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    Cubs

    Pitchers and catchers report on Monday. Time to think baseball, which is something I haven't allowed myself to do much of this offseason. Now that I've done so, I worry that I'm falling victim to the same preseason excitement that seems to fool a Cubs fan regardless of recent history.

    After breaking down the current squad, I have to admit that this shouldn't be considered a throw-away season at the outset, in my opinion, especially if the Cards are down. I've had a couple of drinks, but things don't look as bleak as I thought. Feel free to bring me back to earth.

    Starting rotation: Garza, Demp, Z, Silva, Wells? or Marshall?
    First thing's first- Garza was a nice addition. His numbers don't blow you out of the water like an obvious ace would. But when you consider that he's coming over from the AL East, his numbers are more impressive. After Garza, I would imagine things are pretty well set 2 through 4. The questions come at #5. I haven't spent a single minute reading articles are listing to talk radio to know what's actually being considered, but I would think that Wells and Marshall would be the candidates. You hate to take Marshall out of the pen, but if you don't, you don't have a single lefty in the rotation. And as much as I hate to say it because I was really high on Wells, he definitely experienced a sophomore slump. I think you have to move Marshall (who seems to be solid no matter where you put him) back to the rotation, and hope a guy like Russell can be the nasty lefty in the pen.

    Bullpen: ?, ?, ?, Russell, Wood, Marmol
    Trying to figure out a bullpen at this point is a lot to ask. I think you have three spots nailed down in Russell (or Marshall), Wood, and Marmol. I seem to recall Carridad and Cashner showing flashes at times, but I'm going off of blurry memories at this point. And I suppose you have to put Grabow in there and hope that 2010 is as bad as it gets. Outside of that, you have the Jay Cutler of the Cubs in Samardzija. Isn't he out of options by now? What happens with him may determine the 6th/7th spot as we're talking long-relief options. In theory, I suppose Samardzija is capable, but what about Wells? Can he be converted to a pen guy? He's obviously flexible as I believe he started his career as a catcher. And I have to comment on the back end, which could be a dynamite door-slammer in the 8th and 9th if Woody does what he did for the Yanks at the end of the season and Marmol continues to make doubters like I was look foolish in the closer spot.

    Infield: Geo (throwing the backstop in here), Pena, DeWitt/Baker, Rammy, Castro
    I gotta say, that's not a bad infield. It will be interesting to see what happens at 2B. Again, I haven't read or listened to much offseason analysis, but my hunch is 2B starts as a R/L platoon. And, of course, Rammy needs to stay healthy. As for Pena, who knows. I suppose the guy has averaged around 40/100 over the past 4 seasons.

    Outfield: Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome/Colvin
    With the preseason blinders on, the outfield isn't bad either. There's a lot of power potential at every position, although Byrd may have come back to earth a bit last season after hitting 20 HR in 2009. But he still hits for average, regardless. It will be interesting to see how Colvin is used. It's too bad he couldn't be part of a R/L platoon in RF as opposed to LF as I think he would see even more time. Soriano is what he is. He'll be garbage for a few weeks, but he can carry the team for several games when he's hot and pitchers are stupid enough to not force him to chase garbage low and away.

    Manager: I was disappointed with the hiring, but the head man in baseball is more meaningless than in any other sport. I suppose we have to give Quade the benefit of the doubt at this point. You can't say he hasn't earned a shot, and they did play well under him, overall, even though it didn't mean much.

    Drink up the blue kool-aid and GO CUBS!



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    Re: Cubs

    Marshall was an excellent setup man last season. I expect him to stay in the bullpen. The Cubs have a lot of SP options.

    If Angel Guzman can be healthy, he could also add a lot to the bullpen. He's been great when healthy, but he's had a ton of injury problems.



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    Re: Cubs

    A-Ram has to put the stick on the ball when he's healthy. The Cubs need someone to be a reliable fill in at 3rd when he's not. They should bring Vitters up to at least the Iowa (AAA) level to get him ready if he's ever going to be.


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    Re: Cubs

    I think Quade will be able to get a decent amount of talent out of this Cubs roster. He is going to benefit by having coached a majority of these players in Triple-A, and he has shown some promise running the team as the Cubs finally won some games when he took over near the end of last season.



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    Re: Cubs

    Cashner will most likely be the 5th starter, at least I hope he is. Marshall needs to stay in the bullpen where he was great last year. Marmol, Wood, Marshall is a very nasty trio to end the game. Could be good morning, good afternoon and good night for opponents.



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    Re: Cubs

    Not a Cub fan...but it is always a great feeling to think that pitchers and catcher are reporting soon! Love talking and reading about baseball!



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    Re: Cubs

    if you look at sean's numbers, he's always better out of the pen (of course that could be more to do with innings pitched) but I still think he's more comfortable there and I would feel more comfortable knowing we could put have Marshall, Wood, and Marmol to close out the 7, 8, 9



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    Re: Cubs

    I liked the Garza pickup, but it was probably unnecessary for a rebuilding team. I just think, like the OP said, there's too many question marks, especially in the bullpen. The Cubs could do well. But they'll need to strike gold on some pen arms and a couple guys will need to start playing like they are getting paid. I'm a big Colvin fan too.

    Of course, now we're Chicago's team, apparently....

    Cowley: Call me crazy, but it’s a Sox town now - Chicago Sun-Times



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    Re: Cubs

    Infield: Geo (throwing the backstop in here), Pena, DeWitt/Baker, Rammy, Castro
    I gotta say, that's not a bad infield. It will be interesting to see what happens at 2B. Again, I haven't read or listened to much offseason analysis, but my hunch is 2B starts as a R/L platoon. And, of course, Rammy needs to stay healthy. As for Pena, who knows. I suppose the guy has averaged around 40/100 over the past 4 seasons


    I'm a Cub fan but I don't see this group as a positive other than Castro and he's a 2nd year player. Rammy may be starting to slide. Best thing about Pena is a 1 year contract for when the real 1B come on the market. As for 2B Theriot was the guy we should of kept.


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    Re: Cubs

    Quote Originally Posted by CrossCyed View Post
    I liked the Garza pickup, but it was probably unnecessary for a rebuilding team. I just think, like the OP said, there's too many question marks, especially in the bullpen. The Cubs could do well. But they'll need to strike gold on some pen arms and a couple guys will need to start playing like they are getting paid. I'm a big Colvin fan too.
    This. This appears to be a rebuilding year but who knows with the Cubs. Put expectations on them and they fail so maybe they will play well knowing people aren't expecting them to win 100 games and get to the World Series.



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    Re: Cubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyforce View Post
    Infield: Geo (throwing the backstop in here), Pena, DeWitt/Baker, Rammy, Castro
    I gotta say, that's not a bad infield. It will be interesting to see what happens at 2B. Again, I haven't read or listened to much offseason analysis, but my hunch is 2B starts as a R/L platoon. And, of course, Rammy needs to stay healthy. As for Pena, who knows. I suppose the guy has averaged around 40/100 over the past 4 seasons

    I'm a Cub fan but I don't see this group as a positive other than Castro and he's a 2nd year player. Rammy may be starting to slide. Best thing about Pena is a 1 year contract for when the real 1B come on the market. As for 2B Theriot was the guy we should of kept.

    I liked to root for Theriot as much as the next guy when he was a Cub, but as a player he is awful... A .321 OBP out of a singles hitter just doesn't cut it for a big leaguer, especially for one that doesn't make up for it with defense.



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    Re: Cubs

    Of all pro sports, baseball is by far the hardest to predict. In case you have forgotten, the Giants won the series last year. Who would have picked that?

    Anyway, the Cubs have proven players, they all just need to get back to being successful. We all know what Soriano, Ramirez, Soto, Zambrano, and Dempster are capable of. It's not like this team is full of nobodies.

    I don't see the Reds winning the Central again. The Cards will still be up there but they've been vulnerable at times. It will be an interesting race for sure



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    Re: Cubs

    The Cubs will live and die by Ramirez's health this year. He will be the heart and soul...

    They also need to dump Fukudome ASAP. My guess is they are going to wait until April or May, since he usually does great in the first few months of the season, and than get the most out of him. It would really be nice to acquire a solid second baseman for him at some point in the season!



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    Re: Cubs

    Quote Originally Posted by CUIClone View Post
    I liked to root for Theriot as much as the next guy when he was a Cub, but as a player he is awful... A .321 OBP out of a singles hitter just doesn't cut it for a big leaguer, especially for one that doesn't make up for it with defense.
    When the Cubs traded Theriot for DeWitt I was confused as to why, since they are basically the same player. I like DeWitt's youth in comparison to Theriot, which I am guessing is why the deal was made. I also think that DeWitt has more upside then Ryan had when he was Blake's age. It will be tough to see Theriot in the Cardinals uniform, thats for sure.



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    Re: Cubs

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyforce View Post
    Infield: Geo (throwing the backstop in here), Pena, DeWitt/Baker, Rammy, Castro
    I gotta say, that's not a bad infield. It will be interesting to see what happens at 2B. Again, I haven't read or listened to much offseason analysis, but my hunch is 2B starts as a R/L platoon. And, of course, Rammy needs to stay healthy. As for Pena, who knows. I suppose the guy has averaged around 40/100 over the past 4 seasons


    I'm a Cub fan but I don't see this group as a positive other than Castro and he's a 2nd year player. Rammy may be starting to slide. Best thing about Pena is a 1 year contract for when the real 1B come on the market. As for 2B Theriot was the guy we should of kept.
    Blake Dewitt is a younger version of Theroit. Look at their numbers. I was happy with that trade last season. Especially after Theriot's recent comments that now that he is on the Cards he is on the right side of the rivalry and he can finally look at winning a world series.


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