Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter Meeting Observations

With the Peavy soap opera behind us at least for now, a few things that were not quite so apparent have come into more focus now.

First, there was the misinformation being disseminated from the Tribsters that with the uncertainty of the economy and sale of the Cubs, there may not be much money to improve the club. We have now come to know, that while the Cubs won't spend like 2006, there seems to be plenty of cash to address many of the Cubs needs.

Second, Hendry seems to be willing to wheel and deal but only from a position of strength, and that is never a bad approach. I have often bashed Hendry's approach in haphazardly throwing around dollars and length of contracts with little foresight to see how those decisions might hamper his ability to maneuver effectively in the future. He has seemed to learn his lesson here, at least with respects to Peavy and I must give him his due on this one.

It seems now Hendry can devote his full attention to his preliminary discussions to land Milton Bradley. Out of the remaining free agent LH outfield free agents, Bradley is if not the best, is at least in the top two offensively. Bradley is also the youngest, not turning 31 until April of 2009 and the best defensively. Bradley came up as a CF'er and has played all outfield positions. This will give Piniella a tremendous flexibility in the field and with Bradley being a switch hitter, the tough righty or lefty matchups with opposing pitchers will be a non-issue.

Next it would seem through the failed Peavy negotiations, that as many as 8 or 10 teams would be interested in DeRosa. There is no doubt that Derosa's flexibility is a plus for any organization and if the Cubs can move him to free up a spot for a legit lead off man, DeRosa's value will never be higher coming off of a career year. If DeRosa numbers don't fall off the planet in '09, he will probably price himself out of the Cubs lineup when his contract expires at the end of next year anyway.

Hopefully Hendry will explore what he can garner for DeRosa, and a possible target in need of some power out of 3B like the Angels, may be willing to go for DeRosa, allowing them to let Figgins walk instead of offering the free agent a new deal. Figgins brings much of the same flexibilty as DeRosa does to play all over the field and is better than DeRosa defensively. What Hendry would give up in power with DeRosa, Figgins would give the Cubs in more speed, athleticism and a proven lead off hitter.

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