Wednesday, February 18, 2004
With the glut of starting pitching, the Cubs have a golden opportunity to make a huge deal. The candidates for trade include Matt Clement, Juan Cruz, Angel Guzman, Andy Sisco, Chadd Blasko, Justin Jones, Bobby Brownlie and Jae-Kuk Ryu. With Maddux locked in for the next two years, three of the 5 starters are locked in for 04 and 05: Maddux, Prior and Big Zamboni. Wood will likely get a 4 year deal at some point this year. That's 4 slots. Clement is a free agent at the end of this year. Maddux just got Clement's 2005 money and a bunch of young talent is brewing, so he's got 162 games to audition for a job elsewhere. That means the Cubs have 7 young studs competing for 1 spot in 05 and 06.
You must use this talent to improve the club and that means trade some of them. And you do this now because tomorrow may never get here.
There are three obvious areas in need of upgrade on this team: Short stop, catcher and center field. SS is the #1 area with Alex Gonzalez's pending departure ofat the end of the year and his overall suckiness. The only way this position gets upgraded this year is if Alex gets traded away with his $5mm salary. I'd love to see it. Maybe to Texas with one of the kids. Don't know what you'd get back. Grudz might have to play short.
#2 is center field. I'm not gonna like Corey Patterson until he gets a lot smarter and starts taking walks. He plays a scary center, overruns bases, strikes out too much. In short, he's Shawon Dunston. This team needs a leadoff hitter and that guy has to play middle infield or center based upon the roster. Corey would still make great trade bait. Package him and one of the yoots... uh... youths... and go get Carlos Betran and his .911 OPS. Now, KC won't make this move in April. But if they fall out of the running by June, they might. That means, for the Cubs to get a guy who can bat leadoff (yeah, he's really a #3, but his speed and OBP say that he can bat leadoff), you want to see the White Sox or Twins crush the Royals early.
As to catcher, I'm not a Kendall guy. I think we fans are stuck watching Barrett. And Bako when Maddux pitches.
"Cubs get desperately needed left-handed bat in Todd Walker for one year, $1.75 million, just a few weeks after Walker had turned down a two-year, $8-million offer -- from the Cubs."
That's new. I never heard that the Cubs had offered Walker anything prior to his signing. Anyone know if this is true or agent snipe hunting?
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