No news on the Transactions front, but significant developments in Hendry's bathroom.
Welcome to post #180 on Lingering Bursitis. It's been that long, folks, and throughout it all, many things have changed. Some contributors have graduated, others build houses, one lives in Alabama. And while none of us involved, readership included, can say that we are not different now compared to 180 LB posts ago, there has been one shining constant amongst the maelstrom and evolution of our lives: The Cubs do not care.
This is a harsh way to begin a post, I concede, and who knows, maybe towards the end it will get sunnier. But right now, given a couple of comments I've seen in the last couple of days, the crushing burden of pessimism (wow, that was some flowery language. Look out Verlaine, beware Joyce, for the next airy-fairy wordsmith is fast approaching) is becoming too much. Dramatic, yes. Knee-jerk, you betcha. But realistic?
The Cubs organization has enjoyed a rather uneventful offseason to date. Cedeno is 'balling to his heart's content in South America, Corey is wasting away pondering the root causes of his misery and unease at the plate, while our stalwarts like Lee and Ramirez drink and consider just what sort of squad will await them in Spring Training. Will it be a winning unit committed to the cause, or will it be the same perky troop that loses focus and slowly wanes in the heat of increasingly difficult Wild Card chases? Will we see the team that sticks it to St. Louis, or keeps losing those roadtrips to Arizona and Colorado?
We have spent Burnitz' 2006 salary on a couple of middle relievers who have shown some spark in their 30s, and we've added (or at least I think we have - last I heard was that the trade was pending a physical at the end of last week, and nothing since then) a reliable, sturdy bench player in IF/OF John Mabry. Neifi has been resigned to a modest deal, we retained the services of Rusch and held the options to Walker and Williamson while sending AAA relievers Leicester and Van Buren (why, G-d, why?) to fresh pastures.
Amongst all of these matters, we designated hapless Adam "One At-Bat" Greenberg for assignment, and did little else.
I know it's early in the offseason, but to me, time is already running extremely thin, not to mention my patience. While other NL "Nearly-Theres" have been stocking their pantry with the best of a streaky FA class, the Cubs have sat idly by. I'm not too great at this "predictions" business (read: any prediction I've ever made on this site and you'll see why), but with many teams seemingly adopting a Buyer's stance going into the Winter Meetings, just how will we fill our most important needs?
Like a kid struggling in an exam, we've filled out the easy answers and are spending the remaining minutes chewing on our pencil. Furcal has gone to the Dodgers for a lower price than expected (3 years, $39 million), and despite what many think/say, he wouldn't have been a bad signing at all. With the amount of runs he scores per year, as well as his steals and defensive range, our leadoff woes would have evaporated the minute his ink dried on the contract.
There are still options, but with the bulk of the FAs effectively gone (and please, don't say Nomar in this discussion), it's gonna take more than money now. It's going to take *gasp* prospects, and I am skeptical as to how much our old lady organization will loosen her grip on the purse strings.
Regarding the Winter Meetings, there are tons of questions still to be answered, but I'm not sure how many of them would involve Cubbie Blue:
- When will Cincinnati figure out which OFs to trade?
- Is Pierre the next victim in South Florida?
- Could the Cubs actually find a trade partner for Corey Patterson? (well that one does)
- Manny Ramirez?