The Chicago Cubs Blow 2009

With the news today that the Tribune Company has reopened negotiations to sell the team with a second bidder, I thought it time to opine on the Cubs chances this year.

A couple of years ago I had a letter hand delivered to Andy MacPhail by a friend of the family who was in town to watch a Cardinals game in MacPhail’s box at Wrigley.  In the letter I offered to be the team’s Moneyball guy, as I have some ideas on what it takes to make a winning baseball team.  I did not know that MacPhail would soon be gone.  My letter made its way to Jim Hendry and I have his reply letter in which he kindly declined my offer of assistance.

Things would be better for Cubs fans had he not declined my offer.  Recall that last year the Cubs had arguably the best team in baseball.  They ended the season with a whimper in the first round of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Dodgers due, I submit, to the fact that Lou errantly failed to start the electric Reed Johnson in Center Field in favor of the aging Jim Edmonds, and started Fukudome in right.  Fukudome did nothing, Edmonds failed to spark the team, Johnson did not even have a single defensive inning or at-bat and the Cubs predictably but unnecessarily disappointed fans who had really believed that 2008, the 100th year of Cubs futility, would be the year they redeemed all those millions of fan-years of expectations.

So in the off-season, you might expect Hendry to keep the team together for a repeat.  Though I had resolved not to give a damn about the Cubs going forward, I did tune in in mid-April.  I was surprised when I saw the damage done to the team.   Not only did they not keep the team together, they traded away its heart by dealing away Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa.  The clubhouse chemistry between DeRosa and Theriot was the core of what made the Cubs a contender last year.  Gone.  The feel-good story which had Kerry Wood in a comeback role as closer was finished.  Gone.  Wood was not the best closer in the game, but certainly he did a serviceable job, and he has a winning disposition.  Also a good part of the team chemistry.

Why did Hendry deal these two players?  According to news reports quoting Hendry, it was to make room for… Milton Bradley?!?!#?*!?  Aaron Miles at second for DeRosa and Kevin Gregg for the Closer?!?!#@?!?  Where to start.  Gregg has proven to be several notches below Wood in the closing role.  Aaron Miles is a serviceable player, but he does not have the spark with the rest of the team that causes guys to play above their baseline capabilities.  And to top it off, they acquire the games biggest head case and worst clubhouse guy (possibly excepting Manny Ramirez) who comes in to hit … .110.  You could not have made worse moves.  It just isn’t possible.

So it is too bad that I am not working for the team.  And it is too bad that Cubs fans will have to wait more decades for a shot to see the Cubs win the fall classic.  I will be surprised if the Cubbies finish above .500 on the season.  And then their other core players like Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez will be past their winning years.  Once upon a time I was a Cubs fan.  Now I am an angry ex Cubs fan.

One Response to “The Chicago Cubs Blow 2009”

  1. freddy Says:

    why can’t I read on my Blackberry ? I can read on my iPhone