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...
Now pitching for the Cincinnati Reds:
Sorry if I made it sound like a Schwarber for Sale straight up deal was reasonable, obviously Cubs would need to give up more than that. You don't trade Sale unless you're rebuilding and if you're rebuilding you want more than one piece. Easily 3-4 pieces with Schwarber being the main one...but that type of an ace arm or All-star talent with a few years of control is the type of return the Cubs should look for if they move Schwarber. I don't think they'll move him until he's healthy though. TheJedi are pretty good at maximizing trade value.
I think you're very much overvaluing Schwarber if you think he can fetch Sale by himself. An unproven rookie with demonstrable offensive flaws he hasn't had the chance to show he can overcome and with no defensive upside will never fetch an ace of the quality of Sale in today's market where pitchers are fetching insane prices, especially with Sale's team friendly contract. You'd for sure need to throw in a pitching prospect in return at least.
best relievers in baseball tend to not be the best relievers for very long though...
also, when you start just trading away guys for marginal benefits, that window will shrink. The window is easily through 2021, just have to look how long Rizzo is signed for and how long they have rights to Bryant, Russell and so on down the line.
Can't say I'm too worried about the SP, they've done nothing but land guys on the cheap and on the expensive since they've arrived. TheJedi will figure that out.
Not sure I agree with this logic. The Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, they have spent heavily on the team over the past couple of seasons, have more hitting prospects than they have places for them to play (and more on the way), a clear weakness in the bullpen, and have a 1.5 year window with Arrieta (to say nothing of the likely declines of Lester and Lackey).
Unless you think (maybe even if you do think) Schwarber is the next coming of Babe Ruth, I would certainly consider trading him if it brought back a couple of the best relief pitchers in baseball.
Miggy was going to sit anyway with Lester starting.
In related news, do any of the Cubs pitchers want to throw to Contreras?
Only Russell and Miggy failed to reach base yesterday. Both sit today.
Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.
Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.
I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.
peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.
unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.
they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.
Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester
damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice
Buddy Ryan takes his place alongside George Allen as the great Bear head coaches who never were.
Well, at least he can still hit: Jake slashing .294/.368/.868. Forget hitting 8th -- he should hit 6th.
Curious to see today's lineup vs. a LHP: Ross needs to catch Lester, Joe likes Javy at 3B when Lester pitches. Heyward with back-to-back good games at the plate, and is actually hitting a little better against LHP (.247/.341) than RHP (.232/.321), although neither is much to write home about. But, tomorrow is an early day game, so some regulars will probably sit either today or tomorrow.
Maybe Willson in LF, KB in RF and Almora in CF? If so, Albert Jr., assume every ball is yours.
"Pitching prospects not looking so hot"
That reminds me that Lucas Giolito will start for the Nats tonight.