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An Ugly Win

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Holy Cow!

The Cubs won a nail-biter 7-5 last night over the Astros. The game was a rather sloppy affair, and I walked away thinking that we won one we didn't really deserve. That is probably an unfair characterization, considering the offense scored 7 runs, but we did come from behind twice, and we did get a huge lift from Craig Biggio's first error of the season.

On the other hand, the Astros scored two gift runs in the top of the 4th inning. Jeff Kent led off the inning with a legitimate double (during the play he pulled up with a hamstring injury and is day-to-day). Morgan Ensberg followed by hitting a fairly deep fly ball to center field. Corey Patterson was trying to imitate Andrew Jones and Jim Edmonds by playing shallow, and did a nice job of going back on it. He should have caught the ball just shy of the warning track, but the ball bounced right off the palm of his mitt and Ensberg was credited with a gift triple by Bob Rosenberg, the Cubs official scorer. Adam Everett then hit what would have been a double, but Moises Alou misplayed the ball, kicking it into the ivy. He first started looking for the ball, and then threw his hands up, requesting the double rule to be invoked. However, Alou apparently forgot the ground rules as:

  • 1. The ball was in plain site, just not where he was looking.
  • 2. Moises touched the ball before it went into the ivy.
  • 3. Moises started looking for it.

The most comical part of the play occured after Everett ran home, and Alou saw the ball. He didn't let on, and started kicking at the ivy over the ball and ripping some out, conveniently covering up the ball. All of his efforts didn't help him out though. Everett was awarded a double, and Alou was charged with a two-base error.

Despite their defensive struggles, both Alou and Patterson made up for their miscues at the plate. Patterson had an RBI double in the second inning, and a two-run dinger in the fourth which scored Alou, who had reached on a walk. Alou also hit the flyball that Craig Biggio dropped (in much the same way Patterson did), which ended up scoring Mark Grudzielanek and Michael Barrett.

Aramis Ramirez hit his 15th home run in the 6th inning off of Kurt Bullinger (Jim's brother). The Cubs have played 76 games, which puts Ramirez on pace for 32 home runs. Last year, Ramirez hit 15 for the Cubs in 63 games. I really hope he makes the all-star squad.

ESPN is reporting: The Expos approached Cabrera, 29, with a four-year, $30 million contract offer in the spring. Cabrera refrained from signing the deal to assess his options, and now he's made his decision: He plans to file for free agency in November, which means the chances of him playing in Montreal -- or anywhere in an Expos uniform -- in 2005 are negligible. Jerry Crasnick ESPN Insider, "Shortstop turned down lucrative offer"

When I saw this, I immediately thought... let's make a trade! However, a little deeper consideration and Cubdom ought to be a little more cautious. Cabrera is having a poor year offensively (to be kind), and is in the final year of his contract earning $6 million.

  • Orlando Cabrera - .239/.298/.330, 4 HR, 10 SB, 21 RBI, 75 games
  • Ramon Martinez - .263/.323/.366, 2 HR, 0 SB, 22 RBI, 60 games

As you can see, if Cabrera continued his current offensive production, he wouldn't be an improvement over Ramon, and he might even be worse. He definitely wouldn't be worth the additional $2.5 million more than Martinez that he is owed over the remainder of the season. (Defensively, Cabrera owns a gold glove from 2001, and is having a comparable season this year.)

However, the assumption that Cabrera wouldn't improve if he played in front of 38,445 fans a day rather than the 19,391 may be faulty (see Aramis Ramirez 2003) (Attendance numbers are Cubs average attendance (home & away) vs. the Expos. The 'spos home attendance is horrible, with an average of 9,192 fans coming to see them in Montreal/San Juan.

If the Cubs were to trade for Cabrera (who will be paid approx $3 million the rest of the season), the trade should include about $2 million cash from the Expos in return for a decent, but not stellar minor league prospect (and Rey Ordonez if the Expos will take him). Or, the Cubs may be enticed to pick up all of Cabrera's salary if a bullpen arm were added to the deal, say Chad Cordero. However, this trade would probably require a top-flight prospect.

Chad Cordero, 2-1 with 4 saves in 35 games, 42.1 IP, 7.87 K/9, 27 K's, 24 BB's, .209 BAA, 1.35 WHIP, 2.55 ERA.

Editors Note:This post was edited significantly about 8 hours after I initially posted it, mainly because it wasn't terribly clear.

Posted by Byron at June 30, 2004 9:24 AM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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