them could have been equally handy for a team looking to improve, either would have cost less than this, both would have leavened a righty-heavy lineup with their lefty bats, and neither come with the questions Soriano does as far as whether or not he can remain at this level next year, let alone for the next eight. His spike in walks was heavily dependent on his receiving 16 free passes, and he wouldn't be likely to get those hitting in the middle of the Cubs lineup, and perhaps less still since it looks like he'll be leading off in a lineup that has Cesar Izturis and the pitcher's slot generating outs a'plenty ahead of him.

That's not to say that he's going to make Cubs fans remember Candy Maldonado. He's going to put runs on the board, and he's going to crank a goodly number of extra-base hits and stolen bases. But he's also likely to see his OBP drop down below .330 from the start, and you can imagine where it's going to wind up by the time he's 38. I like having him, but not at these terms. To his credit, he made significant progress in his first season as an outfielder, showing solid range and (despite some early threats about his enthusiasm for the job) a lot of ability and hustle, minimizing the inevitable mistakes he made as a newly-minted outfielder. If the Cubs are serious about looking at him in center, that might make the money a little more sensible, especially if he eventually gets a grip on the position. He's been durable, and he's athletic enough to possibly manage in center. If you're a Cubs fan, you might get revved about his hitting better in daylight this past season—except he didn't do likewise the year before.

In the end, I think what you see is what you get—the problem is that even if you call him a center fielder and he eventually becomes one, is he going to hit well enough over eight years to justify the money, and there, the answer's pretty much an automatic "not bloody likely." I like this move a lot more than going after Mark DeRosa or overpaying Aramis Ramirez, but put them all together, and you've got a lineup likely to go begging to live up to what its components did just last year, let alone put enough runs on the board to make up for a still-uncertain rotation.

Jim's Son said...

is this about the IU Purdue game??

I'm drunk as fuck and I don't get it...

pass me another old styler...

I don't know what the fuck is going on...

DJ isn't the MVP??? the guy from the sun times voted him 6th??? give me a fucking break...

I'm really really really depressed...

what in the hell has my life come donw to???

shit..

I wish I was on my wayto San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl... then my life would have meaning...

Jason said...

I don't know about the Soriano deal impressing a future Cubs owner. We all know the Cubs are for sale but the LA Times, another Tribune company asset, just published an article saying a future owner might dislike having to pay so much money over so many years to a player they didn't necessarily choose.

Perhaps the Tribune company is looking to win next year and then sell. I'm assuming winning a division title (I would say World Series, but lets be realistic) raises the value of a ball club.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cubs23nov23,1,4028716.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

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