Tagged: Alfonso Soriano

2013-2014 TO DO LIST

I do this every year.  I come up with a “TO DO LIST” for the Cubs.  Each year, I am a little ambitious in my list.  This year, will be somewhat similar.  So, let’s do this!

1.  The Cubs need to hire a new manager.  Some of the names that have been floated around are Dave Martinez, Rick Renteria, A.J. Hinch, Mike Maddux and Manny Acta.  I would prefer Mike Maddux, but I have a feeling the Cubs will go with Rick Renteria.  Just think, we could have had Ryne Sandberg a couple of years ago, but Theo & Jed went with Dale Sveum.  We see how that worked out!

2.  The Cubs have a lot of holes on their roster.  Free agency cannot fill all of them realistically.  Yet, there are some potential moves that could happen.
Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-soo Choo are both viable options to sign and become our new leadoff hitter.

3.  As much as I like Welington Castillo the idea of signing Brian McCann is enticing.  His bat in the lineup as a catcher would be an upgrade.  Yet, no matter if the Cubs make a big splash in free agency, we do not have the depth at pitching needed to compete with the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds in the NL Central at this point and time.

4.  Trade options.  Trading for David Price would cost the farm…..literally!  But it is an option.  Heck, trade Starlin Castro and Jorge Soler in a deal for him.  I know it would take more than just those two, but it is a start.  Don’t trade Javier Baez or Albert Almora though.  Those two have too much talent to lose.

5.  Stay patient and wait til our younger players arrive.  Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant all have high ceilings and are not that far off from playing in the big leagues.

Basically, the Cubs have a lot of money available to spend.  It’s hard to believe that the Cubs were 3rd in payroll in 2010 at just under $150 million.  Since then the Cubs no longer have to pay the huge contracts for Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Silva, Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly and Derrek Lee.  The farm system has been restocked with hitters at every level.  Pitching is still a little bit thin, but it is improving.  I truly believe the Cubs are not that far off from competing.  But it’s going to take some work.  The Cubs have too many holes to fill in free agency this off-season.  I say let the young players earn their way to the big league roster and get their feet wet.  Our infield could have Javier Baez at SS or 3B, Rizzo at 1B, Barney at 2B and Castro at SS or OF.  The outfield could consist of Almora CF, Bryant LF or 3B and Soler in RF.

Whatever decisions are made I’m still a Cubs fan.  First things first though.  Let’s hire a manager.  I want Maddux but am predicting Renteria.

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MORE JUNIOR LAKE & MORE

I am feeling ecstatic over the arrival of this young man!  He is a breath of fresh air.  He’s making it hard for management to consider sending him back to Iowa when David DeJesus returns.  I’m betting he stays!

As I was watching last night’s game against the D’Backs, I saw something encouraging to me with Starlin Castro.  He struck out and hit his bat on the ground breaking it.  I normally don’t like players showing their frustrations on the field, but this was a little bit different for me.  Too many times this year I have felt that Castro was too indifferent or didn’t seem to care.  So, when he broke his bat last night I was happy.  It made me believe that he still cares and that competitive fire is still there.

Who’s next to get traded?  Soriano, Gregg, Schierholtz???  We will just have to wait and see.  I’m looking forward to it though.  The minor league system is getting rebuilt in a hurry under Theo & Co. which is a good thing.  We still don’t have an ace in the making in our system yet, but that could change soon.

 

WHO’S NEXT

Theo & Co. have been busy.  Feldman, Marmol, Hairston, Clevenger and a minor league player have all been traded.  The two most notable names the Cubs have received are starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (27) and relief pitcher Pedro Strop (28) as well as relief pitcher Matt Guerrier, money for the International Signing Pool and a minor league pitcher.

I think Matt Garza will probably be next, but I would love for the Cubs to keep him.  A healthy Garza combined with Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija make a solid core to a starting rotation.  The Cubs pen has been horrendous this year and the Cubs lead all the Majors in 1 run losses.  Alfonso Soriano has heated up in July with 4 homers and a .321 batting average for the month as of today.  So, it may be time to ship the veteran.  And there are always a ton of other players that could be dealt.

No matter who is traded, it is obvious that the Cubs are getting younger and continue to decrease their payroll while strengthening the minor league system.  Who knows, maybe this winter we will spend some of that money that Theo & Co. have saved up.

FUTURE OF THE CUBS

I know I like to write and talk a lot about the Cubs future.  I keep focusing on this hope that Theo & Co will put together not only a World Series Championship, but   build a dynasty with multiple championships.  Maybe it gets old to some and amuses others, but I truly believe we are building a foundation to grow on.

Over the last week, the Cubs have traded a minor league player to the Astros, Carlos Marmol to the Dodgers and Scott Feldman to the Orioles.  These trades allowed the Cubs some flexibility for the international signing pool as well as getting rid of Marmol.  Theo & Co. are on pace to exceed that maximum amount allowed this year in the international pool and may be penalized for next year’s pool.  I’m good with that if it’s true that we are getting 2 of the top international players in Eloy Jiminez (OF) and Gleyber Torres (SS).

Add the international signings with the draft strategy that the Cubs are using now that Jim Hendry is gone.  Speaking of Hendry, remember the 2010 1st Round Pick, Hayden Simpson?  Well, he has already been released from the independent Frontier League Southern Illinois Miners.  He pitched 7.1 innings and was unfortunately lit up.  His ERA was 15.95 with more walks than strikeouts.  Anyway, Theo & Co. are drafting with a strategy for the long haul in my opinion.  I like the direction the team is going.  Hopefully, we can sign Kris Bryant, our 1st Round Pick this year, soon.

Add these drafted players along with our international signings and I expect the Cubs to have one of the highest rated minor league systems in all of baseball.  Hopefully, that will eventually translate to wins at the Major League level.

In addition to the moves the moves that have already been made the Cubs  still have Matt Garza, Kevin Gregg, Alfonso Soriano and a handful of other players that are likely to get traded this month.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

Bottom line, I like the direction the Cubs are going.  I’m not completely sold on Theo’s approach, but I’m hopeful that it will work.

WISH LIST STUFF

Here is my old list.

1.  Bring Sandberg back to the Cubs organization.

2.  Hire a quality manager.  We hired Dale Sveum.

3. Keep Greg Maddux in the front office.

4.  Go after Prince Fielder.  Sounds like it may happen. We may even go after Pujols.

5.  Make offer to Aramis Ramirez (this one goes hand-in-hand with number 4 and I’ll explain later)  Does not appear likely.

6.  Trade Carlos Zambrano.  (Even is he says it won’t happen again I know it will)

7.  Trade Alfonso Soriano.  Sounds like this could happen.

8.  Sign Kerry Wood again or find him a job with the Cubs.  Might happen.

9.  Strengthen the pitching staff

And here is my new and improved wish list.

1.  Sign Prince Fielder.  He could be the center piece to build around.

2.  Trade Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins.

3.  Trade Alfonso Soriano to any AL team that will take him!

4.  Sign Kerry Wood.

5.  Sign either Paul Maholm or Edwin Jackson.  We need pitching depth.

6.  Wipe the slate clean, don’t sign Prince, trade Soriano & Zambrano.  Then trade Matt Garza to the Reds or Rangers in a huge deal.  Follow that up by trading away Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto and Randy Wells too.

Whatever direction the Cubs decide to go I hope they start making moves soon.  I just want to know what to expect for the next couple of seasons under Theo and Co..

Winter Meetings Almost Here!

I am getting excited!  The anticipation is almost like a child waiting for Christmas morning so they can open their presents.  Next week’s Winter Meetings have gotten me excited as they do every year.  However, this year I expect the Cubs to really be active.  I am betting on trades and free agent signings to happen with Theo at the helm.  I’m still aggravated that he allowed Greg Maddux to leave and that he didn’t bring back Ryne Sandberg.  However, if he can put together a winning team all will be forgiven.

The acquisition of David DeJesus was a great signing.  It was an inexpensive move as well.  Now we need to strengthen our pitching staff, find a left handed slugger (Prince…maybe) and make some trades.

Speaking of trades, I would love to see the Cubs trade Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano.  I doubt we will be able to trade both of these players, but I think we can swap at least one of them.  I’m betting that Soriano may be playing for another team in 2012 and it will most likely be in the AL.
I’ve also read that the Cubs may shop Matt Garza around.  I really, really like Garza.  However, if we are able to get a bountiful return for him then I have no problem letting him go.  I don’t see Theo and Hoyer accepting a trade for him without getting 4-5 minor league players in return.

Next week is kind of like a holiday for me.  I am a baseball nerd who loves this part of the off-season and cannot wait for it to begin.

UPDATING MY WISH LIST

At the beginning of November I created my wish list for the Cubs this off-season.  Here it is and along with a few changes.

1.  Bring Sandberg back to the Cubs organization.

2.  Hire a quality manager.  We hired Dale Sveum.

3. Keep Greg Maddux in the front office.

4.  Go after Prince Fielder.  Sounds like it may happen. We may even go after Pujols.

5.  Make offer to Aramis Ramirez (this one goes hand-in-hand with number 4 and I’ll explain later)  Does not appear likely.

6.  Trade Carlos Zambrano.  (Even is he says it won’t happen again I know it will)

7.  Trade Alfonso Soriano.  Sounds like this could happen.

8.  Sign Kerry Wood again or find him a job with the Cubs.  Might happen.

9.  Strengthen the pitching staff

So two of my wish’s have already been rejected.  However, the Cubs may pursue Pujols or Fielder which is a good thing.