Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
Today, the Cubs dealt seventh string second baseman Jerry Hairston (whom I am now belatedly dubbing "The Human Brain-Cramp"), to the Rangers for the also struggling Phil Nevin. Presumably, Nevin will be manning first base most nights, allowing Todd Walker to shift over to second base on a more regular basis. Oh, how soon we've forgotten your scrappy brilliance, Tony!
If the Cubs were in contention, this would be a very solid deal, as Hairston doesn't do much of anything for this team, and even with his overall struggles this year, Nevin has still hit lefties very well - and if there's something this club has been sorely lacking for several years now, it's a right-handed power bat off the bench. They also need someone to push the various "weak sisters of second" to the bench, and he should do for that quite nicely.
However, the Cubs are not in contention - although the message has clearly not been received in the club's front office - so while there's still nothing wrong with the deal if presented in a vacuum, when taken in context it seems extremely late, a little desperate, and without much real purpose. Nevin is certainly an incremental upgrade, a reasonable tweak, but if fine tuning and moderate adjustments were really what was called for, I'd have expected something better than the recent 5-23 jaunt through hell.
Yes, something got done, and it's a decent enough something, but it's a move the likes of which should have happened over a month ago when such a thing might have actually had meaning. As it is, it's simply a harmless excursion into the land of delusional comeback scenarios. Harmless, that is, if the front office awakens from it before the end of July.
For that alone, Im not mad about it. It would have been nice to make a trade a few weeks ago.
Like the entire starting lineup outside of Barrett and Aramis.
First off, hell of a handle. ;)
Second, you're right about the relative trade values, and with Texas apparently eating a good deal of his contract, he's a lot more flippable later on. Hairston was never likely to garner much in trade at any point in the year, so I think it's a nice upgrade in that respect, assuming Nevin performs reasonably well and the organization has the wherewithall to surrender come July.
Is that desired outcome metaphorical or literal? Or both? ;)
It was meant as a metaphorical comment, but at this point I'll settle for anything that keeps a bat out of his hand.
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