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.
Here is my old list.
Bring Sandberg back to the Cubs organization. 2. Hire a quality manager. We hired Dale Sveum.
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..
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.
Jim Hendry and the Cubs filled the needs we had this offseason by signing Carlos Pena to play first base, Kerry Wood to bolster the bullpen and trading for Matt Garza to strengthen the rotation. I don’t think we will make any more major moves, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see another trade or two go down. I can see us trading Carlos Silva, Randy Wells and/or Tom Gorzelanny to make room in the starting rotation for Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner and/or Casey Coleman.
Now that I am looking ahead I want to take a look at potential free agents after this upcoming season. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but there are a lot of players out there that we could sign to make our team one of the leading contenders in 2012. We have a lot of money coming off the books at the end of this season and there are some big names that would be available that I would love to see playing for the Cubs. So, here’s my list of players in no particular order. If I’ve missed a player or two let me know.
Okay, I know that thinking we could land Albert Pujols is more of a dream than even close to reality. But this is my dream and I’m in control of it. Albert is the best player in baseball. It sucks for me because he plays for our Arch rival, the Cardinals. Yet, you have to love watching him hit. I’ve been to several games at Busch Stadium, I live a lot closer to St. Louis than Chicago, and the ball just sounds different when he hits it. So, if for some amazing reason, Pujols is a free agent after this season I say we load up an offer that would dwarf Alfonso Soriano’s deal. However, I see the Cards signing him before spring training, but I could be wrong.
If Pujols isn’t available, I say we go after Adrian Gonzalez. He hasn’t signed an extension with Boston yet, and he’s a stud too. He’s been an obsession of mine for quite some time now. He’s a great hitter and I think he would hit 40+ homers in Wrigley every year. Plus, he plays great defense. He’s two years younger than Pujols and a lefty. I don’t see this one happening either. Instead, I see Gonzalez pounding out homers and playing gold glove defense in beantown for several years to come. With Pedroia and Crawford batting in front of him I think he’s a potential leader for RBIs in the American League if not all of baseball.
Since I don’t think we have a realistic chance to sign Pujols or Gonzalez, I will give you my first serious potential free agent. It’s obviously Prince Fielder if you’ve looked at the picture to your left. If you can’t tell, I think the Cubs need to focus on first base at the end of this season. I am not completely sold on Carlos Pena as the long term solution at first base for the Cubs. Fielder is younger than Pujols and Gonzalez and would provide us with power from the left side of the plate. His defense is no where close to the previous two firstbasemen, but I can live with that if we are able to sign him. Just imagine Fielder, who will be 28 in 2012, as our everyday first baseman for the next 5 or 6 years. He would definitely give the Cubs a power bat in the middle of the lineup.
Since we traded Hak-Ju Lee to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, it appears we will no longer look to move Starlin Castro to second base. So, we could easily sign another Brewer to play for the Cubs in Rickie Weeks. Attempting to sign both players may increase our chances instead of trying to sign only one of them. Weeks is a tremendous athlete with power and speed. He’s a better option at second than Blake DeWitt in my opinion and would give the Cubs another good player under the age of 30. He’ll be 29 in September of this year.
So far, I think we should seriously consider Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks. That would cover first and second base. Starlin Castro is our shortstop and we could re-sign Aramis Ramirez to play third. There aren’t any thirdbasemen that interest me that will be free agents after this season. I would like to think we could hold on to Ramirez until Josh Vitters is ready.
The only outfielder that interests me is Grady Sizemore. He’ll be 29 in August this year and when healthy, is one of the better players in the game. With Marlon Byrd signed through the 2012 season I don’t see this one happening. However, Sizemore is a legitimate 30/30 threat and would give us another lefthanded bat in our linuep. We have Soriano signed through 2014 and I doubt we are able to move him unless we take on a huge chunk of his contract. Tyler Colvin is our rightfielder for the future. He’s also lefthanded and possesses some power, but I want to see what he does in a full season for us. We also have Brett Jackson who I see as our centerfielder of the future. While signing Sizemore sounds applealing, I doubt it happens. The main reason for this doubt is the Indians have a club option on Sizemore for 2012 at $8.5 million. I see them exercising this option. So, don’t count on Sizemore being a Cub.
There are a few starters I would love to add if the price was right. I personally have a mild interest in Edwin Jackson and Wandy Rodriguez. The only pitcher that I think would make a big impact is Roy Oswalt. Adding him to our rotation would be great. Maybe a 2-3 year deal would work, but I have a feeling he will stay in Philly.
Overall, I think we will have some moves to make after this upcoming season. We need to build our team for the long haul. Adding Weeks and Fielder would be a step in the right direction.