It makes me a little uneasy to not be penciling in Derrek Lee at first base for the Cubs next season.
Since I was 14 years old, I've only known him manning first. Lee was ever the defensive specialist, and I grew jaded in simply expecting him to make every play, every single difficult pick.
Lee got it all done with ease, and I would mention his Gold Gloves if I felt the award had any merit (which it doesn't). Yet his defensive prowess is actually very deserved.
That's not all with the big man. To top things off, he had two MVP-quality offensive seasons, with multiple above-average years interspersed.
Outside of missing the majority of 2006 due to injury, and a lackluster final season with his team, he was a symbol of of how baseball should be played. He was the headliner on this team, through and through.
With his departure, the next North Side first baseman will have some large cleats to fill. Owner Tom Ricketts has implied that this team won't be spending much cash this off-season, but there are a multitude of cheap first basemen the team could take a flier on.
It goes worth noting that Adrian Gonzalez will be a free agent next off-season. This fact, paired with the multiple other expensive contracts coming off their books makes the Cubs the early front-runners to sign San Diego's super-star first baseman. This all makes a one-year deal on someone much more prevalent.
So let's see which Free Agents would fit the Chicago Cubs in this mind-set and pocketbook...