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Wednesday, October 6

Postmortem, part III

Reality, fantasy, and just plain stupidity

Some of you didn't like what I set out to do yesterday. Well, OK. Sure, I would love to find a way how to get Torre, the Big Unit, Beltran, A-Rod, Pujols and Mariano Rivera on the Cubs while shucking away Sosa, Alou, and everyone else who scratched my asshole this year.

But even in fantasies, you have to deal with some basic realities like poison-pen contracts and the discouraging fact that most of the great players in the game are currently under contract, and are appreciated, by their current teams.

I thought, for example, that trading a surplus part from our team (a starting pitcher) would bring back a surplus part from the perennially-pitching-starved Rangers (like, a hitter). I personally love Texiera the most. But the only one of their hitters that they have even suggested trading at this point is Soriano. Yes, he has no plate discipline, either, nor is he much of a fielder. Please remember, though, that at THIS POINT in time, he is better than Sosa, at less than half the price.

But today, we touch briefly on grim reality, not that reality is any less strange than fiction.

For example, the Tribune media outlets (radio, TV, paper) are even now STILL savaging the Great Sammy Sosa. Hell, worse than I ever did. Why?

I mean, I know why. It's not hard to see him as the puckered up ass-stick that he is. But this truly is a departure for this ultra-conservative company, to publicly downgrade one of their investments like this. The Sun Times and the Herald have articles today questioning the Tribune's motives, calling it "overkill".

Me, personally, I call it "entertaining" to hear Hendry, Baker, McFail, Sandberg, Grace, etc. line up to piss on SamMe. I read it again and again. Love it. LOVE IT!

So how can you expect these same people to look him in the face next year? YOU CAN'T! He will be traded. I don't know how, what with his loaded contract, and his 10-and-5 rights and all. But Hendry managed to swap a .179-hitting $12M drug-addict for a couple of parts that came in quite handy last year. Sosa still managed to put up 35-and-80, and nudged his shit above .250.

The question in my mind is NOT whether or not Sosa will be traded, but HOW MUCH DAMAGE will be done when Hendry doubtlessly will have to sweeten the pot to complete the trade. I thought Farnsworth would be available, but he is arbitration eligible. The only other major league players under contract that are throw-in suitable are Barrett and Patterson. I can't see our Pigeon taking another outfielder, so would we lose Barrett in the deal? Also, how many pitching prospects would we end up losing? These things scare me.

I can't see them bringing Alou back. I think the plan is to bring in a mid-level free agent, a J.D. Drew-esque figure. I know we all want Carlos Beltran, who is repped by the anti-christ himself, Boreass. Will this be another Maddux-esque deal which drags on until March? If so, this holds up other moves that need to be made.

Like re-signing Ramirez, deciding on whether Nomar or Renteria will be the FA priority shortstop. Deciding between Grud and Walker is another move, and although I'd bet on Walker, I've been wrong before on this kind of thing. How about class act Matt Clement? Good guy, average starting pitcher. As I've said before, though, I remember years when we Cub fans would give our left nuts for a Matt Clement and his .500 record.

Finally, how do we find a closer? Are they going to dangle prospects, or current starters? You'd THINK that Prior is untouchable, and you'd also think that Zambrano is even MORE untouchable. Maddux is untradeable, and Rusch and Dempster are big question marks. So what about Wood, whose 8-9 record and mealy-mouthed clubhouse presence makes him less than untouchable?

I gotta think that the decision to keep or trade Wood, along with the particulars with the disposal of Sammy Sosa, is the key to the year.