Siberian Baseball

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The answer to a question no one was asking

So wait, let me get this straight - the Cubs have once again stocked themselves so full of outfielders that they have been forced to carry three pitchers in order to meet the 25-man roster requirement.

The corner spots are being held by Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukdome, whose contracts all but guarantee they're not going anywhere in the near future. With those positions filled, that just leaves center field open for idiotic tinkering.

And really, if there's one thing the Cubs front office does well, it's idiotic tinkering. That, and antagonizing the fans with bizarre signings.

And really, what better way to antagonize the fans - both here and in St. Louis - than to sign former Cardinal and recent San Diego washout, Jim Edmonds?

Deadspin did a great job of rounding up the usual suspects from the land of Cubs blogs yesterday, but with the signing imminent, this just sounds like a dumber and dumber idea by the hour. Chicago's brass honestly thinks that Edmonds has a place on this team that was already having a tough time finding playing time for their outfielders?

You have rookie Felix Pie who has struggled to find his feet, but still needs time to develop and Reed Johnson - who was signed just before the season - who has already cornered the market on scrappy white center fielders at Wrigley.

From Bleed Cubbie Blue:

If the Cubs insist on signing a washed-up, injured, 38-year-old centerfielder who was released by a team in desperate need of hitting, at least send Jim Edmonds to Iowa for a week or two first, and let Pie play. The bottom line is: the Cubs are 23-15, winners of four in a row and five of six, and scoring metric buttloads of runs. Why mess with success? Please, Jim. Don't do it.

I agree. This is an aging Edmonds, not Ichiro - to stunt Pie's development in favor of a 15-year veteran who seems to have forgotten which end of the bat he's supposed to hold at the plate and hasn't shown any indication that he's up to the challenge of patrolling center field defensively is short-sighted and indicative of the kind of stupid decisions that have plagued the franchise.

The Cubs claim this is a zero-risk gamble - they gave up no players in claiming him off the waiver wires and don't need to play him every day - but to have him taking up a spot in the lineup for no reason other than, "he has hit well at Wrigley and was available on waivers!" just seems stupid. With Matt Murton already in AAA to make room in the outfield, I have to ask for the second season in a row - what the hell is it with the Cubs and these free agent outfielders?

This is frighteningly similar to the one guy in everyone's fantasy league who can't help himself from snatching up every player who is cut throughout the course of a season. That guy usually comes in fourth, too.

(Image from: MLB.com)

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3 Comments:

  • Actually, I think it makes a lot sense for the Cubs to try Edmonds out. The Cubs needed a left-handed bat and it was apparent that they've wanted to send Pie back to AAA for awhile, anyway, since he's not batting very well at all. Obviously, guys like Pie and Murton are going to be the long-term solutions for the franchise, but I think the majority of Cubs fans are most concerned about having a legitimate chance to win it all this year. If that's the case, then the Cubs are probably better off seeing if Edmonds would fill in for their dearth of lefty bats.

    Plus, the Cubs could probably move Fukodome up to the second spot in the batting order, put Edmonds in fifth, and then maybe have Theriot bat ninth (where the Cubs could employ the pitcher-batting-in-the-eight-spot strategy, which would be particularly advantageous for them since they would have Theriot coming up before Soriano in most situations, giving Soriano a lot more RBI opportunities - that's key since Soriano isn't a traditional lead-off hitter). Anyway, I think this is a pretty good low-risk move for the Cubs. If Edmonds doesn't work out in a couple of months, they can release him and bring Pie or Murton back up from the minors. On the other hand, if it does work out, then they'd solidify their position as having one of the best lineups in baseball this year since it will be more balanced with a lefty bat and more potent top-to-bottom if you have Fukodome batting second and Theriot batting at the bottom of the order. It's about this year as opposed to nect year, right?

    By Anonymous Frank the Tank, At Thursday, May 15, 2008 8:40:00 AM  

  • You working for the front office now?

    In theory, yes, that's the way it should work, but I don't see Edmonds as the solution to that problem.

    Essentially - and judging by the production he had in San Diego - you're demoting Pie who was doing better at the plate this year and shouldn't have to worry too much about beating Edmonds in a footrace.

    I'd prefer to have a younger, faster player in center and get run production from the rest of the lineup than this solution.

    If the Johnson/Pie platoon had flamed out entirely, it's a different story, but at this stage in his career, I just don't like the fit.

    By Blogger Minneapolis Red Sox, At Thursday, May 15, 2008 10:31:00 AM  

  • No one has ever mistaken me as a Cubs front office proponent except for when they have provided me with numerous instances of delight with their ineptitude from the Sox fan perspective, but I honestly think the Edmonds move is a worthwhile risk to take. I'm not saying that he'll definitely work out, but at this point in the season, it's not like teams are going to trade anyone of value, anyway. Taking a flier on Edmonds is worth it alone to see if he can fill the team's lack of lefty hitters. If he works out, then you just eliminated a need at the trade deadline without having to give up any prospects. If he doesn't work out, then there's plenty of time to either go ahead and make a trade or bring Pie or Murton back up. C'mon man - don't actually make me keep defending the Cubs here (especially when I'm preparing a Unabomber-esque manifesto on the lackluster performance of the Bulls management over the last 18 months)!

    By Anonymous Frank the Tank, At Friday, May 16, 2008 9:16:00 AM  

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