It's been 10 busy days or so since my last post. Since then, the future of both Lou Piniella and Ozzie Guillen has been questioned, Carlos Zambrano received a ticket back to the starting rotation, Sox GM Kenny Williams has been asked if he will rush to the trading table, the Cubs signed Bob Howry (!) to solve the bullpen problems and interleague play has begun.
--I don't see either the Cubs or White Sox managers getting fired before the season is done, though I'd revisit that opinion for Guillen if the Sox find themselves in last place for a long stretch. If the Cubs remain sub-par it will only become more obvious that Piniella is keeping the manager's office warm for Ryne Sandberg next season (not that Sandberg would be the best choice), and barring his own desire to be done with the Cubs, Piniella should be around until the end of season no matter what happens.
--Williams has denied the Sox will rush to trade players like Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, though there is definitely a market for both of them. Assuming the Sox don't get any better, I'll bet at least A.J. is gone by the trade deadline. Maybe Andruw Jones, too, if he manaages to retain any of the value he had the first month of the season. But, once Kenny starts trading, will he stop at just one or two deals?
--Zambrano's imminent return to the starting rotation will end a strange, interesting, but ultimately misguided experiment. I now wonder two things: 1) Will Zambrano com back refreshed and thankful to be a starter, or further damaged? and 2) Is his return as a starter contingent upon some agreement with Jim Hendry that he will wave his no-trade clause if asked?
--Finally, we have Bob Howry... again. Howry was terrible with the Diamondbacks this year until he was recently released, and certainly doesn't look like a viable candidate to lock down the 7th or 8th innings that have been so much trouble for the Cubs. The only thing Howry may have going for him is that he usually gets better and stronger as the season goes on. Still, I'm guessing there will be at least a few painful outings before we get a sense if that will happen.
--Oh, yeah, interleague play: I think its okay, and kind of introduces a little variety at a time when the baseball season might otherwise settle into a routine pace. I think seeing the Sox play Florida (and win last night) is better than seeing them play more games against Cleveland and Kansas City. I fear seeing the Cubs play the stacked line-up of American League teams, but it may be better than having to face the Cardinals more often.
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