LAS VEGAS -- In the midst of attempting to work out a complicated multi-team deal with Padres GM Kevin Towers involving Jake Peavy, Jim Hendry woke up this morning to find out that he had traded himself to the Tampa Bay Rays.
At least 17 players had been slated to change teams in what was shaping up as a five-team swap involving the Cubs, the Padres, the Rays, the Orioles and the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan's NPB, who had also been consulted by President-elect Barack Obama about whether the team's owner could help out in bailing out the US auto industry. It had to be broken gently to Obama that SoftBank isn't a bank, but a conglomerate comprised mostly of media and Internet companies.
Some of the Cub players and prospects scheduled to rack up frequent-flyer miles in this deal while they figure out which airports to change planes in include Josh Vitters, Sean Marshall, Felix Pie and Ron Santo, who said, "Maybe if I can put up a couple of 30-homer seasons in Japan, I can get the Veterans Committee to notice me." When reporters pointed out that it might be hard for Santo to do so while wearing two artificial legs, he claimed that he could DH full-time and the legs wouldn't slow him down.
Among the things Hendry had tentatively acquired for the Cubs in this deal from the Orioles was a chance for Cubs players to compete during spring training in a new MLB Network reality show, "Survivor: Camden Yards", in which contestants compete for the chance to complete a trade with Orioles GM Andy MacPhail involving Brian Roberts. In a twist on the usual results of "Survivor"-type shows, a competitor would be considered a "winner" in this show if he or she was voted off the island before actually making the deal, or losing his or her sanity by hearing more than 100 Roberts rumors a day, whichever came first.
It was during the complicated negotiations to decide who was going to be the host of the reality show (Jay Mariotti, the supposed front-runner, was eliminated from consideration after he asked Bud Selig to drop the MLB territorial broadcast restrictions so that "everyone" could see the show) that Hendry learned that his contract had inadvertently been transferred to the Rays.
Lou Piniella telling Jim Hendry
where to find good restaurants in Tampa
photo via cache.daylife.com
"I'll miss Chicago and the chance to be a champion there," Hendry said. "But the weather's better in Tampa and maybe Kerry Wood can join me there. And Lou Piniella is going to rent his house to me during the season." Cubs assistant GM Randy Bush will take over the GM reins while a bankruptcy court judge in Chicago examines the Cubs' books to decide who should be Hendry's permanent replacement.
Meanwhile, the deal is in limbo while rescuers frantically search for Peavy, who is rumored to be stuck in a long security line at one of several airports while TSA agents make him sort through the five different colors of baseball uniforms and shoes he had packed to take to the press conference announcing the deal.