I was reading up on the MVP races last night after Miguel Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen won the award for their respective leagues. I felt both players were the right choice.
Then I received a call this morning from my buddy Dave, a Red fan, and was reminded about Josh Donaldson who finished 4th in the AL MVP race. You see, Josh Donaldson was drafted by the Cubs in 2007 and traded to the A’s in 2008 in a deal that netted Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin for the Cubs. Just think, Donaldson could have been our future at third base.
In addition to Donaldson, another former Cubs prospect received some attention in the AL Rookie of the Year race. Chris Archer, originally drafted by the Cleveland Indians, was acquired by the Cubs after the 2008 season in a deal that sent Mark DeRosa to the tribe. Archer was later dealt to the Rays in a deal that brought Matt Garza to the Cubs. He finished third in the AL ROY voting this year posting a solid 3.22 ERA in the tough AL EAST.
These are just two examples of players the Cubs traded away while trying to add pitching just a handful of years ago. Rich Harden, Chad Gaudin and Matt Garza have all moved on from the Cubs now.
Donaldson and Archer have bright futures ahead of them and I wish them the best. Yet, it still makes me wonder what could have been…………..
Two weeks ago I wrote about the new To Do List for the Cubs this off-season. Well, the Cubs have checked off the first item on that list, hire a new manager. I had a feeling it would be Rick Renteria and I was correct (for the first time). He was not my first choice, but with Theo & Co., I am beginning to see a pattern. They are wanting coaches that they are already familiar with and have some sort of previous relationship. From October 2009 to October 2011, Jed Hoyer was the GM of the San Diego Padres. Renteria was a coach with the Padres during that time. There’s your connection! I’m hoping it works out better than Dale Sveum did.
Yesterday, I mentioned that the Cubs could be trading Jeff Samardzija to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cubs still have two years of control on Samardzija’s contract. He will not be a free agent until 2016 at the earliest and he will turn 29 in January. He has the potential to bring in a decent haul if traded. I’m not naive enough to think he would bring as much as the Matt Garza trade did in 2011 for the Rays, but I think it would be close. I took a quick look at Arizona’s top 20 prospects. I think the Cubs could land 2-3 of these players in a deal. I’m not sure which ones it would be and it is too early for me to make a guess. I plan on keeping an eye on this over the next month and see what happens.
Finally, on January 22, 2011, I wrote a blog and an email to the MLB Network with some ideas for programming. One of those ideas was to start showing Arizona Fall League games. I also included the Caribbean League. Well, lately, the MLB Network has been showing the AFL and I love it! I have watched it with my 6 year old son and was able to enjoy seeing some of the young names you hear about in baseball today. Plus, I have seen Albert Almora and Jorge Soler this week as well. That’s a plus for me.
Theo & Co. have been busy. Feldman, Marmol, Hairston, Clevenger and a minor league player have all been traded. The two most notable names the Cubs have received are starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (27) and relief pitcher Pedro Strop (28) as well as relief pitcher Matt Guerrier, money for the International Signing Pool and a minor league pitcher.
I think Matt Garza will probably be next, but I would love for the Cubs to keep him. A healthy Garza combined with Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzija make a solid core to a starting rotation. The Cubs pen has been horrendous this year and the Cubs lead all the Majors in 1 run losses. Alfonso Soriano has heated up in July with 4 homers and a .321 batting average for the month as of today. So, it may be time to ship the veteran. And there are always a ton of other players that could be dealt.
No matter who is traded, it is obvious that the Cubs are getting younger and continue to decrease their payroll while strengthening the minor league system. Who knows, maybe this winter we will spend some of that money that Theo & Co. have saved up.
I know I like to write and talk a lot about the Cubs future. I keep focusing on this hope that Theo & Co will put together not only a World Series Championship, but build a dynasty with multiple championships. Maybe it gets old to some and amuses others, but I truly believe we are building a foundation to grow on.
Over the last week, the Cubs have traded a minor league player to the Astros, Carlos Marmol to the Dodgers and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. These trades allowed the Cubs some flexibility for the international signing pool as well as getting rid of Marmol. Theo & Co. are on pace to exceed that maximum amount allowed this year in the international pool and may be penalized for next year’s pool. I’m good with that if it’s true that we are getting 2 of the top international players in Eloy Jiminez (OF) and Gleyber Torres (SS).
Add the international signings with the draft strategy that the Cubs are using now that Jim Hendry is gone. Speaking of Hendry, remember the 2010 1st Round Pick, Hayden Simpson? Well, he has already been released from the independent Frontier League Southern Illinois Miners. He pitched 7.1 innings and was unfortunately lit up. His ERA was 15.95 with more walks than strikeouts. Anyway, Theo & Co. are drafting with a strategy for the long haul in my opinion. I like the direction the team is going. Hopefully, we can sign Kris Bryant, our 1st Round Pick this year, soon.
Add these drafted players along with our international signings and I expect the Cubs to have one of the highest rated minor league systems in all of baseball. Hopefully, that will eventually translate to wins at the Major League level.
In addition to the moves the moves that have already been made the Cubs still have Matt Garza, Kevin Gregg, Alfonso Soriano and a handful of other players that are likely to get traded this month. It will be interesting to see what happens.
Bottom line, I like the direction the Cubs are going. I’m not completely sold on Theo’s approach, but I’m hopeful that it will work.
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.
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.
I have a lot of things I won’t to talk about, but probably not enough time today.
I keep reading that Theo and Hoyer are willing to trade any player on the team and that includes Matt Garza. If they decide they want to trade him I have an idea that would possibly work. Send Garza to the Reds for Yonder Alonso. Alonso is an excellent hitter, but is stuck behind Votto at first base for the Reds. I know they have worked him in the outfield some, but it’s obvious that he’s not a very good defensive outfielder. Anyway, if we traded for him that would fill our hole at first base and allow us to save our money to spend elsewhere. We have so many holes that need to be filled and this actually makes sense to me. There are other moves I would like to see as well.
Trade Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano even if we have to eat their contracts (because we probably will). I don’t believe we would get much for them but it would be worth it to me believe it or not.
Trade catcher, Geovany Soto and let Welington Castillo take over those duties next year. That would save money and allow us to strengthen our minor league system some.
Trade Jeff Baker to a team that needs a quality veteran utility player. He wouldn’t bring a whole lot in return, but it’s better than nothing. I like Baker, but it’s obvious 2012 will be a rebuilding year so I think it’s the right move to make.
Trade Randy Wells too. I am not sold on him as a starter.
Trade Carlos Marmol. Let Marshall be the closer or let Andrew Cashner take over that role. I think he’s made for it.
Finally, I want the Cubs to keep Marlon Byrd, Ryan Dempster and bring back Kerry Wood for leadership purposes. These three men play the game the right way. They hustle, the play hard and they never give up. That’s something that our younger players could learn from these guys.