The Cubs have a managerial opening now that Dale Sveum is officially gone.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will begin the process of finding a replacement immediately. Epstein has made it clear that the Cubs want a manager that can establish a winning culture in Chicago. The last couple of years have been dismal, but the farm system has flourished and that means the Cubs have some exciting prospects knocking on the door. Before the Cubs bring up Soler, Baez, Almora, Bryant and Olt, Epstein wants to have a manager in place that can cultivate this pool of young talent. The Cubs are looking for an established, experienced leader that knows what it takes to win. It all makes sense now. Sveum was hired to make it through the past two seasons while the Cubs traded payroll for prospects. So far, this phase has been successful in spite losing 197 games during that time. Sveum cannot be blamed for all of it, but let’s face it, he is not part of the winning culture that the Cubs are looking for.
Enter Joe Girardi. While having much success with the New York Yankees, Girardi may want the opportunity to take on a fresh challenge. The Cubs offer such a challenge. Girardi is from Chicago and has played for the Cubs during his career. In my opinion, Joe Girardi is the perfect fit for the Cubs. He brings everything a Cubs fan could want in a manager. He knows what the Cubs fans have suffered through and understands the importance of winning a World Series. Girardi’s contract with the Yankees is up and the window of opportunity to acquire him is now. Simply, the Cubs had to fire Dale Sveum to open the door for Joe Girardi should he choose to come home and attempt what some say is the impossible. Girardi understands what it would mean to Cubs fans like no one else. Ryne Sandberg would have been a likely candidate but he signed a 3-year deal with the Phillies. Girardi would seem to be the most attractive manager on the market. He has proven what he can do with young, talented players when he won Manager of the Year with the Florida Marlins. Anybody that watches baseball knows the poise, presence, and power that Girardi has in the dugout. He understands the game, knows how to manage. I can’t see anyone else in the future as Cubs Manager. Joe Girardi is the perfect choice. Hands down.
The Cubs need a spark to ignite the offense, a legitimate lead off hitter. The Red Sox will undoubtedly try to sign Free Agent, Carl Crawford, and Jacoby Ellsbury could land on the trading block. Could a trade between Jim Hendy and Theo Epstein bring Ellsbury to Chicago?
It is no secret that the Cubs have had trouble finding a hitter that can effectively lead off. The Red Sox have shown some interest in Kosuke Fukudome, who has 1-year left on his contract, however, Boston seeks to restock their farm system with pitching prospects.
Is it possible that the Cubs will pursue a bonafide lead-off man to set the table for an offense that sorely lacks the abilty to score runs?
Jacoby Ellsbury was injured last season and only played 18 games so the Red Sox have made adjustments to their outfield. Boston is reportedly in the mix to acquire Crawford and Ellsbury may be more valuable on the trading block. If so, the Cubs should seriously consider this particular trade option.
Ellbury is 27 years old and has only played 2 full seasons. On a 162 game average, Ellsbury bats .291 with 9 HR’s and 60 RBI’s. He averages a .344 OBP which could be better, but in 2008, he swiped 50 bases and in 2009, he stole 70 bases. He is a base-stealing threat. Ellsbury is the type of lead-off hitter that can put pressure on the defense and make things happen. To acquire Ellsbury, Jim Hendy will need to move an outfielder.
The Cubs have 4 to choose from. Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome, and Tyler Colvin are all possibilites. I think that such a trade would be mutually beneficial. Jim Hendry has alot of work to do next week as the Winter Meetings get under way. Let’s see if Hendry can find the Cubs a legitimate lead-off hitter. Jim Hendry does a pretty good job finding trades that work for both sides and Jacoby Ellsbury would be a perfect fit for the Cubs. He has led the American League in Total Zone Runs, Stolen Bases, Fielding %, Defense, and Triples. According to http://content.usatoday.com/communities/dailypitch/post/2010/11/jacoby-ellsbury-trade-boston-red-sox/1?csp=34, the Red Sox are prepared to trade Ellsbury and Epstein is looking to restock pitchers at the minor league level. So a trade between the Red Sox and the Cubs certainly looks possible. I hope so, the Cubs need a solid lead-off guy and some solid defense in the outfield and Boston needs to replenish the farm system. Jacoby Ellsbury can spark the Cubs’ offense with his base-running prowess and defensive skills. He has a tremendous amount of energy, something that has been missing in Chicago.