If it wasn’t already clear, the 2010-11 off-season has broadcast to the world the Chicago Cubs’ full-blown dormancy in the National League Central. I’m not saying the Cubs won’t be heard from in 2011, but they’ll likely make fewer national television appearances than Barack Obama. Don’t call them the Pirates yet, but also don’t call them the Reds, Brewers, Cardinals, or probably the Astros. That’s right, the Cubs are officially stuck in .500-ville. Picture the New York Knicks, except outdoors, and also without LeBron James.
The Cardinals have been busy adding Lance Berkman, Ryan Theriot and Jake Westbrook. Meanwhile, the Brewers were assembling the best rotation west of West Philly and the Reds were getting a year older. That’s right, the future is now for the powers of the National League Central. That means the future has to be 2012 for the Cubs, who have roughly $121 million committed to 15 players for the upcoming season. However, $50 million worth of bloated, under-achieving payroll will come off the books after 2011, meaning the Cubs could be poised for a serious 2012 run (paging Mr. Pujols).
Yes, this team did sign Carlos Pena, but it was a one-year deal. They also passed, or lost out, on Erik Bedard, Brandon Webb and every other veteran starter who has signed to provide a more bloated, under-achieving payroll. The Cubs clearly are looking ahead of ahead, which means Cubs fans might want to follow Ron Burgundy’s advice and find yourselves a safe house, or a relative close by. You might want to lay low for awhile.
There are many moves to be made with an eye on 2012, and here are the top ten potential deals…