Baseball Toaster Cub Town
When Boredom Attacks
2006-02-09 07:41
by Derek Smart

As Mr. Belth notes some Bronx related wishcasting today, we here in Cubland got our own brand of the beast this morning, as both Barry Rozner in the Daily Herald and Dave van Dyck in the Tribune fill a couple column inches with speculation about the Cubs' second base situation. First, Mr. Rozner:

If there are any teams on the North Side of Chicago looking for a second baseman, Washington still has two, and one of them is Jose Vidro, who says he wants to play 160 games this year.

Well, last I heard, the Schaumburg Flyers were all set at the keystone, but.... oh.... gotcha.... literary device.

The point remains the same, as the last I heard, the Cubs had the Nationals thoroughly whipped when it came to the overstocking of middle infield positions with three second basemen. On the same roster!

Granted, they've been trying to trade one of them since President Ford was stumbling over Chevy Chase who had tripped over a chalk line on his way to an SNL mock-up of the Oval Office restroom, and they'd prefer to use the other two as super-subs, but that doesn't mean Vidro is on his way. I don't think Rozner implied that he was, either, just that I think the situation is far more complicated than "Nationals have extra, Cubs have need."

Which brings us to van Dyck's piece, which does attempt to bring some complication to the scenario, even if only for unintentional comic effect, by daring to utter the moniker of He Who Must Not Be Named.

Sometime in the next two weeks, Sammy Sosa has to decide whether to accept the Washington Nationals' offer of a non-guaranteed, non-roster invitation to spring training or, perhaps, retire.

And waiting with great interest for his final decision could be none other than … the Cubs.


Either Soriano or Vidro might have to go if Sosa makes the team and it probably would be Soriano, who will make either $10 million or $12 million next season, depending on the outcome of Thursday's arbitration hearing. The Nationals most likely would like a front-line pitcher in return, although they may have to settle for less.

The image that came to mind when I read this was that of (and I warn you, this is not visually pleasant) a pimple on the face of Jim Bowden being squeezed by Sosa, and when the explosive moment of release arrived, what should pop out, and directly into the lap of a sleeping Jim Hendry, but Alfonso Soriano.

If nothing else, it's interesting to note that two men, working independently, both spilled ink on the same problematic situation, thinking that the same team might hold the solution, yet managed to come up with nearly divergent results. Which should tell us all we need to know about the ratio of information to speculation.

2006-02-09 08:26:41
1.   Lefty
I don't have enough room here to verbally describe how much more I would rather have Vidro than Soriano. I still think it wouldn't/shouldn't take much more than assuming the remainder of his entire contract.
2006-02-09 09:07:22
2.   Derek Smart
Certainly agreed on the preference of players - Soriano is one of, and might be the most, undesirable players I can call to mind - but I'm still unsure about what would need to be dangled to get Vidro. I understand the idea that simply taking the cash obligations and associated risk should be substantial enough to get it done, but I doubt anything will happen until A) Vidro shows some modicum of health in the spring, which would also drive his price up, and B) the Nats ownership situation is dealt with or shelved for an extended amount of time, giving Bowden some freedom to "work" - much of which deals, of course, with the current DC stadium situation. Blech!

Basically, there may be concern at this point that dealing a player who's a star when healthy might adversely affect the sale price of the team, and I don't think the other 29 blood-suckers are much interested in taking that risk.

2006-02-09 09:23:58
3.   deadteddy8
Isn't the obvious solution in DC to move Soriano to shortstop? Didn't he start there in the minors, and only once he got close to the bigs with Jeter blocking his way did the Yankees move him over? Despite his atrocious defense, wouldn't Soriano still be preferable on the whole to the two headed black hole of Cristoyce Clayzman? If the problem is that he doesn't want to switch from 2B to OF, might it be because he views such a switch as an attack on his abilities, whereas a move to SS would be a point of pride? Did I really just post entirely in questions?
2006-02-09 19:32:56
4.   Marc Normandin
That is quite the image Derek. I'm proud. And tally my vote for Vidro over Soriano, for the good of the land. I just feel bad for the poor Nats fans who may end up stuck with Soriano due to Bowden's incompetence.
2006-02-10 11:09:57
5.   rynox
Free Ugueth!
2006-02-10 16:22:45
6.   The Real Neal

Actually the real solution was happened upon by the Rangers. Fleece some borderline retarded GM who thinks he's running a fantasy baseball team. I don't think Bowden could do that, though. If they really are stuck with the two 2nd basemen, the best 'solution' would to play Zimmerman at Short and see if Soriano would play 3rd.

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