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Brian Roberts to the Cubs?
Posted by Chris Liss at 3/11/2008 12:37:00 AM
View more posts by this author

 

I don't know much about this from the Orioles' end, but a possible reason this deal didn't get done a couple weeks ago is that Mark DeRosa was hospitalized with a heart condition.

You might think that was a reason to do the deal in that case, but it probably wouldn't play well for the guy undergoing heart surgery to lose his job, while in the hospital. (Trading for a backup in that case would be fine, but not someone to take DeRosa's job).

Now that DeRosa seems okay, they could do the deal, but Orioles' backup Freddie Bynum is dinged up. Our most recent update says that a deal before the season starts is unlikely for that reason, but I can't imagine Bynum's injury could really hold it up.

The Orioles have no chance in a stacked AL East this year where even Toronto and Tampa Bay are fielding far better teams, while the Cubs have a huge payroll and are committed to winning now. This is a natural fit, so I'd probably take even money that Roberts is a Cub before Opening Day. (In theory, that is - not opening up the RW sports book with this post). DeRosa's seen more as a supersub than a starter, and it probably comes down to what it would take to get Roberts. I'd imagine Eric Patterson and Sean Marshall would be fair. Maybe the O's would prefer Sean Gallagher. Just speculation here, but there's a good fit.

Of course, the Cubs might want to make a move for a center fielder, too, if Felix Pie (once his nuts are back to normal) can't convince them he's ready.


Comments....

As an Orioles fan, I am not satisfied, nor is Andy MacPhail, with a Patterson-Marshall deal. I don't consider Marshall a blue chipper and we have had one Patterson brother and will pass on another.

Brian Roberts is a top 2nd basemen and is only 30. The Cubs could win the World Series for the first time in 100 years by acquiring Roberts.

MacPhail will wait patiently until the Cubs make a better offer, one that includes Felix Pie possibly. If not, the O's will move Roberts at the deadline.

The Orioles hold the leverage. That is why no deal has been done.
Posted by bwitt at 3/11/2008 6:16:00 AM
 
Don't the O's have less leverage the closer it gets to the deadline? It seems to me that the more at bats the Cubs get from Roberts, the more they will be willing to pay.

What I think is holding up this deal is that the O's don't (at least as far as I can tell) have anyone waiting in the wings to start at second base. They seem to like Scott Moore, and I think I read that he was working out at second, but he is more of a 3B, right? Plus now he's nicked up. Witt, you're an Orioles fan - can you see Moore starting at 2B this year? Or anywhere for that matter? I just picked him yesterday as my last reserve in the staff league in the hopes that a Roberts trade helps clear something up for him...
Posted by MPStopa at 3/11/2008 6:35:00 AM
 
As a fan of another NL Central team, I'd love to see the Cubs give up Marshall and Gallagher or anything that thins their minor league starting pitching even more than it already is. One of the big reasons that they were able to win the division last season was because of how healthy their starting rotation was. If they trade Marshall and Gallagher and then suffer any type of injuries to the rotation, they are going to have a huge problem. On top of that, DeRosa hit .293/.371/.420 last season while our 2008 projection for Roberts is .292/.374/.443. Roberts obviously runs better and is better defensively, but really, how much would this upgrade the Cubs? I definitely hope they make the deal, and I hope they overpay for him.
Posted by herbilk at 3/11/2008 7:51:00 AM
 
As a Cubs fan, I've been following these rumors pretty closely all winter. By all accounts, Sean Gallagher and Ronny Cedeno will be involved in any deal and Jay Payton will likely come over along with Roberts. The Cubs will have to include one or two more prospects, but Felix Pie won't be one of them. If they can make this trade without Sean Marshall being one of those other prospects, I think it's a slam dunk. Herb's right that a big reason the Cubs were able to win the division last year was the health of their starting pitching. The rotation already includes potential injury risks in Ryan Dempster (who, despite looking good in spring, is also a bit of a wild card) and Jon Lieber. Marshall is too valuable as an insurance policy to lose.

If they can get Roberts without losing Marhsall, I think they're the clear favorites in the Central, and one of the top two or three teams in the NL, hands down. Roberts' numbers alone don't tell the story. He brings a completely different dimension to the offense that will have a domino effect on the rest of the lineup. With him on the team, they'll be forced to move Soriano down in order where he belongs. I love Mark DeRosa as much as any Cubs fan, but Roberts' .292/.374/.443 is way different than DeRosa's .293/.371/.420. For a team that has had OBP problems at the top of its order for years, batting Roberts and Kosuke Fukudome 1-2 would heal the Juan Pierre-Neifi Perez 1-2 experiment. The whole lineup would look something like this (I hope):

Roberts
Fukudome
Soriano
Ramirez
Lee
Soto
Theriot
Pie

With DeRosa serving as a super-sub, logging time at second, short and in right field (not to mention spelling Ramirez and Lee from time to time) that looks like potentially the best offense in the NL.
Posted by uwmichael at 3/11/2008 8:27:00 AM
 
I guess the Orioles would consider this seeing as how they got virtually nothing for Miguel Tejada, but the packages being floated out there for Brian Roberts sound awfully thin. Sean Marshall and Sean Gallagher are never going to front a rotation. Eric Patterson is basically his brother with less pop, a better batting eye, but without a defensive home. Ronny Cedeno is a replacement level shortstop. This fluff for a guy under contract for a total of $14.3 million through 2009 who ranks as one of the game's top leadoff hitters? It's not like he's pushing 40 (otherwise the Giants would be interested). Roberts will be 30 all year. If I'm Andy MacPhail, I hold out for either Felix Pie or at worst, Tyler Colvin in the deal.
Posted by vtadave at 3/11/2008 8:37:00 AM
 
I'd be shocked if the Cubs moved Pie - he's very young and has way too much upside. Jay Payton isn't who the Cubs want to trot out there in center - he'd be a useful reserve who could play the position. Gallagher and Marshall are useful, and Marshall improved a good deal last year and should get better. Neither is a star, but Roberts at age 30, isn't, either. Cedeno has been floated around, and he's hit in the minors and in Venezuela and has a lot of range, but lacks consistency and was overmatched in the majors. Patterson's is a lot different than his brother because he'll draw walks and he can play infield also. I'd rather have him than Cedeno. If I'm the Os, I'd take either pitcher, Patterson and Cedeno for Payton and Roberts who doesn't strike me as a player who will be good well into his 30s.
Posted by cliss at 3/11/2008 9:48:00 AM
 
Clearly this makes the Cubs better if only because it finally convinces them that Soriano should not bat leadoff. It gives them stability at 2B, allows DeRosa to play the utility role (which is what he should be), and gives them a better lineup from top to bottom. They should be able to get him without giving up Pie, but Patterson or Cedeno plus one of the pitchers seems like a decent deal. They may have to throw in a lower level prospect as well.
Posted by MotownRandy at 3/11/2008 11:28:00 AM
 
Why would they even consider giving up someone like Pie? It sort of seems like the Cubs need the guy right about now. Why not try peddling Matt Murton instead?
Posted by mr crunch at 3/11/2008 5:43:00 PM
 

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