COMMENTARY | Chicago Cubs fans have come to despise trading players for all sorts of reasons.
The main reason, however, is the uncanny reality of how often average players leave town only to emerge as All-Star talent elsewhere, or come to town only to have a major statistical drop-off. It happens to every team over the long haul. But whenever a lacking player is sent packing or a great player is brought in, Cubs fans groan because they know that player is going to haunt the team in one way or another.
Here are a few of those players:
Greg Maddux - Pitcher (1986-1992, 2004-2006)
This one was undeniably the Cubs' fault. Maddux had already shown that he was a top-of-the-line pitcher -- illustrated by his 1992 Cy Young after going 20-11 with a 2.18 ERA. What is so frustrating about the handling of Maddux is that the Cubs basically sent him off to Atlanta for his prime (1993-2003) and then brought him back in the twilight of his career.
His Cy Young Award in 1992 was the first of four consecutive. Sigh.
Nomar Garciaparra - Shortstop (2004-2005)
Garciaparra had already started to build the reputation of having injury problems when he came from Boston to Chicago in the middle of the 2004 season. He wasn't considered in his prime when the deal went down, but this was a man who had hit .372 just four seasons earlier and was coming off back-to-back 100-RBI seasons in Boston.
He would only play in 81 games in '04 (43 for the Cubs) and 62 games in 2005 before heading off to Los Angeles -- where he once again hit .300 with a .303 AVG, 20 HRs and 93 RBIs.
Alfonso Soriano - Outfield (2007-2013)
When a player has a year like Soriano did in 2006 -- .277 AVG, 46 HRs, 95 RBIs, 41 SB -- it's almost a guarantee the team that signs him after is walking into a trap. The reason being that no player can possibly play to that level of production, but will undoubtedly be paid to do so.
Soriano's time with the Cubs wasn't as awful as some belly-aching fans would lead you to believe, but there was a slight decrease in production (age more than likely the main culprit), and he couldn't possibly maintain the pace he had set in Washington.
Angel Pagan - Outfield (2006-2007)
When Pagan was platooning in Chicago, he looked like an extremely average player. Not a bad fielder, pretty good speed, and a lackluster hitter (.255 AVG). Over his next four seasons with the New York Mets, Pagan became a .280 hitter (.284) and was a regular contributor for the Mets -- primarily in 2010 and 2011.
He didn't become an elite player, but he became much more than he looked to be as a member of the Cubs.
Kyle Farnsworth - Relief Pitcher (1999-2004)
It's not to say Farnsworth was ever some elite reliever but as a member of the Chicago Cubs, he was inconsistent, at best. Armed with a 100-mph fastball and lacking control, Farnsworth bounced around after leaving Chicago in 2004. Since, he's remained inconsistent but has put together a few impressive seasons -- 2005, 2010 and 2011 being his best.
Bob Howry - Relief Pitcher (2006-2008, 2010)
When Howry came to the Cubs in 2006, he had gained the reputation of being one of the better relievers in the league -- back-to-back stellar seasons in Cleveland being the primary evidence. And while he enjoyed some modest success, he never proved to be overly consistent for the Cubs. And as his time in Chicago went on, he got worse.
His numbers don't tell the whole story. I honestly cannot remember a time when I had a "Oh, good, Howry is coming in" reaction during his tenure with the Cubs. His curtain call in 2010 put the exclamation point on his mediocrity.
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Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs follower. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him a chance to closely follow and report Chicago sports as a freelance writer through Yahoo! Contributor Network and Yahoo! Sports. He is also a senior in college majoring in English and Creative Writing.
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