Baseball Toaster Cub Town
2005-12-19 07:02
by Derek Smart

On what is a blisteringly frigid day here in Chicago, it's necessary to search far and wide for even the tiniest scraps of Cub-related news items. Perhaps the local writers are still warming their digits from the time spent following the exploits of a nearby Foot-Ball team I've heard occasional tell of.

No matter. For while our citizen-scribes dare not waste precious, recently defrosted ink on the insignificant offseason doings of the North Side Nine, there are still brave souls in other, similarly affected climes who see fit to relate stories of the Cubs' entanglements with their own fine fellows. Take this tidbit from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The Cubs are very interested in signing Twins outfielder Jacque Jones, but they are offering only a two-year contract to the free agent

Decent enough news. Although I'm still dead set against it, I think there's little chance that Jones will settle for such small potatoes. Still, the same was being said of Bill Mueller before he inked a two-year pact with the Dodgers even though he had a three-year deal on the table from the Pirates.

There's something to be said for having a shot at winning, and no matter what we all might be thinking at this point in the season, I believe the Cubs are still regarded as contenders by a lot of players, which means a two-year deal could actually get something done with Jones if the rest of his suitors are from less able teams. Which brings us to this snippet from the the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The Chicago Cubs consider Twins free agent Jacque Jones the best outfielder still available and are expected to make him a $5 million, one-year offer. Jones can get $18 million for three years from the Kansas City Royals, with a fourth year vested were he to achieve performance incentives.

Good news and bad news here. If this is information is correct in relation to the Cubs potential offer, I don't see much chance of Jones being a Cub. Even with the competition being the Royals, I can imagine it must be hard for a player to leave a deal worth nearly four times as much on the table.

Then again, if the Cubs are really going to offer two years, and the Royals offer is accurately reported and the only real competition, then things get a little scary. Needless to say, I have my fingers crossed that this falls through and some sort of worthwhile trade can be found, but I have to admit, there's only so long I can hold that position before my digits begin to cramp.

But wait! Are those reports too meaningful for you to bear? Hang in, then, because there's this from the Denver Post.

The Cubs told the Rockies last week that, for now anyway, they are holding onto reliever Todd Wellemeyer, whom Colorado has attempted to acquire.

This deal has been in the pipeline for a while, but with little real action on it, there's no surprise that the Cubs pulled back. Of course, one can hope that Wellemeyer appears to be a desirable part of a package to acquire an outfielder, but I've only got so much of the stuff to give at a time.

More likely they just wanted to be sure there was backup available should a member of the bullpen go down or flame out, and since they've given away most of the folks that could play that role already, it's sensible to keep him around, even if he wasn't the best choice for the job in the first place.

So, folks, is that enough to keep you warm? Because, me, I'm still feeling the chill.

2005-12-19 07:34:09
1.   Mark T.R. Donohue
I keep reading about the Rockies' interest in Wellemeyer, and I can't quite figure it out. Dan O'Dowd must have read somewhere he has a good changeup.
2005-12-19 07:39:51
2.   Derek Smart
Yeah, the things I've seen imply that he values Wellemeyer's ability to throw more than one inning at a time (a little silly, since I figure you could get that from most any reliever if you just stretched him out more), and while I suppose it has its value in Colorado, I'm not sure what good two innings of 3 walk, 2 hit, 3 run ball does you.
2005-12-19 10:51:31
3.   rynox
If I'm the Rockies I would have been much more interested in Mitre's sinking fastball. Sinkerballers are gold at a place like Colorado.
2005-12-20 08:16:36
5.   rynox
"Several media outlets suggest the Cubs are very close to signing Twins free-agent outfielder Jacque Jones."

Jones has tremendous bat speed that can drive a fastball a long way. In late 2003 and last spring, he looked like he was increasing his patience and selectivity at the plate, but often looked overeager during the summer. When he slumps, Jones tends to swing at virtually anything near the dish early in the count. He will get himself in a hole and his at-bats will last a matter of seconds. As his salary increases, he will need to improve in these areas to remain an everyday player for a good team. Greater patience would generate a better on-base percentage, as well as better power numbers, because he'd be swinging at better pitches to hit.

Baserunning & Defense
A smart, aggressive baserunner, Jones isn't blindingly fast, but can steal the occasional base. He's one of the best-fielding corner outfielders in the game in terms of range, but continues to have trouble finding his release point on throws. One might fly to the backstop, and the next might roll to the cutoff man. His throws aren't consistent enough to play right field in many stadiums besides the Metrodome, which has a shallow right-field fence.

2005-12-20 13:04:16
6.   Uncle Charlie
Jones has a career K/BB ratio of 3.19/1. No thank you! I mean, I know Patterson's is 5/1, but we've got to be able to do better than that. How about doing what's necessary to get someone like Aubrey Huff, whose ratio is 1.78/1 and has a much higher OPS than both of those guys. Or sign Lofton to a one year deal to play right, bat him second, and wait for Pie. Then we can ask Billy Beane if he'd like Rich Hill and Jerome Williams for Barry Zito. Now that would be a team capable of manufacturing runs AND shutting the other guys down. Please, no more high K guys!

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