Monday, July 07, 2008

Post Season Game On

With the Brewers acquisition of C.C. Sabathia, the message to the Cubs is unmistakable: We’re going to be in the post season and we want to win now.

The CC trade isn’t so much about the regular season. This probably ups the Brewers expected win total by about 5 games. That may or may not be enough to win the Central, but it will almost certainly be enough to lock in a Wild Card.

As it appears, both the Cubs and the Brewers will have post season slots. The Cubs were already good enough to get there and the Brewers certainly are now. The question now becomes who would have the best shot in the post season.

You need at least two good starters in the post season. If you have three, you have flexibility. The Cubs go to war with Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster. The three of them have 6 career post-season starts with no wins and 2 losses. The Brewers originally countered with Ben Sheets, Manny Parra and either Jeff Suppan or Dave Bush. Sheets and Parra have no post season experience and Suppan’s playoffs don’t count because they were for St. Louis. Now, those two guys are out and in is CC with his 4 playoff starts and a 2-2 record in those starts. That’s a massive upgrade.

This trade is all about the post-season. What does it mean for the Cubs? It means Jim Hendry has to counter and counter quickly. The teams looking to add arms could include Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, the Dodgers, and maybe even the Red Sox. Hendry doesn’t have much powder to play with as the farm system is fairly barren of 2009-ready talent.

Hendry also knows that he’s going to have a new boss in the next few months. If he has any hope of keeping his job beyond 2008, Hendry not only needs to have his team in the playoffs, but the team has to have success in those playoffs.

From a fan’s perspective, having a GM with pressure on him is a plus. Also, the best part of Jim’s GM tenure has been his ability to get deals done. His career hangs on that very skill right now. He has to go out and upgrade from Lilly/Dempster.

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