Cubs Off-Season Preview


The Chicago Cubs still have two month to go before they can officially work on their off-season. But, many Cubs fans have already given up on this season, which is a fair thing to do, and have their eyes set on the off-season. General Manager Jim Hendry was given the vote of confidence from new owner Tom Ricketts, and Hendry as promised that it will be a very active off-season for the Chicago Cubs. Among things Hendry has on his to-do list are find a new manager, as well deciding what to do with Derrek Lee, the Starting rotation, and fixing the bench.

For obvious reasons, the Chicago Cubs will find their new manager before anything else is done this off-season. The Chicago Cubs have targeted mid-October for the deadline of when they want to have their new manager. We have already heard the candidates and they are Ryne Sandberg, Joe Girardi, Joe Torre, Fredi Gonzalez, and Bob Brenly. The early favorite appears to be Sandberg, even though that may not be the wisest choice. Because if the Cubs are going into the 2011 with the intention of competing, then it would best suit them to have a manager with experience such as Girardi,  or Torre. However, if the Cubs are going to re-build, then that would be the ideal situation to implement Sandberg as their new manager.

The Chicago Cubs also will have to decide what to do at First Base next season. It is unclear whether or not Derrek Lee will be brought back next season, however early indications is that Cubs do not intend to re-sign Derrek Lee in the off-season. Considering that the Cubs have no legitimate first baseman in their system, it is likely that their next first baseman will be from outside of the organization. One name that I have already heard, and makes lot of sense is Adam Dunn.  Adam Dunn practically pleaded for the Cubs to sign him two years ago, and would likely still have a lot of interest in playing for the Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs could also have as much as three open spot in their rotation next year. While Randy Wells, and Ryan Dempster are only two locks to be in the Cubs rotation next season, Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Silva could be on other teams if the Cubs have their way. The Chicago Cubs will do everything in their power this off-season to try and move Carlos Zambrano, because simply they are tired of the antics and disruption that he causes them. As for Carlos Silva, the Cubs had hoped to trade him this off-season, but given his recent heart scare it will be very hard to do so. So if Silva is back, that would leave two open spots in the Cubs rotation. The Cubs will probably bring in at least one free agent starter and Ted Lilly could be it. As both Lilly and the Cubs have the left the door open after he was traded on a possible return to the Chicago Cubs. Also, Jeff Samardzija may fill in the rotation. He is 9-1 in Iowa this year, and has developed a cutter as his second pitch that averaged 89-92MPH.

The Chicago Cubs will also have to re-tool their bench this off-season. It seems as if every-year that their Bench is always one of their weak spots. It is likely that Xavier Nady, Mike Fontenot, Koyie Hill, and possibly Jeff Baker all will not be brought back next season. The Cubs will look to some of their younger guys they have in their system like infielder Darwin Barney and catcher Wellington Castillo for improvements off the bench. Also look for the Cubs to trade Kosuke Fukudome this off-season. It is going to be difficult, but I expect Hendry to deal the former starter this winter.

It is important to remember that under the Hendry regime, the Cubs have had to re-build twice. Once after the 2002 season, and after the 2006 season. In both of those following years the Cubs have had a new manager, and have won their division.