Tuesday, August 17, 2004

What remains for 2004

Yeah, the playoffs are in reach. But the big picture is how can this team become the current version of the Atlanta Braves and win division titles from now until the day Mark Prior retires. There are a few things that have to happen:

1) Nomar Garciaparra must be resigned. The Cubs have no shortstop at any level ready for 2005. The three most likely options are Nomar, Edgar Renteria, and Orlando Cabrerra. While Renteria would be nice, and is almost certainly available with the Cards’ acquisition of Larry Walker, Nomar remains the best choice. He’s here. He’s good. Keep him. No matter what else happens in 2004, Nomar must be resigned.

2) Kyle Farnsworth must go. I don’t care how “lively” his arm is, he needs to lave this team. He’s going to be closer to 30 than 25, he’s going to be closer to free agency than his first arbitration year. He’s got to leave.

3) Moises Alou must go. I just read he got tossed yesterday on a ground ball out. Nice. The team needed you and you get your ass benched because you were mad about a check swing strikeout call two innings earlier.

4) A direction needs to be decided at second base. The three options for 2005 are Mark Grudzielanek, Todd Walker and Richard Lewis. Clearly, one of Grudz / Walker will not be back. Personally, I choose Grudz for the walking papers and keep the lefty and better hitter. But if I’m Jim Hendry, I tell Dusty that the job is Richard Lewis’ to lose in spring training. I tell Dusty that Lewis is penciled in for 450 at bats.

5) Sammy Sosa must accept a new role on this team. Be it batting order and/or outfield position, Sammy must know that 3rd/Right is no longer his permanent domain. Spring 2005 could bring 5th/Left and Sammy must accept that. Anything less, trade him for a soiled jock strap and use his salary to get a replacement.

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