Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Roberts now or never?

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If the Cubs' winter-long pursuit of Baltimore's Brian Roberts is going to land the switch-hitting second baseman and admitted steroid dabbler, then it could be coming in the next few days. On the other hand, if O's owner Peter Angelos has nixed another would-be deal involving pitcher Erik Bedard, as some media outlets have suggested tonight, then a would-be Roberts deal to the Cubs might actually, finally be dead.

Baltimore's long-stale talks involving their big remaining trade chips of the winter, Bedard and Roberts, finally appeared to be ready to move again with word over the weekend that Seattle had pulled touted outfield prospect Adam Jones from the Winter League playoffs in Venezuela and told him to get on a plane to the U.S. because he was being traded to Baltimore as the centerpiece in a Bedard deal. Seattle pitcher George Sherrill told reporters that he was also informed he'd be going to the Orioles in the deal.

O's president Andy MacPhail, the old Cubs boss, has said he wants to get any possible big trades done by the end of the month (i.e., before Friday), and insiders on both sides have said the O's wanted to move Bedard before turning their attention to a possible Roberts deal.

But just as word of a Bedard-to-Seattle deal spread, several media outlets, including the Baltimore Sun, said it's not done yet, and two national outlets said that Angelos has either killed the deal -- in hopes of signing Bedard to a long-term extension, after all -- or at least delayed approval.

The Cubs are the eager bystanders in the whole affair, frothing as they wait for a chance to pounce on Roberts. But if a Bedard deal is indeed a litmus test of MacPhail's autonomy in deal-making, as has been widely suggested, then any holdup by Angelos, a meddlesome headache for his GMs for years, could doom any possible deal for Roberts, one of Angelos' favorite Oriole players.

Bottom line: Keep your eye on the bouncing Bedard.

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Why do we need Roberts so bad? I don't understand why not pick up Lofton and make him our Center Fielder and put him as our lead-off hitter. Then put Theriot at Short and either Cedeno, Fontenot or Derosa at Second. Pie is not the man for Center, what is he going to do bunt his way on? Lofton is a true lead-off hitter he has proved that with many teams including the Cubs, plus his speed and defensive is what the Cubs need to complete a strong lineup and strong outfield. With Lofton and maybe a Livian Hernandez you will see a Cubs and Redsox World Series!

What is it with Angelos? He is the Al Davis of Baseball! McPhail must just be kicking himself for trying to do his job and constantly getting his legs cut out from underneath him. Angelos is a reputation killer. When you get a deal in principal basically completed only to let the owner decide at the last minute that he either isn't comfortable with it or maybe he wants one more thing, simply put, it frustrates the crap out of other GM's. I would be shocked to see us get Roberts. However, I would propose this deal and see what Angelos says:

Marshall, Gallagher, Cedeno, Pie, Eric Patterson, Billy Petrick and Michael Weurtz for Bedard and Roberts. Seven for two. It gives the O's their CF and SS, along with two possibile starters and two bullpen arms. Patterson can be thrown in for help at 2b. In my opinion it is a lot of depth for the Cubs to give up, but they all have major league experience and could contribute immediately. Then we can make a deal to get Byrd from Texas and allow Fuld to play with him from time to time. We would be set!


I don't understand the "compelling" need to get Roberts either. The deal makes no sense. Why not let DeRosa do what he's good at and be the super utility guy who plays everyday at a different position and let the kids (Fontenot and Theriot) grow up together to be one of the best double-play combinations in all of baseball. These kids have played together at least since college - why not let them continue to grow together. There may be some growing pains along the way, but eventually, it will pay off and the Cubs will have the middle of the infield tied up for a long time to come. The hustle that these two kids play with cannot be underestimated.

As for signing Lofton, that may something to think about. Seeing as how I remember hearing that the Cubs brass wants Pie to more of a Lofton-type hitter, why not bring in the real Lofton and let him be somewhat of a mentor toward the young Pie and in fact, show all the young Cubs outfielders exactly what it takes to be a major league centerfielder and have longevity in this game.

Lets get real, Lofton is too old. He wouldn' t last the whole year. We need a bonifide leadoff hitter, whether its Roberts or someone else. You have to have someone who gets on base, period.The cubs have no one in their system that can be a catalyst. They have no one that can score. Look at Roberts on base percentage and compare it to the last 10 world series champions leadoff hitter. I would trade some of the young talent the cubs have for Roberts and Bedard.

Marshall, Gallagher, Cedeno, Pie, Eric Patterson, Billy Petrick and Michael Weurtz for Bedard and Roberts?

Well, at least you're not giving away the farm or anything.

That's 5-7 MLB-ready players (depending on whether Pie learns to hit) for 2 MLB players. Two possible No. 3 or 4 starters, a highly-touted middle infield prospect (though we do have a clot there) and one quality bullpen arm and another possible quality bullpen arm along with THE SAVIOR OF THE FRANCHISE (note sarcasm) for a guy who would probably be No. 2 at best in the Cubs rotation and a middle infielder who's good but whose attractiveness to the Cubs isn't understood by most of their fans.

Yeah. I love win-win trades like that.

That's way to many good prospects to give up,I agree! I would like to get Roberts and Bedard. We have some good prospects to trade, but don't unload the whole AAA team! Darn those Mets! We definitely need help with a good starter and a good leadoff hitter.

Everyone's opinion so far has been somewhat insightful, but I'd like to offer a different spin to things. Why not go after Roberts AND Bedard? For die hards such as myself, why be scared to give up a group of talented young prospects for the league leader in strikeouts and a prolific leadoff hitter with 50 stolen bases last year? We have waited a century, that's right, A CENTURY for a World Series title to come to the North Side. If you could tell me with this trade the Cubs would be in contention for the title this year, why not risk giving up young talent to make a run? If trading our entire AA team(exaggerating)would help us get to the World Series, then I say go for it!!!!

It was just a few years ago the Cubs had to have Mark Grudzielanek, and Todd Walker to handle second base. Neither player was happy with sharing time, and the club really did nothing when they had these guys. They seem to have a propensity for picking up second basemen, when there are other obvious needs to fill, such as starting pitching, and center field.

YEAH MAKE THE TRADE, IN LANGUAGE Cub brass would understand, "You make the trade ticket auction prices will be higher"

I definitely say go for it. Why are we worrying about giving up prospects for the opportunity to go to the world series? How many Cub prospects have gone on to hall of fame careers lately? Can anyone say "Gary Scott"?

I have heard both sides of this argument and continue to wonder, how many "good MLB prospects" we have held on to over the years, including "can miss" or "franchise" prospects. I have also heard the "avoiding the next Lou Brock trade" reason. In reality, how many of these prospects have panned out to warrant not making a deal, a low percentage I am sure. Why not give up these potential MLBers that you don't know what they will do, as other teams do, for proven MLBers that have shown what they can do. I think that fluke trade of Lou Brock has messed this team up for many years...or is just a convenient excuse for not to make big trades.

Most World Series are won during offseason deals. This and not the Billygoat curse is what was holding the Cubs back. The many years of unwilling to spend good money to shore up needs that would actually help the ballclub. Let's take the 1984 Cubs for example, they made it to the NLCS (only to lose when Frey inexplicably left Sutcliffe in too long and the normally sure handed Durham let a ball go right through his legs). Overall that was a successful campaign but instead of building on that campaign by acquiring a backup catcher who could take pressure off of Jody Davis and improve the pitching, management was limited in their activity (they did one thing right that year by bringing up Shawon Dunston) which cost us big time as injuries mounted that year. I don't need to add where we wound up in the division. LAST!!!!!!!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on January 28, 2008 7:22 PM.

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