The acquisition of Joey Gathright makes very little sense to me. The Cubs are obviously trying to sign a big left-handed bat this off-season, so where does Gathright fit in?
I know a lot of people think that because the Cubs signed him, that he will be on the team next year. I myself, am not to sure about that.
So I thought about this a little more. Rumors have been swirling that the Orioles are interested in Pie. They would trade some young pitching for him. The only problem, is that the young pitching in question, was more coveted by the Padres than the Cubs.
The club has also been offered young pitching for Mark Derosa. Numerous teams have inquired about him, but the Cubs won't even think about this unless it helps their team this year.
So, this takes me back to my belief that the Cubs are not closed to the idea of acquiring Jake Peavy. As the off season continues, the Padres asking price may come down. The Cubs may then need to move Pie and Derosa to make the deal happen.
Now, just like most of you, I will not hold my breath when it comes to the Peavy trade being made. On the other hand, many baseball "insiders" think that the Padres will be forced to trade Peavy prior to the 2009 season.
On another note, it is no guarantee that the Cubs can sign that left-handed bat they covet and need so badly. These same teams, that have been interested in Pie and Derosa, could come knocking with packages that could land them their bat via trade.
This immediately puts the Cubs in a hole for a fifth outfielder and basically a fourth considering that Fukudome and Johnson will seemingly platoon in CF. This is where Gathright comes into the picture. He is a cheap "Plan B" and might be a useful commodity if the Cubs should trade Pie and/or Derosa.
At best, he will be the Cubs fifth outfielder. If Soriano, Johnson, Fukudome, Pie, and a new acquistion are all in play, I believe Gathright and his 800k salary will merely be dumped.
They won't dump Pie, because him and Gathright are nearly the same offensive player. Pie is much better and the field and has a lot more upside though. I just don't see the Cubs dumping a younger less polished player for a handful of stolen bases. Gathright just won't see the field enough to make that a big factor over Pie.