I apologize for my absense on the blog for the previous five calendar days. In any case, Happy 2012. Now back to work.
I have already written about the imminent rise of the Miami Marlins. However, said article was written before the acquisitions of the likes of Bell, Reyes, Buehrle, and now Zambrano. The team seems to be getting stronger by the day, and it's no wonder- under new manager/Darth Ozzie Guillen, the team is taking a different approach- now, they plan on winning games. So now, along with the stars they already have, such as Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton and Emilio Bonifacio, the Marlins are packing more stars into their team than a large galaxy. And, with the exception of Zambrano, all of these new players can still play the game well.
In the opposite corner, there is a sad tale going on in the North side of Chicago. Despite not being very good last year, the Cubs team is losing what little star power it had. Its star third baseman? Gone to Milwaukee. Its mostly-reliable starter? Signed with Miami. Its up and coming pitching prospect? Traded to San Diego. Granted, the Cubs still have their shortstop, Starlin Castro, as well as a declining outfielder, a slumping catcher, a would-be-closer turned starter, and, thanks to Cashner leaving the nest, a popular first base prospect. That, unfortunately, is about it. Aside from small deals with David DeJesus, Carlos Pena and someone else I'm forgetting, the team is coming down to its last few stars.
It's a funny story, really. Not necessarily funny in a "ha-ha" sort of way, but more in a bit of a sad sort of humor. It's almost like a Twilight Zoney version of a Robin Hood tale. One team is stealing from the rich- another is giving to the poor. Both are becoming what they have done business with.
And the madness doesn't look like it's over for either team. The Cubs now have two first basemen. Something must be done about one of them. Also, Alfonso Soriano is getting older, and it's definitely showing in the amount of home runs he's logged lately, as well as playing time. Soriano is, sadly, becoming the average outfielder. He starts out strong, he hits well, he leads his team to a playoff run, and then slowly slides downhill. So the Cubs might need to get rid of him. Meanwhile, if the Marlins can hook (ha!) any other free agents, preferrably pitchers, they will take them, no contest. The strong will continue to strengthen, the poor will continue to weaken. Unfortunately, that's how baseball works.
Stepping off topic for just a second, but still keeping the theme, as the Cubs, a once playoff contending team, are losing players, the Padres, a recurring last place team, are gaining them. Carlos Quentin, Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso and now Andrew Cashner have joined an already building ballclub. I know, it sounds absolutely crazy, but it could happen. That divison's determined by a frigging coin toss anyway. But still, a strong Padres team does not bode well for the Cubs.
I realize that most Marlins fans want me to keep going, but coincidentally most Cubs fans want me stop before I find the head of a grizzly in my bed, so I'll end on this: Eleven years ago the Cubs and the Marlins met in the playoffs. The Cubs were the favorite. The Cubs lost. Most Cubs fans I know will do the obvious (Blame Steve Bartman), but some will note that it was the beginning, not of one team's downfall, but another's rise. Now, if the Cubs meet the Marlins for the game, we all know who will be the favorite.
Unless the Marlins begin their downfall. Because you really never know at this point.
And that's where I end, before I end up with my foot strategically placed in my mouth.