June 02, 2010

Rebuilding, Retooling

The prevailing wisdom over at the 176th best Cubs blog is that the Cubs should just blow things up and go through a few rebuilding years of non-contention. While I agree that the Cubs should definitely be sellers this year - they're a decent team that had their chance with a soft schedule to open the season and blew it - I don't really advocate a full-on fire sale, unloading everyone except for the young guns (Castro, Cashner, Jackson, Soto, Colvin).

The Cubs have a good farm system that should make a great core to the 2012-2013 seasons. But do the Cubs really need to put up some particularly crappy teams in the meantime? The Cubs do, after all, have one of the hugest payroll and marketing advantages in baseball. Ignoring for a second criticism of the current management's ability to do so, Ricketts did say that the team should be modeled after the Red Sox, who have lots of money and have been able to retool and integrate in new players (Pedroia, Lester, etc) on the fly. If the Cubs allocate their resources wisely, why not put out good/decent teams *and* still rebuild? One thing that the Yankees and the Red Sox have going for them is money to sign tough sign draft picks. Why not the Cubs too? I think the Cubs lose tons of money (esp with their debt service) if they put up the kind of 60-win seasons they need to draft guys on the caliber of Strasburg or Harper, but if they invest in the draft they can still get good talent. Maybe that advantage might disappear after the next CBA, though, who knows. It's something the owners are pushing for, and I could easily see draft pick slotting (since current players could give a shit about draftees) traded for the end of the lame FA compensation rules.

Here's what I think should happen (in order of easiness)

1) The Cubs should move Ted Lilly before the deadline. Of all the guys with NTCs on the team, Lilly seems like he would be most likely to waive it. Not that he has a problem with the team or anything, I just think he'd love to play for a contender. This is just idle speculation on my part.

2) The Cubs should also move Tom Gorzelanny, and put some combination of Cashner, Wells, and Jackson in the rotation for the rest of this year.

3) If Ramirez opts out, the Cubs should let him go and replace him with a short-term averageish 3b to keep the seat warm for Vitters, if he ever gets here.

4) The Cubs should trade one of Byrd, Fukudome, or Soriano and start playing Colvin every day. Of those three Byrd is easily the most movable, but I don't really see him being moved until the offseason at the earliest. With one year left Fukudome could be moved but I have a feeling he's not interested in leaving Chicago, and I don't think the Cubs could get much of anything for Soriano (again...jsut gut feeling). Fukudome should be gone by the time Brett Jackson arrives to be the everyday guy.

If the Cubs can't move Fukudome or Soriano before the deadline, they should just trade Byrd in the offseason and make Colvin the 2011 CF. If Jackson is ready, he can be the 4th OF until another spot opens up for him (2012 at the latest).

5) The Cubs should try to move Silva. I don't really see this happening until the offseason, but if they can move him earlier that would be great.

6) The Cubs should try to get whatever they can for Ryan Theriot. There's little doubt that he's going to be non-tendered this offseason, so they might as well get rid of him.

7) The Cubs should try to move Silva. I don't really see this happening until the offseason if at all, but if they can move him earlier that would be great.

8) The Cubs should try to sign Derrek Lee to a 1-year extension. Who's going to replace him next year? Hoffpauir? FWIW I don't see the Cubs moving Soriano or Ramirez (if he doesn't opt out) to 1b. Might as well spend it on a guy who's a good clubhouse presence and likes Chicago. He should be one of the top FA on the market so it might be a tough sign. But if anyone on the team would give the team a discount, it would be Lee.

8) The Cubs should pony up and sign Prince Fielder when he becomes a FA before the 2012 season. It's tough to count on this though, because there's a very good chance that the Brewers move him before then and he signs an extension with his new team. I'm not sure if he signs it though, or if the Cubs should sign him to what he will likely demand. Given what he witnessed in his childhood, he wants to be paid sooner and more rather than later, and I don't blame him for it.

9) The Cubs should try to move Zambrano. I think he might be tougher to move than Soriano at this point, given all the things the Cubs have done to tarnish his value. That bullpen move was the dumbest thing this organization has done since the college of coaches. The only things I can think of are maybe letting Maddux and Palmiero go.

I guess that turned into a bit more of a 'fire sale' than I thought, but I think with the right moves the Cubs can at least be competitive enough to fill Wrigley. I don't think the Cubs will get much salary relief for moving Z and Soriano, if they can even do it so why not just keep them around. I certainly love watching Z pitch. But I don't think *all* of these moves happen, and obviously some of the young players won't pan out (I'm especially looking at Vitters here). But the Cubs have the resources to fill those holes from outside the organization if needed, especially by 2012.

In summary, I'd like the Cubs to plan to hang on to (at least for next year)
B Jackson
H-J Lee


shawndgoldman said...

Agreed, pretty much 100%.

GW said...

Hey b,

Agree for the most part. #5 is so important, it must be said twice. Quibbles: I don't have as much faith in Colvin as you do; I also think they should hang on to Z.

I think I'm the only person left in the blogosphere not yet sold on Cashner. I say get what you can from him in the pen and stick with new-look gorzelanny in the rotation.