More wood on the Cubs-won’t-get-any-big-names fire from Gordon Wittenmyer. No real surprises, as Wittenmyer sees the Cubs going after guys like Kevin Millwood, Javier Vazquez, and Jake Westbrook for the rotation, rather than a guy like Cliff Lee. Though Wittenmyer doesn’t say so, you can throw Jon Garland into that mix. From my perspective, the Cubs would be best served waiting the entire starting pitching market out, and if any of those middle tier guys is still looking for work come February, the Cubs can toss a one-year offer out there. Otherwise, the team’s in-house back-end options are probably not much worse.

In the bullpen, Gordon thinks Kerry Wood will stay with the Yankees, and the Cubs will look at Grant Balfour or the previously-rumored target (and still overrated) Jason Frasor. The Cubs can’t count on John Grabow returning to health or effectiveness next year, so a steady, veteran reliever is probably a fair target. But again, there’s no sense throwing good money after bad: the Cubs should wait until the market sorts itself out, rather than leading it.

At first base, Adrian Gonzalez remains the primary (and most-realistic) big-name target, but the Cubs may have to settle for a Nick Johnson, Adam LaRoche, or Lyle Overbay, who they can get on a one-year deal. The Cubs are fortunate that at first base, like their other positions of need, there are a number of options this winter. But, like their other positions of need, the options aren’t altogether attractive.

Ultimately, the Cubs may be best served cobbling together a bunch of one-year deals, letting the season play out as it will, and regrouping in 2012.

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  • pfk

    Wait it out. Frankly, I don’t care how they do next year as long as they are making progress toward a remake in 2012. Don’t fall to the pressure of “we must win now.”
    Do this wisely. Focus on all the infrastructure needs: better spring facilities (check), more money for scouting and player development (check), better player facilities at Wrigley (trying), fixing up and repairing the ballpark (trying), etc.
    Keep going with the kids for 2011 and see who develops. Then, at the end of season (or trade deadline) be in a position to dump the overpaid and go for talent as needed. Even the balance of Soriano’s deal could be swallowable or movable.
    In my lifetime (long) there has never been a master plan. Finally, they seem to have one and an owner who will stick to it like a good business (sport) does.

  • CubsAreAwesome!

    I’d like LaRoche if Adrian doesn’t come to the Cubs. But I hope Brett Jackson nor Hak Ju Lee is traded for him. Chris Archer either. I mean for one year and a guy at 30, I wouldn’t trade so many young talented players. Though anyone else I’m good with trading. Millwood and Westbrooke don’t seem like horrible options to go after pitching wise either. I still wanna see them try to get LaRoche, Hudson, and Martinez though.

    • Tanner

      The Cubs agree with you, that is why they are saying that they wont trade for him unless he will sign an extension with the Cubs after the trade is done. The extension must be in place before he comes to the Cubs.

    • Ace

      It’s looking like Victor Martinez is going to get a whole lot of money, so he may be out of the Cubs’ price range at this point.

      • CubsAreAwesome!

        I know. I’m just saying I’d like to see him over Dunn. And if Soto gets injured or needs a day off, we have a spare C. But I know it would be shocking to see them get all three of them. But I can dream. 😛

  • Serio

    My brothers idea….trade Soto & Byrd. They can get you the prospects needed to get Adrian Gonzalez without giving up Brett Jackson or Hak Ju Lee….what do you think

    • Bric

      Actually, though there is a market for both, trading them will only get a mid range prospect at best. The Padres are going to demand at least three top level prospects and trading Byrd and Soto are only going to return a Kyle Smit type prospect each. Think about it… if I was another team I wouldn’t give up much for Soto. Since his rookie year he’s been arested, seen his homers and OBS decline, and isn’t a top level defensive catcher. Byrd is good (great for what we paid to get him) but on the wrong side of 30 and hasn’t exactly had a stellar career. These trades might be different next July, but right now all they would do is clog up our system with more Jeff Stevens’s, Jeff Grays, and Justin Bergs. To me, this isn’t a viable option in getting A.Gon. If the Cubs want him, it’s gonna cost us a combination of the Jacksons, Archer, Lee, Colvin and Vitters. With that said, I’d still make the deal.

      • Ace

        Soto, one of the best offensive catchers in baseball (who is still only arbitration eligible for the first time this year) would return a tip-top prospect. Just sayin’.

        • Bric

          Ace! You’re always a top half of the glass guy. Maybe I’m just dwelling on all of the runners in scoring position he seems to have picked up the bad habit of not driving in, but I wouldn’t consider him one of the best offensive catchers. Still, you got a good eye for how other teams perceive our players, so you’re probably not alone in your opinions. With Castillo and Chirinos coming up, why not float his name. In my mind, he’s gotta really show up in spring training anyway or his days with the Cubs are already numbered.

          • Ace

            I think – rightly or wrongly – the Cubs would have to be wowed to deal Soto until he gets even moderately expensive. Castillo and Chirinos *could* be adequate ML starters, but Soto already is. Dealing Soto is an unnecessary risk when he could be a productive regular long into the Cubs’ (hoped-for) rebound in 2012 and beyond.

    • Ace

      I don’t hate trading them, but I wouldn’t do so just so the Cubs could get Gonzalez. If the Cubs were going to deal Byrd – and especially – Soto, I would hope they were doing it because they were in a full-on, two to three year rebuild.

  • art

    if we’re (Cubs) going young, forget signing these 2nd rate clowns. that’s been part of the problem. if a decent trade was offered for A. G. I’d do it. otherwise play Jackson, Archer, Cashner, C. Carpenter, and try one of the good young catchers at 1B. try Vitters there. play your best young talent in ST and see what you have. to me it’s a better option than the FA’s. I’d even take a good look at Lee, either way Lee should be here in 2012, then with a good young fast team with a year of experience and lots of money we can surprise the world.

    Frazier goes down, Frazier goes down, lol.

    we’re not going anyplace this year so why sign guys that won’t be here in 2012?

    I’d even go with Aram at 1B, Barney 2B, and Vitters 3B.

    a scout recently compared Barney to Jeter in every way, except power. saying he’d be a starter on many teams now, he’s been a winner every where he’s played. so I say why not play him at 2b? having said that I believe Quade has already made him a bench player as Louie did. pitching and defense up the middle wins, defense improves the pitching. look what the giants did with a weak lineup.

  • Dingo

    I like the idea of Balfour and not just because he is an Aussie. But I see the Rays resigning him. He has been nothing but solid for them.

    There is no point in getting Gonzalez with the current make up of the team for a rental and the Cubs not making other big splashes in key areas. The Cubs with Gonzalez will still be dogshit. Better off with a LaRouche for a year and trying to get rid of rubbish in time for 2012.

    • Ace

      Yes, but getting Gonzalez now makes it much more likely the team could have him in 2012.

      • Dingo

        I can’t see Gonzalez not wanting to test the free agent market in 2012. Hence why I see him a one year rental.

        • Ace

          Fair point.

  • http://bleachernation ramy16

    hey ace..just found out that the oakland a’s arnt going to sign eric chavez since they picked up edwin encarnacion…whats the possibilty that the cubs sign him as a back up? i know hes injury prone. his defence is great and he can play some 1st as well and spell ramirez at 3rd! he also wouldnt cost alot of money as well!

    • Ace

      The Cubs aren’t likely to carry a true back-up at third or first, given that they will have interchangeable parts (Blake DeWitt, Darwin Barney, Tyler Colvin) who can cover those positions in a pinch. Plus, Chavez just isn’t the guy he once was… or anything close to it.

  • http://bleachernation ramy16

    good point ace…i still think we should covet carlos pena if we have to give up the farm for adrian gonzalez…giving up prospects for a 1 yr deal is crazy dingo! if were going to trade for adrian gonzalez we better have a long term in progress…i just dont see it happening…hendry has screwed this organization up! by the way do ya ever think hendry has logged on here to see what us die hard fans actually think?? i WAS WONDERING…SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT..LOL

  • ed

    Cubs sign Scott Moore! The first base problem is solved!