10:13 AM CDT, September 21, 2011
Wilson Betemit will be available.
No kidding. Really. In case you were looking for a replacement for Aramis Ramirez at third base next year, Betemit will be right there for the Cubs. Yes, the very same Betemit who had three memorable RBIs for the White Sox in the glorious season of 2009.
I bring up Betemit because Ramirez sounded off following Tuesday night’s Cubs game, which he said felt like his last at Wrigley Field because he got hurt and hasn’t had his option for next season picked up.
Actually, it sounded like a self-pitying version of the contract negotiating-slash-bullying-slash whining that Ozzie Guilen has been pulling all year. And last year. And maybe if he managed more than complained, he’d have a second half you could be proud of.
But back to Ramirez. He wants to stick around the Cubs because he loves the idea that he can stink for all of April and always bat cleanup, something that wouldn’t happen if the Cubs had a manager. Ramirez has a one-year club option he’s waiting on, but it’s not likely that Fanboy Owner Tom Ricketts will make that $16 million decision. That figures to be left to the new general manager, and that figures to be one of the few decisions the Fanboy Owner will let the new GM make.
It’s looking like Ramirez will be looking elsewhere, and so, if you don’t like the Betemit option, then how about Jorge Cantu? You might not see him much because he plays for San Diego, but let me tell you, you’ve missed one hellacious season of .194-3-16.
No, wait, there’s Mark DeRosa. Yeah, he’ll be available, too. All Cubs fans think he’s magic, and nothing says magic like zero homers and nine --- count ‘em, nine --- RBIs this year.
Point is --- the sobering point is --- Ramirez will be the most accomplished free-agent third baseman on the market. He would be the guy that Cubs fans would want the team to sign because he hits for power at a power position, just as long as you don’t expect him to hit, period, in April or the playoffs, back when you could say “Cubs’’ and “playoffs’’ without someone forcing you to undergo a random drug test.
So, OK, the third-base choices in free agency stink. How about the Cubs’ system? You know the Cubs’ system: It’s the one overseen by the guys the Fanboy Owner keeps throwing money at.
Yes. Well. How ya fixed for D.J. LeMahieu?
Yes. Well. Which of his two RBI’s are your favorite?
We don’t know if LeMahieu can play third same as we don’t know if Tyler Colvin can play regularly because interim manager Mike Quade has no idea what he’s doing for the betterment of the organization. Long after the season was lost, Quade continued to run veterans out there in a stunning, unchecked act of insane loyalty. I mean, why remain loyal to players who earned you one of the worst records in baseball? The manager owed it to the organization to find out about whatever players pass as the Cubs’ future.
But no. Quade refused to allow it. The Cubs have no further answers on LeMahieu or Colvin than they did before Quade went brain dead. I read where Quade tied or set some kind of team ejection record, and I’m wondering, how come everybody can kick him out except the Cubs?
Deeper in the organization is Josh Vitters, but I guess if he could play in the majors, he would be up here not playing for Quade.
But here’s the thing about Ramirez and third base: Neither matters nearly as much as what we laughingly refer to as a starting rotation for next season.
You have Matt Garza. Good. Top-of-the-rotation guy.
You have Ryan Dempster, who will pick up his $14 million option because he’d be an idiot not to, and believe me he’s no Quade.
You have Randy Wells, who can be really good for a while, but his history suggests he’s stubborn, stupid and quite taken with himself. Look, kid, you’re a below-average pitcher on one of the worst teams in baseball, hel-LO!
You have Carlos Zambra --- no, you don’t. Or you won’t. He is being paid to stay away, sort of the way the Cubs will handle Quade next year.
Really, after Garza and Dempster, you have nothing. Sorry, Rodrigo Lopez.
The Cubs have nothing you trust, nothing that can compete even for a divisional title, so forget a World Series, which is the goal in most places with a sensible flow chart.
But these is the Cubs. There is no sensible flow chart, and maybe no flow chart at all, just bison dogs, new urinals, and losses borne of top-down stupidity. I believe the decisions on the pitching staff will be left up to the new GM. Same goes for the rest of the roster. And of course, the new GM also will have to decide whose sock puppet he’ll be.
You figure he’ll be the Fanboy Owner’s sock puppet, what with the way Fanboy Owner has already re-signed or extended scouting and minor-league honchos that should’ve been the decision of the new general manager. The Fanboy Owner apparently likes his GMs to come pre-neutered.
Or maybe the new GM will decide he wants to be the sock puppet of Team Impediment Crane Kenney. Or maybe he’ll choose the delicious irony of being the sock puppet of Oneri Fleita, a personnel wonk rehired by the Fanboy Owner to serve someone the Fanboy Owner hasn’t yet hired. Beautiful thing the Fanboy Owner has created, huh?
And oh yeah, Omar Vizquel will be available.
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