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What will Theo do? OFFSEASON THREAD

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  • What will Theo do? OFFSEASON THREAD

    Theo takes over a team that has been on a three year slide and won 71 games last year. The team has several high priced FA that were disappointments last year some young talent and some serious holes to fill. So what will he do? What can he do? What should he do? Here is my opinion.

    The Payroll question
    Right now the Cubs with arbitration estimated are somewhere around 90 to 110 million dollar in payroll for next year. That number is based on some things that I'll get into later. Some rumors have Theo being given a 150 million dollar payroll. If that is true or even if a 140 million dollar payroll is the limit that gives Theo a lot of spending cash now and in the future. After 2011 you only have Soriano's and Marmol's contracts as guaranteed as of right now. So Theo can max out his budget this year and then still get a ton of room in 2012 to do more things.

    The manager question.
    Mike Quade has one more year left on his contract but I doubt the money owed to him will keep his job safe. I doubt Quade comes back next year. I'd put it at 20% odds on him coming back. I think Theo is going to go looking for a company man who will understand his role in the managerial hierarchy and can work with the people given to him. I doubt Ryne Sandberg will get the call and I doubt Francona will be getting the call either. Beyond that I have no real idea who will get the nod.

    The first base question.
    I believe the Cubs will make a run at Prince and Albert this offseason but both come with question marks and worries due to the amount and length they will end up getting. I think the Cubs will land one of them. With Albert you just hope that Theo can build a winning team around him fast enough so that Albert isn't in decline by the time they start getting good. With Prince you hope he doesn't eat his way out of the lineup before they get good.

    The second base question.
    This isn't really a question but who knows how the off season will play out. The old Cubs like Barney and have DeWitt as well. DeWitt is just now going to arbitration and Barney is still under total team control. Neither are long term answers nor I do think they should be starters but I doubt Theo comes up with somebody else to man this spot. Unless that is he goes out and gets Jose Reyes as well.

    The Shortstop question.
    Two word answer: Starlin Castro. Unless of course they get Jose Reyes in which case I think Castro moves over to second base.

    The Third base question.
    I think Theo is going to bring back Aramis Ramirez. I don't see any better options out there next year and if you going to go out and get an Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder and have a 150 million dollar payroll then you really can't punt a season. I think not having Aramis at third would cause you to punt the season.

    The Catcher question.
    Geo Soto will be the catcher and I just hope he can stay healthy enough to be productive.

    The Left Field question.
    I don't see how they can move Alfonso without eating huge mega amounts of his albatross of his contract. He is still owed 57 million dollars. I think to move him the Cubs would have to pay 450 to 50 million dollars to the team taking him and I just don't see them doing that. If they do somehow move him I think the Cubs would make a play for Josh Willingham on the FA market but with Soriano here I don't see them being able to do it.

    The Centerfield question.
    Marlon Byrd has one more year left and so either he stays or Theo uses him as a trade chit and uses Brett Jackson or goes after someone else. Carlos Beltran perhaps? I think with Brett looking good down on the farm they simply start the season with Byrd and then see how the season goes. Both for Jackson and the Cubs. If the Cubs are losing they'll trade Byrd during the season and call up Jackson if he is playing well or look to 2013 for their answer.

    The Rightfield question.
    Would Theo move Alfonso to right to get a Josh Willingham into the lineup? I don't know if he would but the FA market doesn't have any long term answers for this spot. It has a few guys that look like good one or two year signings. If the Cubs don't move Alfonso over a sign an old bat to play left they don't really have a lot of options for right field. Internal candidates have some serious question marks around them. Colvin turned back into a pumpkin, LaHair only has 20 good games at the ML level and has barely played the outfield in his career let alone right field, and Jackson won't get called up until late May/June if at all.

    The Starting Pitching question.
    What was once a strength almost completely collapsed on the Cubs last year and unfortunately they are all coming back this year. I think with a completely new FO and managerial staff Carlos Zambrano can be given another chance. I say work on him and bring him back but don't expect him to be your ace. Plan on him being your #5 or #4 guy and if he gives you more than that be happy if he gives you what you expected you'll still be happy and if he gives you less than that you cut ties with him and say you tried. After a slow start Garza turned in a season that we all expected out of him. I don't see a lot of question marks around him next year (cue season ending injury). Dempster completely fell apart last year and didn't look pretty doing it. I don't see him declining his option so he is either coming back next year or they are going to have pay a significant chunk of his salary to make him go away. I say bring him back and again don't expect more than #4 or #5 type production out of him. So if we are expecting bottom of the rotation type production out of two guys under contract already what do the Cubs have to do to get better in the rotation? Sign free agents. I think the Cubs will go after CJ Wilson and if they get him that is one of the two spots filled. I doubt they go after CC and I doubt they make another major buy for the rotation this offseason. Perhaps Buerhle if he signs a two year contract but I doubt he'll take that. I'm guessing he'll want at least a 4 year contract. So I think that leaves Cashner, Wells, a scrapheap FA, and any other internal candidate fighting for the last in the rotation. If Carlos and Ryan bounce back somewhat this can be a pretty good rotation but I doubt the rotation will be a strong spot for the Cubs next year.

    The Relief question.
    The Cubs have Carlos coming back and unfortunately he wasn't very good last year. Hopefully he bounces back. They also have Sean Marshall coming back as well. So if Carlos bounce back and Sean stays Sean the Cubs already have the cornerstones of a very good bullpen. I doubt they bring back Grabow so that frees up 5 million dollars or so. I'm not a big fan of Jeff Samardzija but after last year I doubt that Theo won't pick up his option so he'll be back as well. You then have Randy Wells or Andrew Cashner or both in the pen as well. Whichever one loses the rotation battle or both of them if the Cubs find alternatives on the trade and FA market. I wouldn't mind seeing them bring back Kerry Wood has a cheap last man "bonus" reliever but I don't know if he'll keep on taking the low offer. I think he will but we'll see.

    The trade market question.
    So the Cubs have several potential players they would like to move and depending on the compensation involved in getting the FO team not a lot of chips in the minor leagues. Of the players on the major league roster I can see the Cubs trading Marlon Byrd at some point in the season for some low level prospects and perhaps Soto as well if either helps move an albatross contract or get some high level prospect. Castillo might be a fluke or he might not be that is for Theo and co to decide.

    The final payroll question.
    Okay, so let us say they sign one of the big first basemen and Jose Reyes and CJ Wilson and they bring back Aramis Ramirez. What does that make next year's payroll? Well, obviously they can manipulate those contracts anyway they want and with the salaries coming off the book after next year they'll have tons of space. I wouldn't be surprised if the 3 FA salaries for next year come to 40 to 45 million dollars. If so and they bring back Aramis then payroll should be around 145 to 150 million dollars next year.

    The record question.
    If they get those three FA I think the Cubs will have at least a 15 game turn around next year. Provided of course they stay healthy. If either Dempster or Zambrano or both of them bounce back a bit next year it could be a 20 to 25+ game bounce back. If the Cubs don't go whole hog into the FA market next year I doubt they'll have a winning record in 2012.

  • #2
    Apparently they ruled out Sandberg today, and I agree, I can't see Theo hiring Francona for the position. Mike Maddux might make an interesting choice.

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    • #3
      Why isn't Theo interested in Sandberg?
      The Mets have the best, smartest fans in baseball.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Blue387 View Post
        Why isn't Theo interested in Sandberg?
        The theory, at least, is that he'll take more heat for firing a local icon like Sandberg if he doesn't work out as manager than he would letting go of someone who isn't adored in that manner by the fans.

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        • #5
          I am in NY so I may be far removed from the real news, but I heard he wanted someone with MLB experience which was then interpreted as a pre-emptive no to Sandberg.

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          • #6
            So far this offseason the Cubs have signed David DeJesus and traded for Ian Stewart. There are some rumblings that they'll sign Fielder but I don't think they will. I think next season is going to be a lottery ticket year. They'll go with LaHair at first, what they had last year plus the new guys and hope it works out. If it doesn't, oh well.

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            • #7
              Now that the division is Pujols-free and Braun is going to miss 50 games, perhaps management thinks they could do some damage this year with a few smart FA signings. That said, I'd personally take my lumps this year and live for the future. I think Epstein has enough good will/reputation that Cub fans will give the regime a few years to consistently contend.

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              • #8
                How does punting this season help the Cubs in the future?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by The Uncoach View Post
                  Now that the division is Pujols-free and Braun is going to miss 50 games, perhaps management thinks they could do some damage this year with a few smart FA signings. That said, I'd personally take my lumps this year and live for the future. I think Epstein has enough good will/reputation that Cub fans will give the regime a few years to consistently contend.
                  Then they will be very disappointed by how the Cards play this year. Wainwright + Furcal all year + Craig for 5 months the revamped bullpen + possibly Beltran is better than team with Pujols and without all of those other pieces for all/most of last year.

                  The Cardinals are still a really good team. The Brewers upgraded at 3B and SS by a lot too...so they may not fall off as much as people expect either.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Matthew C. View Post
                    Then they will be very disappointed by how the Cards play this year. Wainwright + Furcal all year + Craig for 5 months the revamped bullpen + possibly Beltran is better than team with Pujols and without all of those other pieces for all/most of last year.

                    The Cardinals are still a really good team. The Brewers upgraded at 3B and SS by a lot too...so they may not fall off as much as people expect either.
                    Future Hall of Famers in their prime aren't as easily replaced as you would like to think. Your post truthfully doesn't address mine. It disregards the Cubs making a play for some free agents for starters, which would counter other moves within the division. Secondly, it disregards the idea that the Cubs don't need to play for 2012 as much as they do for 2013 and beyond. If that's what the Cubs do, why would the fans be very disappointed by how the Cards play this year?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Uncoach View Post
                      Future Hall of Famers in their prime aren't as easily replaced as you would like to think. Your post truthfully doesn't address mine. It disregards the Cubs making a play for some free agents for starters, which would counter other moves within the division. Secondly, it disregards the idea that the Cubs don't need to play for 2012 as much as they do for 2013 and beyond. If that's what the Cubs do, why would the fans be very disappointed by how the Cards play this year?
                      My point is that if the Cubs think that they can win the division without upgrades JUST BECAUSE Pujols and Fielder are gone, then they will be very disappointed.

                      That is all I was saying. I was adding commentary to your post; not disagreeing with it.

                      And I agree, HOFers are hard to replace...but the Cards are picking up a Cy Young pitcher from last year, with the revamped bullpen that dominated in the playoffs and replacing Theroipt with Furcal all year at SS. If the Cards get Beltran to replace Jay, the upgrades are more impactful than the downgrade replacing Pujols with Craig.

                      Pujol's 5-6 WAR will be close to made up with the return of Adam Wainwright alone.

                      I agree that the Cubs would be better off to build than to overspend and finish in 3rd or 4th place (instead of 5th or 6th) and get stuck with more bad contracts.
                      1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

                      1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

                      1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


                      The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
                      The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Matthew C. View Post
                        My point is that if the Cubs think that they can win the division without upgrades JUST BECAUSE Pujols and Fielder are gone, then they will be very disappointed.

                        That is all I was saying. I was adding commentary to your post; not disagreeing with it.
                        Gotcha. I would agree with that.

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                        • #13
                          It looks like the Cubs are close to trading away Sean Marshall to the Reds. Supposedly they would get Travis Wood and two minor leaguers back in the deal.

                          Wood would be under team control for 5 years and wouldn't hit arbitration for awhile. Meanwhile Sean is set to get paid 3.1 million this year and then be a free agent at the end of the season. Wood is a lefty starter that looks to be a bit of work in progress and would probably be a back of the rotation starter for now.


                          Also, Reed Johnson has been signed to a one year contract.

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                          • #14
                            I like Marshall, but that trade makes sense.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post
                              How does punting this season help the Cubs in the future?
                              I have never heard the word punting (no native speaker) but if it means not signing any big FAs (throwing away the season) it could be by getting draft picks. in the NBA is is normal that teams who are not in contention "intentionally lose" (of course not intentionally-but by using replacement players and trade away stars). most famous example was san antonio in the duncan year.
                              I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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