Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Cubs Acquire Nevin
2006-05-31 14:57
by Derek Smart

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.

2006-05-31 18:14:58
1.   Ali Nagib
Well, it's possible that the deal wasn't there to be made before now. Not to mention the fact that, no matter how well Nevin plays (which might be crappier than even the guys they have now, as scary as that is), even if they'd done the deal a month ago, it would have gained them a couple of wins at most. Sure, anything's possible in a "butterfly effect" sense, but I don't think that baseball is THAT capricious of a sport.
2006-05-31 18:18:03
2.   poultryman
The good news is that we have less of a logjam at Second Base, and a serviceable backup 1B/RF/3B who can hit lefties and who has trade value towards the deadline later in August. Somebody will have use in the AL for a guy like Nevin down the stretch provided he doesnt completely tank in Chicago. And as likely as that is, at the very least, he might provide some late season additions to our farm system, if nothing else.
2006-05-31 18:24:19
3.   Derek Smart
My point certainly isn't that Phil Nevin could have been this team's savior had he been acquired/available in late April, but that bringing him or someone comparable aboard would have made a lot more sense back then because at least the team was fighting for something other than self-respect. Now, it's little more than an empty gesture. Defensible, perfectly reasonable, a likely improvement, sure, but ultimately empty.
2006-06-01 05:01:14
4.   poultryman
I completely agree. But the trade did rid us of an extra second baseman, and at trade deadline time, Nevin has arguably more value than Hairston to teams who need help in the stretch. Corner infielders with pop are a bit more valuable, in my book, than weak hitting, weak defensive middle infielders.

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.

2006-06-01 06:50:40
5.   operablogger
Pretty much any move that helps put more bench splinters into Neifi!'s behind is a good one, as far as I'm concerned.
2006-06-01 07:14:58
6.   Derek Smart

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? ;)

2006-06-01 13:18:45
7.   operablogger

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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