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In come the Cardinals to face a team that somehow won a dozen games against playoff contenders and then lost two of three to the Houston Astros. Who knows how it will play out? One tip: don’t pitch to Pujols, Mike.

  • Gordon Wittenmyer says that Tom Ricketts will “address the media” during this homestand, and the issues discussed will include Jim Hendry’s status and Carlos Zambrano quitting on the team. The statement is slipped into an article about Mike Quade’s travails as manager, though, so I’m not sure if this is just Wittenmyer speculating, or if that’s indeed what he’s heard. Bruce Levine had been the only beat writer reporting on the upcoming “announcement,” so this is at least confirmation that it will be happening. What exactly will be said remains a mystery. I checked with a source who said Ricketts is keeping this one very, very close to the vest.
  • A handful of articles are coming out in the local press, speculating that Jim Hendry will return in 2012. I tend to think they’re a bit more about generating controversy – and, thus, interest – than they are about a genuine belief that Hendry will be back. Paul Sullivan says Jim Hendry is smiling a bit too much for a guy who’s about to lose his job, and Bruce Miles says Hendry’s work on the draft demonstrates he’ll be back. I’ll be doing a full write-up of the latter article and it’s many, many flaws (why, Bruce, why? I always liked you!), but I thought I’d share now in case Ricketts’ “announcement” comes before I can finish it.
  • As expected, the Players’ Association has filed a grievance against the Cubs on behalf of Carlos Zambrano. There is no timetable yet for a hearing.
  • In Carrie Muskat’s most recent inbox, she suggests that it is “very possible” that Aramis Ramirez will be back in 2012, and similarly sees Carlos Pena returning. I’m not sure if she’s basing this on much more than popular sentiment at this time, but she also says the Cubs are unlikely to be players for either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder.
  • Prepare to swoon. Newly-drafted $2.5 million stud, Dillon Maples, on his impression of Chicago sports after a recent visit to the city from his home in North Carolina: “The White Sox seem kind of secondary to the Cubs.” For the love of God, please don’t blow your arm out, kid.
  • Slipped into a piece about the Cubs’ draft and how it reflects Tom Ricketts’ long-range plan for the organization, Phil Rogers notes that the Cubs signed Curacao teenager Christopher Pieters for $350k, adding to an already impressive stable of international signings this year, including Mark Malave ($1.6 million) and Enrique Acosta ($1.1 million).
  • Matt Garza is a “lunatic” and wants to stay with the Cubs long term. I’m not really sure why those are two separate points.
  • Bleed Cubbie Blue with a good article on why it’s time for Jim Hendry to go, despite his awesomeness as a person.
  • MichiganGoat

    The fact that Ricketts is keeping this “close to the vest” makes me smile, major changes are typically all hush, hush before they happen.

    • Fishin Phil

      Hope you are right MG!

  • CubsFanatic

    Big change is usually hush, hush. But I’m not getting excited until everything is set in stone. But I’m loving the attempt to restock the far, system by Ricketts. I have to applaud that.

  • CubFan Paul

    carrie muskat – “I know fans want the Cubs to get into the bidding for Fielder and Pujols, who will both be free agents, but that’s not likely to happen. You’re right — the focus for the Cubs for 2012 will be to improve their pitching. ”

    pitching? what pitching Muskat?? theres not $35million dollars worth of pitching improvement on the 2011/2012 free agent market -Fact.

    unless Cricketts breaks his silence on the Big League team to say he’s dropping the payroll to $115million with Big Z’s dead money included then yeah, we will be bidding on Fielder or Pujols ..Fielder preferably

    but thats not gonna happen, payroll this year including the June draft = $140-$144million, meaning ricketts probably has a $140-150million dollar payroll in mind for his team this year & in the near future until he finds a way to increase Revenue (renovating Wrigley)

    its all connected folks & Pena will not be resigned

    • EQ

      good to keep being reminded that at least 12 of us on here seem to be more clued in than Muskrat.

      • MichiganGoat

        Ah, it’s part of her job to toe the company line and repeat the “now is not the time for bold changes” mantra. But if Pena and Ramirez return we can count on competing with the Astros for NL Central basement.

        • EQ

          She must be a white sox fan.

        • CubFan Paul

          True MG @competing for the basement ..Ricketts doesnt want that, its embarassing especially for a Major market team ..imagine Fielder batting 4th behind Ramirez, Castro & Brett Jackson ..i bet Ricketts has

          1. CF Brett Jackson
          2. SS Castro
          3. 3B Ramy (playing out his contract yr)
          4. 1B Fielder (6yrs/$138million w/ 2 team options @$20million)
          5. LF *Free Agent/or Trade for a RBI Guy here @LF
          6. 2B *Free Agent/or Trade for a guy w/ an OPS over .800, sorry Barney – .693 OPS
          7. RF Colvin
          8. C Soto/Castillo (one of these two could be traded in a package for a starting pitcher)
          9. garza, demp, cj wilson, casher, &someone else trade for like garza w/ arbitration yrs and stretch out Samardjiza to be a cheap/effective 6th starter

          all of this is possible without breaking a sweat or the budget/payroll

          • MichiganGoat

            Paul I love your optimism, but I don’t think we have anything of talent that can be used to trade for either a RBI guy or a decent starting pitcher. I do think your terms for Fielder may be what it takes, but the more I think about investing that much the more worried I become. Still it’s hard to pass up on a slugger of his caliber. As for pitching I’d love to have Wilson but the Yanks/Sox will drive his price up beyond what he is worth, if the Rangers let him walk. After him you’ve got nothing but 4/5 types and if the Pirates pick up Maholm’s option we are left with Jeff Francis and company (I’m not mention E. Jackson because I feel the Cards will extend him). So next year is all about changing the direction and letting our prospects have a shot, which leads me to my final point DO NOT PICK UP ARAM’s OPTION.

            • CubFan Paul

              “I don’t think we have anything of talent that can be used to trade for either a RBI guy or a decent starting pitcher.”

              tell that to the Brewers MG who traded for S.Marcum, Z.Greinke, K-Rod & Nyger Morgan all in one season ..the Indians got an outfielder with a .370 OBP for 2 has been prospects and then turned around & traded for Jimenez w/ more low level prospects

              “prospects/smoshpects” we have what it takes because if a team wants to get rid of a guy whether it be because of payroll or a younger cheaper option is ready in the minors they will take anything; like most of the examples i mentioned

            • EQ

              I agree.. unless the Ricketts announcement is that payroll is raised to Yankee/Red Sox level, no way do we get all those guys.. think about it, Fielder & CJ Wilson would cost just about all money we have to spend in payroll.. not even counting picking up ARam’s option.. and to pull off another big trade means we’ve totally depleted our minor leagues again and all the money spent on the draft and long term plans would be out the window.

              I believe the only way we compete next year is with a significant payroll increase to get more than one impact FA this off season,(like signing Fielder & a couple of the 4/5 type pitchers out there) and our own players stepping it up.. guys like Wells, Cashner, Colvin, Soto…etc.

              • CubFan Paul

                i disagree because i typed can be done with a $130-$140million payroll ..as far as wilson & fielder they’ll get signing bonuses to offset the salary per year number

                Hopefully Brett types up a post or bullet points next year’s 2012 payroll obligations soon so people can stop questioning my sanity because i’m right ..im not being a jerk but i’m right

                thank god for Hendry being shown the door ..hows that for a major announcement

                • Jeff

                  You are thinking of the wrong sport, the only signing bonus in baseball is for draft picks. They might curtail some costs by throwing in some performance bonus, but no signing bonus here.

                  Brett doesn’t need to do a writeup, MLBTR already did one:
                  http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/04/2012-contract-issues-chicago-cubs.html

                  You are right, there will be money to spend, but I don’t see a whole lot to spend it on outside of Fielder or Pujols. I think most of the pitchers that would be free agents are going to re-sign. I have read that Wilson, Buehrle, E.Jackson, and Maholm are all talking extensions with their current teams.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    sooo why did Marmol get a signing bonus with his extension?
                    cliff Lee recieved a signing bonus in his 2nd to last contract
                    so did chase utley, raul ibanez, brad lidge, joe blanton ($6mil), jimmy rollins ($5mil), polanco, madson, -those are just Phillies (had that page open)

                    but relevant contracts – Teixeira got $5mi, adrian gonzalez got $6mil, josh beckett $5mil, randy wolfe $4mil Deferred, Gallardo $1.25

                    i could keep going ..but MOSTLY all big contracts come with signing bonuses and/or deferred money

                    • CubFan Paul

                      jeff? jeff? jeffy!!! man up & respond here. -please

                      Mr.”You are thinking of the wrong sport, the only signing bonus in baseball is for draft picks. They might curtail some costs by throwing in some performance bonus, but no signing bonus here. ”

                      you were wrong

          • awesome

            Cubfan Paul,

            1. Quade recently said Jackson isn’t ready. if he’s not ready now, he won’t be at the start of 2012, under Quade.
            4. won’t happen.
            5. Soriano.
            6. Barney will be here.
            7. Colvin won’t.
            8. ?
            I’m basing this on Quade being here. I’m convinced he’s over his head big time, he’s not a Colvin fan, he likes Barney, and he’ll keep Hill. oh, Hendry will be back.

            • Jeff

              I think we can all agree that Quade wouldn’t recognize a prospect who was “ready” if he was pitching batting practice to a young Albert Pujols. Of course Jackson isn’t ready, he gets on base, knows how to steal, and how to work a count. That’s not going to fly for Quade’s Cubs. It’s go big or stay at home, we don’t need any of that singles and walks crap here.

              • CubFan Paul

                lol jeff!

          • willis

            Not sure where you think the money and talent is coming from to fill three places in the lineup with upgrades from what we already have. I wish I thought it was possible, but no one wants our trash or are underperforming prospects enough to build that type of lineup and sign a FA pitcher. Jackson will be the CF, other than that look for about the same lineup as this year.

            • CubFan Paul

              heres where the money will come from thanks to Jeff. and as far as talent we have to trade look at what the Brewers & Indians traded away for Major League Players

              http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/04/2012-contract-issues-chicago-cubs.html

              • Toosh

                They save Fukudome’s money. Let Pena and Grabow go. Re-sign Wood And Johnson. Renegotiate Dempster’s contract. And Ramirez’. Dump Soriano and Zambrano.

              • MichiganGoat

                Paul, I agree there will be money to spend on Fielder and some pitching, but your forgetting arbitration raises (which are hard to guess and evaluate) and the minor FA signings for bench help, bullpen, etc. The max I see us having to spend on big names is between 30-40M (based primarily on if we extend Ramy). As for our ability to trade, we have nothing of value. The brewers cleaned their system to get Grienke and Marcum and KRod was a simple salary dump by the Mets as was Fuk (we could pick up those types at a trade deadline but not preseason). This stellar draft class can’t be used until 2013 as trade bait. I do agree we can and will be better next year, but we just don’t have the funds and/or trade pieces to do what your proposing.

                • Jeff

                  From what I can tell, if Dempster’s and Ramirez’ extensions are picked up, adding in the re-signings and a couple of modest arbitration raises, the payroll is still over 110 milliion. You can’t expect another team to take on Z and Soriano’s contract, they are still going to be a part of the Cubs payroll next year. There will be money, I’m just thinking there’s not going to be 30+ million to spend.

                  • CubFan Paul

                    our payroll Jeff is $130-$140million, its not coming down ..do the math

                • CubFan Paul

                  i disagree and gotta go so i cant refute! grrr! bbl after the game

  • CubFan Paul

    typo..
    *with Big Z’s dead money included then yeah, we will NOT be bidding on Fielder or Pujols ..Fielder preferably

  • Toosh

    I’m under the impression that Hendry has very little to do with the draft any more. True?

    • Fishin Phil

      If true, that would explain why the draft went so well.

  • MichiganGoat

    Question: If Ricketts does announce that Jimbo will be promoted (and in the up & out fashion of McFail), who will be the acting GM? I suspect that if this does happen Ricketts is doing it to 1-announce to under-contract targets that he will be hiring and 2-energize the fans about the new direction. So is there a internal person who could act as interim GM since I kind of expect Hendry will be named VP of Baseball Operations (or something like that), and hopefully Crane will/has resigned, so who would be the interim GM.

    • Fishin Phil

      If I had to guess, they would probably look to Randy Bush in that scenario.

      • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

        Obviously, Fishin Phil here has provided us with the insider information. How prescient.

  • EQ

    I still hope Gillick fits in somehow..

    • Fishin Phil

      That would be great, but I can’t see that happening until after the season.

  • RY

    i just hope the asswipe cardinals dont sweep us and i also hope holliday gets beaned! do we have anyone man enough to hit him this weekend?

    • Jeff

      I’ll do it. Look for the big naked white guy jumping the left field wall with a bag of baseballs. (I am not very accurate, so it may take a few shots, depending on how close I can get.) I just need a volunteer for a distraction, because I don’t think too many people will be paying much attention to the game. You’re going down Holliday!!!

    • willis

      No.

    • MichiganGoat

      Today at the grocery store they had some clearance cheap baseball t-shirt jerseys,and they had Holliday’s for $3. So I bought one for my brother and at his birthday in a couple of weeks his friends and I are going to pelt him bean bags when he opens the shirts up… being a big brother has it’s perks.

      • Jeff

        That has youtube written all over it Goat. I’ll be looking forward to the video.

  • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

    Whoa! Miles just Tweeted that Hendry’s been shown the door?

    Gonna be a rumor-y kinda day, I guess…

    • Jeff

      Excellent. Here’s his replacement, you don’t even need to look Mr. Rickett’s, I did the job search for you.
      http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/08/gm-candidate-ben-cherington.html

    • Jeff

      Multiple sources are reporting it now, I may have just pooped my pants.

      • http://twitter.com/thomaswconroy TWC

        I was wondering what that smell was.

      • MichiganGoat

        Is there such a thing as a baseballgasam? I think I just had one!

    • Fishin Phil

      That settles it! I’m gonna pick up a twelver of Old Style on the way home to celebrate!!!

      • Jeff

        This is calls for a 30 pack celebration, good sir.

      • MichiganGoat

        I’m right there with you!

    • TC

      yayayyayayayaayayyaya!!!!!!

  • Fishin Phil

    And the people did rejoice, there was much happiness and beer did flow. Women danced topless in the street, Holliday was beaned in the ribs, and all was right with the world.

  • Mike

    Sportscenter just said Hendry is out!!

    • MichiganGoat

      I’m dancing dancing

  • marc

    Seeee ya later JIMMMY!!!! WOOO HOoOOo!!!

  • EQ

    Go Jim go, go Jim go, hey Bleachernation what do you say, Cubs just got a win today..

    • Fishin Phil

      Between the draft news and today’s news, this year is really starting to look up!!!

  • MichiganGoat

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