Monday, November 30, 2009
Blogging the Offseason is a 30 team series in which I ask a blogging representative from each MLB team a series of ten questions about their desires and thoughts surrounding the offseason. Check out all of them here.
Today's NL team is the Chicago Cubs and our guest is Sarah Spain from the Chicago Blog, No Spain No Gain.
1. The 2009 season was a massive disappointment for Cubs fans. What went wrong? Where must they improve to once again take home the division?
The main issue with the Cubs is that they've put money into the wrong people. The contracts given to guys like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano are way too long and way too lucrative. They have to find a better balance if they hope to become successful again and moves like giving John Grabow a two-year, $7.5 million extension this offseason aren't a good start.
2. The Ricketts family just purchased the Cubs from the Tribune Company. What impact do you see this having on the team? Will they be throwing around money this offseason?
The problem with the Cubs in the past few years hasn't been a lack of spending, but rather a misappropriation of funds. Unlike Sam Zell and the Tribune Company, I think the Ricketts intend to help the team win, not just become more profitable. I hope they follow through with their professed desire to make the team better without sacrificing fan-friendly aspects of the Cubs, like the integrity of Wrigley Field.
3. Rich Harden is now a free agent which leaves your rotation needing an additional starter. How will the Cubs address this in the offseason?
It's not for sure yet that the Cubs will let Harden go, but they're likely to pass on him unless he takes a major pay cut. He's been great at times, but unfortunately, he's just too fragile. I believe Sean Marshall could be a great starting pitcher--he did a fine job early last season before the Cubs were forced to use him as a reliever because of their lack of lefty depth. The verdict is still out on Jeff Samardzija, too, but I don't think he's the future of the Cubs. I'd rather see him out catching passes from Jay Cutler.
4. How in the world are the Cubs going to convince another team to take Milton Bradley off their hands? He's overpaid and insane. Jim Hendry had to be drug induced when he made that signing.
They're just gonna have to pay a big chunk of his salary. I don't there's any way he could come back and play for the Cubs next year without it being a complete and utter disaster, but it's hard to imagine anyone taking him. We'll see if the money the Cubs throw in will convince someone it's worth giving him a shot.
5. Geovany Soto went from impact rookie to hole in the lineup to not an everyday starter. Is there any hope in Cubby land that he can bring back those 2008 numbers?
Yeah, definitely. Seems Soto's major issue was that he came into Spring Training out of shape (not to mention probably high). I think his slow start got to his head and caused him to doubt himself all year. He'll need to dedicate himself to conditioning and get his head back in the game if he hopes to return to his ROY status. I think he's got the talent, the brains and the rapport with his pitchers to be a major success in the future.
6. Mark Prior is a free agent. Care to get retro?
Fergie Jenkins is a free agent, too. If we wanted to "get retro" I think he'd be a better choice.
7. Off Topic - What is your favorite part about going to games at Wrigley and what is your favorite single moments at the field?
There's so much history there, which makes it special just to be a part of it all. But I think the best part is the community around the park. A game isn't just a game, it's an event. People spend their whole day at the bars before and after games, especially when the season starts and the weather is just beginning to turn. Every game means one big block party for Cubs fans.
Just to be different, I'll say that my favorite moment at the field wasn't actually a game. In 2007, when I was still living in LA, I came back to Chicago for a good friend's wedding. She had her rehearsal dinner at the restaurant inside Wrigley and that night happened to be the night the Cubs clinched their playoff berth. When we emptied out of the dinner all of the streets surrounding Wrigley were filled with people, partying in the streets. I just knew I had to move back to Chicago.
8. Which Cubs prospect are you most looking forward to in 2010? And beyond? Do they have prospects?
People seem to be most excited about our 19-year-old short stop, Starlin Castro. Despite his youth, he'll be in Triple A at the start of the 2010 season and might even get a call up in mid-September. Third baseman Josh Vitters has been highly touted since being drafted in 2007 and he should be among the Top 20 MLB prospects in 2010.
9. I'm giving you the option to cut players without any salary repercussions. In addition to Milton Bradley, would you part ways with?
Zambrano and Soriano, purely for money reasons. They've been great at times, but they're past their primes and their contracts are weighing the team down. Oh and Aaron Miles. Do you even need me to explain that one?
10. And of course the grand finale. You've got a crystal ball, the Cubs will win the World Series in _______.
Six games. : )