With rumors going at a glacier pace during the holidays, I want to turn the attention to the Cubs needs for the rest of the off season. The Cubs have filled there glaring hole in RF with Fukudome and have strengthen there pen by resigning Eyre and Wood. They have also added hard throwing Jose Ascanio, Tim Lahey, and Tanner Watson. The Cubs could look to upgrade it more by acquiring Joe Nathan but that would likely cost Marmol (which the Cubs will not give up). I see the bullpen as being set how it is, many people think the Cubs need a long relief man or a situational lefty. They have two young guys in Neal Cotts and Carmen Pignatiello that could fill the situational lefty role along with Eyre. As far as long relief, Cotts could fill that role and so could Marquis, Marshall, or Dempster depending on who gets traded and who lands the 5th spot in the starting rotation.
I feel the Cubs need is another veteran starter to boast there rotation. Guys like Matt Clement, Bartolo Colon, Livan Hernandez, Jon Lieber, or Josh Towers. I like the idea of Livan, Clement, or Colon coming to the Cubs. Hernandez is less of a gamble because he will give you 200+ innings and has playoff experience. He would be a nice 5th starter for the Cubs. Colon has the biggest upside. He has been plagued with injuries but just 3 years ago he was a 21 game winner! I would like to see the Cubs take a gamble on him, if healthy he could be a good #2 or #3 starter. Matt Clement has been a favorite of mine. If you remember he pitched well with the Cubs but didn't get any run support. He has been on and off the DL for a while but now he maybe finally healthy. The Cubs would be taking a chance on him just like Colon but he doesn't have that big of an upside. He could fit nicely in the #4 or #5 spot if healthy and be less expensive than Colon or Livan. He might be the best fit! Regardless, I feel the Cubs need to sign another starter for me to feel better about the rotation going into Spring Training.
Another type of player the Cubs need to acquire is a speedy outfielder that can play all three outfield positions and possibly be ready to take over CF if Pie isn't ready. There are only two players I see as a perfect fit for the Cubs and they are Chone Figgins and Kenny Lofton. Figgins would fit the bill perfectly, in fact he would start in CF over Pie. The guy is a stud! High OBP, low SO, great average, lots of SBs, good defense, and could play all over the field. Definitely a player the Cubs and Lou would love. He would cost a lot and the Angels will not trade him unless the get a good 3rd baseman to replace him. So that doesn't sound likely. Another option is Lofton, if you check this blog you know I love Kenny Lofton. Lofton continues to be a great player regardless of age. He will hit homeruns, hit in the clutch, plays good D, high OBP, good amount of SB, and good average. He can also play all three outfield positions and play them well. Not to mention he is familiar with Wrigley, which is a plus. I see the signing of Lofton as a no brainer, hopefully the Cubs do too!
The only other player I see the Cubs looking at is a better 2nd baseman, so Derosa can fill the super utility role. Or signing another utility guy. I think after the first of the year Roberts will be the Cubs new 2nd baseman pushing Derosa to the super utility role. Roberts would fill the 2nd spot in the lineup hitting between Soriano and Lee. Lou has said time and time again, Sori is our leadoff guy. Roberts would pull the lineup together nicely. He will likely cost something like Murton, Gallagher, and one of these guys- Epatt, Colvin, or Cedeno. If the Cubs don't get Roberts, you might see them make a play for Orlando Hudson. He is just as good as Roberts and plays better defense than him. Tho Roberts has better wheels tho. If none of that works look for them to trade for a utility guy that is switch hitter. The guys that come to mind are Felipe Lopez and Cristian Guzman. Both could be valuable guys off the bench and are available via trad. Plus there a better fit than Cedeno and Font.
So the Cubs basically need a starting pitcher, a outfielder that can play all three positions and has speed, and either a utility infielder or a switch hitting 2nd baseman with speed. If the Cubs can get all that done before opening day, Jim deserves a medal!