Like the kid who doesn’t write his reports until the night before they’re due, the Cubs never seem to get any deals done until they’re almost forced to do so (see the Rich Harden acquisition which was completed right after the Brewers got C.C. Sabathia; and also see the on-again/off-again deal for Brian Roberts which was “close” to being done so many times until it eventually fell apart with Roberts remaining with the Orioles); now there’s a story that the Padres, unimpressed with the Cubs prospects, have rekindled talks regarding Peavy possibly heading to the Cubs with the Orioles being the third team in the mix to get the Padres the young players they want—-MLB.com Story.
After the way the talks for Brian Roberts fizzled, I don’t know how much stock to put in this latest rumor which would send Garrett Olson to the Padres (they’d better be getting Cubs prospect Josh Vitters and/or Jeff Samardzija to counteract the deal the Braves offered for Peavy because Olson alone ain’t gonna cut it and would make the Padres look worse than they do now, if that’s even possible), but Cubs manager Lou Piniella doesn’t think the team needs Peavy now that they’ve re-signed Ryan Dempster.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t suggest a team take a big roll of the dice on a guy with Peavy’s motion, but the Cubs are a veteran team whose farm system is weak and are all in for 2009; if Peavy is healthy for 2009 at least, then he gives the Cubs a great chance to win the World Series. If they think he’s the final piece to the puzzle, then they should make the move. Maybe they whole thing could be expanded to get the Cubs the lefty bat they need for right field from either the Orioles (Aubrey Huff) or Cubs (Brian Giles). Huff is a fine hitter that isn’t well-known and the change from Petco Park to Wrigley Field might wake up Giles’s power as it did for Jim Edmonds.
I don’t believe that this deal is anywhere close to completion and with the way they’ve frighteningly botched their attempts to trade Peavy, the Padres might as well wait to see how the free agency situation shakes itself out before making a move. Whoever doesn’t get C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe will be scrambling for pitching and might give up more for Peavy than they were willing to before.
- Zero-hour approaches for the Yankees with C.C. Sabathia:
It’s looking like the Yankees—-if they truly want to land Sabathia—-aren’t going to have a choice but to significantly increase their offer from $140 million to $150-160 million. It’s clear by now that Sabathia would prefer not to pitch on the East Coast or in New York; if the money is so much larger from the Yankees, he may not have a choice with the pressure from the union as much of a factor as is being implied. Unless the Yankees make that decision to sweeten the deal, Sabathia is going to go to the West Coast.
This situation is reminding me of the attempts to sign Greg Maddux in 1992. The Yankees’ offer was highest, but Maddux didn’t want to pitch in New York or in the American League and signed with the Braves, but Maddux has always marched to his own drum; will Sabathia make a similar decision and leave money on the table to pitch in a preferable location? It may come down to how much money it is and how determined he is to not wind up in New York.
- The Mets shouldn’t enjoy this “driver’s seat” status for too long:
All we keep hearing regarding the Mets pursuit of a closer is how they’re in the “driver’s seat” because there are many closers available and not enough teams to accommodate them all. Given the Mets history of thinking something was theirs and then seeing it slip from their grasp at the last second, they shouldn’t get so smug that they end up with nothing. If the cost of the deals that they’re pursuing are what they had resigned themselves to paying or trading to begin with, then getting greedy is a big mistake.
It’s one thing to refuse Francisco (K-Rod) Rodriguez’s initial demand of 5-years, $75 million, but if the price falls to three guaranteed years for $39 million with easily reachable incentives that push it to $52-55 million, then they should do the deal and be done with it. There’s always a mystery team that jumps in at the last second (especially if the team that thought they had a deal done is the Mets); if they wait too long and blow kisses to the adoring crowd, accepts roses thrown at their feet and waves like the Queen of England at some snooty, upper crust gala, they’ll wake up from their stupor in time to see K-Rod re-sign with the Angels; Brian Fuentes sign with the Cardinals; Huston Street get traded to the Brewers; Jose Valverde traded to the Tigers and the Mets will be left with moving John Maine to the bullpen because they couldn’t find anyone to close from the outside.
As for the stories that the Mets balked at the Rockies request for both Aaron Heilman Pedro Feliciano for Street, my question is this: are they really going to let Pedro F
eliciano keep them from getting a solid set-up man and potential closer for a guy they’re going to trade anyway in Heilman? Street isn’t due for free agency until 2011 and he’s been a decent enough closer and would probably be a good set-up man for K-Rod. Joe Beimel is a free agent lefty who wouldn’t cost a lot to replace Feliciano. And if the Mets feel as if two pitchers for Street is too much, they could ask for Jeff Baker in addition to Street; I’ve always liked the way Baker hits; he can play first, second, third and the outfield and would be a useful utility player and might make the trade of both relievers more palatable.
- Moderate mischief vs self-inflicted felonies:
I occasionally get into adventures through no fault of my own through sheer accident of personality and circumstances. Most have been innocent enough and some have been related in this space before. Many times what happens to me are the same sort of things that happen to this individual:
With all of that, there are the other types of mischief that people like Plaxico Burress seem to find. With the way his season has gone for the New York Giants with the suspensions and controversies that follow him everywhere he goes that—-despite Hall of Fame talent—-keep him in the front of the newspapers instead of the back where he belongs. Now comes an even more dangerous and disturbing incident in which Burress accidentally shot himself with his own gun in a NYC nightclub—-NY Daily News Story.
I understand that football players feel threatened with the way they’re targeted for the money they have, especially a year after the death of Sean Taylor—-ESPN The Magazine Story; but there are circumstances where a player puts himself into a situation to get into trouble and that’s what Burress did by going to the nightclub and bringing his gun. If I were in the position of guys like Burress or any NFL player, I’d carry a gun as well and if somebody’s going down, it ain’t gonna be me or anyone close to me, but does Burress think he’s Nino Brown from New Jack City and he’s able to bypass the club security and carry his pistol everywhere he goes? And then he accidentally pulls the trigger and shoots himself?
The man makes a living with his body and he risks it all for one night out in a nightclub? The most disturbing thing about all of this isn’t that he was carrying the gun; it isn’t that he went somewhere that he might have been targeted; it isn’t that he accidentally shot himself; it’s that he was carrying the gun and didn’t have the safety on. In truth, he’s lucky that it was himself that he shot and not some innocent bystander because this could’ve been far, far worse than it is; and it all could’ve been avoided if he’d made a decision to bypass the nightclub, bringing his gun, or both.