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..
The Cubs have had a difficult season so far and I can’t help but wonder….What’s Next?!?! We had a lot of trouble with our defense in spring training and that has continued into the regular season to some extent. We had Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells go on the DL in early April. We’ve lost Marlon Byrd, Matt Garza, Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto (he’s back now) and Jeff Baker to the DL as well. Afonso Soriano injured his quad yesterday and I don’t know if he will be the next to visit the DL, but wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
With all of these injuries, the Cubs have won 23 and lost 29 as of this post. That’s six games under .500 and puts us in second to last in the division. However, we are only 7.5 games out of first.
The frustration for me is that we are signing and trading for Doug Davis and Rodrigo Lopez to help our starting rotation. I know they probably weren’t that expensive, but I would rather us go young. We did with Casey Coleman, but he wasn’t getting the job done. We also tried James Russell, but I believe he’s better a relief pitcher than starter and his stats prove it. I know it may be too early, but I would love to see the Cubs bring up Trey McNutt who is pitching great at AA Tennessee.
Overall, I think we need to get healthy to see what we this club can really do this season. And if we don’t, then I would hope the Cubs bring up more of our younger players and let them get a taste of the big leagues and see what they need to work on. I don’t want to hinder their development, but it would be nice to see some of these young players get a cup of coffee. They are our future, right?
Wow, I’m upset that I wasn’t able to stay up for the entire game last night. I fell asleep somewhere in the bottom of the 7th inning. When you get up at 5:00AM everyday, those late night games are a struggle to watch. But I did get to see Carlos Pena smash his first homer. I hope that opens up the flood gates and he starts ripping them on a regular basis like he’s capable of.
n at second base with Jeff Baker. Baker will see most of the action against lefties and Barney should play the rest of the time. DB is batting .362 so far this spring and brings a lot of energy to the field. Kind of reminds me of Ryan Theriot when he first came up with the Cubs.
As spring training is about to begin every fan has this sense of excitement that this will be the year their team puts everything together. This is something that I feel we Cub fans go through more than other fans. When you are a Yankees fan, you can rest assured that your team has a very strong chance of playing in the postseason and hoping for another World Series Championship. If you are a Pirates fan (sorry to my Pirate friends), you are hoping just to finish above .500 for the first time in almost two decades. The one thing these fans have in common is hope. Hope that their team meets or exceeds expectations. So, I am hopeful for a lot this season.
The first player that I will mention that I have high hopes for is Carlos Pena. The one year deal he signed is a combination of a rental and a tryout. As of today, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols could all be free agents at the end of this season. It is possible to think we “rented” Pena for a one year deal in hopes of signing one of those three players in the next offseason. Or we can look at it as a tryout for 2012 and beyond. If Pena is healthy and hits similar to 2007 numbers (I’m hoping so) then he stands a good chance to make a lot of money after 2011. Let’s see, I’m hoping he stays healthy, hits well and gives us the option of signing him to a longer deal. Yep, that’s a lot to hope for in one player. Yet, I think all of that is possible. Maybe it’s my stubborn Cub fan mentality or my optimistic viewpoint, but I cannot pretend that I don’t think it’s possible. He has a chance to do well in Wrigley this summer.
The next thing I am hoping for is a healthy season from Aramis Ramirez. We need his stick in the lineup. If Carlos Pena is to have a good year then he needs Ramirez to protect him in the lineup. I anticipate a big year from Aramis. He could be playing for a new contract since the Cubs have an option on him for 2012 worth $16 million. If the Cubs don’t exercise their option on him after 2011 it will cost them $2 million to buy him out making him a free agent. I could see that happening and then Aramis could sign a multiyear contract to finish his career with the Cubs. Anyway, he struggled with hitting and injuries last year and still managed to club 25 homers with 83 RBIs. I hope he’s healthy this year.
My next hope is a big one. A mentally sound Carlos Zambrano. I can’t believe I am typing this, but I still think he can be successful for a full season and win 20 games. I know, I know…he’s bound to blow up at some point in the season……he’s going to have one of his classic high-speed-comeaparts…..he’s going to abuse a gatorade container or get in a fight with a teammate. All of that is possible without a doubt. But it is also possible that he pitches all season the way he finished 2010. It’s possible that he wins 20 games and surprises everyone in baseball by staying focused all season long. Look at his career stats. He hasn’t had a losing record during a season since 2002. He’s got a career 3.50 ERA. He’s eclipsed 200 innings pitched 5 times. He’s won more than 15 games in a season 3 times. He’s struck out over 200 twice. So, it’s not like he’s never won or been successful. It can happen!
For the Cubs to have a successful 2011 there are a lot of things that must go right. Zambrano, Ramirez and Pena are just the tip of the iceberg. Starlin Castro must have a solid sophomore campaign. Geovany Soto needs to repeat or improve off of last season. Alfonso Soriano needs to stay healthy and produce on the field. However, I truly feel that with all the things we need to have go right, it is possible. I am not asking these guys to do something they haven’t done in the past. I am not asking for the impossible. I just want them to stay healthy and produce like they are capable of. That’s why I have HOPE!
My beloved Cubbies don’t have a leadoff man for the upcoming season. Ideally, you want someone who knows how to get on base and has enough speed to steal some bases. Well, we really don’t have a guy that fits those categories that will be an every day player. We don’t have any true base stealing threats at all. Some of the players that will have a chance to bat leadoff are Marlon Byrd, Blake DeWitt, Kosuke Fukudome, Jeff Baker and Starlin Castro.
Marlon Byrd is one of my favorite choices of the players I just mentioned. I know he’s not much of a base stealing threat nor is he known for getting to first base by base on balls. Even though his OBP last season was a respectable .346, it’s not what you would want from your leadoff hitter. Here’s why I would consider him at leadoff though…..he does whatever the team needs of him and doesn’t complain. That’s a very simple reason and something that other players could learn from.
The case for Blake DeWitt is a pretty weak one. His OBP is lower than Byrd’s, fewer stolen bases and not much speed for a middle infielder. He did have a high of 8 stolen bases in the minors though in 2006. But Byrd stole 41 bases in single A ball in 2000. Why Quade is considering him at leadoff is beyond me.
Next is Jeff Baker. I’m guessing that Baker and DeWitt will be platooning at second base. Baker bats right and DeWitt bats left. The only reason I see Baker also hitting leadoff is to leave the rest of the lineup alone. Baker has never been a base stealing threat in his career. He’s a poor option to leadoff in my opinion.
Starlin Castro has more promise than any of the other players, but I dont want to put that type of pressure on him at this point in his career. I like him batting in the 2 hole anyway. He’s got some speed, but doesn’t know how to use it just yet. I think he could hit leadoff if needed to and would be as successful as Byrd if given this responsibility.
Kosuke Fukudome isn’t a bad option. His OBP has been in the .370s the last two seasons. However, he fades each year as the season progresses and he strikes out too much for me. I like him better as a someone to be traded before spring training! Plus, if Fukudome is playing everyday then that means Tyler Colvin is probably sitting on the bench. I guess we could put Tyler Colvin at leadoff, but I would like to have him bat around 6th personally.
Anyway, here’s my lineup for the Cubs that I think would produce the most runs this season. And remember, the Giants proved last year that you don’t have to have a true leadoff hitter to win the World Series.
1. Marlon Byrd-CF
2. Starlin Castro-SS
3. Aramris Ramirez-3B
4. Carlos Pena-1B
5. Alfonso Soriano-LF
6. Tyler Colvin-RF
7. Geovany Soto-C
8. Blake DeWitt-2B