Probable Probables

The Cubs are entering the last month of the season with a lot of questions to be answered. There are several players that could take steps at earning confidence from the Cubs’ Front Office heading into the off-season. With the poor play, injuries, bad management and overall underachievement this season the 2007 season will start on October 2nd with the possible announcement of Dusty Baker not being retained as the manager of the Chicago Cubs.

This organization is at a turning point and while change is inevitable, how much change will the Cubs undergo from their last game at Wrigley on October 1st until they report to Spring Training at Fitch Park in Mesa next February? With the Astros recent signing of Roy Oswalt to a $73 million dollar extension, the price of quality starting pitching just increased. The Astros signed Oswalt to a 5-year extension that includes a no-trade clause and a team option for a 6th year worth $16 million dollars with a $2 million dollar buyout. Oswalt has a career record of 93-47 with a 3.09 ERA; he has won 79 games to date over the last 5 seasons.

Here is a list of the probable free agents that will be available for the Cubs to sign this off-season….

Starting Pitchers

Tony Armas, Jr.
Pedro Astacio
Miguel Batista
Mark Buehrle (Club Option for 2007, $9.5 million)
Adam Eaton
Tom Glavine (Player Option for 2007, $5.5 million)
Rick Helling
Orlando Hernandez
Jason Johnson (Mutual Option for 2007)
Cory Lidle
Ted Lilly
Greg Maddux
Jason Marquis
Wade Miller
Brian Moehler
Jamie Moyer
Mark Mulder
Mike Mussina (Club Option for 2007, $17 million)
Tomo Ohka
Ramon Ortiz
Chan Ho Park
Andy Pettitte
Brad Radke
Mark Redman
Jason Schmidt
John Smoltz (Club Option for 2007, $8 million)
Jeff Suppan
Steve Trachsel
Jeff Weaver
David Wells
Kip Wells
Woody Williams
Randy Wolf
Kerry Wood (Club Option for 2007, $13.5 million)
Barry Zito

Relief Pitchers

Danys Baez
Chad Bradford
Rheal Cormier
Octavio Dotel
Eric Gagne (Club Option for 2007, $12 million)
Eddie Guardado
Chris Hammond (Mutual Option for 2007, $2 million)
Roberto Hernandez
Ray King (Club Option for 2007)
Steve Kline
Dan Kolb
Brain Meadows
Kent Mercker
Jose Mesa
Guillermo Mota
Darren Oliver
Cliff Politte
Arthur Rhodes
Mariano Rivera (Club Option for 2007, $10.5 million)
Felix Rodriguez
Scott Sauerbeck
Scott Schoeneweis
Tanyon Sturtze
Ron Villone
Rick White
Bob Wickman

Infielders

Sean Casey
Darin Erstad
Nomar Garciaparra
Wes Helms
Kevin Millar
Scott Spiezio
Ronnie Belliard
Craig Biggio
Luis Castillo
Ray Durham
Damion Easley
Tony Graffanio
Adam Kennedy
Mark Lorretta
Chris Woodward
Alex Cora
Craig Counsell
Julio Lugo
Rich Aurilia
David Bell
Geoff Blum
Aaron Boone
Vinny Castilla
Jeff Cirillo
Phil Nevin
Joe Randa

Outfielders

Moises Alou
Jeromy Burnitz
Mike Cameron
Frank Catalanotto
David Dellucci
Jermaine Dye (Club Option for 2007, $6 million)
Jim Edmonds (Club Option for 2007, $10 million)
Cliff Floyd
Jose Guillen
Aubrey Huff
Torii Hunter
Ricky Ledee
Carlos Lee
Kenny Lofton
John Mabry
Gary Matthews Jr.
Trot Nixon
Jay Payton
Juan Pierre
Dave Roberts
Gary Sheffield (Club Option for 2007, $13 million)
Alfonso Soriano
Shannon Stewart
Craig Wilson
Preston Wilson

Catchers

Henry Blanco
Jason LaRue
Mike Lieberthal
Javy Lopez
Damian Miller (Mutual Option for 2007)
Bengie Molina (Club Option for 2007, $7.5 million)
Mike Piazza (Mutual Option for 2007, $8 million)

These are some of the names that are projected to be on the market. Source for this information is Cot’s Baseball Contracts.…a very good site full of information. The main reason for this list is to get those names out that will generate so much conversation very soon. Remember players have a 15 day window to file for Free Agency after the World Series Champs are crowned.

The Cubs have a tremendous amount of decisions to make. They must build a deep team and spend some money, wisely; the injury card has been played. The Tribune Company must spend the money to build a winner for the Cubs Faithful.

Discuss if you wish….

Quote of the Day

"And if I have my choice between a pennant and a triple crown, I'll take the pennant every time." - Carl Yastrzemski
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