Right now every team needs pitching depth and will look to acquire it this time of the year. But right now I would like to focus on offensive aspect of the Chicago Cubs and what Jim Hendry should do to fix it.
Because I don’t see the Cubs and Milton Bradley getting past their differences, I’ll plan on him not being with them this summer. So priority number one, deal Bradley for whatever salary relief you can get. I would not clog up the lineup with another bad contract, but instead try to get a pitcher in return. It would have to be another bad contract (Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson, Carlos Silva come to mind) but they would add depth I was just talking about if nothing else. Bringing in Pat Burrell would not help the Cubs in any way, shape, or form.
The free agent market is where the Cubs should go to fix their lineup. I like the idea of Coco Crisp on an inexpensive deal to share time with Tyler Colvin. Crisp provides solid defense, speed and a true leadoff bat. That shifts Kosuke Fukudome back to right where he is most valuable. It’s a no-risk move and if Colvin produces with more time, Crisp could easily be moved.
Orlando Hudson is the best option at second. Why trade for Luis Castillo if Hudson is available, better, and less expensive? Hudson is comparable to Crisp in the fact that he is a switch hitter, plays great defense, and both guys offer a great clubhouse presence. Hudson has been injured very often over the past two seasons but that should not be too much of a worry, ironically, in this situation. Like a year ago, it will keep his price tag down but you still get five-tool value when he is healthy. Also, Jeff Baker came on strong in the second half and deserves some starts against lefties while still giving the team further depth at first, third, left, and right. Baker’s starts will keep Hudson rested and hopefully injury-free.
These two options should cost a combined maximum $8MM next year. These players don’t hurt the pocket book but are solid value. My hopeful lineup for 2010:
- Crisp cf
- Hudson 2b
- Lee 1b
- Ramirez 3b
- Soriano lf
- Fukudome rf
- Soto c
- Theriot ss