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...
Hopefully after the Cubs complete their sevenpeat :)
They're the best in the business and have been for 12 years running now. The only question is when they'll get bored of it.
I was right here. I don't require my GM's to be perfect, but I would like them to understand what wins baseball games (IMO controlling the strike zone and creating/avoiding outs), and knowing where the organization is in the success cycle.
Theo and company have made and will make plenty of mistakes, but they seem to understand those two items pretty well.
Now we're all Theo-believers, where were you when he signed Edwin Jackson? Or how about trading away DJ Lemehaiu? And not signing Samardzija to an extension? Or not pursuing Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols? Or signing Lester? Or trading away Cashner, Dempster, Feldman, etc?...I think I'm losing the narrative here.
So his deal runs through 2021? Which pretty much coincides when all these guys are due to hit free agency.
"Terms of the deal were not disclosed."
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.