Aaron Miles might not make Cubs fans forget about one of their favorites, Mark DeRosa, anytime soon. But the fact Miles doesn't figure to ever forget about perceived snubs by the St. Louis Cardinals could make him one of the most motivated Cubs in another season of high expectations in 2009.
Miles, who signed a two-year, $4.9 million deal with the Cubs Wednesday, made no secret of how irked he is at the Cardinals after three productive seasons for St. Louis that resulted in face-slapping refusals to offer him arbitration after each of those seasons - including non-tenders (releases) after the past two seasons.
``I'm excited to be a Cubbie,'' he said. ``Being a Cardinal was great, and that part's over now. Now I'm ready to be a Cubbie and play the game the right way and show St. Louis that they let somebody go that maybe they shouldn't have.''
Miles, a favorite of Cards manager Tony LaRussa, typically started the season on the bench for the Cardinals only to play his way into a starting role by the end of the season - much as Cubs manager Lou Piniella has described his Yankees playing career.
But the Cardinal front office's refusal to reward him with job security along the way, during a three-year run that included a 2006 World Series championship and 2007-8 seasons of .290 and .317 averages, made the rival Cubs a poetically ideal landing spot in his eyes.
``Financially, I understand why they did it, but it was still kind of shocking because I figured I had a place over there,'' Miles said. ``In the end they non-tendered me two years in a row, and I felt the attraction to me being there wasn't as big as it was before.''
Even when the Cards came calling late in the process of his free agent negotiations.
``It was a feeling where maybe I wasn't wanted by everybody,'' he said. ``The non-tendering of me two years in a row kind of makes you feel like you're not wanted as much. There was a little bit of that in my head. In the end, I'm really excited to be on this Chicago Cubs team.
``I'd pretty much already said my goodbyes to [the Cardinals] in my head when they jumped back in. The thought of playing for the Cubs is exciting, and I'm pumped up about it.''