The Pros and Cons of Signing Aramis
With opening day only a glorious two days from now, a lot of things have been falling into place for our beloved Cubs. First, the pitching appears to be relatively on-track. Ok, ok, so Mark Prior might miss the first week and a half of the season. Big whoop. Kerry Wood is healthy, and I would be surprised if we didn't see a combined 60+ starts from these two aces.
Likewise, although the Cubs have brought back Ben Grieve in a Triple A capacity, it appears as though God is just and Dubois will be on the ML roster at the start of the season.
In fact, the biggest concern most Cubs fans have going into the start of the 2005 season isn't about player health or even player performance. No, we're freaked out something fierce because Aramis Ramirez hasn't been resigned.
Let's look at this for a moment. The Cubs, who have gone through something like 100 starting third basemen in the 30 or so years that Ron Santo has been retired, are dilly-dallying about resigning the most explosive, offensive star the team currently has. Sounds like a disaster, right?
Nah. As Earl Weaver once said, give me 25 players in their walk years, and I'll give you a World Championship. In other words, there's no better motivation for Aramis than the knowledge that he'll be due for a HUGE payday once the season ends. We're talking MVP numbers here, baby, and here at GROTA, 2005 is all that counts. Right?
Then again, Cubs fans have a lot to be nervous about. This is the team that once had a GM permit the best pitcher of the modern day era to take off for Atlanta. This is the team that had the same GM drive the best second baseman in the history of the game into an early retirement, because "The game just isn't fun anymore." Yep, this is the team that annoys its stars, abuses its players, and shows no respect for the guys who put asses into seats.
Well, ok, except for how they kissed Sammy Sosa's ass for 13 long, painful years. And, hey, we saw how that turned out.
Anyway, I'm ok with Aramis not being signed by the start of the season. I have to figure that he'll come back no matter what. If he has a mediocre year, so what, we get him cheaper. If he has a monster year, so what, we probably just won the World Series and he deserves whatever contract he gets. Right?
Furthermore, Jim Hendry has a plan. Yep, that's right. You heard it here first. Granted, I have nothing to back that up on. But I'm willing to bet you that he has a plan, and it probably resembles something like this:
After the Cubs start the season unimpressively (say, 21-19 record, or maybe even 19-21), Hendry breaks down, forces Dusty to bench Hollandsworth, and makes a huge trade to the D-Rays for Baez and Aubrey Huff. The same Aubrey Huff who can play the outfield, first base, and yep, third base, too. Huff then will provide the offensive spark that was missing. He'll also be able to fill Aramis's position adequately at third base. Knowing that the Cubs suddenly don't need his services quite so badly, Aramis agrees to a cheaper (but still prolific) contract. Everyone's happy, and the Cubs win the World Series. So, it's totally ok that Aramis hasn't signed with the team yet. Hendry has something up his sleeve. Right?