I decided to save the best for last, basically just to make sure that Jim Hendry didn't do something crazy like we're used to seeing. The offense was the part of the team that was under the biggest scrutiny after it completely failed to show up in the playoffs. There are so many options to what the Cubs could do with their offense this offseason, and I'm sure that my suggestions are going to be heavily scrutinized.
For the most part I think that Cubs fans will agree with me that the Cubs need a true lead-off hitter and a middle-of-the-lineup lefty, preferably a corner outfielder. There have been many names thrown out for both spots, ranging from Brian Roberts (the man who's name is brought up more in Chicago than Baltimore) to Rafael Furcal (the man they should've gotten instead of Juan Pierre three years ago). For the big lefty, names like Milton Bradley, Bobby Abreu, Raul Ibanez, and Adam Dunn.
Most Cubs fans tend to forget about what happened in the regular season though. The Cubs still had the most dangerous offense, leading the entire major leagues in runs. However, we have to go to the postseason to see where the tweaking needs to begin. The Dodgers didn't even think about throwing a lefty the entire series, pretty much because our most vaunted lefty was Jim Edmonds.
So, here is what I would do to our offense (and remember, I'm not actually Jim Hendry, so I have no control over these moves).
I would start by including Derrick Lee in a trade with the Orioles to finally aquire Brian Roberts. He's a lefty who has speed. He can cause havoc on the basepaths as a true base stealer, which the Cubs haven't had since getting rid of Pierre. The only problem with this move is the Derrick Lee part. He would have to waive his no-trade clause in order to leave, and I have a feeling that Baltimore wouldn't be fit enough for him to waive it. However, we will metaphorically say that he is now an Oriole.
Next, I would sign Milton Bradley. His troubles in the past are one thing to look at, but notice that he stays pretty quiet when he or his team are doing well. Also, I think that his attitude would bring a different type of flare to the dugout.
Another option would be to get Adam Dunn. I wouldn't mind having the free-swinging Dunn come to Wrigley. Yeah the guy strikes out a lot, but he will be that lefty that would force teams to bring a lefty out of the bullpen to try and match him. Plus, who wouldn't love seeing mammouth shots out onto Sheffield with him actually being on OUR team? The horrible downside to having Dunn would be the horrific defense that our outfield would have. Dunn would play right, while Soriano would be in left. At least we could now have Fukudome in center, and maybe he'd be able to run down all of the balls hit to the outfield?
With the departure of Lee, I would fill that void with Micah Hoffpauir. I would start by having Hoffpauir hit lower in the order, just to see how he can play in an everyday spot. You could also move Adam Dunn to first base and move Hoffpauir to the outfield, depending on how Hoffpauir progresses this offseason. With moving Hoffpauir to the starting line-up, you now add a power hitting lefty who could end up in the middle of the line-up without having to spend any extra money. The downfall to this is that Hoffpauir hasn't had a full year in the bigs and you never know what kind of player he will end up becoming.
As for the bench, I would try to retain Henry Blanco. The Cubs have already said that they have a spot in the minors for him when he retires. He's a great back-up catcher who gave us clutch hits off the bench last year. He's always a solid defensive catcher, and I think he could still teach Geo a thing or two about handling a pitching staff.
These are all of the moves that I would make. I think that adding three lefties, with only having to open up enough cash space for one (departure of Lee and the promotion of Hoffpauir) would be the most beneficial to a team that is still searching for an owner. These lefties will finally give the Cubs line-up a diverse look, and would force teams to strategize more late in games.
So, SFH2's projected 2009 Chicago Cubs Offense:
Go ahead and chew me up sportsliners!!