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The color man for WGN Radio broadcasts of Cubs games has finally been decided. It’s former Cub and former Twins broadcaster Ron Coomer, beating out CSN pre-and-post gamer Todd Hollandsworth. Coomer gets a two-year deal, even though the Cubs’ contract with WGN Radio currently runs only through 2014 – I guess all the sides decided to cross that bridge if and when they come to it. I can’t give you much in the way of thoughts on Coomer, who replaces Keith Moreland alongside Pat Hughes, since I’ve never heard him calling a game. I’m sure he’s swell, though, and we’ll find out soon enough.
Not that it should surprise you, as the deal was pretty plain on its face, but Cubs GM Jed Hoyer confirmed that yesterday’s Brian Bogusevic/Justin Ruggiano swap was simply about balancing out the roster. “We like Bogusevic a lot but feel it’s a better fit for our roster to get a guy who hits left-handed pitching well,” Hoyer told Cubs.com. “He can platoon with one of several guys we have and play all three outfield positions. Sometimes it is about fit. Brian did a really good job for us. Ruggiano fits our roster better, and we’re excited to work out a deal for him.” All fair.
But what about Junior Lake? Does it push him out of a spot? Nah. Hoyer indicated that there will still be plenty of at bats for Lake, even if he didn’t quite go so far as to say “Junior Lake is definitely our starting left fielder next year.” That’s probably how this thing plays out, but no sense in locking yourself into a box if you don’t have to. In terms of winning in 2014, I remain very lukewarm on the idea that Lake can provide league average production in left field. But, in terms of the long-term future, and given the state of the projected roster for 2014, I say, what the hell. Let Lake start. Maybe he’s the exception to oh-so-many rules.
As we’d been thinking, the Masahiro Tanaka situation is clearly holding up the entire starting pitching market, both the free agents and the trade. That’s what folks tell Jayson Stark in his Winter Meetings winners/losers column, anyway. The Cubs were neither a winner nor a loser, which sounds right to me.
Mark Prior on the game of baseball, and the fact that nothing is granted. As Patrick Mooney points out, it’s a reminder of why you can’t solely rely on prospects coming up and being the answer. They’re a huge piece of the puzzle, but they’re not everything. It’s not realistic, and fraught with risk.
FanGraphs digs into the Roberto Hernandez signing – the Phillies got the erstwhile Cubs target for one year and a maximum of $6 million – and projects that he’s got a very good chance to rebound next year after an historically, unsustainably high homer rate last year. I love that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. can, on the one hand, sign a guy whose baseball card stats look like crap, but whose advanced stats look good, and then on the other hand, compared Kyle Kendrick to Matt Garza using career win totals.
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