Today's column will focus less on the newspaper and online outlets, and more on my first hand observations from this weekend.
I was lucky enough to score tickets to Friday and Saturday's game, before watching last night's game on ESPN. A lot of intersting things happened over the weekend in Boston, both personally and with the team.
After the jump, I will take a look at the state of the Cubs and what the future holds.
First off, I would like to send out an announcement that if you are in need of an emergancy room in Boston, Mass. General is top-notch. We were seen quickly, and the quality of care was pretty good. Nothing like starting a vacation with a trip to ER, but we were in good hands. It made for an interesting and different trip, but everything is with Baby No. 2 so far as the Doctors could tell us.
Now, onto the games. First off, I spent quite a bit of time with GROTA writer Alex Walsh. It's a funny world where you share a website with somebody for a few years, but you've never met somebody in person or even really spoken to them. He might want check the weather report next time he comes to a game. On Saturday, Alex wore flip-flops to pretty cold game. Of course it worked out, because right after he leaves the Cubs scored 8 runs in the 8th inning. So, we should take a collection and send Alex to all the games. Then, he will need to leave early and the Cubs will win. In all seriousness, it was good to finally meet one of the writers here at GROTA. We should all try to get together at some point.
Now onto the Cubs. If there was any doubt in my mind about the quality of this Cubs team, it it was set in stone that we are in for a long year. Bad contracts, bad fundamentals, and bad manaement has ruined this team. I don't see a quick fix either.
I made a comment to my brother on Friday night, that I didn't think the Red Sox wouldn't want to swap hardly any of their players with the Cubs if they could. Now it's time to break it down as our hopes continue to get dashed year after year.
We'll go around the diamond for the breakdown:
Carlos Zambrano $18.875 vs. Josh Beckett $17
This one is interesting judging by Beckett's 2010, but this year it is no contest. Zambrano is still effective, but nowhere near the pitcher Beckett has been in 2011. Big. Z has pitched well for the Cubs, but he is not worth the money the Cubs are spending. Would the Red Sox switch Zambrano for Dice-K? Probably, but that won't work for our comparisions here.
Verdict: Red Sox keep Beckett
Ryan Dempster $13.5 vs. John Lackey 15.9
A battle of pitchers pitching poorly, but Dempster's contract is a little less. I don't think either team is good here right now, but Dempster has been better of late. I'm guessing Red Sox would think about switching, but it would be a tough call.
Verdict: Sox take Dempster and save the 2.4 million problem of Lackey
Matt Garza $5.95 vs. Dice-K $10.3
Both pitchers have health issues now, but there is no way the Red Sox wouldn't keep Garza over Dice-K at this point. Graza is about four million bucks cheaper, and has performed better. The Red Sox would take this one with no problems. Dice-K is all kinds of messed up with his control, even with his flashes of good pitching the long-term outlook has Garza out-performing Dice-K.
Verdict: Garza in a landslide.
Randy Wells 450K vs. Jon Lester $6
The money difference is huge, but nobody is going to confuse Lester with Wells anytime soon. The Sox aren't hurting for money, so there is little reason to believe they would want to start shopping at the Cub Outlet Mall.
Verdict: Lester today, Lester tomorrow, Lester forever.
Andrew Cashner 425K vs. Clay Buchholz 555K
Again, we don't have a lot of information on Mr. Cashner other than the fact he is hurt. Buchholz has pitched well in 9 starts, and the Red Sox are thankful he's making those starts at the back-end of the rotation with all the question marks in the middle.
Verdict: Do I even have to say? Buchholz
Geovany Soto $3 vs. Jason Varitek $2/J. Saltalamacchia 750K
Other than the fact that Soto is on the DL, I would say the Red Sox would probably take Soto. Even though, if Salty could face the Cubs all year I'm sure the Red Sox would take the bombs he has been hitting.
Verdict: All things being equal, Soto is an upgrade for the Red Sox
Carlos Pena $10 vs. Adrian Gonzalez $6.3
I'm not sure if these salary figures are up to date, since Gozno signed a new deal. Even if Gonzalez makes $20 million, he's a big upgrade over Pena. I like Pena as a teammate, but Gonso is a much better hitter at this point.
Verdict: Theo Epstein would laugh if Jim Hendry called about switching 1B's.
Darwin Barney 440K vs. Dustin Pedroia $5.75
As good as Darwin has been, Pedrioia has one an MVP and hits for more power. I know Pedrioa is off to a rough start, but I'm sure the Cubs would take him in a straight deal.
Verdict: No way Barney keeps it up, and the Red Sox keep their star.
Aramis Ramirez $14.6 vs. Kevin Youkilis $12.5
Wow, this is just a landslide in favor the Sox. Aramis has never been the hitter Youkilis has been. A few years ago it was closer, but with Aramis the shell of his former self, Youk is the clear winner.
Verdict: Sox keep Youk and laugh at Hendry.
Starlin Castro 440K vs. Jed Lowrie 440K
This is the one place I know the Cubs are the clear favorite. Castro still needs some work, but he projects a much better longterm player than Lowrie.
Verdict: Castro is the one player in a clear upgrade.
We'll hit part II tomorrow as we look at the bullpen and the outfield. It's really more of the same.