This offseason can be ruled a success with relatively few moves, and that's a really good thing because there are few moves the Cubs can realistically make.
Kapper starts off his assumptions that the Ricketts will eat salary and move Milt. While that wouldn't be an entirely bad thing, depending on the move, let's not make that assumption and assume instead that what you see is what you get.
And that means the following positions are filled:
1B - Lee
2B/SS - Theriot
2B/SS - Vacancy
3B - Ramirez
LF - Sorry-I-Suck
CF - Johnson/Fuku
RF - Bradley
Catcher - Soto
SP1 - Zambrano
SP2 - Lilly
SP3 - Dempster
SP4 - Wells
SP5 - Gorzy/Samarjy/Marshall/Vacancy
Closer - Marmol/See Below
Setup - Guzman/Grabow/See Below
Bullpen - Heilman + above, et.al.
The biggest gamble from a starting position perspective was "Can Fontenot produce the numbers he produced as a part-timer as a full timer?" with the answer being a resounding Heckle-me Elmo NO!. So, there's a hole there and IMHO, the biggest need on the team. Releasing Harden to Free Agency allows this hole to be filled by one of the following names in order of preference - Orlando Hudson, Marco Scutaro, Freddy Sanchez, Mark DeRosa, Miguel Tejada, or David Eckstein. Now, because all of these gents will soon be receiving their baseball AARP cards, here are the take it or leave it offers made to these boys -
Any of the top 3 would be offered 3 years at 4-8 mil/year.
Marco Scutaro - Solid hitter, some power, and he does it in the AL East - 4 Mil is 4 times his current salary
Orlando Hudson - Switch-hitting Freddie Sanchez - 5 mil is 2 more than this year, but not quite his peak. 4th option year
Freddie Sanchez - Solid hitter, minimal power - He'll cost 8 mil AT LEAST. Listed third because of cost. 4th option year
Mark DeRosa - 2 years/5-6 mil - 4th on the list because the legend of DeRo will never be as good as DeRo. Plus he's 35.
Miguel Tejada - 1 year, 5-6 mil - Solid hitter, Power hitter, but by his own admission maybe isn't great for SS any more. He will likely laugh at this offer.
David Eckstein - In lieu of Ryan Theriot, I'd have loved to have this guy on our team 6 years ago. But, since we have a Ryan Theriot, he's really not necessary and is last on the to-do list - 1 year/3 mil. - 3 times his current salary.
Now, for the fun picks - Above, I mentioned Marmol would be the provisional closer, one guy could not be had - Jose Valverde. Quite possibly the scariest man to ever don a baseball uniform. I'd love to have him closing games and Marmol will just have to realize that the 7th inning is just as important, if not more important than the 9th.
Finally, one last fun pick. I wouldn't mind, but won't get in an uproar if it doesn't happen, taking one last shot at Nomar in a backup 3rd base/first base role. Solid serviceable bat and good defender - just right for those times that Lee or Rami need a nap.
Now the touchy issue I know Kapper will hate. Leave the starting rotation alone. Zambrano when he's on - and I know that's a huge if - can go toe to toe with anyone. Dempster and Lilly can face down any #2's or 3's, and Randy Wells over the season, despite the length of service, hasn't gotten caught up to yet. At that point, I'd go with Gorzy (big asterisk here based on the rest of his body of work for this season) for the #5 slot keeping 2 lefties in the rotation. Marshall goes to the pen when he's frankly better suited and spot starts as necessary.
If Zambrano proves again that he just can't hack it as a #1, then see who's available come July.
Bear in mind, we are working on a budget here, and Lackey made 10 mil last season. So there ya have it. I may change my mind tomorrow, but that's what I got.