The grass is browner on the other side...

The grass is browner on the other side...

I remember exactly where I was when I learned the Cubs had signed Nate Schierholtz to be part of their outfield in 2013. I was at the legendary Martyr’s on Chicago’s northwest side taking in Matt Spiegel’s band Tributosaurus play songs by the Band. I checked my twitter feed between songs, saw the Cubs signed Nate Schierholtz, and then heard the band launch into “Don’t do it”. It was just one of those moments where life had great timing.

 

I kid about Schierholtz. He’s not an awful signing. He’s not great. In fact, all the Cubs signings have kind of had a Ho-hum reaction from me. With the exception of the 15 minutes it looked like Anibal Sanchez was a Cub of course. But when you look around the league at what some of the other teams have done, you realize that while the Hot Stove party has been more of a snooze fest, it’s better than being the clown with the lampshade on your head.

Consider:

 

The Phillies:

 

The fighting Phils shipped out 4 pitching prospects while getting AARP candidate Michael Young to play 3rd and speedy but fairly useless Ben Revere from the Twins.  And now comes word that they’re interested in acquiring Vernon Wells… Maybe the Mayans are on to something.

 

The Mets:

 

I think you have to like the R.A. Dickey trade. (Although using Ken Davidoff of the Post to smear him on his way out the door was kind of oily…). Travis D’arnaud is a prospect even I’ve heard of but to get Syndegard as well is a total bonus. But how then do you give all that money to David Wright? Are you rebuilding or not? Mixed messages for sure.

 

The Angels:

 

So you let Haren and Santanna go. You lose Zack Grienke. And how do you respond? By signing Josh Hamilton. Hey, Hamilton is still a helluva player. But the cracks are readily apparent. And a dude with addiction problems in La La land. And exactly who’s taking the bump after Jeff Weaver? (Who’s logged a lot of innings and seen his velocity dip in consecutive years.) This move smacks of desperation.

 

The Red Sox:

 

Okay so you wipe the board clean by getting Jim-Hendry-on-steroids Ned Colletti take on a quarter billion of salary. But four years for Shane Victorino to replace Carl Crawford, three years for Nap time to try and replace Adrian Gonzalez. Ryan Dempster (whose humor should go over really well in Red Sox nation…. yikes.) to replace Josh Beckett. Ummm…Okay. That battle for third in the AL East should be a thriller.

 

The Diamondbacks:

 

Well, they did sign Bob Brenly. So kudos there. But in Trevor Bauer, you had the biggest piece of currency this winter. Young, highly rated, highly touted pitching prospect. You could have exchanged it for almost anything. And while Didi Gregorious is a fabulous name, he’s considered to be an all glove, no stick SS. Really? Really?!!?! Talk about using a $100 on a candy bar and telling them to keep the change.

 

So Edwin Jackson is now the buzz on Cub twitter feeds and rumor boards. And most Cub fans brace themselves for what my colleague Tom Loxas so elegantly stated as “not falling for the banana in the tailpipe again…” A fourth year seems a bit much on the surface. But the team needs pitching and E Jax can pitch. He’d be fine. More importantly, he won’t be a rushed move, a panicked move, or a move that makes you scratch your head. And he certainly won’t be a move that we hold up in the long line of Milton Bradley, Koskue Fukedome, Dave Smith. Etc.

 

And that will definitely take a load off. Take a load for free.

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  • John, both Jackson & Howell are clients of the Legacy Sports Group. Maybe Theo et al can do a bundle offer?:)

  • In reply to TobaccopouchinIvy:

    Possibly. I'm sure it's a nice opportunity to fill two needs in one place.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    To be honest, I really felt the Cubs would hold off on major FA players until next yr. If they sign Jackson, &/or Howell, they must feel getting out of the gate fast early in the season is a distinct possibility & a chance for a playoff spot. Say they falter early, then they simply move some bodies for prospects at the deadline or the next off-season. At any rate, I'm surprised at their aggressiveness this off-season.

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    In reply to TobaccopouchinIvy:

    I did, too, but if you look at John's article from a few days ago, I think he pretty much nails it. Looking forward to next off-season, there is essentially no pitching in that class. So if you want to add starting pitching next December, you need to do it this December. They have just not had a lot of luck attracting it.

    Patience may be the watchword here, though. The 2015 class looks unbelievable (Kershaw, Hernandez, Verlander). And while I don't expect any of them to actually become free agents, I could see the Tigers and Mariners being forced into trades as those FA dates come closer. (Kershaw -- yeah right. He'll be off the market very soon, but that contract may well price the other two teams out of their own guys.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good points, Mike. I'm sure Dale wouldn't be unhappy with either one or both those pitchers to begin the 2013 season.

  • The Red Sox are a good example of what the Cubs should not be doing. Lucchino trying to prove he can win without Theo. It eats him up inside that he got all the credit for both WS rings. So he gets rid of all Theo/Jed guys (Hoyer was instrumental in getting Beckett). So they wipe the slate clean, not to rebuild, but to prove they can win with an identity that separates itself from Theo as much as possible. They pay out big money for big question marks -- it's a potential disaster in Beantown.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Am I the only one who doesn't hate what the Red Sox are doing? IMO it makes sense in that market. I agree that they're down, but they have to put some type of team together in that market and it's at least feasible that this RS team could compete. Yeah, they've spent a lot of free agent money this off season, but they haven't saddled themselves with long contracts. I could see a scenario where they compete, and if they don't compete they've added a lot of good trade assets. Just a few months ago, teams were asking for these guys. The players they added have high annual salaries, but the Red Sox can pull a number from the Cubs playbook and pay some of that salary for better prospects. I don't know anything about their farm, but they haven't blocked guys for years. I see this as being a reasonable (although not the most efficient) way to use their big market payroll to their advantage - they've added assets.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    What they've done is pick up some mediocre overpaid players. I don't know how much value they'll have unless they pay for those salaries. Drew was a nice gamble, but Napoli on downside and loses value at 1B. Victorino looking more and more like a part time player. I don't know...Victorino didn't bring in a lot last year when he was relatively cheap.

    Moreover, I just don't think they're doing this with an eye on selling. They feel they have something to prove after last season. Selling these guys would mean they failed to do that.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Hopefully for them the Dodgers really want Napoli and Victorino (again).

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hadn't thought about that angle on what the Red Sox are doing. If that is, in fact, true then Lucchino is not only a d-bag but a moron as well. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. There's no way the Red Sox compete this year...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John,

    Everything I've ever read about Lucchino points to an egotistical a-hole. I wonder if he pushed for the Crawford/Gonzales deals. You're right, it just eats him up that Theo got all the credit for the 2 WS championships. Remember in 2005 when Theo almost didn't re-sign with the Red Sox largely over friction with Lucchino. The firing of Francona. The hiring and firing of Bobby V. All of the terrible roster moves. Larry Lucchino is looking like Boston's version of Jerry Jones.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Right now, the Red Sox are in last place.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This is why I love what Toronto are doing. They definitely overpaid for Dickey, but the fact is that the Red Sox are a mess and will be for a couple of years and the Yankees have, at the sMe time, decided to be frugal for a couple of years. This combination likely will not happen again for years. There is a 2 year window for the Jays and Orioles in that division before the perennial power houses sort themselves out. They have to go for it now and it matters not a jot that they could be seen to overpay. The prospects they have list will only guarantee mediocrity in that division when they are in their prime as the Yankees and Red Sox will have re-tooled. If I were the Orioles GM I would be following suit.

  • In reply to Richb:

    Sorry for typos - I clearly have fingers too fat for a phone...

  • Thanks, Felzz !
    Why the Cubs, like The Band, will be great:
    --They've got talent at the Helm
    --They'll be Up On Cripple Creek (when the post-TJ arms succeed)
    --They'll ride Old Dixie down (and the rest of the NL too)

    So take a load off any worries.....They'll be spraying Strawberry Wine in the World Series clubhouse.

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    Great article.

    Definitely puts it in perspective for people that think we should be FA crazy.

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    Good stuff felzzy!

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    When all's said and done, I will be curious to see the articles trying to pick winners and losers in the off-season. But this is definitely a list of five teams I'm glad we're not.

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Agreed.

  • At this time the Cubs would be better off to miss a possible good signing, than get stuck with one that they wish that had taken a pass on.

  • Love Tributosaurus, but I missed The Band show.

  • If Jackson is "Plan B"......then lets go to "Plan C" before we are at "Defcon 1".

  • Just saw on MLB. com Cubs sign Villanueva! I like mabybe get a Jackson to, or run up the price for Texas. Maybe we shoulc check out another OF?

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    Cubs sign Villanueva!!!

  • hey john tom and flezz john haymen tweeted cubs have signed carlos villanueva http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/12/cubs-to-sign-carlos-villanueva.html

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