having completed one of the worst months in team history, finishing may at 13.5 games back of central-leading saint louis and 9.5 back of wildcard leader los angeles, the cubs move forward into june with virtually zero chance of rectifying this season but a significant opportunity to disassemble this club's non-core veterans and sift through its high minors and trade acquisitions in search of potential long-term help.
how acquiring phil nevin works toward capitalizing on that opportunity is beyond this writer -- better that jerry hairston had been sent away for a promising minor league infielder. this page would've been vastly more encouraged to see not phil nevin but blocked prospect marshall mcdougall coming to the cubs -- especially with derrek lee about to become victim of one of the great rush jobs in rehabilitation history.
indeed, the question that most haunts this page following the nevin deal is whether or not andy macfail and jim hendry are sensible enough to understand that this season is completely finished. nevin would make a lot more sense for a team that has some chance of competing for something this year -- as the cubs only possibly might have six weeks ago, if ever.
if they are, the cubs have a chance to find something out about this organization and make some real decisions going forward with an eye toward becoming competitive again by 2009 (for it seems here that this team is too deep and broad a disaster at this point to have much serious hope for 2007 or even possibly 2008, particularly considering the possibility of yet further payroll reductions next season). carefully rebuilding this team from a chassis stripped bare over the next two months before the july trading deadline seems to be by far the most sensible way to approach this cataclysm with an eye toward remediation -- however appalling it is that a team with this club's immense but misappropriated resources has been reduced to that by gross mismanagement and a troubled, malfeasant ownership interesting in nothing so much as raping the blissful foolish and ignorant from among the sentimental masses.
and whether or not the not-so-dynamic-but-thoroughly-entrenched duo of macfail and hendry can effect such a reconstruction competently is yet again another question whose answer this page fears. they certainly completely and utterly failed to do so during and after 2005, as 2006 has shown to date, idiotic excuses and outright lies of denial notwithstanding.
but if they actually do not see that the 2006 cubs have in fact become the 2007 cubs in waiting -- or, just as bad, if their vanity prevents them from turning the page in favor of a pointless quest to "prove" that they were "not wrong" by waiting for a winning spell in a disastrous year to overcome this sorry outfit with the aid of lee, mark prior, kerry wood and wade miller -- then yet more months of time will be wasted and yet more damage to the club will again be inflicted through the stupidity of useless hope, much as was done last season from july forward. this writer would hope fervently for anything but -- enough time has been wasted already for this club, which last came out atop its purported field of endeavor prior to the advent of broadcast radio, the discovery of oil in the middle east, the production of henry ford's model t, the ends of the manchu and ottoman empires and commodore peary's conquest of the north pole.
with the question of such strategic changes afoot, it becomes relatively somewhat less important to record the events of individual games such as yesterday's -- but this page would take a moment to praise dusty baker, whose decision to lift carlos zambrano after six innings and 101 pitches is to be commended. zambrano was coming off a 124-pitch abortive no-hit bid and is again among the most abused pitchers in baseball. this page has been waiting for the other shoe to drop with zambrano for more than a year, and any measure baker takes to preserve him is welcome -- no matter how zambrano might feel about it.