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.
There has been a lot of speculation about where Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder will land this winter. While I would love to have either of these players on my team, I think it would be best if the Cubs went for Fielder rather than Pujols. I may sound crazy saying that, but I have several reasons for this decision.
Albert is older than Prince.
Albert will probably “cost” more than Prince.
Prince would be that coveted left handed power bat the Cubs desire.
Those three reasons are enough for me.
If the Cubs were to sign Fielder, I would love to see Aramis Ramirez stay with the team. I realize that would require a multi-year deal and I’m not too excited about the idea of giving ARAM anything over two years. I think he wants at least three years…..so, this probably won’t happen. I think Ramirez is kind of like Robin and Prince would obviously be Batman. I think this dynamic duo would drive in a lot of runs in the Cubs lineup. If the Cubs decide to keep Carlos Pena, then I think it would be foolish to bring Aramis back. He’s not the go to hitter you need in the middle of the lineup. He is an excellent complimentary hitter though. He could provide the protection for someone like Fielder.
If we don’t work out a deal for Ramirez, which sounds realistic, I would love Theo and Co. to look into a possible trade with the Mets for David Wright. I know that would cost the Cubs a lot of talent that we really don’t have, but I would like to “kick” the tires on this idea and see what happens.
Finally, from everything I keep reading it seems that Mike Maddux is the leader for the vacant managing position with the Cubs. I hope he gets the job!
Okay, this post is not about my newest son, Maddux. It’s about Greg Maddux and to some extent, his brother Mike. Last year, Greg was Special Assistant to the General Manager, Jim Hendry. I really don’t know what Maddog was responsible for, but I like having him involved with the team in the front office. Not only did he have a Hall of Fame career, but I feel he is one of those guys that knows a lot about the game. I think he would make a great GM, Manager, scout or pitching coach. Maybe I am giving him too much credit, but it’s just how I feel.
With all of that said, I am hoping that the Cubs find a way to keep him in the organization…..for multiple reasons. I think a guy like him knows what it’s like to play all the day games at Wrigley Field and the toll it can take on a player during the season. He could help educate younger players on how to approach the game on the field and off the field. I would think with his resume, a majority of the younger players would definitely listen. And now that his brother has interviewed for the job of manager of the Cubs it would please me to have both brothers working for the team. And who knows, maybe they could convince Ryne Sandberg to be a bench coach for the team as well. Time will tell, but I have a feeling that Mike Maddux will be the next manager of the Cubs and Greg will have a job with the team. Whether that job is on the field or in the front office doesn’t really matter to me.
On another note, I finally read the book “Moneyball”. I loved it! I would recommend it to anyone even if they were not a baseball fan like myself. I look forward to watching the movie now.
Well, the Cubs are looking for a new manager and several names have been thrown out there. Unfortunately, Ryne Sandberg is not going to be considered and I am still suffering with that decision. I respect Theo Epstein for being upfront about it, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about my favorite player of all time not being with the Cubs. Anyway, enough whining!
First, here’s just a few of the many names being considered as the next manger for the Cubs. This is in no particular order.
1. Terry Francona
2. Mike Maddux
3. Pete Mackanin
4. Dale Sveum
5. Dave Martinez
Of these five guys I just listed, and I know there are more names being circulated out there, I like Mike Maddux and Dave Martinez. I think both of these men would be excellent choices.
First, Mike Maddux, brother of Greg Maddux (my favorite pitcher of all time). Greg Maddux was a special assistant to Jim Hendry last year and it’s still undetermined if he will stay with the Cubs. From what I’ve read, he has some personal stuff to deal with first. I’m fine with that. I also think he will return to the Cubs when he’s ready. Anyway, Mike Maddux is a great pitching coach and has a great baseball mind in my opinion. He would be my choice as manager next year over all of the other candidates. Having both Maddux brothers working for the Cubs would be a good thing.
Next, Dave Martinez. Remember him? He played parts of four seasons with the Cubs during his career including a pretty successful campaign in 1987. I think he would be a good fit in Wrigley. He knows what it’s like playing all the day games and what it takes to be physically and psychologically ready. He’s also a bench coach with the Rays under Joe Maddon. That’s a definite plus.
So, if I had to choose, it would be Mike Maddux followed by Martinez. I would love to think that either one of these guys would offer a coaching position to Sandberg, but I have a suspicion that Ryno will be managing a major league team in 2012.
Whomever Theo and Co. choose to be our next manager I believe it will be a good one.
First, I am really excited to see Jim Thome reach 600 homeruns. He did it the right way in my opinion. I have never suspected him of using PEDs to reach this historic number. Thome and Griffey, Jr. are the two players from the steroid era that I believe did not cheat. Maybe I am being naive, but I believe strongly in both players abilities without the use of steroids or any other PED. With that said, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! JIM THOME!!!!!
On to some Cub news. It appears the Cubs are going to keep GM Jim Hendry. I don’t like it necessarily unless he can regain some of his magic that he used when acquiring Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. His history of trades has been decent but his big free agent signings and even one of his big contract extensions have been busts. Kosuke Fukudome, Alfosno Soriano and Carlos Zambrano are all players that received nice contracts from Hendry. That’s not good.
I still wish the Ricketts family would make Greg Maddux GM. Imagine him bringing his brother, Mike Maddux, over from Texas as our new pitching coach. That would be great! I trust Maddux and would love to see him as our GM some day soon.
While the Cubs have been playing better baseball as of late I am not sold on our potential roster for 2012. I know it’s early, but Ricketts and Hendry better come up with a serious game plan for the future.
Ever since Larry Rothschild left the Cubs for the Yankees I have heard, read and even written that it would be great if Greg Maddux became the next pitching coach for the Cubs. Maddux was a player/pitching coach the last several years of his career. He is a guy that dominated with out having Nolan Ryan heat during his playing days. So, it would be great to have him as a pitching coach.
On the flip side, Maddux is known for his high baseball IQ. The man simplye loves the game. I remember when he was with Atlanta he would go and watch little league games. People didn’t always recognize him either. He looks/looked like an “everyday joe”.
When I think about all the troubles the Cubs have had I have to place a lot of the blame on Jim Hendry. Sorry Jim! I know you have had a lot of pressure from the fans and it’s got to be difficult trying to win a World Series for a team that hasn’t won one since 1908. Yet, the signing of Alfonso Soriano to an 8 year contract hasn’t panned out. Signing Milton Bradley didn’t work out. Signing Kosuke Fukudome hasn’t gone over well either. It leads me to believe that Hendry is better at making trades than free agent signings. Hendry traded for Lee in 2003 and we definitely got the better end of that deal. Hendry also traded for Aramis Ramirez in 2003 as well and we got the better end of that deal as well.
When it comes to making a free agent signing splash Hendry’s track record isn’t all that great. However, he knows how to make a trade. Maybe he should let Maddux take over signing free agents.
Anyway, in my estimation, Maddux is learning all the ins and outs of being a General Manager. Maddux already knows the game and how to play it. Once he becomes the GM I could see him getting his brother Mike, current pitching coach for the Rangers, to come over to the Cubs. I trust Maddux. I think he will eventually be our GM and I think he will have a greater impact as a GM as opposed to being a pitching coach. Plus, I don’t think he wants the pitching coach gig right now.
Wow, I did not see this one coming! Larry Rothschild is now a member of the New York Yankees pitching staff. I understand his reasoning behind the decision to move and don’t blame him one bit. He lives in Florida and the Yankees have spring training in Tampa. Makes sense and he’s going to an organization that is a World Series contender almost every year.
My first choice would be Greg Maddux. I would love to have Maddog teaching our young guys and veterans a thing or two. I don’t think this is likely to happen, but I can dream. My next choice would be for Greg to woo his brother, Mike Maddux, away from the Texas Rangers to be the Cubs pitching coach. And I don’t see this one happening either.
I look for the Cubs to fill this position with someone that manager Mike Quade wants. Who that will be I don’t know at this point.