Chicago Cubs 2011 Season Preview
You can find your Chicago Cubs tickets for the 2011 season on SeatGeek.
Chicago Cubs 2011 Season Preview
You can use any synonym of the word disaster and that would be a perfect description of the Chicago Cubs 2010 season. The Cubs season started and ended on opening day of the 2010 baseball season. No matter who you blame for the debacle that was the 2010 season for the Chicago Cubs, it all comes back to the manager. Future Hall of Fame Manager Lou Piniella was once again leading the Chicago Cubs during the 2010 season. But 2010 was nothing but a retirement tour for Piniella, who turned his back on the Cubs and left with a month to go in the season. After Piniella stepped down, Mike Quade took over the Chicago Cubs for the remaining portions of the 2010 season. The Cubs performed very well under Quade, as they went 24-13 to finish out the season.
Despite the strong finish by Quade in 2010, the Cubs still wanted to have a full managerial interview process before they removed the interim tag from Quade. Throughout this interview process, three candidates emerged and they were Quade, Ryne Sandberg, and Eric Wedge. There were rumblings that Wedge was the preferred choice by Jim Hendry, however, Wedge took a managerial gig with the Seattle Mariners before the Cubs even had the chance to offer him the job. The race for next Cubs manager came down to then interim manager Mike Quade, and Cubs minor league manager and hall of famer Ryne Sandberg. Most believed that Sandberg was better suited for the job considering that he had developed a relationship with a lot of the prospects that are on the verge of coming to the major leagues. Not to mention, Sandberg would have re-ignited interest in the Chicago Cubs from their own fans. But Cubs general manager once again did a questionable moved and hired Mike Quade as the next Cubs manager.
While Hendry did botch the managerial hiring, he did have a good off-season considering the circumstances in which he was working with. At the beginning of the off-season, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts told fans that the Major League payroll will be decreasing in 2011, and the focus is on player development and the farm system. Ricketts essentially told fans without actually telling them that the Cubs are going into a rebuilding phase. Those may be the two worst words a general manager can hear, as it means that they can not spend money on big name free agents.
Even with limited resources, Hendry made a couple splashes that may improve the Cubs chances of contending in 2011. Hendry’s first struck at the Winter Meetings when he signed free agent first baseman Carlos Pena to a one year, $10 million contract. Most people may look at the fact that Pena- who hit .196 in 2010- is making $10MM and think that it is another free agent failure by Hendry. To the contrary, it actually was very smart and creative deal by the Cubs general manager. While Pena did sign a one year deal, the payment of that deal is spread out through three years. Pena received a $2 million signing bonus in 2010, will receive $3 million in 2011, and be paid the remaining $5 million in January of 2012. Over his time in Tampa Bay, Pena has displayed prolific power, and a move to a hitter friendly Wrigley Field will only improve his numbers.
Hendry then made a move that made everyone in Chicago excited again. That move was bringing back Cub icon Kerry Wood on a one year, $1.5 million deal. Wood, who was coming off an excellent stretch with the New York Yankees, took less than half of what he was offered from other teams to return to the Cubs. Wood will definitely be a nice fit as the eighth inning set up man for the Chicago Cubs, and puts the Cubs bullpen among the best in the league.
As we head into the 2011 season, the resignation among Cubs fans is that this will be another disappointing year. I beg to differ, this should be a very exciting season for the Chicago Cubs. While they may not contend for a postseason spot, they have a plethora of talented prospects that are on the verge of being major league ready. Meaning the reason to be excited is because of what the future has in store for the Cubs. Teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, and Florida Marlins have proven in that past that experience does not win championships. While the Cubs may coin the infamous phrase of “wait till next year” in this year, 2011 may be the stepping stones to the Cubs finally winning a World Series title in the years to follow.