So Very Many Third Basemen and Other Bullets

It’s Day One of the post-Koyie Hill Era (well, technically he could be re-signed…), and there will be plenty to discuss on non-tenders from other teams, as well as the latest on Prince Fielder. Until then, I’ve got a sick kid at home and a sick self at home, so I’m muddling through the Bullets…

  • Various reports note that Matt Garza could be in line for a contract extension after receiving his tender yesterday. “Could be in line”/”Is in line” are phrases that imply some speculation, and also are generic enough always to be true. Sure, Garza could be in line for an extension. But he could also be in line for a trade. Garza is in his third of four arbitration years, and figures to make $8.5 to $9 million in 2012, and then upwards of $11 million in 2013. He is 28, and an extension would seem to make sense for the Cubs only if they can buy out a free agent year or two at a discount (which discount Garza would theoretically give in exchange for the security of a three or four-year deal). In free agency, Garza could get $13 to $15 million annually, so, given the two arbitration years and a theoretical slight discount, what kind of deal is fair for both sides? Three years and $32 million? Four years and $42 million? That’s the range I’d be thinking about if I were the Cubs. Any higher, and you’re probably just better off letting him play out his two arbitration years, and then seeing where the chips fall.
  • Make no mistake in that preceding discussion: Garza remains on the trade block. If the Cubs get a great offer, the extension discussion is mooted. I don’t expect the Cubs to seriously talk about extending Garza until they are certain that trade talks will prove fruitless.
  • Carlos Zambrano resumed baseball activities yesterday. The activity? A home run derby, naturally. Zambrano is finally expected back on the mound (he took a liner off the face a few weeks ago) on Wednesday. The injury proved a real bummer for the Cubs, who no doubt hoped Zambrano could show some great stuff over a sustained period in Venezuela. As it stands, he might make a couple more starts to add to a few decent starts back in November.
  • Bryan LaHair is back in the Venezuelan Winter League (for those keeping score at home, that’s there and back, there and back, and there again).
  • Cubs’ minor league pitcher Robert Coello is now former Cubs’ minor league pitcher Robert Coello, having signed with the Blue Jays. Having been acquired by the Cubs last year in an old-prospect-for-old-prospect swap (Tony Thomas) with the Red Sox, Coello didn’t show much in Spring Training and then showed even less in the minors. He’s got the stuff to make a big league pen, but he was out of time in the Cubs’ system.
  • A visual depiction of the Cubs’ third baseman between Ron Santo and Aramis Ramirez (via @ClubhouseCancer). Who’s your irrational favorite (I’d probably go with Tyler Houston, who was mostly a catcher):

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

51 responses to “So Very Many Third Basemen and Other Bullets”

  1. scottie

    feel better brett!

  2. jr5

    Ugh, nothing beats cold and flu season.

    I’ll always like Bill Mueller, although if he didn’t fracture his kneecap on that stupid, unpadded area of the wall in Saint Louis, the Cubs might not have eventually traded for Aramis. But he was great.

    And Gaetti did hit a home run in the ’98 wild card playoff game. So that’s big.

    But in terms of odd favorites…Houston was a good pick. I’ll go with Dave Hansen, though. I always thought he was a good hitter, but only because he had a big hitter’s circle on Ken Griffey Baseball for the Nintendo 64. That was as advanced as my statistical analysis got when I was 11.

    1. Luke

      I liked Hanson as well. I’d have to go with Magaden or Miller, though. No reason for that, I just liked listening to them play (radio guy… didn’t get to watch many games back then).

  3. Dave

    For me its a toss-up between WIllie Greene and Gary Gaetti, with Shane Andrews getting into the mix for a bit.

  4. bwitty75

    Irrational favorite? I’ll go with Dave Magadan.

    1. BPaoni

      If its an irrational favorite, then mine has to be Mark “The Horn” Bellhorn. Man I was so fooled after his awesome ’02 season.

  5. die hard

    Afraid that Stewart will end up in the lower tier of those names.

    1. Ian Afterbirth

      Somewhere around Steve Buechele I’m sorry to predict.

    2. JMack4568

      Is Stewart going to time travel back to man the hot corner prior to Ramirez to end up on that list?

  6. Al

    Brett, thanks for this list, alot of laughs and chuckles thinking back on some of these guys…Ive reposted on my fb page hope you dont mind….

  7. Mike Foster

    How can you not like a guy named Howard Johnson…..but he’s not my pick. I loved Ron Cey there but he’s not an irrational pick, nor is Bill Mueller. Now irrational could be Jose Visciano or Hose B Hernandez. But my irrational pick has to be Gary Gaetti, dumped by the Cardinals, goes to the Cubs and plays and hits like his pants are on fire. I LOVED that!!!!!! (is my hate the cardinals showing? Ooops)

    1. MoneyBoy

      Yup … Gaetti played great … then Dallas Green made the mistake of re-signing him.

  8. MoneyBoy

    Didn’t the Cubs find out AFTER the trade that, in fact, Todd Zeile had actually died?

    Luis Salazar … poor guy … lost an eye last year.   I think it was late ’89 … hit a triple down the right field line .. Andre Dawson scored from 1st to win a game.  Watching the Hawk run – with those knees – was painful … and typical of the way he played.

  9. Daily Big Ten

    Kevin Orie, without a doubt.

    1. die hard

      Kevin was touted as the next Ron Santo…poor kid never had a chance…same risk applies to Vitters…Cubs need to tread lightly with his psyche…

  10. Ian Afterbirth

    Manny Trillo or Bill Meuller.

    My god I remember some of those names and being so excited as a kid that were about to witness the rookie season of an eventual hall of famer: eg, Pat Tabler….

  11. Brian

    At first glance I thought that “Steve Buechele” said “Steve Buscemi”. After looking at that list, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Cubs signed a deal in the mid-90′s to Buscemi.

  12. JB88

    Did I miss the Prince Fielder update in the bullets or did you mean you’ll have an update on the Fielder situation later today?

  13. Smitty

    How some of you Iowa Cubs fans didn’t drop ChiiiiiiiCOOOO Waaaalker is a bit disappointing. Quite possibly one of the greatest Iowa Cubs’ player to roam Sec Taylor…

    Of course, his time in Chicago didn’t bear much fruit, but the question was “who was your irrational favorite?”

  14. nonesuch

    Nice, a trip down memory lane.  I remember watching Steve Ontiveros, my grandfather liked him.

    The Duck was washed up when he came but he was, The Duck.

    Totally forgot HoJo was there briefly.  Man, we were flailing at that position for awhile…Steve Buechele, ugh.

    This is why I was very grateful for when Aram emerged.  3B was a black hole after Bill Madlock was lost to free agency.

    Ian Stewart, here is your chance to become more than a Cubs 3B footnote.

  15. BFiddy

    Lots of good memories in that list…

    I loved Bill Mueller and Mark Bellhorn…

  16. Ron Swanson

    Luis Salazar, hands down.

  17. JB88

    I always had a soft spot in my heart for Vance Law. Gotta love the old rec-specs and the Vance Law Dog :)

    1. Adam Madrid

      The Vance Law Dog was classic.

  18. Jonathan

    Lenny Harris ugh. I still can’t believe Dusty tried to make him anIrrationally every day player. Irrationally I liked Mark Bellhorn an Tyler Houston.

  19. RoughRiider

    If they had left Ryno at third the list would have been shorter. Hows that for irrational ?

    1. Jim

      He didn’t dive for ground balls enough.

  20. Jim McGrew

    Still wish Cubs didn’t keep one of my favorite 3rd baseman, Bill Madlock. Solid, clutch hitter who later helped the “We are Family” 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates to World Series win over Earl Weaver’s Baltimore Orioles. A lot of scary names on that 3B list too….

  21. Dougy D

    I’ve got to go with the RAT MAN! Gaetti was a stud. Mueller coming in at a close second. I really though that we were going to be set for a while at third with him, but the Cubbies didn’t have the patience to let him recover.

  22. Fishin Phil

    I would have to go with the Penguin – Ron Cey.  I loved to watch him run.  He had like a 14 inch stride.  I laughed every time.

  23. Polar Bear

    It is amazing how much one’s mind will allow them to forget so they don’t have to remember or re-live the agony of tragic events from our lives. That’s what I went through when I read this article. I remembered Santo, Cey, Moreland, Sandberg, and then Ramirez.After that…all I see is a glove laying on the ground, but nobody standing there.Probably something subliminal going on there but not sure.

  24. ferrets_bueller

    I loved Mueller and Bellhorn.

    That list is bad, but…the Cubs were still better off than the Bears and QBs.

  25. MightyBear

    Irrational is Madlock. Irrational cause the cubs traded him cause he wanted more money after winning a batting title. Cubs trade him for washed up Bobby Mercer and then pay Mercer more money than Madlock wanted. Madlock goes on to win a championship in Pittsburgh and another batting title.

    Favorite – Steve Ontiveros. As a kid the cubs had steve ontiveros on third and Barry Foote behind the plate. That team was not only bad but the slowest team ever.

  26. TSB

    Carmen Fanzone; played in his rookie season at the age of 30, which in those days was just a few years from Polookaville. He also was a outstanding trumpet player, who would sometimes play the National Anthem instead of Pat Piper on the Lowry organ at Wrigley.
    Can’t beat that…

  27. Dave

    Jose Hernandez, all the way. My affection probably stems from how dirty he was in Triple Play 2000 (all-time favorite baseball game). He was solid for at least 1 bomb per game.

  28. hogie

    Gary Gaeti all day!

  29. JK

    I was fan of Manny Trillo. I have never heard much issue with the fact that we traded Manny at the beginning of the hockey stick and he had some very good years for the Phillies along with at least one All Star appearance. Also liked Mick Kelleher for some reason.

  30. fromthemitten

    Irrational love: Mark Bellhorn. I was surprised when I looked up his stats I felt like he was with the team for three or so years.

    Very rational hate: Keith Moreland for the terrible job he did in the radio booth this year. Please tell me they’re going to replace him for next season.