With those factors in mind and some Smyly singles dug up from my trade box, I made what I was thought was a safe decision to add Drew to my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection. Now, I have the UltraPro pockets organized in alphabetical order and the letter "S" is the most common surname in that binder. Thus, whenever I add a new card, I have to slide each card over to the next slot, one by one. It's a labor of love, but it is still sort of tedious work. That said, it's a small price to pay to add a new card to my favorite collection.
In retrospect, that was an impatient, "oopsy doodle" on my part.
Ultimately, while Drew Smyly was in the mix for a September call-up, as a LOOGY reliever, it was decided that he was not quite ready yet. Then, instead of revving up for a Cubs debut in 2019, the would-be reinforcement for the Chicago starting rotation was swapped to the Texas Rangers in November as part of a transaction designed to help bankroll the team option exercised over Cole Hamels. Now, Hamels vs. Smyly is an easy decision to make; that said, I was a little disappointed that I would have to remove the latter from my CATRC three-ringer.
Instead of my marquee binder, the zero-year Cubs printed of Smyly in 2018 Topps products will be filtered into my "Coulda Been a Cub" collation. First world problem? Absolutely. Nevertheless, it was annoying having to re-sort my collection.
Fast forward to the Winter Meetings, that were held about a month after Drew was shipped down south, it was deja vu all over again:
While rumors were flying about meetings with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the Cubs stayed under the radar and inked Kendall Graveman to a two-year contract. Graveman is a sub-30, starting pitcher with a track record of past success and is coming off of a year lost to Tommy John Surgery... stop me if you've heard this tale before.
Of course, the former Blue Jay and Athletic is a righty moundsman; but, otherwise, the similarities are striking. Is this duplication all that strange? Simply put, no - this is the kind of "buy low" forward-thinking depth move that all clubs seek out. Plus, pitchers are fickle and pretty much always needed across the Major League landscape. Thus, this move is completely understandable, especially when you consider that the aforementioned Hamels is due to become a free agent in 2020 and Jose Quintana will be entering a team option year.
However, in the words of 80's one-hit wonders, Great White, I'm "once bitten, twice shy." Do I add Graveman to my CATRC? Do I wait until he actually suits up and takes the mound at Wrigley Field? Decisions, decisions...
I was able to kick this can down the road a little bit after the acquisition was made, seeing as I was unable to uncover a Graveman card in my trade stacks, in either my Jays or A's sections. Although, that didn't stop me from looking for a potential inclusion. Thus, when I came across his 2015 Topps rookie card on Ebay for chump change, I couldn't help but pull the trigger on the lucky find. After all, while it's not the same shade, Jays blue blends a lot better into my pages than A's green and yellow. Now, I'll have something ready to go if and when his rehab concludes and his return to the Bigs is officially made.
In the end, I've decided to hold off on immediately tossing Graveman into my CATRC book. After Smyly left me frowny, I couldn't justify going through the procedure until it was a sure thing. The Cubs signing of Kendall was made with an eye to the future, I guess it's appropriate that I bought his card with the same idea in mind.
If you were in my shoes, how would you handle this situation? Would you throw caution to the wind for the sake of instant gratification and insert Kendall? After all, lightning doesn't usually strike twice. Or, would you play the long game, wait, and risk losing the card in the interim? Organization isn't exactly my strongest quality. Please feel free to weigh in on the matter in the comment section below.
At any rate, good luck in Texas, Drew Smyly, and hopefully we see you on North Side of Chicago sooner rather than later, Kendall Graveman!