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Schilling Provides More Melodrama

Let's face it: Curt Schilling doesn't know how to stay out of the media spotlight.

In the final stages of an offseason in which all analysts seemed to think Schilling would fade off quietly -- at least relatively -- into retirement, the longtime ace instead piped up as spring training really began to gear up and said he would still consider pitching for a pair of teams; the Cubs and the Rays.

Of course, Schilling says he's still undecided on pitching in 2009, but the fact that's he's even raising the possibility speaks to two truths about Curt: 1) He's thinking about it, and 2) He doesn't know how to do anything quietly.

Reporters in Chicago and Tampa Bay have been throwing out different reports as to whether those teams would be interested in Schilling and, quite frankly, no one seems to have any idea, since Schilling's announcement seemingly came from left field. The author of the 38 Pitches blog could make sense for either team -- for the Cubs, taking the role of the Jake Peavy addition that never happened, and for the Rays as a fill-in for any starter who gets hurt (they had a freakish run without any pitching injuries short of a few missed starts by Scott Kazmir last year, and that isn't happening again) or any starter who suddenly is ineffective.

Of course, all those suppositions assume that Schilling is healthy and can return to pitching shape, both of which are big question marks. And those questions seem to be influencing the opinion of Chicago Sun-Times writer Gordon Wittenmeyer, who finds the idea of Schilling as a Cub a "long shot". The Tribune's Paul Sullivan, meanwhile, thinks it could happen, as long as Schilling is willing to take a big pay cut compared to his recent contracts. Good to see scribes in a two newspaper town reading the tea leaves so differently, isn't it?

The Tampa Bay writers are still a bit mum, but at least one, Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times, is pointing to some interesting comments Schilling made last year as an indication that he might be more willing to give the Rays a shot than anyone else.

Here's what Schilling said then about pitching in Tampa:

"Knowing that I'm probably going to spend one more year playing, if circumstances happen and things happen and they made some moves that were positive, I'd love nothing more than to finish my career working on a pitching staff where I know that there are young guys that are going to be positively impacted by me being around (after) I was gone. I enjoy that. I love working and talking and being around young pitchers."

Well, those conditions certainly still apply in Tampa, don't they. The question is whether Schilling really is interested in coming back, and whether the Rays are interested in adding another starter. So what do people think? Is this a Schilling pipe dream, or could we see Curt on the North Side or down in Florida for one last go-round?

By Cameron Smith  |  March 2, 2009; 4:24 PM ET
Categories:  Cubs , Rays , Red Sox  
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Comments

For what it is worth, Amalie Benjamin, in her chat on Boston.com, dismissed the possibility of him going back to the Red Sox later this year.

The Rays have Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, Hellickson, behind their current rotation, so a Schilling getting by on guile probably is not an upgrade for them. The Cubs, OTOH, might be able to use him if there are late injuries.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 2, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Curt Schilling? 42 years old and coming off an injury? At this point, there's no reason to belive that he's going to be a factor for any club. The last guy to try this (and without the coming off of an injury) was Clemens, he managed only about 100 innings for the Stros and then for the Yanks and 6-7 wins. Roger may have had some of mother's little helper aiding him along the way to do that much.

Schill might make a very nice middle reliever/spot starter for a contender, but I am not sure his ego is looking for that role on any club.

Posted by: dfh123 | March 2, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

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