Thursday, December 22, 2005

flights of fancy

as the outlook for 2006 gets more and more bleak for cub fans, it seems to this page that the grandiosity of the rumor mill only grows and grows. speculations that would have been laughed out of the barroom just a month ago are now -- after giles, after furcal, after jones -- garnering serious attention.

this page has already commented on the nature of such flights of fancy as salve for the pain and frustration of repetitious, persistent futility. but this writer would like, nonetheless, to record some of the finer fantasies for posterity -- even if only to provide a good laugh this coming july, when we'll almost certainly all need it.

the cub reporter offers this contribution, forwarded by the frequently knowledgable and circumspect arizona phil:

* Trade Matt Murton, Rich Hill, and one of Wuertz, Novoa or Williams to the A’s for Barry Zito


* Trade Zito and Felix Pie to the Phillies for Bobby Abreu OR trade Zito, Pie and Ronnie Cedeno to the Orioles for Miguel Tejada

so two outfield prospects and two pitching prospects -- plus or minus a marginal middle infielder -- for one or the other of two first-tier stars of the game? you'll pardon, i hope, dear reader, my skepticism.

then, over at the venerable font of irresponsible optimism known as bleed cubbie blue, al yellon hopefully offers a couple of notions that have made it into the papers. first from the fair and balanced perspective:

The Cubs, aggressively pursuing a blockbuster trade for Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada, are willing to part with a top starting pitcher, most likely right-hander Mark Prior, sources tell The talks are stalled, a source says, over the Cubs' insistence that the Orioles give up left-hander Erik Bedard along with Tejada if they want Prior - and the Cubs' refusal to include top outfield prospect Felix Pie or a top pitching prospect in return.

this at least has the ring of truth in hendry's refusal to properly assess the utility of strikeout-mad double-a outfielders. then from tribune trumpeteer phil rogers:

Think an offer of Carlos Zambrano, Pie and Perez would get the Baltimore Orioles' attention? I do. The Cubs ought to be willing to give up Zambrano to get Tejada, especially if they still can add a free-agent starter (Kevin Millwood, Jeff Weaver or Brett Tomko would do). [brett tomko? really?? -- gm] I would hate to see Pie traded, but if he could help bring Tejada, that could excuse it, especially if the argument next September is which member of a Cubs playoff team most deserves the National League MVP, Lee or Tejada?

with all due respect to rogers, his zeal has carried him into a place even this page wouldn't go -- ridding the team of its best young horse since the early incarnation of greg maddux seems a bridge too far not only for this page but for the cubs front office. it is disturbing, however, that it is rogers who says this -- as this page has long noted, the tribune has a habit of conditoning the masses to accept what it has decided to do before it formally announces what it has done. (UPDATE: as pointed out by commenter maddog over on bcb, perez can't be traded until mid-june. it makes you wonder if they even think about the propaganda before they write it.)

this page would again note that this manner of indulgence is a sort of veiled therapy, and should be regarded as such. it would further enjoin the intelligent and concerned reader to refrain from such denials of likely truths -- such as, the cubs are vastly nearer the end than the beginning of major personnel movements, with very nearly $100mm committed pending the contract offers made to arbitration-eligible players such as pierre, zambrano and prior -- in the interests of staying grounded in some kind of reality. one cannot function as a responsible steward of this baseball team when one is constantly clouded in vision and thought; and it is the very purpose of this page to provide the reader some of the means by which you, dear reader, can become a responsible steward of the chicago cubs.

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