Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals as champions of their respective leagues. The World Series was a good one which I felt the umpires did an excellent job. In the end, the Red Sox were able to win their first World Series at home since 1918. Congrats to Boston and their fans.
Now, it’s time to begin the off-season and it’s going to be an exciting one. Some of the big names in free agency are Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-soo Choo and Brian McCann. There are also several names being floated around already in trade rumors. The Angels’ Mark Trumbo, Dodgers’ Andre Ethier, Rays’ David Price and the Reds’ Brandon Phillips.
I really don’t see the Cubs making any major moves after any of those names as of today. The Cubs will probably have another season of spending on guys like Edwin Jackson or David DeJesus. I don’t see Theo & Co. trading the farm away for someone like David Price either. Instead, I think Rick Renteria will be the next manager and there will be a few minor moves after that, but nothing earth shattering.
There is also the issue of Jeff Samardzija. Do we sign a contact extension or do we go to arbitration? Or does he get traded? This is one player I will be watching closely.
I’m already looking forward to the winter meetings so I can learn what direction the Cubs will be heading this off-season.
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.
What in the world is going on this season with Starlin Castro? I have watched the Cubs enough this year and I believe our star short-stop looks lost at the plate and lackadaisical in the field. I don’t know if Theo & Co. have tried to change his hitting approach in order to draw more walks or if he’s trying to hit homeruns everytime up or if pitchers have finally figured him out and he hasn’t adjusted. Whatever the case is, I am very concerned with his performance this season at the plate. His defense has always bothered me. I believe he is capable of much better play in the field. His errors occur on simple plays way too often. Whatever his problems are I want him to correct them soon.
The Cubs minor league system has me excited. It’s mainly Daytona and Kane County that have the most talent, but Tennessee has a couple of players as well. The number of players I have bookmarked on http://www.milb.com continues to grow. Two of those players have been chosen for the Futures game. Arismendy Alcantara and Jorge Soler are the two guys. There is also a fan vote that could put Javier Baez on the roster for the Futures game as well.
Maybe the upcoming All-Star break will help Castro. I think he could use some rest. I imagine the next month Theo & Co. will be active. Kevin Gregg, Scott Feldman, David DeJesus, Nate Schierholtz, Matt Garza and several others could be traded. It will be interesting to see who gets traded and who the Cubs call up. I’m betting Josh Vitters will if he can stay healthy and so will Junior Lake.
Well, we finish our series with the Brewers today and then travel to Seattle for some West Coast baseball. I’ll be up late tomorrow night watching the game against the Mariners.
First, I want to let everyone know something. I like to refer to Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod as “Theo & Co.” Theo is the former GM of the Red Sox, Jed Hoyer was his assistant GM in Boston and Jason McLeod was the scouting director of the Red Sox. These guys were working together in 2007 when they originally drafted Anthony Rizzo. Since then Jed & Jason went to San Diego and Theo came to Chicago. Shortly after that, Theo was able to bring Jed & Jason to the NorthSide and begin working on the building a World Series Champion in the Chicago Cubs.
The work has been slow and methodical. There have been plenty of trades, waiver moves and free agent signings. Andrew Cashner was traded in a deal to bring Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs….a move I was initially skeptical of. Theo & Co. made me upset when trading Tyler Colvin for Ian Stewart in a deal with the Colorado Rockies. While the Rizzo trade has been great, the trade for Stewart has been a flop!
There have been several other trades (too many to mention) as well. Overall, I would give Theo & Co. a B- when grading their trades. Yet, when it comes to free agent signings I will give them a B+ grade. Here are just a few signings: Carlos Villanueva, David DeJesus, Scott Feldman and Nate Schierholtz. I can see all of these players and more being traded in the future as the Cubs continue to build a perennial contender.
Finally, Theo & Co. are working on the upcoming draft. With the #2 overall pick I am confident that the they will draft a pitcher with a high ceiling. I cannot wait to see what they come up with.
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.
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.