Filed:October 27th, 2008
Adrian Gonzalez (Cubbie Nation/File)
It may be a touch premature, but I'm preparing a big thank you for my Philly friends the next time I'm in town. After watching MLB playoffs the last five years that featured: the Cubs meltdown in 2003; the Red Sox removing their curse in 2004; the White Sox in 2005, and 83 win Cardinals teaming winning in 2006, and the Red Sox doing it once more for good measure in 2007, my dignity can/could not suffer the Tampa Bay Devil Rays winning in 2008. Eleven years in existence -- all losing seasons before 2008 -- and a championship? Well, after last night's Phillies 10-2 win, I think I can put my search for a gas oven to stick my head in to rest.
It's disappointing though, in all seriousness. My initials thought was that the Rays would take momentum, couple it with home field and a too young to know better mentality, and take advantage of a Philadelphia pitching staff that gets a bit shaky past Hamels, Myers, and Lidge. What we're seeing instead is a team melting down quickly. Too many errors, a completely shutdown middle of the order for Tampa, and just some bad luck have them down 3-1 and on the verge of giving the Phillies their first championship in nearly 30 years. Somewhere Ed Wade has got to be shaking his head, and wondering "Why couldn't they do this for me?"
Back in Cubdom
I generally try to leave the mainstream media and their journalists alone; I mean really, it's just piling on. Put someone passed me this recent article by Phil Rogers over at the Tribune. Wow. I'm actually embarrassed for him. Now believe it or not, I'm one of the few who think that the Cubs could land Jake Peavy, assuming that they would part with Carlos Marmol and Jeff Samardzija, if only because Peavy calls the shots with trade destinations. But for those of you who don't know, owner John Moores is shedding assets, having found himself in the middle of a divorce which will force him to sell a 49% stake in the Fathers. Hell, the Peavy trade talk is mostly centered around the cash-strapped Padres relieving themselves of the roughly 60 million owed to him over the next four years. So explain to me why the Padres would have any interest in trading Adrian Gonzalez -- owed a little over a million for the next two years -- for a 26 million dollar Lee contract over that same time. The same Lee who is older, arguably a worse player at this stage of his career, and likely to see his power numbers decline further playing in Petco. Oh, and the Padres would probably command a kings ransom dangling Gonzalez out there as a power alternative to Manny Ramirez and Mark Teixeira this off-season. Yes Phil, you're officially the newest member of the lunatic fringe.
Honestly, Derrek Lee should go. But the much more likely scenario if it happened would be a shift of Mark DeRosa to 1st, and pursuing a Rafael Furcal or Orlando Hudson, rather than dumping a bloated contract on a team in exchange for one of the premier power hitters in the game.
It is good to see a GM with more sense than money for a change however, as Frank Wren states publicly that the Braves won't part with their top prospects for Peavy. Rumor has it a one point the discussion was centered around Tommy Hanson, Yunel Escobar, AND Kelly Johnson. That's quite a haul, and that's before the dollars are considered, which seem a bit pricey for the Braves. I see the logic in parting with both of the infielders, with replacements in the wings by the 2010 season at latest. But Hanson should be considered untouchable, and it's refreshing to see a GM a touch realistic about where his club is actually at.
And speaking of power, Aramis Ramirez winning the Hank Aaron award? Really? No Howard, Wright, Berkman, Pujols, or Manny? I think it's time to put fan voting on the backburner for awhile.
Congratulations to Pat Listach, added to the Washington Nationals staff as third base coach last week. Pat by all indications is an excellent managerial talent, and on the fast track to a manager's job in the pros. I'd look for him to be on the short-list for some team as early as 2010.
Interestingly, Jim Riggleman and Marquis Grissom have been added to the staff as well. What happens if you have three or more ex-Cubs as coaches?
My favorite news of the week has to be word that the Cubs may open the new Yankee Stadium in a series of exhibition games, which sounds fantastic. The teams are still in negotiation to make this happen, and I do have some concern about an already crowded spring schedule, with the WBC upcoming. However, there is something so inherently cool about the tradition and classics of the old, meeting the cutting edge and advanced new. Do it.
From his mouth to God's ear: Lou Piniella got a very nice shout out from the New York Times, confirming in print what I think many of us knew. They go on to state:
Piniella said the Cubs' main agenda these next few weeks will be to re-sign pending free agents Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood and explore trade options for lefthanded hitting and bullpen help. He also said he plans to move Kosuke Fukudome, the Cubs' $48 million Japanese import whose second-half slump exasperated the manager, to center field as part of a platoon with Reed Johnson.
Sounds about right. There's an upcoming series that we'll be running here shortly that will elaborate, but there is a name that I keep coming back to. Nick Swisher.
And I think this just confirmed that someone will be leaving town. Felix Pie, we hardly knew ya.