POTENTIAL FREE AGENTS AFTER THIS SEASON

Jim Hendry and the Cubs filled the needs we had this offseason by signing Carlos Pena to play first base, Kerry Wood to bolster the bullpen and trading for Matt Garza to strengthen the rotation.  I don’t think we will make any more major moves, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see another trade or two go down.  I can see us trading Carlos Silva, Randy Wells and/or Tom Gorzelanny to make room in the starting rotation for Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner and/or Casey Coleman. 

Now that I am looking ahead I want to take a look at potential free agents after this upcoming season.  I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but there are a lot of players out there that we could sign to make our team one of the leading contenders in 2012.  We have a lot of money coming off the books at the end of this season and there are some big names that would be available that I would love to see playing for the Cubs.  So, here’s my list of players in no particular order.  If I’ve missed a player or two let me know.

Albert Pujols.jpgOkay, I know that thinking we could land Albert Pujols is more of a dream than even close to reality.  But this is my dream and I’m in control of it.  Albert is the best player in baseball.  It sucks for me because he plays for our Arch rival, the Cardinals.  Yet, you have to love watching him hit.  I’ve been to several games at Busch Stadium, I live a lot closer to St. Louis than Chicago, and the ball just sounds different when he hits it.  So, if for some amazing reason, Pujols is a free agent after this season I say we load up an offer that would dwarf Alfonso Soriano’s deal.  However, I see the Cards signing him before spring training, but I could be wrong.

If Pujols isn’t available, I say we go after Adrian Gonzalez.  He hasn’t signed an extension with Boston yet, and he’s a stud too.  He’s been an obsession of mine for quite some time now.  He’s a great hitter and I think he would hit 40+ homers in Wrigley every year.  Plus, he plays great defense.  He’s two years younger than Pujols and a lefty.  I don’t see this one happening either.  Instead, I see Gonzalez pounding out homers and playing gold glove defense in beantown for several years to come.  With Pedroia and Crawford batting in front of him I think he’s a potential leader for RBIs in the American League if not all of baseball.

Prince Fielder.jpgSince I don’t think we have a realistic chance to sign Pujols or Gonzalez, I will give you my first serious potential free agent.  It’s obviously Prince Fielder if you’ve looked at the picture to your left.  If you can’t tell, I think the Cubs need to focus on first base at the end of this season.  I am not completely sold on Carlos Pena as the long term solution at first base for the Cubs.  Fielder is younger than Pujols and Gonzalez and would provide us with power from the left side of the plate.  His defense is no where close to the previous two firstbasemen, but I can live with that if we are able to sign him.  Just imagine Fielder, who will be 28 in 2012, as our everyday first baseman for the next 5 or 6 years.  He would definitely give the Cubs a power bat in the middle of the lineup.

Rickie Weeks.jpgSince we traded Hak-Ju Lee to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, it appears we will no longer look to move Starlin Castro to second base.  So, we could easily sign another Brewer to play for the Cubs in Rickie Weeks.  Attempting to sign both players may increase our chances instead of trying to sign only one of them.  Weeks is a tremendous athlete with power and speed.  He’s a better option at second than Blake DeWitt in my opinion and would give the Cubs another good player under the age of 30.  He’ll be 29 in September of this year.  

So far, I think we should seriously consider Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks.  That would cover first and second base.  Starlin Castro is our shortstop and we could re-sign Aramis Ramirez to play third.  There aren’t any thirdbasemen that interest me that will be free agents after this season.  I would like to think we could hold on to Ramirez until Josh Vitters is ready.

Grady Sizemore.jpgThe only outfielder that interests me is Grady Sizemore.  He’ll be 29 in August this year and when healthy, is one of the better players in the game.  With Marlon Byrd signed through the 2012 season I don’t see this one happening.  However, Sizemore is a legitimate 30/30 threat and would give us another lefthanded bat in our linuep.  We have Soriano signed through 2014 and I doubt we are able to move him unless we take on a huge chunk of his contract.  Tyler Colvin is our rightfielder for the future.  He’s also lefthanded and possesses some power, but I want to see what he does in a full season for us.  We also have Brett Jackson who I see as our centerfielder of the future.  While signing Sizemore sounds applealing, I doubt it happens.  The main reason for this doubt is the Indians have a club option on Sizemore for 2012 at $8.5 million.  I see them exercising this option.  So, don’t count on Sizemore being a Cub.

There are a few starters I would love to add if the price was right.  I personally have a mild interest in Edwin Jackson and Wandy Rodriguez.  The only pitcher that I think would make a big impact is Roy Oswalt.  Adding him to our rotation would be great.  Maybe a 2-3 year deal would work, but I have a feeling he will stay in Philly.

Overall, I think we will have some moves to make after this upcoming season.  We need to build our team for the long haul.  Adding Weeks and Fielder would be a step in the right direction. 

   

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8 comments

  1. The Cub Den

    Wow, excellent post. I completely forgot about Rickie Weeks. He would be a nice addition to the Cubs. Yeah, I don’t think Silva will be in it for the long haul either, but don’t count out Pujols wearing a Cubs uniform. It’s a long shot, you’re right but anything is possible.

    —Mark Gauthier
    http://cubden.mlblogs.com/

  2. ronlang44

    Mark, I think we will trade Silva this year or buyout his contract at the end of the season. Also, I would love to have Rickie Weeks at second base for us. It’s going to be an interesting year.

    Ron

  3. ronlang44

    @Jane-I absolutley love the way Sizemore plays the game. He’s fast, can hit for power and plays great defense. I hope he comes back healthy for the Indians this year.
    @Russel-Pujols is one of those special players. I compare him to Michael Jordan. Jordan was the best in the NBA and you always had to watch him because you never knew when he was going to do something special. Same with Albert.

    Ron

  4. raysrenegade

    I have had Rickie Weeks on my MLB Fantasy teams for years since the Rays took a pass on him and took P Dewon Brazleton instead.
    With Brazelton now coaching Tenn Little League All-Stars, I guess you can see who has shown his potential, and who has fallen off the gird completely.
    Weeks would be a tremendous pick-up since he is just styarting to hit his peak years and could be a valuable Cubs assets for 3-4 years while another player is groomed in the minors.
    Also Grady would be a great addition if he can show he can stay healthy in 2011. Worst thing to happen to Cleveland in 2010 was Sizemore going down. Attendance at the Friday night home games aka “Ladies Night” went down considerably after the bachelor went on the DL.
    Seriously, Sizemore is one of those guys who is what I call a “lunchpail guy”. He plays hurt, does his job and doesn’t commit waves in the clubhouse or media. Professional both on and off the field, plus shows the fans respect and love whenever possible…Another great post about some guys who could change the personality of the Cubs in a heartbeat.

    Rays Renegade
    http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

  5. cubbiesfan98

    I would love to see Rickie Weeks in a Cubs uniform. He could hit leadoff! The only other move I think the Cubs should make is letting Gorzelanny go and finding a solid lefty SP. We haven’t had one since Ted Lilly, and I think that’s necessary in every rotation.

    and remember… THERE’S ALWAYS NEXT YEAR!!!

  6. ronlang44

    @RaysRenegad-Dewon Brazleton is a name I haven’t heard in a while. I forgot all about that. I think getting Weeks in the peak of his career would be awesome for the Cubs or any other team for that matter. I hope we land him. I don’t see us getting Sizemore, but I can dream.
    @cubbiesfan98-I agree that we need to move Gorzelanny. I like his willingness to start or come out of the pen, but I would like an upgrade at a lefty starter. I read a rumor that the Cubs may make a deal for Scott Kazmir. It would go along with the theme of us acquiring former Tampa players. But I don’t know it would make us any better.

    Ron