The bright side to the off-season is that sometimes we get new faces. And sometimes I’m actually receptive to these new faces. So it’s time to say hello, or in a couple of cases, hello again.
Kerry Wood–Count me among the many that are glad that you’re back, Kerry. Not just because you’re a good pitcher and you’ll help out our bullpen. Not just because I admire your love of and loyalty to the Cubs. Not just because I remember your rookie year with a lot of affection. But also because you’re one of like five or six guys on this team that are older than me and I need that for my own ego.
Reed Johnson–Even though it’s just a minor league contract, I am so glad that you and your facial hair are back in Chicago, Reed. I hope to see you in September at the latest. I also hope you don’t mind that when I first saw you’d signed with the Cubs again, I squealed “REEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!!!!!!” at my computer screen. I promise, it wasn’t nearly as insane and unsettling as it seems.
Carlos Pena–You are a classy, charasmatic man and that somehow makes up for your questionable batting average last year. Even if you totally tank at the plate this season, I feel you could talk me out of being unhappy about that. However, I think you’re going to do well. You’re actually just what I was hoping for in a first baseman: someone who could catch a ball.
Matt Garza–I knew your name sounded familiar, but not being too into the American League, I wasn’t sure why until I saw your picture. I remember your facial hair from the Rays/Rangers series in the postseason and I appreciate it. I also think that if you can hold your own in the AL East, you’ll be able to do pretty well in the NL Central. The trade for you cost us some players and probably motivated the Tom Gorzelanny trade, at least partially, but I’ll be more than willing to let all of that slide in exchange for some excellent games.
Fernando Perez–I must admit that you being an Ivy Leaguer is a little intimidating. But you obviously have a sense of humor and I like that. I also like that you’re speedy, can hit a ball, and can make plays. How are you at running into walls? We don’t have padding at Wrigley, just ivy. Oh, well. You’re smart. I’m sure you’ll adjust just fine. Talk to Reed Johnson. He’s got experience.
Max Ramirez–I’m afraid I don’t know much about you other than you played for Texas and the Cubs claimed you off of waivers from the Red Sox. I’m guessing that you were claimed since we lost Robinson Chirinos and to also balance out our Carlos heavy roster by adding another Ramirez. At any rate, I hope you do well here.
Baby Boys–Zachary Rosscup, AJ Morris, Michael Burgess, and Graham Hicks. Welcome to the Cubs farm, guys. I look forward to hearing good things about you. Enjoy and learn, babies.
Welcome and welcome back. May the baseball gods smile on your 2011 season.