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Article updated: 9/1/2013 10:04 AM

Not easy to watch ex-Chicago players have success elsewhere

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By Matt Spiegel

Jake Peavy always talked tough, and when he was healthy he could back it up.

Here's a postgame quote.

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"I wanted to finish it. I wanted to finish it against 2-3-4 [in the lineup]. It meant something to me to finish it. I wanted to let the guys have a few days off in the bullpen. We've got to keep those guys strong down the stretch. Any of the guys could have finished it out, but I appreciate … the opportunity."

That could have been after one of his White Sox complete game wins, right? He had 4 of them.

It's from last Sunday night after Peavy's gem in Los Angeles beat the Dodgers.

He's been really good for the Red Sox, helping them stay atop the A.L. East.

Alfonso Soriano has always been capable of going on a tear that carries his team.

Maybe you remember the Cubs' pennant drive of September 2007, when he hit 14 homers, drove in 27 runs, and had an OPS of 1.108.

"He's playing like an MVP," the manager said. "When you look at the month … and what he has done …, they are MVP type of numbers if you put them over six months."

Actually, that quote was from Joe Girardi on Friday.

As of Saturday, Soriano had 12 homers and 35 RBI in 32 games as a Yankee, propelling them back into the wild card race.

I don't begrudge these men their success, or happiness.

I fully understood, supported, and in some cases called for the trades that sent them away.

But on a basic enjoyment level, it stinks to see Chicago's best playing meaningful baseball somewhere else right now.

Alex Rios had 2 hits in each of his first two games (both wins) as a Ranger, and then tweeted "The energy this team has is off the charts. Wow! #Rangers"

OK, his happiness I maybe begrudge just a little bit. He's a guy who had to be repeatedly admonished for laziness in the field and on the bases here.

But the broader point is our cognitive disconnect between embracing sensible sell-offs, and ending up with August irrelevance.

The locals are a collective 41 games under .500. The losing was intentional on one side of town before the other, but is now capably rationalized for both in the climb toward a better draft pick. We've known that if we want to find meaningful games, we have to zoom out.

Reminders leap from box scores, highlights, and smartphone apps.

Matt Garza has been OK for the Rangers, as they sit atop their division.

David Dejesus hits leadoff for the second-place Rays against right-handers.

It hasn't worked out for all of The Departed. Jesse Crain has yet to be healthy enough to pitch for Tampa. Matt Thornton is just off a DL stint in Boston and was only mildly effective before that, giving up 16 base runners in under 10 IP. Scott Feldman has an ERA over 4 and ½ for fading Baltimore.

But they're still in competitive races, with October dreams.

There's goodness on the local channels sometimes. Chris Sale pitches every 5th day. Travis Wood outshined Clayton Kershaw this week, and Junior Lake continues to prove his MLB worthiness.

But I find myself dreaming of the Arizona Fall League, where the Mesa Solar Sox will showcase Cubs prospects named Baez, Bryant, Soler, and Almora.

That season runs all of October and half of November, while this city's once greatest grown-ups will be competing at the big league level in their new laundry.

I'll watch both, with continued hope that the future will one day make the present seem worth it.

•Matt Spiegel co-hosts "The McNeil & Spiegel Show" 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday on WSCR 670-AM. Follow him on Twitter @mattspiegel670

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