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).

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

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein