Friday, July 16, 2004
posted by James - 11:54 PM
Here's my first foray into proliferating the rumor mongering surrounding the Cubs. This rumor and retort made possible by Derek at The Big Red C:
"While missing (Mark) Prior hurts a lot, Glendon Rusch has been a godsend all year, and the issues at shortstop and closer should still take priority. If getting the Unit precludes getting help in those areas, or strips the farm system of useful prospects, it's not worth the price.Absolutely right, Derek. But here's another viewpoint.
The Unit he refers to is not just any unit. He's the biggest Unit available in this year's trade season. He's Randy Johnson, and he's currently wasting away for the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks.
Diamondbacks GM Joe Garagiola must be having a hard time finding sleep with his cell phone buzzing non-stop with contending teams trying to make Johnson a stretch-run acquisition for the second time in his career.
Houston tried it last time in 1998, but it didn't bring them a World Series appearance.
This doesn't mean the Cubs shouldn't join the ranks of teams serious about winning this year and make a serious bid for the five-time Cy Young winner.
The Yankees want Randy. The Red Sox want the tall left hander. The Angels want El Unit Grande.
They all need a starter, whether it's Monsignor Johnson or not.
If the Cubs get him, they'll hold all the cards AND elevate Matt Clement to the second or third best starter available.
Then the Cubs could almost name their price for him, or keep him and move him or Zambrano to the bullpen (as closer?).
This will either cause the CONTENDING teams, including the Cardinals, into making some desperation moves with other teams, or give up players actually capable of improving the Cubs (i.e not Orlando Cabrera) right now.
Right now the Cubs are a team struggling to keep their playoff hopes alive.
With the Big Unit, they're the front runner... he decreases our starter's ERA and our reliever's ERA (assuming Prior's health or Rusch maintaining a permanent spot in the rotation, which I advocate).
Combine that with the return of Alex Gonzalez (who, sadly, is an offensive improvement from either Ramon Martinez or Rey Ordonez), Aramis Ramirez, Todd Hollandsworth and the continued offensive improvements of Sammy Sosa and Corey Patterson, and the Cubs would need an offensive improvement much less than our current situation dictates.
Give Angel Guzman, Sergio Mitre and maybe even Brendan Harris to the Diamondbacks and worry about our offense after we've put the Fear of the North Side into everybody.