Jim Hendry is down in Florida at the Winter Meetings and people are anxiously awaiting the results of all his wheeling and dealing. Dreams of Adrian Gonzalez were smashed almost before they could pick up any steam with even the most optimistic dreamers. Unfortunately, what a vast majority of Cubs fans seem to not grasp is that the Cubs will almost certainly not be a better team after the Winter Meetings are over.
This can best be illustrated by a little Venn diagram created by Adam Kellogg.
The two sets do not overlap. Think about it. What would help the Cubs contend in 2011?
- Sign Cliff Lee - not possible
- Trade for Adrian Gonzalez - not possible
- Trade for Prince Fielder - not possible
- Trade for Zack Greinke - not possible
- Every team plane in the NL Central crashing into each other - probably not possible
- Sign some of the flotsam and jetsam left to play first base to one or two year deals - doesn't help anything.
- Sign one of the walking dead arms as an additional starting pitcher - doesn't help anything.
- Trade Gorzelanny, presumably for prospects - doesn't help this year.
- Trading any of the other veterans with big salaries - doesn't help this year.
- Let the AAA players try to step up for really, really cheap - extremely unlikely to help this year. (As always, 1989 proved that anything can happen, but probably not twice in a generation.)
They will parade out whatever new faces land in a Cubs uniform (it doesn't matter who they are) and put them on panels at the Cubs Convention (tickets still available!) where they can be given softball questions to answer and they can talk about how they are excited to win a World Series for the best fans in the world.
Tom Ricketts, Crane Kenney, and Jim Hendry will talk with straight faces about the intangibles these guys will bring into the locker room, how whatever health problems they may have had are in the past, and they are ready to take a step forward with the Cubs. The crowds will cheer and start to dream about the possibilities and run out to get wristbands for the single-game tickets.
That is the plan, anyway. Unfortunately for the Cubs, other teams are expressing interest in the players the Cubs were hoping would be at bargain basement prices. Meanwhile, Jayson Werth signed a deal with the Nationals that rivals the national debt in size and got agents salivating over the money that should flow for this year's crop of mostly unexciting free agents.
So now the Cubs are looking at having even their most minor of moves being restricted because of cost and being juxtaposed against a team like the Nationals that is seemingly interested in signing every free agent available and even trading for Greinke. Whether the moves are prudent or not, Nationals fans can easily be convinced the team is trying to win. The Cubs are sticking to their plan of telling everyone to be patient.
We'll see how that works.