"At the end of the day, boys, you don't tell me how rough the water is, you bring in the ship." – Steve Stone
A Goat Riders Affiliate
Go Cubs!

Wrigley Rooftop Directory
Ryne Sandberg Fan Page
The Cubdom Photo Gallery
The Cubs Prayer
Cubs Calendar
Jim Hendry Page
Cubs Ownership History
Baseball Business Essays
TheCubdom Hall of Cubs

Recent Blog Updates

Editor's Pick:

Goat Riders of the Apocalypse
Bleed Cubbie Blue
Desipio Media Ventures
Hire Jim Essian!
Cub Reporter
Ivy Chat
Cub Town
Ghost of Paul Noce
The Cubdom
Thunder Matt's Saloon
View From the Bleachers
WGN-TV Baseball Blog

Honorable Mention:

A Hundred Next Years
A League of Her Own
Agony and Ivy
Bad News Cubs
Baseball Diamond News
Boys of Spring
Bush League Times
Chicago Cubs Baseball
Chicago Cubs Blog
Chicago Cubs Online
Church of Baseball
Clark & Addison blog
College of Idiots
Cubs f/x
Cubs Hot Stove
Cubs Hub
Cubs Obsession
Five Outs to go
Gonfalon Cubs
Kosuke Fukodome
Out of Right Field
The Cubs Brickyard
The Other Fifteen
The Ted Lilly Fan Club
Temporary Bleachers


Cubbie Nation
Holy Cow Bell
Ivy Envy
Towel Drills
Turning Two
Wasting away in Wrigleyville

Soldiering On:

Die-hard Cubs Fun
Fire Dusty Baker
Northside Lounge
Peoria Northsider Report
Yarbage Cub Review

Cubs Sites:

Desipio Boards
North Side Baseball
Inside the Ivy
The Heckler
My Wrigleyville

Just Read 'em!

Baseball Analysts
Baseball Musings
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Think Factory
Hardball Times


Baseball Toaster
Most Valuable Network
SportsBlog Nation

NL Central

Brew Crew Ball MIL
Bucs Dugout PIT
Crawfish Boxes HOU
Get Up Baby STL
Honest Wagner PIT
Red Hot Mama CIN
Red Reporter CIN
Viva El Birdos STL

NL East

Amazin Avenue NYM
Citizens Blog PHI
Federal Baseball WAS
Fish Stripes FLA
The Good Phight PHI
Sabernomics ATL

NL West

6-4-2 LAD, LAA
AZ Snake Pit AZ
Dodger Thoughts LAD
Ducksnorts SD
Gas Lamp Ball SD
McCovey Chronicles SF
Only Baseball Matters SF
Purple Row COL

AL East

Batters Box TOR
Bronx Banter NYY
Camden Chat BAL
DRays Bay TB
Futility Infielder NYY
Joy of Sox BOS
Over the Monster BOS
Pinstripe Alley NYY
Replacement Level Yankees Weblog NYY

AL Central

Aaron's Baseball Blog MIN
Bless You Boys DET
Let's Go Tribe CLE
Royals Review KC
South Side Sox CHW
Sox Machine CHW
Tiger Blog DET
Twins Geek MIN

AL West

Athletics Nation OAK
Halo's Heaven LAA
Lone Star Ball TEX
Lookout Landing SEA
USS Mariner SEA


Beyond the Boxscore
Minor League Ball

Chicago Sports

Section 8 Fire
Windy City Gridiron Bears

News Sources

Sun-Times Cubs
Daily Herald Sports
Daily Southtown Sports

Prior Watch concludes

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Mark Prior is pitching tommorrow.
Mark Prior is pitching tommorrow.
Mark Prior is pitching tommorrow.

Click your heels like Ron Santo, swish, swish, swish, swirl, swirl, swirl, getting dizzy... poof you are back at Wrigley in the warm sunshine with number 22 on the mound. Do you feel fulfilled? Has the season suddenly righted itself? Does Prior's return overcome the other seven injured Cubs? (Ryan Dempster doesn't count because the Cubs signed him with the knowledge that he wouldn't be healthy.)

I am just as excited as the rest of you, don't get me wrong. The pitcher with the sweet mechanics and a business degree from USC will undoubtably bolster the Cubs simply by replacing Sergio Mitre, but I doubt that he is "the fix" for our season. (Did I mention I am getting a business degree, and my brother will be attending USC next year? Almost makes us brothers, eh Mark?)

Our season is still very much in jeopardy, until we start winning games consistently, and we won't start winning games consistently until Sammy returns, and we get a legitimate daily double compination of an effective leadoff hitter and #2 man. If I were Dusty, I would ask Jim Hendry to find me a prototypical leadoff hitter with a high OBP (to get on base in front of Sammy, Aramis, and Alou), and some speed (to get in scoring position.)

To explore who might be available in a trade, lets define our scope as players hitting lead off on teams who are

  • 1.) below .400 or
  • 2.) ten games back or more or
  • 3.) the Pirates because well... Randall Simon, Kenny Lofton, and Aramis Ramirez.

Drum Roll please... The teams out of it by June 3rd are, the Blue Jays, Devil Rays, Royals, Mariners, Expos, Pirates, Diamondbacks, and Rockies. Thus, since we are interested in a lead off hitter, the main suspects are:

Team Player Pos Bats Salary OBP Avg SB R RBI HR H BB
Blue Jays Reed Johnson RF R $318,000 .372 .318 2 21 29 5 57 11
Devil Rays Carl Crawford LF L $320,000 .344 .299 24 32 13 1 60 14
Royals Angel Berroa SS R $372,500 .245 .217 1 20 10 2 33 3
Mariners Ichiro Suzuki RF L $6,528,000 .383 .339 13 30 20 3 80 16
Expos Endy Chavez CF L $300,000? .304 .273 8 17 10 4 42 8
Pirates Jason Kendall C R $8,571,429 .393 .322 5 27 19 0 56 15
DBacks Alex Cintron SS S $335,000 .311 .254 2 22 15 1 51 17
Rockies Aaron Miles 2B S $300,000 .291 .274 3 13 11 2 29 3

Inspecting our list of suspects, we immediately eliminate Johnson, Crawford, Berroa, Chavez, Cintron, and Miles because they make near the league minimum. These guys, are either good enough to be kept as great values by their current teams, or not good enough to be worth persuing. The only two remaining prospects are Ichiro, and Jason Kendall. Kendall doesn't make a lot of sense for the Cubs because they already have Michael Barrett who is producing well, and by trading for Kendall the Cubs would open up another hole in the lineup and significantly increase the payroll.

Ichiro on the other hand is an interesting opportunity, he has a rifle of an arm, a gold glove (two actually), and a fantastic bat which is well suited to the leadoff position. However, the Mariners signed Ichiro to a 4 year, $44 million extension through 2007, and probably aren't too interested in trading away their franchise player. Even if the Seattle ballclub was interested in trading Ichiro, the Cubs would need to clear a spot in their outfield, which would be Corey Patterson. Although the Mariners might take the opportunity to raid the Cubs pitching prospects, I doubt either side is terribly interested.

Now, the not so usual suspects. Jack Wilson PIT, Orlando Cabrera MON, Carlos Guillen DET, Omar Vizquel CLE, Julio Lugo TB, Rich Aurillia SEA, Craig Counsell MIL, Rafael Furcal ATL. All of these players are shortstops for teams that are probably not going to make the playoffs. Some people will argue that the Braves could make the playoffs, but I believe John Schuerholtz will be a seller rather than a buyer this trade season.

Team Player Pos Bats Salary OBP AVG SB R RBI HR H BB
Pirates Jack Wilson SS R $1,850,000 .357 .341 5 27 20 4 73 5
Expos Orlando Cabrera SS R $6,000,000 .282 .234 8 22 15 3 47 13
Tigers Carlos Guillen SS S $2,500,000 .396 .316 2 38 33 6 62 26
Indians Omar Vizquel SS S $6,250,000 .366 .298 4 30 22 2 57 22
Devil Rays Julio Lugo SS R $1,750,000 .295 .257 6 21 33 5 48 9
Mariners Rich Aurillia SS R $3,175,000 .300 .238 0 19 19 2 39 14
Brewers Craig Counsell SS L $3,166,667 .337 .245 7 25 9 1 38 22
Braves Rafael Furcal SS S $3,700,000 .324 .258 5 23 8 2 32 12

After constructing the above table, I blacked out the names and teams and asked my friend Andy to pick the shortstop he wanted. He picked Carlos Guillen, and I have to agree: his single season statistics look like the best fit for a Cubs leadoff hitter. Although he doesn't have a long track record of success, his numbers this year would definitely look nice at the front of the Cubs order. From the table above, I think Hendry would better the team if he acquired Jack Wilson, Carlos Guillen, Omar Vizquel, or Rafael Furcal (who has been hurt this year, but is now back to full strength.)

Furcal would be my #1 pick, because he is young, a great fielder, a solid bat, and has lots of speed. Furcal, at age 27 is a switch hitter who has been hitting leadoff most of his 5 year career. He typically steals about 25 bags a season, and has a career OBP of .346 and a .283 AVG. The Braves may be willing to trade him soon, because he is approaching his free agent year (he will be eligible to be a free agent following 2005.) and the Braves have another suitable shortstop in Jesse Garcia who makes a tenth of what Furcal earns. Time Warner, which owns the Braves has recently been cutting the Braves budget. Trading for Furcal and signing him to a contract extension could anchor the Cubs at shortstop and leadoff for years to come.

Omar Vizquel is 37 years old and in his 16th Big League season. He is slightly outperforming his career numbers this year, which is not suprising since Vizquel has improved dramatically throughout his career as a hitter. As a veteran, Vizquel is eligible to invoke the 10-5 rule, since he has played more than 10 years, and 5 with his current team. As a result, Vizquel could nix a possible trade ala Fred McGriff and Rafael Palmeiro, but since the Indians aren't in contention, he might welcome a switch of scenery. Some drawbacks to trading for Vizquel include the fact that he has never played in the National League, and that he has lost most of the speed he had early in his career. Vizquel currently bats second, which would make a decent fit in the Cubs lineup behind a healthy Grudz. On the plus side, Vizquel has an excellent eye and rarely strikes out. Additionally, Vizquel owns nine gold gloves, and would be an excellent short term pickup.

Jack Wilson, the Pirates shortstop probably won't be available until Alex Gonzalez returns somewhere towards the end of July. The Pirates are trying to contend, and are getting career years out of Jack and Craig Wilson. Wilson, the shortstop, is 27 and only in his fourth year in the league, leaving him two and a half years from free agency. If the Cubs did trade for him, they would be taking a significant risk considering that Wilson is currently hitting 86 points above his career batting average, and 61 points above his career OBP numbers. Like Vizquel, Wilson is currently hitting in the 2 hole, which might provide a smooth transition into the leadoff spot, or serve as an effective second hitter behind Grudzielanek.

Guillen, who is 29 and is in his 7th season has a career OBP of .342 and .269 AVG. He isn't really a leadoff hitter (he is hitting 6th for Detroit), although his numbers this year suggest he might be suited to the role. However, following Detroit's embarassing year, owner Mike Illitch has decided to spend some money to make the Tigers semi-competitive, and Guillen might not be available.

Posted by Byron at June 3, 2004 12:00 AM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
Subscribe to The Cubdom - get emails with the latest Cubs info and pictures

This post has been tagged:

AddThis Feed Button

Get The Cubdom email updates



eXTReMe Tracker
Since Mar 18, 2004

Recent Entries

Monthly Archives

Cubs Sale Articles

© 2004 – 2015 Byron Clarke
legal - about thecubdom.com - site index