I have to admit the team has played better baseball this year than I expected. The pitching has been (mostly) solid, Castro and Rizzo have rebounded nicely, and the bullpen is developing into a strength. What I would like to see is a commitment from our front office to compete next year. To do this, I have outlined a few moves that I think our FO should consider.
Make a commitment to resign Samardzija. Yeah, it is a risk to sign any pitcher, but maybe now is the time to take that risk. Offer 6 /100 and a limited no –trade.
Offer Hammel 2 /22 or so. He looks like a pretty solid rotation member to me.
Here is where it gets tricky. For the Cubs to compete in 2015, I think we need three of our hitting prospects to be ready by Opening Day (service time and roster considerations be damned).
Call up Baez, Bryant, and Alcantera this year. Not right now, but maybe around Aug 15 (I know, I know, 40 man roster considerations. But we have lots of dead weight (( Jackson, Vitters, Coughlan, Kalish to name four)). If they can each get in about 30 games / 100 plate appearances this year, they will be more likely to be productive from Opening Day 2015 onward. Risky? Sure, but like I mentioned with the Samardzija scenario, maybe it is time to take some risks.
In the off-season, sign Seth Smith or some other productive /mid-tier corner outfielder. Try to dump EJ and let Hendricks, Wada, Rusin etc battle it out for the number 5 spot. Or sign another undervalued veteran. Other minor moves could be made. Another veteran outfielder, shuffle some bullpen pieces, etc.
The 2015 roster could look something like this:
Outfielders: Smith, Lake, Sweeney, Ruggiano, perhaps Soler at some point.
Infielders: Bryant, Castro, Alcantera, Barney, Valbuena, Rizzo.
Catchers: Castillo, and a veteran backup to be named later
Starters: Samardzija, Arrieta, Hammell, Wood, Hendricks/Wada/Rusin/Cheap FA
Relievers: Vizcaino, Rivero!, Grimm, Ramirez, Rondon, Schlitter, Russell, Wright
Now, that roster probably won’t strike fear in the NL Central, but it we get similar pitching to this year, and the young hitters are not complete flops, 2015 could be a lot of fun.
Okay, feel free to dissect. Be kind, after several years of comments it is my very first FanPost