Cubs Off-Season in Review

With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a week … I thought it would be a good time to wrap up the Cubs off-season in a post.

October 12th: Theo Epstein resigns with the Boston Red Sox and the Cubs sign him to a 5 year contract worth 18.5 million to be the President of Baseball Operations. In this move, the Cubs shifted Crane Kenney strictly to President of Business Operations.
October 26th: Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod left the San Diego Padres for the Cubs. Jed Hoyer became the new Cubs general manager and Jason McLeod became the top guy when it comes to professional scouting. Both reportedly received 5-year contracts.
Novermber 2nd: Theo Epstein informed Mike Quade that he will not return next season.
Novermber 17th: The Cubs hired Dale Sveum as their next manager.
November 30th: Cubs signed outfielder David DeJesus to a 2 year contract worth 10 million.
December 8th: Cubs drafted pitcher Lendy Castillo in the Rule V draft.
December 8th: Cubs traded U DJ LeMahieu and OF Tyler Colvin to the Colorado Rockies for 3B Ian Stewart and P Casey Weathers.
December 9th: Cubs claimed IF Jeff Bianchi from the Kansas City Royals.
December 12th: Cubs signed Joe Mather to a minor league deal.
December 12th: Cubs non-tender C Koyie Hill and he elected free agency.
December 13th: Cubs sign IF Edgar Gonzalez to a minor league deal.
December 22nd: Cubs sign IF Matt Tolbert to a minor league deal.
December 23rd: Cubs sign C Jason Jaramillo to a minor league deal.
December 23rd: Cubs traded RP Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds for P Tavis Wood, 2B Ronald Torreyes, and OF Dave Sappelt.
December 26th: Cubs signed RP Manny Corpas and Andy Sonnaanstine to split contracts.
January 3rd: Cubs re-sign Reed Johnson to a 1-year deal worth 1.5 million.
January 5th: Cubs traded P Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins for P Chris Volstad.
January 6th: Cubs traded P Andrew Cashner and LF Kyung-Min Na to the San Diego Padres for 1B Anthony Rizzo and P Zack Cates.
January 9th: Cubs re-sign P Rodrigo Lopez to a minor league deal.
January 10th: Cubs sign pitcher Paul Maholm to a 1 year deal worth 4.75 million, with a team option worth 6.5 million for 2013.
January 11th: Cubs lost Jeff Bianchi to the Milwaukee Brewers, as they claimed him.
January 13th: Cubs sign IF Alfredo Amezaga to am minor league deal.
January 13th: Cubs re-sign RP Kerry Wood to a 1 year deal worth 3 million, with a 3 million club option.
January 18th: Cubs avoided 1year contracts with arbitration eligibles … C Geovany Soto (4.3M), IF Blake DeWitt (1.1M), IF Jeff Baker (1.375M), 3B Ian Stewart (2.3755M), P Randy Wells (2.705M) and P Chris Volstad (2.655M).
January 20th: Cubs sign IF Bobby Scales to a minor league deal.
January 26th: Cubs outrighted RP Manny Corpas off the 40-man roster to make room for Kerry Wood.
January 30th: Cubs sign RP Trever Miller to a minor league deal.
January 30th: Cubs announced their spring training non-roster invitees … pitchers Marco Carillo, Esmalin Caridad, Rodrigo Lopez, Manny Corpas, Jay Jackson, Trey McNutt, Blake Parker, Dae-Eun Rhee, Trever Miller and Chris Rusin; catchers Michael Brenly, Jason Jaramillo and Blake Lalli; infielders Alfredo Amezaga, Edgar Gonzalez, Matt Tolbert, Johnathan Mota and Bobby Scales; outfielders Brett Jackson, Joe Mather, James Adduci and Jae Hoon Ha.
February 2nd: Cubs sign Cuban 18-year old Gerardo Concepcion to a 7 million deal than can reach 8 million.
February 3rd: Cubs avoided arbitration with P Matt Garza, agreeing to a 1 year deal worth 9.5 million.
February 6th: Cubs claim U Adrian Cardenas from the Oakland Athletics:
February 6th: Cubs designate IF Blake DeWitt for assignment.

So … the Cubs didn’t make too many big moves this off-season, but were in the rumor mill for most of the Winter. As you can tell … Team Theo wanted to cut loose all of Jim Hendry’s mistakes and go in a different direction. Team Theo seems to go more in the ‘rebuilding’ direction and getting younger.

To sum it up … new additions that joined the Cubs organization are … 1B Anthony Rizzo, IF Ian Stewart, OF Davis DeJesus, P Paul Maholm, P Travis Wood, OF Dave Sappelt, IF Adrain Cardenas, P Chris Volstad, P Lendy Catillo, P Casey Weathers, P Gererado Concepcion and 2B Ronald Torreyes. 

With new additions, their are always players who leave the Cubs organization and they are … 3B Aramis Ramirez (signed with Milwaukee), 1B Carlos Pena (signed with Tampa Bay), RP John Grabow (signed with the Dodgers), C Koyie Hill (signed with St. Louis), RP Sean Marshall, P Andrew Cashner, 2B DJ LeMahieu, OF Tyler Colvin, LF LF Kyung-Min Na and Blake DeWitt (possibly).

With an off-season passing .. there are always players that are close to being dealt, but aren’t. Two names stick out to me from the Cubs … P Matt Garza and OF Alfonso Soriano. Garza’s name has been in the headlines all Winter, manly starting at the GM meetings in November.

P Matt Garza: Since the Cubs are more in a rebuilding mode, trading Garza for young almost major league talent sounds like a good idea. There were rumors out there than the Rangers, Tigers, Marlins, Yankees and Blue Jays had interest in Garza. But at the end, the Tigers and Blue Jays seemed to have the most interest. The Blue Jays decided to drop out because they didn’t want to trade their young talent. The Tigers did and still do seem like the favorites to trade for Matt Garza, a package revolving around their top prospect P Jacob Turner. As of right now … it seems like Garza won’t be traded and he’ll sign an extension with the Cubs. Hoyer seems like he will love to sign Garza to an extension. But one injury to a top pitcher in spring training, could make a team come with a big offer for Garza and he’ll end up on a different team. We do see that and that’s the best scenario I see Garza being traded before the 2012 season starts. He could be a good July 31t trade deadline candidate.

OF Alfonso Soriano: There hasn’t been much interest in him this Winter, but did Soriano use his NTC to veto a trade to the Baltimore Orioles? There was conflicting reports on if he did or not. So … I can’t say for sure or if it was just a rumor. The Orioles did have the most interest in Fonzie and may still have. I still think Soriano has a great chance to be traded, definitely if the Cubs may majority of his contract. Especially when top prospect Brett Jackson is ready to get called up. So … we never know and a trade can happen any time. Time will only tell…

Both players still have a chance to be traded and think they both could be. Let’s just see how spring training plays out and the beginning of the 2012 season.

The off-season is not officially over and more moves could happen … free agent signings and trades can still occur. Most of the trades that occur now are due to a team losing a player to injury in spring training. The Cubs could sign Yoenis Cespedes (however, there was a report that came out yesterday than the Cubs have little in Cespdes now) and Jorge Soler – they seem to put all of their focus on Soler and want to sign him; they could offer as much as 27 million for Soler (but he has yet to receive residency in the Dominican Republic and is not a free agent).

In Theo Epstein’s first year as the Cubs President … I say he did an awesome job. He made lopsided trades in favor for the Cubs, got younger and parted ways with headaches in the clubhouse. I’m really looking forward to seeing Travis Wood, Chris Volstad, Paul Maholm, Ian Stewart, Davis DeJesus and Anthony Rizzo playing for the Cubs. I know I may be in the minority, but I’m looking for the 2012 season and can’t wait.

Like I said, the off-season if not officially over, but I give Team Theo a B+ this Winter.

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