Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Offseason thoughts

The big "What the Cubs need to do" article is coming soon, around when the World Series ends. Here are some random thoughts:

- I think Sammy is going to have a big year next year. He's going to be a FA next off-season unless you trade him, which almost has no chance of happening. I'm sure his people will inform him that he's playing for a new contract and the Cubs have no intention of picking up his option. Hence watch him be on his best behavior next year, saying all the right things, putting up hopefully huge numbers in the hope that in some way the Cubs will pick up his option since there's no way in hell he's getting that kind of money from someone else and even if they don't, he's put himself in position to get a nice FA contract for the next 3 years.

- I didn't think we'd have a chance at getting Beltran especially with his record playoff run, but if we backload his contract we just may have a chance. Offer him a greater overall contract with the 1st year at somewhere between $10 to $13 mil and then backload the contract(when Sosa leaves) so the overall value is in the $14 to $15 mil per year range. Not a terrible idea. (and he'll probably land something in the $15-17 mil per year range in my opinion and that range goes up everytime I see another playoff homer). To be honest though, by year 6 or 7 of this deal, if we do backload it, we'll probably be regretting it as he's destined to start his decline (like Sosa) by that point. We will have him though for a nice 4-5 year stretch though of mostly his best years.

- I know we were all very hurt by Hawkins last year, but the fact of the matter is 99% of closers, began their careers as something else, either a relief pitcher or a starting pitcher(actually they probably all were starting pitchers at one point).
Finding next year's closer, means we should look at all available candidates and not just those who have closing experience. Who you'd convert from a starter to a closer, I'm not sure but here are some relief pitchers I like a lot. I generally like guys who strike out a ton of guys (over 9 K/9 rate and over a 3 on K/BB rate)

B.J. Ryan 3.49 K/BB 12.62 K/9
Brendan Donnelly 3.73 K/BB 12.00 K/9
Juan Rincon 3.31 K/BB 11.63 K/9
Mike Gonzalez 9.17 K/BB 11.42 K/9
R. Betancourt 4.22 K/BB 10.26 K/9
A. Otsuka 3.35 K/BB 10.13 K/9
S. Linebrink 3.19 K/BB 8.89 K/9

Now none of these guys are available as far as I know, B.J. Ryan is mediocre versus righties but lights out versus lefties, Donnelly is 33 but hasn't shown any signs of decline yet, Rincon K/9 doubled this year after 3 years of mediocrity. That being said those are a few guys you can look at and there are plenty more out there. Scott Shields in Anaheim has some good numbers too.

Anyway the closer can be found in a variety of places, let's hope Hendry is looking.


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