Cubs need to keep thinking big even if they can't land Peavy
Even if no trade develops with the Padres, I think the cubs should continue to explore the idea of making big moves.
I think the best and easiest move to make is sweeping in and signing Manny Ramirez out of nowhere. (Everybody yell now, I know, but Manny is a no-brainer) I realize he is older and not left-handed, but he is one of the few players in the game today that you know will produce with a near .300 average, 30 home runs, and 120+ RBI. I would pay a premium to get one of the best hitters of our generation long before I paid that premium to get a player that has even more personal issues than Manny does; while at the same time Bradley is less productive, no more durable, and provides less postseason experience. So to me, I think it would be worth spending more to get more production from the higher priced player, as I think the better player pushes you deeper into the playoffs. Especially now, the cubs want to win now and Manny Ramirez is available now and either no other team wants him or none can afford him. So it makes sense, the cubs can afford him, the lineup could certainly use him, and he is the type of player that pays for himself. This is likely the last time in a long time that a player of Manny Ramirez's caliber can be had with little competition along with a lower pricetag than most would have ever thought possible; along with the fact that the 2010 free agent class is much thinner than what is available this year. The cubs ownership situation is uncertain, but one thing is known, and thats the fact that 81 home games will be completely sold out at Wrigley Field in 2009 and the revenue streams will continue to flow. When a team is as solid as the cubs already are its difficult to improve, but Manny Ramirez is a clearly an improvement that could be made.
And even before I gave Bradley his 3 year deal I would make one last stab at the Orioles two stars B-Rob and Markakis. The O's have made little progress in reaching extensions with either, and if the cubs could put together a package of players to acquire both then the cubs and orioles could both likely benefit from the deal. The O's are in the process of rebuilding while the cubs are looking to win now, so they naturally are a good match to strike a deal. For the 2 together I would be willing to part with a package of Vitters, Cashner, Pie, Cedeno, Hoffpauir, along with at most 2 pitchers - but it likely would be difficult to be able to land both Roberts and Markakis in the same deal, but definitely worth trying. I also think that asking the braves what it would take to get Yunel Escobar in a deal would be a good idea. The braves seem willing to move him, and the cubs could play Escobar at SS and move Theriot to 2nd Base, which would improve the defense in the middle infield considerably.