I love the sound of my own voice
There's not a whole lot going on at the moment, but there's always tons of idiotic rumours to put to bed. I've seen a bunch in the last few days, so let's review "The Crazy Shit that could happen to the Cubs":
With Bobby, every day's a party
- Trade SP Mark Prior to the Phillies for OF Bobby Abreu
A report surfaced in the Philly Daily News that the two clubs are talking about swapping ace pitcher for ace Home Run Derby winner. I think this perhaps the most outlandish rumour out there, considering how the article made it sound. Basically their argument is that the Cubs didn't say yes, but they didn't say no either. You know, one of those James Bond things where everything is vague and implied by facial movement. A smile, a wry nod, a Roger Moore eyebrow raise.
New Phillies GM Pat Gillick and his manager Charlie Manuel have been most vocal about the endless quest for pitching. While the Cubs would definitely not consider shipping out Zambrano (aka "The New Ace of our Squad"), there is apparently all this hubbub in PA about Prior, and the murmurs might continue if top SP free agent AJ Burnett does end up signing with the Blue Jays sometime this week.
Fact: this will not happen. I just can't see it. While Abreu would be a good fit in terms of power numbers (perhaps DLee and BAbreu can be the NL Manny/Ortiz?), I don't think we would risk that. It doesn't solve our leadoff problem necessarily, and I think that a trade for an OF like Aubrey Huff, Pierre or even Reds IF/OF Ryan Freel to set the table would mean that we'd give up younger pitching. This would make Prior even more valuable to anchoring our rotation, so sorry Philly, keep on looking.
Now with realistic Corey Patterson batting stance!
- Trade pitching prospects to the Reds for OF Austin Kearns
Kearns is a guy that Hendry and Dusty love. Why? Because he hits lots of HRs at Wrigley Field, a fact that is neither here nor there for a guy who has yet to complete a full season in the major leagues. He's a right-handed RF who can hit, albeit still in the developmental stage (.266 BA/.360 OBP/.461 SLG in a truncated 3-year career), and it would take some solid AA or AAA to really interest Cincinnati. You know what I mean: when a team knows that a rival wants something really bad, the price goes sky-high.
Fact: if we had to give up one or more of what the Dayton Daily News thinks are good options:
Ricky Nolasco (AA) 14-3, 2.89 ERA, 161 2/3 IP, 173 K, 46 BB
Sergio Mitre 2-5, 5,37 ERA
Jerome Williams 6-10, 4.26 ERA
Rich Hill (he has been declared "pretty much untouchable" by the Cubs FO)
Then I don't think this would work. To get Hill, they'd definitely need to sweeten the pot, and I think Nolasco could have a great future at the major league level. With solid numbers like that, he is made for those 4th/5th rotation spots that Williams and Rusch are currently inhabiting. That being said, Mitre would be a good fit for Cincinnati (they are craving a sinkerball pitcher in a hitter's paradise), so that might not be a bad low-level trade. It would start getting silly if bigger names are involved, as I'm not sure Kearns is where it's at.
Aubrey Huff: he'll put in that hard yard on Jason LaRue
- Trade pitching to the Devil Rays for RF Aubrey Huff/SS Julio Lugo/CF Joey Gathright
This won't all happen in one deal, but that trio are high on Hendry's wishlist. Lugo put in a solid year offensively from the SS position, and would form a good young duo with Cedeno at second. Gathright is good defensively in the CF spot, and his offense is developing, while Huff is that RF/left-handed "finesse" bat (22 HR, 92 RBI in 154 G last year) we need in the lineup.
Fact: I think this is where most of our movements will be made. We've talked and debated Pierre to death, and we all know where we stand on the matter. Whether we can get him or not, expect to see at least one of these guys somewhere in the Cubs lineup come next season. It makes sense; the D-Rays are prolific in taking young prospects, developing them into tidy major leaguers and then trading them away, and although none of them would fulfill that lead-off need, it would leave us free to try Murton or Cedeno up top and let either Lugo or Huff hit in the order. Lugo would be a solid #2 in the order, and with Huff behind Lee, we could get something going.
Huff is a good player overall (5 year career: .288 BA, .320 OBP, .478 SLG), can play IF or OF depending on need, and he could develop well amid proven power like Ramirez and Lee. Lugo can hit and steal from the SS position (2005: .295 BA, .362 OBP, .765 OPS, 89 R, 39 SB) and would be a solid addition. Low-key and hopefully cheap. Gathright is the reach of the trio -- .271 BA, .316 OBP, 40 R and 26 SB in 95 career games -- and we would need someone with more MLB-established skills to fill that CF spot.
- Trade 2B Todd Walker and pitching/prospects (Mitre, Cedeno) to the Mets for OF Cliff Floyd
Another intriguing thought set forth by the Tribune. This would be a late-developing trade, as the Mets have to get Manny first before they would consider shipping out Floyd. The Cubs have wanted him for years, as he can play in right, can bat for power, and is left-handed. This is pretty much Hendry's wet dream wrapped in a fantasy that's swimming in porn stars. For that, and with the Mets being fully aware of that, we would need to pay through the nose. The Mets aren't too happy with Kaz Matsui as the long-term option for 2B, and Hendry's made no bones about declaring the availability of Walker in a trade package.
Fact: Again, this is intriguing. Floyd, despite the injuries, can be devastating with the bat -- .273 BA, .358 OBP, .505 SLG, 34 HR, 98 RBI in 150 games in 2005 -- and would solve a lot of problems. With another proven slugger in the lineup, imagine our middle order of DLee, Floyd and ARam coming atcha. That could be an absolute RBI/runs machine if someone's setting the table at 1 and 2 in the order. I'm not sure just how much Hendry would part with to seal the deal, but Walker is expendable, and throwing in a pitcher like Mitre or Williams might be considered a steal. We would need to be sharp in dealing with Minaya, who'll most likely still be dazzled by having Manny in Queens to notice Floyd catching the first plane to O'Hare.
There are other thoughts out there, including Pierre and Mr. Milton Bradley, but these dreamy could-be deals are enough to wet the whistle for today. Plus it's lunchtime, and I'm in need of a sandwich.
Any thoughts on these flights on fancy?