I think most baseball fans saw this move coming. So, the trade of Tom Gorzelanny to the Nats today wasn’t a surprise at all. From what I’ve read it appears the Cubs are getting 3 minor league players in return. The first one is outfielder Michael Burgess. He’s 22 years old and bats and throws left handed. He has some power in his bat, but is prone to striking out a lot. In 2010, he hit a combined .265 with 18 homers, 85 RBIs with 116 strikeouts in high A and double A ball. I expect him to start the year in double A for the Cubs. He has some upside for the Cubs.
The next player is 24 year old A.J. Morris. He is a right handed pitcher who primarily pitched in high A ball last year. He looks like a long reliever with the ability to start. I don’t like the fact that he turned 24 in December, but has never pitched higher than high A baseball.
At this point, I don’t know who the third player is. I do know it is supposed to be another pitcher. I hate to see Gorzelanny go, but I understand the reasoning behind and support the move. I wish Tom all the best as he continues his career in D.C.. It will be interesting to see who the final player in this trade is.
One of my favorite players is back on the Cubs. Reed Johnson has agreed to a minor league deal. I hope that he makes the team because we could use a guy like him as a spark plug off the bench and in the clubhouse. I think the Cubs will have to trade Fukudome or start the year with 5 outfielders, which is a possibility. Either way, I look forward to having him back in Cubbie Blue.
In other news, I read today that the Cubs may trade Gorzelanny. Now, I’ve heard this before this offseason, but Bruce Levine wrote about it earlier today and explained why. Here’s the link to the Bruce Levine article. Trading Gorzelanny should come as no surprise and it would open up a spot in the rotation for one of our younger pitchers. I’ve also read some other interesting rumors, but none worth mentioning at this point.
I still see us shopping Gorzelanny, Fukudome and Wells this spring. I believe the Cubs are in the unique process of rebuilding for this year and for the future. It’s hard to do, but we seem to be on the right track and like I keep saying, we have a lot of money coming off the books at the end of this season and I look for us to go on a big shopping spree next winter.
Jim Hendry and the Cubs filled the needs we had this offseason by signing Carlos Pena to play first base, Kerry Wood to bolster the bullpen and trading for Matt Garza to strengthen the rotation. I don’t think we will make any more major moves, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see another trade or two go down. I can see us trading Carlos Silva, Randy Wells and/or Tom Gorzelanny to make room in the starting rotation for Jeff Samardzija, Andrew Cashner and/or Casey Coleman.
Now that I am looking ahead I want to take a look at potential free agents after this upcoming season. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but there are a lot of players out there that we could sign to make our team one of the leading contenders in 2012. We have a lot of money coming off the books at the end of this season and there are some big names that would be available that I would love to see playing for the Cubs. So, here’s my list of players in no particular order. If I’ve missed a player or two let me know.
Okay, I know that thinking we could land Albert Pujols is more of a dream than even close to reality. But this is my dream and I’m in control of it. Albert is the best player in baseball. It sucks for me because he plays for our Arch rival, the Cardinals. Yet, you have to love watching him hit. I’ve been to several games at Busch Stadium, I live a lot closer to St. Louis than Chicago, and the ball just sounds different when he hits it. So, if for some amazing reason, Pujols is a free agent after this season I say we load up an offer that would dwarf Alfonso Soriano’s deal. However, I see the Cards signing him before spring training, but I could be wrong.
If Pujols isn’t available, I say we go after Adrian Gonzalez. He hasn’t signed an extension with Boston yet, and he’s a stud too. He’s been an obsession of mine for quite some time now. He’s a great hitter and I think he would hit 40+ homers in Wrigley every year. Plus, he plays great defense. He’s two years younger than Pujols and a lefty. I don’t see this one happening either. Instead, I see Gonzalez pounding out homers and playing gold glove defense in beantown for several years to come. With Pedroia and Crawford batting in front of him I think he’s a potential leader for RBIs in the American League if not all of baseball.
Since I don’t think we have a realistic chance to sign Pujols or Gonzalez, I will give you my first serious potential free agent. It’s obviously Prince Fielder if you’ve looked at the picture to your left. If you can’t tell, I think the Cubs need to focus on first base at the end of this season. I am not completely sold on Carlos Pena as the long term solution at first base for the Cubs. Fielder is younger than Pujols and Gonzalez and would provide us with power from the left side of the plate. His defense is no where close to the previous two firstbasemen, but I can live with that if we are able to sign him. Just imagine Fielder, who will be 28 in 2012, as our everyday first baseman for the next 5 or 6 years. He would definitely give the Cubs a power bat in the middle of the lineup.
Since we traded Hak-Ju Lee to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal, it appears we will no longer look to move Starlin Castro to second base. So, we could easily sign another Brewer to play for the Cubs in Rickie Weeks. Attempting to sign both players may increase our chances instead of trying to sign only one of them. Weeks is a tremendous athlete with power and speed. He’s a better option at second than Blake DeWitt in my opinion and would give the Cubs another good player under the age of 30. He’ll be 29 in September of this year.
So far, I think we should seriously consider Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks. That would cover first and second base. Starlin Castro is our shortstop and we could re-sign Aramis Ramirez to play third. There aren’t any thirdbasemen that interest me that will be free agents after this season. I would like to think we could hold on to Ramirez until Josh Vitters is ready.
The only outfielder that interests me is Grady Sizemore. He’ll be 29 in August this year and when healthy, is one of the better players in the game. With Marlon Byrd signed through the 2012 season I don’t see this one happening. However, Sizemore is a legitimate 30/30 threat and would give us another lefthanded bat in our linuep. We have Soriano signed through 2014 and I doubt we are able to move him unless we take on a huge chunk of his contract. Tyler Colvin is our rightfielder for the future. He’s also lefthanded and possesses some power, but I want to see what he does in a full season for us. We also have Brett Jackson who I see as our centerfielder of the future. While signing Sizemore sounds applealing, I doubt it happens. The main reason for this doubt is the Indians have a club option on Sizemore for 2012 at $8.5 million. I see them exercising this option. So, don’t count on Sizemore being a Cub.
There are a few starters I would love to add if the price was right. I personally have a mild interest in Edwin Jackson and Wandy Rodriguez. The only pitcher that I think would make a big impact is Roy Oswalt. Adding him to our rotation would be great. Maybe a 2-3 year deal would work, but I have a feeling he will stay in Philly.
Overall, I think we will have some moves to make after this upcoming season. We need to build our team for the long haul. Adding Weeks and Fielder would be a step in the right direction.
Things have been slow since the Cubs signed Carlos Pena back in December. I expect Jim Hendry to try and make a move or two before pitchers and catchers report in February. I have read that we shopped around Tom Gorzelanny and Kosuke Fukudome. I also know we inquired on Matt Garza during the winter meetings. I would love for the Cubs to trade for him, but I am thinking the Rays are going to hold on to him for now. I also know we talked to the Rangers about acquiring Chris Davis…..a good move in my opinion. AIso, I personally feel we need to trade Randy Wells in a deal soon and open up a spot in the starting rotation for one of our younger pitchers. So, look for a deal or two to be made involving any of the names mentioned above. At least that’s what I anticipate at this point.
Speaking of younger pitchers, I believe the Cubs need to make a decision on Andrew Cashner soon. Is he a future starter or reliever? I think he will be great at either, but we can’t do to Cashner what we’ve done to Jeff Samardzija. For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about here’s a quick summary. Samardzija was a starter before getting called up to the Majors in 2008 and used as a reliever. In 2009 he was used primarily as a reliever for the Cubs, but as a starter in the minors once again. In 2010, Samardzija pitched in 7 games for the Cubs with 3 of them being starts. In the minors, he made 35 appearances with 15 being starts. I think doing this has hampered his progression. It’s been 3 wasted seasons for Samardzija and we can’t afford to do the same thing to Cashner. I hope we’ve learned our lesson. I still believe Samardzija can be a successful major league pitcher and I know Cashner can too. I say we let them have a shot at the starting rotation this spring. If they don’t pitch well enough then send them to Iowa as starters and let them work on their pitching.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I plan on writing something more in depth on Samardzija, Cashner, Casey Coleman and a couple other young pitchers soon.
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!
Well, yesterday I attempted to breakdown free agent signings and resigning of players. It only leads me to believe that when Hendry makes modest moves he does well, however, when he tries to make a big splash in the free agent market it seems to backfire.
Now, I am going to try and focus on his trade history as GM for the Cubs. I won’t feature every trade just ones that I think that help define Hendry. Hope you enjoy!
I’ll begin in December of 2002. Hendry traded Todd Hundley and Chad Hermansen for Mark Grudzielanek and Eric Karros. This was an excellent trade. Both players helped the Cubs in 2003 make the playoffs.
July 2003. Jose Hernandez, Matt Bruback and Bobby Hill were traded for Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton and cash. Another excellent trade as both of these players helped lead us to the playoffs in 2003 and Aramis is still with the team. Kenny Lofton became a free agent and I really wanted the Cubs to sign him, but we didn’t. Oh well, still a great trade!
November 2003. Hendry made another excellent trade this time moving Hee-Seop Choi for Derrek Lee. Lee quickly became one of my favorite players for the Cubs and he still is.
December 2003. Traded Damian Miller and cash for Michael Barrett. This trade worked out real well for Hendry until Barrett and Zambrano came to blows. We did manage to get three consecutive years of 16 homers from Barrett before he was traded to the Padres in 2007.
December 2005. Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco and Renyel Pinto were traded away for Juan Pierre. Terrible trade in my honest opinion. We should have resigned Lofton to play CF after 2003 and bat leadoff. Instead, we traded away 3 pitchers for Pierre who played one season with the Cubs then signed with the Dodgers as a free agent.
November 2007. Traded Jacque Jones for Omar Infante. Bet you didn’t know Infante was a Cub! Well, he didn’t last long because he was traded less than a month later along with Will Ohman for Jose Ascanio. Then we traded Ascanio in 2009 along with Josh Harrison and Kevin Hart for John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny. Maybe we should have held onto Infante to play secondbase. This one’s a tossup. I’ll let you decide for yourself.
December 2008. Very unpopular at the time by trading Mark DeRosa for Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub. Both Stevens and Gaub pitched in the majors for the Cubs in 2010 and Archer was one of our best starting pitchers in the minors. This may end up being a good move by Hendry. Still too early to tell.
December 2009. Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva. GREAT TRADE! “Meltdown” Bradley was a terrible free agent signing, but Hendry turned around and traded him for Carlos Silva and his bad contract. The good news……after the 2011 season we can buy out Silva for $2 million!
So, that’s a quick summary of trades that help define Jim Hendry as a General Manager. If history tells us anything, I look for Hendry to make a move before the new year. I see us trading or signing for another starting pitcher soon. Anyway, I think Hendry has made some good trades for us and maybe I need to be more patient with our GM. He’s done pretty good with his trades. We may need to limit him to modest free agent signings though!
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.