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

Cubs trade Fontenot to Giants for prospect

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The Cubs today traded infielder Mike Fontenot across the diamond to the San Francisco Giants for an outfield prospect, finishing off through waivers part of a trade that was discussed at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

``I was surprised. I wasn't expecting it, especially right now,'' said Fontenot, who hit .284 with one homer for the Cubs during a season in which his playing time dwindled drastically after Starlin Castro joined the roster and Ryan Theriot moved from short to second base.

``It's a little strange when you're in the same town and you just walk across to the other dugout. ... I'm glad I packed a few more long-sleeve [shirts].''

The Cubs traded Fontenot's college teammate, Theriot, and pitcher Ted Lilly to the Los Angeles Dodgers with less than two hours before the July 31 deadline. After that deal was done, they came close to trading Fontenot and outfielder Xavier Nady to the Giants but ran out of time.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry and Giants general manager Brian Sabean got this part of the deal done today while in Minneapolis together for owners meetings.

The Cubs acquired Class A outfielder Evan Crawford, a ninth-round pick in last year's June draft. He's a right-handed hitting center fielder with good speed - hitting .255 with 24 stolen bases in 109 games for Augusta of the advanced-A Florida State League.

In other news today, theCubs announced that pitcher John Grabow will miss the rest of the season after an MRI today revealed a tear in the MCL of his left knee, two days after he felt a ``pop'' in the knee while pitching in a rehabilitation outing in Arizona.

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i was just commenting to my son, "he's their best player now." this reminds me of the movie "major league 2". why not just bring up the entire iowa team?

The team the Cubs organization is fielding now is barely better than the Pittsburgh Pirates, with nearly the same number of rookies on the 25-man (an absolute embarrassment for a team with a $144M payroll). Trading away Fontenot and keeping DeWitt (a fellow LH 4th infielder, sans the ability to cover SS) was a blunder. Trading Lilly for 2 very middle of the road prospects, again, was a blunder. We project going into 2011 as a full-tilt rebuilding team with holes at 1b, the rotation, the bullpen, and no MLB average starting 2nd baseman (Theriot is DeWitt's better and the Dodgers traded to get him). I have not been on the "Fire Jim Hendry" train at any point in this season, but if he fails to build a team with a .500 record in 2011, he deserves to be returned to the ranks of the scouts and out of administration. Mr. Hendry's last 2 years, with the exceptions of the trade for Gorzelanny/Grabow. Bradley/Silva, and the signing of Marlon Byrd, have been the worst this organization has endured since the abysmal Jim Frey GM era. This team is floundering hard and has no direction in the immediate future.

By PanamaBob on August 25, 2010 8:59 AM
I run the risk of seeming to be a one-note crank, even though my background is big league newspapers and experience in pro sports, but I'll take that risk because my friends don't have 100 years to wait for Cubs success. So I ask once again, why does it fall on deaf sportswriter ears when I ask when will someone take a hard look at the blind squirrel machinations of Jim Hendry? Unless he delegates the responsibility (Hendry doesn't) a GM's negotiating abilities make all other duties insignificant by comparison. Rating that is not rocket science: You look at it trade by trade; what was given, what was gained? OK, occasional special circumstances, but in baseball, too, some hits are flukes, some hits are robbed. Overall, where has the money gone. what did the Cubs get? How often was mediocrity exchanged for mediocrity (trades for the sake of trades)? The criteria are not that hard to establish. Under such scrutiny, Jim Hendry will likely turn out to be a guy other GM's love to play poker with; bets wildly and wins the occasional pot, but in the long run is demonstrably the big loser. Especially after two years of trades that should have left any competent sportswriter aghast, the man who took a blank check and exceeded it in the absence of any meaningful management oversight, is now entrusted with leading the team to success in what promises to be (by comparison) their austerity era? He covered his rear by firing Dusty Baker, now the manager of a first place team that wasn't expected to be there; he created the conditions for Lou Piniella's exit. But any talk of field managers aside, they all pretty much go by the standard baseball book. GM's, meanwhile, vary greatly in abilities and potential for error, and thus are much more important. GM's have to be a year ahead in their assessments, creative in their thinking, always playing for the edge. An astute GM recognizes a year ago that the Cubs as constituted have shot their bolt; he makes deals while his merchandise has value, and he doesn't delude himself into thinking the mentally imbalanced can recover in Chicago if paid outrageously. Whatever the cast around them, the buck stops with the man who calls the shots. Sportswriters who can't or won't take that hard-eyed view on behalf of their readers should go into public relations, or be taking softball scores by phone while their editors look for new employment. Put this in your time capsules: don't think a strong farm system is enough. Many teams have one. A sharp GM who more often than not comes out ahead in negotiations is the sine qua non of a winning baseball team. I realize I'm not totally alone in these thoughts, but for all practical purposes there is no "fire Hendry bandwagon," there's not even an "examine Hendry's record carefully bandwagon." This should not be an untouchable. He backed into the job with no outstanding credentials, and has not proved worthy of the good fortune. That's an opinion, but it's not opinion to say it's such an obvious question that a syncophant band of beat writers have been remiss in not asking if the "curse" of the Cubs might not, on the basis of critical assissment, turn out to be, demonstrably, their GM. #

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on August 11, 2010 7:31 PM.

Nothing easy for Cubs these days -- even winning was the previous entry in this blog.

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