Why it's been hard to write about the Cubs lately
Normally, this is Silly Season, the best time of year for Cubs fans. This is where "spring hopes eternal", where we make the trades and free agent buys that give us hope that next year will be The Year! Sometimes it has really, really not worked out (the offseason of Dave Smith, Willie Wilson, and Jose Guzman) and sometimes we've come closer (three years ago when we bought Alfonso Soriano), but historically, this time of year has been just as exciting, if not more so, than the actual season when the games our played.
And, when we're excited, we write about it more out here. We've been in the doldrums, so has Desipio, Ivy Chat, Hire Jim Essian, even Pollyellon hasn't been prolific this winter. Hell, we all figured - new owner? Ought to be a blood-letting, a free-for-all!
One problem, though. We all kind of said it at the end of the fall, but didn't really have anything other than a gut feeling about it. But let's look at this excerpt I borrowed from Baseball Prospects, via ESPN Insider:
When Tom Ricketts purchased the Cubs at the end of the 2009 season,
he spoke openly about how important it was for him to bring a
championship to the north side of Chicago. (It's been a few years.)
That's certainly possible, but previous moves by general manager Jim
Hendry have handcuffed the team on a nearly unprecedented level. The
contract situation Ricketts inherits is among the worst in baseball
history, and with so many immovable players on the roster, rebuilding
will not be an option in the near term. That, in effect, means if the
Cubs are going to get to the World Series for the first time since
1945, it's going to have to be with this group.
Keep in mind, the guys at BP are totally unbiased; in fact, I can't see how people who seem to completely lack passion about the game can write about it. They're pros, they're totally objective, and they're saying the same thing we've been saying all along:
Nobody, not even the Blow Jays, have more bad contracts, more untradeable pieces, and a more static situation than the Cubs. What you see is what you get, and when the national guys are saying it? It's making for a long, boring rest of the winter.
Now, I am happy to report the first images from this year's Cubs Convention: Ryan Dempster looks focused, Geo Soto looks GREAT, and Lou Piniella seems to have regained some level of coherency. And, hey, no Milton Bradley! Derrek Lee is still tall, Ryan Theriot has a better haircut, and we will win more than 83 games this year.
But it isn't going to be due to an injection of talent. In fact, the only excitement we will experience this year is the possibility that one of our arb-eligibles may actually have an arbitration hearing this year. That hasn't happened in over 10 years under the Trib's ownership. Jim Hendry might have to say bad things about Theriot or Carlos Marmol. Yeah, that will end well.
Let's all root for our old guys, because we're going to sink or swim with them.