Just kill me now. Jim Hendry is driving straight towards a cliff, and he's taking the team with him. The Cubs today announced that they have finally exorcized Milton Bradley, trading him to the Mariners for starter Carlos Silva. Not bad, right? Get rid of Bradley, get back a starting pitcher. You've probably heard of Carlos Silva, he's decent, I think? Well, the Mariners sure thought so when they handed him a four year $48 million contact going into 2008. Silva then proceeded to throw up ERA's of 6.46 in '08 and 8.60 last year (only 30 innings). Oh yeah, and there's a mutual option for 2012 for $12 mil that the Cubs would have to spend $2.5 mil to buy out. So, because Silva is somehow owed more money ($24 mil) than Bradley ($21 mil) the Mariners will give the cubs $3 million next year and $6 million in 2011. Take out the $2.5 million buyout and the Cubs get $6.5 million over two years while adding a hole to the outfield and overcrowding their starting rotation with a bad pitcher. A bad pitcher who is making $12 million and will likely start over a more deserving pitcher.
Which brings me to Sean Marshall. How does this guy pitch impressively year after year and always head into spring training with "a chance" to make the rotation. Yet, he never seems to get his fair shot because there's some reclamation project or overpaid/undeserving starter (can you say Jason Marquis?) who gets the fifth spot over Marshall. This year it'll be Silva. Oh and we have a hole in the outfield that needs filling. It's really too bad we don't have a gold glove caliber, up-and-coming outfield prospect who could play center field.
So lets recount the tale of Milton Bradley. Cubs trade away Mark Derosa to free up cash, and do not sign back Kerry Wood because money is needed for Milton Bradley. 2009 begins and Bradley is a bust, Aramis Ramirez goes down and the Cubs are left with no backup, second base is a black hole all year long and the season is lost. 2009 ends, and Milton is traded for a bad starting pitcher who is actually making more money than Bradley. Meanwhile, the Cubs have no need for a starting pitcher. The Cubs would have been better off by simply releasing Bradley rather than make this trade.
While Hendry is responsible for the majority of this mess, some of the blame also has to be placed on Lou. It is Lou who needed his precious left handed bat. Lou is the one who could not work with Felix Pie or deal with a player who needed time to fully develop. Lou also prefers Sean Marshall in the bullpen. Don't get me wrong, Marshall is good and reliable as a reliever, but he has so much more value to the team as a starter.
At the end of the day, at least the team is rid of Milton. A player who I was excited for when the Cubs signed him. Only the Cubs could sign the reigning AL OPS leader and have it blow up in their face.
The question now is, who is going to play center? The Cubs are rumored to be considering Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel and Marlon Byrd. I just threw up in my mouth thinking about Scott Podsednik on this team. Marlon Byrd is interesting, he hit 20 jacks last year with a slash line of .283/.329/.479/.808. The year before he was even more impressive, hitting .307/.380/.462/.842. The problem is that he'll be 33 this coming season and could have already peaked. Of the names listed, I would not mind seeing Rick Ankiel on the team. He has legitimate power and plays solid defense. He's only going to hit around .265 but throw him in the 6-hole and just let him slug and play good defense.
Or maybe Jim can give his old pal Andy MacPhail a call and see what it would take to get Felix Pie back, the O's were rumored to be listening to offers...