Will someone please explain to Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry that when I made the suggestion that he mix things up, that didn't mean to trade away the guys with heart, determination, and integrity.
But that's exactly what he's done by letting Kerry Wood sign as a free agent and trading Mark DeRosa, both players going to the Cleveland Indians, coincidentally.
Look, I was hoping to get more guys like them, with an emphasis on the word "more" (as opposed to less). So what does Hendry do? He sends two of the mentally toughest guys we have packing.
Not good when you have a team that can't win in the playoffs.
I realize Kerry Wood couldn't stay healthy much of the time he spent with the Cubs. But I never doubted his desire or effort.
And look at DeRosa—here's a guy who had heart issues during spring training, yet went on to have his best season.
After the Cubs dismal performance in the playoffs last season, this team definitely needed an overhaul. But I was referring to Old Sleepy Lee at first base...or carefree Aramis at third....maybe a Soriano, though you can't trade his contract.
Adding to the misery is the fact that both moves, the Wood waxing and the DeRosa dealing, were done for one reason, and one reason only: to save enough salary room to sign troubled outfielder Milton Bradley.
Yep, that's right. The Cubs can't add payroll, so in order to win the Bradley sweepstakes (if you want to call it that), they need to free up payroll. Oh, and you can add the Marquis moving to the list of decisions designed to operate on the cheap.
All this to get a guy who will be vastly overpaid at a three-year guaranteed commitment. Hey, there is a reason he has averaged about one new team every year or so. He can't stay healthy, and when he does, he can't stay out of trouble.
The addition of Bradley means that the chemistry in the Cubs clubhouse may suffer. Also, since Bradley will likely play around 100 games or so, they will end up devoting approximately $20 million dollars to the right field position alone when you add in Fukudome's money.
I know Aaron Miles is a halfway decent replacement for DeRosa at second base given his .317 BA last year. But he lacks the power that DeRosa had, and you can forget about the rumors that he will supplant Soriano as the leadoff man. That ain't gonna happen.
Another rumored part of all this is that supposedly the DeRosa trade was done in order to recharge the batteries on the Peavy trade, but don't believe it. That's another thing that simply isn't gonna happen.
Personally, even if they complete the Milton Bradley signing, I don't feel the Cubs have improved themselves. The Dempster re-signing was self-preservation. And anyway, it is unlikely that Demp will repeat last year's performance.
Oh well, so close and yet so far. The trophy seemed just out of reach last year and now it feels like 2008 is light years away.
Next time, make sure you fully understand the instructions before you act, Mr. Hendry. Come to think of it, don't listen to me at all anymore.