The Yankees trail the Rangers 3-2 in the ALCS, and the Phillies trail the Giants 3-1 in the NLCS. And there was much rejoicing.

That means the World Series is just around the corner, and after that, free agency and trades. Otherwise known as the most wonderful time of the year. Increasingly, we’ll see an uptick in rumors, including those from ESPNChicago’s Bruce Levine, who had another chat on Tuesday, in which he offered a few interesting pieces of information.

  • The Cubs might consider Lance Berkman as a stopgap first baseman if they can’t sign a guy like Adam Dunn.
  • The Cubs still don’t know whether they want Andrew Cashner to be a starter or a reliever. Sigh. Let me answer it for you, Cubs: good starters are far more valuable than good relievers. If Cashner can be a good starter (as his minor league success suggests), make him a starter. If not, keep him in the bullpen. There, done.
  • Levine expects the Cubs to listen to offers for Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez this winter, but seeing as both have full no-trade clauses, moving either would be a feat. There’s also that pesky truth that the Cubs aren’t really in a position to replace either of them.
  • Cliff Lee is looking to get $15 to 20 million a year, so he’s likely far out of the Cubs’ price range.
  • Levine says it was Tyler Colvin – and not Mike Quade – who insisted on not playing at first base in September games because Colvin didn’t want to cost the Cubs wins. If true, it’s still hard not to blame Quade, who could have insisted. But seeing as how his record as interim manager is cited in every article lauding his hiring, I suspect Quade made the right decision for Quade.
  • Levine thinks Greg Maddux wants to be a manager in the future, but not yet.
  • Xavier Nady is unlikely to return, but Kerry Wood might – if he doesn’t want too much money, and his medical records check out.
  • Blake DeWitt is likely to be the Cubs’ second baseman next year, but if they look to free agency, they may consider Orlando Hudson. My thoughts? If the Cubs move Aramis Ramirez, they’ll put DeWitt at third (where his bat sucks, but his defense is top notch), and go after Hudson.
  • Kevin G

    Vitters is hitting well in AFL around .300 with a 1HR in like 28 ABs. He may be ready sooner then orignally thought. Specially since teams seem to gauge MLB ready by AFL.

    • Ace

      Bear in mind that offensive numbers in the AFL tend to be on the high side across the board, IIRC.

      • Kevin G

        I know I am just wondering how his D is doing.

  • greg

    Here’s the problem with Cashner, though: right now he CAN’T be a good starter. He doesn’t have enough effective pitching. While he may make an effective starter someday, right now he’s a better reliever and our need for relievers is greater.

    Unless we can bring back Kerry Wood….

  • Dennis

    Well being a fan since 1969 and dying each year they fade I am incensed by the lackluster hiring of Mike Quade. Why are Cub fans sitting back and accepting it without going nuts? It’s the same thing. Over and over. This guy wins some games at the end of a season where nothing matters for them. Spoiler role is fun but believe me this hire is exactly what they do. They suck. Players suck and don’t care about winning. We need someone that doesn’t accept losing. 102 years is a long time. Status Quo is not acceptable. Do something. Quit doing the same thing. I mean I know from a financial standpoint it doesnt really matter in Wrigley but I want to win. I want to win now. I’m 49 and I may never see a world series much like my Grandparents didn’t. Quit talking about who is going to play where and start a revolution. Quit saying that its a good hire. We need exact opposite. We need the fans to stop accepting it and demand more. Boycott would not work because of all the pseudo-fans accepting the losses and going for the beer and fun. I can find fun on my own. I want to win now……….

    • jstraw

      Please go find some fun.

    • KB

      I think the Cubs ARE going against the Staus Quo by hiring Quade. The “typical Cubs” thing would be to have followed high profile, media darling managers Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella with high profile media darling Ryno.

      Instead, the did a 180, and hired a guy with no glitter, who’s only quality is that he “can get the job done.”

      As to the other rumors, I seriously wouldn’t mind a rebuilding year. Trade the big contracts, see if Cashner can start, if Colvin can OBP league-average and handle first, if Castro is the real deal, etc. Sell off Alf, Fuk, etc. for 50 cents on the dollar…just get them the hell outta here. begin fresh.

  • Dingo

    I would hate to see a long term 1b deal done. A stop gap would be prefered. See what Vitters can do next year at AAA as he potentially could be the 1b of the future.

    • Kevin G

      We may have an issue at 3rd next year. Keep him at 3B and sign Gonzalez.

      • gurg

        I like this a lot. Just plug someone into 1B for a year, and sign Gonzalez as a FA. Much better idea then selling prospects for him