Friday, July 07, 2006

A Modest Suggestion for American League GMs

The July 31st trade deadline is fast approaching, and playoff contenders are searching for what they were sure they had plenty of back in March-starting pitching. Potential buyers have run up against the perennial problem with said search. Teams that possess capable starters won't trade them. One pays blue chip prices for penny stocks.

Amid the usual flurry of bullshit rumors, one pitcher's name has yet to be mentioned. This is odd, because his resume and situation are the stuff deadline deals are made of.

The pitcher in question is Greg Maddux. After a sizzling start, Maddux has been as ineffective as all the rest of his fellow Cubs. He's currently 7-9 with a 4.89 ERA, hardly the numbers of his Hall of Fame prime. Maddux is 40 and there's a real possibility he's done.

OK, there's the risk. On the other hand, he's also Greg Maddux, one of the two great pitchers of our time. If Maddux was unhittable in April, there's always the possibility he might be the same in August. Just getting away from Wrigley Field ought to wonders for his outlook on life.

Maddux makes significant money. For a contender that should be a feature, not a bug, in any trade. Dumping his contract means the Cubs will be forced to accept less of a price in human flesh out of the deal. Chicago might be the most screwed-up franchise in the big leagues right now (at least the Royals KNOW they're awful). Trading Maddux for young blood would be a traditional way of addressing that plight.

Not to name names, Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein, but consider your mutual situation. Only one of your decrepit battleship franchises is going to make the playoffs, and it had better be yours. Wouldn't you feel more confidence in your squad if it was sending Greg Maddux to the mound every fifth day instead of Jason Johnson or Shawn Chacon?

No thanks necessary, fellas. What I miss most about journalism is the opportunity for public service.


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