Bruce Levine hosted another weekly chat, and offered up his thoughts on the Chicago Cubs’ roster and future plans, with a special emphasis on how things might shake out in Spring Training. The highlights:
- Augie Ojeda will get a very real shot to be the primary backup at shortstop, which would send Darwin Barney back to AAA. (ed. that assumes Barney doesn’t impress so much at 2B that the Cubs consider carrying him as the primary starter there. It’s not likely, but it’s possible.)
- The Cubs may like Prince Fielder in 2012 more than Albert Pujols.
- Michael Young would be an upgrade at 2B (ed. are you sure?), but the Cubs don’t have the money to take him on. The Cubs would have to move Fukudome just to make it work for 2011, and that’s without considering 2012 an 2013.
- As for moving Fukudome, the Cubs weren’t able to find a taker – even offering to eat half of his $13.5 million salary – because other teams do not see Fukudome as a starter.
- Another trade that never was: the Cubs probably talked to the Yankees about Carlos Zambrano, but the Yankees are light in ML-ready pitching, so the Cubs couldn’t find a match (ed. well, like, if the Yankees had ML-ready pitching, they wouldn’t need Zambrano in the first place, so…).
- Braden Looper will either win a rotation spot or be released. Levine doesn’t see him in the bullpen.
- Speaking of the rotation, Randy Wells is still discussed as though he’s just another competitor for a back-end rotation spot (ed. which is, sigh, so ridiculous).
- Totally random, but ever wonder how much the Cubs are paying Mike Quade? It’s a shade under $1 million per year for 2011 and 2012. Remember that when the Cubs talk about their payroll – Lou Piniella was making $4 million.