Garza’s Arbitration Hearing Set … and Other Cubs News and Notes

Matt Garza is the only arbitration eligible player that remains unsigned for the upcoming season. Garza filed a $12.5 million figure and the Cubs countered with a $7.95 million salary for 2012 … and the sides appear to have two days to work out a deal to avoid an arbitration hearing.

According to a report from Phil Rogers, Matt Garza’s hearing is set for Friday. The Cubs are hopeful a deal can be reached before going in front of an independent arbiter. The Cubs and Garza can still find a middle ground but if the two sides go to arbitration Garza will make either $12.5 million or $7.95 million for the upcoming season.

Matt Garza earned $5.95 million last season.

Matt Garza’s house in Fresno County was broken into recently and one of the items that were stolen was Garza’s 2008 American League Championship ring. The burglary happened between the afternoon of January 26 and late Tuesday morning.

Here’s the update that includes the Cubs possible interest in signing Todd Coffey

Cubs’ Facility in the Dominican Republic
The Cubs academy in the Dominican Republic is still 12 to 18 months away from completion but according to a report from the Tribune, the Ricketts family and key staff members will travel to the site of the new facility this week.

Tom Ricketts is holding a quarterly board meeting on the island.

The Cubs purchased the 50-acre area outside of Santo Domingo last year and Louie Eljauna, special assistant to Jed Hoyer, is designing the complex that will include baseball diamonds, indoor workout space, dormitories and offices. Eljauna has overseen such projects for the Red Sox and Pirates.

Jose Serra and Carmelo Martinez will use the facility as their base.

According to a report from Bruce Levine, the Cubs are looking for a utility infielder and a backup catcher. Levine mentioned as much during his Saturday show (Talkin’ Baseball, ESPN 1000).

The Cubs’ needs center around a utility middle infielder and a backup catcher with big league experience. Alfredo Amezaga can play three infield spots and all three positions in the outfield. According to Levine, Amezaga could be a solid backup to Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney.

Of the other non-roster invitees, Edgar Gonzalez could fill the need as well. The former Padre can play all four infield positions as well as left and right field. Matt Tolbert and Bobby Scales will also compete for the spot in Spring Training.

As for the backup catcher’s role, the Cubs have to decide if they want to have Welington Castillo or Steve Clevenger backing up Geovany Soto instead of playing regularly in the minors. Jason Jaramillo will be in camp and could step into the role previously held by Koyie Hill.

The Cubs 40-man roster is currently full so any additions to the big league roster would require creating a spot. Right now, the Cubs will have 61 players in big league camp when the first full squad workout begins on February 24.

Jim Hendry
Jim Hendry is no longer unemployed. The Yankees have hired the Cubs’ former GM to be a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman.

Hendry will officially be a ‘special assignment scout’ and his duties will include Major League coverage, work within the minor league system grading the players and assisting with the draft.

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on, here are the highlights:

  • Levine does not expect Alfonso Soriano to be a part-time player for any team, including the Cubs. According to Levine, he will either be in the field or someone has written him a check to give him his outright release. Levine thinks Soriano should be attractive to another team.
  • The Cubs could wait to try to move Alfonso Soriano during the season or before the deadline in July. The problem with waiting is if Soriano has a poor three or four months the Cubs might not ever be able to move him.
  • Levine has not heard that Jorge Soler has established residency in the Dominican Republic (consistent with other reports). Soler must establish residency in the Dominican before he can apply to be a Major League free agent.
  • It is highly unlikely that the Cubs will have to give up a big prospect as compensation for Theo Epstein. According to Levine’s sources he does not understand where the information is coming from that Boston will receive a highly rated prospect for Epstein. Levine reiterated a lower level prospect and money should be the proper compensation for Theo Epstein.
  • Major League catchers are hard to find and if the Cubs trade Geovany Soto they would have to get quality back. Soto is not perfect but having a rookie catcher (Welington Castillo or Steve Clevenger) is a very precarious position to be put in.
  • The Cubs are counting on John Gaub to vie for a spot in the pen this spring. The signing of Trever Miller is not a precursor to a trade … Miller is another security blanket for the staff.
  • The Cubs are concentrating on signing Yoenis Cespedes and/or Jorge Soler … but Soler might fit into the Cubs’ plans better than Cespedes.
  • Levine’s theory on Matt Garza is that if they cannot sign him to a long-term contract then they will trade him before the July 31 trade deadline. A long-term deal for Garza could be in the five-year, $60 million range.
  • For now, the Cubs backup first baseman is Jeff Baker.
  • Most scouts Levine has spoken to believe Ian Stewart could be the biggest surprise for the Cubs this season. The scouts he’s talked to think if Stewart is 100 percent healthy he will get his confidence and swing back.

Todd Coffey
According to a report from Hardball Talk (NBC Sports) that cited Darren Wolfson of in Minnesota as the source, the Cubs and A’s are interested in signing Todd Coffey. The report did not indicate if a possible deal would be a major or minor league contract … but without a spot on the 40-man roster, if the Cubs were to sign Coffey it would figure to be a minor league deal.

The veteran reliever posted a 5-1 record in 69 games for the Nationals last season with a 3.62 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. The 31-year old right-hander has pitched for three different organizations (Reds, Brewers and Nationals) during his seven-year career (24-18 in 438 games, all in relief, with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP)

Todd Coffey’s Page on Baseball-Reference

News, Notes and Rumors
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs had interest in signing Chad Qualls before the Phillies inked him to a deal.

According to Ken Rosenthal, Yoenis Cespedes will likely visit the Marlins in Miami within the next week. The Cubs are remain “deeply involved” in Cespedes. Tuesday night on MLB Roundtrip (MLB Network Radio/XM Radio), Cliff Floyd said he thinks Cespedes will sign with the Marlins … especially after he sees Little Havana and South Beach.

The Cubs’ plan to add a 75-foot LED board and bleacher patio is getting a green light, with some conditions, from the city’s landmarks commission.

Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman are happy they can now do business together.

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

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Tony_Hall

    Great article on Theo and Cashman, at the bottom of Neil’s article.

    • John_CC

      Yes, a fun little peak into the workings of that rivalry.  I love the Steinbrenner anecdote, Theo pissed him off and he dropped 10M$ to show him up!

  • Tony_Hall

    “Most scouts Levine has spoken to believe Ian Stewart could be the biggest surprise for the Cubs this season. The scouts he’s talked to think if Stewart is 100 percent healthy he will get his confidence and swing back”

    You mean there is talent in that bum, hard to believe from most of the comments on here.  I was just about to write off his 18 and 25 HR seasons and being so old at 26 years old, as a bust.  

    Now I wanted Headley over Stewart, but out of the players that were available and since we don’t have a 3B ready in our system, he was probably the best option to play third this year.  

    Let’s hope he is healthy, and has a great season.

    • JedMosley

      Well said Tony. I agree with a lot of your posts on here. I think Stewart is very capable of breakout year. Breakout meaning .250-.260 with 20-25 home runs with above average defense at third. While many people have criticized Theo’s first off season, the question I have is what did people expect? If he broke the bank and went after all of the high priced free agents people would be calling him Jim Hendry. So he does the opposite and people want to complain about us turning into a small market team? You’ve got to start somewhere. Anyways, I enjoy the posts and Go Cubs!

      • Tony_Hall

        Thanks JedMosley.  

        You said it perfectly, if he broke the bank, then people would call Jim Hendry. 

  • Tony_Hall

    Matt Garza and his agent need to settle.  

    There is no way they win in arbitration, as they overshot the acceptable numbers and the Cubs just missed the range on the low side.  By doing this, the Cubs have no reason to meet in the middle at $10.2 and I see them agreeing to terms at $9.5M.  Hopefully, this will be announced saying they are going to work on an extension to buy out the last year of arbitration and 3-4 years of free agency.

  • Tony_Hall

    It drives me crazy the status of our catching situation. 

    It has been so poorly managed over the years, and now, instead of our back-up being fully prepared to take over the starters role, now that Geo is getting expensive, we just don’t know if they are capable to start everyday. We don’t even know if they are capable back-ups, due to sticking with Koyie Hill for all these years, even though everyone knew he would never take over as the starter.

    I have said this before, our best catching prospect should be the back-up catcher, after 1-3 years, they should become the starter,and the our new best catching prospect should become the back-up.  The starter should be traded around his year 4 or 5, as they become expensive and in return we will get more prospects.  The only reason for changing this system, would be if we stumble on an elite catcher, of which there only a couple in the league at a time.

  • Anthony

    “is designing the complex that will include baseball diamonds, indoor workout space, dormitories and offices”

    Anytown, USA………………..

    Take out the trash
    Mow the lawn
    Get up early for school
    Get a summer job
    Get good grades, study hard, go to college
    Finish your chores
    OK, you earned your pay-to-play fee, play for your school
    Wintertime, basketball season
    Do your homework
    Need a date for the dance
    Hey, its Spring, play some baseball
    Got to study for exams
    Wonder where the folks are considering summer vacation
    Wow, summer flew by, time for high school football
    Take out the trash
    Need a dance date
    SAT or ACT, which one?
    Got on a premier 18u baseball team, alrighty then

    Off to college, got a $1000 athletic grant for baseball
    Lifting before class
    Class all day
    Hit in cages
    Homework, have to study
    Watch TV, maybe some PS3
    Lift/run before class
    Class all day
    Bullpen session
    Session with tutor
    Homework and study
    Sleep in
    Go to class all day
    Finally,baseball practice
    Semester exams
    Season starts
    Bringing homework on road trip
    First game, cold, wet, rainy
    Back to class

    Dom Rep…………………………..

    “me go play baseball all day in warm sunshine, no worries maan”

    • Tony_Hall

      Sounds like kids in the US are more well rounded and better prepared for life after baseball.  Only a fraction of 1% of all kids who play baseball world wide, make it to professional baseball, and just a fraction of them make it to the majors, with only a small percent of those hitting it big.  

      I’ll take the US way any day for our kids.

      As far as the life of a baseball player, most of them play baseball near year round or even year round, even up in the Chicago area.  We started practice for my son’s team at the beginning of January and finished last year the 2nd week of October.  Some players even keep working during that 12 week break.  

      • Anthony

        Tony, agree with a few things you said, but questions on others, and my post has additional meanings/points.

        I am fully aware of the mathematics of how many(few) keep playing as the cream rises.

        About playing year round, even indoors in Chicago still entails the player having to dedicate more time for normal activities(school/work) than actually playing baseball 24/7/365, like the foreigners on the veal farms MLB created.

        Now, in my opinion, there is a huge under-appreciation of US born student-athletes and an major over-appreciation of foreign kids on baseball farms, and to me, it all leads back to genetics, or gifts at birth.

        Most of the kids on the Veal Farms fail, even when they get to play baseball only, with no other responsibilities. Why? Because they never possessed the tools from Day 1, not born to play.

        Baseball is so unique. You need athleticism, coordination, skills, hand-eye, superior twitch muscles, fluidity, nerve/cahonnes, mental toughness, vision, awareness, just to name a few, and all working together at the same time.

        I mostly appreciate the collegiate baseball players, and when people post that they are more advanced than the rest, simply untrue. Any current or former college players, kindly chime in, but they manage to play at a high level despite having many other responsibilities and requirements.

        NCAA players are limited in practice time via Bylaws/Rules. They have class, homework, study time, and become very good at time management.

        For baseball, pitchers try to develop, against metal bats, and hitters development is stalled somewhat by being forced to use metal bats.

        The 6-7 week short collegiate summer wood bat leagues are basically for pitcher development while hitters spend half that season making swing adjustments.

        BBCOR bats have a significant performance decrease, but they are still metal bats. If the day ever came when high school and college used wood bats only, MLB would have an easier time evaluating US players and the need to troll the Earth for the next phenom would become less significant.

        paul had a comment the other day, and I understand what he was saying, and MLB clubs making these huge investments in foreign countries is a tad disturbing when they should be working more with US affiliates, like the NHSBCA and NCAA on player development issues, possibly finding better ways to assist the kids of the parents, or, “the hands that feed”

        But they won’t, actually can’t, as US children abide by Legislation and minority laws, and the need for proper education, from K-12, and more if desired.

        In other words, the US produces talent, and credit these kids for playing hard while doing all the things that every kid is required to do, and credit the parents also.

    • jiba11

      Terrible assertion! No worries for the Dominican kids, huh? A small number of these kids get minor league contracts only to be released a few years later. What do they do if they don’t make it? The DR currently has 42.2% of the population below the poverty line. Nothing to worry about?

      • Anthony

        don’t drag politics into it, their poverty rate has nothing to do with the post

        what paul said the other day was that most of our ancestors “paid” to enter this country seeking a better opportunity, as laborers, skilled craftsmen, farmers, pretty much any available work, and not to play professional baseball

        I can’t worry about Dominican kids, but you go right ahead and take that role if you wish, because as much as you think MLB is doing them a favor, it is business, and they don’t care except for the one gem that they farm, all else gets discarded

        By the way, poerty exists in the US more than you can imagine.

        • jiba11

          Dom Rep…………………………..
          “me go play baseball all day in warm sunshine, no worries maan”

          You are making it seem as if the DR kids have nothing to worry about, when in fact they too have a lot of pressure. For example, helping to support their families.

          “because as much as you think MLB is doing them a favor, it is business, and they don’t care except for the one gem that they farm, all else gets discarded”

          My point exactly. They will get discarded if they don’t make the cut. In my opinion, that’s a lot of pressure for a kid.

          Don’t discredit the hard work that foreign kids put in to try and make it.

          • paulcatanese

            Pressure? You must be very young to think that their wasn’t any pressure in the US on people.

            As I had mentioned before the multitudes of people that had nothing when they came to this Country and eked out a life and improved the lives of their childeren and those that followed.

            Had three uncles in world war 2 two saw combat in Australia and had lingering Malaria for years afterwards.

            One uncle born deaf. At thirteen began working on cars house to house. Went on to a shop to repair cars. Enlisted in the Army, ended up designing tanks.

            Ended up again with a Studebaker dealership and then a Ford dealership, founded two Banks and played golf with a President.

            He loved Baseball and sponsered a semi pro team for years.

            Pressure? People went to the service of our country and died, or became disabled.

            I am very proud of all of the people who came here, sought the American dream, and were happy with what they had.

            I could go on and on with these stories, just from my family alone,
            pressure,sacrifice, and whatever success they could gather.

            The point being, they werent waiting around for someone to pay for them to be here, they did it on their own.

            So why,why should I even begin to worry about players from another country that would command millions to come here,play baseball and take the money home with them. 

          • jiba11

            Very impressive family history! I never said that U.S. kids have no pressure. Anthony is 100% correct when he says that U.S. athletes go through a lot of adversity. Once again, the point I’m trying to make is that foreign kids also go through adversity.I understand the frustration but the problem lies with MLB teams not building the same million dollar facilities here in the U.S. Our kids would then be able to play and practice with the best year round. If this was the case, I’d be confident that those kids would be superior to any other kids they put them up against.

          • paulcatanese

            I would point out that when I post it’s off the top of my head and not really programmed to flow easily.
            sometimes things get on the post that are not really thought out with how it may be taken.
            I aplogize for that and hope you do not take it as a putdown.
            I would also say that while it looked impressive it was also very lucky on their part.
            I did not intend for it to be political in any way.
            My whole family was very lucky with athletic endevors and I realize that, but please believe me when I say that they were lucky, in the right place at the right time and feel very fortunate.

          • Dorasaga

            Can we move on from this “Believers versus Satan-worship” stuff? “Develop US kids versus Dominicans who try to steal our jobs?”

            I haven’t checked numbers, but I’ve been seeing significant majority of US citizens (that include Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez*) than Dominican citizens, in both Major AND minor leagues.

            *Different cases. Pujols sworn by the US Constitution when he was a kid, before pro. ARod just turned a few years ago, after pro. Either way, they love the States and raise their family here.

            As for HOW MUCH should MLB pay for US kids be educated in baseball. Well, there are a few problems to think about. I already brought up one: It’s cheaper to pay for a Dominican Academy and train kids there. MLB has not done anything different from Nike or Walmart (or Dell, if you want to think about no-stock but Chinese manufacture-n-ship).

            Seriously, are we prosecuting witches here? I mean, I thought we are in the 21st Century. There must be a scientific way to think about that.

          • John_CC

            Thank you, Dorasaga.

            Why is this conversation even going?  

            And Paul, these kids that finally make it will definitely send their money back to home to help their families, after they pay healthy taxes  to the US Gov’t on their earnings. 

            I really really do not want to get into this, but is that worse than US corporations (and politicians that want to be presidents) that shelter exorbitant profits in off shore accounts while paying slave wages on these same islands?  Apple just earned the most money EVER for a US company in a single quarter while their labor practices in China are now being investigated. 

            It’s The 21st Century Global Economy!!!

          • paulcatanese

            John, they should pay taxes here.
            Point, my wife as an entertainer in California had to pay union dues in Chicago as well as CA.

            And two wrongs don’t make a right.
            since you brought up the other companies and the practices they have, they should be investigated and if need be, stopped.

            But I agree, this is a baseball site and I should not bring personal things that could be political on it.
            Sorry, John and Dorasaga,   Paul.

          • John_CC

             Don’t worry about, Paul.

          • Dorasaga

            Yeah, sweat none. I am not entitled to defend anyone but my own opinion. We are do the same. But if more of these lawful questions come through, then we’ll be crossing the line from baseball to politics. Not good together.

          • Anthony

            don’t bring religion into it, and you see more americans based on population versus dominicans, but the demographics of pro baseball, especially MLB is disproportionate concerning the makeup, i.e, more foreigners per capita………….

          • Dorasaga

            Ok. I don;t want to cross the line, either.

            The numbers help us tell better stories. I would consider those of all the minor and independent leagues, to paint the right picture.

          • Anthony

            kindly explain your term “hard work”

  • Ripsnorter1

    I think it is obvious that Jarmillo will take the backup job for the Cubs–unless he hits .000 in ST. Somehow the Cubs do not like Wellington Castillo. 

    Jaramillo doesn’t have much power…186 PA and just .363 slugging in AAA last year…2 HR…..269 career MiL BA…

    Wellington Castillo slugged .524 and hit .286 in Iowa last year. Slugged .498 in 2010 and hit .287….

    • Tony_Hall

      I don’t think it’s that they don’t like him (remember new regime) it’s that they may want him to play everyday, to take over for Soto when he is traded.  I for one think if he is who you want to take over for Soto, he should be the back-up on the major league team.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Make that two. :)

    • Anthony

      why is it “obvious”?

  • Brp921

    I hope the Cubs are just blowing smoke to drive the price up on Cespedes and that they are really going to go after Soler. I think, after seeing Cespedes play against better talent, that the chance of him being successful in the big leagues is to slim to risk the dollars he will command, especially at his age. Soler, from reports I’ve seen, has the bigger upside and is young enough to be developed, therefore more worth risking the money on. 

    • jw


      Me too but I know all the GM’s check with CCO and after they read your post our cover is blown! :) 😛

    • Ripsnorter1

      My opinion: the Cubs are not after Cespedes, nor Soler, nor any other high priced Cuban or American FA. It’s all speculation from the press.

      I truly think that Theo/P.K. Ricketts is all about “Losing Big on the Cheap in 2012.” 

      • Brp921

        I disagree. I think the idea is to rebuild then add pieces though free agency, which is why I think it would be better to go after Soler rather than Cespedes.

    • Anthony

      what is the point of “driving up the price”

      • Brp921

        The only reason I could see would be to possibly taking another team out of the running for Soler because they spent their budget on Cespedes. I am not advocating that they are doing that, I just don’t want them to sign Cespedes.

  • Tony_Hall

    Speaking of Cespedes – an article on ESPN Insider that compares Cespedes to different major leaguers. 

    8 Execs

    Cespedes favored over 

    Rasmus 6-2
    Stubbs 6-2
    BJ Upton 5-3

    ties with
    C Young 4-4

    Not favored over 
    A Jones 6-2

    “In the end, the debate is not over Cespedes’ unquestioned upside as much as it is the chances of him reaching that ceiling. Most agree that he’ll need up to three months in Triple-A to shake the rust off and get used to playing in a major league organization, and the projections for just how much he will hit, as opposed to strike out, range wildly. That ceiling is still far too alluring for some teams, and a projected deal of $40 million for five years has equal chances of being bargain or bust. “

    • SuzyS

      Tony, Thanks for the interesting read. IMHO Cespedes does not seem to make that much sense to me…given the timeline/outline that seems to be developing from team Theo’s
      moves this offseason.
      At age 27…(Or maybe more) he can’t really be labeled a prospect..for the $$$ that are being talked about…if he is too old as a prospect then he should have experience against
      tougher competition.
      It’s not there…???? UNLESS you (Cubs suits) that Cespedes
      will truly be a star…and THERE IS NO TRUE EVIDENCE of that.

  • Anthony

    well, I posted 3 links on DR baseball, and they somehow got deleted, so just search dominican baseball academies, and you can read all about them

    they have govermental issues, always have, and only a PR type US involvement may change that, i.e resources

    If you do the research, you will find 3 bad guys

    their government
    and the pimps

    The children are the victims

    (CRANE)So, Hey Tom(Ricketts), you really want to invest in a situation where the risk of an International Draft would mean you may be developing kids for other teams?

    (Ricketts)What the heck, didn’t you read the memo from the Used car Manager(Selig), he said it was only posturing to make us look good and to keep using the pimp/hoe concept, but make it look like we are helping all the kids

    That is my interpretation-exploitation

    Somebody called me out saying didn’t care about the kids in the DR, and I said it was a baseball post, not political, religious(another poster infusion), but has become one because these baseball/entertainment geniuses, the Cubs included, only care about making money.

    30 Clubs enter each season, and 29 go home losers, and they know that also, so the point is to maximize revenues and keep leading the sheep up the ramp.

    An international Draft would force MLB clubs to spend more money than these cattle farms, and they know it, and read the articles first to gain a better understanding of the meat market the “GAME” really is.

    Think America’s next Idol, it is no different, except the circumstances are real for the rejects. Nothing more than modern day Prostitution.

    Now, lets talk about the potential OPS of some Cuban guy????

  • Aaron


    Blake DeWitt or Jeff Baker as compensation for Epstein

    Alberto Cabrera as compensation for Hoyer

    Then, Cubs need to sign Adrian Cardenas to replace DeWitt (I’m not sure if he’s still available though) or Baker

    Cubs then need to sign Soler.

    Cubs then need to trade Wells, Dempster, Garza, Soto, Byrd, Marmol, Soriano and Russell (why, you might ask? Because Russell has value, and the Cubs now have Beliveau, Maine, Gaub, and the recently signed Miller).

    Again, as I’ve said before, the Cubs ABSOLUTELY can except top prospects for Garza, Soto, and Marmol..and possibly Dempster, but only closer to the trade deadline and assuming he pitches well early on. They can expect to pay nearly all of Soriano’s contract, and probably some of Byrd’s as well.

    What everyone needs to understand is that players such as B. Jackson, J. Jackson, Ridling, Carillo, McNutt, etc. might all be ready this year. The Cubs have absolutely no room on the 40-man to add any of them. What that means to me is that they’re going to look to move multiple players off the 40-man prior to the start of the season to allow for greater flexibility. The players they will likely get in return are guys that aren’t on their respective team’s 40-man roster.

    I know I’ve said this before, but the following guys have almost no place on this roster due to either age/salary/arbitration/yrs left on deal (and thus not much of a factor in the future), etc:
    Baker-getting more expensive through arbitration, will be FA anyway 
    DeWitt-(see above), will have 2 yrs arbitration left
    Marmol-will have 1 yr left on deal after next year
    Soriano-will have 2 yrs, $38 million after next year
    Byrd-last year of deal
    Soto-will have 1 yr of arbitration left
    Wells-will have 2 yrs arbitration left
    Johnson-only signed 1 yr deal, FA after season
    Sonnanstine-no value, 1 yr deal, but taking up roster space
    Dempster-FA next year

    I’ve posted several different versions of this, and obviously things have changed slightly with recent trades, but here’s a roster we might just see this year if these trades go down..or at least some of them:
    Dempster (good teammate, and good guy, so he just might stick)
    T. Wood

    L. Castillo

    C-Castillo, Clevenger
    2B-Torryes (don’t think for a moment they’ll shy away from giving him a chance this year if he does well…they even talked about it after acquiring him…being on a path like Castro), Barney
    SS-Castro, Watkins/Cerda
    3B-Vitters (not sold at all on Stewart…he’ll be traded or released)
    LF-LaHair, Ridling
    CF-Jackson, Sappelt

    I know it seems pretty far-fetched, but I can almost guarantee you that if the Cubs start out slowly, they’ll be thinking of blowing this thing up for the exact reasons I listed above. Theo has even said that with the new CBA and lack of FA compensation, they are more likely to trade someone than let them walk via FA.

    Dempster, Byrd, Johnson, and Baker will all be FA next year, so at some point, they’re all likely to be traded this season.

    I would also not be surprised in the least if the Cubs sign Edwin Jackson to a one year deal (assuming he doesn’t get a long-term deal that he wants), and the Cubs anticipate his departure, knowing they’ll get a draft pick in return, as he’d likely command $12 million or more with his next deal per season, and thus, the Cubs would be entitled to a draft pick if my understanding of the new CBA is correct.