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Browsing posts from November, 2012

No Haren. Now What For Marmol, Cubs?

By bullpenbrian - November 3, 2012 - 1:05 am Leave a comment.

I was less surprised the Carlos Marmol for Dan Haren trade fell apart than I was knowing there was ever a deal discussed in the first place.

Despite being two-years older than Marmol, Haren would’ve been a major coup for the Cubs.

He’s started no fewer than 30-games the past 8 seasons, is a 3-time All Star and has twice finished in the Top 10 of the Cy Young Award.

The addition of Haren would’ve improved the Cubs’ rotation immediately and his manageable 1-year contract would’ve also made Haren a valuable trading chip at the July trade deadline–assuming the Cubs were out of the race as expected.

If you’re reading this post I can fairly assume there’s no need to rehash Marmol’s struggles other than to say he’s grown more inefficient and less reliable with age.

Had the trade gone through I wouldn’t have labeled it a total fleecing by the Cubs. Haren has experienced his own setbacks including a nagging back injury and a significant drop in pitch velocity that led to his first ever trip to the DL.

However, there’s no doubt in my mind Chicago was getting the better end of the deal player-for-player wise. The transfer of money between each party appears to be the sticking point in the Cubs pulling the plug late last night.

Even though the trade is off the table, at least for the time being, it’s still encouraging to see the Cubs stay aggressive in its rebuilding efforts.

And seeing as how the Cubs hung Marmol out to try once, it would seem likely they’ll make further attempts to deal him this offseason–but it won’t be easy.

Marmol is still owed $9.8M in 2013, a hefty price tag for a guy who’s made a name for himself walking the bases loaded in close situations, which brings us back to why I was wide-eyed with the news the Angels were accepting Marmol for Haren in the first place.

Another interesting spin-off to this developing story is who the Cubs will turn to at closer if, in fact, Marmol is traded away? Will the Cubs stay with internal options (Dolis, Chapman, etc.) or will we see Team Theo sign/trade for another closer?

I’ve had a gut feeling the Cubs would have a surprising move or two up its sleeve this offseason. Marmol for Haren would’ve easily fit the description. Let’s just hope the next trade whammy actually comes to fruition.

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Dan Plesac Wants Aboard Cubs Big Blue Train

By bullpenbrian - November 2, 2012 - 12:15 am 2 comments.

Dan Plesac will interview with WGN for the Cubs’ television analyst opening according to Bruce Levine of ESPN 1000.

This is music to my ears. I was totally bummed when MLB Network plucked Plesac away from Comcast SportsNet Chicago after the 2008 season.

I had a real appreciation for Plesac’s opinions and on-air enthusiasm. I loved watching Dan wear his train engineer’s cap and tooting the horn for the ‘Big Blue Train’ as the ’08 Cubs captured the best record in the National League.

Those were good times. Lots of good baseball and lots of good analysis on Chicago’s North Side.

It’s obvious why MLB came calling for Plesac to help launch the league’s new network in January 2009, and no surprise Plesac’s recent 5-year extension with the network likely poses the largest hurdle to him joining Len Kasper in the Cubs’ broadcast booth.

But of all the possible candidates rumored to replace Bob Brenly, I believe Plesac is at the head of the class.

In fact, if the decision were left up to me I’d hire Plesac in an instant. In addition to his television experience (2005-present), he’s smart, honest, opinionated, polished (on and off the air) and has a good sense of humor.

What more could Cubs fans ask for? What more would Cubs fans want?

I’ve also clamored for Doug Glanville to get a look at the position, in large part because he’s a carbon copy of Plesac with but a few exceptions.

I’d be thrilled for either guy to get the gig. But Plesac remains my No.1…Glanville comes in a close second.

I don’t have much of an opinion on the rest of the field. If money isn’t the issue (which is just ridiculous to say!) there are really only two candidates for the job in my opinion–Plesac & Glanville.

I’d be disappointed if WGN and the Cubs went 0-for-2

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Cubs In No Small Mess

By bullpenbrian - November 1, 2012 - 12:45 pm 2 comments.

The mess is always bigger than it appears; a little something I learned in college cleaning up blue & red party cups.

New Jersey and New York City have the disastrous mess of Sandy on its hands. Cleaning it up won’t happen in a few days or a few weeks, but will take months, if not years, to recover from all the damage (see Katrina).

If there’s an upside to a mess, however, it’s the beauty to rebuild and come back stronger and better. And most importantly, a learning experience in how to better prevent such devastation a second time around (like tapping garbage bags to the house walls so all those beer pong cups don’t windup on the floor and in the shower).

That of course is where the Cubs stand in the baseball world, cleaning up the mess of a 101-loss season, something that doesn’t happen in one offseason, either.

It’s going to take two or maybe three seasons before Chicago turns itself around to compete for a championship…and maybe longer.

But where we won’t find pride in the Cubs’ win/loss record over the coming seasons, we should take pride in the fact Team Theo is quickly building a foundation to prevent such disastrous seasons as 2012 from happening again.

Chicago will bounce back a stronger and smarter organization even if it takes longer than most fans would care to wait.

It’s just some food for thought as we watch the Cubs take its analytical and methodical approach to its rebuilding efforts this winter.

As we get deeper into the offseason and further removed from 2012, it will seem the Cubs are but two or three ‘Jim Hendry moves’ away from competing in 2013. That’s just the nature of being a fan.

However, we have to know better than believing this to be true and we have to know better than to think sweeping it under the rug with huge free agent signings, as the Cubs were known to do, is the answer.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get excited about the progress we see with the Cubs over the winter, which could be significant, but come Opening Day 2013 we’re certain to be reminded this Cubs mess is bigger than it first appeared.

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