You Make The Move: How The Cubs Could Have Been Cured Before The Season Started

If the Chicago Cubs do not win the National League Central, there will be plenty of blame to go around. Most of it should go to the players, who at this point are underachieving to the umpteenth degree.

But so has GM Jim Hendry, who put this team together.

And since the Cubs don't have Hank Steinbrenner's limitless checkbook, what moves should Hendry have made in the offseason?


You want 'em? You got 'em.

1. Signing Orlando Hudson to play second base?
  • No one saw the Cubs' struggles at second base coming ... except anyone with a brain. Mike Fontenot had a great year as a role player, and that's how it should have stayed. Aaron Miles is a joke and deserves to be on a Major League roster as much as I do. Meanwhile, the O-Dog is hitting a robust .342 with an on-base percentage of .410 to go along with a nightly dosage of Web Gem defensive plays. Hudson's 2009 salary, you wonder? $3.38 million.
2. Signing Bobby Abreu or Adam Dunn to play right field?
  • Adam Dunn might have been the perfect Cub. He tortures NL Central pitching to the tune of 118 homers and 276 RBIs in his career. At Wrigley, Dunn owns a .286 average, .419 OBP and 23 HRs. All he is doing is hitting .284, on-basing .420 while smashing 14 homers and driving in 39 ribbies. Bobby Abreu signed with the Angels in February and has been an on-base machine, getting on at a .404 clip with a .303 batting average. Both have been more productive and less distracting than Milton Bradley.

3. Trading the farm to acquire Jake Peavy?
  • Sean Marshall and Jake Vitters were among the names bantied about when linked with the 2007 NL Cy Young winner, but Marshall still sports Cubbie blue and Vitters is smashing everything in the minors. Meanwhile, Peavy still teases, but has taken his show to the South Side. Right now he's 4-5 with a 3.48 earned run average, but that's one more win than Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster and an ERA that is lower than every one of the Cubs starters.

4. Keeping Kerry Wood, Mark DeRosa and Henry Blanco?
  • Losing Wood, DeRosa and Blanco apparently means more to clubhouse chemistry than it does on the field. None of the three are getting the job done on the field. The former Cub closer has seven saves, but also owns a 7.20 ERA. The Super Utility Man is hitting .254 and getting on base at a .319 clip while manning the hot corner. Hank White is batting only .154, but is doing work as Peavy's personal catcher. Peavy's line: .207 batting average against and 79 strikeouts compared to 23 walks (3.49 K-to-BB ratio).

5. Not trading for Kevin Gregg?
  • Without a doubt, the Gregg-Ceda swap was Hendry's worst move of the offseason. Part of it is because it came on the heels of officially parting ways with Woody, but the major reason this was a bad move was because Gregg isn't good. It's not that Wood has fared much better, but Gregg has proved to be nothing more than a younger, uglier (and more expensive) Bobby Howry.
Bonus: Not re-signing Ryan Dempster?
  • After an All-Star 2008 season, Demp's distracting glove trick pulled the wool over Hendry's eyes as he collected a four-year $52 million contract. Derek Lowe, a pitcher with a nasty sinker and a better playoff pedigree than Dempster inked a four-year $60 million contract. At this point, Lowe is worth the extra $8 mill as he is 6-2 with a 3.45 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.

The Cubs shed the contracts of Wood ($10 million in '09, $4.2 in '08), DeRosa ($5.5 million) Jason Marquis ($9.875 million) while re-upping with Dempster ($8 million in '09) and bringing in Gregg ($4.2 million in '09), Miles ($2.2 million in '09) and Bradley ($5 million in '09).

The most cost-effective moves would have been signing Orlando Hudson to play second and Bobby Abreu to patrol right. Signing Hudson and Abreu cost a combined $8.38 million dollars. Kevin Gregg, Aaron Miles and Milton Bradley's combined cost? $11.4 million.

Jim Hendry, admit it: You were pwned this off-season.

Baseball contract numbers courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts.