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Figuring out the playoff roster

Sep
25

It helps me think this thru a bit if I divide it up into smaller lists

There’s no possible way any of these guys any playoff series (barring injury)

01 CA Soto
02 CA Kendall
03 1B Lee
04 1B Ward
05 2B DeRosa
06 SS Theriot
07 3B Ramirez
08 LF Soriano
09 CF Jones
10 RF Floyd

11 SP Z!
12 SP Lilly
13 SP Marquis
14 RP Eyre
15 RP Howry
16 RP Marmol
17 CL Dempster

That’s what I had on Saturday morning, and two more clinched and aren’t worth discussing during the weekend.

18 RP Wuertz
19 RP Wood

That leaves six spots for everyone else on the active roster. Assuming an 11 man pitching staff (which isn’t firm but the best bet), two more pitchers and four more hitters need to be added.

SP Gallagher
SP Hart
SP Hill
SP Marshall
SP Trachsel

RP Ohman
RP Pignatiello

CA Blanco

2B Fontenot
SS Cedeno

OF Fuld
OF Monroe
OF Murton
OF Pie

That’s 14, which is more than 6. Gallagher and Pignatiello have barely pitched down the stretch and can be quickly canceled out. The Cubs aren’t going to carry 3 catchers and there’s questions about Blanco, so he’s not worth considering. We’re down to 11 for 6.

Let’s split that up a little more, looking at the individual slots to fill:

FOURTH STARTER/LONG MAN – if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the playoffs, there’s a possibility their NLDS schedule would have enough off days to run out a three man rotation with only one start on short rest. (It’d go something like Lilly, Z, Marquis, Lilly (short rest), Z (full rest). Such is the NBA-ation of the playoff schedule.) A savvy team with some time to set up it’s rotation is going to take another start from their 1 or 2 guy over their 4th guy. You’d still want that starter around to mop up if things go bad or go long.

remaining depth chart
SP Hill
SP Trachsel
SP Marshall
SP Hart

It’s hard to imagine Rich Hill not making the playoff roster, after being in the fourth starter role all season. He has had some bad starts in September, enough so that I didn’t feel comfortable locking him on the roster because I think he could still play his way off. There’s been some concern in the past about how he’d perform coming out of the bullpen, but I don’t think Tracshel or Marshall would inspire any more confidence in that situation. I could see Hill being skipped if the Cubs end up against a team that just kills lefty pitching, but even then, he’s just here to save the other guys for more important games. Rich makes it, he’s 20.

LAST MAN IN PEN
SP Marshall
SP Trachsel
SP Hart
RP Ohman

The only thing I feel sure about here is Will Ohman is not making the playoff roster. Hill getting on gives the Cubs two lefties in the bullpen. They probably wouldn’t need a third even if #3 didn’t turn into persona-non-grata during the season and hasn’t looked especially effective during the season. They’d go to Marshall first for a lefty anyway, and I’m thinking this spot is completely dependent on how everyone looks in the last six games and who the Cubs are worried about on the other team. Trachsel brings experience, but you can share experience without being on the active roster. Kevin Hart would be the interesting pick, but they’re asking a lot out of a kid who was a non-prospect last year and now is approaching 170 IP on the season.

I’m not sure which way they’ll go on this at all.

RIGHT HANDED POWER OF
OF Monroe
OF Murton

Matt’s been hot of late, but he’s still a defensive liability. Keystone’s looked adequate in CF when platooning with Jacque, and just having him around balances out Jacque’s big weakness against lefties. Craig Monroe should have this spot, though Murton’s not done yet.

CENTER FIELDER/PINCH RUNNER
OF Pie
OF Fuld

Felix is faster, stronger, has a better arm and has the better pedigree for hitting. This should be a no doubt, but Fuld’s played much better and had more highlight plays over the last few weeks. It’s to the point where I would not be surprised if Fuld makes it (and it’d be the perfect punctuation mark for Felix Pie’s 2007 season), but I think they’ll stick with the guy in that’s been in this role all season. Felix Pie gets the 23rd spot.

RESERVE MIDDLE INFIELD
SS Cedeno
2B Fontenot

I would’ve flipped the chart the other way had Cedeno not gone nuts on Sunday. Cedeno with no hitting ability would seem to be a waste, an emergency solution to a problem which is highly unlikely to occur and wouldn’t be the end of the world if it did. Now that there’s some confidence in his hitting, and it wouldn’t be a waste of an out to use him as a pinch hitter, I think Cedeno clearly makes the playoff roster. Fontenot lack of defensive flexibility makes him hard to carry as utility guy.

LAST MAN OFF THE BENCH
OF Murton
2B Fontenot
OF Fuld

Fontenot gives you average (300 this last month with no power and little walks), Fuld will give speed and defense, but when you look at Murton’s numbers this month – 361/425/583 – he can’t be passed up. I don’t think he’ll keep hitting like an player of the month candidate in limited time, but you might as well find out by putting him on the field. I’m not sure the Cubs van

So, what I’ve got is this:

01 CA Soto
02 CA Kendall
03 1B Lee
04 1B Ward
05 2B DeRosa
06 SS Theriot
07 3B Ramirez
08 LF Soriano
09 CF Jones
10 RF Floyd
22 OF Monroe
23 OF Pie
24 SS Cedeno
25 RF Murton

11 SP Z!
12 SP Lilly
13 SP Marquis
20 SP Hill
21 RP Marshall or Trachsel or Hart
14 RP Eyre
15 RP Howry
16 RP Marmol
18 RP Wuertz
19 RP Wood
17 CL Dempster

With no clear standout for that last pitching spot, I’d wonder if the Cubs might be better just skipping all three of the possibilities, bringing along Sam Fuld, and just going nuts with pinch runners and substitutions. There’s a definite way they could use another hitter, and it’s not clear the Cubs would have a lot of use for that last pitching spot in a five game series.

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clinching in the rain

Sep
25

NOTE TO WCIU, COMCAST, WGN: prepare rain delay programming for the next few days…

Miami forecast via Weather Underground
Tonight: Chance of rain 70 percent.
Wednesday Night/Thursday: Chance of rain 60 percent.

What’s with a 4PM local time start on Thursday anyway? So weird.