Perplexing, Isn't It?
So the trade deadline came and went, not with a bang, but a whimper. The only move that Hendry sought fit to make was trade Kosuke Fukudome and about $4M for a couple of non-descript minor leaguers. Ones that must be better than what the Cubs already have per Hendry's reasoning below. It was also a move Hendry indicated had to happen so they could make room for Tyler Colvin, whom promptly sat on Sunday night versus a right-handed starter.
Hendry's reasoning behind the rest of the inaction...
“There’s not somebody waiting to take [Pena's] place for next year
in-house like Tyler is hopeful to do that in the outfield in moving
Fuke,” Hendry said. You have to look at it that way, too.
“The other factor, if you get a second-tier or two prospect back
and you already have people better than that in your own system, then
you really haven’t done anything to help the organization, and then
you’re also put in the spot where if you add minor-league players today,
that means somebody’s going to be sent backwards in our system or
eliminated. That’s just the way I looked at it.”
It's tough to play armchair GM when you don't know what the offers were, but that hasn't stopped the blogosphere and the media before. The problem for me and I suspect many of you is Hendry's tone that essentially most of the team can be part of a winning club in 2013. It's that sort of detached reality that is infuriating. What's also infuriating is the notion that seemed prevalent in a few of the articles yesterday that one of the reasons they didn't move Pena was because they're considering bringing him back next year, presumably if they can't land Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. I'm not necessarily against bringing Pena back if that ends up the case, but since he's a free agent regardless at the end of the year, his agent is Scott Boras and currently he would not net the Cubs any draft pick compensation even if they offer arbitration, keeping him around does little to increase the Cubs chances of resigning him. And it's certainly not outweighed by whatever marginal prospects they couldn't have gotten back.
The other guy that seemed to have some real interest from other teams was Marlon Byrd, well at least from the Braves. I understand the Cubs would still need to be looking for a center fielder next year if they did trade him, on the other hand he'll be 34 next year and on a good year, he's barely touching an .800 OPS. This doesn't seem like it's that hard to replace even if Brett Jackson isn't ready. But I would have been happy with Jordan Shafer and a minor league arm myself.
As for the Fukudome deal. you fine readers seemed upset over the haul of prospects. For a corner outfielder that doesn't hit home runs and has a .664 OPS since April 29th, they got what they could in my opinion. Abner Abreu seems to have some upside at age 21 and some love from the scouts for his bat speed and potential power (6-3" frame), some of which started to show this year. He also seems to play some decent defense with a real good arm. Unfortunately a career 25.9% K rate and not much willingness to take a walk, means he'll either have to find that power or change his approach radically to become a regular. But a 5th outfielder is a necessity as well and Abreu still has time on his side to reach that lofty goal.
As for Carlton Smith, well you can't have enough pitching. As a converted catcher, he started showing some strikeout ability this season with a K rate over 9 per inning. The walk and home run rates are a little high, but another possible bullpen arm, one that is presumably not too far from the majors isn't a terrible thing to acquire.
While blogging is generally all about over the top reactions with little information, I generally try to see both sides of the issue and understand what Hendry or Cubs management is doing and most importantly, understand we as fans are only privy to part of the process. Guys like Byrd, Baker, Grabow and so forth can just as easily be traded in August or the offseason for likely similar hauls then what can be had now. But the lack of interst and motivation in moving Carlos Pena is one that I just can't wrap my head around. I read what Hendry had to say and that makes some sense, but there's just little reason for me to believe, they're in any better position to resign him if they traded him and that he offers much to the Cubs the next 2 months, other than keeping them farther from the #1 draft pick if he sticks around and plays decently.