Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
by Derek Smart
This certainly is a different offseason. Where last year I could have sworn that most major free agents didn't sign until sometime in mid-June, yesterday we saw two of the biggest names out there, Paul Konerko and Brian Giles, end the suspense before we'd even reached December.
There's something refreshing about not having to wait until flowers re-bloom in earnest before seeing some results burst forth from their rumor-soaked netherworld, but if anything, yesterday's doings have made me more twitchy than before.
My anxiety uptick can be traced directly back to the fact that both of the big fish in question not only dotted i's and crossed t's with their old clubs, but in doing so, turned their backs on offers that were more financially lucrative - a series of events that eerily parallel to the Cubs' battle with the Braves for the rights to Rafael Furcal.
Now, I realize that we're dealing with individuals here, and that each of these individuals had their own reasons for doing what they did, but at the same time I can't help but see the similarities between the situations. This means that every moment a decision is delayed makes me less and less certain that Furcal will end up a Cub.
I'd liken it to being a defendant in a big court case (I'll let you decide what crime I've committed), sitting and waiting for the jury to reach a verdict - not just in relation to the waiting and suspense, but in the way it's possible to rationalize what the outcome might be based on the length of time it takes for a decision to be rendered.
Example: if Furcal hasn't made a choice by the time the Winter Meetings begin, then it must mean he's having difficulty because of some factor or other. If I'm optimistic, I say it's because he wants to accept the Cubs' offer but needs the time to overcome his sense of loyalty to the Braves. If I'm pessimistic, I say it's because he wants to stay with the Braves, but needs time to work up the courage to turn down the extra money. Take a wild guess where I'm at right now.
At least I can take solace in the knowledge that something should be happening soon - if not today or tomorrow, then certainly within the next week or so - and one way or the other I can aim my botheration at other targets. It's winter and I'm a Cub fan, so what better thing to keep me warm than my own burning angst?