by Andy Paschen
I happened to find myself at Wrigley Field last night to take in the Cubs-Astros game. Honestly, my interest in the game was waning and I don’t feel bad about it. Why? Well, why should I feel guilty about giving up on a team that has literally given up on itself? Because saying the Cubs were going through the motions last night would be like calling the ocean damp. It was about as exciting as watching cows eat. With the exception of Derrek Lee, there is almost no reason to pay attention to that franchise in its current state.
That being the case, it’s time I strapped on my thinking cap (it’s a metal spaghetti strainer with a mini-American flag at the top) and gave the ol’ GM Jimmy Hendry a few ideas for this off-season. Lets get cracking:
Trade one of the three DHs you’re currently carrying on an NL roster. Let’s face it, Alfonso Soriano, Milton Bradley and Jake Fox are built for the Junior Circuit and it’s time to wheel and deal. Granted, it’s going to be nearly impossible to trade Soriano without eating a Joey Chestnut level of his contract, but there are other reasons why trading him might not be the best move of the three. There is hope that some time off the field in the off-season combined with the embarrassment he should feel for his numbers this year will make him a force to be reckoned with in 2010 — it’s not all gloom and doom with the Fonz.
Fox played the best out of the three, but he might not bring in enough talent in a trade to entice the Cubs to move him. But he’s really the best fit for the DH, and there could be a few teams (I’m looking at you Oakland) who might hold his skill set in high regard.
That leaves us with ol’ Milty. He’s the guy the Cubs should try to move the most, even if it means eating the contract of flat out cutting him. It’s not that he was that bad of a player this year, but he’s not producing like a top-line corner outfielder should. He’s attitude, injury history; it all adds up to a minus for the Cubs, and it’s time to recognize failure and remove it from the team.
Let Rich Harden go. Three reasons. Do you want to pay an 8-8 pitcher with a 4.19 ERA No. 1 or No. 1a starter money? How healthy is he going to continue to be for the next three years aka the length of contract he’ll probably sign for? Did you know if the Cubs let him go they get two compensatory picks for him? He could grade out to a tier B, maybe tier A (based on reputation) and could net the Cubs a few high-round draft picks. People say a good team starts with a good farm system. People also say the Cubs have a bad farm system. Tom Gorzelanny, this puts some pressure on you. You performed well enough to get my vote of confidence, so don’t screw this up!
Sign Kiko Calero and Rafael Soriano, re-sign John Grabow. A major league bullpen should never be a question mark if you have the type of dough the Cubs have. Period. Top of the line relievers are rarely more than $3-5 million per year, which is chump change for a squad like the Baby Bears. Get out there, sign some proven pill-tossers and plug them into normal relief roles. Dump Kevin Gregg and stop bringing in poor schmucks like Chad Fox, Neal Cotts and Jose Ascanio, this is a major league bullpen, not a halfway home for shitty relievers.
Sign Mark DeRosa. It’s not even about the lack of production the Cubs have received at second base. In fact, it’s not even about DeRosa hitting — if he bats anything over .230 the signing will be a success. This move is for the fans. The fans will eat that shit up like, they will love it. They won’t boo DeRosa, they can’t. They don’t even know how. Tom Ricketts, I hope you’re listening, because if you want to win in the court of public opinion, this would be one hell of an opening argument.
Pray. Pray that Soriano returns to form. Pray that Aramis Ramirez stays healthy. Pray that Kosuke Fukudome can continue he pedestrian improvement from season to season. Pray that somebody finds Geovany Soto and returns him to the Cubs. Pray that Carlos Zambrano can act like an adult for an entire season. Otherwise, get used to looking up in the standings and seeing red.
Bullpen season GPA: 2.93(B/B-) GPA through 129 games.
Hero Squad: Number is games chosen as hero/goat. Sent down. Not with team. New Addition.
11 – Lee
9 – Soriano
6 – Zambrano
5 – Harden, Lilly, Ramirez, Wells
4 – Fukudome, Johnson
3 – J. Fox, Soto, Theriot
2 – Bradley, Dempster, Gorzelanny
1 – Ascanio, Fontenot, Gregg, Guzman, Hoffpauir, Marmol, Marshall, Scales
6 – Bradley, Gregg
4 – Fontenot, Heilman, Soto, Soriano, Zambrano
3 – Cotts, C. Fox, Fukudome, Harden, Hoffpauir, Marmol, Patton, Samardzija
2 – Guzman, Lilly, Marshall
1 – Ascanio, Gorzelanny, Johnson, Lee, Ramirez, Scales, Theriot, Wells