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!