Ok, so I live in Northern California and you likely care a whole lot more about the Giants, for good reason. Heck, you might even like the A's and if so, good for you. However, I am a Cubs fan and they have issues, BIG issues, and those issues are on my mind. Lots of talk about them signing Prince Fielder but I think that would be a mistake, not because he isn't a great run producer, he is, but because for as much as it will cost to sign him, they could spread that money around and be a better team. Plus, if you are giving $23M to a 1st baseman, I want that guy to also win a gold glove and not just be a serviceable defender.
Here is the plan... and I really have no idea if the finances would work but I think more quality depth is built with this plan than throwing $23M at Fielder.
SS - They are set with Starlin Castro but they need a better fielding 1st baseman due to his throwing errors.
C - Apparently they are set with Geovany Soto but I wish they weren't.
LF - Like it or not, Soriano is there, but put a good team around him and he is a good player to have. Have him as the focal point and well... he isn't that player.
CF - Currently Marlon Byrd is there and though I have no real issues with Byrd, I would rather see a better defender there and one who could hit at the top of the order. Coco Crisp would be interesting but he doesn't have great OBP% skills. Would LOVE Byrd as the 4th OF and play him almost as a semi-regular, spelling Soriano and Beltran and Crisp... each of whom tends to get hurt (more on Beltran later).
2B - It looks like Darwin Barney is penciled in at 2nd base and I like Barney but they need more from that position on offense. He is a contact hitter and a good one but doesn't steal bases and without a lead-off guy who can get on, well Barney's strengths are useless in the 2-hole. Maybe he is fine if he is in the 8-hole.
Rotation - Dempster is back, I think. Garza is back and is a legit #2 with #1 stuff. Zambrano and Wells are under contract and I think if the team is strong enough then Zambrano's issues kind of go away. Then again, he has a ton of mileage and is morphing into a crafty guy as opposed to a power pitcher. Would like to see them sign some legit sinkerballers like Garland or Pineiro or even Marquis and though he is overrated and going to be too expensive, CJ Wilson would be a good fit in Wrigley. Wells, well, blah.
3B - No one on the active roster is good enough. Go sign Michael Cuddyer. He is a good run producer and is known as a great clubhouse guy.
1B - Bring back Carlos Pena. Great fielder, good clubhouse guy, LHH power and if he can be put in the 5 or 6-hole, he fits.
RF - Would like to see some LHH power in that spot. Colvin doesn't seem like he will make it and though I think he is a detriment defensively, Jason Kubel would be good there and though I worry about the health and age, Carlos Beltran would be an interesting guy for RF.
Bullpen - They are committed to Marmol so a good new pitching coach is a major key (more on that in a bit)... Wood would come back on the cheap and he is fine as a 7th inning guy. Marshall is good, no issues there. I would be interested in seeing Ryan Madson in a Cubs uniform.
Manager - This is where they could skin two cats with one guy... Mike Maddux. They get him, they sign Wilson, and they then let Maddux go to work on Marmol, Samardzija, Cashner, Mateo, Wood, Zambrano and in bringing out the ace that is within Matt Garza.
1. Crisp (S) - CF
2. Barney (R) - 2B
3. Castro (R) - SS
4. Beltran (S) - RF (Kubel as a 2nd option)
5. Cuddyer (R) - 3B
6. Pena (L) - 1B
7. Soriano (R) - LF
8. Soto (R) - C
Rotation - Garza, Wilson, Dempster, Zambrano, Garland (or Pineiro or Marquis)
Bullpen - Closer/Madson, 8th/Marmol, 7th/Marshall-Wood, Samardzija, Cashner (he could also factor into the rotation), Maine
Bench - Byrd, DeWitt, Hill, Baker, Colvin, Campana