Monday, October 16, 2006

It's Better Than Going Hard After David Eckstein.

ESPN headline: Source: Piniella expects Cubs to go hard after A-Rod (article)

Sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.com that Piniella, who is extremely close to Rodriguez, expects the Cubs to aggressively pursue the 10-time All-Star. The 63-year-old manager and the 31-year-old Rodriguez have what amounts to a quasi-father/son relationship; Rodriguez was managed in Seattle by Piniella from 1994-2000. It is that relationship -- and the tantalizing talent of Rodriguez -- that has prompted Piniella to want to explore a trade with the Yankees.

Considering the father/son relationship toward which this article slants, I would shy away from the headline "Piniella expects Cubs to go hard after A-Rod". But that's just me.

That said, Rodriguez, if you could get him, is an unbelievable upgrade over Ronny Cedeno/Cesar Izturis. In his last year at shortstop, he had a value over replacement player of 88.4, and last year it was 91.0. Among players with a minimum of 400 PA, only two (Clint Barmes and Yadier Molina) had VORPs lower than Cedeno (-17.1). Even this year, in what has been considered a terrible year for him, Alex Rodriguez had a VORP of 50.4 at third base. 35 HR, 113 RBI, .290/.392/.523.

A Cubs deal with the Yankees potentially could include third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who posted career highs of 38 home runs and 119 RBI in the regular season. It is thought the Yankees would also want a quality starting pitcher in any deal involving Rodriguez.

This makes the deal far less attractive. At this point, Aramis and Alex Rodriguez are worth about the same as third basemen. The only "quality starting pitcher" the Cubs could consider would be Mark Prior, but he is a number one starter when healthy and even if he never returns to 2003 form it would be overpayment to send Prior and Ramirez for A-Rod. You can't get much more out of A-Rod than Ramirez is already putting up. God I am getting nauseous thinking of it.

Piniella, who replaces Dusty Baker after the latter's four-season tenure in Chicago, agreed to a three-year deal, with a club option for a fourth, earlier Monday. He has hired most of his coaching staff and has decided, sources say, to retain Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

Go to hell.

In a completely related note, the Chicago Bears just ate the NFL version of the St. Louis Cardinals. Unbelieveable. I'll leave that for A-Train though, but I'll say this:

Devin Hester, I am sorry. You win.

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