The Chicago Cubs, always in the discussion for being a contender at the beginning of the season, need to decide if they're going to be slowly converted into a middle-spending(smart-spending, though), big-market teams or if there's going to be a continuance of the old ways of The Tribune Company. Personally, Tom Ricketts' background and his ownership press conference show that the Cubs will eventually be a tad more dependent on their Top 15 farm system and less dependent on making big splashes on the Free Agent market. The Cubs need to choose their manager, but that likely won't happen until after the World Series. The biggest question marks ahead for the Cubs are 1B, Outfield and the back-end of the rotation and non-closing relief. With youngsters like Tyler "Dracula" Colvin and Starlin Castro, Cubs don't need HUGE moves but a lot of little ones.
The Tampa Bay Rays, on the other end, have just come off their best 3-year stretch in franchise history. 2-Time AL East Champs, 3 consecutive "winning" seasons and 1 World Series Appearance. However, this is the "Winter of Discontent" for the franchise. The Rays owner announced in Spring Training of the 2010 season that the team planned on "slashing payroll" from the 70 MIL range that they were at in 2010 season to a more acceptable/workable 50 MIL. The Rays have 9 Free Agents and 6 or so will be definite goners. The Rays have an absolutely loaded farm system, so there's a great chance that the Rays could re-tool from within on some of those lost players. The Rays' biggest holes in the offseason to work on will be the back-end of their bullpen and their bench and they'll likely have 14-18 MIL to work with.
Bad news, fans, is that these offseason moves won't happen until January. Gonna be a looooooong, loooooong wait.
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