After watching rookie Bryan LaHair launch a rocket against a strong wind to temporary salvage a game where the veterans managed 1 hit though 8 innings -- only to see John Grabow, another veteran, come in later and give the lead back, my frustration boiled over a little bit. My mind then went back to a great question I got from a reader, "Break the Curse". It was this:
Just a thought: if (Tom Ricketts) is so concerned with player development, why not force Quade's hand? I wonder what message, if any, is being given to Quade outside of what's being said briefly in the media. Is it smart to let Quade decide if his days are already numbered? Someone should intervene and get these kids out there.
I have to admit there's no real good answer. Does Ricketts not want to appear as a meddler? Is he trying to respect the accepted baseball hierarchy where owners do their things and managers do theirs? Where's Randy Bush, the interim GM? Would this be overstepping his bounds as a temporary fill-in who's basically just there to work the administrative part of the job?
Bulls fans will remember what happened when President John Paxson tried to tell Vinny Del Negro what to do with his lineup: words were exchanged, ties were grabbed, Vinny's hairdo was slightly ruffled. That kind of advice isn't always appreciated and the Bulls made national news for all the wrong reasons.
The more rookies the Cubs call up, the more Quade digs his heels in and declares he's going to play the veterans. By telling the media that Colvin and other players "have to earn their playing time" while calling out other young players like Castro and Barney in public, is he trying to impress the old guard? Does Quade think he's going to earn their respect so that they'll vouch for him when the Cubs have to make a decision on their manager?
There's one problem I have with all of this. Wasn't Quade the guy brought in to be the good soldier? He's the guy who's supposed to to toe the line. So why the apparent defiance and selfishness all of the sudden? Do desperate times for Quade call for desperate measures?
Maybe we've been looking at this the wrong way. If Quade really wants to save his job why would he go against his bosses wishes? No amount of recommendation letters from Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano is going to save his job if he is doing anything that would upset the people above him. His longevity in baseball depends on what they think, not his players.
The answer we haven't considered here is that perhaps he's supposed to play the veterans.
The rookies will be there. Rarely are careers made in September. There is plenty of time to evaluate them in the spring...and even this fall and winter for those players assigned to those leagues. There isn't much more time to evaluate the veterans. The Cubs are bringing in a new GM and decisions have to be made on players like Aramis Ramirez. Do they pick up his option or decline it? Do they decline it and then try to re-sign him to a 2 or 3 year friendlier contract? Do they want to keep Carlos Pena? Then there's Alfonso Soriano. Maybe a strong finish will convince some team that there's enough bat left that they'll take him on if the Cubs pay most of his salary.
That could be part of the answer, but it still doesn't explain why LaHair isn't playing more. The Cubs have to make a decision this winter on whether to keep him on the 40 man roster so that he can compete for a job next season. And it doesn't explain why you'd continue to trot John Grabow out there. He has almost no chance of returning even if he agrees to a large pay cut.
I'll admit there is no easy answer here.
What do you guys think?
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