Remember when Tom Ricketts outlined the Cubs' needs going into 2011 in his letter to Season Ticket holders?
Going forward, we recognize the need to recommit to fundamentals. We need to stabilize our defense and cut down on errors. We need to improve our offense and become more efficient in both moving runners and hitting with players in scoring position. It is too early to determine whether this will be addressed with internal moves, trades or through free agent acquisitions. But we know we must improve in these areas.
So far, the Cubs signed an all-or-nothing type slugger to play first, low-balled a fan favorite middle reliever, and now traded for a pretty good starting pitcher. If anyone can tell me how those moves address the deficiencies in the 2010 team, they are smarter than I am.
Keep in mind, I don't dislike the deals in and of themselves. Garza is a fine pitcher and is as consistent as you can expect a pitcher to be. Carlos Pena's one year deal (that they had to finance) and Kerry Wood's bargain basement deal are solid value moves. The problem is that none of the moves actually make the team a hell of a lot better than they were out of the gate last year.
Pena replaces Derrek Lee, and even though Derrek had an off year last year, so did Pena, so if you are going to talk about Pena making an improvement, you have to concede that there is as real a chance that Derrek rebounds in Baltimore if his injuries have healed up. So, maybe you have to give a slight edge to Pena because he's younger, but that is all. Anything more than a slight improvement will depend on fortune smiling on the Cubs, and we know how often that happens.
Then you add Wood to the bullpen and assume he'll be healthy and you have a slight improvement there.
Where is the help for the offense? How does this help the team be more fundamentally sound? Pena might be a fine first baseman, but so was Derrek Lee. If anything, the team has managed to tread water in the off-season.
Remember what Tom said about developing their own players in the organization?
Continued long term success will come through superior scouting and player development, and we are committed to improving that facet of the organization. As a result, this likely means a shift of some of our resources from the major league payroll toward scouting and player development, but we are still very much in the evaluation phase.
Trading away four and a half prospects (you can take that as a Sam Fuld is short joke OR a Sam Fuld isn't very talented joke, I'm multi-layered here) isn't what I would call improving "player development."
These moves are intended to fool the masses into thinking the team is good without going crazy on cash. Otherwise there is no reason to trade for Matt Garza. None.
They already have Dempster, Zambrano, Wells, Gorzelanny, and Silva PLUS Cashner, Jay Jackson, Casey Coleman, and, for some reason, Jeff Samardzija who could all theoretically start. Why trade away the organization's #1 pitching prospect (Archer) for three years of arbitration-salaried Garza when A) you don't need him and B) he doesn't make you that much better to begin with?
It is all about spin and misdirection. The difference between now and when Tommy wrote that letter is that the Cubs are burning through their Season Ticket wait list faster than they thought possible, the Cubs Convention that usually sells out in 20 MINUTES still has tickets available after 2 MONTHS of being for sale, and every other team in the Chicago area is either good already (Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks) or making ballsy moves in an attempt to get good (White Sox).
So Tom is throwing out his original recipe for success (which may have been nothing more than flowery prose in the first place) and the Cubs are mortgaging the future in an effort to appear to be getting better. You have to wonder how Cubs fans can be expected to believe anything the Ricketts say going forward.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Check this out at Aisle 424: Cubs Trade Prospects and Credibility for Matt GarzaTweet this! Posted by SixRowBrewCo at 2:08 PM