In the midst of the seemingly hourly updates on a possible Jake Peavy trade (they're getting almost as tiresome as the discussion last year of the deal for Brian Roberts that never happened), I thought it would be useful to post a list of some of Jim Hendry's best deals since he became general manager in July 2002:
- December 4, 2002: sent Todd Hundley and Chad Hermansen to the Dodgers for Mark Grudzielanek and Eric Karros
- July 23, 2003: sent Jose Hernandez, Bobby Hill and Matt Bruback to the Pirates for Kenny Lofton and Aramis Ramirez
- November 25, 2003: sent Hee Seop Choi and Mike Nannini to the Marlins for Derrek Lee
- July 8, 2008: sent Eric Patterson, Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton and Josh Donaldson to the A's for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin
Now, answer this question honestly: how many of those deals did we hear a single peep about before they happened?
The correct answer is "None", because they all seemingly happened out of nowhere, unexpected either for the player acquired (did anyone really think D-Lee was coming here? He was rumored to be headed to the Orioles, among others), or for the idea that they'd happen at all (how many of us thought Todd Hundley's deal was dumpable?). My point is this: it seems the more we hear about a potential Cub trade, the less likely it is to happen. And I suspect that's what is going on with the Peavy rumors: all smoke, no fire. Peavy will either become a Brave, or go to some other team that hasn't even meen mentioned, but not become a Cub. I believe Jim Hendry is working hard on potential deals, but this isn't one of them. (Granted, that a couple of the deals mentioned above were salary dumps, but Hendry still had to become aware of them and offer the right players, otherwise they might have gone elsewhere.)
Just before the Hendry era, remember the Fred McGriff deal? That one dragged out for three weeks before McGriff decided -- magnanimous soul that he was -- to drag himself away from his family in Tampa to help the Cubs' push to the NL Central title in 2001, which ultimately failed. McGriff's numbers were decent in Chicago, but his attitude sucked. Fortunately, the Cubs gave up very little for him (infielder Jason Smith, who has played for five teams since leaving the Cubs and has a .221 lifetime BA to show for it).
So be a little patient, at least. The open free agent season doesn't start till Friday. I have faith in Jim Hendry -- who has made many excellent moves in the last two years -- to put the right pieces on the field for 2009.
A couple of things that flew under the radar yesterday:
- Geovany Soto says Henry Blanco will be back:
Soto said he talked to Blanco recently and expects the free agent backup to return to the Cubs, who declined their $3 million option on him in hopes of re-signing him for less. "He wants 100 percent to come back and doesn't want to go nowhere [else]," Soto said.
- Guess who's interested in Bob Howry? The Giants, who have made a cottage industry out of signing the oldest players they can possibly find. The only criticism Brian Sabean probably has about Howry is that, at 35, he's not old enough for the geriatric Giants.