Cubbie Blogging


I haven't said much about the Cubs in a while. Mostly because I did not and still do not know what to make of this team. Anytime you have such a drastic overhaul of a baseball team, there will be no way to know what the end-result will be. It doesn't matter how much you spend, you still have to take those individuals and make them into a team. I was skeptical about Jason Marquis and Mark de Rosa, but excited about Soriano, Floyd and Lilly.

Well, the results so far have not been pretty. We have the highest powered line-up we've had in years, but can't score any runs. This team, which was explicitly built to win with the home run has exactly two players on pace to hit 20 or more home runs. Our $136 million man Alfonso Soriano, who we brought in to hit 30+ home runs, drive in 90 + runs and steal 30+ bases is on track for, in those respective categories, 18, 42 and 24. 4 of our starters - that's HALF of the position players we trot out every day - are hitting .254 or less.

On the pitching side, things are a bit better. The starting rotation has been solid: Marquis and Lilly have been excellent and Rich Hill has shown that last year was not a fluke. The arrival of Sean Marshall to fill in is good news, as he was one of last year's bright spots - hopefully he'll never see AAA again. Ryan Dempster has been solid, with only 1 blown save in 12 chances. The problem, amazingly has been our ace, Carlos Zambrano. He's been crazier han usual, culminating in his dugout fight last Friday with teammate Michael Barrett. That, and the middle relief can't get the job done. Last I checked, they were leading the league in losses. With an anemic offense, you simply can't afford to have a shaky pen blow what few leads you can get.

Making it worse is that the never-ending saga of what the h*** happened to Mark Prior and Kerry Wood (now guest-starring Wade Miller, though his problems aren't "homegrown" the way Prior and Wood's are) is still playing in the background, giving the whole season an even darker and more somber tone than it deserves on the merits.

That drama came to the NY Times this week, which had a lengthy profile (free reg. req.) of Kerry Wood and his history of arm troubles in their Sunday sports magazine. It's not a fun read for any Cubs fan, but though those of us whose answer for the Cubs' mid 2000s woes is "Blame Dusty!" should give it a fair reading.

What continues to baffle me is that nobody ever talks about the Cubs' training and medical staff when these things come up. I'd have fired the lot of them in June of 2005. Larry Rothschild seems to get off scot-free, too. Yeah, sure it's hard to deal with 25 year-olds with arms of gold, but if he couldn't do it, then the Cubs should have brought in somebody who could command more respect.

I still have optimism for 2007. The NL Central is still wide open. The Cubs have good enough players, it's just a matter of them coming together as a team, having somebody step up to be a team leader (Lee and Ramirez are too laid back, Barrett and Zambrano are too hopped up on crazy) and finding a winning groove. Personnel-wise, we need to keep prospect Felix Pie in the bigs and let him learn through major league experience. We should then ship off some combination(s) of Matt Murton, Cliff Floyd, Jacques Jones and one or two of our young pitchers for a bullpen arm or two and a shortstop that can bat his weight, or preferably Daryle Ward's weight.

It is certainly not too late. GO CUBS!

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on June 4, 2007 8:51 PM.

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