Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

No One Can Succeed Like Doctor Roberts

I've been pretty quiet about the Cubs since our return, and for good reason. There's just not a lot going on with my heroes lately.

Sure, there's Fukudome-mania about to erupt. But outside some obvious jokes about Ron Santo mispronouncing his name (and incurring an FCC fine or two), all I can say is that I think he'll be an improvement over Jacques Jones and Cliff Floyd. And if that's not damning with faint praise, I don't know what is.

Other than that, the biggest story swirling around Clark and Addison is whether or not the long-rumored deal for Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts will go down or not. Dr. Phil reported last week that the deal was imminent, but he frets that the price might be just too darned high -- Sean Marshall, Sean Gallagher, and Ronny Cedeno.

Is that really a high price? Cedeno's OK, but his career seems to be heading into a super-sub arc (if he's lucky). Marshall and Gallagher have had their moments, and I project them to be mid-rotation starters. There's value in that, but is it worth putting the kibosh on getting Roberts?

There's been some scuttlebutt from Orioles Fan on the message boards at chicagosports.com that Roberts is over-rated (along with the usual hysterical rantings from Cub Fan ready to string up Hendry for daring to think of trading a product of the farm system -- hasn't the guy learned anything from Brock-for-Broglio???). Besides perhaps being over-rated, there is the unpleasant fact that after the Mitchell Report was release, Roberts admitted to doping. Once. And never again.

On the one hand, at least Roberts had the decency to 'fess up. He claims he hasn't used since that first time because it was a "terrible decision." Since he hasn't bombed any tests, I can only assume he's telling the truth.

And on the other hand, that admission allows us the luxury of giving him a wacky nickname. One of the Goatriders dropped "The Injector" on him, which I do like. However, as a fan of the Beatles, I'm inclined to stick with "Doctor R0berts," for his self-medicating ways.

Setting aside the doping issue for now, will Roberts be a plus for the Cubs? To answer that question, I provide two stat lines from 2007:

Doctor Roberts: .377 OBP, 269 times on base, 448 outs
Chicago Cubs Lead-off Hitters (mostly Soriano): .341 OBP, 257 times on base, 507 outs

So...yeah...I think sticking Roberts at the top of the lineup just might be a good thing.

I think a Roberts for Marshall/Gallagher/Cedeno deal would be good for my boys, and Hendry should pull the trigger on it now if he can. However, I have my doubts that this trade will ever see the light of day. Partly because of other rumors floating out there that the Mariners are willing to make a bigger deal to get both Doctor Roberts and Erik Bedard. But mostly because Dr. Phil claims that "the deal is almost certainly going to happen."

In my experience, the only person who has been more wrong than Dr. Phil making trade prediction was me playing roulette at my company's last casino night (meanwhile, my Reason for Living was putting her chips on the square root of pi and 83 Plaid and winning every time -- but did she share her winnings with me? hell, no!).

This is one situation I wouldn't mind being wrong (and giving Dr. Phil props for being right). Trading young pitching is never a pleasant experience, but Marshall and Gallagher are already on the bubble of the Major League roster as it is. If we can score a proper lead-off hitter for them before we lose them as minor-league free agents, I say go for it.

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