The Cubs have a LOT of work to do this off-season. They finished a whopping 25 games behind the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. A 71-91 record just doesn’t cut it. Especially after finishing the 2010 MLB season with a 75-87 record – 16 games back of the 1st place Cincinnati Reds.
The lone positive – the NL Central is a very winnable division – each of the last 4 years has brought a new division winner. So who knows – if a few things go their way in 2012, maybe the Cubs can make it a 5th straight different division winner.
The Cubs first need to hire a new GM to replace Jim Hendry. Then the new GM with his staff will have to figure out a way to plug up a TON of holes without a lot of money with which to work. Owner Tom Ricketts has already said that the payroll will not increase much from what it was in 2011. Sure there is a lot of money coming off the books this off-season – no Kosuke Fukudome; no Milton Bradley/Carlos Silva salary; no full Carlos Zambrano salary (assuming they can shovel him off to another team); and maybe no Carlos Pena or Aramis Ramirez salary. Will Ricketts be able to stomach making a run at the Scott Boras-led Prince Fielder? How will the Cubs plug the gaping holes in their starting rotation? Who will play right field on a regular basis? Will Manager Mike Quade keep his job under the new GM?
There are no easy answers, so it will be an interesting off-season to watch and we’ll keep you posted every step of the way here at MyCubsToday.com.