by Andy Paschen
I’ve written plenty of things this spring, summer and fall that ended up being not true. I called Derrek Lee all but washed up, and he decided to have an incredible year by everybody’s standards, not just Cubs fans. I said that Public Enemies was going to be the movie of the summer — it wasn’t. I said the Cubs would win the division. I think we all know how that turned out.
But I also said that next year Milton Bradley would be in a Cubs uniform, and that isn’t going to happen after Mr. Meth Bear was suspended for the rest of the season for making disparaging remarks about the Cubs and their fans. Maybe I shouldn’t be that surprised by the move, but I am. $20 million is a lot of money to say, “Screw it, we fucked up on this one.” However surprising the move is though, it certainly is fitting for the insanity that was the 2009 season.
So what’s next? It’s time once again to search to an answer to right field, a total suck-zone ever since that certain number 21 faded into the good night, boom-box blaring as he left.
Give it to Jake Fox: If anything, Jake Fox should be the first person to get a crack at starting next year in right field. His numbers have been impressive this year, and considering the amount of spot duty and position-shuffling the man has been through, those numbers look even better. However, this type of move has backfired on the Cubs before, and you don’t even have to look far to find proof, right Mike Fontenot? It’s always a gamble to hand over a starting spot to a young player, not to mention the fact that Jake Fox defensively isn’t exactly Gold-Glove stuff either. Soriano and Fox at the corners puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the defense.
Go find a Free Agent: It’s always hard to dip your toe in the pool that just scalded your foot so badly you had to amputate the toe named Milton Bradley, but free agency is always an option. As of right now, there are a few pretty big names that could make a huge impact on the team, like Jason Bay, Matt Holliday (which would be a double-whammy) or Carl Crawford (though there is an option in his contract for 2010). However, Jim Hendry would probably target a second-tier player, such as Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui or Randy Winn. Not that I want any of those second-tier players, but they are options none the less.
Trade for a solid bat: This is where I think Jim Hendry could really earn his salary. With the recent news that the Cubs might explore trades for Carlos Zambrano, what about trading him to a pitching-deprived team for a big bopper? It’s too early to know who would be in the market and who needs an arm like Big Z’s, but this certainly would be a way to not only shed a headache but probably the best way to get a consistent, top hitter.
Open competition: The Cubs have Fox, Micah Hoffpauir, Reed Johnson, Kosuke Fukudome, not to mention youngins like the recently called-up Tyler Colvin. They could platoon the position and have a gladiator-style battle royale for right-field supremacy. This is also probably the worst way to fill the position, considering they wouldn’t have signed Bradley in the first place if one of these guys had stepped up and proved they could play there everyday.