As per young Kurt this morning: (with his question boiled down to its simplest version)
"Without Bradley and/or Dunn, would you agree that the Cubs should be favored to win the NL Central and reach the playoffs?"
This assumes the following:
- Bradley and Dunn are our only two available choices to play our Vacant Corner Outfield Position DuJour - currently regarded to be Right Field.
- That you, the gentle reader, are going to answer Yes, to complete the rest of Kurt's premise.
I think both are presumptuous in nature. I, for one, believe most strongly that the Cubs would NOT be favored to win the NL Central without acquiring a Strong Left-Handed Hitting Corner Outfielder.
I also believe that we would NOT win the Central, but that really isn't the question and is immaterial to this discussion. Would the Baseball World, at large, favor the Cubs in the Central if they do not obtain this elusive stud hoss?
I think the World at Large SHOULD favor the Cubs, but they will not. Why? Because the Baseball media has made such a big deal about the Cubs having to find this Left Handed Beast, that their failure to do so will prompt the media to overly downgrade us.
So, let's review, so far:
- If the Cubs do not sign a left-handed power hitting outfielder, then the National Baseball Media as a whole will downgrade the Cubs to the point that they will NOT be expected to win the Central;
- This downgrading, in and of itself, is unfair. The Cubs won last year without this Big Swinging Hoss, and they ought to be regarded as the favorites again this year, in a division marked by, at best, mild erosion;
- All this being said, even if every last media outlet in fact got smart and picked us to win again, we're not going to win squat without this guy.
Got that? We're not going to be picked to win a division that we should be picked to win, even though we won't, if we don't get some more left handed hitting help.
It also isn't necessarily correct that it has to be Adam Dunn or Milton Bradley? What about Bobby Abreu? Also, think about this: everyone thinks we traded DeRosa to get the parts necessary to pry Jake Peavy from Divorce Court. What IF, instead, we took all them arms, plus some of our own, and went after a non-free-agent corner outfielder?
What if - dare to dream - we tossed six guys at the Dodgers for mine and thunderbird's Man Crush DuJour - Andre Ethier? Or someone like that? Finally, why not completely show our ass - even though he ain't left handed, and he can't play right field with a backhoe, bazooka, and trampoline, why not Get Manny? He hits curveballs in the dirt 450 feet!! Throw him 30 milldo for the year, hire him a coupla hookers, a concierge, a psychic and his own Hamburger James, and watch him hit four hundred for us!!
Point is, none of the guys available either via free agency or being actively shopped are capable of playing a decent RF in Wrigley for 150+ games. Depending on who's doing the math, Dunn > Bradley or Bradley > Dunn or Abreu > Dunn and so on and so on, but all of the >'s are incremental, at best.
Suffice it to say: whomever we get out there will hit better than Fukudome, and will field worse than Fukudome, but the offensive boost will be larger than the defensive lapse, regardless of who it is.
It is just important for Hendry to get SOMEONE, for chrissakes. In baseball, as in life, Perception Is Reality, and if the Cubs don't get this Colossus of Clout, especially after dumping DeRosa, they themselves cannot possibly believe in themselves, after all has been said and written this winter.
Although Jim Hendry left the GM meetings without Peavy, there are still rumors that the deal might still happen ... thus prompting this photoshop:
Of course, I should have added a Cubs cap to his head.
As this off season progresses, despite the two years of winning we've seen from the Cubs, I get more and more of a feeling that Hendry will go to Arizona in March as a sad participant. He's not going to get anybody he wanted. No Peavy, no Marquis deal, and no Milton Bradley.
Why "no Miltion Bradley", you ask? As much as the Cubs may be targeting him, I can't help but wonder if he's heard the rumors we've heard - Cub fans are racists, underperforming black outfielders get called very nasty names at Wrigley, etc. - and if he has, then why would he sign with Chicago? And even if he does sign with the Cubs, how long before he tries to climb the bleacher walls to fight somebody?
Lastly, Kerry Wood signed a 2 year deal with the Indians today that will pay him at least 20 million. Not bad for Woody. I remain sad to have seen him go, but I'm wondering when Cleveland comes to Toronto next summer. Maybe I'll try to see him pitch.
Just a few thoughts to add to all the discussion today...
First and foremost, while the Cubs have hardly done anything, at least they appear to be feigning some big moves. Maybe they'll bring in Bradley, maybe they'll pull Peavy, maybe they'll just stand there with their thumbs a'twiddling.
But based on the recent rumors, I can safely adjust the Peavy Trade-0-Meter to the following scale...
As for Mark DeRosa. He has been sitting hot and heavy in the midst of a flurry of trade rumors. Rob has already written about why the Cubs should not give up DeRosa for too little, while Goat Readers Alan and Bob are both voicing opposition to the idea.
Well, here's the deal. DeRosa is a versatile right-handed player who can play 2B and RF, who is in his early 30's, who has a year remaining on his contract and is coming off far-and-away the best season of his career. In other words, he almost certainly will never have a year as good as 2008, he almost certainly will never have as much value as he does right now, and if he isn't on the trading block then Jim Hendry might just as well pack up his things and go home.
I appreciate DeRosa greatly, but all things being equal he has to be the odd man out offensively. Chances are, Mike Fontenot - or better yet, a Fontenot/Theriot platoon at second - will match DeRo's offense next season for far less money. Chances are, DeRosa would rate a below average right fielder both offensively and defensively if the Cubs placed him there exclusively.
As much of an advocate as I am for that "team leader" type, I'd rather have a more balanced lineup with the best chances possible of putting up good offensive numbers next season. While I certainly wouldn't be upset if DeRosa returned for a third year in Chicago, to say that of all players he is untouchable falls on the side of ludicrous. He should be available for the right parts, and if he helps land the Cubs Peavy and change, then I'd say yes.
Actually, no, what I'd really say is "YES!!!!!!"
I heard the same rumors that Colin did, but my God, DeRo for J.A. Happ??? You have got to be freakin' kidding me???
NO WAY in hell do you pull the trigger!! I mean, I want Peavy more than probably anyone else here, but would I, in essence, give up Pie, DeRo, Vitters, Marshall, and another prospect for him? NO, NO, NO a million times no.
Now, here are some of the parameters that I understand:
- Phils want DeRo, are kind of sick of their shortstop and his mouth
- Orioles want Pie and they desperately need a shortstop
- Padres want to get rid of Peavy but are stuck with only one trading partner
- Cubs want Peavy and Brian Roberts, and also want to divest themselves of the Marquis du Suck
So, here's the deal:
- Cubs send Phils DeRo and the Marquis du Suck and $3MM
- Phils send Cubs Jimmy Rollins and Happ
- Cubs send Orioles Rollins, Micah Hofpauir and Pie
- Orioles send Cubs Roberts and Garrett Olsen
- Cubs send Padres Sean Marshall, Olsen, Happ, Vitters and Cedeno
- Padres send us our new staff Ace
We give Cedeno, Hofpauir, Pie & Marshall the opportunity to play full time. We get rid of the last year of du Suck. We get our staff ace, and our leadoff man. The Phils get a Super guy, and a #5 pitcher, and get rid of a developing clubhouse cancer. The Orioles fill in a gaping hole at shortstop, a CF with still a lot of upside, a DH who could hit 30 HRs for them, and they don't have to spend a whole lot of money to resign Roberts. The Padres get a bunch of young cheap talent, and John Moores can afford to pay for his divorce.
But, Hendry, for God's sake, DON'T TRADE MARK DEROSA FOR J.A. HAPP STRAIGHT UP!! I've seen Happ, met him, and he's no DeRo (true story, he's from L-P, my neck of the woods, and I am just shocked that he has gone as far already as he has).
It sure has been a slow off season. So ... so slow. Boring. Falling ... asleep.
Wait! There are trade rumors! Apparently, the Cubs are pursuing Jake Peavy, and they might be the only show left in town. And actually, Goat Reader thunderbird1245 made an interesting suggestion ... what if the Cubs dealt Rich Harden in their pursuit for a lefty bat?
Let's take it a couple of steps further and suggest this kind of move ...
Step One: The Cubs trade for Jake Peavy, dismantling their weak-ass farm system in the process.
Step Two: The Cubs deal Harden and Mark DeRosa to the Yankees for Robinson Cano and Ian Kennedy. Or hell, they could even do this one first, finagle it to get more than just Cano and Kennedy, and deal whatever prospects they get from the Yankees for Peavy as well.
Step Three: Profit.
Now, Felzz thinks this is a bad idea. Maybe he's right. Kennedy was ugly last year, going 0-4 with an 8+ ERA. The only problem was that it wasn't entirely because of his lack of ability - he suffered a whack of injuries, including a strained right lat muscle (whatever the hell that is), and being diagnosed with bursitis behind the scapular. Hmm, lat muscle? The scapular? Okay, maybe I'm going to change my mind ... it sounds to me like he was making stuff up. What's next, he busted his quadingle? He strained his laisen? Riiiight.
That said, maybe the injuries had nothing to do with it, but Kennedy was a highly rated prospect before 2008 and his age would definitely make him an enticing player to pick up. Then the Cubs can move onto Step Four: abandoning Marquis at the airport, and they'll be good to roll.
It's just a thought, it seems unlikely to me that the Yankees would make that trade, although they might be just desperate enough for pitching to consider it.
Haight reports that Len Kasper had his contract extended. That's great news, as we love Len here at GROTA. In the past we've interviewed him, but I foolishly lost his EMail address after I switched computers last year. I might dig out my old one, find his contact info, and set up another round of GROTA interviewing.
And with that, I leave to watch The Mentalist and Pushing Daisies. Have a good night.
Atlanta seems to have sold the farm to bring in Javy Vazquez from the Sox. As you may remember (and I don't have the link anymore) I predicted the Sox would repeat as AL Champs when they brought in Vazquez in the Winter of 2005-6. At the time, I thought him to be THE premier Latin pitcher in the world in terms of talent. Yes, I know full well who Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Zambrano, etc. are.
But as you all know, he did not exactly come up large for the South Siders, and Ozzie Tourette famously ripped on him last year for his lack of testicular fortitude in games that mattered. However, Ozzie's boss still managed to extract the best catching prospect in all of ball, along with possibly a top pitching prospect. Not bad work for a guy your own manager managed to discredit, in print. Oh, but you know those Mexicans...always bringing down property values in their neighborhood!!
(Just kidding. I know Ozzie isn't Mexican)
Anyway, what this means to us is, pretty much, the Braves weren't kidding when they declared themselves OUT of the Jake Peavy Sweepstakes. So Jake's 2009 baseball home will either be San Diego or Wrigleyville. The whole Peavy Trade Rumor story has been quite entertaining to me, at least, over this particular Winter of Discontent.
Maybe that's the whole purpose of this thing - instead of being royally and understandably pissed off that the so-called Best Cubs Team in a Century got swept in the NLDS, the Braintrust is holding the whole "trade for Peavy" thing in front of us, just like you might hold a shiny object in front of a kid with ADHD to distract him from his homework, or whatever else he should be doing.
I agree with all of you who say that we have bigger needs than another live arm to what arguably is the best rotation in all of ball already. We all agree that we need to identify a leadoff man. Many of us would like to see a pursuit for Rafael Furcal, which would push Theriot to second, and DeRosa in RF. Others think we need a 35 year old guy like Bobby Abreu or Raul Ibanez in RF.
I myself prefer a trade for Brian Roberts, for these reasons. First, it would provide good homes for some of our assets who are literally "dying on the vines" for lack of opportunities - Hofpauir, Marshall, Cedeno, Pie, maybe Fontenot. Secondly, it would give us that leadoff man and left-handed bat. Then we could have a setup where DeRosa plays right, Johnson plays left and Fukudome does some of both, getting maybe 400 ABs against right-handed pitching while he spells Johnson in CF at times, spelling DeRosa in RF other times when he needs rest and/or while DeRosa goes to spell Ramirez or Roberts.
But, as we've mentioned the past couple of days, our national trade deficit might become a surplus before THAT particular trade is consummated. I think Peter Angelos has jpegs of Roberts on his computer, and McFail can't function until the nurses bring him his pudding around 2. I'm not really willing to wait around all winter while those two douchemarks get their shit together.
So, all the excitement we have left is to see if Hendry really does go through with his bizarre experiment, to determine once and for all if you really CAN have Too Much Pitching. I personally don't think you can. God knows we've never come close in all the time I have watched this pistolwhipped trainwreck of a ballteam. Most years, I've had to watch things like Ray Burris and Bill Bonham throw batting practice to the rest of the league, the whole 1985 rotation go on the DL within 3 weeks time, and Andrew Lorraine and Kyle Farnsworth searching for a way to keep their walks under double-digits during their starts.
So, why not? We watch the Cubs to see them win, primarily, but on a lower level, we want to see excitement, regardless of its source. If the most entertaining thing that happens to us this off season is that Dr. Henderstein builds the most monstrous pitching staff in all creation, what the hell? Give it a whirl. Let's see what happens. Give John Moores what he thinks he needs. Slide him a couple of classy hookers from Lakepoint Towers - he's recently single. Whatever it takes, man. Just give us something real to talk about here. I have a hard enough time being funny as it is - without a real topic to run with, whatever I come up with is going to sound forced, lame, and contrived.
A lot like this, you know?
1) There seems to be some sort of informal unspoken moratorium on Major League Transactions until, at least, the Winter Meetings. Owners and GMs are uncertain about how the Global Economy will directly impact them, so as long as everyone sits in their own silos, nobody is going to stick their neck out to, you know, actually SPEND money. Once everyone gets together, someone WILL flinch, and everyone else will move, so they don't get left behind.
2) It is not a rumor - Cubs management is in contact with both the Orioles and Padres. As they are in contact with the other 27 teams in the league. But as berselius and kp point out, with Kevin Towers and Andy McFail in the mix, negotiations will move at a glacial, maybe even a galacial, pace.
3) Then throw in the added confounding element of the proposed sale of the team. Hendry and Kenney are bound, by courtesy, to run any high-dollar transactions past ALL of the prospective buyers, to ensure their approval. Since none of these buyers will probably be Mark Cuban, you would assume much harrumphing by the stuffed shirts that are still buyers.
4) Finally, taking into consideration the asinine stance regarding his No-Trade language by our top prospect (Samardjia) and the alleged 'hands-off' status of some of our most tradeable Major League assets (Marshall and Fontenot), the pool of available trade bait is mighty shallow. Myself, I think all of part 4 is just posturing by our Braintrust, which is in some respects understandable, but it seems to best serve the Sale Value of the Cubs more than it does the Talent Value.
So, therefore, holding your breath while waiting for the Big One that is going to push us over the top in 2009 is Not Advisable. To paraphrase former Celtics coach Rick Pitino, Brian Roberts is NOT coming in the door. Jake Peavy is NOT coming in the door. Hell, not even Raul Ibanez is coming in the door.
At least not this week.
GROTA reader Frank said the following in the comments section from a post I made last week in regards to the trade possibility of Jake Peavy: Seems that you and Al Yellon agree on this subject. Who'd have thunk it?
I am compelled to address this issue before it gets out of hand. It's true, Frank, that neither Al nor I were apparently impressed by last week's resurgence of rumors. In my case, I've got a bunch of reasons why I think it's unlikely that Peavy will be donning a Cubs uniform next season, but I am willing to acknowledge the possibility at least.
As far as me and Al, while he is not my BFF, or definitely under no circumstances is he my GBOTR, or even my SFIHOWWTDAISKB, I'm sure that we agree on plenty of subjects.
But in this case, as I mentioned in my comments to your comments, I made a Peavy-O-Meter because I'm confident that things change. Like the Apocalypse Clock, the slightest action makes the needle creep up or down. I'm happy to say that as of today, the Peavy Trade-0-Meter stands at this position:
As KP noted in the shout box, never count out Andy McPhail to maintain a perhaps unreasonable affection for Cubs prospects who were once in his care.
The Orioles may or may not play the third team in the long-rumored Cubs-???-Padres trade combo that would land Jake Peavy in Chicago, particularly if Felix Pie is available.
According to the Sun, the trade is in no way imminent, but talks are on-going as the Cubs continue their scheme to build the scariest pitching rotation since that time Einstein built a time machine and assembled the deadly five-some of Maddux-Koufax-Gibson-Johnson and Young, although they failed to win the Series that year because they ran out of room in the booth and had to settle for Abe Lincoln at second base. (Let history reflect that we at GROTA always felt he was best suited to play first base due to his lankiness, plus ol' Abe honestly couldn't hit a curveball to save his life.)
But I digress. We've been voicing the view that the Cubs are surely not done yet, while also insisting that whatever comes next won't be on anybody's radar. It's not Baseball Prophecy so much as it's Baseball Conventionalism, and I'll love being proved wrong under the right circumstances.
As Gunsnascar pointed out in the Shout Box, yesterday's Thanksgiving Euphoria was esclated to an almost-dangerous level with the rumors that the Padres had found a third team in the Peavy-to-Cubs trade talks. I'm not sure who this mystery team is; maybe they play in Japan or something.
Anyway, now that we've woken up to a brand new day, the turkey high has crashed down and it turns out that the rumors just might not be accurrate.
Look, we like him - especially when he links us, because he's insanely popular - but there is a reason his nickname is Crazy MLB Trade Rumor Guy. And that reason is because most of his trade rumors are just a bit on the side of crazy, not that it's his fault. He just finds 'em and posts 'em.
I was about to write a long and complicated paragraph about why the Peavy Trade isn't going to happen, but I thought instead that I'd just create a snazzy little graphic for you:
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for it, but with salary concerns and many, many starting pitchers, the Cubs just don't need Peavy right now. Although, if Chicago is able to deal Marquis ... and maybe swing Lilly for a younger lefty like I speculated to great scorn ... then maybe, just maybe ...
Naaaah. The euphoria is gone; let the hang-over commence!