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:


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.

The Lukewarm Stove

With the always-exciting GM meeting taking place, it is time to start listing and commenting on the rumors that will fill the baseball's fans wet dreams for the next two months. And when I heard some fan on radio suggest that the Cubs could trade Derrek Lee to the Padres for Jake Peavy, I knew the absurd hot stove would be lit:

The aforementioned Peavy is at the center of it all right now. The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that the Cubs are one of three teams that match the Padres need. Huh? How do they match? Does anyone see a match? The Chicago Tribune doesn't.

So who does the Tribune see the Cubs possibly pursuing? Well, old guys. For one, they think the Cubs may pursue Bobby Abreu. He's . There's also Derek Lowe, the 35 year old who. Raul Ibanez was mentioned in another article.

The other newspapers in the city? Well, the Sun-Times seems to be holding out hope that the Cubs will somehow find the financial ability to outbid all the other teams in MLB and land CC Sabathia. A.J. Burnett, Raul Ibanez, and Brian Roberts are also named by the Sun-Times. And the Daily-Herald, which has this good article on the current FA's were played for the Chicago National League Ballclub in 2008.

The L.A. Times is reporting that the Cubs have at least had discussions with free agent Rafael Furcal. Many will remember that Furcal spurned the Cubs four years ago when he elected to sign with the Dodgers.

Minor League News

News from the Minor League off-season:

  • The biggest story from the Cubs farm system is the 1st rounder Tyler Colvin underwent Tommy John surgery in October after plyaing for a short time in the Arizona Fall League. Colvin is expected to be fully recovered in 5-6 months, so he shouldn't miss much of next year.

  • The Cubs minor league coaching system will have at least one spot to fill, as Iowa manager Pat Listach has taken a spot on the Nationals coaching staff as 3rd base coach.

  • Micah Hoffpauir's game on August 9th was named as the best single-game performance by any minor leaguer this year. Hoff had 4 HR's in his first 4 AB's that day.

  • Offensive Stars in the Arizona Fall League-Darwin Barney hitting .370 and Nate Spears hitting .356 with a .508 OBP

  • Pitching Stars in the Arizona Fall League-Jesse Estrada 2-0 with a 4.30 ERA in 5 starts and Esmailin Caridad 2.45 ERA in 6 relief appearances including 13 K's in 11 innings

  • Unfortunately, Donnie Veal has yielded 7 runs, 5 earned in 4 innings of work, giving up 9 free passes

Roster Moves Aplenty

The Cubs 40 man roster has seen a few subtractions since the season ended. In an effort to have more roster room before free agency begins and in anticipation of the Rule V draft in just over a month, the Cubs placed two on the waiver wire. 3-sack Casey McGehee, who hit .296 with 12 HR's at Iowa, was plucked off the waiver wire by the Milwaukee Brewers. Billy Petrick cleared the waiver wire, meaning he is off the 40 man roster and still a member of the Cubs organizations.

In addition to the players the Cubs still have control over, 8 Cubs have filed for free agency. D-Ward was the most recent filer, joining Lieber, Wood, Hank White, Chad Fox, Edmonds, Dempster, and Howry.