Time for the Stretch

The last day of the baseball season is always filled with mixed emotions. If the team you follow has had a good year then you do not want it to end but if it’s been a bad season then chances are you are ready for it to be over. Maybe it is the kid in me but I am never ready for the baseball season to be over. Yes, there are the playoffs and the World Series but when the last out is made in the Cubs final game that is when my baseball season comes to an end.

After following a team day in and day out for seven-plus months, the final out is made then nothing. No more lineups, no more pre-game shows, no more Pat Hughes … just thoughts on what could have been.

It has been a long season and it is time for the CCO to take a break but not without a few thoughts and tips of the cap …

I know I say this around this time every year but it is hard to believe we just completed our sixth full season and will soon celebrate another anniversary. Where has the time gone?

When news breaks in the coming weeks, we will post it so you guys can keep up with, and discuss, the latest on the Chicago National League Ball Club but for now the daily articles, columns and reports will not be as frequent. You can follow the CCO on Twitter for the latest news and rumors during the down time.

A tip of the cap goes out to my wife Abby for all she does so her husband can have his hobby. A huge thanks goes out to Tom for his minor league reports and to Brian for reminding us all to have a sense of humor … and to my buddy Jim that helps keep the CCO on the World Wide Web. Plus, I cannot forget Mego, Hughes, Jake, ZuZu and Jordan.

I truly appreciate all of the readers and posters that fuel the CCO on daily basis. You guys are the truest definition of the Cubs Faithful and it is because of you that the CCO has carved out a space in the vast Cubs blogosphere.

Thank you! And until next time … Stay Classy Cubs Fans

Follow the CCO on Twitter

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
Share on Fancred
  • GaryLeeT

    Once again Neil, your coverage of the Cubs, and the management of this site were beyond spectacular. To bad this year the CCO was not a place to gather, and rejoice, but having a place to commiserate, was a much appreciated therapy. Thanks again to you Neil, Brian, Tom, and all that make this site what it is……. home base for true Cub fans.

  • Tony_Hall

    Thank-you Neil for this great site.  Don’t kid yourself, 7 1/2 months of following this team…you follow this team 365 days a year, always on top of all that is going on in the Cubs World.  

    Take a break, but I would be surprised, if this off season, isn’t the most active we have seen yet.

  • jw

    My appreciation of all that you do goes without saying…I thoroughly enjoy the site. It is informative, lively and good spirted and it is that way because of your dedication, passion and leadership.

    I look forward to the off season and all of the great discussion.

  • Tony_Hall

    Congrats to Starlin Castro for finishing 6th place in the NL in Batting Average.  An amazing start to this young kids career.  Most kids his age are in college, or A ball.  His glove needs work, but compare his 28 error to some other SS, in their early years, and you will see that it is very common for young SS to make a lot of errors.  The sky’s the limit for Starlin, and he will continue to get better.  Give him 4 years and see what this 25 year old star will look like on our team.

    • Tony_Hall

      Also realize that he will be arb eligible in 2013 (Super 2) and FA eligible at the end of the 2016 season, at age of 26.  The new GM needs to “Evan Longoria” him, and give the Cubs a team friendly deal for a change.

    • cubtex

      Exactly. Look at Rafael Furcal in his early years.

  • studio179

    Take a well deserved break! Great job doing what you do here!

  • John G

    THANK YOU NEIL!!!

    I am in awe of what you do.

    • Zippy2212

      Thank you very much Neil for everything you do for us “remote” Cubs fans.  This is the first and last site I check every day.  Living several states away I wouldn’t be able to get half of the Cubs info I get with out your site!

  • Aaron

    Mike Quade said he is “anxious”, but has “no anxiety” over the GM decision. Hmmmmmmmmmm…..seems like Mike Quade needs an interpretation lesson, seeing as the root of the word anxiety, is, in fact, ANXIOUS!!!!!!!!!! But I wouldn’t expect a dumbass like him to understand that.

    Anyway, I have my own anxiety right now over who will be the next GM. I’m concerned that Ricketts might settle for someone like Byrnes, Coletti, etc. I want him to go hard after Epstein or Friedman, and give them WHATEVER the hell they want.

    Who knows….if Epstein is tied to Francona, and they get along well, we could see a package deal with them coming over now that the BoSox are eliminated. If that’s the case, I wouldn’t be upset about Sandberg not getting the job, but I will say this…if that’s what happens, then Sandberg should ABSOLUTELY be the bench coach for Francona, and get his feet wet at the MLB level, learning under a very successful manager, who, ironically, also has ties to the Phillies.

     

    • cubtex

      Aaron…I read your post on who you would like as manager and it was ironic the 2 names you put together. Sandberg and Dave Martinez. Do you remember when both played for the Cubs….the big rumor was Martinez was having an affair with Sandberg’s wife? Shortly after, Martinez was dealt. I thought about that right away.

      • Aaron

        I actually remember the rumors….it was Palmeiro, Martinez, and even Mark Grace….Cindy was an awful person, who slept around, and ditched him when he retired. Supposedly the Cubs dealt Palmeiro and Martinez because of the distractions with Sandberg’s wife at the time.

        Additionally, word is that Sandberg pushed Maddux out the door for a similar reason. The way I understand it, Maddux had an above market deal to return to the Cubs from Himes, only to have it revoked upwards of 4 times.

        I know one fact is certain…..Cindy Sandberg cheated on Ryne on more than one occasion. There are varying stories out there as to why he retired, just as there were when Michael Jordan retired initially (you know…the whole gambling thing, and Stern forcing him out as a punishment, etc.)

        There was even a rumor circulated that Charles Barkley lived a few doors down from Sandberg in Arizona….Sandberg’s had is broken in Spring Training, returns home early, only to catch Cindy giving Barkley oral sex.

        So, who really knows what story is true…but I can tell you this…it probably led him to retire the first time, and you can see from other ballplayers like Aaron Miles even, how much it affects their play on the field.

        • cubtex

          Ha! I never heard the Barkley rumor but I definately remember the Davey Martinez one. That is why I thought it was ironic you put them together. I don’t think Sandberg would ever pick Martinez as one of his coaches if he gets the job :)

          • Aaron

            I never heard the Maddux one until more recently…that was a shocking revelation, but it doesn’t surprise me either, considering I played ball my whole life, and saw some pretty outrageous things in college with my teammates. What was perhaps more outrageous, were the skanks willing to do it.

             

    • cc002600

      I’ve heard rumors that Francona will be fired.
      Dan Patrick on his show said it this morning.

      And I know you know like Epstein, but just remember something. He has made a ton of bad FA signings that have wasted millions.

      Dice- K
      JD Drew
      Lugo
      Crawford (still early, but not looking good now…)
      Lackey

      And I know there are others….

      Be careful what you wish for….

      • cubtex

        You know my thoughts on Theo…Couldn’t agree more! Most overrated and overhyped GM in baseball!

        • studio179

          I am disappointed your post did not refer to Theo as ‘Wonder Boy’. :) 

          On that note, I never thought Theo, Billy, Brian or Andrew were coming to the Cubs. It is more likely a hot shot assistant or another GM/former GM. Friedman was my choice, but very unlikely to not happening.

          • cubtex

            Ha! But you have it reversed….It is ” Boy Wonder” How bout that Red Sox collapse? Unreal! The Rays are down 7-0 going into the 8th and Red Sox are up 3-2 going into 9th. Who would have thought the Rays would come back and win and the Sox blow the game against the O’s? That was awesome last night!

          • studio179

            Unbelievable! I was excited to see those events unfold. What a baseball night. Not to happy the Braves let the Cards in, but that AL East finish was outstanding! The Rays fans (all 200 of them) had to be ecstatic.

            I must have been thinking of Roy Hobbs bat ‘Wonderboy’ and not your fav Theo as ‘Boy Wonder’. My mistake. :) Sometimes in sports, terms like ‘Choke’ and ‘Collapse’ get overused. Not in this case!    

        • cc002600

          Yes, I agree.

          It sort of reminds me of Wannstedt…..remember when Ditka was fired and Wanny was the hottest thing since sliced bread, and everyone had to have him ?? 

          Yea, how’d that work out ?

          It was all total media hype and people get all caught up in it.

          When you can spend 160M, you get a lot of mulligans…..sorry, I just don’t think Theo is that great……

  • PleaseStopLosing

    Thanks Neil for another great season of coverage. You keep my knowledge filled in like no other site can about Cubs baseball. I hope for your sake along with mine and all the other posters and contributors to this site that Ricketts and company do everything in their power to bring us a World Series in the near future! Let’s have a good winter everyone and hopefully the outlook next spring is positive. Kool-Aid free.

  • paulcatanese

    Neil, thank you for a lot of things, the site so well run and I consider you as a true friend, your’e knowledge and forthright approach to the game has been wonderful for me.I also thank you for learning to use a computer in a way I did not think was possible. You have always been here for problems and very patient, and thanks to youre wife Abby as I know what wives contribute to our lives. Tom,Brian and to all the other contributors the same, thanks to all of you.I look forward to the site this next year and the winter. To all of the Cub fans out there I know we have one thing in common,,,,we are all insane.

  • Tom U

    Thank you Neil for providing the most entertaining and honest coverage of the Chicago Cubs.

    I also thank Neil for giving me the opportunity to be a part of his “hobby” (more like a passion), and Brandon, for providing the blueprint for minor league coverage. Thank you too to Brian for allowing us to look at things with perspective. And thank you to the readers for for all of your encouragement and support.

    Lastly, I’d like to thank my wife Katie for allowing me to chase this dream, and my children Anthony and Lauren, for their assistance and support. We hope to be bringing you even more in-depth coverage in the future.

    • cubtex

      I second that! Great coverage by all!

      • paulcatanese

        I read that the Hall of Fame asked for Castro’s jersey after his hitting this year, he will ultimatly be the only Cub from this roster to make it.They even set aside a case and have third baseman of the future engraved on the top.

        • cubtex

          Nice one Paul :)

    • cc002600

      Tom U, thanks for all your updates.

      Ok, now that the season is over.
      Real simple question:

      Gimme your top 10 in the farm that you think have highest ceilings
       

      • Tom U

        Sorry to reply so late, but I’m just getting back from work.

        I’ll give you the ten players that are in the minors now that I would like the Cubs to hold onto at all costs. But one proviso, no players currently playing below Boise, including Javier Baez, who just had a cup of coffee with them.

        Brett Jackson
        DJ LeMahieu
        Nick Struck
        Jeffrey Beliveau
        Jae-Hoon Ha
        Josh Vitters
        Dae-Eun Rhee
        Matt Szczur
        Austin Kirk
        Yao-Lin Wang

        It was tough to narrow it down to those ten, as I had to rule out Trey McNutt, Junior Lake, Steve Clevenger, Jeffry Antigua, Frank Batista, Richard Jones, Ryan Cuneo, and Zeke DeVoss. Those players, and several others, are good enough to make the list.

        • cubtex

          Tom, Can you explain to me on why you are so high on Nick Struck? Looking at his numbers one would believe he is very hittable and doesn’t have a high ceiling at all. Gives up way more hits than innings pitched and doesn’t strike anybody out. What do you like about him and why do you consider him to have such a high ceiling?

          • cubtex

            Correction, I only looked in AAA for his K rate. It’s not as bad as I thought but he still gives up a lot of hits.

          • Tom U

            Also, he’s just 21 years old and made it to Triple-A all the way from Daytona this past season. In order to do that, the organization must also think highly of him.

          • cubtex

            OK. But the question was players with the highest ceilings. Based on his numbers in the minors…..I don’t see him being much more than a #4 or #5 at best. Looks more like a middle relief guy. I heard he doesn’t have above average stuff, I was just asking what you like about him. Thanks for your reply and your reports all year.

          • Tom U

            Okay, but that would take a lot more thought at this time. Sounds like a future article!

            As for Struck, you are right. Because of the Cubs’ needs, I would not give him up right now, but he doesn’t have a particularly high ceiling.

        • Tom U

          Just to clarify the list, I went from Triple-A down. These players are not ranked in order of importance.

  • paulcatanese

    I think one of the biggest disapointments of the year is its after midnight and Qua is still the manager.

  • cc002600

    Thank you, Neil !

    You are the best !!!

    And this is THE best Cubs Website out there, bar none.

  • paulcatanese

    The vets ought to be very happy with Qua, as he went overboard to please them. No reason for Dempster to be in that game for so long last night. And playing Aram at all in the last two games, all that did was probably earn Aram another $500,000 for that home run Tuesday night with another team. And he’s still here(Qua).

    • Tony_Hall

      There is no way a guy should get 200 innings in a season, with a ERA that high.  Unless your team has an awful lot of offense.  Time for QBall to go back to the minors.

      • cubtex

        yep

      • Ryan7

        I think u mean its time for him to retire. Leave baseball for ever.

        • Tony_Hall

          No, not at all.  He has dedicated his life to baseball.  If someone doesn’t make it at the major league level, it still leaves them in a small group of very successful baseball coaches.  He is a good man, that is in over his head.  So be it.  But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t still work, at the profession he has dedicated his life to.

    • studio179

      Dempster could have giving up another grand slam early on and Q would have let him pitch to get his 200 innings. That’s QBall!

       

  • Gramps

    Thanks for another great season of keeping Cubs fans informed and up to date. You guys are the best! Take a well-earned break and before you know it another season will be starting. Seems like a lot will be happening during this off-season and this is the place I go to to get the most up to date facts on my favorite team. Once again, you guys are the BEST!

  • cubtex

    2012 Outfield ideas. How would this outfield look next year? Aquire Logan Morrison from Marlins as part of Z trade with cash. Sign Michael Cuddyer(free agent) for right field.

    LF Logan Morrison
    CF Brett Jackson
    RF Michael Cuddyer

    I would like all new blood out there next year. Trade Soriano to AL. Trade Byrd or keep as 4th outfielder to give BJax a day off against tough lefties and to mentor. Cuddyer could also spot start at 1st if you have a lefty 1st baseman and you want to get a right handed lineup out there against a tough lefthanded pitcher

    • cc002600

      I like Cuddyer….I think he would be nice pickup.

      doesn’t he also play some 3B ??
      If yes, I would put him there, if we lose ARAM.

       

      • cubtex

        He fills in a little at 3B. He played more RF and 1B last year. He is a great clubhouse guy too(which is important) If they can get him at a 2 year deal at around 7.5 mil…I would do it for him.

        • cubtex

          that 7.5 per year

      • Tony_Hall

        Cuddyer plays anywhere the manager tells him to go.  He is very versatile, and even pitched some this year.

    • studio179

      I agree about the outfield. Blow it up. Push hard to trade Sori to an AL team. I have been talking to friends about Cuddyer as a possibility for a few weeks and I like your Morrison angle.

    • Aaron

      I like that….provided you stick with LaHair, or possibly sign a lower cost FA 1B like Kotchman to handle 1B duties…If not, then you make Morrison your everyday 1B.

      • cubtex

        I like Kotchman too because he doesn’t strikeout much at all. Good glove and he plays hard. They would need to trade for him though because he is not a free agent till after next year. I know I am dreaming but this lineup would look good to me…

        LF Logan Morrison
        CF Brett Jackson
        RF Michael Cuddyer
        3B Michael Young
        SS Castro(Sorry Paul…but he should still be playing SS)
        2B LeMahieu
        1B Casey Kotchman
        C Soto(Unless you can get a good return on a trade…otherwise keep him for another year and hope he bounces back and then trade him)

        Not a bad lineup. Good combo of left and right. Young and Castro will each get 200 hits or close to that. Cuddyer and Morrison will replace Soriano and ARam’s lost HR production. And….it would cost them less to field a more balanced team this way than signing a Pujols or Fielder.

        • Aaron

          NICE!!!!!!! You totally reminded me of Young. I absolutely forgot about him, and there’s no reason I should have, considering he is NOT fond of the Rangers management, especially Daniels right now…so there’s a fit, it would seem, with the Cubs absorbing his salary, and providing a stopgap at 3B for them until Vitters (or someone else) is ready.

          That would be a pretty damn exciting lineup too

        • paulcatanese

          If you could get Young over to the Cubs, I would never mention Castro for third base ever again, I would consider him for 2B or CF though.

  • cubtex

    I couldn’t have been happier watching the Red Sox choke last night and see the Rays come back from a 7-0 game in the 8th to win! Incredible baseball! Look at the difference in the 2 teams. Red Sox have over a 160 Mil payroll for 2011 and the Rays have a 41 Mil payroll. You can take 4 players from last night’s game and it is well over the Rays entire team.

    Starting pitcher Lester- 5.75 mil
    Relief pitcher  Papelbon 12 mil
    Left Fielder  Carl Crawford 20 mil (including signing bonus)
    DH   David Ortiz  12.5 Mil

    Total- 50,250,000         Rays entire team  41,000,000

    Incredible! They are the real “Money Ball” team

    • Calicub

      Thats why Friedman would be the Best Option

      Theo is overrated. 

  • Jay from sandwich

    Thank you Neil, and Abby for a good year for Chicagocubsonline.com
    I enjoyed reading your columns very much and look forward for more. Being married myshelf for 23 years I know that good spouce like your Abby and my wife are hard to find. I hope you can find some time to pamper/spoil her a little for alouwing you to spend the time that you do on this website.

  • Aaron

    I thought in the interest of kicking off the offseason with a bang, I’d create a list of the top free agents, and supposedly available trade targets the Cubs should go after:

    SP FA:
    Edwin Jackson
    Mark Buehrle
    Roy Oswalt (assuming Phillies decline options, as expected)
    Jeff Francis (b/c he’s lefty, could come cheap, and had somewhat decent success in the NL before)
    Scott Kazmir (on minor league deal, invite to Spring Training…a year’s lay-off could be good for him)
    Brad Penny (Penny is an enigma, but you have to admit his stats in the NL have been good historically, so perhaps a move back would do him well)
    CJ Wilson (I listed him at the bottom, because he’ll likely require $100+million, and that’s dangerous in my mind)

    SP Trade:
    Gavin Floyd
    John Danks
    Ricky Nolasco
    Chad Billingsley
    Jonathan Sanchez
    Derek Lowe (not at all my favorite target, but he’s a groundball pitcher, and while he had a down year and will be 39 next year, perhaps if they take one of the Cubs bad contracts–singular or plural–a deal might make sense, plus, he has just one year and $15 million remaining on his deal)
    Tim Hudson (with a rotation that already includes: Jurrjens, Beachy, Hanson, and Minor, plus an up-and-comer like Delgado, and Teheran waiting in the wings, the Braves are stacked, and can afford to trade a high-priced veteran, even one with good stats like Hudson)
    Johan Santana (has 2 yrs, $49 million remaining, PLUS $5.5 million buyout. Mets would LOVE to get out from under his deal)
    Mike Pelfrey (arbitration eligible and getting more expensive, coming off a disappointing season)
    John Lackey
    Barry Zito

    PEN FA:
    Madson
    Broxton
    Capps
    KROD
    Juan Cruz
    Owings
    Zumaya

    PEN Trade:
    Not even going there…it’s really limitless, because relievers have shorter contracts and are easier to trade

    POSITION PLAYERS FA:
    Fielder
    Pujols
    Kotchman
    Reyes (provided he’s not over $100 million, and if Cubs think Castro can transition to 2B or 3B)
    Damon (for leadership….and curse-breaking, plus, 16 hr, 73 RBI, and 19 SB would put him close to the top of the Cubs lineup in run production and stolen bases anyhow)
    Willingham (but not for huge money)
    McLouth (only as minor league invite and depth)

    POSITION PLAYERS Trade:
    Morrison
    Kouzmanoff
    Headley
    Sandoval
    Encarnacion
    BJ Upton
    Quentin
    Melky Cabrera
    Rasmus
    Chris Davis

    The Cubs biggest needs heading into the offseason are as follows:
    Starting pitching-at least 2 starters
    3B now that ARAM is all but gone
    1B other than Pena who absolutely sucked when it counted most
    OF needs more thump
    2B could use an upgrade over a guy that while he started the year well, finished with a pathetic line of .276/.313/.353, 146 hits, 23 doubles, 6 triples, 2 hr, 43 RBI and a pathetic 22 walks and 67 K’s

    I have a hard time believing LeMahieu couldn’t do better than that. I think if he goes to Camp Colvin, gets stronger, he could get more than 150+hits in full-time duty with greater RBI potential.

    The best Barney ever did in a full minor league season was .299/.333/.378 in 114 games last year with 143 hits, 24 doubles, 4 triples, 2 hr, 49 RBI and 23 walks vs 52 K’s

    Compare that to LeMahieu, who has never hit below .314 in pro ball, and had a full season last year of:
    .314/.346/.386,  174 hits, 24 doubles, 5 triples, 2 hr, 73 RBI, and 29 walks vs 61 K’s in 135 games

    …or this year with:
    .319/.354/.423, 132 hits, 22 doubles, 3 triples, 5 hr, 50 RBI, 25 walks, 49 K’s in 108 games

    Better power, better production, slightly more patient, and FAR better run production…..The 2B upgrade would come from internally with LeMahieu, but the Cubs will never see it that way, unless Q-Ball is gone.

    If the Cubs could part ways with Soriano, Byrd, and possibly even Colvin (or just let him play at AAA for an entire year), then an OF of Quentin in LF, B. Jackson in CF and Upton in RF….

    So let’s do a comparison with the Cubs current OF (putting Johnson in RF in favor of Colvin) vs the new proposal:

    LF-Soriano: .244/.289/.469, 116 hits, 27 doubles, 1 triple, 26 hr, 88 RBI, 2 SB, 27 walks, 113 K’s
    CF-Byrd: .276/.324/.395, 123 hits, 22 doubles, 2 triples, 9 hr, 35 RBI, 3 SB, 25 walks, 78 K’s
    RF-Johnson: .309/.348/.467, *246 AB’s, 111 games, 76 hits, 22 doubles, 1 triples, 5 hr, 28 RBI, 2 SB, 5 walks, 63 K’s

    vs

    LF-Quentin: .254/.340/.499, *421 AB’s games, 118 games, 107 hits, 31 doubles, 24 hr, 77 RBI, 1 SB, 34 walks, 84 K’s
    CF-Jackson: .274/.379/.490, 118 hits, 23 doubles, 5 triples, 20 hr, 58 RBI, 21 SB, 73 walks, 138 K’s
    RF-Upton: .243/.331/.429, 136 hits, 27 doubles, 4 triples, 23 hr, 81 RBI, 36 SB, 71 walks, 161 K’s

    And at 29, 23, and 27 years old next year, it sure beats the hell out of an OF of 36, 34, and 35 years old, which the Cubs would likely have next year.

    The White Sox and Rays respectively, are looking to cut costs anywhere they can with the Sox having spent a ton of money this year with little to show for it, and needing to keep their rotation intact with Buehrle likely heading out, and the Rays with their poor attendance record….they need to save wherever they can. Ironically, both players were rumored on their way out at the deadline, and Upton is always rumored to be on his way out anyway. With Upton, the Cubs would have to part ways with a top prospect like McNutt, plus someone like Lake, and with Quentin, the White Sox would need someone versatile and cost controlled like Barney, plus a few pitching prospects like Rusin and Jay Jackson.

    I am convinced that if the Cubs can trade bad contracts, they could contend next year. Guys like Soriano, Byrd, Zambrano absolutely have to be gone, and current low-cost, but soon-to-be high cost guys like Wells and Soto also need to be jettisoned.

    If the Cubs can deal those guys, and make strategic moves to land Morrison, Quentin, and Upton, they could be a great shape, without having to break the bank on someone like Fielder or Pujols.

    If Friedman gets in, I could see a lot of strategic moves for young players that need a change of scenery. At the very least, I could see a 75% roster turnover….if it’s not Friedman or Epstein, or some young guy like Cherington….we might see more of the same, and it would be disastrous in my opinion.

     

    • cubtex

      Didn’t you do a double take when you wrote down those stats for BJax and Upton. 300 K’s projected between the 2 players. Imagine if they resigned Pena for 1st with those 3? I also would not trade a lot of their prospects for Upton. I would prefer using the prospects for a starting pitcher like Jonathon/Anibal Sanchez , Danks or someone like that. Upton will not come cheap. Sign Cuddyer instead for right and trade for a SP with the prospects you would have used for Upton.

      • Aaron

        Yes, you’re right about Upton and Jackson….but did you also notice they walked over 70 times each, plus they both are 20+SB threats, which you CANNOT say about Soriano, Byrd, and Johnson, who together combined for 254 K’s and just 57 walks between them.

        So, yes, Upton and Jackson strike out a lot, but they also walk a TON with 144 walks between them (nearly 3 times as many as Soriano, Byrd, and Johnson combined) and 299 K’s…..so just 45 more K’s than the 3 of the others, but nearly 3 times as many walks….hmmmmmmmmmm….which would you rather have?

        Consider this lineup for a second:

        Jackson-CF
        Castro-SS
        Morrison-1B
        Quentin-LF
        Upton-RF
        Chris Davis (has played both 1B and 3B)/Kouzmanoff/Flaherty/etc.-3B
        LeMahieu-2B
        Castillo/Clevenger-C

        That team would be pretty exciting to watch with 5 guys (6 if you count Castro) that have 20+hr potential, and 3 guys with 20+SB potential.

        • cubtex

          I wouldn’t be compaining if that is what they put out next year…but it depends on the price of Upton.The Rays would want someone like Sczur and McNutt for him. At least 2 top 10 prospects. I would rather do that for a pitcher.  I am not a Chris Davis fan either. Jackson, Morrison, Upton and Chris Davis would each have over 100 K’s in that lineup. It would be more exciting than this team…but again imo too many K’s

          • Brett

            Those 4 would have over 150 k’s….way too many. Also, morrison & davis aren’t that good with the glove

    • Calicub

      I can’t see San Fran trading their beloved Panda Bear away and quite frankly I would hate to see him in a Cubs uniform. 

      Although if He and Soto could easily put a buffet out of business…

      • Aaron

        I can….and he committed himself, and lost weight, so he has that going for him. If the Giants wanted to sell high, they’d trade him, and the Cubs certainly have a need right now at 3B

      • paulcatanese

        Right, the Panda, I dont know if pinstripes stretch sideways.

  • Chipguy2030

    yep the Cubs still suck!  Management has no CLUE!  I hate loving the “LOVABLE LOSERS!”  THIS BEER IS FOR “NEXT YEAR”

  • Calicub

    Bruce Levine’s interactive Cubs report card:

    http://espn.go.com/chicago/polls?id=7033211

    Apparently Koyie Hill;s Stellar Defense and him being Dempsters BUTT buddy earns him a B.  Conventional Media is just so pathetic

    • Aaron

      actually seems like Hill is Levine’s butt buddy, just as Hendry was…LOL

  • Henry

    Neil, I don’t write often but I read CCO everyday!  this is the best place to catch up on the Cubs.  I tell anyone who is a Cub fan that this is the only place to go for real Cub information.  All your contributors including all who participate with comments make for an enjoyable read!  I know the Cubs themselves will soon start contributing to the enjoyment of checking out CCO as well.  Thanks for all your efforts! 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From the Tribune: Cubs place Big Z back on 40-man roster, designate Schillter, Berg for assignment.

    • cubtex

      OK…now get the trade worked out sending Z to the Marlins

  • Chuck

    Neil, your the greatest.  From Fort Myers a big thank you for all that you do.  BTW Johan Santana lives in Fort Myers and has been rehabbing here in Fort Myers with the Mets in the Fall Instructional League.

  • AT in N. Texas

    This was my first year on your site.  As a Cub fan in diaspora (North Texas) let me say visiting your site on a daily basis has been a pleasure.  I look forward to staying classy with you next year! Go Cubs.

    • cubtex

      Another member of the Lone Star State! Welcome!

  • Coolpdxcubsfan

    Neil,
     I only have one thing to say and Rhyno already said it. You play the game right!! (The column game)
    Thank You for your perseverance , your intensity and your integrity!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    I really appreciate all of the comments … thank you.