Micah Hoffpauir leaves spring training with 26RBI’s, the most of anyone.  Can we agree to forget this May 1st. when he’s hitting 250 with 10RBI and 4 errors.  Actually I’ll take that from my main pinch hitter, so long as he’s not starting once or twice a week as I fear Lou wants him to.

We’ve yet to bring in another infielder, which I thought we would. If you look at our active roster, we are carrying 14 pitchers.  Is there a move out there to be made?

If I was Jim Hendry, I’d purchase a summer house in Detroit and spend every weekend getting Dave Dombrowski drunk and proposing trades. Derick Lee and Rich Hill for Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander.  Detroit’s a fire sale that is going to be hotter than anything the Marlins, Expos, or White Sox did.

Mickey Mornadini and Ryan Theriot for Curtis Granderson, Carlos Guillen and a handful of prospects.

In fact, more than one GM is looking at his spring training receipts and thinking, lets hope we win. You are not going to see teams waiting to see if they turn it around.  Baltimore, Toronto, Tampa , White Sox, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, The whole AL west, the whole NL west, Cinci, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Houston, Atlanta, Florida, Washington…23 teams (And can you tell me that the Mets and Phillies wouldn’t dump salary if they are stinking it up in June?), that need to win out of the gate and convince their fans to spend money, or else they are going to begin to purge.

That leaves St. Louis, NY, NY, Philadelphia, Boston, Kansas City, and The Cubs, as teams that don’t seem eligible for a fire sale. But KC and the Cards are not going to add lots or long term salary.  Of course some teams could go either way. Anaheim, Toronto, Texas, Oakland, Houston, Atlanta, LA, the White Sox, and maybe Cinci or Florida, could add some salary if they were winning. But will they add salary for 2010, 2011?

Only the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Phillies?, and CUBS can add salary indiscrimintely. (I know, I know, I know…we don’t have an owner. Whose making the descions? BUT we do have a consistant fan base that will turn out and support the team in this economy.  Look at the spring training receipts.) We have the chance be the big fish, to get trades done and players cheap (baseball wise). We have the ability, do we have the willingness?

One person to watch in all this, is Billy Beane.  Most people in the media read MoneyBall

The Hunt for Red October move

if not wrong, then incompletely. The book was not about the importance of OBP, SLG, and OPS.  It was how Beane identified an aspect of the game that was under-valued–OBP, SLG, and OPS–and by investing his limited capital in those area’s outperformed expectations.  Basically the book was an examination of how Beane looked to buy low and sell high. Here is what Joe Posnanski

The Whip and the Body hd

has to say about Mr. Beane this year:

Like most statistically-minded baseball fans, I bow at the alter of Billy Beane

Moulin Rouge! on dvd

Mulan film . I love the way he thinks, I love the way he works, I love that he sticks his nose into other people’s trades, I love that he enjoys shocking the heck out of people, and I love that he is probably doing something so blindingly brilliant that I simply do not get it.

But I don’t get it. I really don’t. I do not understand this team at all. I have no idea how they are going to win games. I’ll be happy to be wrong and then read all about it in Moneyball II: The Wrath of Beane

I wonder if Posnanski’s confusion isn’t at Beane apparently ditching his statistical past and signing ageing veterans, and OBPminus guys like Nomar and Cabrera.  I would doubt Beane has ditched statistics, but rather moved on to a new focus of capitalization.  What type of player is undervalued now?  The mid-aged player with a long term contract? The coming free agent looking for a big pay day? The under-performing 1st round draft pick? The Scott Boras client? I’m not sure. But expect Beane to be.  As all these fire sales are going on, look for him to try to stick his nose in and pry out gems, nuggets and dust heaps.

That is what I want Trader Jim to do, stick his nose in, get messy and make moves.  Capitalize on other teams fears and weakness.  The Cubs are an aging team.  This looks to be a great year to take on salary and while getting youth and prospects in the process.  Teams will be paying you to take their bad contracts.  The Cubs have the resources to absorb bad while improving now, and in the future, does the new owner have the inclination?

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail