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Yesterday Rick Morrissey was all like CUBS NEED TO PANIC NOW. I dunno - I couldn't help but be reminded of a Chris DeLuca column from last week, which I thought was a pretty compelling breakdown of what's gone wrong for the Cubs this year - their tinkering in the wake of last year's playoffs wrecked their lineup and chemistry. His theory that the absence of Henry Blanco is what's eating Geovany Soto is also compelling, though I'm ignorant of the situation.
And as a Cardinals fan and taxpayer, I can't help but feel a little schadenfreude at the idea that Sam Zell set $150m on fire - or about 18% of the final price - with his stupid, failed plan to put us on the hook for part of the deal. And this, from Joravsky's piece, makes it all the more entertaining:
"Zell made his fortune in real estate by staying one step ahead of everyone else. In this case, though, he may have made a crucial misstep: he went to Blagojevich before talking to Daley. As anyone who knows anything will tell you, Daley likes to think that every big idea is his own. Had Zell brought the plan to him first, it might be a done deal."
Addendum: the lamented Mark DeRosa actually fell off a bit this season, although 21 HR isn't bad for someone with his versatility. It's also argued that he's a great clubhouse guy, and luring John Smoltz could make up for the BA dropoff if he can keep striking out batters in groups of 7.
Addendum Two: Joe Posnanski, one of the sharpest sportswriters in the country, had a fantastic (if debatable) piece on the worst existing deals in baseball. Alfonso Soriano comes in at #5, but mostly because the Cubs gave a speed-reliant 31-year-old an eight-year deal. I thought this was a decent point:
"Funny, I kind of thought that in many ways Soriano was underrated when the Cubs signed him … underrated because a lot of people seemed to be talking about all the things he couldn’t do (he didn’t walk, he struck out a ton, he was moody and didn’t want to change positions) and were kind of missing some of the obvious things he could DO such as the fact that he had a 40-40 season (and was one homer away from a SECOND 40-40 season) and was showing improvement even in those troubled areas (he walked a career high 67 times in Washington and moved to left field)."
Zambrano doesn't make the cut, for reasons that I've argued before, namely that he's pretty well valued. Hendry screwed the pooch this year in subtle ways that added up - okay, maybe gambling on Milton Bradley's consistency and Rich Harden's body in the same year is a bit more than subtle - but Hendry's put together a consistently above-average team. An expensive one, but until this year a reliable one. If baseball wasn't measured almost exclusively by pennants, their achievements might be admirable.
Addendum Three: You have to love the Lincecum-Cain-Sandoval-Schierholtz Giants.