- The current Cubs rumor news can be summed up in two words: Jeff Samardzija. Despite having only pitched a total of 5 innings in the major leagues and having a lengthy MLB career that stretches all the way back to last weekend, the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry seem very willing to hang the club's bullpen's success on the right arm of Jeff ND. Says Hendry:
"What you obviously need is for Woody to come back healthy and everything will fit," Hendry said. "I think Samardzija will give us a lift. We'll see how that unfolds and see how guys are throwing, and evaluate that into the next series."
- Earlier rumors of the Cubs making a move for George Sherrill of the O's or the A's Houston Street appear to have died on the vine in the hopes (expectations?) that Samardzija will be able to both keep the bullpen ship afloat until Kerry Wood returns from the DL and perform well in a middle relief role for the Cubs in the pennant race.
- Samardzija was, of course, called up on Friday to take Kerry Wood's spot as Wood finally landed on the DL with his finger blister. Jon Lieber remains on the DL with a right foot strain. Scott Eyre has returned from the DL but hasn't pitched since. Carlos Marmol has struggled over the past several weeks. Bob Howry has been awful of late. Sean Marshall has a 7.36 ERA over the last week. Neil Cotts remains Neil Cotts. And Michael Wuertz and Kevin hart find themselves amongst the corn. (Hey-at least Chad Gaudin has been good). Point is, the Cubs bullpen is far from stable. As solid as Samardzija has looked over his 5 whole innings as a major league pitcher, is it really that great of an idea to put him and the team in a position where he simply has to be good? To commit to Samardzija by not making a trade to bring in a more experienced reliever and therefore require that he be effective? Mike Wuertz isn't going to be able to replace Samardzija if he is unable to perform as he has thus far. Neither is Lieber. Nor will Hart. They're simply not good enough and don't have the sort of feared power arm that Samardzija possesses and Lou Piniella loves. Belive me, I'm all for hanging on to our prospects and not making a deal if it's not necessary, but I do wonder about the faith we're heaping on Samardzija at this point. Let's hope he's good. Damn good. But is it smart to count on that?
- C'mon here though. As much as I am starting to love Samardzija-he's been in the bigs for less than a week. Is it really time for stuff like this, from ESPN's Jayson Stark? KRod? Joba? Seriously?:
Now that Jeff Samardzija looks as if he can be to the Cubs what K-Rod was to the 2002 Angels and what Joba Chamberlain was to the Yankees last year, the Cubs are no longer shopping for arms of any kind.
- Samardzija's emergence has also put Jon Lieber and Scott Eyre's spots on the Cubs roster in jeopardy. Per Bruce Miles, look for Lieber or Eyre to be dealt or released by Thursday's deadline. Jayson Stark backs up Miles re: Eyre saying that the Cubs are looking to move the lefty reliever (a pretty valuable commodity for the right playoff-bound team) to an AL club like the Rays, Red Sox, or Tiggers.
- One final thing...Dear Idiots: the Cubs aren't going to acquire Manny Ramirez. I'm not even going to link the site I read that lays out why having Manny Ramirez in the offense would be beneficial. But I'll give you a hint: the site also includes an analysis of why having Roy Hallday on the Cubs would also be good. God bless the Internet.