Note to Hendry – Make no little plans

Cubs GM Jim Hendry said at the Cubs Convention that last year’s off season player market moved slower than previous years, with many deals coming in the final days before spring training. He expected this year to be similar to last and so far this has proven to be so. So we Cub fans have been asked to be patient as the final pieces of the 2010 Cubs squad come together. Problem is, very few if any of the players the Cubs are rumored to be interested in, interest me.

On Twitter the other day, I said Jim Hendry sometimes needs to be saved from himself. My comment was in reaction to the signing of Jose Contreras by the Phillies, preventing Hendry from getting him. Of all the players rumored to be interests of the Cubs, few have intrigued me. Jonny Gomes, Xavier Nady, and Ben Sheets, are all interesting to some degree but none really stir the baseball juices. They are all what I call “lightning in a bottle” guys. If the planets align they might have a solid year. But they are each a gamble that could prove costly both in dollars and in a roster spot. I would rather re-sign a known entity as fourth outfielder, such as Reed Johnson. At least you know what to expect from him playing in Wrigley Field.

As far as I can tell, the Cubs are in the same boat as last year at third base too. Brittle Aramis Ramirez has no legitimate backup. Sure you could play Jeff Baker over there for a couple games, but if/when he goes down for a month again, Hendry has nothing to back him up – again.  I think this was strategically one of the big mistakes of the 2009 Cubs roster and a primary reason for the disappointing season. We all know A-Ram will go down at some point, only question is for how long. With that wonky shoulder, he is conceivably one dive away from the DL and possibly surgery on every play. And if you slide Baker over to third, you lose run production in the middle of the lineup and further expose second base with Mike Fontenot.

Given the hole I perceive the Cubs have at second base (I still don’t fully trust Jeff Baker), early off season talk of packaging up Luis Castillo from the Mets sounded good to me IF he can still play. But if the rumors are true the Cubs have been interested in the likes of a Kiko Calero, Jose Contreras, and now 37 year old Chan Ho Park, Hendry is barking up the wrong tree.  And this from a team who is based in the city of Daniel Burnham, famous for the quote “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood…”  C’mon guys, reach higher! Ask Andy MacPhail how making a team merely competitive in their division is a good enough goal.

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    January 26, 2010  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: biz of baseball, Hot Stove, Jim Hendry, lineup, roster, spring training

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