The Chicago Cubs have decided to trick me and make a flurry of roster moves while I was on vacation this weekend. Just a few short hours ago I returned from the great (at least that’s what I’ve been told) state of Iowa. I served as a staff member for the Boy Scouts’ premier leadership training, the National Leadership Seminar. In 2007, back when the Cubs were division champs, I attended as a participant and this weekend I was asked to serve as staff.
The seminar teaches leadership, but not just in Boy Scout situations, but in life ones, too. As part of staff introductions, each of us was supposed to share a unique item, so I brought along my baseball that Theo Epstein signed for me at the Pfister a few months ago. While discussing leadership, the topic of baseball comes up from time to time as a metaphor.
My two favorites:
- Servant leadership is an important and successful style. “For he who serves his fellows is, of all his fellows, greatest.” Would you rather play for a player-manager, someone who is toiling on the diamond with you physically day in and day out, and a basic field manager who sits in the dugout? Both have their pros and cons, but a player-manager is an example of a servant leader.
- Leaders have to think of the big picture. What are the long-term effects of one’s actions and decisions? How does this affect the end goal that is in mind? All weekend we were telling the Scouts to keep their eyes on the prize, and in Theo Epstein’s case, that’s incredibly important when trying to turn the Cubs’ ship around.
NLS is the truly the greatest leadership training I have ever experienced, and if there are any Boy Scouts reading, I highly encourage you to attend if you get the opportunity.
But enough about what I did this weekend – what about the Cubs? Some pitchers have landed on the DL and some players that were in Iowa on Friday (like myself) are now with the big league club. And there was a trade, too. Let’s take a look…
Kerry Wood did not pitch in the new Marlins Park, and instead returned home to start healing his latest injury with a cortisone shot. He’s since landed on the disabled list, retroactive April 14th. Lefty Scott Maine was brought up from Iowa to take his place. Maine gave up one run in 5 outings in AAA so far this year, pitching 6 and 1/3 innings and finishing three games.
April 21st, 2012
Also hitting the disabled list is starting pitcher Ryan Dempster. Number 46 has given up just three earned runs in over 20 innings of work, but it winless thanks to the Cubs’ offensive woes. Kerry’s right shoulder is bothering him, but it’s Dempster’s right quad that has put him on the DL. The man who was called up to replace him is none other than the lovable speedster Tony Campana. He was batting .304 in 14 games fo the I-Cubs. More impressive, however, is Campana’s first ever out-of-the-park home run. The 26 year old outfield used bat speed rather than base path speed to touch ‘em all earlier this season.
I’m not sure what order exactly these last two moves happened in. I do, however, know the end result. Randy Wells is back with the big league club after being bummed out over a demotion following Spring Training 2012. He will take Dempster’s spot in the rotation while he recovers from his injury. The numbers in a small sample size of I-Cubs action aren’t pretty: 15 runs in less than 15 innings worth of work. But we’re starting to appreciate that depth that Theo and Jed Hoyer were striving for.
The second move is the trade many fans have been waiting for: Marlon Byrd is no longer a Chicago Cub. The addition of muay thai in the offseason didn’t help his performance in the batter’s box, at least in the early goings. Byrd was 3-for-43 in his final games as a Cub. Although he’s been hard to watch this season, and wasn’t great in scoring opportunities last season, I’ll remember Byrd fondly. He took over blogging duties after Mark DeRosa and Reed Johnson ceased and it was enjoyable reading about his experiences. Sitting in the bleachers calling to Byrd for a ball was enjoyable, and as you can see below, he could make a diving catch or two. I hope he turns things around in Boston, but I can’t say I’ll miss him. Brett Jackson is right around the corner.
As for the details of the trade, Byrd is now with the Boston Red Sox. Even after a long and drawn out compensation battle, the two teams are still able to get something done (who would’ve guessed?). Michael Bowden and a player to be named later return to the Cubs in the deal, and a good chunk of Byrd’s salary is being covered by Chicago. I don’t know much about Bowden (never heard of him before actually – and the stats are meh), but Byrd had to go sometime. Whenever Jackson is ready, that new storyline can begin in Chicago.
Thus completes the group of moves made by the Cubs when I was completely busy, without sleep or internet. To recap, Wood and Dempster are on the DL. Maine, Wells, and Campana are up from Iowa. Byrd is in Boston, and Bowden has been added to the ‘pen. Plus there’s that PTBNL.
Good luck and so long, Byrd.