The Cubs have an All-Star thirdbase man in Aramis Ramirez. He’s one of the most underrated players in the league in my biased opinion. He hits for a solid average, good power numbers, drives in runs and has improved his defense since joining the Cubs in 2003. My one concern for the Cubs is A-Ram’s health. If he goes down, who will play third in his absence? Last year we were able to plug in Mark DeRosa and Ronny Cedeno when Aramis was banged up. Well, we’ve traded both of those players this off season and the only guy I see capable of playing third right now is Aaron Miles. Not exactly what we need from a corner infielder. I see Miles as a backup middle infielder who is capable of playing third, but I think we would benefit with someone else there. I don’t know who that would be though. Hopefully, that is something that Hendry will address as the season nears. Maybe we could find someone who could be as versatile as DeRosa was last year. Until we start playing games in March I think that could be one of our weaknesses. You can never have enough depth.
Of course, I have a few ideas on this issue I would like to pass on to Jim Hendry if he were to listen. First, go after a veteran player. Somebody like Rich Aurilia or Nomar Garciaparra. Both of those players are nearing the end of their careers. It shouldn’t be too hard to sign them to a one year deal. Both players are capable of playing all four infield positions if necessary. Both are right handed batters. I know that Lou seems to like veteran players so either one of these guys makes sense to me. If we don’t go after one of these guys go get a guy like former Cub farmhand Casey McGehee. He could play both corner infield positions if needed. Too bad Micah Hoffpauir doesn’t play third. I love his bat.
Maybe this is a non-issue for the Cubs and I am making a mountain out of a mole hill. I just want the Cubs to enter the season ready for the long grind. That way, come September and October we are ready to win.
Okay, the 2008 regular season was great. I watched 3-4 games a week and when I couldn’t watch the Cubs I listened to Ron Santo and Pat Hughes call the game on the radio. Unfortunately, the post-season was terrible. But now it’s time for the Off-Season to begin and here is my personal to do list for the Cubs. I have a short list of things to do because I believe the Cubs only need to tweak their roster a little bit in order to win in the playoffs next year. So, here it is….my to do list for the Cubs this winter.
Pick up Rich Harden’s option for next season.
2. Extend Jim Hendry’s Contract.
3. Re-sign Ryan Dempster.
4. Re-sign Kerry Wood
5. Trade for Jake Peavy.
6. Find a Centerfielder.
7. Finalize the sale of the Chicago Cubs.
Okay, we already picked up Harden’s option, but I felt it was important to list it anyway. That way, we have already accomplished something this off-season. Next, the Cubs need to extend Jim Hendry’s contract. He is the one who put this current Cubs team together and he seems to have a great relationship with the players. Keeping him is crucial for the Cubs this off-season and could turn out to be the most important move they make all winter. After, securing Hendry, the Cubs should be able to take advantage of his relationship with Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood and re-sign both players to multi-year deals each.
So far, the first 4 things to do seem simple and the Cubs appear to be on track. However, number 5 on my list is a little more complicated. Jake Peavy recently named the Cubs as one of the teams he would like play for next season if traded. I think the Cubs need to pursue Peavy and make their rotation one of the best in all of baseball. The Cubs must trade Jason Marquis in this deal even if they have to eat most of his salary of $9.875 million for next season. I believe that Felix Pie would have to be in the deal too. I am fine with that. I don’t know who else or what positions the Padres want, but Marquis and Pie is a good start. Especially if the Cubs still pay most of Marquis’ salary. Other players I would consider trading in this deal are Sean Marshall, Ronny Cedeno, Kevin Hart, Angel Guzman, Michael Wuertz, Casey McGehee, Sam Fuld, and Tyler Colvin. It all depends on what the Padres are looking for, but I think Felix Pie would be the center piece of a deal for Peavy.
Next, I would like the Cubs to sign or trade for an everyday centerfielder if they trade Felix Pie. If not, then let Pie play everday to start the season next year. If he is unable to hit by the start of June let Reed Johnson take over. However, assuming the Cubs deal Pie this off-season, I have a few guys that I would like them to pursue. Coco Crisp is on my short list, but I am hesitant to make a trade with Boston. Another option would be to move Fukudome to center and sign Bobby Abreu to play right. He would provide the left handed bat that the Cubs could use. The Cubs could even make it a multiplayer deal for Peavy and obtain Brian Giles, but I think he would be a better fit in rightfield. Or the Cubs could bring back Jim Edmonds and platoon him with Johnson again. These are just a few options but I would like to see an everyday centerfielder next year and use Johnson as your fourth outfielder.
Finally, the impending sale of the Chicago Cubs. I have read that the deal may not be completed until after next season begins. There are reportedly 5 bidders still alive when it comes to the sale of the Cubs. I am interested in only 2 of them, Mark Cuban and the Ricketts family. I would prefer Cuban but I think Ricketts would be decent. Actually, I more than prefer Cuban. I think he would make sure the Cubs won a World Series and take care of the players and fans. He’s the only potential owner that I know who goes to Wrigley and watches the Cubs. He’s the owner of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA. He loves his team and refuses to sit in some luxury box. Instead he sits courtside and cheers his team on. That’s what I want from the next owner of the Cubs. Someone who is right there with the fans. Someone that wants to win as bad as I do. Someone who won’t be afraid to spend money. You’ve got to spend money to make money. Just imagine how much the Cubs would be worth when they finally win the World Series! I think Cuban is the man for the job.
Anyway, here’s my “To Do List” for the Cubs this off-season. I will try to keep it updated and make any additions when necessary.