People retire these days early, some of them without the benefit of Manny-sized paychecks. How can they do that? They properly utilize their resources. They live beneath their means, and invest in the future. What does this have to do with baseball? Glad you asked.
The Cubs are faced with a four for two decision today or tomorrow. Between Gaudin, Guzman, Patton, and Samardzija, only two can make the opening day roster. Before I tell you what I want to happen, I will give you five words to think about: Good decisions precede great results.
"The Yankees were so lucky in the nineties and early 2000's. They had all the money and could buy anyone they wanted." Y'mean when they drafted and developed Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettite, and others.
"But what about the Red Sox, they...." Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Pappelbon, Jacoby Elsbury.
The Cubs farm system is poor. One of the reasons we couldn't get (fill in the blank) recently is due to a lack of artillery at the minor league level. Good decisions precede great results.
I cannot fathom one good reason to bring Jeff Samardzija to Houston on Monday. He doesn't have a defined role. He needs to upgrade his game. He wasn't very good in the spring. He has options left. In that order, I think. He should go to Iowa and remember how to get hitters out. Start, relieve, don't care. Show me an ERA below 4. Then I'll reconsider.
As for Gaudin, I'm ambivalent. If he's going to be terrible, trade him, but I hope we don't trade him for a low grade corner outfielder or a reach second baseman. We have enough of those. Get a shortstop or a centerfielder that might wear the Cubs pinstripes in a few years and I'd be good with it. Good decisions precede great results.
Now, the crux of it. I haven't invested as much in Guzman as most of you. When he was at his best, I was paying more attention to the NASDAQ than the Cubs. So sue me. I hope we have legit offers for him. I wouldn't mind us keeping him, if only to trot him out as bait. If he performs well in April, I think Hendry could get more than he is being offered now. I wouldn't be brokenhearted if we deal him, but do not release him. We have to get something for him. I will defer to (Josh and) others as to whether we get enough, but don't release him. Good decisions precede great results.
David Patton. If he stunk it up this spring, I would have no problem sending him back to the Rockies. Colorado will see him plenty of times, in an opposing uniform. I'm not predicting greatness from Patton, but there are lotsa bad bullpens. He will make it through '09 in Chicago, or Pittsburgh, or somewhere. But I strongly recommend keeping Patton, at least initially.
He throws stirkes (unless against Japan), has a spring ERA under one (yeah, that's kinda good), and isn't in Lou's doghouse yet. Hang on to him at least to start the season. And he's cheap. Many of those Yankee/Bosox draft picks played well as cheap talent. With a posting on the site wondering what would be required to not win the division by ten, I really don't think keeping Patton for at least a month will do us in. We could be five out in June and (injuries pending) still be the favorite to win the NLC. Not that I want that, but Patton has earned his keep. The only way I would approve anything but keeping him is to get wads-o-cash or trade to get us bait (preferably a ss and/or cf prospect). A twelfth reliever shouldn't cost you more than two games, and we need to get much better at utilizing our resources.
Good decisions precede great results.