For about the last year and a half the Chicago Sun-Times Cubs beat reporter, Gordon Wittenmeyer, has been stalking Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts. Gordon has been seen going through Roberts' garbage weekly, following him to the grocery store, and watching him sleep at night from an oak tree outside his bedroom window. Then, just about twice a week, Wittenmeyer writes a column saying that the Cubs should trade for him.
While Roberts would be a much better lead off option for the north siders than Alfonso Soriano is, I don't think he fits in best Cubbie blue. You see, on the south side of town we have the White Sox, who contrary to popular belief, are still in existence. It's true, I saw them play a game in person just about a month ago. They're real, and they're in real need of a lead-off man and some speed in the lineup. They're also in need of a second baseman now that Orlando Cabrera will be leaving, and Alexei Ramirez will be moving to his natural position of shortstop.
Guess which three things Brian Roberts has. Yep, speed, an ability to hit at the top of the order, and he plays second base. So why aren't we hearing any rumors that Kenny Williams is talking to the Orioles about a deal? The Orioles haven't exactly been shy about the fact they're willing to talk trade when it comes to Roberts, and Kenny would be smart to give former Cubs president Andy MacPhail a call.
The one problem could be that the Orioles want too much in return for him. This is the biggest reason that Roberts wasn't a Cub last season, and it could be what keeps him in Baltimore in 2009. Rumor is that the Orioles want at least a pitcher, a middle infielder, and another prospect in return for him, and I'm not sure what exactly the White Sox can offer.
The good news is that with the emergance of John Danks and Gavin Floyd this season, the Sox might be able to part with a young pitcher or two to get Roberts. Somebody like a Lance Broadway or even a Clayton Richard. They can also package in second baseman Chris Getz if needed. The problem here, though, is that the Sox would also like to move Jose Contreras and Javier Vazquez -- in a perfect world the Orioles would take Vazquez as part of a deal -- if possible during the offseason. If they did do that odds are they'd like Richard to take one of their spots in the rotation.
Of course, there's always the free agent market to find another pitcher if one is needed. Whatever the situation is, a trade for Brian Roberts is a move that Kenny Williams should seriously consider, and one I wouldn't be surprised he's already trying to make. It just makes too much sense in the short term for a team that has to contend year in and year out if it's going to be competing with the Cubs for Chicago baseball dominance.