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Tonight’s starter for the Astros is Brett Myers, who has won just three games this year. Two of those three wins have come against the Cubs.

  • The sign-Carlos-Pena-to-an-extension talk has started again. Pena is talking like a guy who really wants to return to the Cubs next year, and Patrick Mooney says “on both sides, there’s real interest in a new deal.” I recognize the relative necessity of keeping Pena around in case the Cubs can’t land one of Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols in the offseason, but if the Cubs extend him before even kicking the tires on the latter two? I will be unhappy. Quite unhappy.
  • Remember when Jim Hendry dumped Michael Wuertz before the 2009 season for reasons known only to him? And remember when Wuertz went on to be one of the best relievers in baseball in 2009? And remember how the two prospects the Cubs received were both out of the system by midseason? Well, whoops. One of those kids, Justin Sellers, was traded to the Dodgers (for “future considerations” – a euphemism for nothing), who plugged him in at shortstop at AA. All he’s done since then is turn on the offense, and make his Major League debut last week. Of the Cubs’ dumping Sellers for nothing, Dodgers’ Assistant GM DaJon Watson generously said his organization “found it curious that the Cubs were so willing to part with a young shortstop.” Yes. Curious, indeed.
  • A couple of profiles on new Cubs’ prospect Dillon Maples here and here. In an extremely deep draft, particularly among the pitching ranks, Maples was considered a back-end first-round talent. That the Cubs paid big bucks to get him in the 14th round is a really, really great organizational statement – and it was a great draft approach. The Cubs took hitters early, believing they could buy pitchers later. It’s been a long time since I felt this good about something the Cubs did at an organizational level. You wonder why I keep giving Tom Ricketts the benefit of the doubt? I think this kind of thing is his influence.
  • Tom Ricketts continues his tour of the minor league system, with a stop in Boise, where the Cubs’ short-season, Low-A ball affiliate Hawks play. Among the topics discussed, the facilities in Boise are apparently substandard. Ricketts is helping the affiliate present and push for a plan that would construct a new $20 million facility, something everyone appears to agree is desperately needed. Again, although Ricketts has been relatively low-key and private so far, I can’t help but like the idea that he’s taking his time, getting his head around the organization before making any big moves. (And, yes, I have read about the rumored Ricketts state-of-the-Cubs speech, and will be writing about it soon.)
  • According to multiple sources, Alfonso Soriano has cleared waivers, which, like, duh times ten.
  • Cubs’ prospect Eric Jokisch, who has been dominating at Peoria, has been promoted to AA Tennessee, skipping over High A. Jokisch, 22, was an 11th round pick last year out of Northwestern. He was 9-3 with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.163 WHIP. He struck out 103 in 118.2 innings.
  • Dingo

    Jock Itch… Such an unfortunate name….

  • MichiganGoat

    I’d be all for extending Pena (to a reasonable 1-2 years/3M yr deal) if he could play another position, but to extend a .200 hitter that only plays 1B seems foolish since he is bound to decline as he ages. He would be a great bench guy because of his clubhouse and leadership skills but not worth it if he can’t play a corner outfield position or 2B/3B.

    • CubFan Paul

      Pena is a platoon 1st baseman at best considering his righty/lefty splits & like Brett i’d be unhappy, quite unhappy if he’s resigned

      its a foregone conclusion (common sense) that Pujols or Fielder will be a Cub next year because the Cubs money is green and they have the most to spend this offseason.

      Resigning Pena would put the “Kick Me, I’m Cheap” sign on Ricketts back and the line to kick his ass would line up around Wrigley for miles

      The Cubs need 25HRs, 100plus RBIs, & a .280plus BA/.360plus OBP at 1st base; Pena can only provide the homers while only batting a “generous” .220 ..& by measly, i mean pathetic

      What the Cubs do with 1st base this offseason will show the True Future of this organization

      • CubFan Paul

        lol@generous ..i used generous because Brett did in the post & it made me laugh ..this ‘resigning pena thing/talk’ really ticks me off because it/he shouldnt be an option next year ..Fielder won’t say no to a $22-$23mil/year deal from the Cubs nor would Pujols say no to $25mil/year

      • HotRuta

        Didn’t the Cubs just draft/sign, like, 47 Firstbasemen? That ought to tell us that they are looking for a 2-3 year temporary plug-in — and Pena fits that.

        “The Cubs need 25HRs, 100plus RBIs, & a .280plus BA/.360plus OBP at 1st base” — 100% true … and that’s Pena in 2007 (had pretty good L/R splits, too). If RudyJ is worth his salt, he should be able to get Pena closer to that performance (assuming Pena doesn’t gain 40 pounds, as DLee did).

        I’m thinking that the Cubs will not drop $25M/year on Fielder for a long-term contract as he is entering the slow decline (Prince seems to be turning into his father Cecil at the same age: 30+ HR and .255 BA — not worth $15M/year more than Pena), nor $30+M/year for Pujols (who definitely is in the decline stage of his career — and is looking for a contract that extends into his Social Security years). That money would be better spent on an up-and-coming pitcher who has serious Ace potential (like a Greinke-type).

        I don’t think the Cubs can build around players that old — Fielder/Puhols will either stay where they are at now (if Milwaukee wins the NL, can you imagine them letting Fielder go?), or go to a team that is “only one piece away”. That’s not the Cubs.

        • CubFan Paul

          *“The Cubs need 25HRs, 100plus RBIs, & a .280plus BA/.360plus OBP at 1st base” — 100% true … and that’s Pena in 2007

          You cant say 100% true to that & make an arguement about a guys 2007 stats coming back all of a sudden in 2012

          *assuming Pena doesn’t gain 40 pounds, as DLee did

          When did Derek Lee get fat or gain weight? which “DLee” are you taliking about?

          *I’m thinking that the Cubs will not drop $25M/year on Fielder for a long-term contract as he is entering the slow decline

          i said $23million a year (the market rate) and .304/.416/.564/.980 is a sign of slow decline? Fielder is 28yrs old, he’s in his prime ..his career line: .282/.389/.539/.927

          *not worth $15M/year more than Pena

          actually he is, his stats say so: .304/.416/.564/.980
          pena’s line: .223/.341/.454/.795 ..it’s all about OPS buddy; pena’s is .795, Fielder’s is .980

          *That money would be better spent on an up-and-coming pitcher who has serious Ace potential

          the Cubs have enough money this offseason for an Ace AND Fielder. There’s lots of money coming off the books in October ..even with Ramirez @$16mil next year, Soriano & Zambrano (both $18mil) the Cubs can sign Fielder & CJ Wilson or a Cole Hamels if he becomes available (because of the Phillies salary commitments to everyone else, its a lot!) and stay under the Ricketts budget

          *if Milwaukee wins the NL, can you imagine them letting Fielder go?

          yes i can & the Brewers will let him go ..Milwaukee chose Braun to the tune of a 5yr/$105Million extension that covers 2016-2020 that they didnt have to give him but did after Fielder turned them down a $20plus million a year extension this past offseason ..Fielder will walk this offseason & probably 90miles south to illinois

          *or go to a team that is “only one piece away”. That’s not the Cubs.

          i’m not delusional and i never said the Cubs are one piece away, but they can be close with a smart offseason this fall/winter

          ..how much baseball do you watch buddy? me? a lot and i stay informed & up to date

          • MichiganGoat

            Well stated Paul, as long as we not go over 6yrs (at age 34) for Fielder he’s worth it vs. Pena who is going to want 10M/yr since that what he signed, he’s a Boras client, and he’s done better than last year. Fielder is worth the extra 10-15M.

          • HotRuta

            The whole premise of my post was that the Cubs already had telegraphed their plans by signing a bunch of 1B prospects in the draft — they really are going for a “youth movement” (just as Ricketts said when he stressed the focus on the minors), and the intention is a multi-year building process, not a “buy-a-World-Series” approach. Sure, they’ll look at Fielder and Puhols, but probably just to drive up the price that somebody else has to pay.

            “*“The Cubs need 25HRs, 100plus RBIs, & a .280plus BA/.360plus OBP at 1st base” — 100% true … and that’s Pena in 2007
            You cant say 100% true to that & make an arguement about a guys 2007 stats coming back all of a sudden in 2012”

            Sure I can. I’m agreeing with you that that is the kind of production we need. But I think it’s clear that Pena is CAPABLE of that kind of production, especially under the tutelage of “The World’s Greatest Hitting Coach”. Derrek Lee had a rebirth at age 33 in 2009 (35 HR/111 RBI/.306/.393/.579/.972); Pena could, too — as a place-holder during the building process.

            “*assuming Pena doesn’t gain 40 pounds, as DLee did
            When did Derek Lee get fat or gain weight? which “DLee” are you taliking about?”

            Check the Roster listings: Derrek Lee weighed 205 when he came to the Cubs (and through his monster season in 2005); he was listed as 245 after he ”fully” recovered from his injury (in 2008) — not the same ballplayer (couldn’t run any more). Except for his “rebirth” season in 2009, he’s looked slower ever since. Overweight guys in their mid/late-thirties are not good candidates for career years. The same could be said for Soriano (25 pounds) and even Marmol (25 pounds).

            “*I’m thinking that the Cubs will not drop $25M/year on Fielder for a long-term contract as he is entering the slow decline
            i said $23million a year (the market rate) and .304/.416/.564/.980 is a sign of slow decline? Fielder is 28yrs old, he’s in his prime ..his career line: .282/.389/.539/.927”

            Fielder will be expecting Ryan Howard money, and Howard’s extension calls for $125M/5-Years. Yes, he’s hitting .304, but last year he hit .261, and that fails to meet our standard. And yes, he’s in his “prime”, but we disagree on what that means.
            I grew up in Chicago, but I’ve lived outside of Detroit for the past 30 years. I got to see Cecil Fielder in his prime, and it pretty well looked like LAST did year for Prince. In projecting the future, I think that Prince is more likely to follow the pattern of his father, which is a bunch of HRs and a lot of .250-.260 seasons. That’s not the kind of “difference maker” we need.

            “*not worth $15M/year more than Pena
            actually he is, his stats say so: .304/.416/.564/.980
            pena’s line: .223/.341/.454/.795 ..it’s all about OPS buddy; pena’s is .795, Fielder’s is .980

            No, he’s not. I didn’t even get into the difference in fielding, but let me be the first to say it right here, right now — if Prince Fielder is the firstbaseman, Starlin Castro will set a new [modern] record for errors by a Shortstop. Until Castro learns how (and when) to throw, anyone sitting in the 1B stands is in jeopardy. Prince is 5’11” / 275; Pena is 6’2” / 225 — which guy is gonna be able to bend-lower / jump-higher?

            *That money would be better spent on an up-and-coming pitcher who has serious Ace potential
            the Cubs have enough money this offseason for an Ace AND Fielder. There’s lots of money coming off the books in October ..even with Ramirez @$16mil next year, Soriano & Zambrano (both $18mil) the Cubs can sign Fielder & CJ Wilson or a Cole Hamels if he becomes available (because of the Phillies salary commitments to everyone else, its a lot!) and stay under the Ricketts budget”

            And you know all this money is available — how? I enjoy spending Ricketts’ money just as much as the next guy, but he’s just spent a ton on money signing the guys they drafted. Just because both of us WOULD spend the money, it doesn’t mean that Ricketts is on board for that. Yes, the Phillies have a fat payroll — but look at how the team has performed the past 5 years. And until this year, they have been getting younger, both batters and pitchers. You can afford that approach once you become a dynasty, but I just don’t see the evidence that Ricketts intends to buy a WS — to the contrary, he seems to be “all in” for a “four-year plan”, and I just don’t see him paying huge bucks for ANY star that won’t be young enough to have an impact by the time the Cubs are in a position to win it all (as opposed to “competing”).

            “*if Milwaukee wins the NL, can you imagine them letting Fielder go?
            yes i can & the Brewers will let him go ..Milwaukee chose Braun to the tune of a 5yr/$105Million extension that covers 2016-2020 that they didnt have to give him but did after Fielder turned them down a $20plus million a year extension this past offseason ..Fielder will walk this offseason & probably 90miles south to Illinois

            Milwaukee might get a “home-town discount”, but the Cubs won’t. The question that nobody wants to face is: when a free-agent is going to see multiple offers for big bucks, WHY would he want to come to the Cubs? We have proven that we have to overpay to attract the good FAs, and for someone looking to make the big score of their career (and their best chance to see a WS) we aren’t likely to be the best option available to them. The Soriano signing made a statement (at the time), and it was an expensive one. But in recent years (other than Fukudome), when have the Cubs EVER signed one of the premier FAs? They tend to go to the teams who are “only one piece away”, because those are the teams to which they have the most value. I just can’t see Ricketts getting into a bidding war for anyone, as long as we still are 2+ years away from having a WS team.

            “*or go to a team that is “only one piece away”. That’s not the Cubs.
            i’m not delusional and i never said the Cubs are one piece away, but they can be close with a smart offseason this fall/winter”

            I’m not suggesting that you are delusional (unlike SOME of us around here …), but I think, like most of us here, you take a more positive outlook about the potential in the short term than history or evidence supports. We’re all hungry for a WS (some of us have been Cubs fans long enough to be positively STARVING), but I think that Ricketts is committed to the process of building an ORGANIZATION, more than trying to compete in the short term. I don’t think he wants to be embarrassed, but I do think he would consider a $25M/year free agent to be wasted money — in the short term (I think his attitude would be different two years from now). He’s got a lot on his plate, and the difference between Pena and Fielder is not the biggest one. He’s looking at 2014 — and we should be doing that, too.

            I do get to see a fair amount of Cubs baseball (more than I care to watch, these days), and I’ll freely admit that my outlook on this subject is biased by childhood nightmares of lumbering sluggers (Hank Sauer, Dale Long, Walt Moryn, Frank Thomas, Ed Bouchee … we seemed to be committed to trading the young players that showed any kind of promise for more of these guys). But I think the recent winning has shown that our biggest weakness is pitching — the team does well when the pitching is there (what team doesn’t?) but the current starting staff is inconsistent (except for Garza). With everybody getting older, I don’t want to think about what this rotation will look like in 2014. The $10-15M/year we can save until then by living with Pena instead of Fielder can better be invested in pitching.

            And if 2014 comes down to “just one more piece”, I’d bet we could trade for Fielder then — when he might be all we need to put us over the top.

            • CubFan Paul

              ..i have somewhere to be in 40mins but i’l definitely bbl

            • CubFan Paul

              HotRuta how about i not waste my breath, because you’re wrong. your arguement is all your biased opinions & contradicting statements ..mine is fact & numbers

        • awesome

          sorry Hotruta, can’t handle that 2007 stat. 4 years ago, 4 years older and declining, no. and 40 lb on D. Lee, where?

          • HotRuta

            See above …

      • EQ

        To me Pena is the 3rd choice.. I mean, if we whiff on Pujols and/or Fielder, I’d love to have him back at a reasonable rate.. but let’s get serious here.. Does anyone really think we will get Pujols? Is STL stupid enough to let him go? and if so, are we stupid enough to overpay him and give him too many years.??? well yes we are, but either way,

        I can’t see the Cards letting him go.. to me Fielder is a better choice because he’ll be slightly cheaper, may require less years on his contract, is younger, and is a lefty which we always need. I firmly believe it will be Fielder or Pena next year, no way Pujols leaves STL, especially to play for their biggest rivals.

        • MichiganGoat

          Agreed

  • MichiganGoat

    Does anyone expect a major announcement by Ricketts? I hope it will be the same vote/non-vote of confidence in the organization, praise for the draft, and talk about facility upgrades.

    • Jeff

      I don’t think I’m hoping for it, but that’s exactly what I’m expecting Goat.

      • MichiganGoat

        I hope because the only major news that could be announced is the keeping of Hendry & Q for 2012, so I hope it’s a non-news type of announcement.

      • CubFan Paul

        a “pat himself on the back moment for spending money on the draft” instead of walking out to the podium to tell everyone that he has already told Hendry & Quade that they will not be returning for 2012 and he’s interviewing potential Presidents/GM starting asap

  • dreese

    I am so happy about this draft! It makes the future seem so bright. Good prospects and a farm system are everything! We can either wait until some of them mature in to ML players or we can use them as trading chips to get already proven ML players!

  • TSB

    Seems like some people think Pujols (or Fielder) is Jesus Christ, and that the pennant is assured if we just spend our last dime on one of the saviors. Better to spend it on pitching, maybe have some left over green for an above-average position player then blowing it all on one guy.

  • philoe beddoe

    totally, totally, agree..rather have Pena at 10-12..than those guys at 25-30 per…especially since Pujols will be in decline soon…..

  • bacboris

    Amen to the organizational approach comment Brett. I could take any terrible team, so long as there was some semblance of a 5 or 10 year plan. That’s what I’ve always appreciated about the A’s under Beane and the Rays under Friedman. With Ricketts ‘putting his money where his mouth is’, who knows maybe that will happen here too?

  • cccubfan

    In a perfect world the signing of Pujols or Fielder would be great. Carlos is a good clubhouse leader and seems to have the players and management respect. Personally, I would like to see him back at first and go get Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson during the off season. Spend wisely this time and we can see a brighter future. Can you imagine an infield of Castro, Reyes, Barney and Pena. WOW! I would like to see the OF of Colvin, Byrd and Johnson. Yes Reed as a full time player. These are the logical decisions of a new GM, Cashman anyone? A new manager, Ryno…A new pitching coach, come on Greg you know you want to….I remember the immortal words, if you gonna dream, dream big…LOL

    • MichiganGoat

      No, no, no to Reyes unless he would sign a 2-3 year deal, which will not happen. His strength is speed and that is declining rapidly (see Soriano). Castro at third? He has trouble making accurate throws from SS, leave him at SS next year and see how much he grows. Barney is a big risk (although the more we question him the better he gets). Are we really okay with a .220 hitter at first? Only if it’s for 5M a year, but Pena is better served as a power hitter off the bench/defensive sub but since he only plays first no thank you. ReJo is a great 4th outfielder but his body cant taking paying everyday, and Colvin is still a big question. Sorry but that lineup isn’t much better than the one we have this year.

      • CubFan Paul

        well put MG

    • cccubfan

      oops….I forgot to mention Pat Gillick

  • ry

    IMO, we have no chance at Pujols, he will be a cardinal for life. also, with as shitty as this organization has been run over oh say the last 3 decades, does one really think Fielder would even want to come play for the cubs and is it a good idea to give him a 6 or 7 year deal at 25 million per?? No way Fielder settles for less than the 25 mil per that Howard received. Be careful what you wish for. We have far more holes than just at first base! I am not saying Pena is a savior, but he can definitely help.

    • Jim

      Totally agree, ry. As long as some team makes Pujols a high enough bid for the Cards to match, that should destroy their budget to prevent them from getting enough help around Pujols.

    • EQ

      Pena’s not the reason for our problems.. he’s not gonna win a batting title, but if he costs 1/2 or 1/3 what Fielder or Pujols will then I’ll take his 25-30 HRs and 85+ RBI for another season or two. We need better starting pitching and defense most of all.. Pena is a good defender so that’s a plus.

      If we let Pena and Ramirez go, who the heck is gonna knock in runs for us next year?

      • Cheryl

        Totally agree. The cubs drafted first basemen to possibly replace Pena and three years. Spend the money on pitching. C.J. Wilson might be a good addition. Forget Reyes, Fielder and Pujols.

        • MichiganGoat

          It is a real stretch to think any of these players will be ready in three years when they are 21/22. A realistic approach would be 5-6 years, Castro is a remarkable expectation and should never be expected. If we signFielder to a 5/6 deal our prospect’s would be ready to take over after his contract. This draft will impact the 2015/16 season at the earliest or be used to secure some trades going forward. Pena is not the answer for 5-6 years.

      • Ol’CharlieBrown

        Couldn’t agree more. Like ry said, Pujols will be a Cardinal for life I think. Though I certainly wouldn’t be showing up at Wrigley Field with a torch and pickfork if he was our starting first baseman for 2012. Fielder is probably going to want a contract that’s more expensive than he’s really worth, especially if he slowly gains weight as he gets older and older.

        Pena would undoubtedly be cheaper than either too, plus we most likely wouldn’t have to commit to as lengthy of a contract. He isn’t as productive as the other two fellas, but he is still a power hitter that does a decent job at power hitting despite having a low batting average. He is also a great defender, teammate and leader.

        I think the biggest point here is that we all have to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “Do I really believe that simply putting Pujols or Fielder at first base is going to be the bold change we’ve been needing?”

        The Cubs pitching is horrendous. I’d rather see the incredibly large amount of money that it would take to sign Pujols/Fielder used towards a strong pitching staff. I’d rather see the 2012 season begin with Pena at first base and a pitching staff that is ready and capable of competing with major league batters instead of the same ineffective pitching but a bigger power hitter at first. Tired of seeing veteran pitchers who are inconsistent and young pitchers who look like they’ve been thrown to the wolves when they’re out on the mound.

        Cubs are ranked 8th in batting average, 9th in extra-base hits, 12th in OPS, 15th in home runs and 16th in runs scored in the majors. So offensively, aside from the obvious problem of walks and stolen bases, we’re middle of the pack at worst. Pitching strong teams like the Phillies, Giants and Braves all rank lower than the Cubs in several of those offensive categories and are still clearly more successful. Looking at the pitching stats, the Cubs are essentially in the bottom 5 in what seems like every category.

        • MichiganGoat

          2012 is a weak pitching FA year. After CJ Wilson (who is more like a #2 similar to Garza but not an Ace) there are few impact pitchers, a handful of 4/5 types and aging/past-prime types. Where would the money we saved by not getting Fielder go to help pitching? Fielder is worth the risk if we do something like 5/125M with a club option and we’d still have the money to go after CJ to a tune of 4/50M and still be able to make moves in 2013 with the money coming off after 2012. A major market team can’t just sit still and do nothing this off season especially with diminished attendance and fan out cry.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          The offense, if no changes are made, is bound to be worse next year, however: Soriano (worse), Byrd (worse), Ramirez (worse), Pena (worse). That’s your theoretical middle of the order, all aging, all getting worse.

          I agree that the pitching is in dire straights, but the offense needs some serious love, too.

          • philoe beddoe

            Yikes Brett…I am hoping only one of those guys is back at most…if they are it’s same crap team…..gonna have to trade…

            platoon in left Colvin vs RHP, Sori vs LHP…..keep Pena, Barney, Castro…hope Jackson is ready…trade for OF and 3B….

            tradable assets…..Marshall, Soto, Marmol,

            probably suck again….

          • Ol’CharlieBrown

            You both make good points. I hadn’t given enough thought to the fact that there will be very few pitchers worth going after this off-season or the fact that this same offense will almost inevitably be worse next season.

            By the way, this is exactly why I love this site. I always look forward to reading your articles, Brett, and I love being able to come here and talk Cubs and put in my two cents and feel like people actually read and reply with thoughtful and interesting responses.

            • philoe beddoe

              the 2012 list of free agents is depressing for ALL positions…another reason two big 1Bs will be way overpaid….would love to have Prince on Cubs, just don’t think it’s realistic to bank on..

              Fielder that is, not weird little guy from Minneapolis, doubt he could hit a curve, probably would walk more than many current guys though…bit of an Eddie Gaedel factor at 5’3

              • philoe beddoe

                Found my free-agent I want and I want to be the first to promote him( easy to promote Prince and Pujols)….Jeff Francour!…only gonna be 28…one of best arms in league…solid year for Royals…would be solid RF….okay new G.M., I just did the first part of your job for you….now get us a new 3B and 2 or 3 starting pitchers and we can compete for 3rd place

                • MichiganGoat

                  There is a 3M mutual option with him not sure of the details of the likelihood of it being exercised, but I do think he would be an affordable outfielder and could take over or Sori if we get rid of him.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    Also, he’s terrible. He’s got a .312 career OBP (in other words, he’s Hendry’s dream player), and a career 94 OPS+. That means, even when you factor in his power, he’s 6% below average offensively. And he’s an outfielder!

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Good point he was a nice wavier wire pickup for my fantasy team so I only know him from a roto standpoint, so pass.

                    • philoe beddoe

                      Okay, Okay…I didn’t research him enough….call it a premature post

                      solid year this year…I was just looking for anything on FA list…

  • willis

    If the other money not spent to get one of either Pujols or Fielder is spent on starting pitching, either this year (taking on someone with a decent salary through a trade) or 2013 when the FA crop is loaded with great arms, then I’m ok with resigning Pena. I do agree with others that signing Fielder or Pujols for more than 6 years is a mistake. Maybe 7…but no more. But if you can get there, and it’s $23-$25 million a year at 6 or so years, you do it.

    Saying that, keeping Pena while younger 1Bs develop is a roll of the dice. We haven’t seen a corner infielder with pop come through the organization in, like, my whole life. It seems there are some candidates now. But it’s a risky move.

  • willis

    Great news about the draft. Like has been said, going to bed last night is as happy as I’ve been about this organization in a very long time. To nab Maples on top of all the other signings is a huge win. Good for Ricketts for opening up the wallet on this one.

  • Jim

    More and more I think I would like to see the Cubs pass on Fielder and Pujols, re-sign Pena to a 2 year deal and hope Vogelbach is ready for 2014. If not they can always find a one-year stopgap. Save some money for Kemp or Ethier, preferably Kemp after 2012. With all the promising prospects this season and hopefully next season, the farm should be stacked enough to make a run at Felix Hernandez in 2013; can’t see the Mariners holding on to him and he becomes a free agent after 2013 (not positive, maybe 2014). Set this team up to be division contenders starting in 2013; enough money should be off the books by then and hopefully an AL team may take Soriano off our hands for his last two years.

  • ry

    Brett or anyone, who would be the best available starting pitchers free agent wise in 2012 and 2013??

    • CubFan Paul

      2012 – http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/03/2012-mlb-free-agents.html
      2013 – http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/04/2013-mlb-free-agents.html

      Brett you should totally ripoff traderumors & have a free agent pages/links like these for us online GMs

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I’d love to have something like that but, (1) I don’t want to actually just rip it off from MLBTR, and (2) I don’t currently have the manpower to keep something like that up right now legit-style.

        • Toosh

          Lack of manpower? Are you hiring? I’m available.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Wanted: Person to contribute valuable content, which may be heavily edited.

            Pay: The pride and glory of knowing your work is being viewed by thousands; portfolio material; no money; no benefits.

            Apply within.

            • Toosh

              Still interested.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                I’ll say this to you and anyone else: anyone who is ever interested in contributing content, hit me up via the “Contact” link (brett *AT* bleachernation.com). The no money thing is legit (“we’re still growing”), as is the exposure thing. I’m a heavy-handed editor, though, so be prepared for that.

        • CubFan Paul

          thats understandable Brett
          and I do appreciate what you do have time for &what you give us

  • EQ

    Mark Buehrle is about it next year. Most of the decent ones have club or player options and several others not really worth much.. just about all of KC’s rotation, John Garland, Bartolo Colon, Freddie Garcia, Livan Hernandez, etc.. basically a lot of washed up guys. Not sure on 2013 yet.

    • MichiganGoat

      CJ Wilson is the best for 2012, Maholm is also available or 2012 and would be affordable he is consistent and reliable (nearly 200 innings each year) would be a good 4/5 starter. I think we could get Fielder, Wilson, and Maholm next year.

      • CubFan Paul

        Fielder, Wilson & Maholm are totally feasible for next year (Maholm has a $9.75mil option/$750K buyout that probably won’t be picked up)

        & RY *stockpile some cash and then spend wise and crazy on 2013
        the Cubs have a lot expiring contracts this fall so stockpiling cash isnt necessary &just as much money comes off the books in october 2012 ..the Cubs can “spend wise&crazy” for the next 2 offseasons and not be hampered by bad contracts because they all expire this year & next ..Pena would be a bad contract unless he signs a platoon player contract, but that’s not what the Cubs need when Fielder is available

        • hardtop

          I know we’ve been through all this before, but you’ll have to refresh my memory. whats coming of the books? you have a better handle on this than me but here’s what i got, and im going mostly from memory.

          aramis (if they dont pick up his option) = 12.6 (14.6 he made this year – the 2 mil. buyout).
          grabow = 4.8 mil
          kosuke = 12 mil.
          pena = 0 (i think he got half deferred so we’ll pay him the same next year).
          woody = 1.5 mil.
          baker= 1.1 mil.

          who else?

          about 32 mil, and prince is going get 25 mil from someone (sad but true)

          what am i missing other than a substantial payroll increase?

          • EQ

            Samardjia will be a FA and I believe Dempster has an option, also SIlva’s contract will be off the books.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Baker will probably back, as might be Wood. Samardzija will be back. Could save a little money if the Cubs dump Z or Soriano. Lotta raises to factor in. The super short story is, if the Cubs stick to a $130 million payroll, they should have $25 to 30 million to play with, depending on what happens with Z and Soriano.

              Keep in mind, any big signing would likely be heavily backloaded, so it’s not as though that $25-30 million would have to be eaten entirely by a Fielder or Pujols. They might get just $15 million the first year, and then it gets massively stepped up in subsequent years (when Z and Soriano fully come off the books – and the cycle begins anew…).

              • Toosh

                MLBTR just posted 11 trade possibilities for Z’

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Already had it tabbed and ready for a writeup in the near term…

                  • hardtop

                    jesus toosh, stop stealing the mans thunder!

              • MichiganGoat

                For those reason I see no reason we want make a 5/25M offer to Fielder and still be able to make a run at Wilson and Maholm or other back end rotation types.

            • hardtop

              demp has a player option for 14 mil, which he will definitely take.
              i had samardzja signed through 2013 to the tune of 3.5 mil for some reason… maybe club option? (which i think they should pick up).
              either way, if we add 3.5 mil to the original figure we’re still coming up short of signing 2 pitchers and the the fat one.
              wilson makes 7 and maholm makes 9.75: i dont think we will be able to get them to come to chicago for less than they are making now.

              i dont see the payroll going up under ricketts for awhile.

              • hardtop

                sorry, forgot silva, somehow just glossed right over that eq. so thats a chunk of change. and with back loaded contracts as brett mentioned, i guess its doable. i wouldnt do it (see note: and the cycle begins anew) but its probably possible. i just feel its bad business, short-sighted, more of the same, etc. etc. (a couple good years and a lot of bad years to follow)

        • EQ

          I don’t see the Rangers letting Wilson go though.. our best bet for pitching next year is to grab a guy like Maholm to be a solid 4 or 5 guy and hope like hell Wells and / or Cashner can contribute next year. Really a healthy Cashner could have resulted in a much better year this year..

  • ry

    I don’t even think Buehrle would entertain offers from the Cubs; if i am not mistaken i believe he is a st louis native and in the past has said that if the white sox let him go, st louis would be his first choice. i say we keep pena on a 2 but no more than 3 year deal, stockpile some cash and then spend wise and crazy on 2013. we have been burned too much already on 6+ year deals. also need to work out a settlement with sorry to see if we do in fact cut him, that we can spread out payments on the $50 plus mil left on his deal.

  • ry

    hells bells i would take wilson and maholm! garza, demp, wilson, maholm and cashner; wishful thinking but doesnt look half bad! what is the possibility that cashner sees action this year?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s probably better than 50/50 at this point that Cashner works out of the pen at some point in September.

  • willis

    I would love Maholm for the right price on this team. He’s consistent and healthy. Things not seen much around these parts.

  • CUB5

    I’m just happy that the Cubs are putting Soriano out there and saying “Please…anyone…take him.” The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

  • CUB5

    Oh, and on Pena – while I like him and think he’s a fine player, he’s also 33. Do we want to invest heavily in an aging 1B? What happened to Tyler Colvin possibly getting a shot?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Although I doubt Colvin’s bat is every going to be good enough to be a ML regular, I get the impression Quade doesn’t think Colvin can hack it at first. And Quade certainly isn’t interesting in trying Colvin out there at the risk that – God forbid – the Cubs might lose another game or two this year.

  • gblan014

    This is an awesome website to learn more about MLB contracts and such : http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Indeed – Cot’s comes in for frequent praise and citation around here.

      • gblan014

        I hadn’t noticed. My bad.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          No need for your bad. I was agreeing with you. It was a good reminder.

  • Mike S

    I would not be upset with the signing of Pena. Obviously getting a player like Pujols or Fielder would be “exciting” to see, but realistically the Cubs problems this year have not been the lack of hits by their first baseman. Signing Pena you get the same amount of homeruns and OBP, better defense, and probably at half the price. This would allow the Cubs to spend money as needed elsewhere…aka STARTING PITCHING. Clearly Wells and Dempster are not the same as they were 2 years ago, there’s no guarentee that Cashner will be back to normal (which we don’t even know what that is because he hasn’t had a full season as a SP) and getting rid of Zambrano opens up a huge hole in the middle of the rotation. Committing 20-25 mil (at least) a year to one player for a boost in Average would be a step in the WRONG direction, although it would probably be the most exciting sign in recent Cubs history. Sign Pena and go after SP this offseason (weak SP in free agency) AND next year (a lot of solid SP’s)…

  • philoe beddoe

    Dohh!…4 Million mutual option…I’ll shut up now..

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