Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cubs Pick Fontenot/Baker over Lopez?!?

Today we found out that the Cardinals picked up Felipe Lopez on a one year contract worth 1 million dollars with easily obtainable incentives to reach 1.2 million dollars. Earlier on this offseason Mike Fontenot got super-two status and was awarded 1 million dollars to play baseball in 2010.

The Cubs have stated all along that the were not looking for a middle infielder and commited to that all offseason, which I continued to ask why? Yes, I was for them signing a guy like Hudson or Kennedy or even Lopez, and that was at the rate of 4-6 million a year! Yet Hudson signed for 5 million, Kennedy for 1.25 million, and Lopez for 1 million! Were the Cubs really comfortable with a platoon at 2nd base or a battle between Jeff "Grudzielanek" Baker and Mike "little Babe Ruth" Fontenot? By them not signing one of the three listed above they are saying Mike Fontenot and Baker are better suited to play at 2nd base than Lopez.

We can argue all day about who will have the better 2010 and wait to see the results or we can look at stats and reasons why the Cubs did what they did.

The Cubs reasons not to sign Lopez-

1. Low on money- The Cubs are to said to only have 800K left to spend on a reliever or else they would have to shed contracts. So where would the money come from for Felipe Lopez?? I could give you the reason that he is worth more than 1.2 million and you find a way no matter what to sign him but that is not as fun. All the Cubs simply had to do is trade either Jeff Baker ($975,000) or Mike Fontenot ($1 million) or even put them on waivers, either one would be guaranteed to be claimed. The Cubs could then use that money to sign a proven, switch-hitting, utility guy in Lopez. But obviously the Cubs value Mike and Jeff over Felipe.

2. Lopez bad clubhouse guy?- There were rumblings out there that the Cubs asked around about Lopez and found out he is not the greatest teammate. My question is this: they signed a problem player in Bradley to a bloated 3 year 30 million contract knowing the baggage he has but won't sign Lopez and take that risk for 1 million bucks? Come on Cub fans, do you really think Lopez is a "bad" clubhouse guy? Even if he is you do not hear about it like you did about Bradley and you gave him 30 million. If he is that bad I am sure you could have traded him during ST or during the season. Not a very good reason.

3. The Cubs think Baker and Fontenot will do better in 2010 than Lopez?- We cannot look into the future but we can look at past stats to support or dismiss this logic. So lets check it out-

Felipe Lopez past two year average stats-
.310 AVG
15 total HR
182 Ks
.375 OBP
.803 OPS
64 Doubles
14 SB
1085 ABs
.964 Lifetime Fielding Percentage
Positions- 2b,3b,SS,OF

Mike Fontenot past two year average stats-
.270 AVG
18 total HR
134 Ks
.348 OBP
.793 OPS
44 Doubles
6 SB
620 ABs
.982 Lifetime Fielding Percentage
Positions- 2b,3b,SS

Jeff Baker past two year average stats-
.280 AVG
16 total HR
138 Ks
.342 OBP
.800 OPS
37 Doubles
5 SB
502 ABs
.986 Lifetime Fielding Percentage
Positions- 1st,2b,3b,OF

The only stats that Fontenot and/or Baker beat Lopez in are homeruns, fielding percentage, and Ks. Other than that Lopez if clearly the better choice overall.

So, why did the Cubs chose Fontenot and Baker over Lopez? To me it is simply the case of the Cubs dropping the ball. There is no excuse to not sign Lopez, he cost essentially the same as Baker and Fontenot, he is better offensively overall, a switch hitter, and can play just as many positions as the other two.

If Baker or Fontenot out preform Lopez I will eat crow but to me the Cubs are going to regret not getting a 2nd baseman, especially with the Cardinals nabbing Lopez for a million.


Anonymous said...

eat crow. we're fine.

Joe said...

Its because we already have a jam at 2B. Lets not forget that Castro could eventually push Theriot to 2B. I know the early talk from management is that Castro will not break camp with the Cubs, but maybe they are just trying to deflect the pressure that may come with that phenom talk from the 19 year old kid. They dropped the ball along the way with C Patt and Pie and their going to be that much more careful with Castro to break the perception that they cant develop top talent.

Its not that Lopez is not worth the bargain price of $1 mil, I think its that he is not that big of an upgrade at 2B for the Cubs to go after him. If money was the issue, as you said, Baker or Fonty would have to be traded. And at this point, why would another team trade player or money for either one when they themselves can pursue Lopez.

Interesting if true that the Cubs only had $800k left to spend. Word out of Korea is that he picked the Yanks over the Cubs because of the chance to obtain the elusive ring now that his career is closer to the end. But $1.2 mil sounds better than $800k that I'm guessing the Cubs offered if that is all they had left in the bank.

At this point I say the Cubs just bank what they do have left in the budget... hope that the team as is can stay in contention by July... and have their positive position encourage the Ricketts to see increasing the budget as an investment for postseason riches.

Nick I Cub Fan said...

I am glad they did not sign Lopez.
Cubs fielding was 23rd in the majors last year, their defence just sucked. Lopez .964 fielding was not going to be the answer. Also the cubs plan on bringing up Castro this year and moving Theriot to second. Lopez would be on the bench and he would not be happy. Maybe the cubs are more worried about who's going to play
1B next year.

Tim said...


Anonymous said...

Lopez is horrible on defense and if they hope to have Castro ready at some point this season what are they going to do with all these middle infielders?
They have enough guys in camp that they didn't need to go out and get another middle infielder unless the guy was clearly much better than what they have .........Lopez is not.