View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



January 2012



The Good (Wood & Garza), The Bad (Castro), and the Ugly (Madson)

Written by , Posted in General

The Good #1: A day after I sat through reports on Philadelphia sportscasts earlier in the week declaring the Phillies’ interest in signing Kerry Wood, sources are reporting that Wood and the Cubs are are the verge of completing a deal that would keep the 34 year old reliever in Chicago for another year (and possibly two).  I think the “good clubhouse guy” and “heart and soul of the team” labels have a tendency to get thrown around too much in sports, but in the case of Wood I think they’re warranted. It was painful to see him leave the team once and, sentimentally, I don’t want to see it happen again.

The Good #2: While being sure not to deny having talked to teams about dealing Matt Garza, The Theo explained today in the run-up to Cubs Convention ’12 that the Cubs’ best pitcher is not “on the block”. Assuming he has truly been as transparent with Garza’s people during the off-season as he claims and that the team was simply doing it’s due diligence in weighing all options, I can’t imagine this will be a story that lingers into Spring Training. Of course, it’s totally conceivable that Garza will be traded tomorrow…which would be bad, but for now this is good news.

The Bad: The next piece of the Starlin Castro sexual assault puzzle will move into place this week, as the Chicago Police Department are expecting to speak with the Cubs’ shortstop when he returns to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic. Manager Dave Sveum and The Theo predictably deflected questions about the situation, but I get the sense from their quotes that neither of them expect much to anything to come from the situation, but it’s always a bad thing when allegations of sexual assault are involved.

The Ugly: Former Phillies reliever Ryan Madson signed a one year, $8.5 million contract with the Reds on Tuesday. Good for him, right? I’d certainly wouldn’t complain about an $8.5 million contract…unless of course I thought I was getting a $44 million payday just two months prior. Living in Philly, this has been a crazy story to follow since November when Madson was reported to be on the verge of signing a 4-year deal to remain with the Phillies. Just two days later, Jonathan Papelbon came to town (at a higher salary) and suddenly Madson was no longer a part of the Phillies’ future. Today, agent Scott Boras and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. took turns “not debating” each other in public by calling each other liars, with Boras accusing Amaro of pulling an agreement off the table and Amaro claiming that there was no truth to Boras’ assertion that there was a deal in place. Either way, if I’m Ryan Madson, I’m looking for new representation.

  • Lizzie

    The Good: Your stuff, Dustin. Always interesting!
    The Rest of The Good: I’m really happy about Garza and Wood. I still think the Cubs are going to stink up the place this season but at least I’ll have some favorites to watch.
    The Bad: I think the fact that Castro is actually coming to town is a good move on his part. It’s probably the last thing he wants to do this weekend but staying away would do even worse things for the way people perceive him.
    The Ugly: I’ve never liked Boras but it seems the players always have for the deals he could finagle. This brings him down a big peg and that’s probably killing him. A shot to the ego for those who have too much of it is always welcome in my book.

  • Doc Raker

    Kerry Wood is smart , well centered and a class act. He could make more money elsewhere but being with his family and not uprooting his children’s upbringing is more important than more money at this point. He has made plenty of money but how many players who have made plenty of money still want more when possible. Pujols and Aram just came off $80M contracts and the next contract took precedent over family roots. Also, when two sides are sincere, respectful and honest with each other negotiating is easy. “Kerry, you only pitched 51 innings last year, how about we give you a base of $1.5M with incentives.” ‘That sounds good Thed, I would like to stay in Chicago and continue raising my family here.’ No BorASS needed, how refreshing. Apparently Kerry ‘has enough money’ and is putting his family and lifestyle priority over net worth- good for him.
    * BorASS is just mad that he only had one team bamboozled for the 4 year $44M deal and probably told the Phillies he had 3 other clubs interested in the same contract. The Phillies called his bluff and BorASS lost, more teams should call his bluff. Madson is lucky to be making $8.5M for 1 season, with relievers having historically short shelf lives he could be making much less in years to come.

  • Smitty

    Couldn’t agree more about wood. Is he the best pitcher out there? No.would I rather have someone else? No. and garzaneeds to stay, no matter how “deep” our rotation is. Castro will probably settle out of court if this thing even goes further.and screw the phillies. Never liked em.

  • flyslinger2

    So far my Woods and Garza predictions are still on track. Woods is a Cubs lifer because he is a class act: mentally stable, fiscally he is not a pig, and he has vast pitching experience. Garza has to stay because he’s not worth the money to another team to be on the down slope of the bell curve of pitching life. He is still worth 8 to 10 wins for us and be a solid presence in the rotation. He’ll get us into. ’13 or maybe even ’14 with a better chance of the Cubs turning into contenders.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Gareza is on the downslope? He won’t be 29 until after the 2012 season…

  • flyslinger2

    Sure. A true statistical bell curve either has an upward slope heading towards the pinnacle or the opposite. At his age he is still near the top but he is still heading down having reached his peak. My data to support my theory is based on the number of naps my lazy chocolate lab has snuck into this beautiful spring day here on the east coast. He has had plenty. I have no basis in fact. Just a hunch.

  • I had prepared myself to watch a Cubs team that did not have Wood or Garza. So now I know the pitching will be a bit better then I expected.

    This does not much heighten my expectations for the season, which I assume will be interesting mostly for evaluating all the players I have never heard of. I wonder what the odds are on a mid season trade of Garza….

    It is nice to see the Cubs keeping Wood. There is a rightness about that.

  • Jedi

    “My data to support my theory is based on the number of naps my lazy chocolate lab has snuck into this beautiful spring day here on the east coast. He has had plenty. I have no basis in fact. Just a hunch.”

    fly, I appreciate the honesty – several could use a similar perspective.

  • Buddy

    As Marv Levy once said, the only guy who needs to be good in the clubhouse is the towel boy.

  • Norm

    Its a good hunch Fly…most players peak at age 27, so the chances he is on the wrong side of that bell curve in the next year or two are pretty good.

  • cap’n obvious

    Flysinger….I like a good competition. I have a yellow lab that could go nap-for-nap with yours. One particularly slow day in my home office last year, I counted 17 naps for my big boy. That’s 16 more than I EVER get. What a life.

  • jim fetterolf

    Been some discussion here in KC about trading for Garza and what I noticed looking through his stats is how much he spiked when moving from the AL to the NL. Given his projected salaries, age, and AL experience, I don’t see a huge market for him in trade, certainly not two top prospects as the Cubs are supposedly asking.

  • Norm

    I think you’re going to be surprised Jim…depending on your definition of ‘top prospects’.