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Chicago Cubs: How the Lovable Losers Can Win

Seth GuttmanContributor IIINovember 13, 2011

Chicago Cubs: How the Lovable Losers Can Win

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    1908.  Bring that year up to Cub fans and they will know exactly what you are talking about.  That was the last time the Cubs won a World Series.  

    Former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is the new president of baseball operations for the Cubs and he has already broken one curse in Boston.  Epstein has brought along former Padres general manager, and Epstein's assistant in Boston, Jed Hoyer.  Together they will look to finally bring a championship to Chicago.

    In this slideshow, I will take control of the Cubs and outline what I believe Epstein and Hoyer should do to build a contending club.

Players Under Contract

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    With free agency underway, let's take a look at what players the Chicago Cubs already have under team control.

     

    Alfonso Soriano LF 

    Contract: 2012-14: $18M

    Carlos Zambrano RHP

    Contract: 2012: $18M 2013: $19.25M vesting player option

    Ryan Dempster RHP

    Contract: 2012: $14M

    Matt Garza RHP

    Contract: 2012: Arbitration (Last year's salary was $5.95, mlbtraderumors.com predicts $8.7M)

    Marlon Byrd OF

    Contract: 2012: $6.5M

    Carlos Marmol RHP

    Contract: 2012: $7M 2013: $9.8M

    Geovany Soto C

    Contract: 2012: Arbitration (Last year's salary was $3M, mlbtraderumors.com predicts $4M)

    Sean Marshall LHP

    Contract: 2012: $3.1M

    Jeff Baker 2B

    Contract: 2012: Arbitration (Last year's salary was $1.175M, mlbtraderumors.com predicts $1.4M)

    Koyie Hill C

    Contract: 2012: Arbitration (Last year's salary was $.85M, mlbtraderumors.com predicts a non tender)

    Randy Wells RHP

    Contract: 2012: Arbitration (Last year's salary was $.475M, mlbtraderumors.com predicts $2.2M)

    Blake DeWitt 2B

    Contract: 2012: Arbitration (Last year's salary was $.46M, mlbtraderumors.com predicts $1.2M)

    Starlin Castro SS

    Contract: 2012: Pre-Arbitration (TBD)

    Tyler Colvin OF

    Contract: 2012: Pre-Arbitration (TBD)

    Andrew Cashner RHP

    Contract: 2012: Pre-Arbitration (TBD)

    James Russell LHP

    Contract: 2012: Pre-Arbitration (TBD)

    Darwin Barney 2B

    Contract: 2012: Pre-Arbitration (TBD)

Managerial Hiring

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    The Chicago Cubs will hire former Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, to be our next manager.  He's a coveted coach with great respect from around the league.

Trade No. 1: Cubs and Royals

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    The Chicago Cubs trade Carlos Zambrano (Paying $14M of the $18M he's due in 2012) to the Kansas City Royals for a low A prospect.

    Analysis: Carlos has been a cancer to this team the last few years.  We feel that even if he still has value, it is best to get him out of our clubhouse.  We are gladly willing to pay the majority of his remaining salary.

Trade No. 2: Cubs and Mets

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    The Chicago Cubs trade OF prospect Max Szczur, 3rd base prospect Josh Vitters, 2nd Basemen Darwin Barney, and a player to be named later for Mets 3rd Basemen David Wright (paying $5M of the $15M owed in 2012)

    Analysis: We've decided to let Aramis Ramirez walk.  We appreciate what he's done for this organization, but his health and poor fielding was a concern to our organization.  We put together a package and sent it over to Mets GM Sandy Alderson and hammered out this deal.  We believe that David Wright can have much better success in Wrigley Field than he had at Citi Field in New York. He's a great player and we're ecstatic to plug him in at the hot corner.

    We liked Darwin Barney but as team, we felt like he was more of a utility player than an everyday second basemen.  We will fill that hole with someone else at another time.  

Free Agent Signing No. 1: Prince Fielder

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    The Chicago Cubs are excited to announce the signing of three time All-Star, Prince Fielder.  We have reached an agreement on a 6-year, $150 million contract with a full no-trade clause.  The contract is backloaded, so we can afford him the first year.  

    Analysis: We are thrilled and can't wait to welcome Prince Fielder to the team.  With his bat in the middle of our lineup, we feel that our team can be a prime contender in the National League Central.

    The only things left to address on our team now is adding a cheap, leadoff outfielder and find some fixes in our rotation.

Free Agent Signing No. 2: Juan Pierre

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    The Chicago Cubs have just agreed to bring back Juan Pierre on a 1-year $4.5 million contract with incentives.  

    Analysis: Pierre has been with our team before, and we believe he will be a great leadoff hitter for our club this year. He will be our starting center fielder on opening day. We will slide Marlon Byrd over to right field.  

Free Agent Signing No. 3: Joel Pineiro

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    The Chicago Cubs have signed right-handed pitcher Joel Pineiro to a one-year, $3 million contract with a $5 million vesting option for 2013. The option will vest if he starts 27 games.

    Analysis: We need another veteran starter for our staff and we've decided that Joel would be the best fit for our team.  If he's healthy we hope he can log a nice amount of innings and be our No. 3 starter in our rotation.

Free Agent Signing No. 4: Bruce Chen

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    The Chicago Cubs have agreed to sign left handed started Bruce Chen to a one-year, $1.6 million contract.

    Analysis: We understand that Bruce Chen isn't C.J. Wilson, but we've committed a lot of money this offseason already to Prince Fielder and David Wright.  With Chen and Pineiro, we believe we have two serviceable starters who can give us a lot of innings. 

Free Agent Signing No. 5: Kerry Wood

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    The Chicago Cubs have resigned veteran relief pitcher Kerry Wood to a one-year, $2 million contract.

    Analysis: Kerry only wants to play here, and we love having him.  He's a great relief pitcher out of the pen and could net a lot of appearances.

2012 Starting Lineup

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    1. CF Juan Pierre

    2. SS Starlin Castro

    3. 3B David Wright

    4. 1B Prince Fielder

    5. RF Marlon Byrd

    6. C Geovany Soto

    7. LF Alfonso Soriano

    8. 2B Blake DeWitt

    9. Pitcher

2012 Starting Rotation

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    1. Matt Garza RHP

    2. Ryan Dempster RHP

    3. Joel Pineiro RHP

    4. Bruce Chen LHP

    5. Randy Wells RHP

2012 Chicago Cubs Bench

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    1. C Koyie Hill

    2. IF Jeff Baker

    3. 2B DJ LeMaheiu

    4. OF Tyler Colvin

    5. OF Tony Campana

2012 Bullpen

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    CL Carlos Marmol RHP

    SU Sean Marshall LHP

    SU Kerry Wood RHP

    MR James Russell LHP

    MR Jeff Samardzija RHP

    Long Relief Andrew Cashner RHP

Offseason Overview

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    Going into the season we feel we've put together a contender and a team that can compete for our first title in over 100 years.  We understand we have a tough task at hand but we feel we can accomplish our goal.

    If the right situation comes during the trade deadline and we have a shot at the playoffs, we could trade for a pitching rental.  Brett Jackson could wind up as our starting outfielder by the end of the season as well.  

    We're ready to break the curse, and bring a title to Chicago!

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