Cutler. Garza. Bradley.

Poor Jay Cutler. I’m a huge fan, but I feel for the guy right now. Once drafted by the Denver Broncos as the heir apparent to legend John Elway, the 27 year-old QB is now hated more than Ben “Don’t Charge Me, Bro” Roethlisberger–at least according to an ESPN SportsNation poll. All of the disdain for Cutler didn’t come out of nowhere. Cutler has been disliked for a long time–long before “Kneegate”– especially after reports surfaced that Cutler was basically an asshole towards then new Broncos head coach, Josh McDaniels from the start, and forced his way out of Denver. (I don’t buy Cutler “forcing his way out of Denver”. Makes no sense. Leave behind a fairly good OL, very good WR corps, good TE, decent run game…because you’ve rejected a coach who you haven’t even met yet?) Aside from that “situation”, a good number of NFL fans just think Cutler is cocky. Smug. Condescending. Let the media tell it (both national and local), and the guys is a huge douchebag. He wears the “C”, but isn’t a leader, according to all-time great Trent Dilfer. There’s perception, and there’s reality, people. At a time when a weak economy has brought the most cocksure of us face-to-face with humility, the last thing anyone wants to see is a highly paid, good but not great, arrogant, indifferent quarterback. Especially in Chicago. Especially after Henry Burris, Shane Matthews, Erik Kramer, Cade McNown, Jim Miller, Brian Griese, Steve Stenstrom, Rick Mirer, Todd Collins, Kordell Stew…

Could Matt Garza be to the Cubs what Julius Peppers was to the Bears? No. Absolutely not. I hear the fans say that he’ll be better in the NL Central than he was in the AL East. I buy that. However, he didn’t put up eye-popping numbers in the much tougher Al East, so it’s not asking too much of him to win at least 16 games and have an ERA of less than 3.90. He’ll probably win more games as a member of the 2011 Cubs than he would have had he remained a Tampa Bay Ray. I’m not sure about 16 wins and a sub-3.90 ERA, though. The Rays were one of the best defensive teams in the majors last year, and Garza had a Run Support Average of 7.30, good for 16th in the majors. By contrast, the Cubs were one of the worst defensive teams in the majors and their alleged ace, Ryan Dempster, had the 30th best Run Support Average. If the 2010 Cubs (the ’08 and ’09 teams weren’t much better defensively) were one of the worst defensive teams in baseball with (an aging) Derrek Lee, how bad they can be over 162 games without him? Some Cubs fans are excited because Garza has some winning playoff experience, and because he’s won in baseball’s toughest division. Let’s ignore his 2010 stats against the Red Sox and Yankees: 2-3, 5.69 ERA, 60H/51.2IP and a BAA of nearly .300. Or his September line: 2-3, 5.88 ERA, 44H/33.2IP, .314 BAA. The Cubs parted with a young pitching prospect who many reputable Cubs bloggers feel was expendable because of the greatness that is Trey McNutt. Also gone is a 20 year-old shortstop prospect who just had to be traded because Starling Castro is the Cubs shortstop, and, as Cubs fan logic states, a prospect is useless if there’s already someone playing his position at the ML level. Garza is a gamer, but being a gamer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll dominate, or even have 16 wins and a sub-3.90 ERA, even in the weaker NL Central. I hope Garza brought plate discipline, an ability to make the routine play, and a little bit of “win” with him or else 2011 is going to be a long season for the Cubs.

Milton Bradley is obviously still on the minds of so many Cubs fans. After a recent brush with the law, many Cubs fans on my Twitter timeline used the opportunity to have an “I told you so” moment at his expense. Seriously, the guy hasn’t been in a Cubs uniform in almost a year and a half. LET IT GO. Technically, he’s still a member of the Seattle Mariners. Even though he’s not a Cub anymore, I still publicly root for Bradley. I hope the guy gets help–whether voluntarily or involuntarily– before he hurts himself or another. The scorned Cubs fans who still hold a grudge against Bradley are just sad.

P.S. I miss Karen and the Moondance Woman!!!

P.P.S. Carmelo to the Bulls and BMarsh to the Bears would drive you “chemistry” nuts crazy. Exactly why I’d be 100% behind those moves.


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