Let the Off-Season Begin …

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for winning the 2011 World Series and now that a very good Fall Classic is over, it is time for Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and company to get to work.

Beginning Sunday at 12:01am ET free agents can begin talking to other teams and can begin receiving offers at 12:01am ET on Thursday. All options, whether controlled by the player or the team must be filed by Monday night at 11:59pm ET … Ryan Dempster is expected to pick up his player option for 2012 and the Cubs are expected to exercise their part of Aramis Ramirez’s option for next season. Ramirez is expected to decline his part of the option and become a free agent. If Ramirez chooses to decline his option, the Cubs will save $2 million dollars (buyout on Ramirez’s option if they were to decline) and will receive a compensatory pick if he signs elsewhere.

Here’s a quick update from the last two days …

Off-Season Calendar
The CCO will run a full off-season calendar in the coming days but for now, here are a few of the important ones for the Chicago Cubs:

  • October 30 – MLB Free Agency Period Begins at 12:01am ET (11:01pm CT on Oct. 29)
  • October 31 – Team, player or mutual options must be filed 11:59pm ET (10:59pm CT)
  • November 1 – The deadline for the Cubs and Red Sox to work out a compensation package for Theo Epstein.
  • November 3 – Free Agent Signing Period Begins at 12:01am ET (11:01pm CT on Nov. 2)
  • November 18 – Last Day for Teams to File Reserve Lists – Major and Minor League Levels
  • November 23 – Last Day for Clubs to Offer Salary Arbitration to Free Agents in order to receive draft pick compensation
  • December 5 – 8 – Winter Meetings – Dallas, TX
  • December 7 – Last Day for Players to Accept Salary Arbitration
  • December 8 - Rule 5 Draft
  • December 12 – Deadline to Tender Contracts to Players with Less than Six Years of MLB Service time (3-6)

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

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato
Share on Fancred
  • studio179

    Congrats to the Cardinals. They were true underdogs in every sense. They rallied in the regular season, the playoffs and took it all. Game 6 was the bomb. I felt the series was the Cards once they were coming back to Saint Louis. 

    I reluctantly tip my imaginary hat to the Red Birds. That said, I can not remember a world series I wanted over and done so quickly (figures it went the distance) so I can see what the Cubs will be doing to set the foundation for their future. As Neil’s headline suggests, let the offseason begin!

  • Mike Waite-Brooksville,Florida

    Like I had said before,I am a diehard whitesox fan.I am 37 years old.I have always disliked the cub.especially mark grace-less!BUT,I have told all of the people that know me(who also know that I have always hated the cub)that IF the cub were to hire RYNO for their manage,THIS WHITESOX FAN WILL DEFINITELY BUY A CUB CAP AND SANDBERG JERSEY.Now if I spelled RYNO’S last name wrong,I REALLY do apologize! I have ALWAYS liked RYNO, and I think THEO should do the right thing and GET RYNO BACK!! THEO should also try to figure out BIG Z’S problem! I think Z can be a damn good pitcher again if he could just get his head out of his ass! I am also VERY GLAD TO SEE “DEMP” come back next year as well! Another one of MY favorite CUB! I say “CUB” instead of “CUBS” because that is what HARRY used to call them!

    Mike Waite
    Brooksville,Florida

    • paulcatanese

      Hey, are you happy that Ozzie has joined you in Florida? Hopefully big Z will be out there as well, along with Aram.

      Nice to see a White Sox fan post on a Cub Blog and too bad you were not old enough to see some of the gems the Sox had playing for them.

      You could not stand Grace, I’ll return the favor, can’t stand the present catcher for the Sox ( I would not begin to try and spell his name), but don’t like him

      Enjoy the fact that you posted, keep it up, could prove to be very interesting. I promise to keep it civil..

  • Ripsnorter1

    That Stupid Tony LaRussa is a lousy manager. 

    He takes a subpar roster, and AGAIN turns it into a World Series Winner.

    We don’t want a guy like that around…….

    Hall of Fame Manager!

    • Tony_Hall

      I want the next Tony Larussa…I believe his name is Ryne Sandberg!

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    A few thoughts…..

    * How do you tweak an oblique?
    * Congratulate the Cardinals? Never.

    • Aaron

      Was that a serious question about the oblique, or were you being facetious?

      If not, then I can tell you pitchers often times tweak their obliques by over-rotating, and it sometimes can be related to poor core workouts and muscle development in the abdominal areas. Hitters can also get that, because of the violent torque created when they swing. And in either case, I’m not saying that out of shape players succumb to that sort of injury…but it DOES have to do with how they work out, etc.

      On the Cardinals……yeah, I hate them, but I think I hate them because they’re so damn good. I mean, how the hell does Dave Duncan keep churning out pitchers that couldn’t hack it anywhere else into solid pitchers? How does nearly every move LaRussa does seem to work out?

      • Jim_Tinley_Park

        The oblique was a serious question. I do have a flat stomach and I work my abs. I never had an injury there.  I will admit, I probably never swung hard enough or threw a ball like a major league pitcher should. I hate the cardinals mostly because of their fans. Total ass-clowns.

  • Tony_Hall

    Nothing would be better than to be able to feel what St.Louis fans felt over the last couple of months.  They just kept going.  Nobody gave them a chance.  I proclaimed that they had no chance, with 2 weeks to go.  I said again, with a week to go.  All it would take is one series, one team to eliminate them, and send them home, where they belonged.  But game after game, series after series, they kept believing, fighting, and winning.  Then that fateful night, the last  day of the regular season, would be it.  The Braves would clinch, and the Cardinals would go home.  But fate stepped in, and not only gave us the greatest night of regular season baseball ever, but did so, by knocking out the Red Sox and Braves, and allowed the Cardinals and Rays to sneak into the postseason party.

    On to Philadelphia, where the Phillies were the World Series favorite.  3 games most people said, as not one game would you favor the Cards pitchers over the Phillies pitchers.  But once again, fate stepped in and the Cardinals sent the Phillies home.

    No problem, the Brewers are dominate at home and will have an easier time getting to the World Series now.  And honestly, how cool is it to see 2 of our division rivals, playing in the World Series.  Take that experts, who say the NL Central is weak!  Take that, for those that say it is easy to win the NL Central, there is not much competition!

    But the Brewers played as the inexperienced, scared to win team, and the Cardinals played as if they were on a  free ride to college, with their parents credit card in their pocket, with nothing to lose. Not sure how to explain it, but the Cardinals a team that should be watching from home, were on their way to HOST Game 1 of the World Series.  

    Only Bud Selig thinks this was good.  No one, not even Cardinal fans, think they deserved home field advantage in the World Series.  (I am now scared if Bud decides comp)  But of course, it wouldn’t matter.  Tony Larussa has NEVER managed a GAME 6, let alone GAME 7 in the World Series, so this one will end in 5, and the Rangers will get to celebrate at home.

    But what evolved was something special, something we have never seen before.  Down to 1 strike, twice.  One player hitting the game tying hit in the 9th, and hitting a walk-off HR in the 11th.  Josh Hamilton should be the hero of all heros, right up there with Kirk Gibson and Joe Carter.  But instead it is David Freese, who will talked about for years to come.

    Games 6 & 7 was baseball at its finest.  Unless you were a Ranger fan, or just hate the Cardinals more than life itself, you had to love these 2 baseball games.  I hate to admit it, but Tony Larussa can manage.  He gets the most out of every player, puts them in positions to succeed.  

    I am jealous.  

    I want a manager like that.

    How has this effected the Cubs?

    HUGE!

    What if Boston went on in the post season?  

    Theo would not be having coffee at his favorite Starbucks this morning, close to Wrigley.  Who would they have hired?  Friedman wasn’t an option?  or was he?  we will never know, but one thing is for sure, no one else we could have hired could have brought in as cohesive of a team for the front office.  Say what you want about who was hired, we ended up with the best team upstairs, and we now hope they can put the best team in the clubhouse.  

    It all starts by hiring Sandberg, to be the next Tony Larussa.  Now, don’t get me wrong, we don’t know how Sandberg will do.  And there is no way to say anyone will duplicate the great career that Larussa has had.  But that is what we want next, a great manager, that demands respect, and can handle the game activities, and get the most of the players in the dugout.  

    The Cardinals now have a huge problem, what to do with Pujols.  Everyone thinks that he will resign, but will he.  Texas might like to make him an offer.  He could play DH, later in his career, making it easier to justify the length of his contract.  IF the Cardinals bring back Pujols, it will give them ZERO payroll flexibility for many, many years.  This team will be scary for the next couple of years, but it will be old, soon.  See the Yankees if you need to see what a team of older players looks like.

    The Brewers went for it, and lost.  There goes Fielder. I applaud them for going for it.  But now the consequences.  Can they keep this team going, or will this be to much to overcome.  There are questions in Milwaukee for the future of the competitiveness of the Brewers.

    So why is this huge.  

    The Cubs can build a team  over the next 2-3 years, that can be competitive enough and have a chance to go to the playoffs in the next few years, year after year.  They might sneak in in 2012, 2013, but 2014 and beyond they can be a team that goes every year.  They have the front office, they need a manager, that execute the vision of the front office, and they have the time to build the proper foundation for sustained success.

    I have never been more excited for the future of the Chicago Cubs.  

    I know we say, every year, Wait til next year.  I can’t wait until we win the World Series and we tell all of our friends of other teams, once again, “Wait til next year, we will be there again.”

    • Anthony

      Fans can use Freese as an example of what a baseball player is. As I posted yesterday, Freese had a post-season every young player dreams of. Freese was arguably the best player from his State during high school and doubted himself and his desire, then rededicated himself thru JUCO and a non-power college program.

      From the 9th Round, starting A ball at age 23 grinding out 5 plus years in the minors, his opportunity came and he shined.

      It can be easily assumed every minor leaguer, as they are ALL prospects contrary to what internet GM’s think, have the same dreams and goals that Freese had. In other words, if you are a professional baseball player, you are darn good at the game and talented.

      Internet GM”s need to stop buying into rags and other publications that feel they are experts in player evaluation. It is silly writing day to day prospect reports based on a boxscore, Minor league games are a test, or platform of what each prospect is trying to improve upon, be it a pitcher trying to develop a changeup or a hitter expanding the field.

      The clubs know this, the prospect knows this, but the boxscore critics DON’T. One game the instructors may ask the hitter to sell out for power, the next to hit it where its pitched, the next to take the 1st pitch and remain patient, or the next to hit according to the in-game situation.

      The results may not look pretty in the .000/.000/.000 stats, but the clubs know it in advance. It is called PRACTICE. To really appreciate these kids talents, one needs to spend time watching workouts/BP/Drills and you get a better idea because they are ALL good.

      Think about this the next time anyone gets ready to type,

      “he doesn’t Walk enough”
      “he is undisciplined as a hitter”
      “he has no power”
      “he strikes out to much”

      All that said, in games, the hitter will still make at least 6 outs every 10 at bats, on average.

      • Dorasaga

        What I’m getting here is more or less: “Since every fan knows very little about these players, stop thinking hard about them.”

        I personally believe the motto: Don’t believe until you see it. Though clearly, there’s more to it when it comes down to fan evaluation of talents of our favorite team.

        I doubt a lot of us want to be the GM after JHendry. It’s not like any of us “silly writing day to day prospect reports” and got paid. But why do most of us believe Hendry was never a good GM? Because we are silly here?

        You see what I’m getting at? A little passion can get you somewhere. Maybe a long way, or not, maybe not professionally. It certainly was good fun, the giver and taker. And I want to read more fans’ opinions and organizing of info. on these Cubs prospects.

        So Anthony, I don’t know if you were grudging against some disagreeing fans, but I’ll say this: A Major League hitter makes, on average, 666 outs out of 1000 plate appearances. Those who are better talents make less outs. You know what? I want to know who’s the next prospect making only 560 outs, coming from Theo’s Cubs .

      • paulcatanese

        I totally agree with you on the game situation dictating what must be done with the bat and it does affect the box score and average’s.

        The biggest problem with what you are saying (and I agree with you) is that the Cubs in all their glory pay no attention to any of it, or are so wrapped up in individual endeavors they think the fundemental aspect of the game is not meant for them.

        This is where I think the “Theo” influence will come into play. I can see where now the minors are going to teach what you are saying and take the hitters for what they do best and expand on it. I believe more attention will be  put on “zone hitting and recognition” and awareness of the game and what it calls for in a given situation.

        Making outs is not all that bad, if they are productive, bunting, right side with runners on second, etc. I know you get the picture. If all of the above are applied, the walks, the power, and less strikeouts will happen and then, more wins.

        I think Theo will get this team back to “team play”.

      • RickinMSP

        Maybe I’m misunderstanding your post, (and most of your other ones as well), so maybe somebody can help me out here.

        The way I am understanding what you’ve written is basically it is a nice way of saying “None of you guys are experts and you have no idea what you are talking about making your opinions are based on ignorance thus invalid and  not worth the time and effort it takes to type them out.”

        I’ve thought during the 3+ years I’ve been visiting this site that it was a fan site not a business insider/scout/expert site and all opinions are wanted and encouraged.  While I certainly appreciate the more insider knowledge that Cubtex and Aaron bring, I also enjoy Rip’s humor and the historical perspective that Gramps, Paul and others bring. I also hope things get better for Suzy so so can get back to being a regular poster again.  Addionally, I certainly enjoy and the passion that the rest bring even when I think some of the ideas are crazy or totally unrealistic, it all goes into making this site so much fun.

        Well, that’s enough.  Here’s to an exciting off season.

        • Calicub

          couldn’t have put it better myself

      • Tony_Hall

        Not sure how this is a reply to my post.

        I will say it again. You must be or know someone who feels scorned by the system and played minor league ball, only to be told “you don’t walk enough” after being told to swing early in the count.  Told to go up and make contact, then were labeled “he has no power”…etc….

        Otherwise, I just don’t understand why you would come on a fan site, then complain about fans giving their opinions.

      • paulcatanese

        Anthony, I had agreed with you on players being instructed with the bat and different scenerios that would come up that they should be aware of.
        But not all players that are professionals or have signed contracts are good in all the areas that a player should be. Some are hitters (power) and some are glove men and some are kept on teams because of a bonus that has been paid ( some even though they are past talent wise)

        So I disagree, they are all not good, some have signed because of family ties,somehave signed because of size or speed and some are blocked from advancement because of the very reasons I just mentioned.

        Some on this site believe in sabernetics and that has value, and some evaluate on visual perception and that is good and has value. So all on the site have different opinions and backgrounds, some for many years in baseball and even if they were not with the background show enough interest and post on this site no matter what.

        Internet GM’s? I applaud that, so what?, its the interest and daily comment that counts, from all backgrounds

    • paulcatanese

      Tony, along with the great post yesterday (what home field means to a city) I cant help but think how much this will help the All Star game and what it means for home field advantage.

      Even if it was the Cardinals, the fact that it helped the economy their so much was great and like youre take on that, totally a different slant.

  • BosephHeyden

    So Mark DeRosa, Mike Fontenot, and now, Ryan Theriot, and Corey Patterson all got World Series Championship rings before the Cubs.  That…sounds about right.  Not saying that we should have kept all of them (DeRosa and Theriot (Quick Note:  that’s as a utility infielder, because I can’t imagine him being worse than Jeff Baker and Blake DeWitt), sure, not so much the other two), but congrats to Theriot and Patterson.

    • Aaron

      Guess Theriot was right after all about “being on the right side of the rivalry”

      Also, I think Theriot should sent the little bitch back-up catcher the Cubs had this year a picture of his finger with a big fat championship ring on it…I’d probably opt for the middle finger.

      If you guys recall, Koyie Hill was the one that came out and basically said Theriot should watch it, and they’d be coming for him (meaning they’d try to hit him)….How’d that work out for you, you little bitch?!?!? LOL….sorry, I can’t stand Koyie Hill…sorry for the language

      • Calicub

        i don’t think anyone likes Koyie Hill.  Talk about a Yes-Man.

        But i guess when you stink as much as he does you’d have to be jamming the company line down others throats.

      • Rbmercer

        Aaron, with all due respect, I like reading your posts most of the time. But, here I guess I will let you explain your hatred for Koyie Hill? He is a backup catcher that gives good effort, has occasional good moments, and WINS a good percentage of his starts. What do you expect from a back up catcher? I agree, he is not very good, but winning the amt of starts he does, something to be said. If you hate him cuz he is blocking a prospect, it’s not his fault, it’s mgmt. So, I’m not sure why the HATRED for by all accounts a good man. You can’t put him in the category of loafers and selfish guys that we have seen over the years, I believe we have justification to spout obscenities at those possibly. I write this to not be venomous at you, just to defend Hill for just doing what he is asked to do.

        • Calicub

          I’m not Aaron, and your right Koyie is not the same kind of bad as Big Z Milton Bradley  or the like and he might even quite possible be the nicest guy in the world.

          But that doesn’t take away from the fact that he has no business being on a 25 or 40 man roster.  If they wanted to turn Koyie into a coach i’d be all for it. 

          What occasional moments are we talking about?  the flailing strike out followed by a snapped bat? or the fact that he has a good win percentage?

          he only catches for dempster. ONLY. Dempster has been servicable and fairly consistant the past few years and when your only catching for a pitcher who when ptiching the team went 18-16 in 2011 your bound to carry mostly wins. 

          In addition to this point, I’d also like to say that despite what you say he supposedly brings behind the dish, why is it that the main pitcher he works with, Dempster, had such a down year last year?

          Gave up more hits than ever as Cub starter. 
          Gave up more runs than ever as a Cub starter.
          Only gave up 2 less HR than his most as a Cub.
          One of his worst WHIPs as a Cub starter: 1.45
          Worst ERA as a Cubs starter: 4.80
          And pitched the second fewest innings as a Cubs Starter 202.1 only because he got on his knees and without being graphic, we’ll say begged Quade to scratch one of Coleman’s starts and let him start an extra game or two on extra rest.

          Koyie Hill is not a back up catcher, he is Ryan Dempsters personal caddy.

          • cubtex

            I attribute Dempster’s poor year more to losing Rothschild and replacing the team with Riggins than Hill’s ineptness. Riggins needs to go as much as Quade does.

          • Aaron

            While I agree Riggins was fairly inept as a pitching coach, the pitching had floundered under Rothschild as well. 

            Riggins does need to go, but I just don’t see how that happens. Who is going to replace him? If the Cubs had confidence in Lewellyn, I’m sure he already would’ve been promoted. I guess if LaRussa retires, I could see Duncan entering the picture, but I just don’t see any other decent options out there, especially since Mike Maddux is under contract, and his brother Greg has absolutely no desire to leave home more than he already does.

          • cubtex

            I guess alot might have to do with the who the new manager is. Duncan follows LaRussa wherever he goes and other managers have a pitching coach who they have a relationship and are comfortable with. I was scratching my head all year looking at how bad Marmol’s mechanics were and all the walks the pitching staff gave up. That has a ton to do with the pitching coach.

          • Rbmercer

            Cubtex and Aaron, again, you keep telling me how bad he is. I’m not arguing that at all, I don’t think he is very good either. He does, however, have a good win/loss record over the years behind the plate, not real sure on what to attribute that to. He did not just become Dempsters caddy until this year, in other years, he caught everybody.

            Again, I do not think he is very good.

            What I am saying is, just bcuz he is not very good, he doesn’t deserve to be cussed by our fans for that reason only. In my opinion, cuss the people making roster decisions, it’s not his fault, you would play too if they offered you a contract. Or cuss guys that loaf or are selfish and don’t play the game the right way and embarrass the organization. To say he is a kiss ass is a reach, isn’t it? How would we know? And, I have a hard time believing that the only reason he is on a major league roster is bcuz he kisses ass? jmo…

          • cubtex

            I don’t bash Hill….I just think there are better options. Honestly, he is average at best as a defensive catcher. He doesn’t have a good percentage throwing out basestealers and he has ZERO value as a pinch hitter late in a game. At least when they had Hank White(Henry Blanco) as the backup…he could shut down another teams running game and would hit an occasional long ball. That is my issue with Hill. He doesn’t add anything to the bench.

          • paulcatanese

            Aaron, I see LaRussa and Duncan as a two way street, in otherwords they are so close that if either retires the other will as well. I dont think Duncan, given his wife’s medical problem would have come back for the rest of this year if it wasn’t for his relationship with LaRussa. Duncan is the best in the game on and off the field, and no doubt he would be a tremendous assest if the Cubs were to land him.

        • Aaron

          I can’t stand Koyie Hill, because he sucks, and somehow makes the team every damn year, despite having–I believe I read somewhere–the WORST offensive production of ANY catcher in the league with at least 150 plate appearances. It’s true, it’s not his fault that he sucks, and still finds a way to make the team.

          But the way I see it, is the guy IS a kiss-ass, and I have absolutely no respect for those type of guys. I played with one of them in college, and he cost us a couple of games easily on both defense and offense. He was constantly in the our head coach’s office, and everyone would just kind of laugh it off and make fun of him, but yet he’d still find his way on the field somehow, just like Koyie HIll, who should’ve been cut LONG ago.

          What I don’t think a lot of Koyie Hill apologists understand is the fact that for two straight years he’s been almost a -1 WAR (-0.7 and -0.9), and has only ONCE in his career (2009) had a positive WAR (0.3).

          Also, this theory that he somehow makes pitchers better is COMPLETELY false. Here’s his stats:

          2004-8.02 ERA, 33% CS, 0 Passed Balls, 1 error
          2005-5.45 ERA, 25% CS, 3 PB, 0 errors
          2007-2.98 ERA, 29% CS, 1 PB, 1 error
          2008-5.48 ERA, 14% CS, 0 PB, 1 error
          2009-3.69 ERA, 40% CS, 2 PB, 3 errors
          2010-4.11 ERA, 18% CS, 4 PB, 4 errors
          2011-4.28 ERA, 24% CS, 2 PB, 6 errors (completely unacceptable for a catcher, much less a BACK-UP)

          Let’s put this into perspective with Soto’s stats, as most fans think he’s inferior on defense:
          2006-5.24 ERA, 0% CS, 0 PB, 1 error
          2007-3.69 ERA, 29% CS, 0 PB, 0 errors
          2008-3.80 ERA, 27% CS, 5 PB, 5 errors
          2009-3.98 ERA, 28% CS, 3 PB, 5 errors
          2010-4.23 ERA, 22% CS, 2 PB, 4 errors
          2011-4.29 ERA, 30% CS, 5 PB, 13 errors (VERY unacceptable….but even worse when you factor in the Cubs total for their catchers with Hill’s 6, Soto’s 13, and Castillo’s 2……21 errors from your catchers is indefensible, and whomever is in charge of preparing the catchers should be fired)

          Anyway, as you can see, Soto’s stats are much more consistent than Hill’s, and this myth that Hill somehow adds to the team is completely and utterly false

          Also, the myths of the value of “good glove guys (meaning no bat)”, and having a “righty-lefty platoon” at catcher have also been proven false over time.

          One of the reasons Theo was brought in, was to break away from the past and the archaic way of thinking.

          Let’s hope we never see guys like DeWitt, Izturis, Hill, etc. on the roster ever again. 

  • Coolpdxcubsfan

    Maybe I’m wrong, but the way it looked to me the (shudder) hated Cards did not win the world series, Texas lost it! They gave it away several times, but most notedly in the sixth game with Quade Cubslike play.
    I’m tired of hearing about how wonderful the Cards are. Great comeback from 10 1/2 down, well, ok. And getting past the Phillies and Brewers was great too,  thanks to Albert Both of those triumphs were timely when the Cards were at their peak. In no way was that the same team that we played all season long.. But don’t tell me how they are the best in baseball….NOT!!
    I’m also tired of hearing about how great a game that game 6 was. It was a lousy game, filled with errors (some not called) mental mistakes and bad managing and bad pitching.
    AND furthermore, no decent Cubs fan could possibly root for the Cardinals, National League or not, or Albert or not, LaRussa or not……PERIOD!
    .

    • paulcatanese

      Game 6, I cant believe you do not think it was one of the greatest. No one knew who was going to win until the very end. No matter what is said about the errors, managing, and pitching, one thing is there, you must still hit the ball, even if the pitchers rolled it up to the plate.

      Entertainment at its finest,isnt that what baseball in the majors is? If one wants to see baseball for baseball you would have to go to the minors or college to see baseball played for baseball.

      Personally I enjoyed the mistakes, the hits and both managers messing up
      owners must have been turning over in their seats thinking about the monies paid to these players tp perform and thats what they are paid for, a performance.

      Yes it was Cubslike play, especially with the errors, the similarity of the Cardinal left fielder with one the Cubs have, and even Pujols not running as hard as he should have. And the pitching, well? But remember it was 40degrees at game time, not exactly condusive for playing baseball.

      I liked the game, no matter who won it, both got what they deserved.

      • cubtex

        Agreed Paul. Two separate innings the Rangers are 1 strike from winning the world series only to see it disappear in a flash…..Entertainment and drama at its best! The magnitude and importance made it probably the greatest game that I have ever seen!

        • Aaron

          Sadly, if the Cubs were ever in that position, I could EASILY see them blowing it with Marmol as the closer…which is PRECISELY why he’s got to go.

          • cubtex

            Funny, that is exactly my thought when the Rangers were up 2 going in the 9th. Would anyone feel comfortable with Marmol being the one to close the door in a world series clincher? I just wish they would have traded him last year or ealy this year when his value was high. I can’t see Theo going into next season with Marmol penciled in as the team’s closer.

        • carmelo

          Tying run on 1st, 2 outs in bottom of 9th—-did any of the Rangers coaches signal to the outfielders NO DOUBLES—-Cruz should have been playing about a foot from the warning track—nothing over your head.  And the slow footed Berkman scored easily.  It’s mistakes like that cost them the series.  NO DOUBLES.

          • cubtex

            It looked to me that Cruz was playing deep. I think if you look at the replay….Cruz got a late jump and never got back on the ball. Cruz was probably ready to sprint in and celebrate with his team and wasn’t prepared for the ball coming his way. That is my take on the play.

          • carmelo

            Your probably right about him ready to charge forward to celebrate—just find it hard to believe that a runner as slow as Berkman scores on a play like that—-Cruz was playing deep, not deep enough—keep everything in front of you.  Baseball 101.

          • cubtex

            Agreed

        • paulcatanese

          I had forgotten, how many times have you seen the wheel play this last year and yet in this series twice, once by each team and successful to boot. Furcal turning two with the second baseman running over from holding the runner to cover first , and the Rangers, great play by the shortstop to pick the bunt that went past the third baseman and get an out at first. Two terriric plays by both teams. ( and Freese even juggled the ball before getting it to Furcal) two great shortstops in the series.

      • Brp921

        I’ve been working 70 to 80 hours a week and didn’t get to watch the series this year but everone I’ve talked to has said this year has been the world series at its best, especially game six.

        • paulcatanese

          Thats a shame that you had to miss the Series, but they have been showing some replays on Dish, MLB . Game six, Iv’e seen a lot of them, but this ranks as one of the greatest. Hope you find someone with a tape of that one.

    • Tony_Hall

      Game 6 was an unbelievable game, I am sorry the baseball fan in you didn’t enjoy it.

      The Cardinals were not the best team this year.  They were the best team during the playoffs.  The regular season does nothing more than give you a chance.  So you are right, this was not the team we played all year, this team was at full strength (minus Wainwright).  

      I was rooting for the Rangers, but can still see that Games 6 was the greatest game I have ever watched.  Maybe you have seen better, but I have not.

      • cubtex

        Goes to show you that anything can happen once you get there. Just like last year……the Giants weren’t the best team in baseball last year either. Great World Series this year!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Dempster officially picked up his option for 2012 this afternoon

    • Anonymous47701

      This is NOT a wise decision on Dempster’s part.

      • cubtex

        Why do you say that? He will make 14 mil coming off a horrible year by picking up his option. What do you honestly think he would get as a free agent? A 1 year deal at about half of that would be my guess.

        • Calicub

          i was just about to ask the same question!

          4.80 ERA 1.45 WHIP and barely scratched 200 IP.  Dempster is on the decline and would be an absolute fool not to pick up his option…

        • Anonymous47701

          Would you rather see Dempster pitch again in 2012 and hope he doesn’t give up a lot of walks and grand slams?

          • cubtex

            Do you understand that Dempster is the one to pick up his option….not the Cubs.

          • Tony_Hall

            2 completely different things.

            I would have liked to see him not pick up HIS option.

            But he wouldn’t have made more this year, playing anywhere else and he gets to play where he wants to play…it was a no brainer fro Dempster.

          • Calicub

            again.  It was a player option. not a team or mutual option.  We’re still working with Hendry Era contracts if you do recall…

            However, IF Theo can add two aces to the staff Dempster would make a great number 4 starter.  Not worth the $14.something mill but he does bring many things to the table for the cubs that a random SP wouldn’t.  not $14.something million worth of things but still…

            Stick to your imaginary 2012 Lineups Anonymous.

      • Tony_Hall

        $14M reasons to the contrary…

  • cubtex

    So now with Demp officially coming back next year here is what Theo has to work with and decide……. Garza, Dempster,Z,Cashner,Wells,Shark. I think it is safe to say that Garza and Dempster are locks but after that? What will he do with Z? He says he will talk to him and then decide. Will they keep him and his salary for one more year? I still don’t think they can bring him back after everything that has happened. So, my opinion is that he will be traded if possible. I think Cashner will be one of the starters. He has top of the rotation potential and they don’t have many other options. Wells? I hope they can do better and either move Wells or keep him as a long reliever as insurance. Shark? I would give him an opportunity to win a job in spring training as a #5.

    Free agents? I would not want to pay big bucks for either CJ Wilson or Edwin Jackson. With the free agent market being thin…some team will overpay for these 2 and I hope it isn’t the Cubs.

    Trades… I mentioned some names before and I would rather go this route. Anibal Sanchez, Jonathan Sanchez, John Danks, Gavin Floyd to name a few. Any of the top 3 would be my first choices.

    So…. I would only say the 3 to be penciled in at this moment would be Demp, Garza and Cashner.

    • Aaron

      I like your trade targets and overall thought process, but the way I understand it, is Cashner is NOT going to be a starter next year. I believe the Tribune was the one reporting that one, as they said he was coming off injury, and the organization has already supposedly made the decision to just go the relief route with him, which would basically make Samardzija and Marshall candidates for the rotation (it just so happened that in the same article, Marshall was mentioned as a candidate if I recall correctly).

      I fully expect Theo to go the FA route with starters, with Edwin Jackson likely at the top of his list (due to age), then Buehrle, then Oswalt probably in that order. I would also think he might target an innings-eater like Garland, who could be had on the cheap coming off shoulder surgery. Paul Maholm could also be a target. I guess you could say Sabathia would be a target too, but NOT at $20-25 million/year.

      I just don’t see how he could make trades involving prospects at this point….not with having to give up 2-3 prospects for suits, including himself. Therefore, he would have to trade guys like Soto, Marmol, Marshall, Barney, etc. at the MLB level, or hope that somehow Zambrano or Soriano could be unloaded for starting pitching, which is not even close to being a given at this point. What’s really sad about that is the fact that you have to look to trade guys like Marshall that have value, because nobody else really has it , and you’re sure as hell not going to trade Castro.

      Like I’ve said before though, the Cubs should have no less than $50-60 million to spend this offseason on free agency and/or player acquisitions.

      The hitters that will likely be targeted in free agency are: Kubel, Cuddyer, Kotchman, and DeRosa. It’s also possible they could target long-shots like Damon, DeJesus, Beltran, Sizemore (if he’s let go), and possibly even Willingham.

      If Theo can unload Soriano and Zambrano by paying over half of their remaining contracts, then he could have upwards of $75 million to spend between trades and free agency.

      You have to think he’d prefer to spend almost all of the money on pitching for short-term deals no greater than 3 years long (which Oswalt and Buehrle would certainly fit in those categories), and you’d have to think that given his comments about so-called 4-A players, that he will likely give LaHair a chance at 1B, so Fielder and Pujols wouldn’t seem to fit with a Theo run team, especially since you’d have to assume he’d like to make a similar move like he did with Ortiz in proving everyone else wrong. 

      Internally (notice, I said, INTERNALLY), you’d have to think the following guys make the most sense on an Epstein roster (and this is also NOT taking into account the players included in compensation):

      Garza
      Dempster (b/c he just enforced his option)
      Samardzija
      Marshall
      Struck (or McNutt)

      Cashner
      Wood
      Carpenter
      Dolis
      Russell
      Beliveau
      Rhoderick

      C-W. Castillo, Clevenger
      1B-LaHair
      2B-LeMahieu, Barney
      SS-Castro, M. Gonzalez
      3B-Vitters, Lake
      LF-Flaherty
      CF-B. Jackson
      RF-Ridling, Wright

      Of course, this will NOT be anywhere close to the Opening Day roster, but provided they’re not included in compensation or taken in the Rule 5, I could EASILY see Carpenter, Dolis, Clevenger, LeMahieu, Flaherty, and Wright on a Theo-run team. 

      It’s kind of fun to speculate what Theo is capable of doing, because the Cubs haven’t had a creative GM like this since Dallas Green almost 30 years ago. And while I understand it’s premature, and quite silly to speculate this early, it’s interesting to think about the players that Epstein would likely value most that otherwise would’ve been undervalued during Hendry’s tenure. 

      There could be some guys like Blake Parker, Struck, Rusin, Carrillo, Szczur, Ha, etc. that force themselves into the picture, but they’re considerable long-shots. 

      Remember, other than the 2011 draftees, Theo has come out and basically said the Cubs really don’t have many assets at all, and need to collect them via trade and off the waiver wire. 

      Therefore, it’s very plausible Epstein looks to the non-tender route with guys like Loney (which would push LaHair to the OF), Sizemore (which would likely spell the end of the Colvin experiment), among others. 

      No matter what, it’s already shaping up to be an exciting offseason, and outside of November-December of 2006 when the Tribune authorized all the spending, I can’t think of a single offseason I’ve been this excited.

      • cubtex

        I look at Nick Struck’s numbers and I don’t see a major league starter at this point. He is only 22 so things can obviously change…but looking at his hits per innings and low K rate……I don’t see how he can be in the conversation at this time.
        That is the reason on why it is important to hold onto McNutt instead of sending him to BoSox. They have a severe lack of starting pitching prospects in AA and above.

        • Aaron

          I don’t know about that. While McNutt is the more hyped prospect, I think he gets too much credit while other guys in the system like Rusin, Struck, Antigua, Searle, Beeler, and even Loosen all outperformed him, and Antigua was the only one in that group not to have pitched in AA with McNutt.

          Rusin is the ONLY one in that group that is older than McNutt, so you can’t say that it’s age related, and both he and Struck passed McNutt all the way to AAA this year. 

      • Brp921

        I have long supported Marshall being moved to the starting rotation.I would rather see Cashner in a starting role than relief, but with his injuries last year it appears that he won’t be able to handle the amount of innings required next year to be effective in that role. Besides, with Marmol being as erratic as he is, it would be good to have a guy with Cashners heat to replace Marmol if he continues to struggle. I also believe Brian La Hair should start at 1st base so the available free agent money can be invested in pitching. I would also go with Edwin Jackson as the first choice, I believe his best years are ahead of him and he would be reasonably priced. I am willing to trust Epsteins judgement on Zambrano. If he’s willing to bring him back (with some behavioral stipulations or whatever) and he can get it together, then since he’s in a contract year maybe he could post some wins. That would give them a rotation of Garza, Dempster, Marshall, Jackson, and one more year of Zambrano. The back end of the bullpen would be pretty tough with Cashner and Marmol. If Zambrano blows up again set him at the end of the bullpen and let him rot there. With these moves there should be enouph money left for some mid level free agents to shore up the rest of the team and make us competitive in a weak division. 

  • paulcatanese

    I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams what Theo Epstein would have to say to Zambrano about pitching for the Cubs next year. Zambrano has been talked to by everyone and everytime with the same result, a meltdown.

    I hope Theo does not think he has the magic answer or believes what Zambrano has to say regarding his return because none of it will hold true .If that is the intention, bringing him back to pitch may be a mistake for Theo. I can only hope this conversation between is to convince Zambrano to leave and not exercise his no trade clause, opening up a trade, even at a cost.

    • Brp921

      The one thing that is different with Zambrano this year Paul, is that he’s in a contract year. I believe that being the selfish guy that he is if he truly wants to stay in the game then he will do what it takes to pitch his best. That is what Epstein needs to find out. If he believes this to be the case then I say keep him. The Cubs have suffered through the bad years we deserve a good year if he’s capable of it. He’s not worth anything on the trade market so we are eating his salary anyway and as I said above if it doesn’t work out then put him at the end of the bullpen and let him rot, at that point he would deserve it.

      • paulcatanese

        You could be right, but I just dont know, lets wait until Epstein meets with him and see what happens.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs in AFL (10/29): Junior Lake (SS): 1-for-4, HR; Josh Vitters
    (1B): 3-for-4, HR, 2R; Andrew Cashner: 3R, 3H, 0BB, K in 1IP (BS); Marcus
    Hatley: 1R, 1H in 1.2 IP; Chris Carpenter: 0R, 1H, 0BB, 0K, 1IP