Ever since the 2003 collapse in the playoffs against the Florida Marlins, I have been waiting for the Cubs to return to the post season and win. 2007 and 2008 were great regular seasons followed by utter disappointment by getting swept out of the playoffs each season. This year is different for me. I am not as confident as I was last year. I look at this current team and still see some holes that need to be filled. However, I strongly believe that any issues the Cubs have this year will be taken care of once the sale of the team is finalized. I am putting a lot of faith into Tom Ricketts, Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella and the players and other coaches. Here’s my quick preview of what I think this year’s team has entering spring training.
The starters should look something like this to start the season:
Here’s the bench:
Aaron Miles-2B, SS, 3B
Jake Fox has a chance to make the team as a versatile player capable of playing 1B, 3B, C, LF and RF.
Koyie Hill has a chance to make the team as a backup Catcher.
Here’s a quick look at our pitchers:
Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden and Ted Lilly.
Guys that could start or come out of the bullpen.
Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, Chad Gaudin, Angel Guzman and Aaron Heilman
Guys out of the pen.
Carlos Marmol, Kevin Gregg, Luis Vizcaino, Neal Cotts, and Kevin Hart.
I am sure things will look a little different when the season starts, but I imagine the team will come out of spring training with a roster consisting of most of the players listed above. A few will start the season at Iowa and hopefully get called up when needed.
Things look bright for 2009. But we can always improve. Go Cubs Go!
Okay, the 2008 regular season was great. I watched 3-4 games a week and when I couldn’t watch the Cubs I listened to Ron Santo and Pat Hughes call the game on the radio. Unfortunately, the post-season was terrible. But now it’s time for the Off-Season to begin and here is my personal to do list for the Cubs. I have a short list of things to do because I believe the Cubs only need to tweak their roster a little bit in order to win in the playoffs next year. So, here it is….my to do list for the Cubs this winter.
Pick up Rich Harden’s option for next season.
2. Extend Jim Hendry’s Contract.
3. Re-sign Ryan Dempster.
4. Re-sign Kerry Wood
5. Trade for Jake Peavy.
6. Find a Centerfielder.
7. Finalize the sale of the Chicago Cubs.
Okay, we already picked up Harden’s option, but I felt it was important to list it anyway. That way, we have already accomplished something this off-season. Next, the Cubs need to extend Jim Hendry’s contract. He is the one who put this current Cubs team together and he seems to have a great relationship with the players. Keeping him is crucial for the Cubs this off-season and could turn out to be the most important move they make all winter. After, securing Hendry, the Cubs should be able to take advantage of his relationship with Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood and re-sign both players to multi-year deals each.
So far, the first 4 things to do seem simple and the Cubs appear to be on track. However, number 5 on my list is a little more complicated. Jake Peavy recently named the Cubs as one of the teams he would like play for next season if traded. I think the Cubs need to pursue Peavy and make their rotation one of the best in all of baseball. The Cubs must trade Jason Marquis in this deal even if they have to eat most of his salary of $9.875 million for next season. I believe that Felix Pie would have to be in the deal too. I am fine with that. I don’t know who else or what positions the Padres want, but Marquis and Pie is a good start. Especially if the Cubs still pay most of Marquis’ salary. Other players I would consider trading in this deal are Sean Marshall, Ronny Cedeno, Kevin Hart, Angel Guzman, Michael Wuertz, Casey McGehee, Sam Fuld, and Tyler Colvin. It all depends on what the Padres are looking for, but I think Felix Pie would be the center piece of a deal for Peavy.
Next, I would like the Cubs to sign or trade for an everyday centerfielder if they trade Felix Pie. If not, then let Pie play everday to start the season next year. If he is unable to hit by the start of June let Reed Johnson take over. However, assuming the Cubs deal Pie this off-season, I have a few guys that I would like them to pursue. Coco Crisp is on my short list, but I am hesitant to make a trade with Boston. Another option would be to move Fukudome to center and sign Bobby Abreu to play right. He would provide the left handed bat that the Cubs could use. The Cubs could even make it a multiplayer deal for Peavy and obtain Brian Giles, but I think he would be a better fit in rightfield. Or the Cubs could bring back Jim Edmonds and platoon him with Johnson again. These are just a few options but I would like to see an everyday centerfielder next year and use Johnson as your fourth outfielder.
Finally, the impending sale of the Chicago Cubs. I have read that the deal may not be completed until after next season begins. There are reportedly 5 bidders still alive when it comes to the sale of the Cubs. I am interested in only 2 of them, Mark Cuban and the Ricketts family. I would prefer Cuban but I think Ricketts would be decent. Actually, I more than prefer Cuban. I think he would make sure the Cubs won a World Series and take care of the players and fans. He’s the only potential owner that I know who goes to Wrigley and watches the Cubs. He’s the owner of the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA. He loves his team and refuses to sit in some luxury box. Instead he sits courtside and cheers his team on. That’s what I want from the next owner of the Cubs. Someone who is right there with the fans. Someone that wants to win as bad as I do. Someone who won’t be afraid to spend money. You’ve got to spend money to make money. Just imagine how much the Cubs would be worth when they finally win the World Series! I think Cuban is the man for the job.
Anyway, here’s my “To Do List” for the Cubs this off-season. I will try to keep it updated and make any additions when necessary.