Thursday, March 25, 2004

Narrow Focus?

It may seem that this page has had an obsession with the Mark Prior story. Well, for good reason. Mark Prior may be the most exciting athlete to come this way since Michael Jordan. Prior is captivating. His starts are appointment television. This is what it must have been like to be in Baltimore in 1965 when a young Jim Palmer came up. And now that he has a chronic foot injury (unlike the acute one suffered by MJ), there is a real fear that the problem will not go away.

Prior failed to make his scheduled throws on the side yesterday. That pushes back his first start to May 1 or later as I project. Best wishes on a speedy recovery.

But that isn't the point I want to make today.

The buried lede here is: Why did this team screw around waiting to sign Greg Maddux? Prior's injury was well known to team officials as early as last September. While I'm sure that the Cubs didn't think that Prior would still be hurt in March, any good business man makes contingency plans. Greg Maddux is an A-1 caliber contingency plan. It gets my gall even more to think that they didn't make signing Maddux a priority with the extra revenue the Cubs are receiving this year from the rooftop owners, additional stadium advertising in Wrigley and the 200 new behind-the-plate premium seats.

This team is a veritable Fort Knox and they screw around to see if Maddux can be had for the right deal? With the best young pitcher of a generation potentially hurt for the long term?

This team needs to make additional contingency plans right now. If that means unloading a few prospects for a bona-fide starter, you do it. The Cubs have a window to win a title this year. And that's the only title that's possible to win.

Let's see this team really go for it.

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