Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Arms Race!

Well the winter meetings have started and the rumor mill is starting to bubble over with who is going where and for how much. More importantly, as has been expressed here and by other fine members of the Cubs Blog Army, the Cubs need not just one, but at least two if not three starters to rebuild their rotation. More importantly, if Hendry is sincere about fielding a championship team, he just can't throw darts at those available and hope whoever bites will make everything right. There most certainly is a difference between the quality of starters available and Hendry must focus on quality, not just quantity.

Chicago Tribune writer Dave van Dyck, has a nice article today evaluating the starters that might be available this offseason.

In the article, five professional scouts were surveyed as to their rating of the starters available. Only one scout didn't claim Jason Schmidt, to be the prize of the group. It was also interesting to note, that even the dissenting scout who claimed Zito as the number one starter available, claimed he'd be a poor fit for Wrigley.

These scouts also ranked the three, four and five starters available, and all three of them take up residence with the our arch enemy to the south, the Chicago White Sox.

Oh how the Cubs like most of us, always pay for their sins of the past. The simple contract extention of Pierre's contract last year, would've been a wonderful bargaining chip with the White Sox, who may still be in need of a center fielder.

Well no sense crying over our spilt Budweiser, if the rumor of the three way deal for Jennings has any legs, the Cubs should have plenty of budget left to go make an offer Schmidt can't refuse. That would give the Cubs two dominant starters at the top of the rotation with Jennings and Hill filling in the three and four spots. Then the Miller/Prior/Marshall mishmash doesn't appear so repugnant and Hendry could even go gobble up for a minimal one year contract, an insurance innings eater like a John Lieber.

It seems insane to make your centerpiece acquisition a poor man's Zito, Ted Lilly, who brings the Cubs all of Zito's negatives with none of his positives. Hopefully, Toronto will save Hendry from this mistake, as they seemed to have trumped the Cubs offer for Lilly.

Just remember Jimbo, we need a pitcher, not a belly itcher!


Wrigley Ville said...

Another question is: How good does the pitching need to be?

Assuming the Central Division and the National League will be comparable to last season, do the Cubs not have the bats and just enough arms to hang around until the trade deadline - and then improve the rotation through a trade?

That may be a better way to get a quality starter, instead of being on the hook for several years and tens of millions of dollars for one player now.

Or it could be a disaster...

Clute said...

I'd like to think that if the Cub's are sincere on their quest to win a Championship this year they need another stud in the rotation. I know it can be debated who that is, but no matter what criteria I've used, the Jason Schmidt is always at the top. There are very few pitchers that have never had an arm issue medically, Lilly & Meche included, that are considered above average. However it might be able to acquire a Jennings or Westbrook at the mid season trading deadline. That's all the more reason I feel so strongly about acquiring Schmidt instead of two mid level starters now.

A teams top starters can give you a realistic chance to win at least 75% of their starts. 500 pitchers are 500 pitchers for a reason and that's why at least two horses are needed, especially at playoff time. After all it's all about winning a world series, not just having a competitive season.