Should’ve written this post a month ago, but this team needs as few words as possible
CA – OK
1B – need new starter
2B – need new starter
SS – OK
3B – stuck with current starter
LF – stuck with current starter/borderline OK
CF – OK
RF – offseason salary dump?
SP1 (Dempster) – OK
SP2 (Silva) – OK
SP3 (Zambrano) – stuck with current starter?
SP4 (Lilly) – need new starter
SP5 (Wells) – uncertain
CL – OK
LH Setup – OK
RH Setup – OK (assuming it’s Cashner)
everyone else – uncertain -> need new reliever
The Cubs can, and probably will, fill any rotation hole and most of the bullpen from the minors. They’ve got the guys to try, and they can use the money saved from Lilly elsewhere (needed to improve positions, most likely eating a salary.) Signing one vet for the pen would not be a surprise.
They have the replacement for RF, and finding a new home for Fukudome might be priority #1 for whomever is the GM next year. (I presume Zambrano will be either settled this year, or proved unmovable for anyone and be put on the back burner.)
The Cubs do not have a major league caliber replacement for 1B or 2B. They could bring back Lee and keep Theriot, but both would almost certainly command more than what they’ll produce, and there’s going to be great pressure to shake things up. The big problem is the guys the fans generally like (Theriot, Lee, Lilly) are the easiest to move away from to get to that change. This will not go well.