Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Revisiting Nomar
2005-07-26 14:58
by Alex Ciepley

One year ago I was still twentysomething. My baby face still gets me carded on occasion, but only when I've tucked my bald head into a cap.

One year ago, Sammy and Moises patrolled the Cubbie corner spots, Matt Clement was an unlucky but reliable fifth starter, and Kyle Farnsworth was kicking fans up and down the aisles of Wrigley... or at least the clubhouse.

Tsunamis and London bombings and Indonesian earthquakes were still a part of the future, not the past.

One year ago no one cared about Bo Bice or Carrie Underwood... and, ummm... I suppose at least some things haven't changed.

Almost a year has passed since the Cubs brought in Nomar Garciaparra in one of the most surprising trades the Cubs have pulled off in recent history. I thought I'd take a quick glance at how the players involved in the big four-team swap are holding up this year.

Orlando Cabrera
Doug Mientkiewicz

No one is complaining in Boston, but neither Cabrera nor Mientkiewicz are still with the Sox. For what it's worth, both players have been awful in their new locales: Cabrera in Anaheim (246/300/351) and Mientkiewicz (225/310/405) with the Mets. The World Series victory forgives all, but this wasn't exactly a great haul by the Red Sox, then or now.

Alex Gonzalez
Francis Beltran
Brendan Harris

Alex Gonzalez didn't even last the season in Montreal before being shipped out to San Diego. He's now in the fourth rung of Hell, Tampa Bay, playing third on occasion and hitting a Gonzalezesque 265/324/395.

The two former Cubs prospects have had years which are putting into doubt the "prospect" label. Beltran was put out of commision earlier this spring and won't return until next year. Harris, once a hot commodity, has simpered along to a disappointing 272/319/420 season with the Nats' AAA farm club.

Justin Jones

The Twins have been very conservative with Jones, the third and best of the Cubs' prospects to be traded in the Nomar deal. He's only pitched 28 innings so far this year for the Twins' High A Fort Myers club, and has a 3.21 ERA with 10 walks and 17 strikeouts. He has a long way to go before reaching the Majors, and there's no telling how he'll pan out at this stage.

Nomar Garciaparra
Matt Murton

If you haven't noticed, Nomar hasn't exactly had a good year. He was dreadful in April (157/228/176), and then he ripped open his groin. Fun, fun. The Cubs hope to have him back soon, but I have my doubts as to his effectiveness when he returns.

Then there is Matt Murton. The flame-haired Murton is, without qualification, the only player involved in the entire four-team deal that is having a good year. He was awesome at AA, hitting 342/403/498, and has begun flashing his skills with the big leaguers as well (409/483/455 in 22 ABs). He also has the best hair of anyone involved in the trade.

It's funny how quickly the perspective on a trade can shift. In the short term, the Red Sox won the deal, winning the World Series--though you could argue, and I imagine fairly competently, that this trade had little to do with their eventual success. But one year later, it looks like the Cubs may indeed have gotten the best player in the deal. And his name's not Nomar.

As the young players involved in the trade continue to develop (or fall by the wayside), our opinions of the winners and losers will likely shift again. But it's reassuring to note that, one year later, a bright-eyed redhead is making the deal look like a winner for the Cubs.

2005-07-26 17:18:39
1.   god
Garci was going to be a free agent, and they got two free agents in return plus a world championship. Can't see how you could ever say the Cubs got a better deal, unless Murton slays the billy goat himself.
2005-07-26 18:50:13
2.   Mike Jansen
Well he actually said they got the best player, not the better deal..but yeah, it worked out pretty well for the Sox.
2005-07-27 09:59:43
3.   Todd S
Another nice effort from Mr. Murton last night, albeit in a losing effort.
2005-08-04 07:47:26
4.   Rich Lederer
Nice work, Alex. I was in Chicago when you wrote that piece. Had a chance to see your boy Murton.

Question: Has there ever been a really good redheaded OF?

Off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone although I'm sure there must be somebody over the years. I know Ron Fairly was a redhead. He's a legend here in Long Beach for his high school exploits and was a competent major leaguer but is he the best that redheads have to offer?

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