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Game 133: Astros 6 – Cubs 1

Sep
01

Astros 61-74, -8.0
Cubs 68-65, +1.5

POTG: 3B A Ram (3 H, R)
Runner Up: RF Craig Monroe (H, BB), LF Matt Murton (H, BB), RP Kerry Wood (2 IP, BB, 2 K)

No EXTRA BASES, No WIN.

So let’s talk (or cut and paste) about Rocky Cherry & Scott Moore vs Steve Trachsel

I seriously have no problem with this deal.

The Cubs gave up two players in this deal

– 1B/3B Scott Moore, who may have some power potential but has no chance at Major League starting time unless Lee or Ramirez suffer long injuries (in which case, the Cubs are already screwed; short term is filled by guys on the roster already.) Moore had done just about all he could do in AAA, and it was no secret that the Cubs were going to move him sometime before the ’08 season.

If the O’s don’t keep Millar, Moore could start at first for them next year, but he was just going to grow old Des Moines with the Cubs.

– RP Rocky Cherry is an okay reliever, and surely someone who’s going to help the O’s bullpen, but he’s 28 and not really a prospect – just someone who can fill out a bullpen. He didn’t really impress in his time in the majors, he’s behind younger and more promising guys on the depth chart, and if you don’t have it by 28, you’re probably easily replaceable.

(That paragraph was rather depressing once I remembered I was three months older than him. Baseball is not real life!)

In exchange for a guy they can’t use and a guy they don’t have much use for, the Cubs got a guy they have a very definite use for. One of the strengths of the Cubs, maybe the key strength, is their solid starting rotation. Their 1 thru 5 has taken almost all the starts, and done well enough to keep taking those starts. Which is great for them, but better for their team – the Cubs didn’t really have another option if their current starting pitchers falter (or get hurt.)

other Cubs starters
– Mark Prior, who’s out for the season
– Angel Guzman, who’s been injured for more of the summer and is just starting to cram in rehab before the minor league seasons end (thus killing my hometown Cougars, but that’s another post)
– Wade Miller, who sucked and went out perpetual rehab assignments till he was turfed
– Carlos Marmol, who’s already been converted into a relief ace and is never starting again
– Neil Cotts, who was so bad of a starter in Iowa, they pushed him back into relief

By default, the 6th starter would’ve been Sean Gallagher, and he’s a guy who’s both spent most of his season in AA and looked overwhelmed when in the majors. Or it’s someone who’s not even on the 40 man roster.

This was not a What If/depth issue – the Cubs play a double header against the Cardinals on the 15th. With no off days before or after, they were going to have figure out someone to take that start. Given how close the race is at the moment, trying to get a slightly better starter seems worthwhile.

So another starter was definitely worth getting. Was Trachsel? I don’t know who else was available, and I’m sure some of this happening was due to the former president of the Cubs being the current guy in charge of the O’s, but… let’s look at his last six starts

Date       IP  R
08/01 @BOS 6.0 1
08/07 vSEA 5.2 2
08/12 vBOS 6.1 3
08/18 @TOR 6.2 3
08/23 vMIN 7.1 2
08/29 vTBD 6.0 1

I’m not electing Trachsel pitcher of the month, but those are fairly decent numbers over a nice stretch. If the clock strikes midnight on him, the Cubs owe him $0.00 next season.

It’s a short term deal for a marginal increase. Those kind of deals can hurt you if you do them too often, but at this point in the season and with the players involved, I’m all for it. At some point, you’ve got to shift from saving for the future to trying to better your chance at a championship right now. Particularly with what else is going on in this franchise – who knows what the new owner will do right or wrong, or what restrictions might be placed on the team while it’s transfered. It’s not a time to wait till next year.

I can’t believe I wrote all that when I’m going to have to write it again for my blog later. How dumb!

I don’t think Trachsel should replace Marshall in the rotation yet, but another start like this and I wouldn’t really mind.

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