With the World Series at its close (thank GOD those poor, long-suffering Giants fans got their championship, no?), the offseason is officially upon us. Nearly 200 players filed for free agency last night, and assuredly general managers everywhere are poised to make calls, pour over stats and tape, and try to make their 2011 club the next Giants.

As for the Cubs GM – well, he’ll do all of that, too, but making this group into a winner is going to be a challenge, to say the least. The starting point is the opening of the organizational meetings later today in Arizona.

The meetings run through Friday, with the first order or business finishing manager Mike Quade’s coaching staff. Nationals third-base coach Pat Listach, who won a Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year award at Triple-A Iowa in 2008, will be named as bench coach after the World Series.

But the real purpose of the meetings is for general manager Jim Hendry to get input from everyone — his manager, advisors, scouts, coaches, minor league coordinators and statistical gurus — on how best to put together next year’s team. Quade has spent the last couple of weeks fishing and digesting numbers from Baseball Information Manager Chuck Wasserstrom.

“Chuck gave me a book, it looks like an encyclopedia with potential free agents,” Quade joked. “I looked at it and I was so excited about it. Then I saw the thickness of the book, and then I thought, ‘Maybe I’m not that excited about this.’ ”

Most of Quade’s 2011 roster is already under contract, so there won’t be the kind of turnover that inalterably spoiled the chemistry of the 97-win team of 2008. That led to last year’s fifth-place finish, which gave Quade his big chance. Chicago Tribune.

Yes, because the last thing we’d all want to see is the chemistry of the 2010 Cubs spoiled…

The big questions going into this offseason involve first base (Adam Dunn?), the rotation (Carlos Zambrano?), and the bad contracts (Kosuke Fukudome? Alfonso Soriano?). None are likely to produce a big move, and it may ultimately be a Winter full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

But it’s always fun to follow, and it starts today.

  • KB

    Can you imagine how much excitement we’d have if we’d just hired Sandy Alderson?

    Seriously, is there even a tipping point at which Hendry would be fired? Like, if he stole items from the locker room, slept with Quade’s wife, “accidentally” shot Ricketts during a hunting trip, traded Castro and Cashner straight up for David Eckstein, and led the Cubs to a 40-122 season…would THAT do it?

    I’m guessing no.

  • Bric

    Ace and company: would you add Silva to the list of possible contract dumps? I don’t realistically think Z, A-Ram, or Sorriano are going anywhere for at least another year so the only heavy contracts worth moving are Fuke and Silva. They could free up about 10 mil in salary and get back a decent minor leaguer each. In my mind, it’s time to break down this contract heavy team. If not for anything else, it’ll send a message to the players: go earn your money on the field. We’re not just gonna give it to you. Thoughts?

    • Ace

      Absolutely – if for no other reason than he’s not going to have a spot in the rotation next year (or at least, no one in their right mind could count on him every fifth day – of course, we would have said that last year, too).

      • Bric

        So what do you think about the premise that Z, A-Ram, and Sori aren’t going anywhere? And that Silva and Fuke could be? I’m an extremist and would love for all of them to go. I’d still watch and go to the games to see a new generation. But I’m also a realist and understand that the combined ages, contracts, and no trade clauses are going to make it hard to move any of them. How about a prognostication on who’ll still be here in Appril? I just want to get a sense of what the new team will look like. Thanks.

        • Ace

          Oh I don’t think there’s a chance that any of those first three will be moved. Silva will probably stick around, and Fuk will probably be dumped.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Hendry thinks Soriano and Zambrano are good players to have so he won’t even try to move them.

  • vegascubfan

    I think Soriano is sticking around. Who would want him?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’re like a backwards time-traveler, and it makes me smile.