Mr. Clement goes to Bean Town
Matt Clement, a good pitcher, and a great guy is now officially an ex-Cub. After losing Pedro to the Mets, Theo Epstein and his merry band of red-hosed brethren swooped down and took one of my favorite Cubs. According to Peter Gammons, the deal is 3 years for $25.5 million, and is contingent upon Clement passing a physical.
Legend has it...
Time was, the Cubs were 'lovable losers' and their fans only cared to see the hometown favorites hit home runs, or strike out opponents. Fans were less concerned about wins and losses than who took the field, and those fans certainly didn't have use for the subtleties of managing a budget.
Well, unfortunately, putting aside the lovable losers tag often requires roster moves that aren't so lovable. Sure, we'd all like a roster of Doug Dascenzo, Augie Ojeda, Julio Zuleta, Rod Beck, Turk Wendell, and Glenallen Hill, but the task of winning often means we have to let lovable guys like Matt Clement go.
A childish part of me wanted to keep Matt Clement. This is the same childish persona that still wants to see Ryno, Dunston, Gracie, 'The Hawk', and Sut come out to play. I can't explain why, It was probably the goatee. Or maybe it was because Clement pitched almost as well as Wood, Prior, Zambrano, and Maddux the last few years while getting a fraction of the credit, but I liked Matt.
However, as a newly called prophet of the Cubs Apocalypse, I must give my blessing to this deal. Clement was good, but not in the budget. Not in the budget for a team trying to sign Carlos Beltran, and not in the budget for a team already carrying the aforementioned Wood, Prior, Zambrano, and Maddux. In the late '90s there was a lot of talk that the Braves had erred by wrapping too much of their payroll into their starting rotation, and not leaving enough for their starting eight. Be letting Clement go, the Cubs are proactively avoiding this situation.
As much as it disappoints me to see him go, I am glad that he has signed with a contender. It would hurt to see a good guy like Clement sign with his hometown Pirates, only to be locked into a losing situation for years to come. The Cosmic Justice of this universe should get Matt Clement a ring before his career is out.
For now, the thing I am looking forward to is the Cubs vs. Red Sox series that will take place June 10-12. I would love to see Clement pitch one of those games, and have half of Wrigley come out wearing their Abe Clement goatees. I envision a nine inning outing by Clement, allowing one hit, only to lose to the Master Greg Maddux, who spins his first career no-hitter. The one hit? Naturally a dinger by none other than... Henry Blanco?