While there are a number of holes on the Chicago Cubs, the most obvious is at first base. With Derrek Lee off to Atlanta, no prospects on the way at the position, and Xavier Nady not looking like a permanent replacement, the Cubs are going to have to turn outside the organization to find their next first baseman.

ESPN’s Bruce Levine recently described a number of possible scenarios at first base next year, and shed some light on the names we’ve heard floating around. Among the highlights:

  • Adam Dunn is “certainly” on the Cubs’ list of potential targets, but there are serious concerns (duh) about his defense.
  • Adam LaRoche is another of the “four or five” guys the Cubs are looking at, but as we’ve seen, lefty pull guys don’t do as well at Wrigley as others (unless their hulking dudes like Dunn or Adrian Gonzalez).
  • Speaking of Gonzalez, the Cubs would be unlikely to open up the prospect vault for him unless they had a window to discuss an extension with him – something which Levine says Gonzalez is unlikely to want. Instead, Levine says Gonzalez is certain to want to hit free agency, to maximize his contract. I’m not so convinced. If he wants to be in Chicago – and by his own words, he does – it isn’t too difficult to project the contract you might get in free agency, and demand a similar contract extension from the Cubs. Levine also notes that the Padres would probably seek a package of Andrew Cashner, Brett Jackson and Chris Archer for Gonzalez (i.e., the top Cubs positional prospect, the top Cubs pitching prospect, and the top Cubs young pitcher at the big league level).
  • Switching Tyler Colvin to first base and going after a big bat for right field (but not Carl Crawford) remains a possibility. That, of course, begs the question why the Cubs did not give Colvin any looks at first base in September, but I’ve already raged about that enough.
  • Levine discussed Carlos Pena, but didn’t give the impression that the Cubs are interested.
  • Interestingly, the return of Derrek Lee was never mentioned as a possibility.
  • Kevin G

    Inside rumor out of Padres camp. A deal centered around Marmol and 2 prospects would get it done. And Gonzaleez would be open to a trade and sign if he liked the deal. I was going to send this to via email, but you were posting rumors. Its a very reliable scource.

    • Jeff

      I don’t know if I want the Cubs to trade Marmol. Closer has been such a huge problem in the past and I’m sick of watching the team create holes to try and fill other holes. It seems to be Jim Hendry’s m.o. though, so it’s probably a likely scenario.

    • brian

      If the deal is centered around Marmol what level of prospects would the Padres expect?

      • KevinG

        I am not sure. I dont think it has gone that far, for that kind of detail.

    • jstraw

      Please lord, F*CK no.

    • Ace

      Thanks for passing it along, as always, Kevin. I don’t doubt that Marmol and a couple good prospects would be enticing, but why exactly would the Padres want Marmol? He’s only under contract for two more years, is comparable to Heath Bell, and in that third year of arbitration, he’ll cost more than Bell (my guess). Would they then spin off Bell or Marmol?

      Seems to me the Cubs could just ship Marmol to a team like the Yanks (Rivera is fading) for some serious prospects, and then send those to the Padres for Gonzalez – and save themselves a couple prospects in the process.

      • Kevin G

        Ace if you read Bruce Levine Chat. I suggested trading Marmol to the Yankees and if he came back with a trade that I already had on here if you look back I think on the Woods post. I was Kevin G (San Diego).

        The reason the Padres are thinking of this is Marmol is cheaper then Bell and they can trade Bell for more prospects on top of Gonzalez and not really lose anything at Closer.

        • brian

          Who would it take to get Bell and Gonzalez if Marmol was included? I know it would take the farm for all that its worth but what about Soto and Russel plus a prospect? I don’t actually want this to happen but what if…

          • Ace

            Marmol and Soto and Russell and a prospect for Bell and Gonzalez? The Padres would do that and throw in handies. The Pads would do that for Soto and Marmol, alone. Whether the Cubs would/should is another story.

        • Ace

          I did see that – I thought it was a good suggestion (though I still don’t know how great a fit Brett Gardner is on the current configuration of the Cubs, and I also don’t know if Joba is legit). The Cubs don’t seem to be forward-thinking enough to pursue it, though.

  • Bric

    Honestly I see this trade as more of a real possibility than the one Levine suggests including Archer, Cashner, and B. Jackson. They’re gonna need to replace Bell with an equal caliber closer much more than they need young pitchers (they got a bunch that are wait and see kind of guys including Aaron Porada whom they got last year from the Sox). This is just speculation but if the offer were something like Marmol, Vitters (he’s from their area) and one of the guys Levine suggested then take it in a heart beat. Then go back and try to get Capps as the closer.

  • necubsfan

    @ Bric
    Game 2 ALDS: Matt Capps 1IP 2H 1R ERA 9.0. It could happen to anyone, but – just sayin”.

  • anonymous1

    I would go ahead and sign Adam LaRoche to the Cubs for 2011.

    • Ace

      If the Cubs do go after LaRoche, I hope they take their time – he’s the kind of player who could go unsigned for a long time, and then sign for a one-year cheapy deal near Spring Training.

    • ed

      I kind of like the guy myself, there is something nostalgic to his long lefty swing.

  • ed

    I hope they start colvin at first and keep cutting payrole. Once Fukudome, grabow, Ramirez and Zambrano are off the books, then the team will be in a position to hire some high price guys to put around the young studs. But more likely, Hendry will trade the future for a couple of .500 seasons.

    • Ace

      That’s not a terrible approach, but I don’t know that the Ricketts’ are willing to risk fan support by rebuilding – yes, folks like us know that rebuilding can be the best way to success, but attendance (and thus cash) can suffer. I expect the Cubs to cut some payroll, and half-ass a roster that *could* win, if everyone plays excellently.

      • Jeff

        In other words, expect a repeat of the past few offseasons.

        • Ace