Free agency predictions, looking outside the box for closers, and thoughts on the manager search

Free agency predictions, looking outside the box for closers, and thoughts on the manager search
Chris Young

I'm glad the weekend is ending.

Both Saturday and Sunday were the kind of days when nothing seemed to go right, so I'm glad we're rolling into Monday.  Does that make me crazy?


But this should also be an eventful week for the Cubs and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.  We'll finally be able to close out the manager situation (assuming the Cubs hold to their self-imposed November 11th deadline) and we can really start focusing on players again.  Let's start there again.

Free Agent Talk

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors published his predictions of where their top 50 free agents will go and they only have two players going to the Cubs: Closer Joaquin Benoit and OF Chris Young.  You may remember that we mentioned Young as a possibililty as well.

Other free agents of note include Masahiro Tanaka to the Dodgers, OF Jacoby Ellsbury to the Mariners, Shin-Soo Choo to the Tigers, Brian McCann to the Rangers, Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the White Sox, and Suk-Min Yoon to the Royals.  He has former Cub Matt Garza going to the Nationals.

Although Dierkes only has two players going to the Cubs, he connects a few others as possibilities. They are:

  • Ellsbury
  • Choo
  • Tanaka
  • Ubaldo Jimenez
  • Curtis Granderson
  • Omar Infante
  • Josh Johnson
  • Fernando Rodney
  • Juan Uribe

Outside the Box Closer Thoughts

It seems to me that Benoit would be more money than this team likes to spend on a closer, so just for fun, I asked an industry source what he thought about the Cubs going outside the box for a closer and try Phil Hughes in that role.  His response was that he could probably be a solid reliever but that it's more likely he'll go to a team in the AL or NL West where he can re-establish himself as a 4/5 starter.  He mentioned the Mariners, Dodgers, and Giants among others as possibilities.

One name he thought the Cubs should pursue -- if available --  is Tommy Hunter, who is eligible for arbitration and due to make $3.1M in 2014.  He's 27 years old, he throws strikes (1.46 BB/9 IP in 2013, 1.70 for career) and averaged 96 mph in his first full season out of the bullpen.  He's a product of the Texas Rangers system but has most recently pitched for the Baltimore Orioles.  Last year he went 6-5 with 4 saves and a 2.81 ERA.  His FIP wasn't quite as good at 3.68 in part because of a low BABIP and a high strand rate.

Hunter is not considered a non-tender candidate by MLB Trade Rumors but we won't rule it out.  Perhaps the Cubs can look to make a minor deal if he is tendered.

Interesting outside-the-box idea to say the least and a real chance for the Cubs to create some value in that closer's role instead of paying someone for past performance.

Manager Search

I'm not going to rehash names.  We all know who they are.  We know they'll decide before the GM meetings (November 11th).  But I had an interesting conversation on Twitter with Mike Pinto (smart baseball mind who you should really follow on Twitter @mikepinto3) that I thought I would share.  He reminds me that it really doesn't matter what we think of as fans or what the media thinks.  The Cubs front office has always considered fans talk/sports radio/media as just "noise".  They will hire the candidate they feel is best for the team without regard for opinion outside the industry.

They have an extensive, incredibly detailed process and generate way more information on candidates than anyone of us on the outside looking in -- including media and even the non-front office members within the organization itself.  In the end, we're all going on bits of information and drawing our own conclusions.  But in all honesty, none of us truly know.

After all, these are the guys who replaced a successful, winning manager with Terry Francona, a guy who had losing records in each of his 4 seasons in Philadelphia.  I don't even think Dale Sveum is a bad manager.  I am of the opinion that we have looked at this "mistake" backwards.   This was a front office who was just getting to know their new organization, even to the point that they have admitted they've made mistakes early on they wish they could have back.  So while they really were extensive in their research and interview process when they hired Sveum, then had to fire him 2 years later, I think the "mistake" stemmed more from the fact that they didn't yet fully grasp the needs of the organization.  In other words, I'm willing to bet Sveum isn't a bad manager, but that he was not right for the organization.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if he won somewhere else.

I enjoy speculating and determining my favorites for the managerial position as much as anyone, but like it or not, the front office is going to do what they feel is best for the organization  -- an organization that they now know extremely well.

So trust the process.

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  • Defense tightened under Sveum.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    It did. And he's always done a good job with veterans and managing the clubhouse. I think he needs a good veteran team.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I find it interesting that Tanaka is looking like he's going to demand a posting fee of 75mm just for the rights to negotiate with the projected #2 starter. Garza on the other hand is projected to get in excess of 4 years 60mm and he's a proven #2 starter and great clubhouse presence. Maybe it's just me but if this holds true I'd have a hard time not looking to sign Garza and using the extra 50mm or so saved by passing on Tanaka to spend elsewhere.

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    In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    I feel like Garza is a #3 starter at best on a contending team.
    I'd rather go all in on Tanaka.
    And if that fails-
    I look to deal Samardzija or Castro for a budding young, top of the rotation arm. (Bundy, Taillon, Giolito, Bradley, etc...I already know- Bradley isn't happening.)

    I just want to avoid the megadeal purge of our deep inventory for a guy like Price.
    I'd rather deal from a surplus (middle infielders) and get a young ace in AA from a team getting desperate to win in 2014.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    How about dealing Rizzo for Taillon, Pitt had the worst 1st base production in MLB last season. I've never been sold on Rizzo and if we could possibly get a TOR arm for him I am in.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lee Smith HOF:

    That's an outside the box option, I hadn't really thought of!
    I'm not sold on Rizzo either. But the tools are there, I like the defense and the leadership intangibles.

    My only concern are the internal solutions in the organization are too far away. Whereas we have a surplus of 2B/SS/3B options, we're really thin at 1B. That puts a ton of pressure on Olt at 3B, and means we're putting a ton of eggs in the Vogelbomb basket.
    ...Unless we just committed to Bryant at 1B.

    Very clever idea, though.
    It would be a super gutsy move.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    I know Gallo would hate it but they could either commit to Bryant at 1st or sign Napoli to a 2-3 yr contract until V-bomb is ready. It is easier to find a 1st baseman then a TOR arm though.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Lee Smith HOF:

    You're absolutely right. A true ace is much tougher to come by than a league average 1B.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    I agree with dealing Samardzija for someone like Giolito and/or Castro for a couple young power arms from St Louis would work out well. Also Castro for Price is OK. But like you, I don't want to get Price with just prospects. That would be a huge hit on the farm that most do not want to do. Other than the Tampa Bay FO.

    Let's surprise the baseball world and actually get Tanaka.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John57:

    I'm really rooting for Samardzija for Giolito.
    It makes sense on a lot of levels, for both teams. A case could be made, that the deal be expanded further if Washington is really serious about 2014. Our farm system would be an absolute juggernaut if we could even snag a couple of those young Washington arms.

    There's something about trading with St. Louis that scares me. STL seems awfully eager to deal Martinez. I'd want those physicals gone through with a fine tooth comb. But Miller/Martinez would be a damn nice return.

    ...And someone is going to absolutely sell their farm for David Price. I agree, I really hope it isn't us. You're right, Tanaka would be the ideal option for 2014. If I'm in the FO, I'm hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Eric Foster:

    LOL, only if we could win a WS ring for having the deepest most richest farm system. Yes, of course the better the farm, the more likely you will be fielding a watchable MLB team.

    Although I do agree if st louis is sooooo eager to sell Martinez and co, we need to be weary. Although we have nothing to worry about; There is a reason Jedstein is in charge, and he's not going to get tricked by anyone esp a division rival. Believe that.

    I know it wont happen, but I don't think Jedstein is trading his prized pupil for anything less the Gerrit Cole. He expects and projects Rizzo to be a superstar and hes attached himself to him, so he won't be selling him off for anything unless hes 150% sure he's getting the better end of the deal.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    Dbacks are looking for power hitting OF too. You might package Samardzija and Schierholtz together in an effort to get Bradley. Dbacks have made trades that are bad on their end more than once in the last couple of years, and we know Towers likes Samardzija and Schierholtz is that gritty type guy they seem to covet. If not, you can always look to Boston for Allen Webster and other pieces, Orioles with Gausman or Bundy, Blue Jays with Aaron Sanchez, or several other teams (Texas, White Sox, Dodgers, Nationals, etc).

    If you are talking about trading Castro, my first call would be to the Rays in a deal for Price. 2 years of Price for 6 years of Castro at a reasonable salary could be a nice deal. If not the Rays, then maybe the Cardinals for Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez. Just really depends on how other teams value Castro. If they look at this as a bad year, he has exceptional value. If they think he has a problem, then you are not going to deal with that team.

  • In reply to Cubmadness:

    I think any deal for price must contemplate a contract extension. Otherwise, 2 years of Price only (likely), is too short term IMO to make the trade.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubmadness:

    I get the feeling like Bradley is damn well near untouchable.
    But, if Nate and Jeff could pry him loose, I'd absolutely pull the trigger on that.
    I like Sanchez. I like Bundy.

    But I feel like Gausman and Webster will both be middle of the rotation guys. Don't get me wrong, still super valuable. But if Allen Webster is the best offer we get for Samardzija, I'd rather hang on to him.

    I'd be happy with trading Castro to Tampa Bay for Price.
    But I feel like Texas is going to offer Profar. And he'll end up with the Rangers.
    As far as STL- Miller/Martinez for Castro is a real conversation.
    Which could be an absolute steal seeing as how we'd be selling low on Starlin.
    We have lots of decent options. That in itself, makes me happy.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Eric Foster:

    I am not a fan of Tanaka, he scares me at that price, but there isn't much out there. Tanaka throws that slider a lot, and he has a lot of inning and pitches on his arm. I think he is close to 2,000 professional innings in 7 years. Arm Fatigue could be a problem sooner than later.

    I'll be happy if we get him, but I won't harbor sadness if we do not.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Don't worry brother. 1. There is no real salary cap in baseball and 2. The money going to Tanaka isn't coming out of mine or your bank accounts.

    I think the best thing for Tanaka is to come here. We are not going to be looking to compete next year so he can take his time adjusting to the league. We could even put him on an innings limit, something almost no other team will be doing. We don't need him to be great next year, we just need him to get used to the league, the customs, the country and come dominate and compete for the Cy Young in 2015

  • I think Eric O'Flaherty is a sneaky signing for the bullpen. Coming off of an injury year, so he be a buy-low guy and hidden behind a surprisingly loaded LRP FA class. The guy has been an absolute stud before this year's injury.

    In my eyes Mark Ellis is a must. He got pushed off of a Very talented and expensive Dodger roster. That option gets picked up on nearly every single other team. He will be cheap and outproduce Barney by leaps and bounds while being a pretty darn solid defender himself. The nontender of Barney would pay for over half of his salary by itself.

    I think Phil Hughes goes to SD or MIN where he would thrive and be a #3.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I like Venters too. Good call on O'Flaherty as well as Oliver Perez recently i believe. Love to add a hard throwing lefty. I like Ellis too but don't quite put him in the 'must' category. He's really solid though. I see him signing with a winner if he can find one. Tigers, Reds, Royals, Yankees (perhaps), Orioles, Blue Jays, Angels all could have needs. I'm not sure if he's a guy they should over pay to get him to come though.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I did say Perez as well. LH that has a good change-up and can pitch to righties as well.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I've heard Venters isn't progressing as hoped and that he might be having issues in addition to the elbow.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I think there are some interesting names out there to consider. We all hope for those big names but sometimes it's fun to see if they can steal a sleeper or two.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't think O'Flaherty will be high priority for many, just because the FA class this year has so many more LHRP that are not health risks. And this guy is a stud. Under a 2.00 ERA collectively in 3 years prior to the injury

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    In the Cubs position, it doesn't make any sense to sign a lefty reliever, unless you think he is a long term keeper (which relievers rarely are). I would keep developing your own guys for the pen. Rosscup had an unbelievable K rate at AA, something like almost 16 per 9.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I think Mark Ellis would be a very good acquisition.
    Short term offensive upgrade. Good defender. Veteran leadership.
    Once Baez or Alcantara are ready, we can opt to flip him for a minor league arm.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    I would get rid of Barney and make Watkins the starting 2nd baseman from day 1. Consistently good on base percentage through the minors, pretty solid defense. Left handed bat, and solid speed. Saves money, and allows us to see what a young player can do. Might turn into an asset. That's what Theo is all about.

    Ellis is Barney in a different form.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I agree completely. I love O'Flaherty. Personally I believe a solid bullpen will make this team so much better. The starters could pitch w more confidence and nothing kills team morale then a pig pen that just gives up leads .

    When we get Tanaka, which means we will be trading shark probably for minor leaguers, I think we should give Phillip Hughes a look for a back of the rotation spot unless of course we keep Scotty Karate Baker

  • So, check this out... Jr Lake is playing Winter Ball too and he's 3 for 8 so far in 2 games... Went 1 for 4 today and played LF.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Nice. He needs to keep playing OF.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    He's murder at 3B. It was painful to watch him play third in Iowa.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    Yeah. I've seen him play more SS than 3rd but he just doesn't have that feel for the infield. Makes plays because of his athleticism but not consistently.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yep... At SS in AA... One play he made you think he was the true SS of the future, then the next play he made you wonder why he was still playing SS lol.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I saw him on one play where I swear it seemed like both of his arms had fallen asleep.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    LOL hopefully he wasn't trying to catch the ball with his teeth.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Phil James:

    Watching Junior Lake play the infield, is like watching your middle aged Aunt drink way too much in a crowded bar...As she pelvic thrusts on stage, butchering Blonde hits on a karaoke machine.
    You sort of just facepalm, and hope you never have to see it again.

  • Excellent read! The closer market is going to be really interesting to watch this winter. Wilson is the guy I'm really hoping they're going to keep an eye on. Also hoping they keep an eye on Venters to see if he's going to be back. He could be nice on a make good deal if he's healthy. If they miss out or pass on the big money guys early they might be able to pick off an impact reliever on a one or two year deal.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Thanks Ben.

    I think there's lots of options to improve the team. I liked the Hunter idea. He's in his prime, throws hard and throws strikes. Could thrive if given the chance.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If Hunter was brought aboard do you think he would supplant Strop or be a set-up guy? If they're not going to bring in a guy with a closer's track record (i.e. Wilson, Benoit, Balfour, etc) I'd like to see Strop get the ninth and the other guy get the eighth.

    Strop is the guy I'm most excited to see next year believe it or not. Loved what I saw from him once he came aboard.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I think he's an interesting guy to throw into the mix, but I trust closers with good control because they're the last line of defense. You don't want to have to dig into your bullpen if your closer is walking guys. Much easier to deal with a set up guy with control issues. Strop has outstanding stuff and some deception in his delivery -- and he threw strikes last year, but I know that there are many around baseball who wonder if it's a matter of time before he starts walking guys again -- ala Marmol.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Exactly, thats what killed marmol and pretty much every reliever detroit has had over the past couple years.

    One thing your closer and most BP arms have to be able to do is come in throwing strikes. We also don't what kind of manager we will have. What if we have a manager that likes to bring in his closer for 4-5 outs then most likely hes coming in w runners on base where control is even more important.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ben20:

    Agreed. Our bullpen should be better from within the system, but a decent set-up/closer option could really give us a halfway decent bullpen in 2014.

  • fb_avatar

    Tanaka to the Dodgers? How endless is their supply of cash? Sheesh.

  • Honestly... I linked Scott Kazmir, Jesse Crain and Chris Young to the Cubs... But those are the ones I think make the most sense to the Cubs with a realistic shot at getting them... Especially if Crain is indeed looking for a 1 year prove-it deal.

    Not that I'm trying to make a prediction, maybe more like realistic hopeful thinking.

  • I love all the "prediction" threads. I think that Mark Ellis is a very interesting name that could be a terrific addition to the team. For starters, as one of the above posters mentioned, he is a much better offensive player than Barney was. He's also very good with the leather as well. Even though he is 36 (?) years old, he can still contribute to an organization, and would bring much more to the table on the offensive end of things to the bottom of the order than Darwin Barney did.

    Secondly, I think that the names on that list that I want to see associated with the Cubs (aside for the big fish like Ellsbury, Choo, Tanaka, etc.) are Jhonny Peralta, Joe Smith, and Brian Wilson.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Also, John (or anyone else for that matter), when is the official date that players are allowed to sign with other organizations?

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:


  • BTW, thanks about Tommy Hunter... He might even make more sense than Jesse Crain if he becomes available... Wouldn't mind seeing him and Strop compete for the closer job with the loser becoming the setup man.

  • The Cubs aren't going to do it, but I've always been a fan of Roy Halladay. He's going to get an incentive laden deal wherever he goes. Just two years ago he had a 8+ WAR season. How the mighty have fallen.

  • In reply to Yemi:

    I'm a big fan too, Yemi. Tim Hudson as well. Doc might have one more good year in there.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Yemi:

    I like that Idea.

    What in gods name would we be calling the team on the north side if :
    1. We got ourselves a character named Brian Wilson to close and join the pen of strop, Russell, ect.
    2. Sign Roy Halladay to a 1 year w option year contract w some HUGE incentives
    3. Bring tough acting tanaka to town
    4. Sign Mike Morse to play platoon w Nate and back up Rizzo at 1st and Lake or whomever in left.
    5. Scrape whatever left at the bottom of the Grady Sizemore Can and put him in CF on a 1 year deal
    6. Nobody wants to pony up the 300 million 10 year deal Jayz wants and Robinson Cano comes over to the Northside on a heavily front loaded deal w an opt out clause after 3 yrs

    Now is that some outside the box thinking or is pie in sky dreaming?

  • Luke Hochevar could well be available in trade from the Royals. I'd love to see Strop and Hochevar at the back end of a bullpen, either could be the 8 or 9 guy.

  • I think Mike Morse is a great buy low guy who fills our RH OF hole and has the potential to hit for a good amount of power. And is still in prime years.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Some power potential, I like the RH bat but worry about that OF defense. Wish he'd walk more too but OBP is usually decent.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He definitely has his cons, but that's what will make him cheap. We are very lacking in RH power for the next year at least, so maybe a one year make-good contract to provide power from the right side until Baez or Bryant can take up some of it. I sure would feel better about signing an all bat no glove LF if McKay were still around, that's for sure.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When Morse's name comes up, I have a nagging suspicion that he'd be the 2013 version of Scott Hairston for us.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    There is a bit of that feel to it.

  • Lots of players have already been released and I'm sure more
    will be soon. They should be able to find 1-3 that could help
    the team short term. Like always the 40-man roster will be
    a problem.

  • fb_avatar

    Excellent point on the Sveum hiring. I think you nailed it with the FO not understanding the needs of the org at that point in time. I'd like to think this hire will be a man they feel they can win it all with and not another stepping stone in the process.

  • In reply to AdolphoPhillips67:

    For all the talk of a stopgap manager, I think they'd much prefer to find a guy who would grow with the team.

  • EEE-Gads!!!!!!

    Free agency list like that makes me thankful Theo said "Don't expect a lot of free agency from us...." For whatever it's worth the two players BNS selected for the Cubs sound absolutely dreadful. Chris Young is Dave Sappelt on vitamin smoothies. And Jaquin Benoit, I......I.......I'm not even sure where to begin. Wasn't the whole point of last year's draft to kind of build our own bullpen with power arms and not rely on the exact type of retread bullpen arm that Benoit is? Any of the closers for that matter. I'd love to see some Balfour rage coming out of the pen or Fernando Rodney shooting his arrows and pretending to gack some dude on a Sheffield rooftop. But those prices will be ridiculous and who knows what production you'll get out of the whole "bullpen roulette".

    I could see a Roy Halladay or even the recently released Johan Santanna taking the "Scott Baker" rehab package where there's no risk.

    I see a trade being the Cubs central move. I see the Cubs Den winter meetings ( Is Loxas invited to the winter meetings this year? We don't have to have them in Park Ridge right?) involving me nursing Arguello with a scotch over the news that Alcantarra is a Royal or a Padre.

    I hear the "meh"-nagerial search is picking up steam. Which means it finally has some steam. How nice.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Ha! It depends on what they would get for Alcantara, then it could be a celebratory scotch -- but I don't think his value is yet high enough to bring anyone worthwhile in return. So make it two scotches if they trade him for a reliever.

    I don't necessarily agree with Dierkes, but I also see no reason why Halladay would come into a losing situation when he may have just a year or two left. Maybe they'd have to sign him with an incentive laden deal and an MTC (must trade clause).

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to felzz:

    I really like Alcantara.
    But if he can get us one of those young arms in the KC/SD organization, I'd be okay with that.

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    He is undervalued. He will not bring much, certainly not one of the young stud pitching prospects. He is exactly the kind of player we need. Low current value that will produce extremely well long term. He is a keeper.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John57:

    I can't argue with good logic.
    Personally, I really like the thought of him as our leadoff man of the future.

  • "Does that make me crazy? Probably." God help me I heard Ceelo Green there. Nonetheless, interesting stuff. Juan Uribe??? That is "out of the box lunch thinking". I think he's 53 years old and still might be an interesting bat at third for one year.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:


    I was a little surprised they had Uribe, but he could be useful as a stopgap. I think the Valbeuna/Murphy/Ransom platoon was pretty successful. Obviously Ransom cooled off, but I wonder if Uribe is an upgrade over thecombined production of Valbuena/Murphy.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I believe he might be worth a gamble as a possible short term improvement there.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Do you really think they keep Olt at AAA and use that same platoon again at 3B? God, I hope not.

    The production we got from Murphy/Ransom/Valbuena this year was a pleasant surprise, but i don't see any upside to doubling down and doing that again. Also, isnt it time Olt has to sink or swim soon and take his chances in the Big Leagues. There is a tremendous logjam at 3B and I don;t see the upside in leaving him at AAA for another year. He is either good enough to play 3B in the majors or we need to cut our losses and develop Bryant/Villanueva/Baez for 3B.

    If we are still rebuilding in 2014, what point is there in continuing to employ stop gaps at key positions when major league at-bats are so valuable and we have young guys on the cusp of major leagues (like Olt and Alcontara) who could benefit from MLB game experience.

    Just my two cents, for what it's worth.

  • So what do you think the FO misunderstood about the organization's needs when they hired Dale? How and why did they have that misunderstanding?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Nondorf:

    I don't think they liked the regression of Castro and Rizzo and the way Dale was bouncing them all over the lineup.. Once Sweeney came back he pretty much made Jr Lake a pinch hitter and Watkins never played regardless of Barney's 214 average... So much for giving youth a shot and let's not forget his abuse of James Russell's arm

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    I would guess it was because they just got to the organization themselves. They basically came in the door and had to hire a manager.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    For one I don't think they realized how much development players needed at the MLB level. I remember them being surprised at how some of the players still lacked necessary fundamentals/skills at the upper levels of the minors and even at the MLB level. That did not to seem to be Sveum's strength -- though to be fair, no manager expects to have to do that much development with MLB players.

  • I like the idea of a proven bat (Michael Morse/Josh Willingham) for LF on a short term make good contract. Cubs badly need some veteran leadership in that clubhouse.

  • In reply to VaCubFan:

    Why? What is wrong with an OF of Lake, Sweeney, Schierholtz, and Bogusevic for a rebuilding club (even though I would personally trade Schierholtz to a team that would overvalue his power like AZ)? Sweeney and Bogusevic both offer some solid OPS potential and Lake seems to have made progress as a hitter (even though I don't think he is a long term starter).

    You don't want to block prospects by signing some old crappy retread like Morse. If Olt hits this spring, you may have to put Bryant in the OF about the All Star break. Alcantara could be up by then too, and maybe Baez. You have to have a spot to play these guys.

    Long term, I see Alcantara at 2nd base, Castro at SS barring a trade, Baez at 3rd, Bryant in LF, Almora in CF, Soler in RF. And that could be all by the start of 2015.

  • I had a dream the Cubs hired Eric Wedge

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    You mean nightmare?

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    I was kind of thinking the same thing. For some reason, he and Martinez are at the bottom of my personal list. But like I've been trying to say, we don't have the same info, so who knows?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    IDK if this is the right situation, but me thinks Martinez will be a helluva Manager....

  • fb_avatar

    "The Cubs front office has always considered fans talk/sports radio/media as just "noise". They will hire the candidate they feel is best for the team without regard for outside the industry opinion".

    I agree that the FO needs to hire the best person for the job but to block out the "noise" can be short sighted. I'm not saying that the fans and media should be choosing the manager but this is a different job. Just ask the very seasoned Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella. They both thought they new what they were getting into when they came here and both admitted when they left that it was a very different experience than expected.

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    They can make a decision based in part on how they can handle big market media and fans in general, that's not what we're saying. We're saying that fans and media opinion on who should be manager is just noise. The media and fans will turn on a guy even if it's the guy they most wanted all along. They do it all the time. So you can't make decisions to please them. And that's not even talking about how much less information they have on candidates than the front office, which is substantial.

    They'll pick the guy who is best for the job, which includes being able to deal with the expectations of media and fans, but no way do they let the media or fans influence who they pick from an evaluation standpoint.

  • Benoit? Seriously?

    This is pointless and lazy, like he just needed to assign a couple guys to every team. A rebuilding team is never going to spend FA money on a closer, it's just silly. Especially one who imploded in the playoffs because he was really just an old setup man to begin with.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    He seemed focused on a reliever. Dierkes is a Cubs fan, so I think he's trying to balance what he really wants and what's objective and realistic. Benoit seemed like a compromise, but like you, I don't see the Cubs spending money that way. He does have connections, so maybe he knows the Cubs have been kicking the tires on some bullpen pitchers.

  • No love for Kevin Gregg? (j/k)

  • The Cubs hitting was attrocious last year. Really hope they don't go out in free agency/trade market and acquire pitching....thats not the problem with this team.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Sorry. If they can get Tanaka, I still want him.

  • Thoughts on Youkilis? Does Rizzo/Olt/Gamel make him extraneous or does he provide OBP/righty bat/leadrship?

  • fb_avatar

    If tanaka goes to the Dodgers, we might want to go the Astros route and keep building at the A and AA levels and start to make that HUGE push in 2016-2017

    We can't even hit mediocre pitching, you line up Kershaw, Grienke, Tanaka, Ryu along w Nolasco and I believe they have Josh Beckett for 1 more year.

    Jedstein already whiffed on Darvish and Ryu, so they have to get tough acting tanaka or at least make sure he goes to the AL.

    If they add Tanaka this winter, I will consider this year a giant success w the emergence of Baez and Bryant along w the additions of Olt, Arrieta, Strop, and CJ Edwards and now a REAL FRONTLINE YOUNG ACE !!

  • So we're pretend-signing J Benoit and C Young?
    Why and why?
    We're still rebuilding.
    Add Benoit to Strop? For what gain? Maybe one win?
    Young's optimal role is as a short-side platooner, a lefty basher. 73% of PA's are versus RHP, which Young doesn't hit. A contender might want to pay for that niche luxury.
    Separately, I see C Ransom in 2014 Cubs talk. Yikes.
    And, supposedly, we'd want to spend a significant part of the Samardzija trade chip for W Bloomquist, a super-utility guy on our not-close-to-ready parent club, rather than an upside-future piece.
    .....Well, no one ever got hurt from wacky November baseball talk.


  • Can't see the Cubs showing any interest in Benoit.

  • Me neither.

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