Friday, October 28, 2005

Cubs Sign Walker, Williamson; White Sox do Nothing Since Winning World Series

Now that the annoying team from the south side is finally done creating distractions, we can get back to talking about the Cubs offseason.
The White Sox deserve some congradulations, and I'll take a moment to show them some respect.
Not bad guys. You won the World Series. Well done.
...But what have they done since then? Nothing.
The Cubs, on the other hand, picked up options on Todd Walker and Scott Williamson, They even bought out Jeromy Burnitz's ridiculous $7 million option. Nothing earth shattering, but It's a good start.
If there's one thing that Hendry has failed at, it's been shoring up the bullpen in the offseason, this year might be different.
I never thought I'd say this, (besides the one time I said it this July, and was wrong) but it looks like the Cubs bullpen is already in pretty decent shape.
I'm glad to see the Cubs resigned Scott Williamson, but not suprised at all. I assumed that he was signed for '06 not '05. He was a little wild, which is to be expected given he was still recovering from Tommy Johns disease, but showed flashes of dominance.. With an entire offseason to continue to build up strength and hone his command, there's a good chance he can return to something resembling his old self, which was filthy.
With a full season under his belt, Wueretz should have a big year, and Ohman should be solid as a lefty specialist.
Novoa and VanBurren may be another year away from being successful consistently in the big leagues, but they are acceptable options as 5th and 6th relievers.
And Kerry Wood could end up in the pen again if his shoulder doesn't take well to the demands of starting.
Of course you'd prefer to have wood healthy and in the rotation, but if his injury forces him to reprise his role as the 11 million dollar set up man, the cubs could suddenly find themselves with one of the league's best bullpens, with out even going outside of the organization. At the very least, they would certainly lead the league in Tommy John surgeries (5 by my count)

I'm also happy to see that the scruffy media shy Todd Walker is back again, though he's probably going to end up being a trading chip.

Rumors are that the Cubs are also close to locking up Glendon Rusch for around 2.4 million next year. I'm a little suprised at this. In earlier reports, Rusch said he would only stay with the Cubs if he was promised a spot in the starting rotation. But with younger, cheaper and more talented options like Jerome Williams and Rich Hill in house, the Cubs aren't exactly desperate to fill out the bottom of the rotation. Perhaps this reflects a lack of confidence in the ability of the the cubs starters to stay healthy. They say you can never have too much pitching, and Rusch is a major league quality left handed pitcher, but personally I think they need another #2/3 starter, not another #5 or 6. Maybe they'll get both.

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