A Look Ahead…
Now to start off, the Chicago Cubs aren’t playing like they can. I don’t know why and it really does not make sense. As they are on a 10 game losing streak. I know the team wasn’t suppost to contend, but they are better than this. Their offense is not even there anymore and I don’t know where it went. This may be the final year for Rudy Jaramillo as the hitting coach if the Cubs don’t figure it out. Usually when the weather heats up, the offense comes alive. But it’s the opposite for the Cubs as they were hitting in the cold and can’t hit in the heat. Since the Cubs re-acquired catcher Koyie Hill, they have not won. See Hill is curse and should have never put a Cubbie uniform back on. But here’s what I will or try to do leading up to the July 31st trade deadline:
Ryan Dempster: He’s by far the best Cubs pitcher this year, edging Matt Garza. Since he’s a free agent after the year, I would trade him to a contender. He does have a no trade cause, but many expect he will waive it to a contending club. If he keeps it up, the Cubs can get one great prospect (with other OK ones) or 2-3 good ones. The Cubs won’t get as much for him since he’s a free agent after the year. The Cubs could wait and offer him compensation after the season, but there’s a chance he could accept it. It will be a 1-year offer, but a good 1-year offer. I say he could accept it because he has Chicago in his heart and wants to stay in Chicago. As of right now, Dempster is a Type A free agent and the Cubs could get a good pick if a team does end of signing him. As of now, he’s more likely to be traded. Teams are in depserate need of starting pitching.
Alfonso Soriano: He’s not his self and the Cubs should do all they can to trade him. He cannot play OF anymore with his knee and is hurtng the Cubs more than helping them. I know it’s eaiser said than done with trading Soriano, but it has to be done. There are teams that can use DH’s and Soriano won’t cost much. I say pay 90% of his contract and a deal can be made. Also, don’t take much back in return. Try and see if the Orioles still have interest. There are rumors the Cubs could release him at of the season and pay the whole contract. So … the 90% doesn’t see, that bad anymore.
David DeJesus: Let me just say, I love the the DeJesus deal in the 0ff-season. He’s hitting the ball, plays good defense and is a good baserunner. Also, he takes pitches and has a great eye. The Cubs will shop him, but if the right deal is not there, just keep him. He will be a good role model for Tony Campana and when Brett Jackson gets the call. However, I think the Cubs can get a good package for DeJesus and he could get shipped somewhere. The Marlins name has come up in the last few days since they lost an OF for a while. But I don’t think that will happen as it’s too early to trade him.
Paul Maholm: There’s is speculation that the Cubs may deal Maholm before the end of July. I can see it happening too as he’s a free agent after the year if the Cubs don’t pick up the option on him. He started off the year shaky and finally found his way of pitching. I think he can bring in good pieces to the farm system. Teams will be in need of starting pitching and he’s more vaulable since he’s a lefty. Good lefties are not easy to find of whom are available. If the Cubs are not able to trade him, I see Team Theo picking of his option in which I think is 6.5 million.
Jeff Baker: I finally think it’s time to trade Baker. He’s a lefty killer, good bench guy and utility guy. Baker can play 3B, 2B, 1B, RF and LF. A lot of teams would like a guy like Baker. He won’t attract much in a deal, but a mid level prospect with great potential can be made. I do think there’s a great chance he is traded.
Reed Johnson: I know he’s a Cub favorite, but he’s not having a great season. He can be a great 4th OF on a team and a team will take a flyer on him. He’s a great defender and a great clubhouse guy. The Cubs can probably only get a PTBNL for him, but give him a chance with a contender and see what he can do. Dave Sappelt can take his spot on the roster. Sappelt the Cubs acquired in the Sean Marshall trade.
Darwin Barney: Barney is not a starter and a utilty by all measures. I don’t think trading him by himself is the right idea and no team will put up much for a utilty player. I say offer him with another player and make the deal more attractable. He would be a great utilty player and any team would take him. However, I don’t see him being traded and remaining the starter or platooning with Adrian Cardenas.
Geovany Soto: The Cubs have to do all they can and trade Soto. He’s done nothing lately and the Cubs have to play Steve Clevenger/Welington Castillo who has way more upside. Clevenger was playing good before he injured his self. Castillo wasn’t putting up great stats before he got injured, but still doing better than Soto. I pick Castillo over Soto just because of his defense and I expect better offensive numbers too. The Rays are in need of a catcher and so are the Nationals. Try to ship Soto to one of those teams and try to get something valueable in return.
Koyie Hill: What is there to say? It was a mistake to bring Hill back and expect the Cubs to release him in the coming weeks when Clevenger/Castillo comes back. At the least, send him to Trple AAA. I would rather have Blake Lalli playing over Hill.
Anthony Rizzo: Expect the call-up of Rizzo soon. He’s killing the ball in Triple AAA and it’s becoming a crime. It seems like he’s always on base and deserves another shot in the majors. I think he is ready now and you’re looking at the Cubs 1B for years to come. Also, he’s a great defender and I love hearing that.
Brett Jackson: Jackson is starting to struggle in Triple AAA, but many believe he is pressing too much. As he knows his time in the majors is coming and trying to prove too much. I think if he was given a shot in the majors sometime soon, he’ll play way better knowing he’s here and does not have much to prove anymore. I know he has to play good to stay up in the big leagues, but may not put as much pressure on his self. His only flaw that is way noticeable is his starikeout rate. But is spring training, Jackson walk a lot and did now K much. So … that’s whay I say call him up and see is he takes a different approach.
Josh Vitters: Before I begin writing about Vitters, I know this will not happen and just want to see what will happen. What about moving Vitters to 2nd? Ian Stewart is at 3rd and I want to keep Stewart there for now. He’s not putting up the offensive numbers, but has hit into bad luck. He is hitting the ball hard, though and that’s why I say stick with him. Also, he’s a great defender at the hot corner. Vitters is not hitting the ball very well in Triple AAA, but not too bad. The Cubs aren’t going anywhere, so why not call him up and see how he does. Vitters in on the 40-man roster and at the least, he could be a September call-up.
**If David DeJesus is not traded, Tony Campana is the 4th OF.
**Brian LaHair will move from 1B to LF in favor of Rizzo.
**If LaHair contines to struggle, he will become the 4th OF and the back-up 1B.
**To take Baker’s spot on the roster, Luis Valbuena will be called up. He’s hitting the ball well in Triple AAA.
**If that did happen to Vitters (it’s not), he will replace Barney in the line-up and will bat 7th.
**Welington Castillo will be the starting catcher, but Clevenger will get good playing time.
**Randy Wells and Chris Volstad or Casey Coleman will take a spot in the rotation.
**I say keep Marmol and hope he improves, his stock is way too low. If he doesn’t, figure out a decision after the season.
**The Cubs and Matt Garza will agree to a contract extension and he WILL NOT be traded.
Line-up after July 31st with all moves (I know all won’t happen and probably not most – that goes for starting rotation and bullpen too)
1) CF Tony Campana
2) SS Starlin Castro
3) LF Brian LaHair
4) 1B Anthony Rizzo
5) C Welington Castillo
6) 3B Ian Stewart
7) 2B Darwin Barney
8) RF Brett Jackson
9) P Pitcher
Note: I think the catcher position is too high, but I you have to play up the lefties. When Clevenger is in the line-up, you have to change it again. I would rather have Jackson switch with Barney, but try to switch all the lefties up again. It’s more lefty heavy now, than before.
1) Matt Garza
2) Jeff Samardzija
3) Travis Wood
4) Randy Wells
5) Chris Volstad or Casey Coleman
Note: The starting pitching does not look strong, but maybe the Cubs can make a play for Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke in the off-season. Also, Chris Rusin hasn’t looked to bad in the Triple AAA.
Closer: Rafael Dolis
Set-ip: Carlos Marmol
Set-up/lefty specialist: James Russell
RP: Shaun Camp
RP: Micahel Bowden
RP: Chris Volstad or Casey Colman (depending on whom goes to rotation)
RP: Jay Jackson
Catcher: Steve Clevenger
U: Joe Mather
U: Adrian Cardenas
OF: Dave Sappelt
U: Blake DeWitt
Like I already said, not all these moves will happen and probably not most. But it was fun to think og whyat the Cubs can do and are drastically the team can looked after July 31st. The draft is June 4th and days after that, we could see the roster being revamped. As of right now, the draft is number 1 on their to-do list. It will be fun to sewe what the new front office does do in coming weeks/months.