Whoa. The one player you figured was off the trade block has left the building. Mark DeRosa goes to the Cleveland Indians for 3 minor leaguers and the Cubs sign former Cardinals second baseman Aaron Miles, presumably to help fill the gaping hole Jim Hendry knew he was making. Perhaps this is the beginning.
After a month of complete silence, because Joey Gathright is more or less silence, I have been prompted to run to my computer because nobody, none of the rumor experts, saw this coming. DeRosa, who might be the Cubs most popular player, the guy who filled all the gaps due to injuries and well, Fukudome, and the only guy who did anything proactive during the 2008 NLDS is leaving town.
I thought, initially, with Mike Fontenot's emergence and DeRosa aging that Number 7 was expendable, but after getting a sense of how much of a leader he was and how he was a huge spokesperson for the team to the media, I figured he was likely to play on the north side in 2009, the last year of his contract. But with Hendry hard pressed to find the right combination of cash and available players to make the moves he wanted, I guess we shouldn't be surprised. Maybe we should even be glad. In fact, we will be glad if this deal means the Cubs have more of the pieces in place to make Jake Peavy more than some Messianic will-he-or-won't-he figure in the city of Chicago.
Other than Peavy, it looks like the Cubs will have the money to give free agent outfielder Milton Bradley, the 2008 all-star switch-hitter they've really been after of late, the contract he's after. The initial thought was trading Jason Marquis would free that money, and the rumors of trading him to the Rockies for reliever Luis Vizcaino look like they're still possible, but why do both? If the answer isn't Peavy, the DeRosa trade looks stupid. Give up peace of mind for three minor leaguers? Aaron Miles isn't a bad fill in, but you need more than band-aids to heal the gash losing DeRosa leaves behind. Peavy would be the piece to do it, but what will that final price be? More than just three minor leaguers from the Indians, otherwise they'd have Peavy right now.
The rumors will fly this month, Cubs fans, be wary. Now that the ice has melted off the transaction wire, I will more avidly post as we figure out what this 2009 Cubs team will look like. If it's to possibly be better than 2008, well, I'm going to probably be posting a lot.