Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune has some quotes up today from Carlos Zambrano, and they strongly indicate he'll sign a contract extension to stay with the Cubs once the season ends. Specifically, he said there's a "90% chance" he re-signs. Negotiations may not have re-opened, but Z is certainly positive about the situation. The Cubs are likely to pay extra for waiting.
Signing Zambrano might put the Cubs in a position to enter 2008 with the exact same rotation they have now - Zambrano, Rich Hill, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis, and Sean Marshall. That group will almost certainly regress from where it is now, but it still looks like a better than average staff to me.
Time to put on my fan cap and speculate about some moves I'd like to see for 2008 (if you hate this sort of thing, just stop reading. No complaints about too much Cubs stuff.)
- For the catching situation, I'd just turn it over to Geovany Soto and Henry Blanco. They should be acceptable.
- I'd like to see a third of the Iowa Cubs promoted for '08. Bring up the DP combination of Eric Patterson and Ronny Cedeno, and give Felix Pie a legitimate full-time shot at CF. These kids are all hitting well at Triple A. Can you imagine a Cubs lineup with four of eight position players homegrown?
- No more patchwork stuff in right field. Go out and spend some money on the best right fielder available - Kosuke Fukudome. It would be fun to see the Cubs garner Japanese attention. Even at $14-15MM a year, I'd throw it down. This will compensate if a few of the kids falter.
- I don't have a great solution for Matt Murton. Trade him for a respectable reliever if possible, or just use him as the fourth outfielder. Projecting him as more than that may have been wishcasting anyway. Similar situation with Mike Fontenot.
- Mark DeRosa and Ryan Theriot are solid guys but they're on my bench.
- Nontender Scott Eyre and Jacque Jones, eat the salaries and be done with it.
- Keep Ryan Dempster in the pen but use Carlos Marmol as the closer. Mix and match with kids and vets, same as this year. Don't spend big bucks on free agent relievers. Dempster could slide into the fifth starter role if the pen is a strength and Marquis bombs.
- Another $3.6MM on Mark Prior on the chance he can outpitch Marquis? Sure. Wouldn't be opposed to bringing in a Freddy Garcia/Jon Lieber/Kenny Rogers if the price is right. You can never have too much pitching.
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