Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cubs Roundup: Talkin' Baseball, Hall of Fame Voting, and More

HOF Ballot

The Major League baseball Hall of Fame ballot is out for 2010! Andre Dawson is on the ballot for the 9th time. Lee Smith is also back on the ballot. Cubs bench coach Allan Trammell, former Cub Fred McGriff, and former Cub Eric Karros are up for voting as well. Dawson received 67% last year, just short of the needed 75%. Results will be announced Wednesday January 6.

Cubs Searching for Outfield Help

According to, the Cubs will kick of their search for a center fielder once Milton Bradley is traded. A left handed hitter would work best, so a deal for Curtis Granderson will be explored. Other guys out there include Coco Crisp, Scott Podsednik, and Rick Ankiel. Right handed center fielders available include Marlon Byrd, who played for Rudy Jaramillo with Texas, and Mike Cameron. Jim Hendry is not as concerned with the "left-right" issue as he was last year. The Cubs need a good hitter, no matter which hand he hits with.

Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood had Talkin' Baseball on ESPN 1000 today. Here's the Cubs Notes:

  • In an ideal world, Chone Figgins is the lead off man for either the Cubs or White Sox, but right now there's no payroll flexibility for either team.
  • For the Cubs, you're going to be hearing more about Hendry making trades, not signing free agents.
  • Wally Heyward, who is the new Chief of Sales and Marketing, had been instrumental in the 2016 Chicago Olympic bid. Bruce Levine went out on a limb and said that marketing guys are the second most important person in the front office.
  • The way teams structure their payroll is based on projections from the sales and marketing department.
  • The Cubs are taking to different sponsors about adding them on the plywood that they put in front of the Horseshoe Casino. Budlight could become a sponsor in that area.
  • If doing advertising on the sign stands out like a sour thumb, they won't do advertising their.
  • If the sign that goes up there blocks the roof top view, their could be some controversy with them. The Roof Top Owners pay the Cubs a certain percentage of their earnings.
  • The best matchup for Milton Bradly is still the Tampa Bay Rays. When Hendry get Pat Burrell back from the Rays, they have no place to put him because of Soriano. So Jim must then find a team interested in Burrell.
  • The Texas Rangers are "out of the question" as a suitor for Bradley. There's no matchup with Toronto. The Mets are a better fit, but there's some question there too.
  • The Cubs whole offseason is dedicated to getting better. They cannot just give Milton Bradley away and pay his whole contract.
  • The best trade would be with the Mets because Luis Castillo actually works on this team. However, the money matchup is not good with the Mets.
  • Bruce thinks the Cubs need another bullpen guy. The Cubs are most likely looking for a right hander.
  • Jeff Samardzija is ticketed to fight for the 5th starter's spot. 2010 is a huge year for Samardzija.
  • Starlin Castro is the guy in the organization that Levine is looking forward to seeing more of.
  • Rick Ankiel is a possibility for the Cubs. He might fit what the Cubs are looking for.
  • The Twins are interested in Rich Harden. The Cubs could have traded him to the Twins in July, but the Cubs felt that they were still in it. They could have gotten a prospect or two back for him, but Jim didn't want it.
  • The Boston Red Sox are also in the hunt for Harden.
  • Roy Halladay to the Cubs would be an almost impossible deal to make.
  • Levine thinks this should be Andre Dawons's year.
  • McGriff could be the all time leader in home runs for guys not in the Hall.
  • Lee Smith should "absolutely" be in the HOF.
  • Trammell should have made many more All Star games if it weren't for Cal Ripken.
  • The last day to offer your players arbitration is this Wednesday. If the Cubs don't offer Harden and/or Gregg arb., they will not get any compensation (draft picks) if those players sign with other teams.

Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs joined Levine and Hood:

  • Jeff thought the time in Mexico went great. He learned to get used to the country and had a lot of fun.
  • He worked on establishing his fastball and throwing the curveball.
  • It was nice for Samardzija to end the season with 5 solid starts.
  • The last few years have been a great experience for him, but he sees himself as a starter. That's what he wants to do, that's what he's going to do, and he wants to learn as much as possible.
  • Whether you're the favorites or not, you have to go out and play hard everyday for 162 games.

Ricketts on Monsters in the Morning

Tom Ricketts was on Comcast Sports Net yesterday:

  • Most of the major changes will be with the triangle building.
  • The clubhouse will be a better place for the players next year.
  • When the players come back they will notice that there is a better situation for them.
  • There are a lot of little things that Ricketts will try to do to make improvements to Wrigley.
  • Tom plans to put together a 4-5 year plan to make improvement to Wrigley.
  • He thinks having more space to work with would be good, but it has not been discussed.
  • They would like to have more option of places to bring a family in the area, not more bars.
  • Laura Ricketts is going to be very active in the community relations area.
  • The family had a very, very normal childhood. Most of the money Ricketts' dad has made was in the last few years.
  • Tom says the Cubs should embrace some of the good things from the past. There's a lot of really positive history in the organization. Anything associated with a curse needs to be forgotten.
  • There will be not billy goats at Wrigley Field, because there is no curse and no need for it.
  • The Cubs would like to do more of bringing back greats from their past.
  • Tom doesn't think the Cubs gave Andre Dawson enough support.
  • He would like to see the Cubs take more walks.
  • Ricketts thinks it's important to be a fan of the sports if you want to own a sports team.
  • It is a business, but you get more back then just a financial return.
  • His favorite all time Cubs include Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson.
  • He is not focused on who will replace Lou in 2011 if Piniella does leave.
  • The family knows that there is no "one player who puts you over the edge".
  • The Cubs are going to invest more on player development.
  • Letting the GM have flexibility to make mid-season trades is the key.

Sully & Kap Talk Cubs

David Kaplan and Paul Sullivan briefly chatted about the Cubs on Chicago Tribune Live yesterday:

  • Nothing is going on with the Cubbies.
  • Neither Matt Holliday nor Roy Halladay is coming to the Cubs.
  • Granderson- who knows?
  • Sully doesn't see the Cubs doing a whole lot until Bradley is gone.
  • Sullivan has heard that the Cubs could eat as much as $17-18MM, but the Cubs are saying they will pay no more than half the money left on Bradley's contract.
  • There's no scenario where Bradley comes back.
  • The two team he mentioned were, once again, Tampa & Texas.

Spring Training Update

Carrie Muskat tells us via her blog that some members of the Ricketts family will travel to Naples, Fla., next week to look at possible Spring Training sites. Mesa Mayor Scott Smith says the city should know within a few weeks whether the Cubs are going to keep their Spring Training facility in Arizona.

Infield Update

MLB Daily Dish says that the Cubs could look to add a free agent shortstop like Orlando Cabrera. If they sign a guy like Cabrera to a one year deal, they could move Theriot to second base, where he would learn the position by platooning with Baker. Starlin Castro could be called up some time next season, but the Cubs are not going to rush him. If the Cubs do not make a free agent signing or trade, then Jeff Baker, Mike Fontenot, Andres Blanco, Aaron Miles, Bobby Scales, and Darwin Barney will be in the infield mix along with Theriot in Spring Training.

That's all for now, it should be a fun month of December!

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