I was so glad when the Cubs decided not to trade Mark DeRosa back during the MLB winter meetings in order to make the Jake Peavy trade work with the Padres. DeRosa is a solid player at bat and in the field, and he is a great presence in the club house. With his versatility and positive attitude, DeRosa is the consummate “team player”. So why did GM Jim Hendry and the Cubs trade Mark DeRosa to the Cleveland Indians for 3 minor league pitchers?!
Allegedly, it was done to clear some salary space so that the Cubs can go ahead and sign the coveted left-handed hitting outfielder to balance out the Cubs predominantly right-handed hitting lineup. But it’s hard for me to believe that the $5.5 million the Cubs owed DeRosa for the 2009 MLB season would truly the “prevent” the Cubs from signing Milton Bradley or any of the other free agent left-handed hitting outfielders on the market.
One can’t help believe that this could be a precursor to the re-kindling of trade talks with the San Diego Padres for ace Jake Peavy. The Cubs picked up 3 minor league pitchers from the Indians for DeRosa. Padres GM Kevin Towers continually said that the Cubs did not have enough pitching prospects in order to make the Peavy deal work. Will any of these 3 pitchers fit the bill for Towers? (Oh yeah – by the way – the 3 pitchers are reliever Jeff Stevens (5-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 36 games at the double-A and triple-A minor league levels); reliever John Gaub (3.38 ERA in 34 appearances at the single-A minor league level); and starter Chris Archer (4-8 with a 4.29 ERA in 27 starts at the single-A minor league level).
In addition, there are rumors floating around that the Cubs are close to dealing Jason Marquis to the Colorado Rockies for veteran releiver Luis Vizcaino. Again, the Cubs are focused on the fact that this will free up salary cap space to sign a left-handed hitting outfielder. But if the Cubs deal Marquis, they will be left with 4 starters plus Sean Marshall or Angel Guzman to fill the 5th starting pitcher slot. With the injury concerns with Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden down the stretch in September 2008, do the Cubs really want to go into 2009 with that thin of a rotation?
I’m sad to see DeRosa go, but if it is indeed a single move that leads to 2 or 3 other moves that bring in a Milton Bradley and Jake Peavy, I will be very happy. I guess I’ll have to wait and see before I make my ultimate judgment…