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

McLouth: One that got away?

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Why couldn't the Cubs do that?

Not long after the Braves released 300-game winner and franchise icon Tom Glavine Wednesday night, they pulled off a 3-for-1 trade for Pittsburgh center fielder Nate McLouth - the lefty-hitting 2008 All-Star the Cubs at one point dreamed of acquiring.

Talk about stealing the headlines while rubbing it in the noses of the visitors at Turner Field.

Manager Lou Piniella in particular has liked McLouth since coming to Chicago two years ago, and especially when the Cubs began their search last fall for outfield help from the left side.

With the injuries and headaches $30 million right fielder Milton Bradley has carried over to Chicago, McLouth looks even better to the Cubs - and now looks even more like a guy who might have gotten away considering what the Braves gave up for him.

Not that Pittsburgh would trade a quality player within the division, but if McLouth could have been had for a strong AA outfield prospect (Gorkys Hernandez) and two starting pitching prospects (AAA Charlie Morton, who pitched in the majors last year, and high-A lefty Jeff Locke), you would think the Cubs might have been competitive.

Hernandez was mentioned consistently in last winter's Jake Peavy-to-Atlanta talks, making him essentially the Braves' Josh Vitters. And the Cubs could have delivered some good pitching and probably sweetened the deal with a fourth player.

``I'm sure a lot of teams like him,'' said Cubs veteran Derrek Lee, who wouldn't play the what-if game with McLouth and the Cubs. ``He's a good player, a real good player. I think it's a good deal for the Braves.''

Could have been even bigger for the Cubs - especially considering McLouth, who would be in his arbitration years, is a $2.5 million player this year after signing a three-year, $15.75 million contract this spring.

That's a fraction of Bradley's contract value and could have represented a savings that could have meant keeping Mark DeRosa or better fortifying the club's infield depth or bullpen.

Speaking of money, All-Stars and championship contenders, Cubs closer Kevin Gregg said he was ``shocked'' to see the Braves release Glavine after deciding the future Hall of Famer couldn't help the team win and telling him they'd keep him only if he wanted to instead retire as a Brave (as in now).

``The game's changed,'' Gregg said. ``There's some different things that go on in this game that are more business oriented than I would like to see. There used to be a lot of loyalty that went between ownership and players. But now there's so much money on the line, it's kind of hard to have those loyalty ties, per se.

``I hate to see it happen to him, but knowing Tom, that he's worked his way back to being able to compete again, I'm sure he'll be fine.''

Glavine had been on the disabled list all season after elbow and shoulder surgery last August.

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McLouth's gone south -- forget him.

So what's wrong with signing Glavine? He'd give the Cubs some quality lefty starts, I'm sure. And maybe he'd pitch out of the bullpen like his old teammate buddy Smoltz did. We could use him if he'd come.v9h5rb

Nate McLouth was hitting .257 when the Pirates traded him, and Willie Mays he definitely ain' first glance, the trade looks bad for the Pirates...but Andrew McCutcheon, who replaced McLouth in center last night, is a bona fide monster of a prospect(he banged out two hits in his MLB debut), and Gorkys Hernandez has a great shot at being a solid Major League player...throw in the other two prospects the Pirates got, and when the smoke clears on this deal, the Pirates are going to come out ahead, not only financially, but talentwise as well.

I am Bob Smith. And I have spoken.

So it shall be.

Can we trade Kevin Gregg for Tom Glavine even though he's a free agent?

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on June 3, 2009 11:51 PM.

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