ERP Selection For Small Businesses

What is Enterprise Resource Planning Software (ERP)? Enterprise Resource Planning, also known as ERP, is a business management computer software which manages and integrating a company’s internal core procedures. ERP software covers broad and deeply operational end-to-end’s business processes, meaning that data can easily be retrieved and moved to a new location or updated. ERP system allows a company to save on its operational costs as well as time and manpower required in managing the business. visit to learn about the best enterprise resource planning system.

An ERP usually has four modules, namely Business Process Management (BPM), Supply Chain Management, Information Technology and Customer Management. BPM is the department responsible for strategic planning and material management whereas IT is responsible for application development, business process modeling and implementing it. The idea behind information technology is to upgrade internal business processes by providing business process solutions such as using internet or intranet applications and application development, database integration and application testing. These concepts are then translated into computer applications and can be implemented using technologies such as ERP. The idea of using an ERP software is to integrate the four modules in a comprehensive strategy to gain maximum advantage in the market.

To select an Enterprise Resource Planning System, an independent consultant needs to look at the cost of implementation and then analyze the pros and cons of a particular vendor. The consultant should then examine the benefits of using an ERP software to make an independent consultant’s selection. Cost is one of the most important factors which determines the selection process.

ERP Selection For Small Businesses

It is important to set up a control sample for the Enterprise Resource Planning System installation. An independent consultant should visit the organization during the planning phase. He can also carry out some cost reduction activities. Once the ERP implementation plan is set in motion the organizational staff needs to prepare plans to upgrade the ERP application. The upgrade includes the selection of application software, training of employees on the usage of the new ERP, documentation and testing.

There are two types of ERP software available in the market; web based and traditional on-premise application. The selection of an Enterprise Resource Planning System depends on the type of business. The different solutions available in the market include different modules. One of these modules is ERP software which includes ERP software, applications and other products. An independent consultant should be able to evaluate the needs of the organization and then suggest the type of ERP software needed.

Another type of ERP is Microsoft Dynamics ERP which is a great service to organizations which are small in size. This is because the on-demand or self hosted ERP solution comes at a very low price. The management and coordination of resources is made easy with this on demand or self hosted application. Many people think that the installation and implementation of the ERP need to be outsourced from an external source. This is not true as there are many outsourcing companies that offer great service in the form of Microsoft Dynamics ERP installation and implementation at affordable prices.

When there are many ERP applications available in the market for organizations like hospitals, hotels, colleges and others it can become a difficult choice to make the right choice. This is where on-demand or self hosted solutions can come to your rescue. These ERP systems have the flexibility of being deployed wherever and whenever required and are very easy to use and access. There are many organizations that opt for small to medium enterprise ERP selection.

In the present scenario when almost every organization is moving towards automation for its business processes and thus most of the employees are fully aware of the concept of ERP implementation. It is only when this ERP concept is implemented properly in an organization that full benefits can be realized from it. The main factor which should be kept in mind while choosing the new ERP solution is the smooth running of the ERP system after the implementation. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who are on the move a lot and do not have much time to manage their data properly may go for a hosted ERP system. On-demand ERP solution comes at a nominal price and can easily be implemented for on-demand basis if the need be. Enterprise Resource Planning System has great potential to increase the efficiency of the organizations providing it with more business opportunities and the growth and development of the organization can easily get back to the right track by incorporating the latest ERP software and technology in their daily operations.

The Benefits of Social Media Marketing

The term Social Media Marketing was coined during the dotcom boom in the late 90’s. Social media allows individuals to freely connect with others and provides multiple means for marketers to reach and engage with potential customers. Since its inception, social media has been the driving force behind many of the most popular websites online. Visit to know the best social media marketing strategy.

Since its inception, social media has affected consumers in multiple ways. For example, one study found that consumers tend to search for products similar to what they already have, including grocery stores, bookstores and entertainment sites. With this information, it is clear that consumers search for these same services on a daily basis, which is why they have become such an important asset for brick-and-mortar retailers. In this article, the researchers at Cornell University focus on how digital marketing strategies can impact the digital landscape of a company…

Content Marketing

Social media offers a unique opportunity to content marketers. By using content marketing campaigns to increase user experience, marketers are better able to target their audience. More specifically, the researchers suggest that content marketing should be designed for the experience level of each user rather than targeting an older demographic that may not have a lot of experience. This is done through content marketing campaigns that include video tutorials and forums for users of all ages.

The Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Valuable Trust from their Audience

Social media allows consumers to connect with experts who may have specific knowledge that the consumer needs. Content marketers can use this platform to connect with these experts, providing them with a way to share their expertise and gain valuable trust from their audience. Content marketing also allows a brand to share their message with millions of people at once, reaching a larger demographic than they would through traditional methods of marketing. This tactic is more effective than other forms of marketing because it reaches an untapped market that has very little time to absorb a message.

Another benefit to content marketing is that users often share their comments or experiences with their contacts. As a result, a content marketer can gain the experience and insight of thousands of users within a short amount of time. The company can then use this information to create content that will appeal to users of all ages and interests. For example, if the company sells laptops, they can find the most common complaint about laptops and address the problem accordingly.

Promotional Campaigns

Social media is also a great place to run promotional campaigns. The key is to ensure that the promotional campaign and content are content based. Content marketing should not consist of thousands of messages about how great their new product is. Rather, companies should provide content that piques interest, inspires debate or encourages consumers to seek out additional information.

Each piece of content should provide a solution to a potential customer’s problem. This can include addressing a concern, answering a question, providing tips or recommending another product or service. Each piece of content created for a company should be written to engage the customer and build a relationship that can lead to repeat business in the future. When creating content, it is important to remember that a company cannot focus solely on one message. A message should be designed to appeal to as many potential customers as possible, while also maintaining a conversational tone.


The benefits of using social media in marketing are numerous. Social media allows for a deeper connection and engagement with users than traditional forms of marketing do. The greatest benefit is that users can easily share messages with millions of people throughout the world. As a result, content marketers can take their message and market to this large audience without having to spend thousands on advertising.

Power Wood Carving Tools Reviews Ireland

Wood carving has globally gained popularity over the years,  as it has been not only as a way of making beautiful pieces to be placed in our homes and working spaces but also as a recreational activity.

It has been discovered that some people find comfort and price in wood carving. It’s quite important to note that wood carving is constantly being reviewed to fit in today’s living standards, to still maintain its popularity among us.

With evolutions skyrocketing in recent decades,  there is always a need for this particular area to evolve as well.  In Ireland,  just like in so many European countries,  there’s an adoption of wood carving tools by GM Carpenter, you can learn more about them at

Gradually the sector started adopting the power carving tools for better efficient results.  Though not necessarily abandoning the traditional tools,  there was a need to adopt other tools.  These have seen the wood carving industry review its tools time and time again.

Examples of Traditional Carving Tools

  • Carving knives
  • Wood carving mallet: they include, cutting chisels, gauges and reiners
  • Chisels – factors to be considered here are tips. The paining chisel shaves a thin piece of wood while the bevelled edge does the cutting to sanding.

Factors That Have Been Put to Consideration when Reviewing Power Wood Carving Tools in Ireland

 1.Use of Cordless vs Corded Drills

This is considered when you want to achieve a seamless piece and to avoid redoing a piece. The drill speed is also a factor to consider although some pieces require meticulous finishes hence the need for slow and sure hand crave try.

It’s simply for this reason that one should choose an adjustable drill speed to fit your needs.


Bit materials are also a major review in recent years.

This is due to the type of wood being used in carving. It’s also important to note that bits should be replaced from time to time for efficiency. learn more about woodworking bits by clicking here

Bit/chunk size

Also plays a big role in the wood carving industry.  This gives the need for a review to attain better results than keeping up with the market.

Some of the bit sizes include

  • cylindrical- for shaping heavy woods,
  • Ball: hollow out areas concave cuts,
  • flat disc: cut feather or make channels.

It’s also used to take off thinner pieces or unwanted wood,  tapered; create angles and feathers,

Use of  Dremel

This is the most recent power wood carving tool out there.  It’s quite resourceful and has created a niche in the industry,  making work easier,  efficient and fast. Newbridge Carpenter in Ireland mostly use Dremel in day to day wood working work.

Types of Wood Commonly Used in wood Carving

In reviewing the types of wood carving tools,  there was also a need to review the type of wood being used in the industry to achieve better results.

Knowing which wood works better with what piece and where one can gain access to them was a very important factor to consider.  Price ranges were also not left behind.

When considering wood carving price ranges should be one of the key factors. Here are some types of wood:


This type of wood is commonly used for making cupboards and furniture.  It’s easy to come by and slightly harder than other woods


This type of wood luckily enough for Ireland is grown all over Europe and North America.  It’s mostly used in making musical instruments.


This type of wood is pale and fairly soft.  Its advantage is that it can be found anywhere and fairly inexpensive.

Bottom Line

The need to review that power wood carving tools in Ireland was and is a crucial factor.  This is due to the ever-evolving world we are living in.  This must be constantly done to meet the target market.

The reviews must range from materials required to work with the tools,  efficiency of the tools to be adopted,  accessibility and availability of the tools,  price ranges can also be a challenge to be considered when reviewing.

Betting On Your Website Design – Website Design Ireland

The explosion in the growth of online business has seen the development of close on 2 billion websites, with around 200 million of these being active.

As a result, business models are being challenged by evolving market and consumer trends and companies are being forced into the online commercial world.

The migration to online consumption has directly affected the world of gaming and sports betting expects a growth of close on 10% over the next five years. This is driven mainly by the growth in usage of mobile devices for online gaming and betting.

Having a high-quality website, designed by expert developers like cheap web design Ireland has become a per-requisite for any business that hopes to be competitive in their respective market.


Web Design Front End

For users, the front end is where the action happens. This is what your user sees and experiences when interacting on your website and eCommerce web design are the popular choice now a days especially in this pandemic as people prefer to buy online to save themselves from COVID-19

The overall user-experience is what will ensure visitors to your website. The trick is to keep them there long enough to take action, in this case by placing a bet. Naturally, you’ll also want users to return to the site in future.

As with any website the visual design should reflect your brand image and personality. Make it cheap and cluttered looking and chances are that potential users will not trust your site.

Interaction on the site should be quick and easy and actions like placing a bet or making a payment should be seamless and hassle-free.

Betting On Your Website Design – Website Design Ireland

Back End Web Designing

This is where the site is administered and where all bets and transactions are handled. A well-designed back end affects the owner’s ability to run a profitable and successful site and ensures confidentiality and security for the user.

There must be a guarantee of security for both personal information and for the deposit of money on bets and users should be able to track games and results, responsive web design is another factor that now many people would like to have on websites, as people browse website on desktop and on mobile devices, if the website is responsive and it will fit on many mobile devices it gives user a great user experience.learn more about software development trends of 2020 at

A website hosted on a good server will also increase the response time of the site and good web hosting services guarantee hundred percent uptime of a website, because in case your website has not hundred percent uptime you can lose many customers especially if you have betting site.


Software is where the focus lies in achieving differentiation from competitors and a user-friendly experience. There are a few criteria by which users judge their overall online experience and which you will need to consider:

Consistent User-experience

This entails keeping the user-experience consistent on whatever platforms you choose to include in your online gambling offering.

Whether visiting your website on desktop or mobile, making bets on your App, or placing them via SMS, users must experience the same brand image and level of service.

Culture of Responsibility

As a gaming company it is important to reflect a culture of responsibility in your advertising and communications and this includes your website.

By emphasizing factors such as age restrictions, responsible gambling and betting limits, you will increase the likelihood that users will trust your brand.

It is a good idea to publish your Responsible Gambling Policy on-site as well.

Dynamic Management System

When working with a website developer like Website Design Ireland it is important to clearly communicate the degree of customization (bells and whistles) required.

Remember that while you want to achieve a great user experience, you also want the interaction to be smooth and uncluttered by unnecessary features.

Take care to plan and to budget for future growth and to ensure that your management system can be improved and further developed as you grow.

Top-notch Security for Payments

Nothing will destroy your gaming platform faster, than if your payment system is compromised by someone. Users expect the payment system to be seamless across all platforms, but they take it for granted that interactions regarding money are secure.

A secure payment portal and various options, backed by credible institutions, are the prerequisite.


The majority of users now interact online using mobile Apps and investing in a quality mobile App is a no brainer if you want to attract the most users and grow your online business, business web designers in your area can help you in designing the business website that is secure and interactive.

Developing a mobile version of your website takes expertise and you should not skimp on budget here. Using a credible developer like Ireland Website Designer will ensure that your App is user-friendly, fast, capable and secure, check out one of the best Ireland Website Designers and developers by clicking here

When looking for a new developer it is worth ensuring that your supplier has a sound understanding of both the gambling market and the target market that you will be aiming to attract.


Website Designers Ireland are web designers, hosting and digital marketing specialists that operate in different regions with different names like web designers Ireland, web designers Galway, Web Designers Dublin, web design Athlon, they operate in different locations so that customers and reach them easily.

Their team works closely with clients to achieve both ROI against budget and business growth.

They develop innovative and tailor-made web designs and digital marketing campaigns and offer specialised services that include:



Wokingham Stakes betting preview

This race is perhaps the biggest handicap sprint at the festival and is run over a distance of six furlongs. The Wokingham Stakes is a class two race that is for three year olds and over. This another one of those races at Royal Ascot that has been incredibly hard to predict over the years due to its competitive nature.

Despite this the betting markets are always very active and punters have been rewarded in the last few years with two fancied horses winning in the last four meetings. However last year’s winner Dandy Boy reminded punters about the difficulty of selecting a winner for this race as he started out as a 33/1 long shot.

Royal Ascot Wokingham Stakes odds, tips and free bets

No trainer has managed to win this race twice since 1996 so there any trends that can really be followed when it comes to trainers. With so many different winning trainers it wouldn’t be recommended to bet on a horse for purely this reason. This is one of the most open races during the whole week which benefits the smaller stables as they get the opportunity to win a prestigious more about Gaza deal at

One trend you should consider is that lightly weighted horses don’t fare well in this event at all so it is best to avoid them.

Previous Six Winners:

2012- Dandy Boy  33/1  David Marnane

2011- Deacon Blues  15/2  James Fanshawe

2010- Laddies Poker Two  9/2  Jeremy Noseda

2009- High Standing  6/1  William Haggas

2008- Big Timer  20/1  Linda Perratt

2007- Dark Missile  22/1  Andrew Balding

Top Three Trends:

  • Only four favorites have won since 1988
  • Four or five year olds have won ten times in the last twelve years
  • Horses carrying more than nine stone have excellent records in this  race

US Masters Betting preview

The US Masters is one of the biggest events in the golf calendar, and the 2013 renewal of the event represents a competitive betting opportunity for punters. Tiger Woods is currently the bookmakers favourite, at best odds of 7/2. Rory Mcilroy is drifting after a poor run of form, and can now be backed at odds of 9/1 with a number of online betting more about Tiger Woods at

The reigning winner of the US Masters is Bubba Watson, who can be backed at odds of 33/1 with a number of bookmakers to regain his crown. Other notable contenders include Phil Mickelson at 12/1, and Justin Rose at 20/1.

US Masters Betting preview

US Masters betting tips

Tiger Woods has not won this event since 2005, and Rory Mcilroy has never won it, so many punters will be seeking value by opposing the two market leaders and backing other golfers. Our tip for the Masters is backing Justin Rose at 20/1. He has had a great season and played well at the recent Arnold Palmer invitational. In the 2012 Masters Rose finished tied for 8th, and we feel he is great value for a place this time around.

US Masters free bets

As with any major sporting event, bookmakers are offering a number of great incentives to punters including free bets to people who open new accounts. These free bets range from £10-£50, so it’s really a great opportunity to take advantage of. In addition, all bookmakers featured on this site are offering e/w odds paying 5 places. We’ve highlighted the best free bets below:

Why the Garza deal is no good

I wanted to wait until the third player coming to Chicago was named, but I’m gonna go ahead and break down the big trade that landed the Cubs Matt Garza yesterday.  I’m just gonna work under the assumption that the unnamed player won’t be of great consequence to the verdict of this deal.  All I’ve read anywhere so far is that the guy is a minor-league pitcher.  We’ll see, but I’m not getting worked up over who it might be.

UPDATE: The minor league pitcher is Zachary Rosscup, a 22-year old lefty who’s about as far away from the major leagues as possible.  I honestly don’t know very much about this guy, but I’m assuming it’s still up in the air whether he’s seen as a starter or reliever long term.  He figures to spend most of 2011 in A-ball.

Why the Garza deal is no good

Also, the two teams swapped 5th outfielders in Sam Fuld and Fernando Perez.  I don’t think anyone’s really concerned with this part of the deal, but Perez is a 27-year old, switch-hitting center fielder who has racked up big time stolen base numbers in his 7 years in the minors.  He hasn’t hit very much at all the past couple of years though, so he’s nothing more than possibly the 25th guy on the roster this year.

Why the Garza deal is no good

I said the exact same thing in the weeks leading up to this trade, and my thoughts haven’t really changed at all– I just don’t think this acquisition will have much of an impact at all on the Cubs’ long playoff odds, and I think everyone agrees that had to be the case to justify the price they paid yesterday. This is a simple matter of thinking on the margin– to understand the real impact Garza will have on this team, you have to consider who he is replacing in the rotation.  So who’s the odd man out?  Tom Gorzelany?  Sure, but I actually just wrote like 1,000 words all about how underrated he is, and how he’s probably every bit of a 3-win pitcher right now (he was roughly a two-win pitcher in just 23 starts last year).  Randy Wells?  The ugly W-L record aside, he was just as good last year as he was his rookie year when he was worth three wins.  Carlos Silva? On a per-inning basis, he might have been the team’s most effective starter last year.  That said, the addition of Garza appears to spell the exit for one of these guys.

I’ve been like a broken record this offseason going on and on about how the Cubs’ rotation makes up for its lack of a true #1 with quality up and down the rotation.  Go look at these guys’ numbers– in the NL Central, there’s every reason to believe all of them can be solid, three-win pitchers, which isn’t something a lot of teams in baseball have one through five.  So unless you think Garza is something like a 5 or 6-win pitcher (he isn’t) then really, this might be as little as a one or two-win addition to a team that’ll need a truckload of good fortune for those wins to matter at all.  It’s really that simple– for the Cubs, the marginal impact of this sort of deal just isn’t very big at all, which is exactly why so much of the blogosphere has been, by and large, against the pursuit another starter. What happened yesterday was just about the worst case scenario playing out; like so many feared would happen, the Cubs appear to have badly miscalculated both Garza’s current talent level, and how his addition affects their playoff odds.

Now, I’m not sitting here trying to convince anyone that Garza isn’t any good, or that he won’t have any success in Chicago, because the truth is, evaluating pitchers using WAR can be tricky business, and he stands to benefit immensely by escaping the AL East– everyone knows how that worked for Ted Lilly.


Garza is a talented guy, and is almost certainly better than every incumbent starter other than perhaps Ryan Dempster, but the fact is he’s gonna have to reach a new level of performance in order to justify the Cubs’ investment.  Up to this point, he owns a relatively modest 7.10 K/9 rate, and there’s no getting around the fact that number will have to go up.  I don’t think there’s any question his transition to the NL will lead to more strikeouts, but he’s really gonna need every last one of them considering the trade off he’s making in the defense he’ll take the field with.  Since 2008, Garza’s first year in Tampa, the Rays defense has been roughly 120 runs above average according to John Dewan’s defensive metric DRS (defensive runs saved).  Over that same span, the Cubs’ defense has been 3 runs above average.  So there’s been almost a 120 run difference between the Cubs’ and Rays’ defense the past three years, and in 2010 the Cubs were about 20 runs below average according to DRS.  Garza has really benefitted from playing for such good defensive clubs, and there’s reason to doubt that’s something we’ll be saying about the Cubs in more about US mater betting review by clicking here

The other key issue here is that Garza is leaving one of the most pitcher-friendly environments in the major leagues for a home park that can be challenging for fly ball pitchers.  He likes to work up in the zone, challenging hitters with his big fastball, but it appears to have cost him somewhat, as he’s allowed quite a few home runs the past two years despite pitching his home games in some friendly digs.  Garza’s career numbers at home? 3.69 ERA/3.89 FIP.  On the road?  4.26 ERA/4.64 FIP.

A lot is being made about the benefit of acquiring a pitcher with three years remaining before he hits free agency, which is nice, but Garza is good enough of a pitcher that he figures to be compensated quite fairly in arbitration the next few years, so he’s going to cost a nice chunk of change on top of all those prospects the club parted with.  Sure, he might be an important part of a playoff rotation at some point in the next three years, but you could argue that in two years Chris Archer will be every bit as valuable as Garza.  So to me it doesn’t mean that much that he’s still a few year away from free agency– if he doesn’t make the Cubs a playoff team this year, then I’m not sure I see this as a win for them at all.

I had a chance to see a lot of Chris Archer this past summer while I was interning with the Daytona Cubs, and I can tell you that he generated buzz with just about anyone who saw him.  Not just the scouts he came to the park, but also the people I was working with.  By all accounts, Chris is a really intelligent kid with great makeup, and there’s no denying the upside he possesses.  There’s speculation that he may be best suited as a closer, but I just can’t be sold on the idea that’s where his long term future is.  He’s still so young, and there are just too many things to like about him– he’s got size, a nice delivery, and really nasty stuff.  If he does end up in the bullpen that’ll soften the blow of this trade considerably, but I have a feeling Archer will be the Rays’ number two starter in a couple years.  If I were Hendry, I probably wouldn’t have made this trade without having to include him in the deal, so to me, losing him may be the worst part of all this.  He definitely represents the greatest risk the Cubs took in making this trade.

On the other hand, as much as I like Hak-Ju Lee, Robinson Chirinos, and Brandon Guyer, you can see what the Cubs were thinking making these guys available.  Parting with Lee certainly seems to be a vote of confidence in Starlin Castro’s ability to remain a shortstop long-term, so it makes sense they’d be willing to include a blocked prospect who’s probably three years away from the majors.  I think Chirinos is a hell of a sleeper, and the Rays may well have found their next everyday catcher, but he wasn’t gonna challenge Geovany Soto as the starter in Chicago.  Meanwhile, the Cubs are committed to Brett Jackson and Tyler Colvin, and they’re stuck with Alfonso Soriano for the foreseeable future, so I’m not surprised at all that they didn’t mind including Brandon Guyer.  From their perspective, you can see how the Cubs thought they were dealing from positions of organizational strength.  The disappointing thing is, I’m pretty confident that every one of these guys will turn into pretty good players.  However, giving these guys up isn’t the problem for me– it’s that they’re being given up for something less than a bona fide star.

When you compare what Zack Greinke cost the Brewers, to the price the Cubs paid for Garza, there’s a strong argument that the package on its way to Tampa is much more valuable than what the Royals accepted for Greinke.  This isn’t an apples-apples comparison since the Cubs didn’t really have the payroll flexibility to take on his $12MM salary this year, but the thought that the same group of prospects ought to have been valuable enough to land Greinke is a little frustrating.  He’s the sort of pitcher that would have been worth this price, for the simple fact that he would’ve been a lock to be the best pitcher on the team right away.  I’m not the biggest fan of labeling guys like this, but it’s really this simple– Zack Greinke is a #1 starter, Matt Garza is not.

The Cubs are basically gambling that Garza still has a lot of room for improvement.  For this deal to work out for the Cubs, he’s gonna have to discover a new level of ability, and ideally a year from now he’ll be open to a contract extension that might buy out a year or two of his free agency at a discounted rate.  But my verdict here is that Hendry seriously overpaid for Garza, so if he doesn’t really take to the NL, and if two years from now the four prospects he gave up are contributors on the next championship-caliber Rays team, it may end up that this move costs Jim Hendry his job.  I’m not saying I think that’s how things will play out since there’s a good chance Garza will have enough success to make this look like a solid trade, at least for the next couple of years, but there is the distinct possibility that this move just blows up in Hendry’s face, and that it eventually serves as the nail in his proverbial coffin.

Is a multiyear deal for Marmol a good idea?

Fresh off a historic 2010 season in which he posted an astounding 15.99 K/9 rate in 77 relief appearances, Carlos Marmol passed on the opportunity to settle for a one-year deal like the rest of his arb-eligible teammates, ostensibly to allow time for a multiyear contract agreement to come together.  The interest in such a deal appears to be mutual, as it’s been speculated all offseason that the Cubs have prioritized locking up Marmol for the next few years, and now that he’s officially filed for arbitration, those rumors are starting to heat up.

Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of long term deals for relief pitchers; I think you’d have a hard time finding anyone who is these days.  It’s just become glaringly obvious over the years, even to a lot of casual baseball fans, that multiyear deals for relievers rarely work out for the club–they’re simply too volatile of assets to commit to over a number of years.  The reality is, over the course of 70-90 innings, a lot of wacky things can happen on a baseball field, which is why in any given year relievers are liable to do just about anything, Carlos Marmol being no exception.  You could argue that, relatively speaking, he’s been pretty consistent since breaking into the league, but consider his astronomical walk rate from 2009– his previously demonstrated propensity to issue walks notwithstanding, do you think anyone could have honestly guessed that Marmol would suddenly start walking nearly 8 batters per nine innings?

Now, Carlos managed to get his walk rate somewhat under control last year (6.03 BB/9) but still, this is the primary concern in making a long term commitment to him.  We’ve seen him lose the strike zone before, and if he does it again, the Cubs run the risk of being stuck with a really expensive setup man.  Even factoring in his improvement from last year, he has very little margin for error here.  If he takes even a small step back with his control, he could become a liability.

Is a multiyear deal for Marmol a good idea?

Up to this point though, Marmol has mostly avoided the dire consequences most pitchers with his erratic control are usually met with, and it’s pretty much understood why that’s been the case.  First, it’s no secret he’s one of the true strikeout artists in today’s game. Owner of a career 11.68 K/9 rate, Carlos misses bats with the absolute best of them (he set a career high in SwStr% last year at 14.4%)**, and when he does give up contact, its usually of the weak variety.  According to Fangraphs’ batted ball data, among pitchers who’ve thrown at least 200 innings since 2007, Marmol has allowed the second lowest LD% (also 14.4%), and, by a considerable margin, the lowest opponents’ batting average (.159).

** Since 2007, among pitchers with 200 innings, Michael Wuertz has the highest SwStr% at 16.1%.  I couldn’t give you one good reason why the Cubs ever got rid of him.

However, Carlos’ success in recent years has also been somewhat contingent on him excelling in areas that are, in sabermetric circles, believed to be mostly a function of luck, subject to a lot of variation from year-to-year.  Since settling in as a reliever in 2007, again using 200 innings as a parameter, he’s allowed the fourth lowest ball-in-play average (.257), and the sixth lowest HR/FB rate (5%) in all of baseball.  Some have argued that those numbers are due to regress in a big way eventually, but especially when you consider the company he keeps at the top of these lists– names like Rivera, Nathan, Rafael Soriano, Heath Bell, Hong-Chih Kuo, and a few other pretty good relievers–I don’t think we can just rule out the possibility that Marmol is capable of beating regression to the mean, at least to a certain extent.

That said, I’m still not sure it makes a lot of sense for the Cubs to go long term with Marmol right now.  I suppose he’s as deserving as about any reliever who really deserved their own multiyear deal, but I just don’t think this is a risk the Cubs have to take. Perhaps the Cubs, out of necessity, are trying to limit Marmol’s 2011 salary, and see a new multiyear deal as the only means to that end, but especially considering the amazing numbers he’d bring to the bargaining table, why should the Cubs be so intent on getting this done now?  If they wait a year, and count on his numbers regressing somewhat, couldn’t they possibly increase their leverage?  And assuming he puts together another good season, wouldn’t they like the extra year of data to help them make the best decision? read more about Gaza deal at

Maybe the Cubs see an extension as an inevitability, so they’d rather get it done sooner rather than later.  Again– I think Carlos may just be the rare reliever who actually deserves a multiyear deal.  But unless this is as much an effort to make this year’s budget as it is keeping Marmol around for the next three years, I’m just not sure why the Cubs would feel pressure to get a deal done right now.

Matt Garza: The Even Bigger Race-Changer

Matt GarzaOn Tuesday over at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron shared with us with his latest insights into the developing trade market, arguing that Anibal Sanchez is potentially the biggest-impact acquisition to be made this summer.  Cameron points to his proximity to free agency, as well as the Marlins’ remote playoff odds as the two biggest reasons why they should be entertaining offers for their 27-year old right hander as the deadline approaches.  The above linked article also shines a light on just how good Sanchez has been over the past calendar year (5.1 WAR, 5th best in the NL during that span), while identifying a gradual increase in his velocity as the key to his newfound success. read more about Gazza deal at

As per usual, the chief blogger at FanGraphs makes some good points in support of his argument.  Sanchez has quietly become one of the better starters in his league, and the fact he’s also under club control for 2012 makes him that much more desirable, since he wouldn’t be just a rental for the acquiring team.  However, according to the same criteria that led Cameron to glow about Anibal Sanchez, the Cubs’ own Matt Garza actually appears to be an even more valuable commodity.  In all likelihood, Cameron just assumes that Garza isn’t among the players who will hit the market this summer– and he may be right to do so– but if he were to be made available, I don’t think people would be shocked to learn Garza could be an even bigger race-changer than Sanchez.

Ignoring for a moment the logistics of a potential Matt Garza trade, let’s compare these two just in terms of what they’re capable of on the mound.  A quick look at their respective numbers suggests that they’re actually pretty comparable pitchers–Sanchez owns a career 3.57 ERA on the strength of a 4.24 xFIP, compared to 3.98/4.19 for Garza. While both of them have good-not-great career strikeout rates, they’ve always had respectable command of overall quality repertoires.  However, focusing on their career numbers might actually be a little misleading.  For one, Garza spent the past three years in the AL East, while Sanchez has spent his entire career in the NL, pitching his home games in a very pitcher-friendly ballpark.  More importantly though, it just looks like neither of these guys are the same pitcher today that they were a year or two ago.

In making his case for Anibal Sanchez, Cameron suggests that he’s elevated his game to the point where he’s not the same pitcher that he’s been in the past, but Sanchez isn’t alone in that regard.  If you’ve followed the Cubs at all this year, there’s a chance you’ve read or heard all about the “new” Matt Garza, and how he’s a markedly different pitcher today than he was with the Tampa Bay Rays.  Indeed, Garza has taken nicely to the National League, experiencing a huge spike in his strikeout rate this season (9.43 K/9 in 2011, against a career 7.43), while avoiding the struggles keeping the ball in the park that some predicted.  While we can’t point to a spike in his velocity as the reason behind his new level of ability, there’s no doubt that he’s also going about his business quite differently than he has in the past.  In the past, Garza has basically tried to blow a four-seam fastball by every batter he faces, throwing it well over 60% of the time before this year.  These days he’s throwing his four-seamer just 35% of the time while increasing the usage of the rest of his formidable arsenal.  The inferiority of National League lineups undoubtedly has a lot to do with the numbers he’s managed to put up this season, but Garza’s new approach has almost certainly played a hand in his transformation.

Garza and Sanchez appear to have benefitted immensely from the recent changes in their game.  Both of them are posting by-a-mile career best strikeout rates, while maintaining outstanding numbers across the board (both have xFIPs south of 3.00).  Sanchez has a slightly better walk rate, but Garza has the edge in strikeout rate, and while his 4.07 ERA isn’t as pretty as Sanchez’s 2.82, we can chalk the difference up to the Cubs’ little league defense (they currently have the lowest Team Defensive Efficiency, meaning they convert the fewest percentage of balls in play into outs), as well as the fact Garza has managed to strand just 65% of his baserunners (a figure that tends to regress toward ~75%).  The differences in their performance up to this point are practically negligible, but I’d be willing to bet Garza is seen as the superior pitcher within the industry.  For one, whereas Sanchez has only recently begun throwing in the low to mid 90′s, Garza has averaged 93 mph on the fastball for his career, while showing the ability to dial it up to 95+ when he has to. Furthermore, Garza’s history of success pitching in the toughest division in baseball is probably the tiebreaker between these two if you think they need one.  I suppose there might be some Marlins fans who would argue otherwise, but I’m pretty confident in saying that given the choice between the two, a team that targets Garza would be targeting the better pitcher.

But now for some of those logistics I mentioned earlier.  Despite the fact he’s only about three months older, Garza already has more than 800 big league innings under his belt, to Sanchez’s 582, the biggest reason being one of them has a much cleaner bill of the health than the other.  This is a major consideration, since both of these guys are under contract past this season, and the respective likelihoods of these two staying healthy is as big a factor as it would be with any other commitment to a starting pitcher.  His recent stint on the DL not withstanding, Garza is undoubtedly the better bet to stay healthy going forward; Sanchez has had substantial arm issues in the past, while Garza will probably surpass 180 innings for the fourth consecutive season in 2011.  So not only is youth an equally valid point in Garza’s favor, he would be the considerably safer investment of the two.

I’ve already mentioned that both of these guys are under club control past this season, but while Sanchez will be a free agent at the end of 2012, Garza offers two years of club control beyond this one, which may be the biggest reason why he’s the superior asset. It’s true that between now and the end of their respective deals, both of these guys could be in line for contract extensions that would completely change the outlook of their future value, but for now, the additional year of club control for Garza can only be seen as a point in his favor.  Not only could he make an impact on this year’s playoff chase, but he could be a long-term part of the solution for a team that feels like it’s one good starter away from joining the class of its league.

Of course, the extra year also means that Garza would come at a greater cost than Anibal Sanchez, both in terms of the talent needed to acquire him, and the dollar amount necessary to keep him for a few years.  That said, Garza is only marginally more expensive than Sanchez in 2011– by my admittedly rough calculation, he’d only cost another $1MM or so more than Sanchez for the remainder of the year, so his salary would be about as easy to accomodate midseason.  Also, if at the end of this year Sanchez still has a impressive ERA and win-loss record– two things Garza does not have– then it’s quite likely he’ll be the more expensive pitcher in 2012; not only does baseball’s arbitration process award pitchers based on superficial numbers like ERA, but it’ll also be Sanchez’s last trip through arbitration, which means he’s in line for a substantial raise next season.

No matter which angle I look at this from, it just seems like Matt Garza is the more interesting proposition in every regard.  He’s equally young and affordable as Anibal Sanchez, but even more talented and valuable.  And the Cubs are just as far out of playoff contention as the Marlins are, so while putting Garza on the trading block wouldn’t necessarily be the best course of action for them, doing so would be justifiable given their place in the standings.  If I had to bet on it, I’d say Garza isn’t going anywhere–Hendry paid out the ears to pry him away from the Rays, and it appears as though he and the rest of the Cubs’ front office has job security through at least the rest of this season. After that, Garza’s fate could be totally dependent on whether the Ricketts family is serious about keeping Hendry & Co. around past this year.  Regardless of who’s calling the shots for the Cubs in the future, what to do with Garza will be a key question to answer, because at this point he presents a great deal of value to any number of contenders that are in need of pitching, but at the same time could be seen as part of the long term solution to turning this team’s fortunes around.

Don’t count on Matt Garza being dealt this summer.  As long as Jim Hendry is charge, there’s probably just no way that happens.  But the reality is if the Cubs make him available in July, they might be dangling an incredibly valuable trade chip, as well as the single biggest “race-changer” in the game.

The trade that has to be made

Player A:  .289/.391/.513  15 HR  .392 wOBA

Player B:  .296/.337/.515  19 HR  .367 wOBA

These are 2011 numbers for two National League players.  Player A was just recently traded.  Player B should be traded, but unfortunately, it ain’t that simple.

That isn’t a ton of evidence to go off of, but you may have guessed that Player A is Carlos Beltran, who earlier this week approved a deal that sent him to San Francisco.  Player B is Aramis Ramirez, who, on the other hand, has been in a lot of headlines recently for refusing to waive his no trade protection.  By all accounts, Ramirez would be available, except his reluctance to uproot his family in the middle of the season is preventing a deal from being put together.

The trade that has to be made

People with an understanding of the situation say Ramirez’s family will return to their home in the Dominican Republic some time in August, so it may be that the Cubs have no choice but to try and make a trade after the July 31st deadline, which is totally possible, if slightly more complicated.  Waiting, or being forced to wait until then wouldn’t be ideal though, since rental players like Ramirez are less valuable the later they’re finally dealt, but even if it takes until August, the Cubs must do everything in their power to convince him to approve a trade.  Aramis is one of the very few marketable players on this team’s roster, and given his insistence that any acquiring team subsequently void his 2012 option, there’s no longer that enormous obstacle to surpass.  Also, there are a number of reasons why it’s probably just best that the Cubs make different plans at third base going forward.

Aramis just turned 33 years old in June, so he isn’t exactly ancient in baseball terms, but he’s obviously not on the upswing of his career, and given the rebuilding effort this team is overdue for, it makes sense that it should capitalize on the opportunity to swap Ramirez for a player or two who might provide value for years to come.  And all things considered, Ramirez isn’t really a great deal at $16MM, which is what his club option for 2012 would pay him.  Of course, if the Cubs were inclined to keep Aramis, they could just pay the $2MM to void the option for 2012, and then try and resign him at different terms. That probably wouldn’t be the ideal scenario either though, since Ramirez might still command a sizable contract on the open market, and the reality is, it may be possible to get similar production out of third base without committing significant years or dollars to another 30-something year old.  Ramirez can obviously still hit, but at this point he’s simply more valuable to a contender than he is a team without a clear shot at reaching the playoffs in the near future.

Above all else though, it would just be a disaster if the front office couldn’t capitalize on an opportunity to bring a legitimately good prospect into the fold.  The reason I drew the comparison between Ramirez and Carlos Beltran was to try and get an idea of what the Cubs might be able to get for their third baseman.  See, the Mets were actually in a pretty similar situation to the Cubs before sending Beltran to San Francisco; at 34 years old, he just wasn’t a part of their long term plans, so Sandy Alderson did the sensible thing and got the best prospect he could for a player he didn’t need or want anymore.  Beltran is and always has been a better player than Aramis, which is one reason why the Giants were willing to part with one of the game’s best pitching prospects in Zack Wheeler, but Ramirez’s numbers aren’t a far cry from Beltran’s, and especially considering what a down year it’s been for third baseman across baseball, there’s plenty of reason to believe Ramirez could also fetch a quality prospect.

Given what a disaster this year has been for this team– and that’s about the only word I think you can use to describe the the Cubs’ 2011– they just can’t afford to screw things up with Ramirez.  They’re obviously in a bit of a tough spot, given how reluctant he sounds to OK a deal, but the Cubs have every incentive imaginable to make him waive it, and waive it as soon as possible.  Unless he just goes nuts in the next week or so, his trade value is about as high as it’s going to be, so the sooner they make a deal, the better. Furthermore, Jim Hendry really ought to convince ownership that eating the majority, if not the entirety of Aramis’ remaining salary will be worth getting a better prospect in exchange.  The good thing is there isn’t really any evidence ownership would be resistant to that idea, considering Hendry had the green light to eat most of Kosuke Fukudome‘s salary in the trade with Cleveland.

Unlike that trade though, the Cubs won’t have to settle for the likes of Abner Abreu and and Carlton Smith if they get to move Ramirez.  They won’t get a prospect quite as good as Zack Wheeler, but there’s every reason to believe they could add a player with a chance to be a major contributor on the next playoff caliber Cubs team.  Supposedly the Angels are more interested in Ramirez than anyone else, and if they’re willing to part with one of their better pitching prospects, say, perhaps, Garrett Richards, then the hope has to be that a deal can be reached.  Any prospect of similar value would be a suitable return, and missing out on the chance to make that sort of deal would be nothing less than a complete waste.  Aramis is one of the best hitters to every play for this franchise, so his departure would definitely be bittersweet on some level.  But failing to flip him for something valuable would be just bitter, and 2011 has already been enough of that so far.