Catching Up from the Cubs Last Off Day of the Season

In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the traffic on the site you haven’t, the Cubs have managed to win a few here and there, and are tied with the Pirates for fourth place in the NL Central …

With all due respect to Harry Doyle, the Cubs season is dwindling down. There are just six games remaining on the schedule before a very important off-season begins. Tom Ricketts has several big decisions to make in the coming weeks that will impact the organization for the foreseeable future. Right now there is more speculation surrounding the Cubs than news coming out of the offices at the corner Clark and Addison.

So as a lost season comes to an end, here is an update on the last Friday the Cubs play baseball this year …

Aramis Ramirez
According to a report from the Sun-Times, if Aramis Ramirez opts out of his contract and leaves Chicago, the Cubs will have a gaping hole at third base. The Cubs are expected to exercise their option on Aramis Ramirez for 2012 worth $16 million … and Ramirez is expected to decline his part of the mutual option and test the free agent market.

The Cubs will receive draft pick compensation for Ramirez, and save $2 million, if they exercise their part of the mutual option and Ramirez opts out.

If Ramirez opts out, the in house candidates to replace him at third base includes Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt, D.J. LeMahieu, Josh Vitters, Ryan Flaherty and Marwin Gonzalez.

Both Vitters and Flaherty will be added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster this winter but both need more time in the minors. Vitters will suit up soon for the Mesa Solar Sox in the AFL and is expected to see action at third, first and left field. Vitters showed improvement at the plate and in the field at the Double-A level but at 22 years old, Vitters figures to be at least a year away from the show and by then Vitters could be on the other side of the diamond.

If Tom Ricketts is able to hire a GM before the end of the World Series, Aramis Ramirez’s future with the Cubs figures to be the first decision he makes.

Tim Wilken
Tim Wilken met with Tom Ricketts last weekend and will return to the organization for the final year of his contract. Wilken did not receive an extension as expected but was given enough support to hire and retain his staff at his discretion.

Bryan LaHair and Jeff Beliveau
The Cubs named Bryan LaHair and Jeff Beliveau their Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year earlier in the week.

Bryan LaHair tore up the PCL and was named the league’s MVP. In 129 games, LaHair compiled a .331/.405/.664/1.070 line with 38 doubles, 38 home runs and 109 RBI.

Bryan LaHair’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Jeff Beliveau was a combined 6-2 in 53 games, all in relief, for the Daytona Cubs and Tennessee Smokies this season. The 24-year old southpaw was the 18th round pick of the Cubs in 2008 and finished the year with a 1.57 ERA and a 0.928 WHIP. Beliveau was 6-1 in 41 games for the Smokies with a 1.89 ERA and a 0.877 WHIP. Beliveau will pitch in the upcoming Arizona Fall League.

Jeff Beliveau’s Page on Baseball-Reference

Mike Quade
With the exception of Mike Quade, most feel Mike Quade as has six more games as the manager of the Chicago Cubs. Quade was asked about his future with the team prior to the home finale on Wednesday and Quade thinks he will be back as skipper of the Cubs next season.

Quade said he plans to be back and plans on doing a good job next season. Quade added if the Cubs decide to go in a different direction “so be it.” Quade has not spoken with Tom Ricketts about his future or the future of his coaching staff. Quade has one more year on the two-year contract he signed last winter.

News and Notes
According to a report from the Tribune, Marlon Byrd figures to return to the Cubs next season for the final year of the three-year contract he signed prior to the 2010 season. Byrd said he understands if the Cubs decide to go young in the off-season and move him for a younger player.

The Tribune reported that with Aramis Ramirez as good as gone that Carlos Pena is a good bet to return next season.

Gary Hughes, special assistant to Jim Hendry, resigned this week. Hughes informed the Cubs that he would be stepping down at the end of the month after nine seasons with the organization. Hughes likely would have returned if Jim Hendry had not been fired. Hughes is a member of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame and is one of the most respected scouts in the game.

Jim Hendry attended Tuesday night’s game as a guest of the Ricketts family.

Catching Hell“, the ESPN documentary about Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS airs Tuesday, September 27 at 7:00pm CDT.

The Cubs have a chance to spoil the Cardinals chances at the post season this weekend and if Q’s Cubs could split their last six games they would end up with a winning record in September. The Cubs are 10-9 with six left to play and if they post a winning record this month it would mark the first time since 2008 the Cubs posted winning records in back-to-back months (16-13 in August).

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Well … there’s the update and I’m sticking to it.

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
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  • Schwimmer

    I am surprised to hear so many people think that PENA will be with the CUBS next year?  I say:   “NO WAY!”  At his age, his Agent, Scott Boras is going to go after a 2 or 3 year Deal at $35 to $40 million.  Don’t forget the CUBS got PENA for $10 mil this year…with the idea that PENA would “re-establish” himself for a much bigger and longer contract.

    For the CUBS he is not a great fit.  PENA does not hit with runners in scoring position.  That’s a fact.  Over this season he has shown he is not much of a “clutch hitter.”  He certainly doesn’t hit for average.  And, his defense is nowhere as good as it once was.  He is growing “older.”  His skills can only diminish further over the next 1-2 years.  We already know that he can hit .196.

    BOTTOM LINE:   Why would the CUBS want to give PENA a 2 or 3 year deal at that kind of money?  If the CUBS are going to spend $12 or $13 million on a player like him…I’d rather spend more and get the “real deal,” like FIELDER (or even PUJOIS).  These are 2 players that would bring fans to the ballpark and provide “proven” clutch-hitting performance.  And, genuine excitement to our offense!!!

    By the way…for all of PENA’s “sweet talk” about wanting to be a CUB…the reality is:  Scott Boras has already said that he will “wait until FIELDER and PUJOIS are signed” before letting PENA sign with anyone.

    So forget about this malarky about “how much” PENA wants to play for the CUBS.  Or, how “emotionally” attached he’s gotten to the CUBS!  That’s B.S. and, a laugh! :)   PENA wants to play for the TEAM that signs him for the “most years…at the most money!”  That’s who he wants to play for.  (And, I do not blame him for that.)

    And, let’s not forget that BERKMAN who has already hit 30 HR and driven in over 110 RBIs and batted .300 has already signed with the CARDINALS for $12 million…for 1 year.  That’s how much he’d rather play for the CARDINALS than anywhere else.   Now…that is a player that is worth $12 mil!!!!

    If I were the GM…I’d either go after FIELDER (since we are dumping RAMIREZ’s salary and losing his bat), or, I’d give LaHAIR a chance to play, first.

    I say PENA will not be a CUB next year.  He’ll be playing on an American League ball club where a 2 year contract might make sense because he can DH.

    Let’s change our strategy from signing “older” veterans who make mediocre contributions in their “final years” (when it doesn’t count) to either signing a “major impact” player like FIELDER or PUJOIS…or, playing a “young rookie” who might surprise us with some real performance.

    • J Daniel

      100% agreed with you on Pena, no way he should be resigned.  Aram should be resigned and LaHair should be given a chance.  The only way they should let Aram go is if they are signing Pujols/Fielder and have a cheaper option at 3rd.  There are not many long term options available at third on the market.

      • cc002600

        totally agree as well…..would like to see them re-sign ARAM for 2 years,
        let Pena go, and have LaHair play 1B…..which probably means the opposite will
        happen. ugh.  

        Remember, this is the cubs we’re talking about.
         

    • studio179

      Yeah, I don’t get the Pena thing, either. Like you and everyone else is saying, he came to the Cubs with the 1/10 signing to re-establish himself. Boras is holding Pena back until after Pujols and Fielder sign their deals. That will maximize Pena’s dollar on the market as the next, next, next best 1B power hitter out there. He will cost dearly for those home runs…many of which will be against lesser pitching and not in key situations anyway. I hope ownership does not lock into the thought that Pena is needed to come back. He won’t cost as much as Ramirez, but he will be way overpaid anyhow. Maybe LaHair is or is not the answer, but Pena does not make up the difference like upgraded pitching will do. 

      • studio179

        Fielder…I meant Pena won’t cost as much as Fielder, not Ramirez.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree 100% Pena looks out for Pena, how many teams has he been with now? Are all of those his favorites? If nothing else transpires for first base play LaHair there, as I have mentioned beforehe would be better with the glove than Dunn, and for that matter Berkman if one was to compare them in the outfield. He will hit better that Pena (thats not a contest) true Pena has done everything asked of him and has had a better year than the last few. He is getting older, and a multi year contract would be disatrous for the Cubs. The biggest achomplishment Pena has done is getting
      Boras as his agent.

  • J Daniel

    All of the reports by the papers is just speculation.  Do they have an inside source?  There is no GM at this moment so I am amazed that they already have the answers.

    Let’s see who and when the GM is hired.

    • Schwimmer

      I agree.  Writers get paid to speculate and make up “unsubstantiated” rumors on topics such as “who might be the CUB’S new GM.  They love or make up stories they wish were true (see Phil Rogers :)

      If any of us were in RICKETT’S place and searching for the “right” GM…we would probably wait until the season is over.  And, we could interview the whole field of the best GMs available.

      What’s the rush?   (If any of the GMs he wanted were available in JULY…it’s safe to say…he would have hired them.)

      Also…as diehard “loving” CUB fans let’s give RICKETTS the benefit of the doubt.  He and his family are billioinaires.   They didn’t get that way because they are stupid.  There is so much “we” fans do not know about what is going on behind the scenes.

      For all we know…there are 2 or 3 “top notch” GMs who said to RICKETTS:  “Hey…I’m very interested.  But I’ve got to finish my season.  Then, let’s talk!”

      I am sure that is “why” he is waiting.

      ARam realizes that he’s not going to get 3 or 4 years from the CUBS and top dollar.   Especially, once he saw that HENDRY was fired in late July.
      So, it makes perfect sense to “blame” his decision for being a FA…because the CUBs have “no GM” to talk to him.

      This is ARam’s last big contract.  I think we should all thank him for his great offensive efforts and wish him well.

      I’d rather see the CUBS get rid of ARam, SORIANO, PENA, and BYRD and give younger guys a chance to show us what they can do.

      Lastly, I am really upset with QUADE that he is not giving LaHAIR a chance to play 1st base.  (And, that RICKETTS isn’t telling him to play him instead of PENA).   Why on earth, would QUADE care if PENA hits 30 HRs???   I can’t believe how bad QUADE’s sense of priorities are?!

      • Ryan7

        I agree, the rickettes have done a lot of what they said they were going to. The fans want everything they said they were going to do done over night or with in a year. That was never going to happen. Yes it has taken a few years and this offseason is going to be where they do a lot more and the fans should see that. Give the rickettes some time go finish what they said they were going to. So what it took a few years. The tribune owned then for how long and did nothing to better the team and the rickettes have owned them for three and look at what they have done

  • diehardcubfan

    Neil, you need to be commended for your resilience and perseverance all season to include maintaining the site on these last few days of the season.  This despite the fact that the Cubs seem to be floundering in uncertainty going into the last few days with an uncertain future. 

    I personally am very concerned about the future of this team given that very little headway is being made to find a new GM despite the fact that JH was fired back on 22 Jul 11.  Makes you wonder what was in Tom Rickett’s head at the time and why so little progress is being made.

    Here is to you Neil for being a truly faithful Cubs fan.

    • J Daniel

      How do you know very little headway has been made?  GM’s and managers, especially the top guys, are not hired until the season is over.  The new GM may be under contract someplace else.

      Ricketts is a successful buisness man so he has a plan.  The plan may not be good but he has one.  I am sure he has his short list and I would bet the ranch they are currently under contract and their teams are in the playoff hunt.  Nothing can be done with them until the season is over.

      If it means they have to wait until then to speak with Theo or Friedman than so be it.

      • diehardcubfan

        I have watched this team for to many years to even come to the conclusion the Cubs ever have a plan.  Everything with this team is knee jerk reaction.  I think the Cubs will have a very hard time luring a high profile GM to come be the GM for the Cubs. 

        The one the Cubs will choose will have an emphasis on player development  as Ricketts eluded to so that means the person who takes over this job will have to wait a while for the team to mature and contend.  It will take someone with imagination and patience and who is in it for the long haul.  That to me makes it look like the Cubs will focus on someone below the radar screen. 

        I think in the end the Cubs will get a Deputy GM that has been mentored by someone with great credentials.  That is how I see it playing out.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you.

  • diehardcubfan

    If the Cubs let ARAM walk then I think it will be between Flaherty and Gonzalez for the starting job at 3B next year.  I then also see the Cubs letting Pena walk and hopefully making a big push for Fielder.

    ARAM will likely end up with the Angels as he fits there needs and Texas is only getting stronger.  I see the Angles coughing up the money and agreeing to his terms.

    If the Cubs do not land Fielder then it will be a really long season because this team will have no run producers. 

    I do not see the Cubs landing either Berkman or Pujols given the fact that both are getting older and the Cubs are not in position to contend for a couple of years.  Fielder on the other hand might be more inclined if the Ricketts can convince him the Cubs are moving in the right direction.

    The Cubs number one priority needs to be finding another starting pitcher and that will not be easy. 

    The Cubs are no longer (according to JH) three or four moves from contention.  This team is in complete disarray and it will take 10-12 moves and quality prospects to make this team a contender.

    As for Byrd, he will be back next year to back up Jackson and Johnson will walk.  The Cubs will look to save money at all spots.

    2012 is shaping up to be a very long season, 

    • J Daniel

      Byrd would be a very good 4th outfielder.  It is my hope that he can be moved in the offseason and that they will be going with BJax.

    • Bryan

      Diehard…I’m not as pessimistic (yet) regarding 2012.  Strange things can happen.  I’d like to see a renewed push for Sandberg as manager…but beyond that a potential rotation that includes Cashner (I know, can he rebound from this years injury), along with Garza, Dempster and perhaps Samardjia could be a starting point…and then try to add another started in the likes of Oswalt, Danks or Sanchez. That could work.

      If I was to push at the free-agent market I would go after Jose Reyes, which allows you move Castro to 3B.  Your infield could consist of Castro, Reyes, DJ M and Pena (with Barney as your super-sub).  The OF starts with LaHair in LF and Jackson in CF, with a hole in RF (I could live with Reed Johnson there..or perhaps a push for someone like Upton in the offseason).  Not a lot of power, so you convert to more small ball, speed, and athleticism.  I would try to move Soto (still has decent value) and Byrd and Soriano (for whatever you can get), along with K. Hill (for a box of Cracker Jacks at most).  You platoon Castillo and Clavenger behind the plate.  Certainly I’d love to also see a Fielder at 1B, but again think Reyes is a better fit within the FA group.  There is money to be available w/o Ramirez, Grabow and Zambrano…and whatever you can save on Soriano.  The key is finally to spend $$$ wisely. 

      • http://twitter.com/chadbraham Chad Braham

        Bryan, I had the same thought as you concerning targeting Reyes over any of the other high priced free agents.  But, when you look at how injured prone he is, it sort of makes you wonder how much he would totally  Nomar-Garciaparra us (except it would be for a 4 yr, no-trade deal – ouch).

        I do think I like the idea of moving Starlin to 3B.  Our defense is just terrible, and we have to get it better if we are going to loose sluggers like A-Ram.  Starlin doesn’t have enough pop to be a 3B on a contending team, but the Cubs system has more middle infielders then they do corner IF prospects.  Perhaps we could sign JJ Hardy for much less, as a stop gap, and keep the revolving door on the middle IF spots until some one wins the jobs (hopefully someone who doesn’t strike out as much as Barney did this year).

        The Cubs focus has to be on starting pitching this offseason, the problem is, there are only 2 free agent pitchers this offseason – and C.J. Wilson and Sabathia are for sure going to get the kind of contract the Cubs shouldn’t sign… we are going to be hurting a lot in 2012 kids.

        Finally, just a correction we won’t save any money when we dump Z and Soriano – we will have to eat almost all of their remaining contracts for another team to take them.

        • paulcatanese

          I agree with what you are saying. Reyes does have a tendacy to be injury prone, then again so does Aram, frequently and it seems more convienent for him as to when it happens.
          Castro to third base, been pushing that since last year, then Cubtex always beats me up ( To Cubtex, 3 more votes). Castro is improving his power stroke daily and look for him to be in the 20-25 HR class in 2012., that plus his hits would be enough for a third baseman.
          Being a realist for next year, I see Byrd ( for some unknown reason ) returning for his last year, and if  Qua is still here look not for Jackson patrolling center and Byrd mentoring him, but the other way around, Byrd getting the meat of playing time and Jackson filling in at different spots.
          Trading for a super number one pitcher is at best a gamble, even with a proven record does not gurantee that his arm wont fall off in a couple of months. I think we got lucky with Garza, only one little stint on his arm and he disputed that. One just dosent have an idea with arms.

      • diehardcubfan

        Bryan, I had not made a comment reference Reyes on this site but I too was thinking that Reyes would be a good way to go for the past few weeks.  My opinion though is that if the Cubs targeted Reyes and did not resign ARAM then they have a significant hole reference run production.  As other noted Reyes is also injury prone but his speed would be a great asset.  The Cubs could then consider moving Castro to 2B.  I would like to see Flaherty get a legitimate shot at 3B instead. 

        As you probably read all year I have been a big advocate of increasing the amount of small ball, speed and athleticism the probably is trying to change the Cubs culture along with tailoring the club to Wrigley.  This team has to have some thunder in the lineup to be effective at Wrigley. 

        I just can’t see the Cubs being able to land Reyes, Fielder and a starting pitcher together unless the Cubs can find a way to unload Soriano and Zambrano.  I would be shocked that Ricketts would have enough money. 

        It will be interesting to see how the winter plays out.

    • Redlarczykg

      You won’t see Berkman as a Cub, because the Card’s just signed him for 2012.

    • Brp921

      I would rather keep Johnson and get whatever we can for Byrd.

  • Schwimmer

    An Open Letter to CARLOS ZAMBRANO:
        
           Dear Carlos,
    I am sorry for you and the CUBS — that you have screwed up so often.  And, that you have had trouble controlling your emotions and behaving professionally.  You don’t really deserve another chance to play with the CUBS.  

    But I believe you deserve one final chance to redeem yourself.  (Especially, since we really need pitching badly.  And, I don’t want to see the better part of your $16 million dollar contract go down the toilet…with nothing to show for it :)

    So, here’s my suggestion:  If you’d like to be a “MENSCH,” and play the last year of your contract with the CUBS…I suggest you hold a “Press Conference.” 

    Please be prepared to speak very humbly and from your heart.   Tell the fans that you know that you have behaved badly and that you are seeking counseling.  And, that you publicly ask the Chicago CUB fans to forgive you and give you one last chance to redeem yourself.  Tell them that there is nothing you want more — then to be a CUB!!!!

    Tell them that on Monday morning, you will be calling TOM RICKETTS and asking him if he’d be willing to have a private meeting with you to discuss the situation.  All you want is one more chance to go to SPRING Training and compete to be in the starting rotation. And, that you fully understand that both he and the new GM will make the final decision.   

          Signed….Larry Schwimmer…A fan that believes you still have talent to play with the CUBS in 2012

    • Calicub

      I see your point and a rotation with him as the number 3 or 4 would be mighty nice but HE’S ALREADY BEENN TO COUNCILING. He’s already apollogized and he’s already said he wishes to remain a cub or retire. But that was just heat of the moment mumbo jumbo…I hope he retires so the cubs aren’t on the hook but if the cubs could dump him so be it… Maybe Big Z and Soriano to the Rangers for michael young and a bullpen arm or a middling prospect? who knows

      • studio179

        You got it right when you said the heat of the moment mumbo jumbo. I would imagine Praver about fell out of his chair when he heard Zambrano talking retirement and jumped in right away and talked sense into Z. That is a lot of money to walk away from, even for a millionaire, pro athlete.

         

  • cc002600

    Here’s the blueprint for success in 2012:
    This is assuming you can dump Z and Sori somehow.

    1.) re-sign ARAM for 2 years.
    2.) Sign CJ Wilson
    3.) Sign Michael Cuddyer
    4.) Trade Soto and prospects for starting pitcher.
    5.) OF – BJax, Byrd, Cuddyer
    6.) Let Pena go, LaHair at 1B
    7.) Shark, Cashner stay in bullpen
    8.) Re-Sign Woody (no-brainer)

    This would be contending team in 2012.

    Also, I find it very interesting how I keep seeing people on here so willing to say Adios to ARAM.  That’s real easy to say that now, but before you do, I suggest you think about what the alternative would be for the middle of the order and your new 3B.  The FA market is brutal for 3B, and you have no one in minors ready.  So if all of you want to watch 162 games of a Baker / Dewitt platoon there next year, well, God Bless, but sorry that will be a disaster and you’re looking at 100 losses.  Be very careful what you wish for. Is ARAM perfect ? Of course not, but he is still one of the best 3B’s in baseball, bar none.

     

    • Calicub

      See below….

      I don’t want Byrd in the outfield anymore. I’m sick of weak grounders, first pitch hacks and NO RBIS!!! Most people on the bench have nearly as many RBIs as him! Cj wilson won’t happen but the cubs have plenty of depth in the system to search out young arms…

      I think signing Fielder and Reyes and sliding Castro over, which is the long term plan some feel anyway, would more than make up for ARAMs production. I’m sick of ARAM and his half assed preformance. The guy doesn’t even think he can play another three or four years but at the same time won’t take a two year deal. Let him walk. He only becomes productive once contention is out of the picture.

      • Calicub

        Also I think. With the way baseball is these days the cubs need atleast one ace and a number 1 pitcher from another team before being competitive:

        Ace A
        Pitcher B
        Garza
        Dempster
        Cashner/Wells

        Good teams have atleast two aces so to speak. Wainwright and Carpenter, the entire phils rotation, lincecum cain, etc.

        • cc002600

          right.
          There are sooooo many teams out there just waiting to trade their ace starting pitcher.

          Hello ?  This isn’t fantasy baseball.

          • Calicub

            Hello? That’s why I said don’t judge me for my bleacher report like ideas. Its never gonna happen I have no illusions, but these are the moves the cubs need to make in order to become competitive and not have another 20 below season.

            Mr. Sass…

            I would prefer the cubs had a rotation with youngsters and garza but I don’t think the fan base will tolerate, or the management percieves that the fan base won’t tolerate a rebuilding of this team. Not to mention the cubs have no prospect truly ready to step into the rotation at the big level.

            A rotation of Garza, demp, cashner, wells or shark and maybe mcnutt or struck or rusin would help the cubs find value in their young arms but that rotation couldn’t compete. But if the cubs decide to rebuild or if they decide to compete they need to be dedicated to that plan, not halfass it like Hendry did the last three years. If they decide they should compete, then they should go all out for starting pitching and a difference maker or two using the vast pool of prospects in the minors to obtain them, or refuse any FA’s and build from the ground up with young difference makers, no vets unless they figure into the future, which in my position would be none of the players currently starting aside from the terrible two, and maybe soto as a mentor to clevenger?

          • cc002600

            ok, then if you freely admit these moves are never going to happen, than why bring them up as if they should do it ? 

            I’d like a million dollars, too, but I know it ain’t happening, so what’s the point ?

            Mr Sensitive…..
            :-)

          • Tony_Hall

            Take your own advice, you repeatedly keep saying, sign ARam for 2 years, when there is no way that they will accept a 2 year deal.

          • cc002600

            why not ?
            He has said a million times he wants to stay here.

             

          • Tony_Hall

            He has also said he can play 3 or 4 more years and wants a contract to match.  A 2 year deal, will not be enough, as he will get 3 or even 4 year deals elsewhere.  

            He only wants to stay here, if everything stays the same.  He doesn’t want to stay during a rebuilding effort, that is about to begin.

          • cc002600

            and one more thing. I am all for playing young kids as much anyone, but understand this. The cubs best young talent is in Low minors.  So that means we’re talking minimally 2 to 3 years before any of these guys actually reach the majors, and then another 2 or 3 years before they start making a difference.

            The thing that people keep forgetting is that young players need time to develop. Very, very few come up right away and make a difference, it takes years, ESPECIALLY pitchers.

            So yes, if you want to rebuild COMPLETELY, go right ahead, but just be aware that you are looking at a minimum of 5 years before you contend again.  Just think about that for a second.

          • Calicub

            I’M fine with waiting five years to compete because if done right that team could compete for a decade.

            The reason I bring up all these things is because this is the internet and a fan site and I can push any idea I want. The season is almost over and its time once more to dream of a team that will do what no othwr team has done for awhile: be competitive.

            I’m not the GM and never will be but I can still pretend :)

          • cc002600

            Fair enough.
            Go Cubs.

    • Tony_Hall

      Some problems, the players get to decide as well, where they go and for how much and how long.

      My opinions
      ARam will not be signing a 2 year deal, no way.
      CJ Wilson will not be leaving Texas

    • cubswinsomeday

      It is not that fans are so willing to let Ramirez go but realizing he wants at least 3 if not 4 years which would be foolish at his age.

      • cc002600

        oh yes, I would never go farther than 2 years. I think he would give cubs “discount” by accepting that instead of 3 or 4 years….he has said all along that he wants to stay here.

        If he insists on more than 2, than I agree, bye-bye.

  • Calicub

    if the cubs go young/all out the line up next year would be quite interesting…

    BJAX- CF
    Jose Reyes- SS
    Catro – 3B
    Fielder -1B
    LaHair- LF
    Upton- RF
    Clevenger/Soto – C
    Darwin/DJ
    Pitcher

    Id be up for that… again don’t grill me for my bleacher report like ideas; I know it’d never happen, but if the. Cubs could pull that offense and some good starting pitching the cubs could be ready for the postseason, but as some are said this team is far from two to three moves from competing… Easily ten to twelve

    1drop Hill
    2trade sori
    3trade byrd
    4move big z
    5sign J Ryes
    6 Sign Upton
    7Sign Fielder
    8 trade for SP
    9 trade for SP
    10 drop dewit/jeff baker (I don’t mind jeff but hems less than a poor mans derosa, more like the 2nd inbred cousin of the poor mans derosa but moving on)
    11 Resign Woody or add bullpen arm
    12 Drop Grabow
    13 Drop Ortiz
    14 drop Quade
    15 Hire new GM and new organization
    16 Hire Sanberg

    Wow well putting it all down on paper the cubs are closer to twenty moves away from competing than ten and I’m sure there’s more

    • bpot92

      I don’t believe Upton is a free agent so we would have to trade for him as well, not just sign him.

      • Calicub

        your right but that line up would be quite fun to watch…the cubs have depth at the minors that are not in future plans and can be moved. I expect a busy offseason nontheless

        • bpot92

          i agree that team would be awesome,but won’t happen unfortunately…

    • cc002600

      ok, earth to Calicub, come on back now. you’ve been gone for too long.

      #1) the cubs are NOT going to shell out $25M / yr for any 1 player (Fielder), which is what its going to take to sign him….not gonna happen. no way.

      #2) Reyes ??  No way. No friggin way. Mark  my words, some stupid team is going to shell out $20/M year for this guy and they will be VERY sorry, because he gets hurt EVERY year.

      #3 ) Upton ?  huh ?  How many prospects do you think it would take to get him ?  The whole farm system ??? and who said he is on the block ? 

      #4) Moving Castro to 3B at 22 years old is a dumb idea. He’s too young, not too mention you devalue him by doing that.

      They have 1 more year with Byrd and he’s gone…..I’m not a huge fan of his either, but he’s better than nothing right now. 

      I laid out moves that they could make that are possible in terms of budget, etc…….your moves are pure fantasy.

       

      • Calicub

        Read my response above. I know none of these things will happen. Believe me do I know. But these are the caliber of moves I would expect from the next GM. The cubs need serious overhaul.

      • http://twitter.com/chadbraham Chad Braham

        cc002600 – Your moves are a bit more realistic, except your are forgetting how expensive C.J. Wilson is going to be.  He is the ONLY real starting pitcher on the FA market (CC Sabathia will just end back up with the Yanks if he opts out).  Even if they were able to land him under a stupid contract (yes, he’s going to get stupid money) they wouldn’t have any more money for anything else.

        I understand what you are saying about moving Castro to 3B – he just doesn’t have enough pop to be a 3B on a contender… but he is still probably a better option then anyone else we would put there.  And, it would give us a chance to upgrade the middle infield defense, if we can grab an affordable defensive specialist at SS.

        • cc002600

          Chad,
          Agree. CJ Wilson will get a ton of money……probably more than anyone wants to spend.   But he’s the best FA starting pitcher out there and cubs have some money freed up. Trading for starting pitchers is not easy since they don’t come cheap. (see garza) …..but yes, it is possible. I think they could package Soto with some prospects and get a decent #3 starter, but you won’t get an ace.

          I think its too early to move Castro to 3B….maybe in another year or 2 if there’s a SS that comes up through system by then.

          And I think Reyes would be HUGE mistake. He will command a ton of money, and he always gets hurt.  no good.

          • Calicub

            your probably right on all counts.

            And in all likelihood the cubs rotation this spring will be garza dempster wells cashner edwin jackson…nothing special and definately not competitive.. 

            Also i  hope the new GM begins anew this offseason by ensuring that the Cubs are no longer suckers and will no longer dole out NTC’s excessive years and excessive money to aging vets, but rather smart, incentive based contracts to young high ceiling players.

    • Jay from sandwich

      If you sign Fieder trade lahair do not need both. lahair is not a good enough fielder we sufered through Sorie lets have good diffence to help our pitching

  • http://twitter.com/chadbraham Chad Braham

    Most of this depth is relief pitching though – right?  Does’t seem like it is anything another team would give up much for.

  • roseyc

    Watching the Cubs is like going to a funeral and there is always a Quade there saying they aren’t dead just asleep. That is the point of denial that this franchise is dead and needs new life and we went from non contention since May and we didn’t find out anything new only what we already knew. Our pitching staff for instance We found out that Dempster is not a number one and not consistant and that Z was Z and even more Z than ever before. Coleman and Lopez and Davis and Ortiz weren’t good options.That we didn’t get the best out of Garza until the last two months. Wells is still inconsistent.Another thing we didn’t have any pitching prospects  to the pitch out the string. This whole season was to play out the bad contracts and hope for the best and we got the worse. There was never a real plan of action. We did find out that Quade is the worst manager that the Cubs have ever had…..Thus the season to forget….I didn’t watch all the games …poor neil …he had to watch this twilight zone constantly unfold. Here’s to a new gm  and no Quade and Rameriz and Pena and Z and Sori and Koyie Hill and Jeff Baker and we need to find another options at catcher. Well lets throw dirt on this season and bury it and move on and if we don’t then we’ll be the walking dead again and that looks ugly

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, and you’re first line is a classic, one of the best I hve ever read.

  • frustrated

    Actually, it is possible that the Cubs could end up with a record that would reflect them as the tenth worst record for the year.  Wow  that is very hard to believe.  Some teams have really folded in the last month or so.

    • cc002600

      that figures.
      They even managed to screw that up too.
      LOL

    • studio179

      Quade…lol

  • Ripsnorter1

    I personally DO NOT want to move Castro to 3B. 

    I want to move him to 2B. 

    Yup, you can more easily find a 2B in the Cubs farm system. Shoot, Tim Wilkens only drafts middle infielders with no speed, no power, and that hit for a middling average who have some trouble turning the double play (re: Barney, LeMeihu, et al). So yeah, it would be much easier to find a 2B than a 3B. 

    BUT..BUT…BUT….Castro could be a Sandberg. Speed. Power. Average. Slick fielding. He could be a premier 2B.So forget about the second basemen on the farm for a few moments. Let’s think about the 3B options:#1 I’d pick up Aram’s option. If he wants out, I’d offer him a 3 year deal. If he still wants out, let him walk.

    #2 FORGETABOUT DeWitt, Baker (please, 7 errors in 15 games at 3B! NO! NO! NO!), Vitters (I am not even sure he ever makes the big show for more than a few games), LeMaheiu can’t hit with enough power to play 2B let alone 3B. Flaherty might make it….someday. He’s not ready yet. Gonzalez, who has a grand total of 38 games played at 3B in his life, and who has no power at all, is not the answer at 3B. So what’s the solution? SIGN SOMEBODY! Or else let DeWitt prove to you everyday that he’s not a ML regular 3B. 

    #3 Pena. Please. NO. Let LaHair play. Let Colvin play. Let anybody and everybody else play. NO PENA. 

    • paulcatanese

      Good article Rip, and we agree on one thing for sure, move Castro to another spot, you say second I say third. My option as you say depends on Aram, he stays, Castro to second, Aram goes I say third. The one big thing Castro brings to the game ( at this point ) is his bat, and thats getting better every day. #2, you are absolutly correct, and #3 of course, and hope something like that will happen.

      • cubtex

        I still vote short! But I am sure you already knew that :)

        • paulcatanese

          I just have to get it in there to check on you.

    • cc002600

      Rip,
      I find it amusing how so many people are making this knee-jerk reaction to just let ARAM go, and yet I haven’t seen 1 name that could even remotely fill his shoes. makes no sense.

      I can just see the posts now next May when Dewitt is hitting .220 and everyone will be wishing ARAM was back.  Book it.

       

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yes, except that DeWitt .220 BA will be attended with NO POWER and NO RBIs. 

        You know what Murphy’s Law states: “If one misfit leaves an organization, another misfit will be recruited.” 

        Well, Mr. No RBI FUNKO is gone, so I suppose DeWitt will have to take his place in the pantheon of Mr. NO RBIs, along side of Byrd, and whoever we stick in RF. 

      • Bryan

        I predict that anyone who signs Aramis (who will be approaching age 34) will find him on the DL more than active on the field through the next contract period.  Just watch…he’ll get the 3 year deal, and go back to his lazy work habits.  He had a great 8 year run here…but time to say “good bye”. 

        • Calicub

          agreed, that or he will only play in July and August like he’s done the last two years, completely dashing any hopes for contention for any team that signs him.

          I think he might do fine but i also think he’s a ticking time bomb

        • cc002600

          ok, that’s possible. But I think he would come back to cubs on a 2 yr deal.

          But if not, than who is your 3B next year ?

          Call me crazy, but even with “lazy work habits” he can still produce 25HR, 100 RBI like he has done for the last 8 years, sign me up. 

          The options for filling his shoes are absolutely brutal.

          and who’s your cleanup man ?

          • Calicub

            I don’t know what to believe anymore to be honest.  ARAM doesn’t seem to sure about having another three or four years in him, as his agent claims, nor does he seem to have the stamina to play all out for those remaining years. 

            That being said he seems pretty eager about testing the market and getting a three year deal.  Someone, like the Angels, will pull the trigger on that one.  I don’t think he would agree to two years simply for the fact that ARAM is old and wants more job security than 2 years will provide.

            Who hits clean up if ARAM leaves?

            That depends on who will be on the team next year.  Soriano if he’s not gone, but at the same time I can see a Soriano and cash for Michael Young which would solve some issues,but I don’t know how i feel about Michael Young on the Northside….Granted Byrd is no Michael Young, but good hitters coming from Arlington, TX make me nervous.  So if not those two then,

            LaHair?  Only if the Cubs give him a shot
            Colvin? if he can get his act together and prove he can handle it.
            If the cubs land Fielder I’d say him and put Castro in the 3 although we all know he doesn’t like it there..

            Its not a pretty picture but anyway it shakes out, if the Cubs allow Ramirez to walk, the cubs will have to be dedicated to rebuilding rather than competing. Unless that is, they go crazy as i posted above and get Reyes, Upton, Fielder, Michael Young, Starting Ptiching etc.

            But since that wont happen i think it better and cheaper in the long and short run to Rebuild.

      • Calicub

        ARAM is the best option for the 2012 cubs. Its true no FA or player in the minors is ready to produce at his “level” but beyond 2012 ARAM is useless and unless he is willing to play out his final year without a contract extention, ARAM should be let go. 

        Also no Dewitt No Baker at third. I’d rather watch soft hitting DJ play third than those two.  Especially DeWitt. What a worthless trade that was…. Although i really didn’t like Theriot through his last year and a half and was glad to see him gone.

        • cc002600

          I hear ya, but you’re going to get about 2 HR and 40 RBI from DJ if you play at 3B.

          Get ready for 100 losses.

          just sayin….

          • Calicub

            oh i agree but I would rather that for a year than ARAM for another 3. Oh how I lament for Jake Fox…LOL

            I don’t think the Cubs will compete next year anyway so why not use that extra 14 mill ArRAM towards young pitching plus that supplimental pick..

            BTW cc002600 our responses are no longer in chronological order and is becoming ridiculous trying to find responses to all my posts in random spots…!

          • Calicub

            …that extra 14mill ARAM testing FA would leave towards…*
             

      • paulcatanese

        When was the last time Aram gave the Cubs a full season of production?I have been opting for his move to at least first base since last year. I did not find it amusing in the least with his continued slumps in the beginning of each year, only to come back with a strong second half (still offset by his defense) His on again and off again days with the glove has cost the Cubs dearly. Their are not too many stats to show what he could or could not have gotten to in terms of ground balls. More often now runners are making it close at first base with Arams diminishing arm. I for one do not want to wait two three months next year until he starts to be productive. And I dont think the other clubs are stupid, they see when his production becomes viable and should offer contracts on that premise ,in that sense he may be back with the Cubs as other teams may not be as stupid as Aram and his agent think they may be.

        • cc002600

           Ok, let me ask the question one more time. If you let him go, who’s your 3B ?  Who’s your cleanup hitter ?

          I’ve asked the question like 5 times, and no one seems have an idea, other than they want him gone.

          Yes, I’m aware that the last 2 years, he’s started slowly, but that was not always the case. Does he have flaws ? Sure. But what player doesn’t ?  he has consistently provided .290, 25 HR, 100 RBI.  That is NOT easy to find.

          The only viable option right now would be Dewitt / Baker platoon. Do you know how bad that would be ??  Forget about the offense for a second. Dewitt has a TERRIBLE glove, and Baker is no GG either.

          There are very few good 3B’s out there right now. Have you seen the FA list ??  OMG, it’s a joke.

          For that reason alone, teams will be lining up to sign him.

          • Calicub

            what about that supplemental pick ARAM walking away would give the Cubs?

            That would be nice especially if rebuilding is on the horizon.

          • paulcatanese

            OK I will answer it one more time. Castro should be at third and LaHair bat fourth. As far as Arams record, yes he does produce what you say, but starting slowly is putting it mildly, as he does not produce until almost half the season is over and his glove is getting worse all the time. In my mind and that is only my opinion the only way I would see Aram coming back would be at first base, where his defense can be protected and then that is no gurantee he will hit from the start. I think this is a very simple uncomplicated way for the Cubs to pursue it. No one agrees but its what I see.

      • Brp921

        The Cubs should pick up his option for sure, but he has said he wants to hit the open market. why would you want sign him for the years and dollars he’s going to command, when we’ve experienced how he’s played the last couple of years. He’s only played well when the pressure has been off. I would be willing to pay him a reasonable amout for two years, but he’ll be offered more than that, and I can’t see him giving the Cub’s a “hometown discount”. Thats why I say pick up his option, and let him opt out, and then we get the supplemental pick. the Cub’s need to build for the future. Build a good foundation and then pay the free agents you think can put you over the top.

    • cubtex

      You were ripping(no pun intended) Pena’s average this offseason but you are OK to have Mr. .150 Tyler Colvin play 1st over Pena? Please explain to me how that would be an upgrade?

      • Ripsnorter1

        I didn’t say it was an upgrade. I meant to say that I don’t want to spend $15 million per year for a .230 or .196 hitting 1B. That’s all. : )

        • cubtex

          Ok. I hear you about the money. I just haven’t seen anything out of Colvin to make me believe he is a starter. I am with you. They need starting pitching and more starting pitching!

    • Brp921

      I still like Castro at shortstop. His defense will get better with more experience and he has a lot of range and a good arm. He’s also made some pretty spectacular plays. What he needs to do is work on making the routine plays and learn to keep his head in the game. The coaches need to work with him on things like, when to throw the ball and when to hold it, the correct bases to throw to ect. Let’s face it he’s had a couple guys mentoring him who like to dog it a little bit, keep him out of that mode and he’ll be alright.

    • Rick

      Gonzalez is the starting 3rd basemen in the Venezuelan League, so 38 games is way off. Youre not comparing college (alluminum bats) to the professional caribean league, so its okay to mention is other stats.

  • John_CC

    After getting through almost 2/3 of this thread, all I can say is WOW. 

    Unless the new guy comes in fast and hard and makes a lot of moves soon…this is gonna be one looong off-season of projected lineups!

  • cc002600

    In case anyone was wondering, here is the FA list for 3B.

    For all of you that want ARAM to go away, let me know if the thought of Casey Blake playing 3B for the cubs gets you excited. LOL

    Wilson Betemit, KC
    Casey Blake LAD *

    Eric Chavez NYY

    Mark DeRosa SF

    Greg Dobbs PHI

    Edwin Encarnacion TOR *

    Wes Helms FLA

    Melvin Mora ARI

    Aramis Ramirez CHC

    Miguel Tejada SF

    Omar Vizquel CWS 

    • Calicub

      Oh man you don’t want D.-RO. back? say what?

      Hit up Jim Edmonds and resign Derek Lee, 2008 here we come!

      But seriously that isn’t great and ARAM will be getting the best deal out of all of them, but who knows maybe the new GM will have an eye out for an emerging 3B and bring him over…

      I still don’t see 2 years happening for him…

    • studio179

      Reading that list proves Ramirez will get more than a 2 year deal.

    • Tony_Hall

      There are also many AAAA type players out there who can be signed as a stopgap for a year, that may be better options, than any of these or our internal options.  There are also 2B and SS FA options, who may switch positions.

      • cc002600

        AAAA players, like Dewitt ?????
        Isn’t that the same thing ?
        100 losses, here we come.

        • Tony_Hall

          Not sure Dewitt even qualifies as a AAAA player?

          I was thinking a Lahair type.  Every year players come out, and have good 2-3 months (AAAA players).  That might be enough time for someone to come up from within.

          If we didn’t lose 100 this year, we won’t next year.  But what makes you think this team can compete next year?  It’s time to start building from the ground up, instead of constantly building from the top down.

        • Calicub

          REBUILD REBUILD REBUILD REBUILD REBUILD REBUILD REBUILD REBUILD REBUILD REBUILD REBUILD REBUILD

          But seriously rebuild.

          Oh and rebuild.

          How old is blake dewitt?

          I feel like 26 27 might be right but. Anywho…

          I know it sounds crazy but

          If your going to sign a stop gap why not go with Dewitt? Really give him a shot he’s a switch hitter he could prove himself if he played everyday. His defense is awful but if he works himself well this offseason as far taking balls at third and maybe doing camp colvin?

          If the cubs could find another option with long term potential go for it but if it comes down to DJ of Dewitt i’d take dewitt who could either prove himself or atleast prove well enough to serve until a better opyion arises and traded for starting pitching or prove he can’t do it and get rid of him already

          • paulcatanese

            Are you saying rebuild ? If so, I agree.

    • John_CC

      Since we are getting into fantasy land…I think David Wright has one more year. If the Mets are too re-sign Reyes it will cost them a lot. Maybe the Cubs could pry Wright away with the package.

  • Demitri

    We need to draft a pitcher for this draft. We got power from the last. Lets get a guy who can throw the ball. The GM will have so much obstacles infront of him its ridiculous. Where to start! Rotation? Defense? Clutch hitters? Management? The only think to leave is the bullpen. Get rid of grabow and see what we have in spring training