Baseball Toaster Cub Town
No News is...No News
2005-12-12 07:49
by Derek Smart

As of this morning, we have officially entered the portion of the offseason where there is so little real news to report or actual moves on which to comment, that grown men are left with little alternative but to concoct spectacular scenarios meant to tickle the reader's fancy like a child's visions of proverbial sugar plums.

Witness as the first example, Phil Rogers' column in the Tribune today, advocating that the Cubs offer up Carlos Zambrano as the ducat of choice to purchase a shiny new Tejada for the club's infield:

Hendry should offer Zambrano, center fielder Corey Patterson and shortstop Ronny Cedeno for Tejada and right-hander Daniel Cabrera or one of the Orioles' pitching prospects—Hayden Penn, John Maine or Adam Loewen. He should tell him the offer is good for only 72 hours, and then he should use those hours burning up the phone line to Scott Boras, who represents Millwood, Washburn and Weaver.

I'm honestly not in the mood to construct an in-depth argument detailing why this is silliness incarnate (anyone wishing to do so below is more than welcome to do their worst), but I will mention two things: first, that while Tejada will be 34 when he is next a free agent, that same year, four seasons in the future, will see Zambrano be all of 29 - Tejada's playing age last season - and second, that there has only been one player since 2003 to throw at least 200 innings with an ERA of 3.50 or better in each of those three seasons. His name? Carlos Zambrano.

Today's other bit of idle chatter comes from The Daily Herald's Barry Rozner, and while his thoughts are no more based on fact, they are more grounded in reality:

If the Cubs can't get their hands on Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada, there might be another talented middle infielder available out east.

While the Nationals have not publicly suggested that second baseman Jose Vidro is available, there is talk among baseball folks that Washington will have to consider moving Vidro now that Alfonso Soriano is in town and vowing never to switch to the outfield.

And like Tejada, Vidro would be an excellent fit with the Cubs.

More grounded in reality, that is, until we arrive here:

For Vidro, the Cubs probably could get away with giving the Nats only Corey Patterson or Jerry Hairston since the Nats are looking for an outfielder/leadoff man.

Here's how this goes: in order for the Cubs to do this deal they'd have to be reasonably sure that Vidro was going to be healthy, which he hasn't been for two years now. But in order for the price to be as low as Rozner believes it could be, Vidro would have to be considerably less than whole. The math on his proposal just doesn't work out.

Still, the idea of dealing for Vidro is kinda fun - I've always liked him a bunch, and if healthy, he'd be a great fit with the club's needs. Still, something tells me that either Soriano will be convinced to play somewhere other than second, or Vidro's condition is bad enough that doing a deal wouldn't be in the Cubs' best interests.

Either way, it's just speculation, but with winter's grip tightening by the minute, and little promise of movement in the days to come, that might be all we have left to keep us warm for a while.

2005-12-12 08:24:59
1.   Uncle Charlie
I'm with you. Why is it always Carlos Zambrano that sports writers in this town suggest as possible trade bait for a star player? Z is the absolute man-horse of that pitching staff--a clear #1 starter in my book. I wouldn't want to deal Mark Prior either, but come on! Z should be the only REAL untouchable of that pitching staff.

Having said that, I believe it's worth investigating whether Tejada is available at some cost, even if it takes one of the Cubs' previous "untouchable" prospects, Hill or Pie. Four years from a proven, young all star shortstop is worth one of them plus a major league 3 or 4 starter and a position player. However, Hendry is smart enough to know that Tejada's price will be extremely high unless the relationship between he and management deteriorates further. Hendry will let them know he'll talk, but he won't make a move until there's a public outcry in Baltimore that Tejada is poisoning the well and must go. Whatever happens, it won't happen soon. Count on Cendeno as the starting short stop.

As for Vidro, yes his stats ( when healthy) are as impressive as Tejada's, but was anyone watching Nomar for the past two years? We can't take another promising star who simply twinkles for a few games and then fades to black.

2005-12-12 08:32:28
2.   Lefty
As far as Vidro, we'd have to do some severe due diligence with regard to his knee. But the Cubs have money to spend, and relieving teams of bad contracts in exchange for little in the way of talent should be our niche this year.

I think Patterson for Vidro does it.

2005-12-12 09:05:28
3.   Ali Nagib
I haven't been following the Cubs offseason moves as closely as a should, but who here actually thinks there's any chance Ronny Cedeno will get more than 300 PA this season? Is or is not Dusty Baker still the manager of the Cubs? Unless Jim Hendry has given him the secret backroom smackdown, there is NO chance that both Murton and Cedeno will be the PA leaders at their positions in 2006. (Assuming Dusty is the manager the whole way, obviously....if the team is 10-30 and he gets fired, they might get the PT, but it won't matter then anyway). I agree that having Murton and Cedeno be the starters is probably the best way to go, but no matter what the team says from now until April, once the season starts, it's 400 PA of Neifi and crappy 30-year old utility corner outfielders, mark my words.
2005-12-12 09:43:26
4.   JNelson
When you rely heavily on guys who spend a lot of time on the DL (e.g., Wood, Garciaparra), you're basically committing to giving a lot of playing time to the likes of Neifi Perez and John Koronka. I'd rather have a good, but not great player who stays healthy than a guy who's mind-blowingly good "when he's healthy."

I agree about Zambrano. There are four players in the organization who I would consider untouchable (Lee, Prior, Ramirez, and Zambrano), but big Z is the "untouchablest" as far as I'm concerned.

2005-12-12 13:15:24
5.   Uncle Charlie
My gut also tells me that we can count on aged mediocrity in the corners, but then I think back to 2003 with Alou and Sosa (with Lofton in center), and I remember that Hendry is capable of putting talented 30-somethings out there, too. My hope is that left is given to Murton and Hendry appeases Dusty with a veteran in right. There's nothing wrong with two promising rookies holding down the 7-8 holes in the batting order. Someone please tell Dusty it's not 1959 anymore.
2005-12-12 15:08:49
6.   Sandus
Why is everybody so quick to bury Murton at the bottom of the order when his skill set makes him a solid 2 hitter?
2005-12-12 19:46:21
7.   Uncle Charlie
If Murton proves that he can not only hit for power but can work the count and walk more than he strikes out, then, despite not having blazing speed, he'll be ready for the two hole. Cedeno at least can score from first on a gapper and steal some bases. Of course, if Pierre can do what we hope he can do in the lead-off spot, the number two hitter will see a lot more fast balls than last season. That could make any good power hitter more dangerous.
2005-12-13 09:47:41
8.   shuuto
Some reports have Vidro's knee problems being so serious that his career is in question. I don't think it would be wise to bring him in at this point. Even if he is healthy, I don't think he'll be physically able to return to his former level of play. Plus it makes no sense to bring in a quetionable Vidro when the Cubs wouldn't even consider resigning Nomar because of his injury history. Why get rid of one injury problem and then bring in another?

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.