I remember the 2006 winter meetings so well. General Managers were spending like drunken wives on a New York shopping trip.
Jim Hendry was the leader of that pack that offseason. I remember thinking the Cubs were finally spending ($300 million)Yankee money. I knew in the long run the big deal (Soriano) would screw the organization, but I couldn’t help but think at the time who cares?
Now the Cubs find themselves at Marshall’s ( $4.75 million) searching through picked over items. Some fans still want the Cubs to spend their way out of this. That isn’t going to happen, but I think we all hoped for some more meaningful additions to the younger core.
Some of us wanted to see Theo and Jed somehow pull off another Anthony Rizzo type deal. That is why I kind of got excited when I heard Texas prospect Mike Olt might have been available. Now this type of deal still may happen as many GMs left Nashville disappointed and surprised themselves at the lack of movement.
Jed Hoyer left Nashville like the others, hopeful that the days ahead would allow him to spread around his owner’s cash reserves.
“There’s a long way to go until we get to (spring training in) Mesa,” he said. “We have to remind ourselves there’s still a lot of players out there and still a lot of time (before spring training).
“When you’re leaving here, sometimes you feel like this is closer to the end of the off-season than the beginning, but it’s actually a lot closer to the beginning. There’s a lot of time left, we still have resources left and we’ll continue to work all winter.”
One media person told me the biggest deal deterrent at the “Grand Ole Opry” was the enormity of the hotel lobby. It was literally difficult to find people to talk about deals. One GM said it was easier if they were in their rooms so they could text and email other clubs, something they didn’t need to be at the meetings for.
There was some talk about the Cubs and Michael Bourn. That rumor seemed like the Cubs either helping out Scott Boras or the media helping the Cubs front office look like they are serious players.
Then there was more sketchy reports made about the Cubs reaching out to Ryan Dempster (more of a friendly formality) and the names Yuniesky Betancourt and Mark Reynolds were thrown around to many of Cubs fans dismay.
The Cubs however didn’t leave empty handed. They improved their pen with Kenji Fujikawa. They added an outfielder with some value in Nate Schierholtz, and finally settled third base by bringing back Ian Stewart (who now looks like George Brett in this desperate 3b market).
So far we here like what has been done this offseason. The starting pitching and bullpen looks respectable and we could still see yet another starter signed.
I myself would like to see the Cubs sell high on Darwin Barney and still sign one more pitcher like Brandon McCarthy or trade for one like Rick Porcello. The one thing that has bothered me is with the mention of every name is the mention of a possible “flip”.
It’s not like the Cubs can’t acquire someone in their 20’s and think they could possibly fit long term is it?
We have passed another year into this rebuild. I would hope by at least 2014 this team should begin to make a move for players they intend on keeping.
Either way, I don’t want to see the Cubs ever replicate those 2006 meetings by overspending. I do hope we never see another winter event like this again for both the Cubs and the rest of baseball.
It could be worse we could be the Red Sox.
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