The Cubs indicated to me last night that they’d have something in the way of an announcement today. I was led to believe it was neither the Jason Marquis trade to Colorado nor the signing of switch-hitting outfielder Milton Bradley.
Today we come to find out the Cubs signed infielder Aaron Miles (no relation that I know of) to a two-year deal worth about 5 mil.
The Miles move is probably a precursor to other things, such as the trading of infielder-outfielder Mark DeRosa. Just as DeRosa was a couple years ago, Miles is coming off a career year with the Cardinals, for whom he put up a .355 OBP this year with a .317 batting average. The switch hitter batted .315 vs. left-handed pitching and .317 vs. righties. And just as the DeRosa signing was criticized a couple years ago _ remember, the Cubs gave “all that money to a utility guy coming off a career year” _ the Miles signing is sure to meet with some criticism.
Whether it’s a good move or not, time will tell. But the Cubs are looking for increased versatility and more left-handed hitting in their lineup. Miles played seven positions for the Cards this year (tomorrow I can say “last year”), including shortstop and all three outfield spots. And, like it or not, he’s got that “gamer” quality that GM Jim Hendry values a lot (see Reed Johnson). As long as "gamers" put up .355 OBPs, I'm OK with it.
The Cubs will have to trade DeRosa to free up money for Bradley, whose deal may get done next week. Trading Marquis to the Rox for reliever Luis Vizcaino (whom the Cubs may flip in another deal), also frees up some money. And with Miles, Bradley (provided he signs), Mike Fontenot and Kosuke Fukudome (provided he can hit), the Cubs stand a chance of running four left-handed batters out there on given days and also having some lefties and switch hitters to come off the bench to pinch hit on other days.
As far as the Jake Peavy deal with San Diego goes, it’s still dormant for now, but it’s not dead. However, the Cubs’ ownership situation will have to be settled before anything gets done on that front. That could take awhile.
Happy New Year.