Filed: Nov. 18, 2009
Have you ever found yourself reading a well-written piece and feeling like it all sounds logical and sensible, but then you think about it a little more and wonder if the writer is off his meds?
I had a moment like this when I read a recent piece by Fox Sports writer Dayn Perry , who proposes in the column a number of moves that teams need to make this offseason.
It reads like something of a wild farce through a fantasy league, although I do recommend that you read it. You'll find ideas like:
1) The cash-strapped Tigers ignoring that they can't sell tickets (or dump salaries) and spending even more to pick up a free agent closer;
2) That Mike Cameron should ignore his ego, talent, and reputation and go man a corner spot for the Cardinals, which would then give them one of the best outfield defenses in the league—his words, not mine;
3) That the Yankees should continue to march Johnny Damon out to left field for the next three years—and at likely a premium price for the trouble;
And oh, my favorite: that the Cubs should re-sign Mark DeRosa to man second base next season.
Ouch. Now even Perry is drinking the Kool-Aid?
You guys know me. I generally like the idea of getting the band back together, and when DeRosa was good, he was very good. But the team has moved on; they've changed. General manager Jim Hendry needs to recognize that and not have this turn into another offseason of bad moves and poor lineup construction.
The long and short of it is that the Cubs don't need right-handed power. You've got four RH hitters capable of hitting 25-plus homers a season. You don't need a super-utility man either. Jeff Baker has spent time at every position on the field sans shortstop, and even being arbitration eligible, he should likely slot into the 2010 roster at at least half the cost of re-signing DeRosa.
What they do need is a left-handed hitter capable of getting on base and some help with run prevention, neither of which can be expected from a 35-year-old DeRosa playing second base.
The Cubs still missed plenty of bats in 2009, but it's very evident that the biggest advantage that the Cubs could give themselves next season besides better health is improving their up-the-middle defense.
No more Kosuke Fukudome in center, a real defensive second baseman, and if they were really smart, quietly showing Ryan Theriot the door, but I guess that last one is a conversation for another time.
Quite simply, with Rich Harden leaving and a lack of power arms in the pen, look for more balls in play in 2010, and the need to cover more ground to not have to extend starters and get into what so far is looking like a very thin middle relief situation.
I'm going to make a modest proposal. Rather than pandering and playing the PR game as Perry suggests, how about improving the team on the field? If shuttling Milton Bradley doesn't return a left-handed-hitting infielder in return, may I suggest Felipe Lopez or Orlando Hudson, both of whom should be expected to see deals in the same neighborhood as DeRosa, if not cheaper?
Not to mention that both are younger, able to swipe a base, and perfectly suitable for the top-of-the-lineup role that Hendry and manager Lou Piniella have suggested an interest in.
Whatever the case, you simply can't go home again. Trading Mark DeRosa was never the problem. Shipping him off so as to sign the likes of Milton Bradley was. It's done. It didn't pan out. Move on.