Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The good, bad and ugly of the Cubs' offseason thus far

The good:

It's good to know they can share a mic, since they'll now be sharing a professional sports franchise. And it's interesting to note that even when viewed in a still, photographic format, Todd looks like a douche.

The transition of team ownership into the hands of its eighth owner, the Ricketts family. There's something soothing about real, live human beings sitting there and talking about the team. Something comforting about the fact that the owners don't have an opening and a closing price.

The new owners pretty much said all the things you'd expect at their opening press conference (save one super awkward moment when Tom's brother Todd said Jim Hendry "knows way better than" to eat part of Milton Bradley's contract. He then winked (seriously), cementing his status as The Really Creepy Brother Who Will Keep Trying to Share His Ideas with the Other Siblings but They'll Just Nod and Not Really Pay Any Attention to Him, Which They've Probably Been Doing for Twenty Years Because, as Was Just Explained, He's Creepy. And Weird.).

And while growing up watching and rooting for a team does not by any means guarantee that you will be successful as an owner of that team, it is really nice that Tom used to live just beyond the Wrigley walls and spent many a summer day in the bleachers. I have no doubt that he'll treat the Cubs as a business, because he has to. But I also have no doubt that part of him will treat the Cubs as his favorite team, a team that he desperately wants to win the World Series. And that's a very good thing.

Also a good thing is that according to the Windy City Times, Tom's sister Laura Ricketts is the first openly gay owner in all of American professional sports. I think that's a pretty neat "first" for the Cubs to be a part of.

The bad:

The decisions by Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan to return to their perches at Busch Stadium for 2010. These guys continually enable the Cardinals to get way more bang than should be humanly possible for that much buck (2009: 17th highest payroll, 92 wins), and unfortunately there was never much more than a fleeting glimmer of hope that the two wouldn't return for next year.

Question now is, will the Cards pony up the BIG bucks for Matt Holliday? His agent, Scott Boras, has made a point of comparing him to Mark Teixeira, whom the Yankees gave eight years and $180 million last year.

The ugly:

Since when did Ted Lilly need shoulder surgery? That came as a bit of a surprise. Back by April, they say.

Most pitchers get a month of spring training to work their way up to regular action. So Lilly may not be at full strength until mid- or late May. Not a great development to begin the offseason, especially since Lilly was clearly the ace of the staff in 2009. If the season started tomorrow (and, of course, it doesn't, and things will likely change), the Cubs would come out of the gates with Zambrano, Dempster, Wells, Marshall and Gorzelanny. Does this mean Hendry will need to seriously consider trying to re-sign Harden? Hurry back, Ted ...

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