Cubs News and Rumors on the Final Monday of the Twenty-Ten Season

The Cubs have only seven games remaining in the season, four in San Diego and three in Houston. One week from today, Year One under the Ricketts family will be in the books and the front office will turn their attention to 2011 … and beyond.

Tom Ricketts addressed the team’s payroll for next season prior to the home finale on Sunday. Ricketts said they “haven’t made any decisions” on where the payroll will be for next season. The Cubs chairman then added, “I think it will be slightly lower than this year.” Jim Hendry spent upwards of $140 million on the fifth place team.

Ricketts added they have not made any final decisions on ticket prices for next year … and that there would be a “thorough study” of what the Cubs are charging for certain sections.

Here is the latest a day after the Cubs played their final home game of the 2010 season, as well as a little catch-up from the week that Mitch Atkins was DFA’d then assigned to the Iowa Cubs; Bob Brenly withdrew his name and Hendry talked on ESPN 1000; the Cubs announced John Grabow likely will not have knee surgery and could pitch again before the season is over and Esmailin Caridad was activated from the 60-day DL and optioned to Double-A.

Plus, a rumor or two from the week that was … Are the Cubs scouting Victor Martinez?

Xavier Nady
According to a report from the Sun-Times, Xavier Nady would be interested in returning to the Cubs next season. Nady hit his first incentive and earned an additional $100,000 with his 300th plate appearance. Nady signed a deal worth a guaranteed $3.3 million and he figures to earn $3.8 million before the year is out … he is just 16 plate appearances short of the 350 needed to make nearly $4 million this season.

The Sun-Times thinks Nady could be a fit at first if he is willing to sign a similar contract.

Aramis Ramirez
According to a report from ESPN Chicago, the Cubs’ GM “was unaware of any injuries” that Aramis Ramirez had earlier in the season. Hendry said, “When [Ramirez] did have the start that he had, it was so out of character that he possibly had some issues he tried to play through and maybe he wasn’t successful at it. Maybe there were some things that he and Mark worked on that I wasn’t aware of. He might be nicked up but not really injured.”

Hendry was responding to a report from the Sun-Times in which Ramirez told Gordon Wittenmyer that injuries played “a major role in his .162 performance in May.” Ramirez said he was not healthy but refused to say exactly what the injury or injuries were early in the year.

Isn’t Jim Hendry supposed to be running this team?

Rumors and Tidbits from Bruce Levine
During Talkin’ Baseball last Saturday, Levine reported Mike Quade sat a veteran for not showing up on time for treatment. Levine did not say which player it was but stated the player was scheduled to show up to the park at 10:30am and did not make it in until 2:00pm. The player was in the original starting lineup, but was removed.

Levine said it is going to take a lot of creativity from Jim Hendry this winter in order to put the Cubs in position to contend in 2011. During Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000), Levine asked if the Cubs should trade Carlos Marmol this winter.

Levine said Marmol will earn close to $5 million in his second season of arbitration eligibility and they could receive several good players for him. Levine used the Yankees as an example of a team that could be interested. Levine asked the question, would New York trade Joba Chamberlain, Brett Gardner and Jesus Montero for Marmol?

During his chat last Tuesday, Levine said the Cubs have scouts watching Adam Dunn, Carlos Pena and Victor Martinez as possibilities for their first base vacancy.

Brett Jackson could make his big league debut in May or June of next season. Jackson is on the same path as Starlin Castro and if he continues to improve and succeed he could make the jump in 2011.

Levine thinks Micah Hoffpauir’s days with the Cubs will be over after this season.

Josh Vitters lack of commitment was brought up again.

Levine used Orlando Hudson, the Cubs and 2011 in the same sentence again.

Levine mentioned some very concerning news last Tuesday. Levine was asked about Welington Castillo and his response was as follows:

“They’re not sure what type of game Castillo calls. One pitch he called in San Francisco for Justin Berg cost them a ballgame. It was a curve they served up to Pat Burrell. They kind of held that against him. They have others in the minors who probably will pass Castillo.”

If that statement is true, it is ridiculous. Players must be given a chance to succeed and to fail, especially young ones. The Cubs have allowed players like Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez to not give 100% on a daily basis for years, to penalize a young player for a mistake is not the way to build confidence. If Castillo continues to make the mistake that is one thing, but one and done is the wrong way to coach a player.

Random Notes
2010 is the first season since 1993 that the Cubs did not hit at least 75 home runs at Wrigley Field. Lou and Q’s offense managed only 74 longballs in 81 home dates.

Mike Quade’s stock is rising and he could be a front-runner to land the job … just not a fall back option.

Well, that’s the latest … and I’m sticking to it!

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Quote of the Day

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein