The off-season is about to heat up with next week’s Winter Meetings looming and the Cubs are positioning themselves with some minor moves and rumors.
First, we will not have Greg Maddux back in the organization next year. He has left us for a similar job with the Texas Rangers and will be a part of the same organization as his brother Mike. Way to go Theo! First Sandberg and now Maddux!!!!! We could have had both Maddux brothers…..oh well. You better start making some good moves soon and definitely put together a winning team!
Next, it appears we have signed outfielder, David DeJesus, to play right field for the Cubs in 2012 and 2013. I actually like DeJesus and hope he’s healthy and plays well.
It’s also been rumored that the Cubs are actually interested Pujols and Fielder. I guess Theo realizes that there won’t be any big time sluggers available for a while and with the new CBA, his ideas of rebuilding through the draft may have changed a bit. I am in support of going after either of these players. Even if we don’t sign them I hope we can at least drive the price up.
Overall, Theo has his work cut out for him. Cubs fans, myself included, want to win now. We know we have a lot of money coming off the books and expect this new regime to work miracles. In all reality, I feel next season will be a rebuilding year and I have no problem with that as long as we position ourselves to be competitive in 2013. However, I am also rooting for a miracle season in 2012.
There has been a lot of speculation about where Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder will land this winter. While I would love to have either of these players on my team, I think it would be best if the Cubs went for Fielder rather than Pujols. I may sound crazy saying that, but I have several reasons for this decision.
Albert is older than Prince.
Albert will probably “cost” more than Prince.
Prince would be that coveted left handed power bat the Cubs desire.
Those three reasons are enough for me.
If the Cubs were to sign Fielder, I would love to see Aramis Ramirez stay with the team. I realize that would require a multi-year deal and I’m not too excited about the idea of giving ARAM anything over two years. I think he wants at least three years…..so, this probably won’t happen. I think Ramirez is kind of like Robin and Prince would obviously be Batman. I think this dynamic duo would drive in a lot of runs in the Cubs lineup. If the Cubs decide to keep Carlos Pena, then I think it would be foolish to bring Aramis back. He’s not the go to hitter you need in the middle of the lineup. He is an excellent complimentary hitter though. He could provide the protection for someone like Fielder.
If we don’t work out a deal for Ramirez, which sounds realistic, I would love Theo and Co. to look into a possible trade with the Mets for David Wright. I know that would cost the Cubs a lot of talent that we really don’t have, but I would like to “kick” the tires on this idea and see what happens.
Finally, from everything I keep reading it seems that Mike Maddux is the leader for the vacant managing position with the Cubs. I hope he gets the job!
Well, the Cubs have actually played decent baseball as of late. We’ve won something like 4 consecutive series. We are finally playing as I had hoped back in April. There are still some things that need to be figured out for next season though.
1. What to do with Carlos Zambrano? I say he’s gone, but who’s going to take him???
2. Find out if Tyler Colvin can play everyday? I think he can.
3. Find a way to improve our starting rotation.
4. Are we going to resign Pena again or go after Albert or Prince?
I think our rotation will have Dempster and Garza for certain. Anything after that is up in the air for next season. I really doubt the Cubs take Big Z back and it’s probably for the best. I am hoping that Andrew Cashner will be healthy next season too. I believe he has a high ceiling and the Cubs could use another good arm in the rotation. I think Randy Wells will be a back of the rotation guy next season. I like his competitiveness, but he’s a number 4 starter at best. We could use another quality starter, but I don’t know who that would be as of today.
I think Tyler Colvin needs to play everyday in order to be effective. I think this season proved that he is one of those guys that can’t be a successful as a platoon or bench player. The early season platoon with Fukudome hurt his development. He was sent down to Iowa and is finally hitting the ball since getting called back up and playing more regularly.
While I like Carlos Pena we need someone that can hit over .225. His power is undeniable, but how many times have I seen him called out on a third strike with runners on base??? It’s killing me!!!! Go after Albert or Prince!
Finally, I think Quade should have read my blog back in April. I wanted the Cubs to bat Ramirez third in the lineup and Byrd fifth. Well, he kept batting Byrd third and the Cubs struggled to score runs. Look at the difference now though. ARAM is hitting third and clubbing the ball like we expect from him. Should have been hitting there all season!
Okay, I mentioned that the Cubs should create a contingency plan in case we fall out of the race this season. After the back to back wins against the Marlins, I’m hoping we get on a hot streak and stay in the race for the NL Central title. With that said, I wanted to mention some players that I think the Cubs could or should pursue through trades and free agency over the next two years.
I’ll start with hitters first. While everyone in baseball, including myself, have been interested in the Cubs chances at acquiring Albert Pujols, there is another power hitting slugger that plays first that I would like the Cubs to sign as a free agent at the end of this season. That’s Prince Fielder. He’s younger than Pujols by about 5 years, has plenty of power and is a left handed hitter. Plus, I think he would cost the Cubs less then Pujols.
Another player that I have obsessed about is Chris Davis. He’s a corner infielder with the Texas Rangers and is only 25 years old. He has plenty of power and I think he would be a great fit for the Cubs. We would have to trade for him though and I’m not sure what the Rangers would want from us.
Another free agent at the end of this season is Jose Lopez of the Colorado Rockies. He’s still relatively young and hasn’t hit well this year or last year. However, I think he may be worth a shot if he can start hitting again like he is capable of. He can play 1B, 2B and 3B.
Another third baseman I like is Kevin Kouzmanoff. He’s a stud with the glove and I would like to see what he could do in a full season in a hitter’s park. He’ll be a free agent in 2013.
If you can’t tell, I am wanting some power hitting corner infielders and preferably ones that are younger and just beginning to hit their prime. I also have some starting pitchers in mind as well.
I’ll start with Jeremy Bonderman. He’s currently not in baseball to my knowledge even though he’s only 28. I suggest the Cubs sign him to a minor league contract, if he’d accept, and see what he has left in the tank. I could see him as a starter or reliever and I think he would help out the team.
I wouldn’t mind us trying to sign Edwin Jackson after this season either. While it seems like he’s been around forever, he’s won’t turn 28 until September of this year.
There are a few pitchers that will potentially be free agents at the end of next season that I would love to see in a Cubs uniform too. They are Matt Cain, Fausto Carmona, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and Anibal Sanchez.
Finally, there is one pitcher I would love for the Cubs to trade for, but I doubt it happens, and it’s Felix Hernandez. Imagine King Felix, Big Z and Matt Garza in a starting rotation together!!!!! There would be a lot of energy on the mound when those guys pitched!
Anyway, I’m just dreaming a bit today.
With the way the Cubs are playing this season, I think it’s okay to talk about a contingency plan. Let me explain. I am not saying that we are throwing in the towel by any means. However, if another 6-8 weeks go by and we continue to lose more than we win, it may be necessary to start trading players and their contracts.
I think the list of guys that we could put on the trade market is a big one with some good players. Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Dempster being among the biggest names. I would love for us to be able to move Alfonso Soriano and his huge salary as well, but that would be really difficult. By potentially moving Byrd and Fukudome we would be opening up spots in our outfield for younger players such as Tyler Colvin, Tony Campana and Brett Jackson.
I would hate to trade Ryan Dempster, but I could see him help a team win a pennant and possibly the World Series. He just turned 34 a couple of weeks ago and is a great competitor and leader. I could also see the Cubs trading Randy Wells too. I don’t think Carlos Zambrano will be traded. I see him as one of the cornerstone players that the Cubs hope to build a championship caliber team around.
Our bullpen is relatively young with the exception of Kerry Wood and John Grabow. I want to keep Wood for multiple reasons. It’s already evident, that he will give the Cubs a home town discount and it’s good to have a veteran leader in the bullpen.
The Cubs are going to have a chance to sign a big name or two this upcoming off season. Whether it’s Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder or someone else, the Cubs have a ton of money that they will be able to spend after this season is over. I look for them to go on a spending spree!
Finally, we have Aramis Ramirez who could also be traded. I don’t want to lose him, but he’s being pitched around a lot this season with little protection in the lineup. His power numbers are suffering due to this. In the right lineup, I think he would return to form and help any team win.
When it’s all said and done, I don’t want the Cubs to be sellers. I won’t us to be buyers! I want us competing for the division title and a spot in the post season in 2011. I still think if our team is able to start winning. I still believe we can win the NL Central. A lot must go right, but it’s not impossible!
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.