Over the past few days, I have had the opportunity to listen to tons of Chicago sports radio, nearly all of which are concerned with the upcoming Cubs/Sox series. Of that, most of it has devolved into comparisons between the good-pitch/no-hit Sox being torn apart by the constant bickering between their manager and Gm, and the "cursed" Cubs whose GM and manager can't do anything right and their owner is too busy playing with his expensive toy to notice anything wrong.
Out of all of it, two things have stuck in my mind, and in an attempt to somehow dislodge it, I am putting it out here today.
ONE: Steve Stone was asked if, when Tom Ricketts was asked about his team and he replied that except for injuries everything is hunky-dory, if Tom should have been expected to register some sort of dissatisfaction about the performance of his team President, GM and Manager, and Stone said no, of course not.
Stone further explained that the Ricketts family holds the hammer in the Cubs organization, and thus has the power to clean house whenever they want to, however they want to, for whatever reason. Until they feel the need to actually do so, it makes no sense whatsoever to go on record and criticize the people in place.
This makes all the sense in the world. Suppose he did come out and say that he was sick of Crane Kenney's lack of progress in getting the Triangle complex built and the subsequent renovation of Wrigley Field? Or if he was to say he was miserable about the decisions Mike Quade was making in his lineup? Or if he was disappointed about the performance of the farm system, and felt shackled about all the bad paper Jim Hendry printed up and signed? What do you think would happen, then? What do you supposed would be said on the six-o-clock sports? On Comcast SportsNet? Hell, I actually believe that it would actually get a rise out of Sarah Kustok, which we all agree would be a good thing.
But I digress. What do you think Sully, Rozner and Bruce Miles would say? What about Phil Rogers and Gordon Wittemeyer? Good lord, Gordo would foam at the mouth. What about us, the God-forsaken bloggers sitting in our mom's basements with our pants around our ankles? Damn, the bloggers will twist this news a hundred different ways and start a thousand rumors...
Well, I don't think Tom Ricketts gives a schist about what the bloggers think, but he was smart in not taking the bait. He said what he should have said.
That's doesn't mean he thinks, or that it is true, that Kenney and Hendry and Quade are doing a good job. It is plain to one and all that they are all terrible at what they do. So it once again boils down to this: Do You Trust Your New Ownership? Are they really financially shackled? Are they simply being cautious and plan to act when they have all the right people in place? Or are they really still infatuated in being owners of the Chicago Cubs, and are too starstruck to see the forest through the trees? Or is there another option I haven't thought of?
Up to you, kids.
TWO: ever since Zambrano said "we stinks", rampant speculation about his getting traded to the Yankees has abounded. The Yankees certainly need pitching and are the only team who can afford to take on his big old paper. Z has helped the speculation grow by stating that he would waive his no-trade clause.
Can I take one more second here to bitch about no-trade clauses? Now, how many times have you actually heard about a player actually invoking his? How many times have you heard players say they would waive them for either an opportunity to win or an opportunity to make more money? It's, like, 20-1 in favor of waiving. Why the f**k do they even exist, when the vast majority of the time, they aren't even utilized?
Z is not being traded to the Yankees. Why? When was the last time the Yankees took another team's head case on? Try, never...they don't mess around with crazy people. They go get ballplayers, dependable guys.
That's not to say the Yanks aren't interested in one of the Cubs' hurlers, though. According to Steve Rosenbloom today, they are very interested in Ryan Dempster, because he's a bit cheaper and more reliable. They believe Demp is ready to do whatever it takes to win, including quashing some of his famous "humor" in the name of clubhouse unity.
This is far more plausible than any Yankee trades for Zambrano. So what do you think? Dempster's contract ends next year, same as Z. The Ricketts would same $21 million by trading Ryan, which is less than the $27 million they would save by trading Z, but $21 million still gives the owners a bit of financial wiggle room. Plus, it can be argued that we know what we would get out of Dempster (200 innings at a 4 ERA and 14 wins), and on the other hand, Z could at any time pitch the same number of innings at a 3 ERA, thus winning five more games.
Plus, while Dempster is a great guy, nobody really pays money to see him, whereas Z is often the life of the party and the price of admission.
I think we should start considering life without Dempster. He has more trade value than Z.