Ten Moves I Wouldn't Mind the Cubs Pursuing
Before the first "the Cubs can't afford that" comment, let me preface all this by saying I wouldn't mind the Cubs making any of these moves, not necessarily all of them. And it's just a bunch conjecture and speculation and "damn, I'm bored, let's make up some stuff". I did attempt to be reasonable at least.
1. Sign Kelly Johnson if he's non-tendered and non-tender Mike Fontenot. There's not a big difference between the two, but I like Johnson better. I'm also not opposed to a trade for Johnson for some marginal low-level minor league talent.
2. If the Tigers decide to move Granderson for prospects only - as opposed to major league pre-arbitration talent - something along the lines of Josh Vitters, Darwin Barney or Hak-Ju Lee and Chris Carpenter (although you have to think Rafael Dolis, Andrew Cashner or Jay Jackson would need to be included). Welington Castillo, Sam Fuld, Tyler Colvin or Ryan Flaherty I imagine could also be of some interest to the Tigers.
Although I still think the Tigers wll only move Granderson if they can attach one of their bad contracts with him or get some early arbitration or auto-renewal players.
3. While they're talking to the Tigers about Granderson, see if adding Randy Wells and one more pitching prospect would get Edwin Jackson. Hell, let me propose a blockbuster: Vitters, Lee, Jackson, Colvin and Wells for Granderson and Jackson. Mix and match at your discretion.
UPDATE: Just a terrible idea on my part about Jackson, apologies for even bringing it up. In my mind, Jackson had a much better 2008 than he really had and much higher strikeout totals and I failed to double check my assertions with the actual stats. Please let's forget this ever happened.
4. Trade Milton Bradley for Pat Burrell, suck up the 2nd year of the deal or see if adding Jake Fox into the trade could get the Rays to take some of the salary. I'm under the assumption that this is the only reasonable offer the Cubs have and it's just a matter of how much the Cubs are willing to pay at this point. I have doubts the Cubs can do any better and Hendry should learn from his Sammy Sosa mistake about waiting too long on a deal. While the Cubs would probably then have to pay someone to take Burrell off their hands, Burrell wouldn't be a terrible bench/platoon/"when Soriano gets injured" option.
5. Bring back Reed Johnson to platoon for Fukudome and possibly Granderson if the Cubs can get him. One year deal max though.
6. Offer Rich Harden arbitration. On the off chance he accepts it -which he wouldn't - there are worse things that could happen then having a guy with an ERA barely over 3 the last two seasons and 51 starts around.
UPDATE #2: And of course, Hendry decides it's not worth the risk...No arbitration offers for Harden, Gregg or Johnson.
7. When Harden goes somewhere else, see how Ben Sheets is doing.
8. Kick the tires on the following starting pitchers assuming no Harden and Ben Sheets arm isn't working: Justin Duchscherer, Randy Johnson, Brad Penny, John Smoltz, Erik Bedard and Mike Hampton. See what a one year deal with incentives would cost.
9. Sign one of these relievers, Billy Wagner, Takashi Saito, Kiko Calero, Kelvim Escobar or J.J. Putz with the caveat that Escobar and Putz medical records and rehab give them a clean bill of health. Wagner's the only one I would go past a year deal on.
10. Give Mark Prior a tryout. I'm only half-joking, but I would love to see him make a comeback, even as a reliever. And if it means I could unretire my Prior jersey, all the better.
In the comments yesterday I suggested the following potential roster for the Cubs.
Starters: Granderson, Theriot, Lee, Ramirez, Soriano, Fukudome, Soto, K. Johnson/Baker
Bench: Burrell, K. Johnson/Baker, Hill, R. Johnson and Miles (or Blanco if they can move Miles)
Rotation: Z, Dempster, Wells, Lilly, Gorzelanny
Bullpen: Marmol, Guzman, Grabow, Saito, Marshall, bullpen musical chairs for the last 2 spots
That's a team I could live with next year. Johnson and Burrell can platoon for Fukudome and Granderson on most days. Oh sure, the outfield defense will suck on those days, and on the other days your left-handed bench bats are K. Hill and A. Miles. but there's no such thing as a perfect baseball world. Plus, you're probably not gonna do a strict platoon with Granderson anyway. Replacing Fontentot for Kelly Johnson isn't gonna make much of a difference if that falls through. Of course, it unravels like a house of cards if the Cubs can't swing a trade for Granderson.
And now your turn to mock me in the comments...
Sorry typing too fast.
I think while I get what you're saying with moving around a lot of baseball is very rhythm based and for many players moving around a lot could disrupt that. It's the same reason many players aren't cut out for phing or dhing since they need to be in the rhythm of the game to hit.
Of course then you have players like LaStella who are terrible as starters and should only PH. Really hope Madden doesn't get enthralled with him starting too much.
The players are required to perform with minimal thinking, relying on reflex, reaction, and muscle memory (or, as you say, rhythm). I think this point of view doesn't lend itself well to changing things up. Wearing Zany suits, on the other hand, does sound like fun and definitely keeps things interesting.
Scared me for a minute with your anagram for "Almora".
KKVG: Among the players at Extended Spring Training, Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive position-player from the Cubs 2015-16 IFA class (I'm not including OF Eddy Julio Martinez, because he skipped EXST and began the season at South Bend). Paredes has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely eventually end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the Cubs 2015-16 IFA position players who could.
Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?
It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.
In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.
I hope Maddon can keep it going.
(It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)
Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.
Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.
Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.
BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.
"KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?
Baez is looking like a pretty special player.
Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.