Something we plan on doing regularly here at Bleacher Nation is explaining why the latest Chicago Cubs news and rumors suck. Does that mean that the person writing about it sucks? No. Does it even mean they’re wrong? Not necessarily. It’s just a thing we like to say. So if it ever happens to you or something you’ve written, please don’t take it personally. It just sucks.
So with that said, I recently read an interesting article on Bleacher Report (nice name… d’oh for us…), criticizing Jim Hendry’s twin moves to free up payroll: letting Kerry Wood walk and trading Mark DeRosa for prospects. And I’m here to say that criticism sucks.
Into some tidbits from the article:
Will someone please explain to Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry that when I made the suggestion that he mix things up, that didn’t mean to trade away the guys with heart, determination, and integrity.
But that’s exactly what he’s done by letting Kerry Wood sign as a free agent and trading Mark DeRosa, both players going to the Cleveland Indians, coincidentally.
Look, I was hoping to get more guys like them, with an emphasis on the word “more” (as opposed to less). So what does Hendry do? He sends two of the mentally toughest guys we have packing.
Not good when you have a team that can’t win in the playoffs.
Things like heart, determination, integrity, and mental toughness are great. If you’re a chess-master. But they rarely amount to squat in Major League Baseball. Augie Ojeda was one of the toughest, integritiest, most-determined and heartiest little dudes I ever saw. And (sense a theme?) he sucked. There are semi-ok reasons to criticize the moves, but “Mark and Kerry have a lot of heart and we need heart to win in the playoffs” is not one of them.
(Anyone else immediately picture the lamest little kid on Captain Planet when you hear “we need heart”?)
More after the jump.
And look at DeRosa—here’s a guy who had heart issues during spring training….
Ah ha! So Mark DeRosa doesn’t have heart! Your whole thesis crumbles!
Adding to the misery is the fact that both moves, the Wood waxing and the DeRosa dealing, were done for one reason, and one reason only: to save enough salary room to sign troubled outfielder Milton Bradley.
Yep, that’s right. The Cubs can’t add payroll, so in order to win the Bradley sweepstakes (if you want to call it that), they need to free up payroll. Oh, and you can add the Marquis moving to the list of decisions designed to operate on the cheap.
First of all, no one who doesn’t live in the Cubs’ front office KNOWS that the moves were made solely to sign Milton Bradley. There have been indications in that direction, but freeing up salary and getting pitching prospects to get Jake Peavy is just as plausible. Second, a $120 million to $140 million payroll is not operating on the cheap. It’s operating on the nation budget of most small countries (and more importantly, the top 5 MLB teams). Third… um, are you complaining about dumping Jason Marquis?
I know Aaron Miles is a halfway decent replacement for DeRosa at second base given his .317 BA last year. But he lacks the power that DeRosa had, and you can forget about the rumors that he will supplant Soriano as the leadoff man. That ain’t gonna happen.
I hadn’t heard those rumors, and I praise Allah that I hadn’t.
More importantly, Aaron Miles is not the replacement for Mark DeRosa. A Mike Fontenot/Aaron Miles platoon is the replacement for Mark DeRosa. And it will cost some $3 million less, and almost certainly be as productive.
Personally, even if they complete the Milton Bradley signing, I don’t feel the Cubs have improved themselves.
Even if that’s true, there’s still 2 months to go before Spring Training. And adding Bradley isn’t the only thing the Cubs have done in relation to the two moves you sought to criticize. The Cubs also added Kevin Gregg from the Marlins to replace Wood’s spot in the pen, if not his spot in the closer’s role. And as much as we all want to love Woody, Gregg is only a marginal downgrade.
So if you want to make a fair comparison – and again, this is in your universe where the Cubs are done after signing Bradley, which I do not believe is the case – here’s the comparison:
Wood, DeRosa, and Marquis? or Gregg, Miles/Fontenot, and Bradley?
Which are you taking?
So in the end, why does complaining about the DeRosa/Wood moves suck? Because they were the right moves.
Or at the very least, we don’t know enough about the team’s situation and plans for the rest of the offseason to judge the moves.