Posted on: November 15, 2008 12:03 am
 

GM For a Day Part Tres: Cubs Offense

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:

1. Brian Roberts 2B
2. Ryan Theriot SS
3. Milton Bradley RF
4. Aramis Ramirez 3B
5. Alfonso Soriano LF
6. Geovany Soto C
7. Micah Hoffpauir 1B
8. Reed Johnson/Kosuke Fukudome CF

Bench:

Mark DeRosa Util.
Mike Fontenot 2B
Henry Blanco C
Reed Johnson/Kosuke Fukudome CF
Ronny Cedeno (If not traded) IF

Go ahead and chew me up sportsliners!!

Posted on: November 13, 2008 7:40 pm
 

GM For a Day Part Deux: Cubs Bullpen

It's very interesting that I ended up waiting until today to post this bullpen blog, and now looking back I'm glad.  The Cubs made the move today for Marlins pitcher Kevin Gregg.  In doing this, reports are now, that Wood will not be back with the team in 2009.  My guess is that this will be a much cheaper option at the closer position, opening room for future moves.  This came as a complete shock to me when I first saw this today, and thought that he may be a part of the Peavy trade, but after seeing this new news, it seems as if he will be a part of the Cubs bullpen next year.

What are the Cubs going to do with Gregg?  It seems as if his career may be as a middle-relief pitcher and not as a closer.  Does that mean that Carlos Marmol is going to take the helm in the closer spot?  I don't think that they would try to resurrect Gregg's closer career, but I really can't put anything past Lou.

One option could be to pursue Brian Fuentes.  He may actually demand less money than what Wood would have gotten.  He would be a dominant lefty in the bullpen, and would fill our closer hole.  In my opinion, I would rather they spend the money on offense, but we are now in the need for a closer.

Past Gregg, the bullpen will probably be pretty much the same as last year.  In my opinion, Bob Howry's out and Neil Cotts is back.  One interesting scenario that could be tossed around is moving Jeff Samardzija for help on the offensive end.  I'd hate to give up such a talent, but offense is really where we need help.  And to all of you Irish fans, don't cut my head off on this one, I don't want to see him go, but he would be great trade bait.

Alright, a few scenarios thrown out there for you to chomp on.

SFH2's Projected 2009 Cubs Bullpen:

Long Relief: Angel Guzman (Probably a Rich Hill sighting sometime)
Long Relief: Chad Gaudin
Middle Relief: Kevin Hart
Middle Relief: Neil Cotts
Middle Relief: Jose Ascanio
7th Inning: Jeff Samardzija (I told you to settle down Irish)
8th Inning: Kevin Gregg
Closer: Carlos Marmol

There's one big problem with this bullpen though, an over abundance of right-handers.  Adding Fuentes would actually make for a pretty nasty righty, righty, lefty punch at the end, but again, I don't see them making a move for a closer.

As you can see, it looks pretty similar to the bullpen of last year, with minor differences.

So go ahead sportsliners, chew me up.

Final Post: Cubs Offense

Category: MLB
Posted on: November 11, 2008 12:56 am
 

GM for a day

Usually you don't see a 97-win team in such panic after a season.  Unfortunately this is no ordinary team.  This my friends, is your Chicago Cubs, and your father's, your grandfather's, and even your great grandfather's.  A team may never be so closely tied to losing than THE Loveable Losers.  However, with 100 years of nothing to show but a few (and I really mean few) winning seasons, the Loveable Losers are starting to lose their lust.  Never before have Cubs fans (and maybe any fan EVER) been so hungry for a World Series, which is why the National League best 2008 Chicago Cubs must change.  So, without further ado, the attempt to stop the longest championship drought ever.

Cubs Rotation:

One of the most talked about concerns for the Cubs is Ryan Dempster.  I feel that the Cubs should try and bring back the righty who had a career year.  However, if Dempster ends up asking for rediculous money, I say we pass.  Dempster, for his career, is a below .500 pitcher (76-81) with a 4.55 ERA.  He's a solid pitcher that could be good in any rotation, but I still don't think the guy has top of the rotation stuff.  I still see him as more of a Paul Byrd-type pitcher.  A solid arm to throw in the middle of your rotation.  That said, I would like to see us give Demp a reasonable offer and hope that he takes a discount from us.

So, if Dempster goes, we will need another pitcher.  Most of the talks so far have been about Jake Peavy.  The real hope here is that we can sign Dempster for less and still aquire Peavy.  Peavy is a must-have at the moment, especially after rumors have pointed to the Cubs as the leading contender.  I could see the Padres taking a deal that included Felix Pie (the Padres see something in this kid), Sean Marshall (showed much promise as our young lefty when Rich Hill fluttered), and Wellington Castillo (a very promising player who wouldn't have room on the Cubs with '08 Rookie of the Year Geovany Soto behind the plate).  Add in maybe another young pitcher with promise and I feel that the Padres would consider.

If we don't end up getting Peavy, then I would like to see us either A) offer up a little bit more money for Dempster (notice the little bit) or B) pick up a pitcher like an AJ Burnett.  Burnett is a question mark and really has been his entire career.  I mean this is the guy who threw a no-hitter while walking NINE GUYS!!  His consistancy as a dominant, strike-out pitcher however would welcome him to the Cubs who have led the National League in strikeouts for the past six years.

We also need to find somewhere to put Jason Marquis, if we cannot somehow get rid of him in a trade.  Last year he said that he wouldn't pitch in the bullpen, so if it comes down to it, we may need to just cut him.

SFH2's Projected 2009 Rotation:

1. Jake Peavy
2. Carlos Zambrano
3. Rich Harden
4. Ryan Dempster/A.J. Burnett
5. Ted Lilly

This rotation would be the best in the entire major leagues (assuming they all stay healthy).  Having a 17-game winner as your number five is just unthinkable these days, but it could happen.

Next Post:  Cubs Bullpen

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 20, 2008 8:30 pm
 

Hot Topic -- Fav-re

Just so you don't have to hear another person talk ABOUT Brett Farve, I'm going to talk to him...

You probably should have never came un-retired.  You had the love of an entire state (although it WAS only Wisconsin).  You would have never had to pay for another meal in Green Bay the rest of your life (they probably have at least three restaurants there right). 

You could have won over the Jets and their fans if you would've been good there (and he still could), but you just had to find out the hard way that it's a little difficult to be running the same offense for 16 years and then all of a sudden change it and still expect to be on your game.

And now you're trying to tell teams how to beat the Packers?  Way to be the mature one in this deal.  Apparently your fully gray head of hair and your age (54?) won't hide the real you Brett.

You could have retired and lived in glory, but you messed up.

Way to go out on top big guy!

P.S. If you actually want to help a team beat your old team, you might wanna try giving help to the Bears, Vikes, or any team with actual talent.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 18, 2008 7:29 pm
 

Chicago Sports Update

Da Bears: Well the pigskin comes out tomorrow for what should be a classic black and blue division battle.  The Vikes have been quite a dissapointment this season, while Halas' boys are somewhat of a surprise.  This is one of those that you have to wait til Sunday to see what's going to happen.  The pride of Champaign-Urbana, Brandon Lloyd is out for his third straight week with a leg injury, and joining him on the bench is Danieal Manning.

The hope around Bears camp is that Tillman and Vasher will be able to go, and this would be huge.  Our secondary was horrible last week and we really need these guys so we don't have to rely on youth on the corners.  Luckily Mike Brown has stayed clear of the Injury Report, and God help us AP doesn't crack one into the secondary and meet Mr. Brown one-on-one, cause I will cringe.

Otherwise it should be a hard fought game and I'm looking forward to it.

Da Bulls: Well, Mr. Number 1 is looking pretty good so far.  Yeah, it's pre-season, yeah it's the NBA (so people don't actually try), but he's looking like a solid point gaurd, and it hasn't taken him as much time as Chris Paul needed.  Now, we need to see how he continues to progress and grow as a professional point gaurd.

Speaking of our gaurds, I'm getting scared that we have too many.  I thought for sure that Pax would've had at least one of our current gaurds dealt by now.  I would love to see either Hinrich or Gordon leaving, and with how much I hate Gordon, it looks as if Hinrich is having a bad preseason, starting where he left off last regular season, so I'm thinking we should deal him.  However, with Gordon's cocky attitude, there will be a lot of friction between him and Larry Hughes, but Pax doesn't seem like he wants to solve this problem before it gets too sticky and we can't get ANYONE for Gordon.

The team so far has looked very flat, but it could just be them trying to sync together having a new guy (and a very young one) run the team.  The way that these guys need to get started out is to have Rosey averaging between 10-15 points with 8-13 assists.  Deng needs to be our guy like he was brought here to do.  With Rose running the point, look for Deng to have more open shots (if the offense is run like it's supposed to).  I expect Deng to average around 20-25 points a game, for them to be successful.

This year's team could finally be the one that has some low post scoring, not because we made any improvements down low, just because we have a new PG.  Look at the way that Chris Paul turned Tyson Chandeler's career around just by getting penetration, and giving Tys short, high-percentage shots (mostly dunks).  If Rosey can get the penetration and utilize his quickness, we should see more production out of Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah. These guys are known primarily for their defense, but should be able to take advantage of their guys crashing down on Rosey and being open for an easy layup or jam.

This team needs to realize that they must be patient and work the ball around on offense.  This is no longer a Ben Gordon run team, and we don't have to shoot the ball within the first 10 seconds of the shot clock.  We probably won't be very good at the beginning of the season, but as Rosey matures, so should the team.

Da Cubbies: Jake Peavy?  If you read one of my posts on the Cubs offseason, I wrote:

"I would love to have Peavy, but I don't think it would benefit is that much.  We improved the team this year, and still had the same results as last year.  I don't think another righty in the rotation would benefit us."

However, this was more or less before I knew that he had interest in US.  I thought either A) The team was interested in getting Peavy, or B) it was just us Cubs fans talking up another impossible deal.  Now that Peavy, who has a no-trade clause, said that the Cubs were one of five teams that he would go to, I'm a little gitty.  I think Jimmy needs to realize that two of the other four teams were also from the NL Central and we need to at least make a bid.  Best case scenario, we get Peavy (I know I'm going against my original thoughts, but people change).  Worst case scenario, either the Cards or the Stros get him, but if we give them a good enough deal, it may cause the Cards and Stros to give up a little bit more.

The thing with getting Peavy however, would be that we would probably lose out on sweepstakes for Chone Figgins or Brian Roberts, because we need to still field a farm system.  I'm basically seeing the Cubs, if anything (and hopefully it's something), making a trade and a signing, and that's it.  They don't have the money to mess with, because A) we already have way too many rediculous contracts and B) we don't have an owner.

Here's what I'm thinking: D-Lee and prospect(s) for Carl Crawford* or Ichiro, and picking up Texiera in free agency.
*if the Rays win it all and unload.

Da Hawks: Now, the part that everyone's been waiting for, the Hockey section.  Off to a slow start and enough drama for only four games, look for the Blackhawks to go on a nice little streak to start of the Q era.  Although they're facing tough competition (the surprising Blues, and the ever-so-dangerous defending champ Red Wings), look for a run under a new coach.  Usually teams who change coaches tend to hit a little streak where they're more relaxed and not trying too hard.

Now, what's with Patty Kane crying over losing Savard?  Isn't this the tough, hard-nose, teeth-losing, face-punching sport?  Yeah, Savard had so much confidence in you, told you that you were the man, and let you loose.  Why don't you suck it up and play hockey like you can.  You were co-rook of the year, and you're gonna start crying when they fire "your man".  Well too bad this isn't college and you can just transfer.  In all reality, just don't let this effect your game Patty, cause we need ya.

 

Category: General
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com