According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs are the frontrunners to land Jake Peavy. I find this amazing, as the Cubs don’t have much left in their farm system. They traded most of it to the A’s in the Rich Harden trade. Apparently, that is fine with the Padres, however, as they are still willing to deal with the Cubs. Josh Vitters is the Cubs unquestioned top prospect, but the Pads have two top notch young third basemen on their team. They could trade for Vitters and then turn around and deal Kevin Kouzmanoff. I previously stated that Kevin Kouzmanoff for Brett Anderson would make sense. They could pull off that trade to help out their pitching while improving third base. Then, instead of moving Chase Headly to third base they could keep him in left field and slot Vitters in at third. You’d also think that one of the Cubs good young relievers would have to be included. If the Cubs manage to resign Kerry Wood, then Carlos Marmol could be in play. Marmol and Heath Bell would make a nice 8th-9th inning combination for at least the next 4 years. Or, the Padres could decide to opt for Jeff Samardzija instead. They might view him as a better option since he could start or relieve. The final pieces could be Sean Marshall, Felix Pie, and Rich Hill. Marshall was solid in his limited opportunities last year, and he won’t be needed if Dempster is resigned. The latter two have seen huge drops in value but both still have imense potential. They make sense as two high-risk high-reward players to round out the deal. I think Hill would flourish without dealing with the pressure of Chicago. Same for Pie. So the final offer would be Josh Vitters, Carlos Marmol/Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Felix Pie, and Rich Hill for Jake Peavy. I’m not sure I would do it if I was the Padres, but with the Braves not offering Tommy Hanson, it might be the only option. However, this deal would give the Cubs less flexibility when it comes to free agents. They’d still want Ryan Dempster back even if they do aquire Peavy, but they would really need Kerry Wood if they’re losing one of Carlos Marmol and Jeff Samardzija. On top of all that, they would have to settle for a cheap right fielder instead of a better one like Bobby Abreu. However, when you look at the kind of impact a Peavy trade has, it doesn’t matter much; you’re going to improve your team. Hopefully they will me able to win it all next year and finally make their fans proud.
There have been rumors going around that the Cubs will consider trading Derrek Lee this offseason. Their reasoning is that it would open up more money to spend on a left handed bat. For example: The Cubs trade Lee to the Giants for Randy Winn and salary. Then they sign Adam Dunn to a big deal and tell him to play first base. They’d add power with Dunn and Winn, but would lose a lot of defense by subtracting Lee and moving Kosuke Fukudome to the bench. I think it would be an expensive way to get maybe an extra 1-2 wins. When you win your division by 8 games and the team 8 games behind you is losing their top two pitchers, 1-2 games doesn’t mean much. Plus the’re ruining the club house chemistry that was so good all year long by trading one of the leaders, Lee. If I was Jim Hendry, I would just try to resign Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood. Use the money on those guys, while backloading contracts. Trade Jason Marquis and all of the salary possible. Move Jeff Samardzija to the rotation, sign a middle reliever to replace him in the ‘pen, and then explore a trade for Randy Winn or Brian Giles. I would definatly not trade Derrek Lee.
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The Chicago Cubs offseason plan is pretty simple: Bring back the players you have. Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood, and Jim Edmonds are all key free agents that the Cubs will try to resign. If they can get all of them back, which they will if my Top 50 Free Agents are correct, they will be pretty much done. It is possible they could look to shop Jason Marquis and move Jeff Samardzija into the rotation. If they do this, look for them to add a middle reliever. There payroll last year was 118 million. This year, if they bring back the vets, it could be in the high 130’s low 140’s next year. They’d have to throw in some money to move Marquis, but if they offer to pay 4 million of the 9 million left, it probably could be done. If a team is willing to sign Livan Hernandez to a 1 year, 5 million contract, why not trade for Marquis at 1 year, 5 million. Then they could sign a reliever for about the 5 million they would’ve used on Marquis and this team would be better than it’s already awesome 2008 team. If they miss out on Wood, they’ll probably keep Samardzija in the bullpen. If the lose out on Dempster, they’ll probably move Samardzija to the rotation. If they lose both (not likely at all) or sign both it is up for grabs what they’ll do. Bottom Line: If this team gets their pieces back, whatch out.
This is part of my predictions. I will predict the standings and name the top 10 teams in the MLB. This is under the Predictions side bar link.
1. Angels. They are the best team in the MLB. I have stated that before and will do it again. They have the best rotation, and a speedy lineup with some thump in the middle thanks to the Mark Teixera trade. A great defense and a good bullpen as well makes this the team to beat.
2. Cubs. They are easily second on this list. Look at the top four in their rotation. They have 2 aces and a solid number 2. Ted Lilly is a good pitcher as well. They lead the NL in runs, and are second in the MLB. Jeff Samardzija makes that bullpen lights out. For the first time in a long time, the Cubs are favorites to go to the World Series.
3. Red Sox. This team, even without Manny, is very good. I know I have said the Rays will win the division, but I still think the Red Sox are a better team. They have a better lineup, and are almost the same pitching wise with Tampa Bay.
4. Brewers. This team is set. They have a very good lineup, and A fantastic pitching rotation. CC Sabathia has been huge for them. they have a bad bullpen, but I think their offense and slightly better pitching makes them better than the Rays for this spot.
5. Rays. They land here. They have a very good rotation, among the best in the MLB, and a very good bullpen that just got deeper with the Chad Bradford trade. The offense is the only thing holding them back right now. If they fix this in the offseason, watch out.
6. White Sox. They have the best pitching and hitting combination left on the board.
7. Twins. Since I like having great pitching over great hitting, the Twins egt the nod over the Phillies here. Isn’t it kind of sad for national league fans that 5 of the top 7 teams are from the american league.
8. Phillies. The Phillies come next on the list, because they are the best in their division, better than the bad NL West teams, and the Cardinals are not as good as their record.
9. Marlins. They make it here becasue their pitching has been better with all of the pitchers returning form injury.
10. Dodgers. They sneak past the Cardinals into the final spot becasue of their improved hitting and great ptiching.