Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Well, Derrek Lee Is Now A Former Cub

Today, after sleeping on it for the night, Derrek Lee has now accepted a trade to the Atlanta Braves to have another shot at the playoffs instead of a shot at last place. The Chicago Cubs have acquired three prospects in exchange for Lee, righties Robinson Lopez, 19, and Tyrelle Harris, 23, and lefty Jeffrey Lorick, 22. Following the trade, GM Jim Hendry has said that 1B Micah Hoffpauir will be called up to take Lee's place on the roster. Hopefully just there.

At this point in the season, the Cubs should be trying to see what they have for next season. Part of that is seeing where the pieces they have can fit for next season. Right now, barring a trade and anyone taking most of Kosuke Fukudome off their hands, they have $14.5 million tied up in a 4th outfielder with the emergence of Tyler Colvin. But that doesn't have to be the case.

Right now the Cubs can take the time and chance to throw Colvin at 1B for the remainder of the season and not Xavier Nady or Hoffpauir. Using either of them for the rest of the season at this point doesn't make any sense. Neither one of them really fit into the future plans of the Cubs and right now that is where the Cubs need to be looking. The Future (Two words Cubs fans seemingly always hear).

Playing Colvin there gives you an idea of exactly what you need to pursue this offseason if you plan on pursuing anything. With 41 games left to play, the Cubs can get a very good idea if Colvin can play 1B or not for 2011. If he can't, no big deal, stick him in RF for 2011 and go after a 1B. If he can play 1B, then you have the option of going after a 1B or RF for next season, which gives you a bit more flexibility in what you need instead of just forcing you to just go after one.

At 1B this offseason, the best option is Carlos Pena and Adam Dunn. They both are left-handed hitters, a premium the Cubs definitely could use. After that, there really isn't much of anything else for the Cubs to get as a FA. Maybe through trade, but it's hard to see them getting someone like Adrian Gonzalez without blowing up the farm system. OF is a bit brighter outlook, however. The prize of this offseason is Carl Crawford. Crawford has typically played LF for the Tampa Bay Rays and with an albatross contract in LF, he won't be playing there. But he has played some CF in his career and undoubtedly could probably play it everyday if he wanted to. Of course, that would mean displacing Marlon Byrd, but then again, Byrd has played RF and also could play there everyday. What could stop the Cubs from going after Crawford? The $15-18 million payday he will not doubt get offered by the New York Yankees. And with Fukudome, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano's huge contracts on the team, there is very, very little chance that the Cubs will be willing to go that high again.

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