How are the Cubs shaping up?

I need to think about baseball for a while.  I need to believe that winter will in fact, end sometime and we will be playing baseball again.  So, the burning question is, can the Cubs three-peat as NL Central Champs?

I don’t know.  I am not encouraged. First of all we traded Mark DeRosa for three minor-leaguers. That should probably tell you something.  And meanwhile the Peavy thing isn’t happening.

We did pick up that free agent Aaron Miles from St. Louis. I have to assume he will be playing second base.  His stats and DeRosa’s seem pretty similar so I am not sure what the point of that was. All I can say is those three minor leaguers better be damn good.

Derrek Lee – what can you say about him?  He’s a rock.  He’s awesome.  When Gracie left I didn’t think I could ever like another Cub’s first baseman, but he’s really good.

The rest of our infield stays the same.  Theriot, Ramirez, with Fontenot and Cedeno in reserve.  I would like to see Fontenot get more playing time this year.  But I guess that’s not up to me.  And it seems unlikely now that we have signed what’s his name from St. Louis.  I wish Fontenot was starting at second now that DeRosa’s gone.

We still have Geovany Soto (who I love) behind the plate.  But I fear something awful will happen to him this season since he was Rookie of the Year.  That is very bad luck.

On the hill…well…we resigned Dempster, which was a good thing. We got rid of Kerry Wood, which really makes me mad, but it was probably the right move. And he went to Cleveland, this is good because now that he has finally left the Cubs organization he will be spectacular, and in the AL we won’t have to deal with him and the zillion saves he will no doubt get this year.

Zambrano is still our ace.  I don’t like him.  I am not so foolish that I think we could have come as far as we have in the last two seasons without him, but he makes me nuts.  He is still so inconsistent.  You never know if you are going to get the good Zambrano or the crazy Zambrano.  The good Zambrano can throw a no-hitter.  The crazy Zabrano can give up nine earned runs in four innings.  Which one would you rather have?

Meanwhile in the outfield:

Soriano is still overpaid.  Clearly we need him though.  The Cubs have a .589 winning percentage when he is in the starting lineup and it’s at .475 when he is not.  But I don’t think he was worth the money, especially considering how much time he spent on the DL.  He only played 109 games this year.   Not so impressive for a guy making $136 million dollars over eight years.  That’s right.  136.  Million.  Dollars.  Over eight long, long years.  It’s not even the money that bothers me so much, even though it does mean we are stuck with him forever because who would want to take on that kind of contract? Okay, maybe it is the money a little bit.

Fukudome needs to adjust to Big League hitting.  I think he can do it.  I know the way he hits is how they teach people to hit in Japan, but this isn’t Japan, and it just isn’t working for him. I really want to like him, I hope he can pull it together.

And Milton Bradley?  Milton Bradley?  Really?

I know the Cubs are in a difficult position this year.  They have won their division two years in a row, and yet have not won a post season game since 2003.  Their parent company, The Tribune Corporation has filed for bankruptcy, and while they have said this will not effect the team, who know how that will really play out.  Plus the Cubs remain on the market waiting for a buyer.  And I suspect they will be waiting a long time, unless they accept my offer of $2.47 which seems unlikely.  All of this could make players or coaches think twice about signing with the Cubs (that’s just my own personal theory).

And finally, I predict Pinella’s honeymoon in Chicago will come to an end after this season.  If the Cubs don’t make the post season, or if they make it and yet again fail to win even a single playoff game I suspect Lou will start to feel the wrath of Cubs fans everywhere.  It won’t necessarily be his fault, but part of the manager’s job is to take the fall when things go wrong.

That’s how I see it.  Please bear in mind that I have no idea what I am talking about.

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