Get. Tejeda. Now.

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Jay Mariotti on the Cubs' need to land Tejeda.

The new game in town, if you haven't noticed, is whether the Cubs can match the breakthrough of the 2005 White Sox. Based on their hit-and-miss offseason so far, I will assume they cannot ... unless they shock me by seizing a wonderful new opportunity. I would like to think Jim Hendry and the Tribsters, flush with cash in their Sammy-and-Nomar-free budget, are sincere in their assertion that they will inquire about Miguel Tejada, a wise man who wants out of a hideous situation in Baltimore.

Amen to that. When my kid cousin can gloat and all I can do is hang my head, something has to change (j/k Eric).

Enter the Cubs. The area code for Crabtown, in case Hendry forgets from his Sammy Sosa-peddling days, is 410. Still searching for a prominent middle infielder and armed with megabucks after whiffing on Furcal, he never has encountered a more important possibility in his suddenly wobbly general-managing tenure. Package kid shortstop Ronny Cedeno, kid pitcher Rich Hill, the useless Patterson -- really, any collection of players the Orioles want other than Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Pierre, Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano. Throw in the ticket-scalping operation, if need be. Because fun as it will be watching Pierre scratch his way onto base, he isn't worth 20 victories by himself. Let Hendry be excited about Cliff Floyd, who had a nice year for the Mets. And Julio Lugo, who would be a serviceable shortstop. And Milton Bradley, whose over-under on his first psycho temper tantrum is April Fools' Day. None of those moves would push the Cubs toward the Holy Grail.

Tejada is another story.

I like Mariotti's list of untouchables, although I would add a few of our prospects to it after watching us give up a swath of great pitching prospects for Pierre.

The problem is this: Tejada wants out, but the Orioles aren't desperate to sell. And since they're not looking to unlead him, the Cubbies are going to have to give up something real.

Yes, it will probably hurt, but landing Tejada would give the Cubs three all-star infielders all age 30 and other. That, to me, spells endurance.

So who are some of the players not on the list that the Orioles might take? The one that jumps out is Ryan Dempster. Slated to be the Cubs' closer, he is an able big-league starter and he's only 28 years old. The Orioles could use him either way. They struck out landing a closer at the winter meetings, and their rotation is full of holes as well.

In addition to Dempster, the Cubs could throw in Neifi Perez, who would fill the O's hole in short. There's also Patterson (if they want him) and prospects like Ronny Cedeno or one of the young bullpen arms the Cubs have (Novoa, Wellemeyer, Ohman); all are expendable for the right cause.

This would leave the Cubs without a closer, but we just spent almost $25 million on relievers, so some combination of existing hurlers should be able to get the job done. Personally, I think Scott Williamson or Todd Wellemeyer (if he's still around) could do well in the role, but I've been accused of naive enthusiasm for these two.

Regardless, the opportunity here is to have the best infield in the National League and the second best in the majors, and that is just too good to pass up.

If the Cubs could pull this off, the could start Jose Macias in right field for all I care.

Mariotti closes by nicely summarizing what's at stake:

No team in American sports should feel more urgency than the Cubs. Now that the Sox have beaten them to the ultimate Chicago dream, every day is going to be hell until they write the same story.

UPDATE: Tejada is backing off the trade demand. Grrr...

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the cubs should give up matt murton,ronny cedeno,rich hill, and brain dropniaek and todd walker for tejeda and then trade for julio lugo to play second base and give patterson one more shot and put pie in the outfeild with patterson and pierre thats a fast outfeild it will be better for the picthers.

It's an interesting idea, but a huge gamble. If the Cubs didn't make the playoffs next year, Hendry would be toast. that fact alone means it would never happen.

It's the right kind of thinking though, Tejada is the kind of player that's worth a big sacrifice.

But, this might all be moot if the Orioles aren't willing to give him up.


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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on December 11, 2005 2:34 PM.

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