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Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Royals and Cubs Signings

The last couple days have been busy for both the Royals and the Cubs. The Cubs signed Grudzlienek and Goodwin to contracts, the former to a one year deal with a team option for a second at around $2.5M and the latter to a one year deal, hopefully for not more than $500K.

I would rather the Cubs have gone after Vina to fill the gaping leadoff hole but Grudz is certainly above replacement level and hit with some pop (38 doubles). I hate to see him hitting high in the order, he would be a good number 7 guy. Goodwin was good pinch hitter last year, can pinch run, and play a little defense so a good guy to have around.

I recently read an interesting review of a study in a professional journal of heuristics that attempted to determine the optimum batting order. Basically, the conclusion was that if you classify players as "table setters", "all around hitters", and "runner advancers" (or something like that), then your best strategy is to construct a lineup with all your players in order by group and in descending order by ability within each group. Of course, the trick is in how you classify players but not having the article, I can't speculate on the system they used to do so. Grudz to me is more of a "runner advancer" than a table setter since even his best OBP years are going to be around .340 and his potential for moving players via doubles is pretty good. He only hits high in the order since the Cubs don't have ANY table setters. Patterson is an ideal 5 or 6 hitter and Gonzales is 8 hitter.

The Royals signed Matt Stairs, who had a great year last year hit 20 homeruns in just over 300 at bats. He should be a good platoon with Harvey at first and see some action in left field and pinch hitting. I assume its a one year deal. They also signed Scott Sullivan to a 2 year deal to solidify the bullpen. He also had a good year last year splitting time between a couple clubs. Earlier in the week the Royals resigned Grimsely for one year at $1M (a good deal for the Royals I think). He was certainly overworked last year and became totally ineffective after the break. Hopefully, Pena won't try and go to him so often that he fries his arm early again.

So the depth charts are:
1B - Lee, Simon as backup and pinch hitter
2B - Grudz
SS - Gonzales, Martinez
3B - Ramirez
RF - Sosa
CF - Patterson, Goodwin
LF - Alou
C - Miller (hopefully still looking at Lopez)

SP - Prior, Wood, Clement, Zambrano, Cruz
RP - Borowski, Hawkins, Remlinger, Farnsworth, Wellmeyer

1B - Harvey, Stairs
2B - Relaford
SS - Berroa
3B - Randa
RF - Guiel
CF - Beltran
LF - DeJesus, Stairs
C - Nobody (Looking hard at Santiago)
DH - Sweeney

SP - Anderson, May, Asencio, Appier, Snyder (maybe Affeldt)
RP - Affeldt, MacDougal, Leskanic, Grimsely, Sullivan, Carrasco

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