Oh That Hot Stove Feeling

The World Series is over (it was actually over before it started) and it is time to get on to one of my favorite parts of baseball….the Hot Stove. The GM meeting is approaching and the Winter meetings are right around the corner. It was about 50 weeks ago that Mark DeRosa was signed. About 48 weeks ago the ‘Fonz was signed. You get the point. The rumors are swirling, the dreams are concocting, trades are devising and the only thing I know for sure is that “This is Our Country.” Thank you Fox.

I have read the slew of posts regarding what the Cubs should do. I must admit there are many great ideas. I would like to put together my wish list. I want to show you what I hope to be thankful for three weeks from today. I want to show you what I dream about at night.

(No, come on, get your mind out of the gutter….there are other websites for that….not that there is anything wrong with that.)

Back to my thoughts. A name I have seen a lot and the name that excites me the most is Carl Crawford. He led the AL in stolen bases, was 11th in batting average, had a .355 OBP and knocked in 80 runs. His OBP has gone up every year he has been in the league. His consistency in the last three years is staggering and he would light up the top of a lineup at Wrigley. I am not going to sit here and speculate what it will take. The truth is none of us know. There are probably only a few GM’s who would have a clue. I suspect a deal would include Pie, and I am fine with that.

Crawford is what we hope Pie can become. Maybe Pie projects out with a little more power, but for the most part we are looking at the same thing. Four years ago when Hendry traded Hee-Seop Choi for Derrek Lee a lot of Cubs fans were angry. I made the same argument at the point. Derrek Lee already was what we hoped Choi would become, and guess what; Choi did not become that guy. And there is a chance that Pie will never be Carl Crawford, but I doubt he will ever be much better.

Moving on, Wood needs to be resigned. I do not think he wants to go anywhere, but make it respectable. Barry Rozner of The Daily Herald reported the Cubs payroll would be around $115 million next season, a 15% increase. He also said the sale is not causing any differences. He claims its off-season business as usual around the executive offices of the Friendly Confines. If that is the case the Cubs should be able to spend some money.

As Neil pointed out before, Torri Hunter is not coming to Chicago. His two best friends are Jacque and LaTroy. He is not coming. If we trade Pie and acquire Crawford, we will need a CF and that my friends can be the off-season signing. Mr. Aaron Rowand. As many have said, he is a winner, an old school baseball player and a great teammate. Trading Pie for Crawford and signing Rowand would give the Cubs three all-stars in the outfield.

We have spent five years waiting for Mark Prior, what is another year and $2.8 million. If he walks and wins 17 games I do not even want to see what happens. We may hate, or should I say dislike, the kid now, but if he wins 17 games in Blue Pinstripes we will fall in love with him all over again. At this time next year we could be calling for a $50 million extension for him. Tough to believe, yes, but feasible, most definitely.

The infield is set. Hendry said Theriot played well enough to earn the job. I know he fell off, but it was his first full season. I think A-Rod may be the greatest player of my lifetime, but the Cubs do not currently have the money he is demanding. It would have been nice to snare Renteria before the Tigers did, but Theriot deserves at least the first half of the season.

Kevin Hart, Sean Gallagher, Mark Prior, Sean Marshall, and maybe even the kid who played football for Notre Dame can compete for two starting spots. Wood can be moved to the closer’s role and Dempster back into the rotation or vice-versa. Then all those guys are competing for one spot. Gallagher and the Shark (Samardzija’s nickname) can keep fine tuning their sills in the minors and Hart can bolster an already strong bullpen.

So this is what you are left with, at least in my dream:

Lee, DeRosa, Theriot, Ramirez, Soriano, Rowand, Crawford, Soto

You then have the following five men starting:

Zambrano, Lilly, Hill, Marshall, Prior

And your bullpen is:

Wood, Dempster, Marmol, Howry, Eyre, Hart

And on the bench you have:

Ward, Murton, Blanco, Cedeno, Pagan, and fill in the blank.

Again, this is my dream. Not only do you vastly improve your outfield defense, but you also add one of the fastest players in right and one of the grittiest players in center. And with $16 million more to spend, I think you can do that. Rowand can be had for about 3 years/$30 million and I believe Crawford is due about $5 million next year. With that you have one more million to spend and why not just give it to me.

I just love this time of the year, don’t get too close to the hot stove or you will get burnt, but again, as is with a White Castle slider, maybe that is what you crave….unless you are facing Carlos Marmol.

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!!

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax