The Cubs took two of three from the Astros, but it wasn’t easy. In the two wins, both starting pitchers were left in too long, in my amateur opinion, and the Astros almost came back and won each game. I’m hoping Quade recognizes this and makes the appropriate adjustments. In the game we loss during the series, it was a horrible display of baseball by the Cubs. Lack of hustle, poor hitting and terrible defense. That’s all I’ve got to say about that!
If you’ve read any of my posts over the last month or two you would know that I wanted the Cubs to trade for Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Garza. Well, the Red Sox made a deal for Gonzalez trading away their top pitching prospect Casey Kelly. It was a great trade for both teams in my opinion and I only wish the Cubs would have made the deal. During the winter meetings in December, we discoverd that the Cubs and Rays had talked about a potential deal for Garza. Immediately I was excited. I wanted Garza bad! The only thing I didn’t want the Cubs to do is overpay. Well, the trade saw the Cubs send 5 players to the Rays for Garza and two other players. Here’s my “expert” analysis!
Garza will be under team control until 2013. He’s due a raise this year via arbitration. It’s been estimated to be around $5-6 million a year. He just turned 27 in November and isn’t in his prime yet. He had a 15-10 record in 2010 with a 3.91 ERA in the AL East. He’s going to be be with the Cubs for a few years at least and should do well in the National League. He makes the Cubs rotation significantly better and is a good start to improving the Cubs for the future. Remember, we have a ton of money coming off the books at the end of this season. Can you say, SPENDING SPREE?
Chris Archer pitched great for the Cubs in single A and double A in 2010. He’s 22 and some say has the making of a top of the rotation starting pitcher. However, we didn’t draft him. We got him in the Mark DeRosa trade after the 2008 season. At the point in his career, Archer had never posted an ERA below under 4.29 in the minors and his career minor league record was 5 wins and 18 losses. Losing Archer doesn’t bother me too much, but I hated to lose him after the success he had in 2010.
Hak-Ju Lee is a 20 year old shortstop from Korea. He’s got the making a leadoff hitting, slick fielding future All Star! This loss really hurts me, but we have Castro at short and you must trade talent to get talent.
Brandon Guyer, who turns 25 later this month, has the potential to be a solid outfielder in the major leagues. However, we already have Tyler Colvin in RF and 22 year old Brett Jackson working his way up the minors. Losing Guyer wasn’t that huge of a loss.
Robinson Chirinos is a 26 year old catcher that hit the cover off the ball in 2010. But remember, he did this playing against younger players and this wasn’t his first time playing for double A Tennessee. He spent parts of the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons with the double A affiliate too. I’m glad we were able to package him along in this deal. I hope he does well.
Sam Fuld is a 29 year old outfielder that is a 4th outfielder at best. The Cubs received outfielder, Fernando Perez, from the Rays in the 8 player deal and he pretty much is a 4th outfielder at best as well.
The other player involved was left handed pitcher, Zach Rosscup who turns 23 in June. He’s pitched well in rookie ball for the Rays and could be the difference maker in this trade.
Overall, we gave up a lot of talent for Garza. I hated to do so, but we kept Starlin Castro, Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson and Chris Carpenter. And just because a guy has potential doesn’t mean he’s going to be successful in the major leagues. Remember Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Sean Gallagher and Ryan Harvey are just a few prospects that the Cubs were hoping would become stars. So, while we traded away talent none of them have a proven resume like Garza does. I give Jim Hendry credit for trading for a young and talented pitcher. Remember, pitching wins championships and I think this is a good move for the future of the Cubs.
BOTTOM LINE: THIS WAS NOT A GREAT TRADE, BUT A GOOD ONE FOR THE CUBS!
Okay, I know everyone has their own “expert” opinions. Well, I have mine too! Here’s my projected position players, bench players, starting rotation and bullpen for the Cubs in 2011. Feel free to share your ideas and/or thoughts.
Starting Lineup Bench players
C-Geovany Soto (R) C-Koyie Hill (S)
1B-Carlos Pena (L) IF-Jeff Baker (R)
2B-Blake DeWitt (L) IF-Darwin Barney (R)
3B-Aramis Ramirez (R) OF-Kosuke Fukudome (L)
SS-Starlin Castro (R)
LF-Alfonso Soriano (R)
CF-Marlon Byrd (R)
RF-Tyler Colvin (L)
Starting Rotation Bullpen
Carlos Zambrano (R) Carlos Marmol (R) Closer
Ryan Dempster (R) Kerry Wood (R) Setup
Tom Gorzelanny (L) Sean Marshall (L) Setup
Randy Wells (R) John Grabow (L)
Carlos Silva (R) Andrew Cashner (R)
Well, I’ve listed only 22 players so there are three slots still open. Here’s a list of players that will be on the verge on making the team in spring training or getting called up early in the season.
Justin Berg (RHP), Casey Coleman (RHP), John Gaub (LHP), Scott Maine (LHP), James Russell (LHP), Jeff Samardzija (RHP), Jeff Stevens (RHP), Wellington Castillo-C, Sam Fuld-OF.
And here’s my sleepers.
Alberto Carbrera (RHP), Rafael Dolis (RHP), Brian Schlitter (RHP), Jay Jackson (RHP), Chris Archer (RHP), Chris Carpenter (RHP), Kyle Smit (RHP), David Cales (RHP), Robinson Chirinos-C, Brett Jackson-OF, Brandon Guyer-OF, Bryan LaHair-1B.
I’ve left some players off the list such as SS Hak-Ju Lee and CI Josh Vitters, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get called up later in the season as well as several other minor leaguers.
Overall, I believe our future is very bright. We are getting younger and more athletic. We have some really good arms in our system to be excited about and some position players that can flat out hit the ball. 2011 is almost here and things are looking brighter!
Last week I was excited about the winter meetings held in Indy. I was thinking the Cubs would deal Milton Bradley and try to find a center fielder. Well, that still hasn’t happened. At this point, I feel like Bradley’s contract has the Cubs all tied up in knots and unable to make a decent deal. Hendry took a risk on Bradley and it has not worked out. Bradley did not produce on the field and was unable to handle the criticism that accompanied his lack of hitting. We need to trade him soon.
Next we have the search for a centerfielder. I have read with great interest that the Cubs are considering Mike Cameron. He will be 37 next year but plays great defense and could a welcome addition to the Cubs in 2010. I suggest the Cubs sign him to a 1-2 year deal. Maybe the second year could be a player’s option or club option. I know he played for Lou in Seattle and that may be something that would help lure him to the Cubs. It would also allow Fukudome to play rightfield. Whatever the Cubs decide I believe that a veteran player like Cameron can perform well and help this team in 2010 the same way Jim Edmonds did in 2008. I think there are several players in the mix to be bench players next year that will be able to play in the outfield. Sam Fuld and Tyler Colvin are two young guys that have had a small taste of the big leagues. We also have Micah Hoffpauir who can play the corner outfield positions as well as firstbase. So, the Cubs do have a few options for the outfield, but having a veteran like Cameron would be huge in my opinion.
Finally, there is the possiblity that the Cubs will sign reliever Matt Capps. This would be a great addition to the Cubs bullpen if they are able to do so. He has valuable experience as a closer and would be a great setup man for Carlos Marmol. If Marmol is unable to handle the duties of closer then Capps could take over for him. I read this morning that the Cubs and D’Backs seem to be two of the teams going after the former Pirates pitcher. Let’s hope Jim Hendry is able to sign him to a deal and improve our bullpen. The Cubs don’t need major changes just a few tweaks here and there and I think we will be back at the top of the central division.
So, basically, the Cubs didn’t accomplish much during the winter meetings. Hopefully, Hendry is close to trading Bradley and signing Cameron and Capps.
With the winter meetings right around the corner I guess it’s a good time to talk some business. The Chicago Cubs have a lot of work to do….mainly involving Milton Bradley. It is my opinion, that the Cubs will try to deal Bradley starting next Monday. I am halfway tempted to make the drive to Indy and tell Jim Hendry what I think. Then again, I know I wouldn’t even get a chance to say hello to Jim or any other exec so I won’t waste my time.
So, far the Cubs made a good move trading Heilman. We need to trade Aaron Miles too while we are at it. I have read that the Cubs may shop Jake Fox to some American League teams. While I understand the business side of this I really like Fox and would love to see him playing for the Cubbies in 2010.
The Cubs decided not to offer arbitration to Kevin Gregg, Chad Fox, Rich Harden and Reed Johnson. While I love Reed Johnson I understand we have Tyler Colvin and Sam Fuld that could take over Johnson’s role with the team. I would also like to see Harden back with the Cubs, but I know he will command more money than the Cubs will be willing to pay.
The Cubs have a lot of work to do. There are rumors about trading for Curtis Granderson. I like Granderson a lot. Yet, I don’t want to trade away too much young talent to get a guy that strikes out a ton and hits for a low average.
Some of our minor leaguers that may attract interest from other teams are SS Starlin Castro, 3B Josh Vitters, P Andrew Cashner and P Blake Parker. These are just a few of our young players that other teams may inquire about in any potential trades. I would prefer not to trade any of them away personally, but if the right deal comes along……who knows?
Finally, the Braves and Phillies made some moves this week that I like. The Braves signed Billy Wagner. If he stays healthy the Braves will have an elite closer. Meanwhile the Phils picked up Placido Polanco to play thirdbase. Polanco will hit for a good average and play great defense while hardly ever striking out. Good moves by both teams. Hopefully, the Cubs will make some good moves next week!
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.