The Strange Case Of Jacque Jones, and Open Thread: Cubs vs. Rockies, Wednesday 6/27, 1:20 CT

Jacque Jones was traded to the Marlins last night.

Oh, wait, no, he wasn't:

General manager Jim Hendry would not confirm the team involved in the deal, but several reports had Jones going to the Marlins, along with cash, for a minor-league prospect.

A money snag was said to have killed the deal, so instead of shaking hands with his friends and teammates, Jones was saying hello again.

"It's unfortunate," Hendry said, referring to the fact Jones already had heard the rumors.

Hendry is unlikely to go back to the Marlins, who may want the Cubs to pay more of Jones salary than Hendry would like. The Cubs reportedly were willing to assume $6.6 million of the remaining $7.2 million on Jones' contract through 2008 when the deal collapsed.

"It wasn't really a good deal for us," Hendry said. "We got close in one scenario and talked to some other clubs [Monday], and I have another scenario. I just felt like I wasn't going to get rushed into it and make a deal that I didn't think was good for us, so it didn't get done."

But that's not the whole story, says the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

According to a high-ranking baseball official with direct knowledge of the talks, they even had a commitment from the Cubs' front office to cover roughly $6.6 million of the $7.2 million remaining on Jones' contract through next season.

The deal collapsed, however, when Sam Zell -- who is in the process of purchasing a controlling interest in the Tribune Co., which publishes the Sun-Sentinel and owns the Cubs -- vetoed the hefty cash exchange.

So which of these is the "real" story? We may never know, and those of us at the ballpark last night for the Cubs' impressive 8-5 win over the Rockies, their fifth in a row, were puzzled because we saw new Cub Billy Petrick, just recalled, in the bullpen wearing #56, and figured Jones had been dealt. But then I saw a wire story on my phone that indicated Petrick's recall was due to Ryan Dempster's injury being serious enough to place him on the DL, retroactive to Saturday, and Jones, who I didn't see at the ballpark, was still on the team.

Obviously, the Cubs have wanted Jones gone for quite some time, and as Hendry said in the above quote, he has "another scenario". The Cubs still are at only 11 pitchers, and last night had to go to Will Ohman to get his first major league save when the 9th inning started eerily like the 9th inning the day before (my friend Carole, sitting with us, had to mention that the score was the same as the previous day, thus nearly jinxing the whole thing), and so the Cubs could use some extra bullpen help.

I'd still like to see Eric Gagne, who the Rangers will likely make available, here. At the very least he can be a good setup man, and at best, perhaps close to the closer he was in Los Angeles, and with Dempster now out, basically, till after the All-Star break, the Cubs could use a reliever with major league experience.

Something, I think, will get done tomorrow on the off-day.

Yesterday's game was yet another with good pitching (although Ted Lilly was uncharacteristically wild, walking five), good defense (bailing Lilly out a couple of times), and timely hitting, again helped quite a bit by Monday's hero, Alfonso Soriano, who had two more hits, scored twice and stole a base. Cliff Floyd added a two-run homer and as a result, was intentionally walked twice -- the Rockies not having much respect for Mark DeRosa, who walked and drove in a run himself. I like the way DeRosa plays the game -- never complaining about his lineup slot, his position in the field, or the fact that he isn't doing what he was promised (start every day at 2B) when he came here. He plays hard and plays the game right -- he may not be the best player on the field, but every winning team needs guys like that.

A couple of hours before game time, it looked like there was no chance it would be played, as a huge thunderstorm dumped three inches of rain on the area immediately surrounding the ballpark in about an hour's time, flooding the dugout, parts of the stands, and also various city viaducts, preventing over 100 employees from arriving on time; as a result the gates opened half an hour late, and when we got in the ground crew was busy at work throwing as much Turface as they could find just about everywhere, and we were also treated to the strange sight of one of the ground crew standing near the warning track in left-center, where some of the water had pooled, using a leaf blower to try to dry it out.

After 5:30 or so, the rain completely stopped and the humidity dropped, and it was quite a pleasant evening, made more pleasant by the way the Cubs have been playing -- this is the way I had thought they could play with the talent they have. Unfortunately, the Brewers won again, keeping the Cubs 7.5 games behind (though, oddly, they are now moving up in the wild card race, sixth, but only 6 games behind the currently-tied Diamondbacks and Dodgers.

The Cubs will get their shot at the Brewers this weekend. Before that, let's sweep another series, weather permitting:

Today: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 1pm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 85. West southwest wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
C. Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Jason Hirsh
J. Hirsh
Rockies
8-6 W-L 3-6
4.27 ERA 5.06
86 SO 60
44 BB 37
16 HR 14
vs. Col -- vs. Cubs
Z, as you know, had a tough beginning to this year, but in his last four starts he's 3-1 with a 1.14 ERA and 35 K in 31.2 IP, almost 8 IP per start. He has started seven career games vs. Colorado with a 3.14 ERA, but is only 1-3 in those games. Jason Hirsh, who was a top prospect of the Astros, was one of the centerpieces of last winter's deal that sent Jason Jennings to Houston. He's been hit pretty hard this year. The Cubs, who are 15-8 in their last 23 games, have never faced Hirsh, but seem in a prime position to keep that "hit pretty hard" going.

Today's game is again on WGN and at the Mediacenter. They'll wait forever to get it in if it rains, because this is the Rockies' only visit to Chicago this year, and although the Cubs are off tomorrow, the Rockies aren't.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2006 version)

Finally, the idiot who ran on the field Monday night (and I won't dignify him by mentioning his name, because that's what these morons want, although it is noted in this article), is being charged with a misdemeanor under a new state law passed recently after the well-publicized incidents at the Cell within the last three years when idiots ran on the field there. He could get up to six months in prison and a $1000 fine. Good. Maybe a few well-publicized things of this nature will have an effect on stopping this sort of thing. Props, incidentally, to Wrigley Field security guard Anton Migursky, who tackled the idiot before he got to Bob Howry -- and the idiot's lucky, too, because had he touched Howry in any way, he could have been charged with a felony.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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