As many of you know, I’ve had some ideas about creating a salary cap for baseball. If you haven’t read my ideas on a salary cap here is the link to that post. Anyway, I was listening to Mike & Mike the other day on ESPN radio and they said something that made a lot of sense to me. They said you could put a team in Idaho with Mark Cuban as owner and they would compete. The idea behind this is that the owner must be willing to spend money. I agree with this theory about Cuban, but unfortunately, there are too many owners unable or unwilling to do this.
Speaking of Mark Cuban, it was only a few years ago that I was hoping he would become the next owner of the Cubs. I wrote several posts in 2008 hoping that Cuban would buy the Cubs. Here is just one of those posts. During that time, I also had hopes that the Cubs would get C.C. Sabathia. Then it was Jake Peavy. This off-season I wanted the Cubs to deal for Adrian Gonzalez. None of these things happened. No Mark Cuban, no C.C. Sabathia, no Jake Peavy and no Adrian Gonzalez. Well, now I am wanting the Cubs to go after Albert Pujols when he becomes a free agent. However, I have the feeling we won’t get him either. So, I have decided to do my best to avoid writing any posts about the Cubs signing Albert. Maybe that way I won’t jinx the Cubs chances!!!!
I like the decision by Mike Quade to make Ryan Dempster the opening day starter. Since becoming a starter for the Cubs he’s won 43 games and lost 27 with a solid 3.49 ERA. It appears Zambrano will be our number 2 starter and Garza will be our number 3. I like that setup right there. I think Garza will be the best number 3 starter in the National League.
I don’t have a lot of time this morning, so that’s it for now.
This is the week many of us baseball fans have waited for all winter. Pitchers and Catchers Report! I love those words. It let’s me know that baseball is back, spring is close and warm days are soon ahead of us. Baseball is one of my passions and I am a diehard Cubs fan. Each season brings hope. Going into 2003 I did not think the Cubs would make it as far as they did. In 2009 I thought we would go farther than we did. Last year, well, I was disappointed to say the least. Yet, winter is almost over now and that is something to be excited about.
The Cubs reached a three year extension with Carlos Marmol avoiding arbitration. I think the deal is a fair one and both sides should be happy. I know some believe we overpaid Marmol, but I think we may have paid even more in arbitration if he has another great season. I guess we will find out if it was a good deal over the next three years.
I read that C.C. Sabathia may opt out of his contract at the end of this season. That is something that surprises me personally, but being the greedy Cub fan I am, I wouldn’t mind this happening. As I’ve said numerous times over this winter, we have a ton of money coming off the books after 2011. We could go on a big shopping spree and C.C. should be on our shopping list if he does opt out. Other guys I would like to see us sign are Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder or Adrian Gonzalez and Rickie Weeks.
Since I mentioned Albert (again) I am surprised that he and the Cards haven’t reached an agreement yet. If I’m the Cards I offer the 9th and 10th years that Albert wants. I try to make them vesting options if at all possible. Have a minimum games played option or something similar to that.
Even though our minor league system lost several key players in the Matt Garza deal we still have some talent that could reach the majors this season in Jay Jackson, Brett Jackson (no relation to my knowledge), Chris Carpenter and Trey McNutt. So, we still have talent available that can help our team. We also have a few guys that I really like in the lower levels. I think I will write a post on them soon.
Yesterday it was in the 50s where I live. I had the opportunity to take my son, 3, outside and pitch to him for a little bit. He loves to play baseball and that make his daddy happy. We played for only a short time, but it was still great to play a little baseball in February.
Finally, I wish everyone the best this upcoming spring training. It’s a time of hope for every team and their fans!
I am still having trouble with my internet provider which is beginning to tick me off. I live out in the country and have limited options for “high-speed” internet without having to spend over $80 a month for service. It sucks!!!! So, while I have been able to read other blogs, I have not been able to post comments, nor have I had much success at writing posts myself. I started a couple only to lose them after not being able to stay connected. Anyway, enough crying about that.
The Cubs look like they are going to sign Carlos Marmol to a 3 year extension from what I’ve read. Great move! The guy hasn’t been a pitcher that long and continues to get better every year. Let’s hope this continues.
Pitchers and Catchers are close to reporting, but several Cubs are already in Arizona. Jeff Samardzija has been there for a while now and I am expecting a great spring from him. I anticipate he will make a strong case to be in the rotation for the Cubs in 2011.
I always like to think of trade ideas for the Cubs along with potential free agent signings. I’ve already mentioned several times in other posts that we should trade for Chris Davis, Darren O’Day and possibly Michael Young from the Rangers. I still want us to get Davis and O’Day, but I have a few knew trade ideas.
First player I have in mind is Justin Upton of the D’Backs. This kid, he’s young folks, is a good player that oozes talent when he sweats. I would love to see him added to our outfield of the future.
Another player I would like to get is Kevin Kouzmanoff. He’s got a great glove and I believe his bat would play well in Wrigley Field. I know Aramis is getting older and I’m not sold on Josh Vitters as our future at third at this point. I must point out though, that I am hopeful that Vitters turns the corner this season and breaks out with his bat.
I wanted us to trade for Adrian Gonzalez this winter, but the Red Sox beat us out. I guess we can sign Albert if he miraculously doesn’t stay with the redbirds. While I am trying to be optimistic about the Carlos Pena signing this offseason I am also thinking of ways to upgrade for 2012.
Finally, it’s almost Valentine’s Day. I’m not big into holidays like this. I don’t get holiday pay or off work and I end up having to spend a bunch of money on flowers and such. Not that I mind it. My wife is great! But even before I met my wife, I’ve never been fond of this holiday. The middle of February has always been about pitchers and catchers reporting! That should be a holiday!!!!
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.
Okay, 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.
Since 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.
Since 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.
The 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.
If you’ve read any of my posts over the last month or two you would know that I wanted the Cubs to trade for Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Garza. Well, the Red Sox made a deal for Gonzalez trading away their top pitching prospect Casey Kelly. It was a great trade for both teams in my opinion and I only wish the Cubs would have made the deal. During the winter meetings in December, we discoverd that the Cubs and Rays had talked about a potential deal for Garza. Immediately I was excited. I wanted Garza bad! The only thing I didn’t want the Cubs to do is overpay. Well, the trade saw the Cubs send 5 players to the Rays for Garza and two other players. Here’s my “expert” analysis!
Garza will be under team control until 2013. He’s due a raise this year via arbitration. It’s been estimated to be around $5-6 million a year. He just turned 27 in November and isn’t in his prime yet. He had a 15-10 record in 2010 with a 3.91 ERA in the AL East. He’s going to be be with the Cubs for a few years at least and should do well in the National League. He makes the Cubs rotation significantly better and is a good start to improving the Cubs for the future. Remember, we have a ton of money coming off the books at the end of this season. Can you say, SPENDING SPREE?
Chris Archer pitched great for the Cubs in single A and double A in 2010. He’s 22 and some say has the making of a top of the rotation starting pitcher. However, we didn’t draft him. We got him in the Mark DeRosa trade after the 2008 season. At the point in his career, Archer had never posted an ERA below under 4.29 in the minors and his career minor league record was 5 wins and 18 losses. Losing Archer doesn’t bother me too much, but I hated to lose him after the success he had in 2010.
Hak-Ju Lee is a 20 year old shortstop from Korea. He’s got the making a leadoff hitting, slick fielding future All Star! This loss really hurts me, but we have Castro at short and you must trade talent to get talent.
Brandon Guyer, who turns 25 later this month, has the potential to be a solid outfielder in the major leagues. However, we already have Tyler Colvin in RF and 22 year old Brett Jackson working his way up the minors. Losing Guyer wasn’t that huge of a loss.
Robinson Chirinos is a 26 year old catcher that hit the cover off the ball in 2010. But remember, he did this playing against younger players and this wasn’t his first time playing for double A Tennessee. He spent parts of the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons with the double A affiliate too. I’m glad we were able to package him along in this deal. I hope he does well.
Sam Fuld is a 29 year old outfielder that is a 4th outfielder at best. The Cubs received outfielder, Fernando Perez, from the Rays in the 8 player deal and he pretty much is a 4th outfielder at best as well.
The other player involved was left handed pitcher, Zach Rosscup who turns 23 in June. He’s pitched well in rookie ball for the Rays and could be the difference maker in this trade.
Overall, we gave up a lot of talent for Garza. I hated to do so, but we kept Starlin Castro, Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson and Chris Carpenter. And just because a guy has potential doesn’t mean he’s going to be successful in the major leagues. Remember Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Sean Gallagher and Ryan Harvey are just a few prospects that the Cubs were hoping would become stars. So, while we traded away talent none of them have a proven resume like Garza does. I give Jim Hendry credit for trading for a young and talented pitcher. Remember, pitching wins championships and I think this is a good move for the future of the Cubs.
BOTTOM LINE: THIS WAS NOT A GREAT TRADE, BUT A GOOD ONE FOR THE CUBS!
Every offseason I pine over players that I want the Cubs to pursue. In the winter after the 2008 season, I wanted the Cubs to go after Jake Peavy. Can you blame me? I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t get him. He’s only made 33 starts in 2009 and 2010 combined. This year I wanted the Cubs to attempt to trade for Adrian Gonzalez. I think he’s a stud and would have solved a lot of problems the Cubs have….lefthanded power, firstbase, good glove and clubhouse leader to name a few. Anyway, he’s now on the Red Sox and I see him signing an extension with them by next spring. The next player I am drooling over is Matt Garza. Ever since I read the first trade rumor that the Cubs may be interested in him I have been thinking how great he would be in our rotation. If we trade for Garza I hope we keep minor league shortstop Hak-Ju Lee unless we plan on signing Jose Reyes at the end of the 2011 season. He’ll be a free agent then. I’m not a big Reyes fan, but he would fill our need at the leadoff spot in our batting order. Personally, I would like to get a deal done for Garza without trading Lee.
As for firstbase. I know we signed Carlos Pena to a one year deal and it’s possible that he ends up being playing first for us more than next year. However, if he doesn’t work out and we don’t resign him after next year I think we need to strongly consider Prince Fielder. Fielder is young and provides a ton of power from the lefthand side of the plate. He’s not known for his defense and I’m not sure how good of a leader he is, but it’s an option.
Needless to say, I want Garza pretty bad, but am beginning to think it’s not going to happen. Only time will tell. Until then, I need to be patient and trust that Jim Hendry will make the right moves at the right time.
Okay, I spent most of November drooling over the idea that we could land Adrian Gonzalez in a trade and that he would be our firstbaseman for the next 7-8 years. Well, that didn’t quite work out and the Red Sox made a deal with the Padres instead. Congrats Beantown, you just got one great player!
I also focused on Adam Dunn. I really thought he wanted to stay in the National League and that the Cubs would offer him a 3-4 year deal. I wasn’t shocked that the Cubs did not sign him but a little surprised he went to the American League to play for the White Sox. Then they resigned Paul Konerko as well. Way to be aggressive Kenny Williams!
Then the Cubs went out and got Carlos Pena. A one year deal. Hmmmm, not a great average guy, plenty of power, great defense and a good clubhouse guy. So, I’m hoping he stays healthy, brings his average up without sacrificing any power and continues to play great defense at first. So, firstbase is taken care of, at least for 2011. Remember, it’s only a one year deal.
Now we need to focus on acquiring a starting pitcher. I’ve read that the Cubs have shown interest in Brandon Webb, Matt Garza, Zack Greinke and Armando Galarraga. Webb is a free agent and the other 3 we would have to trade for. I know that Gorzelanny and Fukudome are on the trading block, but I don’t know how much they will bring in. Gorzelanny is a lefty and is a great guy to have on the team in any role. He can start or come out of the pen. I don’t think we need to trade him, but I guess for whatever reason he is available. I would rather trade Randy Wells myself. Anyway, of the 4 pitchers I mentioned, I like the idea of acquiring Matt Garza the most. Greinke is going to “cost” too much in the way of prospects. Galarraga hasn’t impressed me outside of his near gem this summer. Webb is coming off a major injury and his velocity is barely in the mid 80s. Garza, on the other hand, is a stud! He just turned 27. He’s a right handed pitcher that stands 6’4″. He won 15 games with an ERA just under 4 last season and that’s in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox. Imagine what he would do against the Pirates and Astros! He’s a young man with a bright future. I hope Hendry can make a solid offer and I hope the Rays accept. If not, then we’ll have to figure something else out.