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.

Friday, February 26, 2010

News From Cubs Camp....

- Lilly missed practice on Thursday with a very high fever.

- Gray is expect to pitch next week sometime.

- The Cubs are looking for a backup shortstop and are going to give Fonty a shot until March 15th but if he cannot handle it then Blanco will get the nod. Levine also mentioned that Castro will likely start in AA or AAA.

- Soriano said his knee feels great and had excellent results over the past two days.

- Samardzija is throwing the ball well says Larry Rothchild. I still expect him to start in AAA.

- Guzman is shut down for a couple days just to be safe. He will also recieve a MRI but all roads point to him being ready for Opening Day.

- The Cubs are still looking for a veteran pitcher but Caridad has been told he basically has one of the spots in the pen.

- It is likely Carlos Zambrano will be the Opening Day starter.

Until Next Time....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What To Join Fantasy Baseball? UPDATE>

Update- Thanks to all that were interested in joining the fantasy baseball league but unfortunately it is full. I will remember this for next year and do one just with Hot Stove Cubbie followers. Thanks again

Myself and some of my Co-workers started up a Fantasy Baseball League. It is free and through CBS. We are doing a live online draft on Thursday Feb. 25th at 7:30 CT, which is tomorrow. If you are interested please post in the comment area with your email address and I will send you all the information like the name of the league and password.

Hot Stove Cubbies

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Latest From Cubs Camp....

- Bruce Levine says Derrek Lee would prefer not to negotiate during the Season on a contract extension. He also said he would not approach the team about one either. Kind of sounds like he does not really care if he stays a Cub but did say he did not want to be a distraction. I would like the Cubs to ink Lee to a one to two year deal before the season.

- The Yanks snatched Chan Ho Park from the Cubs. The Cubs are still looking for a late inning step up man.

- Maddux has been busy in Cubs' camp and is enjoying it. He has given tips to both Stevens and Clevenger.

- Esmailin Caridad is the front runner for late-inning setup with Justin Berg and Jeff Stevens not far behind. I really like our young pen and honestly do not think we need to waste money on a veteran reliever.

- Soriano is thrilled to have Marlon Byrd on the team.

- The Cubs will let Spring decide whether they want a defensive back-up or offensive back-up for Marlon Byrd in CF. They are looking at Fuld, Snyder (that's my pick), and Colvin.

- Soriano says he is not 100% yet but says he has not really tested his knee. He has not had any problems with it going 75-80% on the field. So that is encouraging.

- Lou is really impressed with his youngsters on the team. He said Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson can really swing the bat. He also stats that non-roster guys like Bryan LaHair and Chad Tracy caught his eye as well. I expect Tracy to make it out of that bunch.

Until Next Time Cub Fans....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Notes From Spring....

- As expected the Cubs won their arbitration case against Ryan Theriot. Theriot will make 2.6 million instead of 3.4 million.

- Only four players have not reported to camp. Starlin Castro, Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, and Aramis Ramirez. Monday is the official reporting date.

- Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot will compete for the starting job at 2nd this season. Lou is cool with that.

- Nady will see a lot of time at DH this Spring and will see time in RF and LF during the season.

- Theriot or Fukudome will bat leadoff this year.

- Jim is now saying they may add an arm through free agency or trade since they won their case with Theriot.

- The Cubs are talking trades with numerous teams and not just about relievers.

- Ted Lilly's MRI is just showing a little irritation, nothing abnormal.

- Carlos Silva needs to lose 10-12 pounds before ST but he is still throwing the ball really well.

- The Cubs still like Chan Ho Park but not at the 3-4 million dollar price tag.

- Guzman will be ready to pitch when Spring games start March 4th.

Until Next Time....