Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Nevin Joins the Cubs

The Cubs traded 2B Jerry Hairston, Jr. today to Texas for 1B Phil Nevin. This is not exactly a blockbuster trade, but there are a few interesting facets to it.

First, why now? Derrick Lee is on the mend and is only 2-3 weeks away from returning. If the Cubs were going to add a 1st baseman, it would have made a lot more sense a month ago.

Having said that, can anyone legitimately complain about the job that Todd Walker has done filling in for DLee? Granted, he’s not DLee (few players are), but he has done an admirable job.

Phil Nevin is not setting the world on fire this year and many people will complain that he is washed up. Even so, Nevin arrives on the Cubs and immediately becomes the team’s top RBI man and is tied for the team lead in HRs. Not bad for a guy that’s washed up.

My guess is that Nevin will play first until DLee gets back and then will occasionally spell Lee or Aramis Ramirez at 3rd (Nevin was originally drafted by Houston as a 3rd baseman). His biggest role will likely be as the Cubs right-handed power hitter off the bench and will fill the DH slot during the Cubs remaining six games at AL parks.

All-in-all, this was not a bad move. The Cubs only had to give up one of the members of the largest 2nd basemen contingent in MLB history and they got a guy that can do one thing (hit for power) that the Cubs’ bench is lacking. The Rangers are even picking up a part of Nevin’s salary.

This trade has virtually no down side, and very little upside. In other words, it’s a typical Jim Hendry trade. Hendry is not a horse trader. He doesn’t like to take chances and he normally will only make safe moves that can’t possibly blow up in his face. Unfortunately, the Cubs don’t need safe right now. Safe got them into the predicament they’re in now. The Cubs need a GM with the “internal fortitude” to make some bold moves and turn this team around. Safe simply won’t get the job done.


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