Archive for December, 2005

Now here’s a swap I’d like to see

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

It’s been a while since the Cubs and Sox hooked up on a deal. I’d like to see the Cubs send Corey Patterson, Bobby Brownlie or Todd Wellemeyer and Geovany Soto to the Chisox for Joe Borchard and Casey Rogowski or Jerry Owens.

From what I can see the Chisox could use a little depth at catcher and another arm wouldn’t hurt. In the event that Podsednik went on the DL again they would need a speed option and Owens gets thrown out too much.

The Cubs need a righthanded bat that can come in and spell for Jacque Jones when lefties are on the hill, and Borchard would do nicely. I like Rogowski as a backup 1B – who knows what’s going to happen to D Lee and Rogowski ain’t gonna beat out Thome or Konerko at first base.

Oh, and I forgot. If there’s one manager in baseball that can turn Corey Patterson around it’s Ozzie.

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The High Cost of Mediocrity

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Well, maybe it was just a case of misplaced faith on the part of Cubs fans. You see, our favorite GM Jim Hendry was supposed to have a big offseason this year. His team needed an overhaul, and he had the cash and pitching prospects to make it happen. Hendry’s task was pretty straight forward, he needed to obtain a leadoff man, sort out his middle infield situation, bolster the bullpen, and fill two outfield spots. It sounded like a daunting task, but Hendry also seemed to have a plan. First, he whet our appetites by signing(and overpaying for) Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry. Nice additions to the bullpen, but face it, these aren’t the sexy moves that would fix the offense. And besides, after the LaTroy Hawkins Experience, Cubs fans know not to get too excited about free agent relief pitchers. Obviously, this was Jim Hendry just clearing the simple jobs off his desk before he went for his big score: Rafael Furcal.

Oops. We all know what happened there. The Dodgers swooped in to sign Furcal. This left the Cubs up a creek without a paddle. Hendry bounced back by making a trade for Juan Pierre, but he was forced to overpay in prospects (consider that the Cubs traded 3 minor leaguers for Pierre, while the Red Sox traded 3 minor leaguers for Beckett, Lowell and Mota). Now there was a problem. Jim had planned on signing Furcal and then trading Todd Walker to fill the void in right field. But trading Walker would mean that the Cubs would have a starting middle infield consisting of light hitting rookie Ronny Cedeno and light hitting veteran Neifi Perez. There was still talk among the faithful that Hendry could pull off a deal for a right fielder, but now it would be tougher. With Walker off the table, and two of his better pitching prospects off to Florida, Hendry had considerably less clout in the trading market than he had expected. And with the outfield still unsettled, the Cubs felt they had to hang onto Corey Patterson.

I’m sure that Jim Hendry was working hard behind the scenes to aquire a right fielder. I’ll say that I was a little disappointed when Brad Wilkerson and Termel Sledge were traded to Texas. Rumors abounded that the Cubs had an interest in Jacque Jones, but this was written off as a ploy by the Cubs GM to get some leverage in the trade market. After all, trading is what Jim Hendry does best. Well, maybe not. You see, Manny Ramirez is still in Boston. Bobby Abreu remains in Philadelphia. Wilkerson and Kevin Mench are still in Texas. And Jacque Jones has signed a 3 year, $16 million deal to play right field for the Cubs. But hey, at least the Cubs savvy front office didn’t overpay.

You see, ever since Furcal signed with the Dodgers, Jim Hendry has been on the run. He hasn’t been proactive, he’s been reactive. And every move made has cost us a little more than it should have. Instead of being willing to pay the lump sum up front to make the team better, the Cubs are financing it right back into 4th place. Sure there’s still a chance that Hendry could pull off a deal for Miguel Tejada, but does anybody think that Hendry can do it, since he won’t be trading from a position of strength?

So in 2006, when you’re watching Jacque Jones strike out for the 120th time, think about how we’ve only got 2 more years of that. And when you see Neifi Perez batting 2nd and playing shortstop, well, we’ll only have to put up with that through 2007. Oh, and then look at the bench, and see that the Cubs are paying Corey Patterson $3 million or so to be pinch runner. Take it all in. And then just thank your lucky stars we didn’t overpay for Rafael Furcal.

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It’s twue, it’s twue!

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Well boys and girls, Hendry the Clown means what he says! Today all of the non-tendered Cubs were offered contracts, which means that arbitration-eligible players such as Jerry Hairston, Jr., Juan Pierre, Will Ohman, Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior will be eligible for arbitration. It also means that the Cubs are on the hook for $2.2-4.0 million for the services of Corey Patterson.

It’s going to be next to impossible to unload Patterson because no GM in their right mind would pay that kind of money for a guy that hits .215 and ignores his management. Anticipate the following scenario, because it’s going to happen: “It’s the bottom of the ninth, Cubs are down by a run. Men on first and third, two outs, the other team goes to the pen for a righthanded reliever. Now Dusty Baker is calling back the righthanded batter and going to Corey Patterson for a lefthanded bat!”

George Goebels must have been thinking about Cubs fans when he said: “Did you ever get the feeling that the whole world is a tuxedo and you’re a pair of brown shoes?”

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Yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Monday, December 19th, 2005

Things were looking pretty good, the Bears D was playing smash-nose defense, it was 9 degrees in Soldier Field – it was so cold it would freeze the balls off a brass monkey. And the Bears were ahead! Then all of a sudden Bears head coach Lovie Smith did the unthinkable – he signalled to Rex Grossman and told him to get ready for the second half. It was almost like Wilford Brimley in ‘The Natural’ telling Robert Redford to “suit up.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, Smith was quoted as saying: “I just felt we needed a spark…the defense was playing well. Rex was ready to go. He had that look about him. It was a gut feeling, and we went with it.”

Well Lovie I hope you have a few more gut instincts; any way you could talk to that fella over on the North Side that manages the Cubs?

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Tuesday is non-tender day

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

Now we all know that Hendry has said that he would offer !@#$ING PATTERSON arbitration instead of non-tendering him. But is it bluff, bravado or stupidity? Or will he swing a trade with a club that has a similar non-tender player? According to here are the people likely to be non-tendered: MIL: (RP Danny Kolb, 3B Russell Branyon,) SEA: (RP Gil Meche, RP Ryan Franklin, IF Willie Bloomquist,) LAD: (C Jason Phillips, 1B Hee-seop Choi,) ATL: RP Jim Brower, BAL: C Geronimo Gil, CHW: IF Willie Harris, WAS: (IF Junior Spivey, IF Henry Mateo,) CIN: SP Ramon Ortiz and MIN: SP Kyle Lohse. I’m sure there will be many others.

So now that Hendry has played his card, why doesn’t he trade Patterson to Cincy for Ortiz or trade him to the Twins for Lohse? Perhaps he can bluff his way into unloading Corey’s contract on one of these teams and pick up another pitcher. Will either of these guys compete for a starting job? Probably not, but I’d much rather see their names on the 40 man than Corey’s.

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