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 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.
For most Cub fans, you probably know the name Bobby Scales. A longtime minor leaguer who made his major league debut for the Cubs in 2009 at the age of 31. The guy simply loves the game and has never given up. I think he deserves a chance to be a utility player on the team this year, but I am realistic and understand he’ll probably be in Iowa for most of the season. Anyway, I have another longterm plan for Scales. I think he has the potential to be a coach in the minor leagues someday. Someone who loves the game and who would be willing to teach younger players what it takes to succeed in baseball at any level. While he still has some baseball left in his tank I would like the Cubs to consider him as a coach in the future.
I read this morning that the Cubs discussed trading Fukudome to the Gians for Aaron Rowand. I don’t like this move personally. Both players will be free agents after the 2011 season and I would rather have Kosuke’s lefthanded bat over Rowand who is righthanded. I still think the best option we have for trading Fukudome is the Red Sox. They have Carl Crawford, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury already, but 3 of the 4 are injury risks in my opinion. Anyway, I think we may not be able to trade Fukudome and we might be better keeping him as long as he doesn’t take away at bats from my man Tyler Colvin.
I also read that the Cubs are still shopping Tom Gorzelanny. A couple of weeks ago, it was the Tigers that were interested in him and not it’s the Mets. I say let’s hold on to him and trade Randy Wells instead. I know that Wells isn’t as valuable as Gorzelanny, but that’s okay with me. We need to find new teams for Wells and Carlos Silva to open up room for some of our younger pitchers.
Finally, to sum up my thoughts this morning, I am excited about the Cubs getting Kerry Wood back! I believe the Cubs need to develop, sign and trade for players like him that fans want to see win. We need guys that our kids can look up to and respect. Wood is that kind of man.
Also, one last thing, I think it’s time we sign Ryan Dempster to an extension. I suggest a three year deal. He will turn 34 next season and I would like to see him play with the Cubs a few more years. Something to think about.