In the fallout of the 4-team deal for Nomar, Theo Epstein has been called all types of things- stupid, prudent, and even fooled. There's been speculation that Nomar made his Achilles heel seem to be in worse shape than it was in order to be traded at the deadline, causing some to think the Red Sox had been snookered. Nomar, who before the trade was concerned about how much rest he would need in August for his heel, supposedly said it was "great" after he was traded, and blah blah blah. Its all soap opera-style news coming out of Boston, but underneath all of this there are two truths that need to be addressed:
1) Nomar's Achilles heel is not 100%, and
2) Nomar's ego is well on its way to a full recovery.
It would be silly to think that Nomar will be able to play every game the rest of the season, and he's said so himself. He came back before he was 100% because he didn't need to be healthy to perform, and that will take its toll the remainder of the season. Jim Hendry knew this when he made the trade, and there's no doubt that we'll see Ramon Martinez fill in every so often while Nomar gets some rest. Its not ideal, but its still a major upgrade over Alex Gonzalez (who is supposedly loved by Cubs fans. It seems like everywhere I hear about him, I hear about how everyone in Chicago was just in love with him and thought he was great. Where was I in all of this? Who actually liked this guy, especially after the NLCS last year?).
It also seems pretty safe to say that Nomar's desire to play will also increase rapidly now that he's left Beantown. The Red Sox and the Cubs have a lot in common, but not their media coverage. Compared to Boston it'll be a veritable lovefest in Chicago for Nomar, who has already been vaulted to near the top of the Cubs superstar ladder. Besides the media, every Cub fan knows that they got something very special at the deadline, and they let Nomar know it at every at-bat on Sunday. Even in The Cubby Bear, where I parked myself for the 1st inning on Sunday to hopefully witness history in the making for Greg Maddux, Nomar practically received a standing O as he came to the plate. Its hard to imagine him not feeling at home, or at least welcomed, in an atmosphere like this, and if he can bat .321 while he's sulking, I'd love to see what he can do when he's motivated.
OK, enough about Nomar (at least for this post). The Cubbies go to Colorado to face the Rockies, and considering the high that they must be on right now, they're in good shape to grab the wild card before heading to San Francisco, where they'll face a tough team also in contention for the extra playoff spot. If the Cubs can't string together some hits, they'll be able to rely on the long ball more than usual while they're at Coors Field, as they face off against a 47-58 club that is having its usual pitching woes. Only Arizona has given up more runs than the Rockies, who have allowed 608 this year and have a major league worst team ERA of 5.60.
By the way, has anyone else noticed that the Cubs now have 3 starters with recent Achilles' Heel problems? This sort of thing would have made me nervous at the beginning of the year, but after all the injuries so far, it seems more like trivia than anything.