To date, spring training hasn't produced anything of interest. I, like you, am tired of anything Sammy. I can't say that I've always hated him. It's impossible to deny that he put on one of the greatest five year runs in the history of baseball. But honestly, I've never understood why it is so important for some people to lord their success over others. Fine, you're a stud, now turn off the damn music. It's a symbol of power I guess, like a dog pissing on a tree.
But at this point, anyone who harbors good will for the guy just isn't paying attention. Which was why I found it absurd last weekend to drive down Randall Road in Geneva, and see a 10' by 8' poster saluting Sammy and crying about the trade. Think about that, taking the time to make a poster and hang it on your back fence for all the world to see, honoring a guy who forced his way out of town by being an ass.
We all waste time. Semi-annually updating a Cubs blog seems like a waste of time. But all I could think of when I saw that piece of hagiography was "good Lord, what's wrong with these folks."
Brand New Day
For the last few folks who have dribbled in here, thanks for your patience. I didn't write because, quite honestly, I haven't had much to say. I didn't want to play along with the daily "is Sammy gone?" game that was the off-season. I wanted to hold my tongue, wait to see what the end result was going to be, and only then vent or applaud the Cubs off-season moves. But at this point, we obviously know that Sosa is gone to Baltimore for Jerry Hairston Jr and two fairly middling prospects. The Cubs appear not to have saved much money on this deal (eating 12 million from this year's salary, plus an additional 3.5 million for a severance, plus 2 million for Hairston). The Cubs signed Jeromy Burnitz to a deal at about 5.5 million. With the possible exception of a deal for a closer, we now know what we are looking at.
We're looking at a team that, with the exception of a full-season of Nomar Garciaparra and a healthy Mark Prior, is not as good as last season's team. Granted, those two exceptions may swallow the statement whole, but it would have been nice to go into the season confident that the team made the moves necessary to win. It didn't happen because other teams opened their wallets with much less care than in the previous two years. For example, I had hoped the Cubs could swing a deal for J.D. Drew, but the Dodgers gave him a five year, $55 million contract. Drew had an outstanding year with the Braves, and has always been a stand-out lefthanded hitter when healthy but it was the first year he'd played more than 135 games. A pretty risky scenario.
Once Drew was gone, I'd hoped that the Cubs would get Beltran. But it was clear that after his performance in last years NLCS, he was going to be expensive. The Mets' 7 year deal seems over the top to me.
Magglio Ordonez was the final hope. Everyone has questions about his ability to play after last season's injury. Everyone, that is, except the Tigers who gave him a bigger contract than Drew. I'd hoped that he'd go for a Nomar type contract, but with the NHL closed for the season, Little Ceasar had money to burn. Burn it he did.
So the Cubs settled for Burnitz. The trade for Sosa was simply a dump. Sosa's tiresome at this point, but the Cubs are going to lose his and Alou's production. It's not fair to expect that Burnitz, Hollandsworth, Dubois and Hairston will make it up. Thus, the Cubs need extra production from Patterson and Garciaparra and better pitching from Wood and Prior. More later.