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.