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Where's My Other Shoe?
by Derek Smart
This Jacque Jones for Omar Infante thing has been floating around for a while, and now it's finally done, with the Cubs sending over Jones and a suitcase stuffed full of a currently undisclosed amount of cash, in exchange for Jose Macias' long lost younger brother. My first thought is: why? My second thought is: why? My third thought is: if there's not something else coming down the pike, I'm gonna be more than a little annoyed.
It's not that I'm going to miss Jacque - even if last year's collapse was a complete fluke, the need to move him and move on was still acute - it's that absent further action, I don't understand making a deal for something that you already have an abundance of - banjo-hitting middle infielders? Check. - and paying for the privilege besides, especially when Infante's going to make over $1M himself (he's arb-eligible, and made $1.3M last season), and Jones was only due $5M (although, according to Cot's, it looks like he might be due some of his signing bonus in January, so if that's what's passing between teams, then I'll get over it. Well, I'll get over it no matter what, I suppose.). Let me be clear, though. Any issues I have are less to do with the amount of bounty received - I doubt very much that Jones has any market value left - than with the type of bounty. Give me a raw, super-wild, live arm from low-A, because there's a shot I could utilize that some day. Baby Macias - just like Baby Muppets - I have no use for.
Yet, despite my initial show of bluster, this is a difficult deal to evaluate without understanding a couple more things, namely:
1) How full was the suitcase?
2) What move(s) does this one precede?
First assumption: that Felix Pie is the starting center fielder next year.
Second assumption: that a left-handed hitting outfielder will be somehow acquired for daily application in right field, and that there will be at least some savings realized in the Infante deal that will make this acquisition more financially viable.
These, of course, have nothing to do with the use of Infante himself, which leads us to the third assumption: as has been speculated widely when this deal was mere rumor, Infante is the piece that makes one of the other middle infielders in the organization redundant enough to be included in a larger deal. For what, I'm not sure, and that result is going to weigh heavily in the eventual evaluation of this little move.
I'm pleased enough to see Jacque go, as he clearly hasn't the skillset to help solve this team's problems, I just can't tell yet if the way he went will actually reap any benefits for the organization beyond the mere fact of his absence.