The contracts of 18 Cubs minor league players expire on October 15th, and so each of the 18 is eligible to be a free-agent. The Cubs have until the day after the conclusion of the World Series to decide whether to add a potential minor league free-agent to their 40-man roster (which the player cannot refuse), offer the player a minor league contract for the following season (which the player can refuse), or just allow the player to walk away.
Archive - 2007
Paul Sullivan at the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Cubs and the Seattle Mariners are the two MLB clubs who have expressed the most interest in Hiroshima Toyo Carp RHP Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda is 32-years old and an 11-year veteran of Japanese major league baseball. Because he is an unrestricted FA, no posting fee would be required.
Today was "getaway day" for the Cubs Arizona Instructional League team, and when I say "getaway" day," I don't mean an overnight trip to Tucson. I mean the end of the line, far as we go, everybody off the train.
The Brewers Arizona Instructional League team took advantage of five errors, two passed balls, and three wild pitches, en route to a 7-4 victory over the Cubs AZ Instructional League team at Maryvale Sports Complex Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") in Phoenix this afternoon. (The "Big Stadium" at Maryvale was pre-booked for the championship game of some national senior league baseball tournament, so the Brewers and Cubs had to play their game down on the "Lower 40").
After our twenty-one game turnaround in 2003 from 2002, Hendry and Co. didn't rest on their success and spent the offseason of 2004 and the season building one of the best Cubs team ever assembled on "paper". Taking out the bitter ending, the team ended up winning more games and having a better run differential than the 2003 team despite significantly more injuries to key players. A quick reminder course on what happened after 2003: C - Subtracted
Damian Miller, added Michael Barrett (say what you will but we had a better team ERA in 2004, gave up less runs as a team and Barrett was definitely an offensive upgrade that year)
1B - Subtracted Eric Karros, Hee-Seop Choi and Randall Simon; Added Derrek Lee
INF - Added Todd Walker and Jose Macias to the bench
SS - Added Nomar Garciaparra mid-season (Should have added Miguel Tejada during the off-season)
OF - Subtracted Kenny Lofton; Added Todd Hollandsworth to the bench
SP - Subtracted Shawn Estes; Added Greg Maddux to the 2nd best starting staff in the league
RP - Subtracted Juan Cruz, Mark Guthrie, Antonio Alfonseca & Dave Veres; Added LaTroy Hawkins, Kent Mercker, Ryan Dempster and Glendon Rusch
There are a few peons I'm probably missing but that should be all the significant moves.
In 2007, the Cubs improved nineteen wins from the disaster of 2006 and once again find themselves atop the NL Central but still short of their World Series goal. The precedent though has been set that Hendry will unlikely sit idly by and be happy with a division title and McDonough has already hinted that the Cubs will continue to push on for the trophy.
The question though is who and what positions should the Cubs target and where can the team improve within and where should they look for outside help?