Mark DeRosa for Aaron Miles? I wouldn't make that deal - definitely not an upgrade for the Cubs in 2009. But if you look at it from the Cubs' overall objective of balancing their lineup - without the perfect (not to mention affordable) monster lefty bat readily available -- then the bigger picture looks more like DeRosa and Felix Pie for Miles and Joey Gathright.
And that starts to make more sense, and even starts to look like an upgrade for the Cubs.
And when GM Hendry explains that the Cubs have few positions to choose from when considering changes, the Cubs' thinking on trading the popular and productive DeRosa becomes clearer. Not even counting the $3.3 million in net 2009 savings between DeRosa and Miles.
But DeRosa will certainly be missed - perhaps even more than Hendry and his front office realize.
``It certainly has nothing to do with the type of player DeRo is or was,'' Hendry said of the decision to trade one of the team's most valuable players during the past two playoff seasons. ``He was an integral part of winning the last two years. He certainly lived up to everything we thought he would be.''
Miles, 32, also is a versatile player, like DeRosa - having played seven positions last year alone, including pitching an inning. And he's an adept hitter. But he hasn't proven he's an everyday player for a full season, has nothing close to the pop DeRosa has and doesn't come close to the on-base ability of DeRosa.
It will take more than Miles to make up for what the Cubs lost when they traded DeRosa.
Start with the fielding quality that comes with DeRosa's versatility - in particular how well he plays the corner outfield spots and third base when not manning second. He was an upgrade over the starters in some of those cases, including playing an exceptional third base, where Cleveland will use him.
Then there's the hitting. Despite what ultimately became his curse of being a right-handed hitter in a right-heavy lineup, DeRosa was the key to the Cubs having the top bottom-order production in the NL in 2008. He had one of the top on-base percentages on the team and turned in two of his top three homer and RBI seasons while with the Cubs, while batting almost exclusively sixth and seventh in the order - creating hitting situations for the players behind him, and, in turn, making Soriano more valuable in the leadoff spot for the same reason.
And, finally, he was one of the steadiest, most positive clubhouse influences in a room full of good chemistry, pro-attitude guys - with one of his greatest contributions being his willingness to draw the pregame media mobs off the shoulders of teammates on a regular basis in the cramped home clubhouse. For that reason alone, his absence will be felt among teammates, as well as media members.
Miles said Wednesday his signing with the Cubs gives him an opportunity to show his old St. Louis front office that it might have made a mistake in letting him go. The Cubs only hope they don't discover the same thing with DeRosa next season.