Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Cubs will have to start making offseason decisions already.

UPDATE- The Cubs have exercised Rich Harden's $7 MM dollar option for next season. They good news is Harden does not need any sort of surgery this offseason!

- The Cubs will have to make a not so tough decision for next season and that is exercising Rich Harden's 7 MM dollar option. The Cubs have until midnight tonight to decide whether or not to pick it up or decline. They are expected to pick it up unless he needs something like Tommy John surgery, which is not the case.

- The Cubs also have to decide on Henry Blanco 3MM dollar option but he there is no deadline for that right now. I think they should pick it up rather than work out another deal. He is a great backup catcher and very valuable to this team!

- The Cubs are expected to resign Wood and Dempster before they reach free agency.

- The Cubs have organizational meetings in 11 days, they will make decisions on payroll and players they will target.

-Ronny Cedeno likely will be on the trade block again after yelling at trainer Mark O'Neal during a nasty exchange before a game in Milwaukee on the final weekend of the regular season. I am tired of Cedeno and hope he is finally traded to the O's in a package for Brian Roberts!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

News on sale of Cubs.

Here are some good reads for those of you interested on how the sale of the Chicago Cubs are coming. I have to say it is a slow process and hope it ends up getting done soon!,0,1758157.story

Some News and Notes

Here are some news and notes for today-

-The Cubs will decide on Rich Harden's $7MM dollar option for next season after he gets his arm checked out. I think it should be exercised regardless because he could be valuable trade bait if not completely healthy.

- The Cubs and Jim Hendry hope to come to a contract agreement soon before he has the chance to opt out of it in December.

- Crane Kenney can see the payroll increasing again this year. Maybe in the 140-150 million range.

- A lot of the media in Chicago are thinking the Cubs will go after a middle of the lineup guy that bats left handed or a switch hits. Olney, Wittenmeyer, and Dolan name Raul Ibanez, Bobby Abreu, David DeJesus, Milton Bradley, and Brian Roberts. They would also consider Adam Dunn or Aubrey Huff. Looks like the Cubs may sacrifice defense for offense next season. Would like to too see any of those guys in Cubbie blue. Especially Dunn, Abreu, Bradley, and Roberts.

-There has also been talk that the Cubs may upgrade shortstop with a speedy guy with good D. Names like Rafael Furcal and Orlando Cabrera have been tossed around.

- I would love to see this lineup-

1. Roberts 2b
2. Furcal SS
3. Lee 1st
4. Aram 3b
5. Abreu RF
6. Soriano LF
7. Soto C
8. Johnson/Fukudome CF
9. Pitcher

I know I am dreaming though!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cubs rumors already starting!

The Cubs have not even been out of the playoffs for a week and now the rumors are flying around. So lets take a look.

- The Cubs have left the door open for Jim Edmonds to come back in a platoon role with Reed Johnson next year. The Cubs have said they will pay Edmonds a reasonable salary but will not break the bank for him. Edmonds could get a nice deal for a team looking for a 20 homerun guy with good defense and leadership. There is also the chance he retires but that is unlikely.

- According to the Suntimes, Brian Roberts will again be at the top of the Cubs wish list for next season. Which will make Derosa expendable which would the Cubs good quality players for him considering his career year this year and bad 2nd base market in this FA class. I by all means do not think he should be traded but I can see the Cubs doing so and understand why they would. The Suntimes also said the Cubs will be players in the Sabathia derby. I do not agree with this because the sale of the Cubs will not be competed before he is on another team and I see the Cubs using that money for Demp and Wood rather than Sabathia.

- There is talk that the White Sox may consider trading Dye for starting pitching and a young athletic guy for CF. This may interest the Cubs for many reasons. The Cubs have a young CF named Felix Pie that is available via trade and have a surplus of pitching that may interest the Sox. A guy like Jason Marquis, Kevin Hart, Angel Guzman, Rich Hill, Sean Marshall, or Randy Wells might intrigue them enough to trade the power hitting Dye to the Northside. It is still early for that talk but it is something to keep an eye on.

- Does anyone else think that the Cubs should throw some players at the Twins to try to get that Denard Span guy. To have a platoon in CF with Denard Span and Reed Johnson would be great! Plus Denard would be the ideal leadoff guy and left handed bat. He is young, cheap money wise, and just plays the game right. My kind of guy!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

How do you improve this team??

With the Cubs being swept for the 2nd straight year in the NLDS, you have to ask yourself is it the team, players, management, or what?!?! This team had more pressure on it this year than last year because of the " 100 year" issue and just wanting it so bad to be gone. Well, that is all now in the past and the Cubs can start planning and working toward next year's goal, winning a World Series.

Lets take a look at the Cubs next year-

C- Geovany Soto
1B- Derrek Lee
2B- Mark Derosa
3B- Aramis Ramirez
SS- Ryan Theriot
OF- Alfonso Soriano
OF-Reed Johnson
OF-Kosuke Fukudome

INF- Ronny Cedeno
INF- Mike Fontenot
OF/1B- Micah Hoffpauir
OF- Felix Pie
C- Henry Blanco

P- Zambrano
P- Harden
P- Lilly
P- Marshall

RP- Marmol
RP- Samardzija
RP- Cotts
RP- Wuertz
RP- Gaudin
RP- Guzman
RP- Hart

Expiring contracts after the 2008 season-

Ryan Dempster
Kerry Wood
Daryle Ward
Bobby Howry
Jon Lieber
Jim Edmonds

This would be more than likely your 2009 Cubs if we did not sign any new players and let our current expiring contract players to leave. The Cubs are obviously not going into the 2009 season like this. Although I feel that there will be not a lot of new faces like we saw the last couple of years, I do think they will make some key additions.

First I am about 75% sure that the Cubs will sign Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood to new deals, in fact I do not think that either of them will test the market. Both have a good relationship with Jim Hendry, the Cubs, and the city of Chicago. I do not see any reason why they would leave considering both have expressed their desire to stay. I expect Demp to get a 4 year deal worth about 50-55 million dollars from the Cubs. I also expect Wood to get a nice deal of 3 years 28 million dollar deal( comparable to Joe Nathan). As far as Ward, Howry, Edmonds, and Lieber, their days as Cubs are over.

After the Cubs sign the players they want to keep from last year, I think its time to give some of the existing player and younger players to new deals. I feel Derosa needs a new deal and Geovany Soto and Carlos Marmol need long term ML deals. Hopefully they can lock them up!

It is hard to determine what the Cubs new owner will want to do this off season, mainly because we do not know who it is. Regardless you know whoever it is will want to make a big impact right away. So I would not be surprised if you hear names like Manny, Peavy(rumored to be traded), McLouth(also rumored), Sabathia, and Sheets.

The areas I feel the Cubs should work on is getting another OF wether it is a platoon partner with Fukudome in LF or Reed Johnson in CF. It could also be an everyday player in RF or CF. They just need an solid consistent bat at one of those positions. Here is a list of potential FA and trade candidates that could fill that void-

Free Agents-
Adam Dunn
Bobby Abreu
Raul Ibanez
Pat Burrell
Jim Edmonds
Wily Mo Pena
Manny Ramirez

Nate McLouth
Rocco Badelli
Gary Matthews Jr.
Reggie Willits
Carl Crawford
Hideki Matsui
CoCo Crisp
Chone Figgins
Andruw Jones
Matt Holliday
Aubrey Huff
Magglio Ordonez
Austin Kearns
Wille Taveras
Ryan Spilborghs

Another area I feel the Cubs should look to upgrade is their bullpen. They need another hard thrower in the pen. Here is a list of good pen guys-

Juan Cruz
Kyle Farnsworth
Brandon Lyon
Guillermo Mota
Russ Springer
Dan Wheeler
Luis Ayala

I feel those are really the only two areas the Cubs should really go after guys next year. The rest of the positions they have good talent and depth.

One of the good things about having depth at those positions is that you have the ability to trade away talent to fill other holes. The Cubs have a lot of young chip they could part with, too many to mention. As far as guys on the 25 man roster, I think Ronny Cedeno, Kevin Hart, and Jason Marquis are the 3 players are most likely to be traded next season. Ronny Cedeno is out of options and could be used to land an OFer, Kevin Hart is a decent arm that can be used in another teams rotation or pen, and Jason Marquis is a solid #5 pitcher who can hit, not to mention he is owed 9.875 million. The other thing about Marquis is he is a .500 pitcher with a high ERA, there are better options like Randy Wells, Angel Guzman, Jeff Samardzjia, Donald Veal, and Jose Ceda at a cheaper price. Either one of those three could bring back some good value and be some salary relief in the case of Marquis.

With the 25 man roster how it is, including the new projected contracts for Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood, next years payroll will go from 118 million to 130-140 million next season. That is without adding any potential free agents and trades.

If I was the Cubs I would try to trade for an outfielder rather than throw a lot of money at one. If they are going to throw money at an outfielder they better go after someone who can produce all year and in the postseason. A guy like Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell or Bobby Abreu would be worth throwing at but you loose a lot defensively with all four of those in the outfield. I rather them trade young talent for a Carl Crawford, Reggie Willits, Magglio Ordonez, Nate McLouth, Ryan Spilborghs, or Rocco Badelli. I think adding any of these guys will really improve this team.

As far as the reliever goes I can only see them signing one of the potential free agents I listed. I would really like to see Dan Wheeler or Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsworth would be the most affordable of the two with Wheeler being the best available reliever not named K-Rod.

Either way the Cubs should be able to return to the post season again if they improve on the things I mention above. It should be another fun off season for the Cubs!