...I would be on the phone with Detroit so fast it would make their heads spin.
There are relatively few certainties in baseball, but every once in a while, a few do come along. One is the modest silver lining that attends the dark cloud that Magglio Ordonez's broken ankle has cast on Detroit's playoff hopes. His contract is tied directly to a convoluted formula of plate appearances and starts that will not be met due to this injury. Bottom line: the Tigers have $15 million more in the bank than they thought just a week ago for the rest of this year and next year, depending on how they wish to handle the options. It's a cold look, but as they all love to say at contract and trade time, it's just a business.
Fortuitously for everyone except Ordonez, the injury comes a week before MLB's deadline for trades that do not have to clear waivers. Motown dodged a bullet with Carlos Guillen, but can they hold off both the White Sox and Twinks without Magglio's bat in the lineup for the next 6-8 weeks? Perhaps Detroit will use 3 or 4 days to assess whether the team has any hope of remaining in contention in the AL-C, but Magglio has been more than respectable with the bat this season and it won't be easy.
At the same time, the Cubs do not look good in 2010 even for eternally optimistic Cubs fans like me, they have a serious need to get younger in a hurry (something that should have started in earnest last year, IMO), and they are still on the hook for about $16 million per year for 4 more years with Alfonso Soriano. I don't know if Detroit has the young talent that would be useful in a deal -- or how open Cubs ownership is to eating part of Soriano's contract to make something happen -- but it seems to me that a couple of creative accountants could sit down and find a scenario that's to the advantage of both teams.
And there are still a few creative accountants around. Just because we've had a global financial crisis doesn't mean anyone has been jailed for it.