Cubs, Sox Left at the Altar
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 18, 2004 4:18PM
Neither Chicago baseball team is doing very well lately. In recent days, both have been left at the altar when a more attractive suitor came calling.
Last week, it looked like a deal was imminent for the White Sox to sign free agent shortstop Omar Vizquel to a $10 million, 2-year deal with an option for 2007. But then Vizquel signed with the San Francisco Giants for $12.25 million over three years. Then yet another shortstop spurned the Sox, as Minnesota's Cristian Guzman signed with the Montreal/Washington Expos/Nationals(?). Officially now, the Sox are claiming they weren't that into Guzman. Right...
The Cubs have been seeking a closer, and seemed to be preparing to seal the deal with former Angels reliever Troy Percival, but he signed with the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. He was supposed to be meeting with the Cubs on Friday, and while the Cubs were interested in him GM Jim Hendry had no intentions of offering anything close to the $12 million 2 year deal the Tigers gave him.
The Cubs also were jilted by Dave O'Brien, who looked like the other half of the Cubs TV broadcast team along with Bob Brenly. The Cubs were unable to get ESPN to release O'Brien from the final year of his deal with them, despite the Cubs allowing him to continue to broadcast college basketball for the cable sports channel. The Cubs are now looking into filling the spot with Len Kasper or Matt Vasgersian. However, Vasgersian is still under contract with the San Diego Padres. Kasper, who worked for the Florida Marlins last year, had his contract expire following the end of the season but the Marlins are expected to try and retain his services. So the Cubs' search may continue...
Meanwhile, the Sox seem to be getting desperate for some action. Rumors continue that they are chasing after the Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson. The Cy Young runner-up this past season, who went 16-14 despite a 2.60 ERA because of a lack of run support, wants out of Arizona. But the Sox seem to be offering a packing that includes Paul Konerko -- who was second in the AL with 41 homers -- and John Garland. While Garland may be expendible, do the Sox want to give up a guy like Konerko in return for a 41 year old pitcher? Konerko is a free agent after next season and resides in Scottsdale, but they should focus on extending his contract rather than taking on a pitcher who can't have all that much left in the tank and has a $16 million contact. Chicagoist says go out and pick up a free agent for less money (Derek Lowe, Carl Pavano, Kevin Millwood) and use the rest on Paulie.