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-
15 total HR
.964 Lifetime Fielding Percentage
Mike Fontenot past two year average stats-
18 total HR
.982 Lifetime Fielding Percentage
Jeff Baker past two year average stats-
16 total HR
.986 Lifetime Fielding Percentage
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.