Hey everybody. For all you Cubs fans, the decision on whether Matt Capps is a Cub or a Washington National will come no late than Wednesday night. His agent Paul Kinzer told me that it's down to the Cubs and Nationals. Happy holidays to all -- let's get it on.
Bruce, any life Johnny Damon being a Cub? He's a golden glover CF and can hit in the leadoff role the Cubs are looking for. He's almost a 5 tool guy, those don't come by often. He scores, drives in runs, hits HR's, has a solid avg, gets on base, and can steal, all those catagories are on the Cubs wish list.
That's a nice name Steven, but he and his agent were asking for at least $11-12 million per season on a multiyear deal. That's not going to work with the Cubs right now, but if his demands become more realistic, the Cubs may listen.
The Cubs opening day CF and 2B will be _______ ?
A very good player, I'm sure. :) It probably won't be Jeff Baker unless the opponent is a strong left-handed pitcher (probably won't be Atlanta's opening day starter). Haven't heard much about second basemen. Hendry's looking at pitching and center field right now.
Where do you rank the Cubs pitching staff this year (among other NL teams)? How about their projected lineup? Can we be contenders with this team?
If the Cubs are healthy their totation is solid -- Top 5 or 6. The question is whether Randy Wells is a 15 game winner or a 9 game winner.
How good is Starlin Castro? Who is he being compared too? And lastly, when do you think he will be up? Thanks!
At 19 it's hard to project him as the next Hanley Ramirez, but there have been some comparisons drawn to the Marlins all-star SS. Look for him sometime mid-late season, depending on whether or not the Cubs are competing.
Have you heard anything about this Chapman kid? I also read a report that the Cubs were watching Kelvim Escbar throw. Where will he fit in?
Escobar is a total rehab, formally a very good pitcher for the Angels. The Cubs are looking at rehabs like Escobar and Ben Sheets. I'm hearing the money for Chapman will be 4 years and around $35 million, which may be too rich for the Cubs.
Any chance Cleveland eats some of the money on Kerry Wood's 1-yr contract and he comes back to Chicago? Especially if Capps signs with the Nationals?
Interesting... I've heard some rumblings out of Cleveland that they'd like to trade Wood due to the fact that they're not going to be contenders next season. Although I think the Cubs have listened, I think that ship has sailed.
Will Jenks be with the White Sox next year?
It appears that at least during spring training he will be. The health of JJ Putz will determine a lot of things for Kenny Williams as far as what they want to do with Jenks and the rest of the bullpen.
The rich get richer. Vazquez is a Yank now, so is Granderson. Lackey is in Boston, and so is Mike Cameron. The Cubs are the 4th biggest franchise and don't have money? That's not right...
Look for the Cubs to be very active over the next ten days. Their first move might be to sign Matt Capps sometime on Wednesday.
Are the White Sox done making moves this offseason?
Kenny Williams is never done making moves, at least not in his fertile baseball brain. They still need some left-handed RBI production, but I believe they're going to take their time to see how the market shakes out before making a move.
Do you think Marlon Byrd will continue to hit outside of Texas?
I think the Cubs believe that he will and are seriously considering signing him. Remember, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo was Byrd's mentor in Texas and he will be there on the north side this year. That makes the Cubs feel good about Byrd's continued productivity.
With all the moves and call-ups the White Sox have made, who gets lost in the shuffle?
It appears Jayson Nix's role has been diminished by the addition of Vizquel and Pierre. He's still a backup IF on the team, but they were not happy with his hitting approach the last few months of the season. The consensus was that he was trying to hit too many home runs.
Is Carlos Silva still a Cub once Ted Lilly comes back?
Well considering the team owes him a lot of money of the next two years, he'll have every chance to fail, including a role in the bullpen.
How big of a factor will Ozzie's "DH by Committee" plan be for the White Sox in 2010?
I'm not so sure that there's going to be as much flexibility in that role as Ozzie imagines. No successful major league team goes to the playoffs without left-handed RBI production and I believe some type of heavy-legged left-handed hitter will be in the mix as a DH for the Sox. Names to consider... Hank Blalock, Aubrey Huff and even Carlos Delgado.
Who do you think the Cubs are looking at for bench help?
First and foremost, they're looking at CF candidates and bullpen pitchers. The Sam Fulds and Reed Johnsons of the world might be looked at as bench guys after they fill some of their major needs. We're aware that Johnson is still and free agent and wants to come back to the Cubs.
Do Ozzie and Kenny really feel confident in Jones and Kotsay patrolling the DH position every day? I certainly don't.
I think it's more likely that Jones and Kotsay will be playing left field. Both of them are better outfielders than Juan Pierre. I can see Pierre as a DH in Ozzie's lineup a lot of times next year.
Hey bruce, do you think the cubs can get both capps and byrd? And are they the right guys? If we can't get both which one is a better pickup for the cubs for now and for the long run? Thanks
They can definitely get them both. It just depends how soon Byrd's agents will bring down his request to a more realistic amount. Interestingly enough, Byrd's agents (the Levinson brothers) also represent one Milton Bradley.
Now that Melky Cabrera is on the Braves, will the talk of Zambrano being traded to the Yankees go away?
Do you have any info. about the Oakland prospect Matt Spencer we received in the Jake Fox deal?
No, but I'll try to get that for you before we're done today.
Bruce, would the Cubs think about putting Dempster on the market? I have to assume there would be more teams willing to trade for Dempster than there were looking to trade for Derek Lowe. And besides Dempster, the Cubs have 8 possible starters already on the roster.
The Cubs may have 8 possible starters, but how many of them are legitimate 200-innings guys like Dempster? You can't be trading guys who can win 15 games for you unless you're getting a guy like that back. the Vasquez trade leaves very little out there as far as quality starters out there. By the way, the Cubs were interested.
That up-and-coming White Sox catcher...is 2010 or 2011 the year we see Tyler Flowers 'bloom'? (sorry...couldn't resist...)
I didn't know he changed his last name to Bloom. :) But seriously, no one knows for sure whether he's really a every day starting catcher in the big leagues. The assumption is that the Sox are still looking for a backup for 2010.
Could you see Viciedo getting some ABs at the DH spot for the Sox at all in 2010 or is he still too far away?
the consensus among the White Sox's people is that Viciedo still needs a year in the minors, although he is making big league money from the $10 million deal he signed as a free agent.
Why is Jim Hendry getting a free pass ? He signed Milton Bradley last season when he already had questionable attitudes in the clubhouse, with the likes of Zambrano, Soriano, etc. That was a miserable move when it happened and now the Cubs are left with an overpaid aging starting pitcher.
Just ask my ex-wife about making mistakes. We all do, and we all try to move on from them, which is what Hendry is doing right now. Hendry's been hammered plenty. I don't usually join in on that -- I'd rather stick to the facts.
Would the Sox ever consider bringing back Scotty Pods at a reduced salary, if Scotty were willing, to sometimes use a Pierre/Pods 1, 2, top of the order? This could emulate the '03 Marlins top two guys.
Are you part of the "Hotty Scotty" fan club? I too think that he's very handsome, but that ship has certainly sailed. He was still asking for three years and $12 million last time I checked.
How badly will the White Sox miss Chris Getz next year?
Personally, I'll miss Chris -- as will his teammates. The Michigan kid is a very solid guy both on and off the field. I still don't quite understand the trade, other than the fact that the Sox think Getz is a bit brittle and may continue to have injury issues.
Did the Cubs clear up any cap space trading for Silva? I know he had a terrible contract as well, or was this more of a clubhouse move
The Cubs have $6 million real dollars to spend over the next two years as a result of the trade. that's after paying Silva's contract, which is now a wash with Bradley's. It is believed that management will allow Hendry to spend more dollars to fill the roster for 2010.
What kind of an affect has Peavy already had on the young arms in the White Sox system?
I'm not so sure that Peavy has had a real effect beyond allowing some of the young players to continue to develop. I'm sure the Daniel Hudsons of the world will benefit from being around Buehrle and Peavy the next few seasons. The growth chart of John Danks can be directly related to his relationship with Buehrle.
Any chance the Cubs pursue Orlando Hudson?
They like Hudson, but right now he's not their first priority. Deepening the bullpen and getting one or two outfielders is the priority right now.
Is Adrian Gonzales not the perfect fit for the White Sox? I truly believe they go from pretender to in the conversation with Red Sox and Yanks if Kenny works his magic. How do you think he would fit? And what are the chances?
The question is not whether or not he fits. The question is what do you do with Konerko for the last year of his contract if you bring Gonzalez in. Konerko has a full no-trade and unless the Angels or Dodgers are interested, he's not about to waive that. Putting Konerko at DH doesn't really follow their idea of what they want to do with that role, but that could be a function of a trade for Gonzales, which would cost them three or four of their top players. And I'm sure Beckham isn't one that you want to trade.
Should the Cubs expect anything from Ted Lilly in 2010? Understand shoulder surgerys are very difficult for pitchers to recover from in a short period of time.
Ted is a very hard worker and will also be a free agennt after 2010. If he doesn't have any setbacks, I'm sure he'll be ready to join the rotation by May 1st.
Has Greg Walker been working with Rios at all this winter?
He was supposed to have checked in with all of his hitters. Thanks for reminding me -- I owe Walker a call. I'll try to get you more on that later in the week.
Bruce, assess the Pierre trade for me? Did the White Sox give up too much, consider Pierre hasn't been an everyday player in a few years?
Well they gave up a local kid from Homewood-Flossmoor who has a good future, but when you can get a top-of-the-order hitter like Pierre, you have to move something decent. I think the White Sox came out pretty well in the deal, also considering the economics of it.
Why do the Cubs seem to undervalue players they already have? Micha Hoffpauir has proven his ability to play wel land hit for very good numbers when he played consistently; as well as Sam Fuld, who really played well last year and should be the centerfielder next year (or possibly Tyler Colvin).
I agree that the Cubs have done a less-than-adequate job judging their own talent. However, with all due respect to Micah, he has been a career minor leaguer who has plenty of holes in his swing. Fuld is a diabetic who has some health issues from time to time due to the condition. The Cubs are not sure he can handle the rigors of a 162-game season in the bigs. I too am a Fuld fan.
What prospects from either side of town do you see making an impact in 2010?
I like Daniel Hudson, and if anybody falters in the rotation, he's the guy who can make an impact. On the north side, everybody (including myself) is waiting for Starlin Castro's first appearance for the Cubs.
Who will replace Jake Fox as a power RH bat on the Cubs bench? Why not Jonny Gomes?
The Cubs only have so many residual dollars to spend on free agents. I'm sure Gomes and his agent is looking for something more than a backup role, although eventually he may be that type of extra player when the free agent market shakes down.
Do you what kind of relationship Rudy had with Soriano when he was with Texas? And do you think he will be able to bring him back to form?
When I saw Rudy in November during the Arizona fall league, he told me that he already identified a couple things Soriano was doing that he could change. Rudy said that they worked extremely well together when Soriano was in Texas.
Will Teahen benefit from playing in a winning environment for the first time?
That remains to be seen. I'm still not convinced that he's an everyday third baseman because of his lack of power. However, in the WS lineup they have power sources from both SS and 2B which makes it easier to look at a contact guy like Teahen at 3B.
Besides signing Byrd as a FA, have you heard any rumors regarding a trade for a CF? I really like McLouth, who might be available since they just traded for Cabrera.
The Cubs were certainly interested in Cabrera before he was traded. I was told that they will investigate the trade market as well as free agency over the next coupls of weeks. Look for Jim Hendry to be extremely aggressive, even during the holidays.
who starts the year in the cubs rotation?
The first four are pretty easy, depending on when Lilly get's back. Wells is the fourth starter. Look for Samardzija, Gorzelanny, Silva and Marshall to compete for the fifth spot. But, Hendry is looking at some veteran pitchers. Even a guy like Jose Contreras might be considered.
Any chance the Cubs still find a way to get Luis Castillo?
I don't think the Cubs have the matchup for his money at this point, unless the Mets are willing to eat a good portion of the contract. Castillo is still owed $12 million over the next two years.
I'd be comfortable not signing Matt Capps and giving Jeff Gray, Esmailin Caridad, and Justin Berg a shot at being our late-inning right-hander, What do you think?
I think you can go with that type of philosophy if you're an expansion team or play in KC or San Diego. Bullpen-wise, I like veterans while the younger guys eearn their way up the ladder.
Was Silva the best the Cubs could have done for Bradley? Did they make the deal purely because of the money they got back? Silva seems to have no real use and gives them another contract they cannot move.
Did you really think Bradley's contract was going to be easy to move? I give Hendry a lot of credit for actually getting rid of Bradley without having to pay down his contract over the next few years. Hendry made a big mistake signing him, but is doing his best to move on.
Do you think that Theriot is better suited to play 2B and if Castro comes up, is that the play?
You never know what Lou Piniells might do in spring training. Afterall, he's the one who identified Theriot as the starting SS. Up until that point, Theriot was just a glorified 25th man hoping to stay on the roster. Castro has real talent and Piniella will see that during the spring.
Do you think the cubs can maybe trade Fukudome and go after a holiday or bay
The Cubs would love to trade Fukedome, but what's his real market? There was some thought that he could go in a trade to the Yankees, who are losing a lot of Japanese revenue now that Matsui is playing in Anaheim. That trades not going to happen right now. Would you take a Swisher for Fukedome trade? I'm pretty sure the Cubs would.
What are the White Sox going to do if Alex Rios doesn't produce, which is more than likely going to happen...
Does that question come "with love"? Rios is going to have many years on the south side to get it right -- the commitment runs through 2013.
Is Vitters the eventual replacement for Ramirez, Lee or Soriano? I've seen various projections of his future position.
Vitters is not a finished product at 3B. When I was sitting with a lot of the scouts in Arizona in November, most thought he would end up at first. They all agree that he's going to hit.
Is there any news about Jeff Samardzija improving/declining this offseason?
He pitched in Mexico for four weeks. When I spoke to him on Talkin' Baseball he said that he improved his breaking ball dramatically while he was there. If that's the case, he will definitely compete for the 5th starter spot this season.
when is lou's contract up, and is ryano the manager in waiting
It appears the Ricketts family really likes Ryne Sandberg. That certainly won't hurt his chances of being the next Cubs manager when Lou vacates the job. Ideally the GM names the manager. As for Lou, his contract expires after 2010.
What happened to Soto last year? Any way he returns to form?
The pot-smoking incident in the World Baseball Classic kind of threw him off of his game. Just being outed was extremely uncomfortable for the prideful Soto. I look forward to seeing a better conditioned baseball athlete reporting to Mesa in mid-February.
Fukudome for Swisher, Is that a rumor? Or where you just making a suggestion?
Just made it up, but the Cubs were going to trade for Swisher had they missed out on signing Fukedome prior to the 2008 season. Instead the Sox made that deal.
It seems like the Ricketts family is more interested in re-investing in Wrigley Field at this point than the product on the field. Is that a fair assessment? Or, do you believe they are testing Hendry to see what he can do with a limited (additional) budget this year?
I think Hendry passed the first test by trading Bradley. the new owners certainly didn't want to start their first season with that kind of baggage hanging around. I do not think that Ricketts will be rigid about spending money if Hendry presents him with a solid plan for this year and the future, which I believe he has already done.
Thanks everybody. We'll see you next week. Thanks for all the good questions! Merry Christmas!