Monday, April 17, 2006

A Crazy Idea

I'm waiting for the Cubs vs. Dodgers to start from Chavez Ravine, so I have a few minutes to share my crazy idea about how the Cubs can improve their team. In order to fully appreciate this idea, you'll need to have an open mind, suspend judgment, and disregard no trade clauses.

The purpose of this idea is to improve the Cubs position players and to add a player to the team that is an all-star quality player who is a leader and will be a fixture on the Cubs for years to come. Here's my crazy idea:

Step #1 -- Rumors are swirling that the Marlins are taking offers for Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera. There have been some thoughts that the Cubs could get both players, but I think the Marlins would do much better separating the two and dealing each individually. With that in mind, my crazy idea starts with trading for D-Train. If they can get Cabrera too, that would be great. But for purposes of this post, we'll stick with Willis.

In order to get Willis, it's going to cost us a couple of low dollar, high potential players. Remember, the Marlins are in the middle of their austerity program, so they're not going to be looking to bring in any high dollar talent. In that case, I could see a trade involving Rich Hill and Felix Pie going to Florida in exchange for Willis. Some will argue that Pie is the future of our outfield, but you can't expect to trade guys with no potential when you're going after one of the premier pitchers in the league.

Is this a realistic trade? The Cubs and Marlins have a good relationship and the lines of communication between the two is open. Both Pie and Hill are highly thought of prospects, and because of the Marlins low payroll, they are a team of prospects. I think this deal can get done.

Step #2 -- With D. Willis on the Cubs, they will have a tremendous amount of depth in their starting rotation. Assuming the Willis deal gets done in June or early July, the Cubs rotation should include Carlos Zambrano, Mark Prior, Greg Maddux, Kerry Wood and Dontrelle Willis (not necessarily in that order), with Sean Marshall, Jerome Williams, and Wade Miller in the wings. The Cubs would have a ton of starting pitching that they could include in a potential trade.

So who needs pitching? The short answer is just about everyone, so let me rephrase the question. Who needs pitching, would be willing to make a trade and has a player(s) that they would be willing to trade and the Cubs would be interested in acquiring? Tops on my list is the NY Yankees.

The Yankees are in desperate need of pitching. They have some of the best position players in the game, but they are going to need pitching in order to make it to the post season. So why wouldn't they just trade for Willis? Good question. I'm glad you asked.

The Yankees are always playing to win now. That means they make a lot of moves and over the years, that has negatively impacted their farm system. In other words, they just don't have the prospects to deal with Florida. What they have are a lot of high dollar players and the Marlins aren't interested in high dollar players.

So who would the Yankees be willing to part with in order to get some top flight pitching from the Cubs? I know it sounds crazy, but how about Alex Rodriguez? That's right, A-Rod.

One of the Yankees top minor league prospects is Eric Duncan, a highly touted third baseman. With A-Rod at third, Duncan will not be seeing the Big Leagues any time soon. And if the Yankees really want to get a top starter (which they desperately need), they're going to have to give up something of value. A-Rod is definitely something of value.

What would this once-in-a-lifetime trade cost the Cubs. Well, we've already determined that it is going to cost us some pitching. First, the Cubs will have to give up either Mark Prior or Dontrelle Willis. My guess is that Carlos Zambrano will be off limits and the Yankees won't be interested in Maddux or Wood. I have lost some faith in Prior this year. I hope he gets healthy and stays healthy, but I have my concerns. I think the trade will cost the Cubs Mark Prior, but I'd certainly be willing to give up Willis in his stead if that's what the Yankees want.

Of course, it's going to take more than just Mark Prior to get A-Rod. Considering how Sean Marshall has been pitching, I'm guessing that the Yankees will want Marshall as well as Prior. I'm still okay with this trade.

Will it take anyone else? Again, thanks for asking. I believe that it will take another player, but who? Honestly, I don't know who it might be, but I'm thinking Brian Dopriak or Todd Walker or Jerry Hairston or Angel Pagan or any combination of these players. For argument's sake, let's say it will be Dopriak and Hairston.

So here's what we have:

Deal #1 -- Cubs get: Dontrelle Willis Marlins get: Felix Pie & Rich Hill
Deal #2 -- Cubs get Alex Rodriguez Yankees get: Mark Prior, Sean Marshall, Jerry Hairston & Brian Dopriak.

I know some people will have trouble accepting two trades that result in the Cubs giving up six players in exchange for two. But look at the two players the Cubs get. I don't understand this concern at all. Looking at these trades from a different perspective, The Cubs will be giving up a top flight starting pitcher, four prospects, and a utility player in exchange for another top flight starting pitcher and the best player in the game. In my mind, that's not too bad. In fact, it's pretty darn good.

I know another concern will be the Cubs giving up Mark Prior. He's a good pitcher and I understand not being overly anxious to lose him, but the Cubs are never going to get substantially better if all of the team's good players are off limits to trades. One of the problems Cubs fans have had in the past is that they fall in love with Cubs players and never want to see them leave, even if it means it will improve the team. The Cubs have to be willing to move some of their better players in order to build a better team.

Some people might wonder why the Cubs would want A-Rod. After all, we already have a pretty darn good third baseman in Aramis Ramirez. What? Have you forgotten? Before being traded to the Yankees, A-Rod was considered one of the best shortstops in the game. Ronny Cedeno has shown a lot of promise, but come on. A-Rod is a proven all-star caliber shortstop and the Cubs would be foolish to give up on his proven ability in favor of Cedeno's potential. After all, Cedeno would have to turn himself in to one of the greatest shortstops in history in order to just be as good as A-Rod. A-Rod has already done it.

That's my crazy idea. Let the ridicule and name calling begin.


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