Filed:February 1st, 2009
Paul Bako (Cubbie Nation/File)
He bats left-handed. Yeah, that's about the kindest thing that I can say about the Cubs official move this week, re-signing catcher Paul Bako to a one-year deal. The contract guarantees $500,000 for the 2009 season.
You know, when they signed Milton Bradley, and paid 30 million for the privilege, it was a little odd. When they grabbed Joey Gathright as a backup outfielder, it was a bit weird. Now, being so crazed for left-handed bats that they sign Paul Bako—at the rumored insistence of Lou Piniella to specifically have a lefty catcher—I'd say yeah, it's hit full-on lefty madness around here.
I like Bako. He calls a nice game, appears to be a good clubhouse guy, and I know many Chicago fans are fond of him from his time here as part of the 2003 playoff run. But he can't hit. And frankly, his defense isn't all that great. Given that he isn't likely to outhit Mark Johnson—already in camp, and coming off of a great season—nor be better defensively than Koyie Hill, the signing leaves me scratching my head.
All have at least the ability to hit left-handed, by the way. And of course given that Henry Blanco, who recently signed with the Padres for only $250,000 more, outhits the trio against RHP, I'm seriously left wondering about the true depth of this team. Nice balance on paper, but it's not like grabbing Jim Edmonds and Reed Johnson last season. I would be absolutely terrified at the notion of any of these signees getting extended playing time next season.
At the end of the day, I see where the Cubs are going with this. I understand the benefits of having this balance. But must the guys that they sign as part of the plan be so....ordinary?