If a heart issue only requires a week off before getting back to normal, is it really an issue? (Alternate question: if the old Cubs Post Only page, still with VGA era graphics, exists but I forget to include a link to it for a month, does it still count?) I think this at least a 2% chance it’s only a plan to get out of boring February drills (and a 50% chance a call was put into the O’s.)
Since Mark DeRosa will be back before they start playing games that even matter a little, this doesn’t seem to matter much. The projected lineup is kinda interesting…
…because there seems to be a plan of stacking the OBP guys in front of Ram and giving him possibly a million RBI opportunities, while allowing Soriano to continue to be in his own world. It puts early pressure on Kosuke and Ryan to be getting on early, because flaws won’t be hidden there.
On the flipside, it allows Pie (and to a lesser extent, Soto) to just play every day and not worry about what he does at the plate. If everything else works moderately well, Felix can struggle at the plate as long as he’s fielding the way we figure he should and there’s no real problem. I’m still thinking they’ll find someone as a right handed platoon partner (because Pinella likes to rest guys anyway, and Pie off the bench in a close game has a lot of value), but it’s not a must situation if he’s batting eight.
Still, I’d be surprised if this was the default lineup by May 1st. Something will surely break before then.
There’s really nothing else going on, except the quiet dwindling of rotation options. It seems like they’ve set the order as
3) Dempster – sounds as though a lock unless he stinks in Spring Training
4) Hill – 4th only for lefty/righty alternation
5) Marquis or Lieber
Out without throwing an in-game pitch: Marshall, Gallagher, Hart
I’m not quite sure it’ll end up being the best possible five, but I’m also not sure the difference between 5 and 9 is all that significant. Lou’s comments about Marquis or Lieber were interrupted as loser may be willing to go to the bullpen, but it feels more likely that a last minute trade might happen. I think the Cubs would like Lieber to take it and someone else to take Marquis, because the trust is gone there, but I don’t know if it’ll work out that way.
There’s that battle, there’s the closer battle (which I also don’t think is so vital – it’s more important to have people who can pitch well close & late than what order they’re in), the last two spots in the pen (totally unclear until the rotation falls out) and maybe the last spot on the bench (depending on if there’s a trade.) The roster spots are about as uncritical as they come, which is maybe why there hasn’t been much stuff to come out of camp so far.
The most intriguing news item of the spring to me so far is the new (home) bullpen seats being sold at auction. People might go a bit crazy spending for those on some weekends, though less than if they auctioned them out thru the season (they’ll only be doing it from 03/03 to 03/13.) The Cubs might make back all the money for the field resurfacing just from a couple St. Louis weekend stints.