The Cubs signed Glendon Rusch to a 2 year, 6 million dollar contract
Let’s hope this move by the Cubs isn’t the last shoe that drops. This isn’t a bad move by the Cubs, just a little underwhelming. Rusch pitched well enough as a starter last year (once his manager finally figured out that he was terrible out of the bullpen) and will likely have the 5th starter’s job next year, as long relievers don’t generally make $3 million a year. It also reveals a little more about the Cubs offseason plans. First of all, the rumor that the Cubs would be chasing free agent pitcher AJ Burnett can be put to rest. Second, the Cubs aren’t expecting the pitching rich farm system that Andy McPhail is so proud of to produce a starter any time soon. Particularly disappointing is the situation surrounding Angel Guzman, who nearly made the team out of spring training in 2003. Since then, Guzman has been riddled with injuries, and although he is currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League, the Cubs don’t seem to expect him to be on their starting staff anytime soon. Perhaps Jim Hendry will now consider trading this once untouchable prospect before he becomes old enough to join the AARP.
Archive for October, 2005
The Cubs signed Glendon Rusch to a 2 year, 6 million dollar contract
In the first of what I hope is many moves by Jim Hendry this offseason, the Cubs announced that they had exercised the options on Todd Walker and Scott Williamson, but have declined the option on Burnitz. Rather than bashing Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker like many have done, including myself, I am going to try to look at the Cubs from an optimistic point of view, starting with this move.
I can’t be happier about this move. I like Todd Walker a lot and I think his play at 2b is very underrated by MLB as well as most Cub fans who were fine with the idea of the Cubs handing him his walking papers. He is a solid hitter that can hit in numerous spots in the order. A quick check on Baseball Reference has him most similar to Jose Vidro, who if I remember correctly was a guy that a lot of fans were craving. Walker is a career .290 hitter with a career .348 On Base %. Those are numbers that are very much what the Cubs need to be successful. He makes good contact and does not strike out a lot. In his 5 seasons in which he had at least 500 Ab’s, he has never struck out more than 85 times, and has drawn somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 walks in the process.
Some harp on Walker for his defense, but that is just foolish. He is a career .981 fielder at 2b, which is equal to the league average. No Range at 2b they say? his 4.37 range factor is higher than the 4.29 league average range factor, which makes him above average. Those fielding stats, coupled with his solid bat and small price tag make Todd Walker a gem of a player to have on this ball club and one I feel is vital to the Cubs being successful in 2006.
Before you get your panties in a bunch about Williamson, let me make my case for this guy. Before he busted himself up physically, he was an extremely dominant man out of the Cincinnattcinchingi pen. In his rookie year, he post 12 wins out of the pen, as well as 19 saves. His career ERA is slightly over 3 at 3.08. In 2004, while playing for Boston, he was having a great season before getting hurt. He even admits himself that last year, he tried to come back too soon. So, if that’s the case, we need to throw out the 2005 stats due to injury. If that’s the case, then Scott Williamson could be gold in 2006 as he comes back completely healthy. At 2 million, I think Scott is definitely worth the gamble to shore up a pathetic bullpen
Chicago finally has a World Series Championship. It didn’t come the way we Cub fans were hoping, but the second longest drought in pro sports has been ended, and that’s something. As I said before, I did not root for or against the Sox in the playoffs, I just sort of took it all in as an impartial observer. As a baseball fan, I had to be impressed with the White Sox. Everytime the door cracked open even a little, they put their shoulder on it, and forced their way in. I also had to marvel at the sorry state of the National League, which hasn’t won a World Series game since 2003. But I am first and foremost a Cubs fan, and I have to say I was curious. You see, like it or not, White Sox and Cubs fans were, until yesterday, in the same boat. Both had ridiculously long World Series droughts, and while the Red Sox were (until 2004) thrown in with us, they weren’t the same, as they’d at least made a few trips to the Series since 1960. I had a question that only a White Sox fan could answer for me, and luckily I knew a good one. Contrary to popular belief, not all Sox fans are meth using Cubs haters. My buddy from college, Nate, has been a Sox fan since before he could walk, and in the decade I’ve known him, he’s never made it his business to tell me how bad my team was. In fact, he even tried to convince me that they were going to win game 7 in 2003. So I figured I could trust Nate to answer my question for me: what’s it like for your team to FINALLY win the World Series?
Here’s his answer:
The weirdest part of this whole thing is I’m not even certain it’s completely sunk in yet. I know they won and I was giddy at first. But the most surprising emotion I have had since that final out was this: Relief. I am absolutely relaxed. You dream about this day coming for years. Things happen that prevent the joy of a world championship. Take my experiences and add onto the fact that my life span is only a third of the amount of time the White Sox waited between World Series championships and you can’t help but feel like a world championship is never going to happen. And then, when I least expected it to happen (you remember I had no confidence in this team at the beginning of the year), the White Sox win the World Series. It’s an incredible feeling, but it completely releases all of the years of frustration and heartache from missed opportunities and unfulfilled expectations. And it shows me how blessed I am that I had the opportunity to see this happen when my grandfather lived for 84 years and never got to see this day. When you put that into perspective, the whole thing can really overwhelm you. But right now, and I don’t mean to steal anything from Bill Simmons, I truly am at peace.
And this will happen for you someday. There’s no doubt in my mind. A part of me thinks that the Cubs will win next year. To me, that would seem almost appropriate. Three straight years of the three most doomed franchises winning the World Series. The overhyped Red Sox first. The nationally beloved Cubs last. And the White Sox in the middle, sandwiched between the two teams that overshadowed them for so long. It’s poetic.
See? White Sox fans aren’t all so bad. And while my team didn’t win it, I can at least be happy for the White Sox fans that I know(hi mom) who have been waiting their whole lives for this.
And Nate can finally put away his Jerry Dybzinski voodoo doll.
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Stealing a title from Spike Lee, I want to exercise good sportsmanship and say Congratulations to the MLB’s Best Team in 2005.