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Baseball Told the Right WayIn-depth Baseball analysis on various topics regarding the sport we all love!
Re-evaluating the un-re-evaluatable......
It's very hard to criticize trades after the fact, when we have perfect hindsight, that beautiful tool of talk-radio. In some cases though, we have access to information suggesting the teams involved had information unavailable to us at the time. With that said, I think it's about time to re-evaluate my stance on the Cubs trade for Nomar.
I was highly critical of the Red Sox for swinging this deal. The way I figured it, in the very best case, they treaded water by improving the defense at the cost of the offense. This figuring I did, however, assumed Nomar was completely healthy. He's not, and I think the front office knew this.
The Cubs, on the other hand, never expressed concern over Nomar's health. When the publicity typical of an ugly divorce started to surface, Nomar was rumored to have told Boston that he wasn't completely healthy and would probablly have to miss considerable time. When asked about this, Jim Hendry reiterated that Nomar's health was not a concern, and that the Red Sox had provided him with all the relevant information.
So should the Cubs have made the trade? I still think so. The chance was there to fix the most glaring hole on the roster, and the cost was three semi-redundant parts. The upside of the deal was enormous. A healthy Nomar would have been a perfect fit.
Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out, Nomar has only played in 31 of the teams 41 games, and is currently out for the near future with groin problems. Jim Hendry probablly ought to have made the deal, but given up a lot less for 30 games of Nomar. Those 30 games of Nomar implicitly contain the remaining 10-20 games of Ramon Martinez and Neifi Perez, which takes away from any value Nomar has brought to the team. Even when playing, there is no way in Hades that Nomar is fully healthy. A non-fully healthy Nomar may have hit pretty well, but instead of being an average defensive shortstop, he was a liability. Small sample size issues pertain, of course, but his zone rating and range factor were both way down from his career norms.
Nomar is a very quiet and reserved guy. He was always somewhat of an outsider in the Red Sox clubhouse. It's not that teammates disliked Nomar, they just never really knew him. Without the ability to introduce himself to his teammates on the field in Chicago, I can imagine his status as an outsider in the Cubs locker room is cemented. Don't expect to see him sign with the Cubs for any less than another team is willing to pay him.
Overall this move points to a more telling generalization about the Cubs front office and ownership. To me, the Cubs FO makes moves with the intention of impressing their fans, rather than actually improving the ballclub. The next time I see the Cubs make an unpopular personnel decision will be the first. Completely coincidentally, the next time I see the Cubs outperform expectations will also be the first. I can see a long term deal coming for Sammy, the most popular Cub who is quickly approaching the inevitable cliff at the end of his career.