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.
I was surprised last week with the Cubs first round pick of Kris Bryant. After the initial shock of not drafting a Jonathan Gray I was able to look at Bryant objectively. I really like what I see. I believe he is a perfect #4 hitter in any lineup. He has tremendous power and his strikeout to walk rate this year impressed me. I truly believe he will end up as a corner outfielder for the Cubs.
Here’s a sneak peek of what the Cubs lineup could look like in 2015.
Leading off in CF-Albert Almora
Batting second at SS-Starlin Castro
Hitting third at 1B-Anthony Rizzo
Batting cleanup in LF-Kris Bryant
Batting fifth in RF-Jorge Soler
Batting sixth at 3B-Javier Baez
Batting seventh at C-Welington Castillo
Batting eighth at 2B-Darwin Barney
That could be our lineup in the near future. There are other players that did not make this list such as Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Junior Lake, Matt Szczur, Dustin Geiger, Arismendy Alcantara and Daniel Vogelbach. I think some of these names will be on the Cubs roster and could even be starters. I also believe that some of these names will be used in future trades.
Any way I look at the Cubs future I get excited. I think our lineup will be in place soon. We still don’t have the pitching I think we need to order to win a World Series, but we are on our way.
What a mess that the Cubs have right now. We aren’t going anywhere this year and probably not next year either. We had the chance to deal Carlos Pena to the Yankees, but decided to keep the great fielding, power bat and .225 average. Starlin Castro was railed on by Bobby Valentine on ESPN recently during a game where the young shortstop was lackadaisical on the field. Veterans Ryan Dempster and Aramis Ramirez have options for 2012 for $14 million and $16 million respectively. That’s a lot of money for a couple of guys in their mid 30s. Quade keeps getting ejected from games…6 for season now and it’s obvious that he is frustrated with this team’s performance. The bottom line is that this team is a mess and it’s going to take a while to clean it up.
Now for the good news! Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney seem to be a potentially really good double play combo for the next few years. Andrew Cashner may be be joining the Cubs in September after suffering a rotator cuff injury in April. Brett Jackson, Cashner, Chris Carpenter and Trey McNutt are some of our younger players scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League this year. Tony Campana has had a positive impact on the Cubs this summer and has a strong chance of making the team in 2012. Tyler Colvin has been getting regular playing time and has hit the ball hard despite having a terrible average. Matt Garza is pitching much better than his record would indicate too.
Even with all our troubles we have a lot to look forward to. It’s just going to take a little time. I hope the Cubs are patient and make the right moves with our players and future General Manager.
Well, after taking a 4-3 lead in last night’s game against the Pirates, I really thought we were going to get a win. Our bullpen has been one of our strengths this year in my opinion. Some could blame the bullpen for being overworked, but closer Carlos Marmol didn’t make any excuses for last night’s performance. I like that!
Still the Cubs cannot seem to put it all together. Carlos Pena has been hitting homers left and right since the start of May. Aramis Ramirez has been on a tear for about a month now. Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro have been solid all season. Our outfield has been plagued by inconsistency and injuries unfortunately and the same thing can be said for our starting rotation as well. However, like I said earlier, our bullpen has been one of our strengths this year. Unfortunately, they let one slip away last night.
Going into the All Star break the Cubs will be baseballs only team without a 3 game win streak this season. That’s pretty sad. It shows how inconsistent we have been. Some of that inconsistency can be blamed on the large number of injuries we’ve sustained, but good teams have deep benches that pick up the slack. However, even our bench players have seen time on the DL this year. Both Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker have spent time on the DL this summer already and they are 2 of our better bench players when healthy.
When it’s all said and done, we just aren’t winning baseball games. Our starting pitching is weak mainly due to injuries. Our defense has also been a weakness, but I feel like it has improved some and we need that to continue. Our bullpen is usually very good, but even they have bad games. It’s everything combined together that is causing the Cubs to lose games. Hopefully, we can turn that around after the All Star break.
This is a picture that Cub fans are getting used to seeing this year. It’s not one we want to see either. Until the Cubs start playing better or until I change my mind, this will be my gravatar picture.
Don’t get me wrong, I want the Cubs to win, but it’s hard to do so with so many injuries and overall poor play.
Now some good stuff! The Cubs have three players that I think are worthy of making the All Star game this year. Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro and Sean Marshall. Barney and Castro are both hitting over .300 while Marshall boasts a 1.07 ERA as of this post.
On another bright note, both Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez just homered off Bronson Arroyo in Cincinnati!!!!
That’s all for now. I’m going to finish watching today’s game! GO CUBS GO!!!
Well, I wasn’t very pleased with the three game series the Cubs just played against the Red Sox. We were fortunate to win one game, but the Red Sox were simply the better team. There were some things that happened in the series that I thought I would talk about though. The first being Marlon Byrd getting beaned in the face. If you haven’t seen it then I suggest you look it up. It was terrible. I was surprised that Marlon was able to maintain consciousness after getting hit. It was obvious he was in an extreme amount of pain. I wish him a quick and full recovery. The pitcher who beaned Byrd, Alfredo Aceves, did not appear to hit him on purpose. I believe it was a pitch that just got away from Aceves and unfortunately Byrd was unable to get out of the way. Also, several Red Sox players were concerned about Byrd throughout the game and were asking Cub players for updates. With Byrd being out for a while I imagine that Reed Johnson will get the majority of the playing time in center field. I also look for Tony Campana to get some more playing time as well. I also wonder who the Cubs will call up when Byrd is placed on the DL.
Well, I’ve voted for the All Star teams a few times now and I believe that there are only two Cubs deserving of my vote at this time. Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney. Unfortunately, I have to write-in Barney’s name since he isn’t listed on the ballot. If you look at these two player’s stats and compare them to all of the other players at their respective positions I think it’s obvious that they deserve your vote.
Finally, it appears I will have to go to Denver in July for something work related. While I’m out there I plan on going to see the Brewers and Rockies do battle. I’ve never been to a game at Coors Field, but I’ve hear great things about it.
The Cubs have been off to a relatively slow start this season. If you’ve read any of my posts over the last month you probably know that I’ve been frustrated with their play. However, things are beginning to look up. We just finished a road trip with a winning record. Wells and Cashner are getting closer to returning from the DL. Carlos Pena homered in consecutive games against the Dodgers. Ryan Dempster had a great outing last time out. Castro and Barney are exceeding my expectations and look like they could make a great pair up the middle for years to come.