After watching the last two games, it’s really hard not to want to jump ahead to the offseason.
Looking forward leaves us with a lot of questions. The plan is to get some answers soon. For now let’s just get these burning questions out of my head and into cyberspace, would Dale call it saberspace?
Will the Cubs have significant money to spend in the offseason?
It is a valid question. Theo Epstein was just on my radio this past Sunday harping about potential TV deals. That isn’t very comforting. They found the money to go after Anibal Sanchez and Edwin Jackson last offseason. Will they make another big play? The Cubs may end up being players for Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsburry, but they are much more likely to be bidding on Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
Can the Cubs land a 24 year-old top of the rotation candidate? Or are they going to watch the next Yu Darvish go to an actual big market club? That hurts just typing it.
Will Starlin Castro be the SS in 2014?
Castro has been showing signs of coming back into his pre-2013 form. A development that could actually lead him out of town. I don’t want to see it happen. However, I just get the sense the Cubs aren’t serious about moving Javy Baez off of shortstop anytime soon.
At the same time, I don’t see Castro being happy about playing anywhere but his current position. This will be the most watched story line in the offseason.
Will Dale Sveum get extended?
You may think it’s silly for a manager to not be able to work on a one-year deal. However, I would expect Sveum to feel like he needs the security to continue leading this clubhouse.
An easy knock against Sveum are the struggles of both Castro and Anthony Rizzo this season. Epstein had a quote that caught my eye the other day.
"The big league picture hasn't been as pretty. When you are pushing forward in your farm system it is because you have high draft picks, because you are making trades and there is a price to pay at the big league level. That said, we can't help but feel a little bit disappointed that we haven't provided more consistent improvement with the young players at the big league level."
Does this front office see Sveum as the point B guy? We should find out this offseason.
Where does Junior Lake factor in?
Lake has been intriguing, the rookie has shown some flashes. Can the Cubs count on him in the outfield for ’14? They may not have much of a choice. The reality is it won’t hurt at all to plan on running him out there every day next season and see if he can make the adjustments to be a regular.
My gut says Lake will be around, and somehow be an asset when this team matters again.
Who will close next year?
There has been talk Kevin Gregg will be brought back next year. I have little problem with that, as the bullpen will need some veteran presence. I for one don’t want to rush Pedro Strop into the closer’s role.
I’m not advocating Gregg keeps the gig. I just think the Cubs have themselves a late inning factor no matter if Strop pitches in the eighth or ninth inning. I would prefer they give him another season to flourish in the eighth before handing over the extra stress of getting the last 3 outs.
Will James Russell still have a left arm?
I’m looking at an article yesterday about his approaching 80 appearances. This is why we can’t have nice things. We have seen this movie before, it’s kind of like a baseball version of a snuff film unfortunately.
I’m not in the camp of necessarily babying arms, but I wish there were a DCFS type organization I could call about the abuse Sveum has committed here with Russell's.
Well, we could do this all day, and we will address these issues very soon. I just wish I wasn’t so ready to get to it after games like last night.
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