Siberian Baseball

Friday, November 14, 2008

Beggars and choosers

Piggybacking off of yesterday's post, I'd like to revisit the release of Kerry Wood for the last time... this week.

One of the big reasons this season was so exciting for me personally - and I suspect for many Cubs fans - was that Wood returned and was able to keep plowing forward and stay healthy for most of the season.

Of course, many of us saw this as a good omen and were proved wrong for the 100th consecutive year. No, we'll never learn.

To be totally honest, I'd rather see Chicago hoist the World Series trophy with Wood on the field, but at this point, it doesn't make any sense to start setting conditions for a victory that has eluded the team for a century.

It reminds me of the buzz that whips up around a team as they are a game away from winning it all, but will be playing on the road. The fans really, really want to see the final game on their home field, but unless they've gotten greedy, most fans don't breathe a word of this until after the last out goes in the book.

Obviously, the Cubs are not even close to this position.

While a championship with Wood on the roster would have been nice, the Cubs obviously see the need to win with whatever combination works. I guess that counts as progress at Clark and Addison, so I'll take it.

While I will miss Wood as much as anybody, I embrace any sort of change that brings a title to the North Side, short of purchasing the New York Yankees and teaching their pitchers how to bunt.

I will, however, take a degree of solace in knowing that Wood - for better or for worse from his standpoint - has been branded as a lifelong Cub, much like Mark Grace before him. So, while I'll quietly watch the rest of his career on MLB Extra Innings and cheer for him after overpaying for his services in fantasy baseball, I can also get behind the moves to push Carlos Marmol to the forefront of the bullpen and welcome any space cleared in the budget to try and move the team forward into an additional round of the playoffs.

And who knows, maybe this isn't goodbye to Wood as stranger things have happened at the trading deadline. It worked with Maddux, right?

(Image from: Some random Wordpress blog, so it's probably not even theirs)

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cubs no longer "got wood"

Not quite a year after I wrote this, the Kerry Wood era has ended in Chicago. Well, on the North Side, at least. There's no telling what Kenny Williams will do next after trading last year's big signing. (More on that later.)

This morning, the Cubs made a move for Florida's Kevin Gregg for a minor leaguer and parted ways with Wood just after lunchtime. Presumably, this means Carlos Marmol becomes the closer and that Gregg becomes the setup man who can move to a closer role if Marmol stumbles.

All of this means that Wood will be pitching somewhere else next season.

While my man-love of Wood (wait, that sounds bad...) is well-documented here, he leaves on a high note after returning from his endless trip to the DL, an All-Star selection and finishing fourth in saves for National League pitchers last year.

"We’re just in a situation, as Kerry fully understands, that that length of deal, for the kind of salary he’d command right now, is not our first priority. We certainly have to finish our rotation, we have offensive situations to address, and by having the prominence that (Carlos) Marmol now brings to the table, it certainly doesn’t come before the other needs we have. We felt it was time Kerry goes out and does what’s best for him and his family, and gets a huge multi-year deal if possible."

On the South Side, the White Sox traded away Nick Swisher, the switch-hitting fountain of awesome that GM Kenny Williams had to have last year.

Wait, make that - Had. To. Have. (Last year.)

To the point that he pried him from Oakland for the most promising part of the Chicago farm system. Yeah, that guy? He's gone now.

The Yankees swapped Wilson Betemit and minor league pitchers Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez in exchange for Swisher and minor league pitcher Kanekoa Texeira.

(And what's up with another Jhonny in the majors? I thought Peralta was the only one ever. Now we have two in baseball?)

I think that the Swisher experiment - which according to the sidebar on ESPN says that he had the lowest batting average of any player with a qualifying number of at bats (502... uh why is that the number?) - is the equivalent of losing your shirt while flipping a house.

You bought the house because you could, but never really kept it long enough to turn any sort of profit.

Note: While I don't share the sentiment on Wood's long-term prospects as the answer to the closer problem for the Cubs put forth by Steve Rosenbloom, I do share this view:

I’ll miss the guy. I’ll miss his story. I’ll miss the big sound of Wrigley when he entered a game and the bigger one when he ended it.

(Image taken for Siberian Baseball)

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The best team to not win a damn thing

Try as I might, it's been pretty difficult to ignore the Cubs' most recent post-season belly flop as the hardware is passed out this fall.

Even with the team e-mailing me updates of sales on and other chatter, it was impossible to miss e-mails about Geovany Soto winning Rookie of the Year and Lou Piniella taking home the manager of the year honors.

Great news for a team that took a hefty payroll and plenty of natural talent and turned it into another lifeless post-season.

Not that I think that either guy wouldn't trade their hardware in for the World Series trophy, but it's tough to get excited for this.

Joe Maddon won the AL manager of the year, which makes sense, but I guess I'm old school in thinking Charlie Manuel probably should have won for the NL. It's not like the Phillies were a lock to win the title and then they went on to, you know, win the title.

We'll dive into the hot stove in short order - waiting to see what happens after Friday.

(Image from:


Friday, November 07, 2008

Setting the record straight

As sent along by Frank the Tank this morning, watch for the guy in the Blackhawks t-shirt setting the record straight on Chicago's baseball loyalties (though I question that Sox fans had a "great" year). The fun starts at the 0:33 mark.

It's also worth noting that in the first few shots of the president elect, he was catching a ride with the Secret Service while wearing a White Sox cap.

The mayor and the president are both White Sox fans. I suspect that Wrigley Field willbe condemned and knocked down any day now.