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Monday, June 28, 2004

I've Got It! 

So I've been doing a lot fretting lately over the Cubs. It's been a dismal week, as the Cards series slipped away painfully, the hometown rivals beat the stuffing out of Zambrano and Maddux, and Kerry Woods' return was pushed back to after the All Star break. Possibly worst of all, Carlos Beltran went to Houston, making the NL Central even pricklier than it already was.

What are the Cubs to do? It seems that they've got to make a deal, but there's honestly very little they can change. The rotation is already overstocked, and there are only two positions (outside the bullpen, and every bullpen could use help) they can realistically hope to improve through a trade: Shortstop and Center. The options at Short are strictly limited, both by what's available (um...nobody) and by finances (Jim Hendry has been going around signing every washed-up shortstop available, from Rey Ordonez to Ricky Guitierrez, making additional spending on the position seem unlikely). Okay, so what about Center?

Previously, I'd really hoped that the Cubs would jump into the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes in earnest. I've never believed in Corey Patterson--I think he's a Terrance Long (except he strikes out a lot more) who had one very hot first half. I didn't like the fact that Beltran wasn't going to sign an extension, but I wanted Patterson out of town.

Well, Beltran's a moot point now. If only there were some other center fielder, every bit as good as Beltran, ideally signed to a long-term deal already. Wait a minute! There is!

Let me be the first (that I know of) to say this: The Cubs must trade Corey Patterson and a prospect or two for Andruw Jones!

It makes so much sense. The Braves want out from under Jones' contract. The Cubs want out from under Corey's crappiness. As if that weren't enough, Corey's a native Atlantan! This is a deal that Jim Hendry must talk to the Braves about. It would trump the Beltran deal and give the Cubs the most power-packed lineup in the NL.

The only question is money. Is the Trib company willing to pay Jones' $13 million salary through 2007? I doubt it, so how much will the Braves put in? The going rate on those unfortunate 2001 contracts seems to be somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of the remaining cost. If the Braves will throw $9 million bucks our way, we need to do this now.

What's always puzzled me about Patterson is this paradox: he's the most un-athletic incredible athlete I've ever seen. Have you ever seen the guy track a deep fly ball? They should play the Barnum and Bailey music over the PA. And there's something wrong with the way he runs. Mike Cameron is at one end of the Gracefull Sprinting Spectrum, and Patterson's at the other.

Patterson should be so much better than he is. What gives?
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