What moves would you make during the offseason? At this point, it is impossible to know every player that is going to hit the free agent market and be on the trading block. So, here are some moves that I would make if I was Cubs GM Jed Hoyer.
1) Find a way to trade OF Alfonso Soriano or "eat" his contract. I know that Soriano has played surprisingly hard this year and has the respect of some teammates, but he's not worth the money the Cubs are paying him.
2) Sign OF Carlos Lee if he becomes a free agent. "El Caballo" has been a Cubs killer throughout his career. If/when Soriano goes and Lee is available, I would sign him to a two-year deal to play LF and some 1B to back up Rizzo once in awhile.
3) Sign 3B Kevin Youkilis if he does not re-sign with the White Sox. Personally, I think Youkilis will wind up going to his hometown Cincinnati Reds. But if not, I'd sign him to a two-year deal. This deal would be reminiscent of the Ron Cey acquisition of 1983. It gives the Cubs a veteran third baseman and a World Series winner like Carlos Lee who can help teach the young players.
4) Instead of going after big-name free agent pitchers like Zack Greinke or Anibal Sanchez, I'd go for cheaper, short-term contracts with guys like Jake Peavy and Brandon McCarthy. I'd sign Peavy for one-year and the same with McCarthy. I might consider a two-year deal for McCarthy, but I wouldn't be handing out 5-year contracts to any pitcher this offseason.
5) Trade Carlos Marmol and acquire a young relief pitcher to become the new closer or promote one of the current Cubs pitchers to that role. Marmol has been much better the past couple of months, but he has struggled in recent years with his control and I believe that the best closers have great control. He's also very expensive for a relief pitcher. There also will likely be a couple of free-agent closers available this offseason: Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson. The Cubs could sign either of those two to an inexpensive one-year contract for 2013. It is a risk, though, considering that both of those players are coming off seasons in which they missed the entire year due to injury.
6) Find a leadoff hitter. We need speed. Badly. Maybe Brett Jackson or some other current Cub on the roster could fill this hole at the leadoff spot. David DeJesus was doing it, but he lacks the speed that a true leadoff hitter should have IMHO. I would pursue CF Michael Bourn if he hits the free-agent market. If he were to sign with the Cubs, I would trade David DeJesus and move Brett Jackson to RF.
7) This is more likely a Dale Sveum move, but I would suggest hiring former Red Sox hitting coach Ron Jackson to be the Cubs new hitting coach. Jackson was Boston's hitting coach from 2003-2006 when they had one of the best offenses in MLB. He also was on the same coaching staff with Dale Sveum. Since then, Jackson has not had a coaching job at the MLB level. I'd hire him.
This is all I have for now. Thoughts? Comments?