Will the Cubs Be Welcoming Mike Cameron Back to Chicago?
No, it hasn't come to fruition yet, but I suspect that it's a phrase that we should all start practicing.
Can't blame general manager Doug Melvin. As a cash-constrained team, especially one desperate for pitching, they simply couldn't afford the luxury of Mike Cameron. Between his salary and Hardy's, they look to free up a very good chunk of change, enabling them to dip into the free agent market for a pitcher or two.
Personally, I think they need to wake up and deal Prince Fielder to get it, but hey, every man is free to make his own mistakes.
But back to Cameron, who has frustrated me for years with his long swing, and strikeout tendencies. Pair him and Alfonso Soriano together in a lineup, and I'm certain they'll eclipse 300 strikeouts next season without trying. That's the bad news.
Fortunately, the good news is two-fold. Cameron is something of a hallmark on consistency, being not only still a superior defender in center, but someone you slot in your lineup, and just ring up the stats. You'll get 20-25 homers, and .800 OPS, and double-digit steals. Little more, little less.
There's been very little deterioration in his game over the last season, in my opinion. He still appears in very good health, better spirits, and with the same professional work habits. You might do well to spell him just a little more with a left-handed hitter, so as to cut back his starts just a touch.
But a two-year (with or without option) deal for a team shopping for a bat would seem like smart business, especially given that he should slot a bit below Bobby Abreu's most recent deal.
But here's the rub: Lou Piniella and Mike Cameron are probably each other's biggest fans. Their welcomes are warm, the conversations always long, and praise always high, going back to their Mariner days. Cameron is everything that Piniella likes in not only a player, but a person. Consider me shocked if Piniella doesn't insist that the Cubs at least kick the tires.
Bottom line, he's a Lou guy; someone Piniella has always respected, and gives the Cubs a solid, short-term, reasonably-priced solution for 2010—minus the headaches.
We'll all have to wait and see how the Milton Bradley trade scenarios play out, but with Cameron now available, I'd look for rumors of hot and heavy conversations between them to start as soon as this week.
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