One way or another the Chicago Cubs are going to have an active off-season. With Chairman Tom Ricketts already stating that the major league budget will slight decrease next year, General Manager Jim Hendry probably will not be able to sign any “big ticket” free agents such as Cliff Lee or Adam Dunn. Instead, Hendry figures to utilize the farm system as trading chips or peices to plug into next season to fill the needs the Chicago Cubs have going into the off-season. I feel the Chicago Cubs biggest need going into the off-season is for a starting pitcher, one who could preferably is an inning-eater. The Chicago Cubs are also going to have to acquire a run producing first baseman, as well as a second baseman, and relief pitcher.
If a team is going to be successful in Major League Baseball they are going to have to have a true ace at the top of their rotation, one who could consistently go deep into games. Just look at the team’s that are going to advance in the postseason; The Yankees have Sabathia, the Rangers have Cliff Lee, The Giants have Tim Lincecum, the Braves have a revitalized Tim Hudson, and the Phillies have Roy Halladay. All of those pitchers are capable are going out and shutting down the opposing team every five days. While the Cubs have had good seasons out of Ryan Dempster, and Carlos Zambrano neither have shown that they can be an ace on a contending team. Looking at the available starting pitcher through free agency the Cubs have already expressed interest in Jorge De La Rosa, the Cubs may also be interested in Jake Westbrook or Jon Garland if they hit free agency.
The Chicago Cubs also figure to add a power hitting first baseman to the mix for the 2011 season, preferably one who is left handed. With all of the speculation leading to the Cubs being interested in Adam Dunn, Ricketts announcing the shifting of resources from the major league team probably eliminates any chance the Cubs are able to afford Dunn. Instead the Cubs will look to trade for a first baseman, or go after a cheap free agent first baseman. The Cubs figure to have some type of interest in Adam Laroche and Lyle Overbay, and may take a look at Ty Wigginton as a possibility.
Barring what money is available after the Cubs address their needs for a starting pitcher and first baseman, they may or may not have enough money to improve their secondbase position as well as adding a veteran reliever to the mix in the bullpen. Talk around Chicago is the Cubs may make a run at Kerry Wood, but given how well he has performed with the Yankees he may be out of the Cubs price range.