Cubs Top Prospects and the Hot Stove

Award Week for Major League Baseball continues on Tuesday with the announcement of the AL Cy Young winner. Chris Coghlan of the Marlins and Andrew Bailey of the A’s were named NL and AL Rookie of the Year on Monday. With Coghlan taking the trophy, Geovany Soto will hopefully return to the form in 2010 that won him the award last season.

John Grabow was the last Cub to final for free agency on Monday. Jim Hendry reportedly is looking to lock-up Grabow before Friday by signing the southpaw to a two-year deal worth around $7 million … that could include an option for a third season.

Baseball America released their Top 10 Cubs’ prospects list for 2010 on Monday. No surprise that Starlin Castro was tops in the Cubs’ system. Brett Jackson placed second after being the Cubs’ top pick in the 2009 draft with Josh Vitters dropping to third.

Here is the latest from the mill and the rest of the ten best in the Cubs’ system …

The Hot Stove

According to Dave Kaplan on Sports Central Monday night, the Cubs are expected to be very busy during the Winter Meetings, which get underway on December 7 in Indianapolis. Jim Hendry indicated after the GM Meetings he felt like he made progress in several areas the Cubs are looking to address this winter.

Milton Bradley

Bob Nightengale of USA Today joined Dave Kaplan Monday night to discuss Chicago baseball. Nightengale thinks the Cubs will have to eat $15-$16 million of the more than $21 million owed to Milton Bradley in order to move him this winter. Nightengale thinks Bradley will end up back in Texas or possibly in Tampa … but mentioned a little tidbit.

According to Bob Nightengale, the Cubs spoke with the Arizona Diamondbacks about an Eric Byrnes for Milton Bradley swap. Byrnes is owed $11 million (correction: $11 million in 2010 last year of contract) on the contract extension he signed in August of 2007. Nightengale indicated the D’Backs would be interested in Bradley if the Cubs took Byrnes in return.

Tim Kurkjian spent time on Baseball Tonight (ESPN 1000) Monday. He stated the Cubs will rid themselves of Milton Bradley this winter … even if they have to eat most of the $21 million. The Cubs do not want Bradley and from what Kurkjian has heard, Bradley does not want to return to the Cubs.

Tim Kurkjian thinks Milton Bradley will end up back with the Texas Rangers.

Curtis Granderson

Bob Nightengale described Curtis Granderson as a “poor man’s” Torii Hunter. He added not only is Granderson a great guy and player he would easily become the most popular athlete in Chicago if the Cubs could find a way to acquire him this winter.

Nightengale added that as much as he likes Curtis Granderson, if he were the Cubs he would call the Rays about B.J. Upton.

Will Carroll from Baseball Prospectus joined Kaplan Monday night and talked a little Hot Stove … but mainly sabermetrics. Carroll thinks Granderson would be a great fit for the Cubs despite the fact he cannot hit left-handed pitching. Carroll thinks Granderson will cost at least two high level prospects and correctly described the Cubs’ system as being weak in the upper levels. He does not feel the Cubs have enough of upper level talent to pull off a trade for Curtis Granderson.

Will Carroll mentioned Granderson should rebound next year in terms of average and OBP. While his home run totals will likely drop, his average and on base percentage should improve … as well as his BABIP.

Tim Kurkjian (Baseball Tonight on ESPN 1000) said the Cubs can use Curtis Granderson but he is not sold on the Tigers having to trade him. Kurkjian added if he had to take a guess, Granderson will remain in Detroit and will not be traded this winter.

Baseball America

Top 10 Prospects for 2010

  1. Starlin Castro – SS
  2. Brett Jackson – OF
  3. Josh Vitters – 3B
  4. Andrew Cashner – RHP
  5. Jay Jackson – RHP
  6. Hak-Ju Lee – SS
  7. Logan Watkins – 2B
  8. Chris Carpenter – RHP
  9. Ryan Flaherty – SS-2B-3B
  10. D.J. LeMahieu – SS-2B

Top 10 Prospects in 2009

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Jeff Samardzija
  3. Andrew Cashner
  4. Dae-Eun Rhee
  5. Welington Castillo
  6. Kevin Hart
  7. Starlin Castro
  8. Ryan Flaherty
  9. Jay Jackson
  10. Hak-Ju Lee

Complete List of Cubs Top 30 Prospects of 2009

Best Tools

  • Hak-Ju Lee – Best Hitter for Average
  • Brett Jackson – Best Power Hitter
  • Kyler Burke – Best Strike Zone Discipline
  • Jose Valdez – Fastest Baserunner
  • Brett Jackson – Best Athlete
  • Andrew Cashner – Best Fastball
  • Jay Jackson – Best Curveball
  • Andrew Cashner – Best Slider
  • Casey Coleman – Best Changeup
  • Casey Coleman – Best Control
  • Robinson Chirinos – Best Defensive Catcher
  • Starlin Castro – Best Defensive Infielder
  • Junior Lake – Best Infield Arm
  • Sam Fuld – Best Defensive Outfielder
  • Kyler Burke – Best Outfield Arm

Projected Lineup in 2013

  • Geovany Soto – Catcher
  • Derrek Lee – First Base
  • Starlin Castro – Second Base
  • Aramis Ramirez – Third Base
  • Hak-Ju Lee – Shortstop
  • Josh Vitters – Left Field
  • Brett Jackson – Centerfield
  • Kyler Burke – Right Field
  • Carlos Zambrano – Number One Starter
  • Jay Jackson – Number Two Starter
  • Chris Carpenter – Number Three Starter
  • Ryan Dempster – Number Four Starter
  • Randy Wells – Number Five Starter
  • Andrew Cashner – Closer

From Baseball America: “The farm system doesn’t appear to have any noteworthy reinforcements to offer for 2010. However, the Cubs minor league talent is on the rise after a period of decline marked by weak drafts and the departure of top prospects in trades for veterans.

“Most of Chicago’s best farmhands are at least a couple of years away from making an impact in the major leagues, so the Cubs may have to transform from trying to contend to trying to reload if they aren’t able to quickly turn their fortunes around in 2010. That would mean more waiting for fans whose patience already has been stretched thin.”

The complete top 30 prospects in the Cubs system according to Baseball America should be released in February as a part of their annual publication.

Minor League Free Agents

Fangraphs posted a link to the list of Six-Year Minor League free agents on The Game of Baseball. Here is a link for all of the 536 declared free agents.

Cubs Minor League Free Agents for 2009

  • Casey Fossum – LHP
  • Vince Perkins – RHP
  • Jose Pina – RHP
  • Mark Johnson – C
  • Matt Craig – Infielder
  • Luis Rivas – Infielder
  • Bobby Scales – Infielder
  • Nate Spears – Infielder
  • Doug Deeds – Outfielder
  • John-Ford Griffin – Outfielder
  • Brad Snyder – Outfielder

All players can re-sign with the Cubs

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon