In doing my research for this weeks organizational report, I came across this small, buried nugget at Inside the Ivy (subscription may be required to access link). Pitcher Dave Crouthers, one of the three prized players we received from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Mr. You-Know-Who, has decided to RETIRE from baseball. Reasons were not given. That's lovely, isn't it? I cannot even speculate what would cause a 25 year old, on the 40-man roster of a major league team, to just pack it up and say sayonara. I'm going to hold back on criticizing Crouthers since he may be facing some horrific personal problems that I don't want to imagine. But just in terms of baseball, could the Sammy Sosa trade be turning out any worse for the Cubs at the moment, at least superficially? What do we have to show for the trade? This current group of "we all get along" players, are 3 games under .500 with the Cardinals so far ahead of them, they need NASA to clue them in on their position. I think when all was said and done, the Cubs saved ten bucks in the deal. And now we have one less player who'll ever help the major league ballclub and the two that can, aren't all that spectacular. To top it off, Sosa's Orioles are leading the brutal AL East. Yep, this is going well. I suppose there is nothing the Cubs could have done about this most unfortunate circumstance, but it doesn't help with the bitter taste in my mouth at the moment. Of course, now that I think about it, there are a lot of things the Cubs could have done. Let's start with not making the trade, then let's move onto actually getting something in return. Couldn't we have held out for B.J Ryan? Hell, Cliff Floyd and his 12 homers and .289/.358/.556 line would have been nice. I suppose I'm just irritated cause I never liked the trade in the first place and now I don't like the trade that much more. In a related matter, this opens up a 40-man roster spot for the Cubs, which makes that talk of Raul Valdez potentially pitching Tuesday seem a bit more feasible. Sergio Mitre is a possibility as well along with Todd Wellemeyer. Mitre pitched well on Friday and actually has some extreme road/home splits. Home: 3-0 0.95 ERA Road: 0-4 7.27 ERA For whatever that's worth. Valdez so far is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 IP with 4 BB/8 KK. Wellmeyer, since his return from Iowa, has a 0.00 ERA in 7.1 IP with 1BB/9 K. I suppose we shall see soon enough.