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Back In The Loop, But Wishing I Weren't
by Derek Smart
When last we met I was...oh, how should I say this...upset.
I've calmed down a bit while spending a week in The Land That Babyproofing Forgot, but I'm not sure how much of that is exhaustion from repeatedly saving a defenseless cat from the clutches of perhaps the most relentless toddler on the planet, how much is resignation to an inescapable fate, and how much can be attributed to ketchup's natural mellowing agents.
Still, what with me bubbling over into a frothing rant at the Jones news, it's best that I was safely out of earshot as the Prior for Tejada rumors began to swirl. I've had a couple of days to digest this possibility, and that being the case, I think I can speak with a little less vitriol on the subject than if I'd taken to keyboard with more immediacy, so here we go.
It is, quite simply, a win now strategy, and it makes one think that there must be some substantial pressure on Jim Hendry to make this thing work right this second or find another place of employment. It's the only explanation I can think of, because even with Prior's injury history, there's simply too much potential there - really, if everything is harnessed, I don't think it's ridiculous to think he can be a once-in-a-generation type pitcher.
But I suppose that's part of why this is being proposed as well - the "ifs" inherent in Prior's career to date, which somewhat ironically, could be exactly what puts the kibosh on the whole thing, as the Orioles appear wary of his injury risk.
But in the end, from the Cub perspective, this potential deal comes from an opportunistic desperation with a hint of near-religious fervor - as if losing out on Rafael Furcal were some sort of ordained event meant to clear the way for this ray of light and hope that was Tejada's trade demand, with destiny revealing itself to Jim Hendry, showing him the path to glory that could only be attained by paying an incredibly steep price for a shortstop they should have been willing to pursue two years ago (that last bit's for Chuck).
Despite the offensive issues the Cubs face, I think it's a deal the organization would truly regret in the long term, especially since I don't think adding Tejada while subtracting Prior would make the team of championship quality, even with the theoretical addition of the talented but even more fragile Erik Bedard.
In fact, I find it hard to believe that the Cubs found prices for outfielders that could hit so outrageous that using Prior as a trading chit made more sense. I don't know what it would have cost, but I'd be shocked if acquiring, say, Aubrey Huff and Julio Lugo would have been more expensive than what the combined price of Tejada and Jones would end up being in one of the proposed scenarios.
It is becoming more and more clear that the Cubs as an organization are being reactive and not proactive, which means they are not only failing to execute a plan, they simply don't have a plan to begin with. After all the years and all the failures, you'd think we as a fan base would at least be owed that much.