I have been doing a lot of thinking about the holes the Cubs have and what moves they should do to fill the needs the ball club already has. Now the Cubs do not have a lot of cash to spend on the team this season but in the next two to three seasons the payroll will see a decrease as big payday players drop off the roster. The Cubs reportedly have anywhere from 4-8 million left to spend on players this offseason not counting arbitration raises to several Cubs. Here are three moves that would immediately improve the team, not cost an arm and a leg for this season, and also help cut some fat off the 40 man roster.
Move #1- Cubs trade Jeff Samardzija and David Patton to the Yankees for Nick Swisher and cash.
The Cubs would get Swisher as their fourth outfielder, backup first baseman for Lee, and all around good clubhouse guy. He would provide the Cubs with versatility, big bat off the bench, and insurance for the Cubs. Swisher it owed 6.75 million in 2010 and 9 million for 2011 which I could expect the Yankees to chip in some cash for this up coming season to help the Cubs financially. Not to mention if the Cubs traded Shark they would be erasing 4 million over 2010 and 2011.
The Yankees would get Shark to strengthen their bullpen or even rotation or be used as a swing guy. It would provide them with another guy that throws heat while cutting payroll by trading Swisher. They would also get Patton in the deal which could provide them with another arm in the pen or just depth.
Move #2- Cubs trade Sean Marshall, Mike Fontenot, and Tyler Colvin for Alberto Callaspo and a minor league reliever.
The Cubs would be giving up a ton of players for essentially just Callaspo but all three players are disposable and Callaspo can be the Cubs 2nd baseman for many years to come. Callaspo is really good switch hitter with decent defense and is being shopped by the Royals for young pitching and a young CF with upside. The Cubs also would be shedding some money to arbitration eligible players in Marshall and Fontenot, both are going to receive healthy raises. It is just a no brainer that the Cubs trade for Callaspo in my opinion. He is everything the Cubs want and need.
The Royals get a young lefty that could fill in the pen but will probably win a starting spot in Spring Training. They would also get a versatile lefty bat off the bench which a change of scenery could really help him. They would also get a young guy for CF with a lot of talent and upside in Colvin. He is basically ready for the big show and would get a chance to start there by playing for KC. He is a 5 tool player and has the makings of being a really good CF for many years to come. This is the type of player the Royals have been dangling Callaspo for.
Move #3- Sign John Smoltz
Smoltz could be had for an incentive laden one year deal with the promise of starting the season in the rotation for the Cubs. I can see the Cubs signing Smoltz with a base salary of 2-3 million with incentives attached to it to make it a much bigger payday if they incentives are reached. He would give the Cubs a veteran presence in the rotation, insurance in case of injury or Lilly being out longer, not to mention closer experience. This is the ideal pitcher for the Cubs.
With all these deals and money changing hands the Cubs would only be taking on a base salary of 7 millionfor 2010 while getting rid of about 2.5- 3 million off their books. Having them take on just 4-4.5 million for 2010 putting them right at where they need to be money wise while filling the holes of a veteran starter/swingman/closer in Smoltz, young switch hitting starting 2nd baseman in Callaspo, and backup corner outfielder/first baseman/platoon partner for Fukudome and clubhouse guy in Swisher. While only giving up Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, David Patton, Mike Fontenot, and Tyler Colvin.
After these moves I feel the Cubs roster would be set and they can be comfortable going into Spring Training knowing they are putting a good team on the field with what they can do. Lets see how the roster would look.
Jay Jackson (if they go with 12 pitchers)
? (if they went with a strong bench do not know who would be the last position player on the team)
Pretty good looking team in my opinion. Better than the team they have now anyways.
What do you think?