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Out of Left Field?
by Derek Smart
There's been talk, and admittedly it appears to have been started, if not by Garciaparra himself, then by a reporter asking a direct question about it, that Nomar could be re-signed by the Cubs and used in left field.
And though it may seem like a far-fetched scenario, Garciaparra wouldn't discount the idea of moving to left field for the Cubs, if they asked.
"Whatever," he said. "If you're where you want to be and you want to be part of a great organization and a great team ... I have a hard time saying it's a sacrifice. It's just something you do because we're a team."
That was from Monday. When Dusty Baker was asked about it in the same article that discussed Patterson and Pie's situation in this morning's Tribune, his response was, "We'd consider that big-time."
I'm torn on this. On the one hand, I really like Matt Murton. I think he has a future as a solid big-league regular, and I think he's got nothing left to prove in the minors, particularly after the work he's done during his time in the Majors. My brain tells me that he should be the starter in left next year.
On the other hand, I really like Nomar. When healthy, he can still hit, and there's something about his demeanor on and off the field that I can't help but be attracted to. He's just got great charisma, and while I know that charisma and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee if you're sent back to 1950 by a rift in the space/time continuum, it still affects me as a fan. My heart wants to find a way for Nomar to be a Cub next year.
But in the end it just doesn't make sense. Murton is the future, Garciaparra is the past, and while I'd love to see Nomar in Cubbie blue next year for sentimental reasons, there's simply nowhere I'd feel comfortable playing him. His defense has slipped enough to render his infield play suspect on the best of days, and I consider the only outfield spot he'd be remotely suited to play as spoken for.
I think both sides would like to make it work, but I don't think the Cubs will allow their hearts to get in the way this time. The organization's brain has taken a back seat, or simply been asleep in the trunk, too often during the last century, and while there may be a lot of love for Nomar, sometimes when you love somebody - with apologies to Sting - you have to set them free.