Sunday, June 14, 2009

What is Up with Cubs Free Agent Signings

I was thinking the other day that nearly every major free agent the Cubs sign has an awful start to his Cubs career. Obviously we are seeing it with Milton Bradley right now, but I remember it happening a lot in the last seven years or so. Let's look and see what the heck is up here. All stats come from I apologize for the random order of the players, but I was thinking off the top of my head as I wrote.

I'll start with Mosies Alou, somebody who I often compare the Milton signing to in terms of length of contract and start to Cubs career. Alou signed a 3 year, $27 million contract before the 2002 season. Alou got hurt and went on the DL to start his Cubs career and then got off to this wonderful start from April 15 until June 4. 
.184/.247/.277 .523 OPS, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 2 doubles
And we all thought Milton Bradley has had a bad start. Alou finished the rest of the season with a .852 OPS and had a real good 2003 and the best season of his career in 2004. 

Cold Start:1 Hot Start: 0

Next is Todd Walker, who the Cubs brought in from Boston to play the DeRosa role before DeRosa was around. Walker signed a three year deal before 2004. Walker was respectable during his time here, and actually had a nice start with a .927 OPS and 4 homers from April 5 until May 16. 

Cold Start:1 Hot Start: 1

Jacque Jones came over from the Twins before the 2006 season after signing a 3 year deal. Jones didn't have the most memorable Cubs career, and only played two of the three years with the Cubs. From April 3-May 6 2006 Jones went
.238/.279/.425 .704 OPS 4 HR 10 RBI 3 doubles
Much like Alou, Jones was pretty hot the rest of the season though he never walked and struck out too much. Overall I have no issues with Jones' contract especially since the Cubs dumped him right before he stopped being useful.

Cold Start: 2 Hot Start: 1

Jeromy Burnitz is nothing more than an after thought in the long history of the Cubs, but he is the guy who came in to replace Sammy Sosa in 2005, and because of that he gets included on this list. From April 4-May 5 Burnitz went
.298/.333/.548 .881 OPS 5 HR 7 doubles 18 RBI
Nice hot start, though he had some issues the rest of the season, and would only play one more year in the majors. 

Cold:2 Hot: 2

Greg Maddux returned home after a long absence in Atlanta and did what Greg Maddux does, but not before having a rough first month. His first seven starts of the season went
2-3 5.06 ERA with 10 homers allowed and a .854 OPS against. 
Obviously Maddux ended up having a typical Maddux season and his contract ended up being Maddux during his contract.

Cold: 3 Hot: 2

I'll tackle the 2006-07 offseason guys all at once. Ted Lilly, Mark DeRosa, Jason Marquis, and Alfonso Soriano. Jim Hendry got ripped in the media for these contracts, and with the exception of Soriano down the line, all the players lived up to or outperformed those deals. Did they start out hot though?
Ted Lilly: 9 starts 4-2 2.69 ERA= HOT
Jason Marquis: 18 starts 6-5 3.67 ERA= HOT (don't look at his second half numbers)
Mark DeRosa: April 2- May 7 .835 OPS 4 HR 16 RBI= Not good or bad, I'll give him HOT
Alfonso Soriano: April 2007 .700 OPS 0 HR 1 RBI hamstring injury no more CF= COLD

Hot: 5 Cold:4

Second to last on the list is my best friend Kosuke Fukudome. We all know he had a hot start, because its that start that still has half the Cubs fan base making excuses for him (thought I've noticed that had done away with this slide).

Hot:6 Cold:4

Finally Milton Bradley is obviously going into the Cold section, for so many reasons. Poor hitting, odd fielding, and of course odd injuries. 

Hot:6 Cold: 5

So from this I've come to a few conclusions. It seems like a cold start is almost better in the long run, because of the hot starters only Ted actually remained productive. My original thesis is incorrect though because its about 50-50 on how guys start, though the big name hitters have struggled for the most part. 

The purpose of this is to say that Milton Bradley shouldn't be thrown to the wolves yet. His bat has been coming around recently and I expect him to go on a tear now. Soriano was useless his first month and he carried the team to the playoffs in 2007. Lets not give up on Milton quite yet. 

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