1/21/10 Looking for some relief

There are reports that the Cubs are talking to reliever Kiko Calero, who posted an impressive 1.95 ERA last season in 67 games with the Marlins. Calero did have a torn rotator cuff that limited him in 2008 and ’09. With the Marlins, he struck out 69 over 60 innings. The Cubs have committed to Carlos Marmol as their closer but are looking for an experienced right-hander in the pen. According to reports, Calero wants a two-year deal, and the Cubs are balking because of his past shoulder problems.

— Carrie Muskat


Carrie – Did he have shoulder problems early, late, or throughout the ’09 season? I remember carrying him for a bit on my fantasy baseball team because he had that nice ERA and racked up the strikeouts, but I eventually dropped him needing to pickup another player. If he can stay healthy, I think he would be a great pickup. It would definitely be a risk to sign him for 2 years though.

In 2009, Calero went 1-0 with a 2.01 ERA with Marlins before going on DL June 21 (retro to June 18) and missing 19 games. When he returned July 9, he made 31 appearances and was 1-2 with a 1.88 ERA.

I’m not following the Cubs’ (Hendry’s?) logic about Calero.
So he has past shoulder problems but SEEMS to be recovered nicely from them, his low era and strikeouts indicate as such. And JUST a two year contract? THEN WHY NOT? A two year contract is a much lesser risk than what Hendry typically hands out to players. It seems to me that this would be a low risk gamble compared to other, longer, more expensive contracts Hendry has authorized. He gambled on Harden’s health at a lot more money, gambled foolishly on Bradley and his history of injury/tantrums. I just find it puzzling that NOW the Cubs (Hendry) are in the BALKING game, kind of too little too late, no?

I have to disagree with you here again Joey. Calero looks pretty good, but to use your logic for the middle infield position, I believe that the Cubs have some great young arms in the bullpen. With Guzman as the right handed setup man and guys like the Shark, Stevens, Patton and maybe even Gray who have a lot of potential and should make up a very good bullpen, I would rather give someone like Sheets a 1 year deal with the option of a 2 year deal if he is able to pitch enough innings this year. That would also put another good arm in the bullpen like Marshall or Silva…assuming you count Silva as a “good” arm. I’m not that excited about Calero and I’d rather hold out for something a little more valuable to the team.

pman, maybe my point didn’t come thruough as I thought, you are making my point…only better. My point being that I am confounded by some of Hendry’s moves and just as confounded by his non-moves. I absolutley agree with you that the starting pitching is in need of more bolstering from outside the organization than is the bullpen as we do have some good, young bullpen arms in the system. It just seems that signing Calero to a two year deal would be a better move than signing him to a 3 year or longer deal. I think we could agree that Hendry should be looking for starting pitching help and not bullpen help. Just as he should have been looking for starting pitching help and not
outfield help such as Byrd when we have options like Fuld or Brad Snyder. In any event Hendry is spending money in the wrong area and not utilizing some homegrown talent when possible.

At Joeydafish/ pman As far as the starting rotation don’t count out Andrew Cashner, Pinella mentioned he will also be competing for a spot in the rotation this spring.

Allright wrigleyguy1980, as you very well know by now I would be all for some younger talent competing for a major league position (too bad it’s never the case in the outfield where Hendry abused the payroll the most), especially if that talent is above average and would make some payroll funds available for future, un-expected (or expected for that matter) needs at the trade deadline. Just curious, how did Cashner come to the Cubs? If he is an above average starting pitcher and makes the rotation I certainly would give Hendry credit for getting him if that’s the case. I would have to wonder the same thing about Randy Well since he was given a chance and did make the starting rotation. It wouldn’t be fair if I don’t acknowledge the little good Hendry has accomplished (still not enough, by far).

Duh…He was the first round draft pick in 2009?? I was thinking of somebody else. That would be great if he makes the starting rotation and helps us forget about Prior?
Can’t blame Hendry for drafting pitching studs, he can’t see the future arm problems some of these guys get. But 10 mil for Prior and passing up Joe Maurer to get him kind of stings, though no fault of Hendry’s.

joey: I believe the Twins passed up on Prior… Maurer was taken before Prior. Twins didn’t want the price tag of Prior so they passed.

cubsrotten: I think you’re right. In fact, I remember thinking back then it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the Twinkies DID pass on Prior leaving him available for Hendry to choose. So it’s one of the rare occassions I not only don’t blame Hendry but actually give him credit for going for a big name, top tier draftee. Damn Twins….it’s as if….they KNEW!! The Twins must have some very good people (GM’s, scouts etc.) far superior to Hendry and the Cubs’ staff as they are year after year in the hunt with a much lower payroll than the Cubs and never seem to get burned by long term contracts. Can you imagine the Twins with the payroll of the Cubs? They would be able to pull the trigger on mid-season trades and probably dominate the division. I like their (and the Sox’s) chances this year in the Central division.

Joey, of course the Twins not having the money to spend on the big name free agents plays to their favor at times as they aren’t even remotely tempted to take a chance on a guy like Bradley or Soriano. They simply can’t afford them so they must trust their young talent. Of course idealy the Cubs brass would do a better job evaluating free agent talent as well as their own talent. I do agree that that has been their biggest weakness as an organization.

pman: Are you saying that the Cubs (Hendry) make the God-awful signings such as Soriano & Bradley because they (he) is tempted to do so because of the payroll available? And the only reason the Twins don’t make the same God-awful mistakes is because they don’t have the payroll that would lead to the temptation of making BAD moves? I think even with a ton more money the Twins would not have signed either Soriano or Bradley. This is the team that knows when to shy away from or cast off these type of players. Such as Jacque Jones…Twins didn’t want him, Hendry did. It may have had something to do with them passing on Prior and his big money demands sure, but I don’t think the Prior non-signing falls in the same ballpark as over-rated free agent signings like Soriano, Bradley, Fukodome, Gregg…..I don’t think the Twins go there regardless of payroll funds. If the Twins did have the dough to sign Prior maybe they would have but that would not have been a mistake to do so nor was it a mistake on Hendry’s part either.

One more note, I think Maddux will help correct this problem.

Joey, I agree with you that the Twins wouldn’t go there regardless, but my point was they don’t even have the temptation because they flat out can’t meet their demands. If they could they would have signed Santana because he is worth the money, but if they do that they won’t be able to fill their other positions with quality players. They also have a fantastic farm system filled with young talent and they aren’t afraid to put that young talent on the field. My main point was that the Cubs need to be better at scouting talent at all levels. They aren’t terrible at it, but they aren’t good at it like the Twins are.

Let’s say that by “they” you mean people like Hendry and the people on his watch. If they are not terrible then why are there so few home grown starting (GOOD) players on the major league team or if not part of the starting 8 regulars than why weren’t the home grown players used in trades to get very good players from other teams? Soriano, Fukodome, Bradley, Miles, just to name a few all are BAD free agent signings not trades utilizing the home grown talent. Hendry and his ilk ARE terrible and the trend may be a continuing process (Byrd…???). I say it’s high time for ACROSS THE BOARD personel changes, not just a hitting coach or two along the way. I’ve had it with the sacrificial lamb approach. Keep Maddux, bring in Ryno, and let them run with this team and bring in their own people. And of course for the love of all that’s 101 years old….get rid of Hendry.

Has anybody heard that the Hendry just spilled 3.4 mil on Xavier Nady??? Didn’t he have TWO Tommy John surgeries?
Is Sam Fuld or Brad Snyder THAT awful? And also the Cards have signed Rich Hill, probably going to rebound under the Cards pitching coach?? NOT blamin’ Hendry for Hill…just sayin’….is all. BUT, about 10 mil in 2010 for a combined Byrd and Nady???

Snyder, Hoffpaur, Bryan LaHair, and Chad Tracy (mike fontenot maybe?) will all be competing for one spot on the roster. If Chad Tracy shows up in spring training he would most likely be a lock for that spot since he can backup 3b and 1b (with Ramirez’s shoulder and Lee’s neck we need a guy who can slide into the 3 or 4 hole in the order should they need a day of or miss significant time). I would assume Fontenot would be cut then with baker being the full time 2b and Blanco backing up 2b and ss. Unless starlin castro makes the team out of spring training, theriot moves to 2b. it gets really complicated then. Sam Fuld is a lock most likely for a defensive replacement, backup all 3 OF spots, and to be a pinch runner. Unless Snyder takes that job from Fuld, but I doubt it! Hoffpaur pretty much is out of the picture, will likely be headed to the minors/cut or traded! In other words a big mess and a lot of decisions need to be made still!

I can see Tracy backing up 3rd and or first, but when doing so he certainly doesn’t slide into the 3 or 4 hole…he’s CHAD TRACY….Who’s Hendry gonna “steal” next, DICK Tracy???
Xavier Nady is now in the mix, responsable for 3-5 mil a year. I’d rather have the ficticious Charles Xavier as GM than the real Xavier Nady in the outfield. Again, Nady better than Bradley? Maybe. Byrd better than Bradley? Maybe. Either one makes a better outfield only because Hendry made us so bad with the likes of Soriano, Bradley and Fukodome. No matter how you look at it, Hendry is still struggling and grasping at straws.

@Joey, Chad Tracy Has struggled with injuries but on a cheap minor league contract, it’s a low risk move, and I was saying if he can return to his earlier form, with help from Jaramillo, he can be a legitimate 3 or 4 hole hitter when he plays, I didn’t say he would or will, we do need his depth at thirdbase though with Ramirez’s shoulder, I would love for Snyder to get his chance, or Hoffpauir to rebound, but I was merely pointing out that it is unlikely. We can’t change the past with the Soriano, Fukodome, Bradley moves. But we do have better depth this year. Nady is a risk, for sure but he also has tremendous upside, and on a one year deal with 3.3 million guaranteed it isn’t a bad deal. Byrd 3 years at 15 million isn’t terrible either (although it’s backloaded) especially when you figure fukodome makes 12million a year, and Soriano makes 18million a year! Byrd and nady don’t have no trade clauses though, so that’s a plus too. Hendry’s moves this year aren’t hamstringing the future, like his moves of the past. If sandberg takes over next year, look for a lot more youth being infused with the team, it is a good thing he is seeing our prospects in the minors on a regular basis, he get’s to see what they can contribute, and I think he is much more likely to play the younger guys, than Pinella. Pinella has no patience for younger players. We will have to wait out one more year, but with pinella at the helm the younger guys wouldn’t get much of a shot anyways! we do have reasons to be optimistic about the future though, think positive Joey!! the future is looking up Tim Wilken(one of the bestin the business at his job) is doing a great job building up our farm system, A good move by hendry hiring him, Jaramillo is the best in the business, and is good at helping to develop young hitters, as well as taking career backups in players like Derosa and Byrd and turning them into solid role players. he is a huge asset another good move by hendry. Hendry certainly has his flaws but he has made some great decisions as well. we have lots of reasons to be optimistic about we could be pittsburgh pirates fans 17 consecutive losing seasons. Let’s hope for the future, and hope Hendry has learned from mistakes of the past.

Here, here! Wrigley Guy! I agree with you except I wouldn’t count the Cubs out this year either. We have to remember that they ended up with a winning record last year with tons of injuries and Soriano and Bradly playing poorly. What could happen this year if Soriano has even a decent year and there aren’t nearly as many injuries?? I’m looking for a pretty decent year that is better than last and not the flop that all the nay saying fans are predicting.

Beautiful….we can all agree that Hendry has made better decisions about hiring people in the office than he has on the field and that when he signs players to contracts that aren’t terrible we have to accept that as PRETTY DAMN GOOD FOR HIM, and that if we get a pretty decent year instead of a flop year things are getting much better. It’s as if we took our eye off the prize. Sure, all that wrigleyguy1980 and pman says is true and there may very well be HOPE for an optimistic 2010 but only so because Hendry did SUCH A BAD JOB in 2009. We can’t just accept this anymore, satisfied with two steps backward and one step forward. While there is some improvement for our beloved Cubs there are other teams that still need to be overtaken to get to the World Series and while Hendry fiddles Rome keeps burning. Maybe our optimism and REASON to believe the Cubs will compete for a World Series should be reserved until WHEN Sandberg is in the Cubs dugout and Hendry is gone, until then we are left with just HOPE that SOMETHING unexpected happening while Pinella and Hendry are in charge. We’re hitching our hope to the likes of Soriano having a decent year when we all know he CAN’T have a decent year while being a defensive liability, he can only have a decent offensive year IF he stays healthy and if so then IF he develops a more disciplined eye at the plate. This team needs a lot more than a decent year from Soriano, Fukodome, Baker, Fontenot, Zambrano etc. and Tracy returning to his earlier form. It’s about time for an excellent year from it’s GM and his more than enough payroll allotted to garner a championship. I will never give up my hope but I will not pin my hopes to Hendry and all his what ifs. My hope remains firmly attached to miracles and chance despite what Hendry does. There’s always hope, there’s always a chance. I’m tired of measuring the Cubs’ success based on an above .500 regular season record. The Pirates have 17 consecutive losing years, is there actually much of a difference between that and conscecutive losing post season years? The expectations and payroll prevent the two teams from being mentioned in a comparison. Bring in Sandberg, get out Hendry.

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