Where Are They Going?, Part I

Before we pencil in Peavy, Jake into the rotation, I thought it would be best to take a step back and see exactly where the Cubs are for next year. In Part I, the Cubs needs:

Needs

Backup Catcher-While Geo Soto is locked in as the #1, the Cubs are searching for a backup. The candidate will have to be someone who can sit for long periods of time without getting much more than a few pinch hit appearances.

Outfield-What to do with the outfield is a head-scratcher. The Cubs need another left-handed bat and the outfield is the easiest spot to fill that need. However, the issue becomes what spot? The Cubs bigwigs seem to be focusing on the concept of moving Fukudome to center and having him platoon with ReJo, freeing up the spot in right. This makes sense from the standpoint of free agency...there is next to nothing available in the CF market.

Starting Pitcher-Dempster in the FA market equals a need for a starting pitcher. Dempster is supposedly looking for 5 times $70M, which would pay him until he's 37. Whether it's Dempster or another FA (or a trade), the Cubs aren't going to stand pat. The contingency plan includes Sean Marshall and moving Jeff ND to a starting spot (although he currently lacks a third pitch).

Closer-Whether the Wood/Cubs marriage is over is to be seen, as Woody seems to be at least testing the FA market. The Cubs aren't probably going after a FA, rather moving Marmol to closer and re-adjusting the bullpen (see below).

Reliever-3 years ago, the Cubs spent big money (OK, big relief money) bringing in Howry and Erye. That worked, at least for a while. How much they will need will obviously depend on whether Wood is back or not. If Wood returns, the Cubs may be set on the right hand side, with Wood, Marmol, Jeff ND, and Gaudin. That's leaving out Wuertz, Hart, Ascanio and Angel Guzman, as well as rookie Jose Ceda (who may still be a year away). But even with all those options, the Cubs still desparately need another left-hander in the 'pen. Cotts was fourth on the team in relief appearances, but had a 4.29 ERA and left-handed batters hit .338 off him. Marshall was solid as a reliever with a 3.42 ERA, but lefties still hit .354 off him.






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