The Cubs dealt fan favorite** and celebrated car jumper, Joey Gathright to the Baltimore Orioles for another favorite*** Ryan Freel today.
This does two things:
• First off, the Cubs now have a player that can play pretty much everywhere, and a player with decent speed. The problem is that he hasn't been healthy in a few years. He only played 48 games last season, and 75 games in 2007. He's already been on the DL once this year as well.
• Secondly, the Cubs get to clear a roster spot today for Randy Wells, and it keeps the feel-good story of year Bobby Scales on the roster for a few more days. But, I feel that with Freel around it probably means Scales is headed back to Iowa at some point.
(*Ok, the title is misleading, because Freel is new, but not really any improvement on the team. **Gathright a fan-favorite is probably the most absurd thing I've written at Grota since joining, but he can jump cars.)
The Cubs aren't gaining any payroll since the O's are send us some cash, and Freel can provide some much-needed utility play that the Cubs lacked during all the injuries. I'm not sure if this will cause a dent, but he's probably better than Gathright, at least with the bat.
Give Baltimore credit - they earned tonight's victory. With 0 outs in the 9th, their closer George Sherrill loaded the bases and then promptly sat everybody down.
The Cubs fought and scrapped their way back to make things interesting, but tonight just wasn't meant to be. After Sean Marshall crapped his pants in front of 41,000 screaming maniacs, the Cubs got close on the back of a Jim Edmonds 3-run homer. (Edmonds is working really hard to earn the approval of Cub fans. I still think he should go all out and buy a beer for the bleachers, but then throw an M. Night Shamalalaetcetera twist on them by making it actually be a beer.)
The Cubs then made it interesting in the 8th and 9th by stranding a combined 6 runners. I guess the gods decided that 14 straight was enough. And while Ron Santo painfully lamented tonight`s tough loss - I swear, I`m shocked that Cubs baseball has yet to kill that man, and I`m doubly shocked that he`s never let out a long, loud, unintelligible `ffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuudddddddddddgeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee`while calling a game. It`s only a matter of time, and we should start a gambling pool on when and where.
Actually, the best part about tonight`s game is Carlos Marmol. Sure, he hit a batter. Sure, he threw some ridiculously bad pitches. But, ultimately, he shut down the Orioles with minimal damage. He still only threw 5 strikes in 11 pitches, but he got some first strikes, he got a little help from Geo Soto who threw out the previously hit Melvin Mora, and that`s all drastically better than what he did his last two times out.
It`ll still be another outing or five before I`m convinced that he`s okay, but he seems to be on the right track.
Ted Lilly takes the mound tomorrow. It should be an interesting game.