Saturday, January 09, 2010

Hendry Not Done...

I first want to say congratulations to Andre Dawson going to the HOF. It is much deserved and I am so happy for "The Hawk." Here is the latest from the mill-

- The Cubs resigned Brad Snyder to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. He will likely battle for a 4th/5th outfielder spot on the team.

- The Cubs also signed first baseman Bryna LaHair to a minor league deal.

Here is some info on the Cubs from Jim Hendry on XM radio.

- Jim wants to make two or three moves to round out the roster for next season.

- He would like to make the moves before Spring Training.

- Jim says that if the Cubs are in the race for the playoffs he thinks Ricketts will allow him to raise payroll and add players.

- One of the players Jim would like to add is a bench player that can play the corner outfield spots as well as provide a bat off the bench. He also notes later this player would likely be a right handed platoon player for Fukudome in RF. Two names that come to mind that are perfect fits are Fernando Tatis and Gary Sheffield. Sheffield would be my number one pick with a career .307 AVG and .402 OBP while producing a .929 OPS against lefties. Hard to argue!

- Larry Rothchild will begin working with Carlos Silva next week and he thinks he already found things to fix with Silva.

- Jim Hendry would not rule out adding a starting pitcher to the mix if something comes up. He would also like to over-load the pen by add a veteran arm. I say he can have both by signing John Smoltz.

- The Cubs like Jeff Gray and Caridad for spots in the rotation. I would also add Gaub and Stevens in the mix as well.

- Jim did not mention adding a second baseman before the season but both Bibble and McDonald of XM radio (along with me) think the need to address it. I still say trade for Callaspo or Castillo or sign Orlando Hudson, Felipe Lopez, or Adam Kennedy.

Other Notes...

- The Cubs are interested in Heath Bell according to Rogers. This does not seem credible to me since the Padres are not shopping him anymore and the Cub officials already shot down this rumor late in 2009.

- There will be a full list of non-roster invites expected in the next two weeks.

- There is an owners meeting next week in which GM's can and will be in attendance. It is speculated that rumors and moves may start heating up like a little winter meeting. Should be fun.

- I honestly believe the Cubs should sign Sheffield or Tatis, sign Smoltz, trade for Castillo or Callaspo or sign Hudson, Lopez, or Kennedy. They should be in great shape if they made those moves. They could also fill out some bench spots within the organization and through non-roster invitees.

Until Next Time....

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Checking On the Mill

Here is the latest on the rumor mill with a lot chimed in from Bruce Levine's live chat-

- Jose Contreras and Johns Smoltz fit the needs for the Cubs and Levine even says Sheets would as well. I say save the money and sign Smoltz!

- Bruce says Blanco will have a spot on the 25 man roster as a backup infielder for the Cubs. Him and Baker make a nice infield backup team for the bench. The bench still needs some beef though. How bout Bill Hall?

- Levine warned us that just because Fontenot is arbitration eligible does not mean he will be with the Cubs on April 5th. Man, I really do not want Fonty to be our starting 2nd baseman or Baker. In fact I would prefer Blanco over both players because of his defense.

- Hudson and Lopez would be the ideal left-handed bats to the Cubs lineup but both have flaws.

- Levine says the deal for Ryan Spilborghs is still on the table. I would welcome him with open arms.

- The Cubs continue to talk to Jose Contreras and would consider Jon Garland as a starter. Which falls in line with Hendry wanting to add to his pen and another starter. I still think 2nd base and the bench is a bigger problem Jimbo!

- The Cubs feel Brad Snyder is not to far away from the Majors. I agree with that!

- The Blue Jays want Guzman for Jason Frasor. I say no!

- Lets all hope Andre Dawson gets the call today. He deserves it!

More Later....

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ben Sheets, 3 way deal, and more....

- Ken Rosenthal sees the Cubs picking up Ben Sheets. Kind of interesting considering Sheets wants a multi-year deal worth millions.

- Could the Cubs pull off a three way deal involving the Mets and Red Sox? had a potential deal that would have sent Luis Castillo to the Red Sox for Mike Lowell. This rumor of course hit some snags and had new teams get involved.

Tim Brown says the Rangers have not ruled out a trade for Mike Lowell. While says Castillo-for-Lowell is not close and Lowell will have to prove himself in Spring Training. Rosenthal chimes in and says it is "highly unlikely" to see Castillo traded for Lowell or anyone else. Joel Sherman says the clubs have not discussed this trade for weeks.

So why does this effect the Cubs? The Cubs have been linked to Castillo all winter, mostly because of the Milton Bradley for Castillo rumors. The Cubs were linked to him again about a week ago and still continue to talk to the Mets about him.

I took all this into consideration before posting this "Unfounded Rumor." I have received an email that the Cubs are getting involved in a possible three or four way deal that would include Castillo, Lowell, and Silva. Castillo would be sent to the Cubs, Lowell sent to the Mets, and Silva sent to the Red Sox. Castillo is owed 12 million over two years, Lowell is owed 12 million over one year, and Silva is owed (with the M's paying 9 million of his contract) 14 million with a two million dollar buyout for 2012. The money is pretty even and with the Red Sox desperate to unload Lowell as they are they could take Silva in return (you can never have enough pitching). The Mets would use Lowell at first more than likely and the Cubs would have a good #2 hitter in Castillo who can play really good defense at 2nd.

I have not been able to confirm this rumor but it makes too much sense to just leave it in my inbox collecting dust.

Until Next Time...

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Three Moves Jim Should Make.....

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.

Starting Lineup
Theriot SS
Callaspo 2nd
Lee 1st
Aram 3b
Byrd CF
Fukudome RF
Soriano LF
Soto C

Pitching Rotation

Marmol C
Jay Jackson (if they go with 12 pitchers)

A. Blanco
? (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?

Rumor Round Up

- Levine said that the Jacoby Ellsbury rumors were "ridiculous."

- Levine is concerned about the bench much like I am. He says that because Hendry took such a long time to trade Bradley he is two to three weeks behind. He says the Cubs would like to add a left-handed bat to the bench. He says they will fill the need via trade and not free agency. I think the Cubs need a guy who is a left-handed corner outfielder who can play first base. Hoffpauir was not the answer for that void. He does not mention any names but free agents like Frank Catalanotto, Aubrey Huff, and Eric Hinski would be inexpensive and fill the role nicely. As far as trades are concerned I really do not see any that fit the bill and stand out, except Nick Swisher but he is both expensive and would cost some valuable prospects.

- Levine threw out two new pitching names this off season. He said John Smoltz and Jon Garland both could interest the Cubs. Smoltz would look great as a starter for Lilly then put in the pen as a reliever when he comes back. He makes more sense than Sheets or Contreras.

- Levine says the Cubs are going to look to pad the bullpen over the next two weeks with trades rather than free agent signings.

- Bruce also said Shark, Gorzelanny, and Marshall will compete for the 5th spot in the rotation. Marshall seems like the best fit out of them.

- On Jim is counting on players like Soriano, Soto, Fontenot, and Zambrano to bounce back while keeping Aram and Lee healthy. That is a lot of eggs to put in one basket Jimbo. Go get a better bench and an everyday 2nd baseman please.

Until Next Time...