your 2011 Chicago Cubs


Where were we? Where are we?

RF Fukudome
SS Castro
CF Byrd
3B A-Ram
1B Pena
CA Soto
LF Soriano
2B Barney
SP Dempster

CA Hill
2B Baker
2B DeWitt
RF Colvin
CF Johnson

SP Zambrano
SP Garza
SP Wells
SP Cashner

CL Marmol
RP Wood
RP Marshall
RP Grabow
RP Russell
RP Samardzija
RP Mateo

things that are actually really good:
– the pitching! Probably four above average starters and possibly the best 7-8-9 bullpen in the league.
– the lack of injuries (only Angel Guzman, and that was an issue from last year, and no one even counts him any more because it’ll be a miracle if he makes it back)
– the Brewers and the Cardinals having very important injuries
– Carlos Silva will never be a Cub again. SUNK COSTS, hooray.
– a manager who might do some actual platooning

things that are worrisome
– 2B may be an offensive black hole.
– they’re writing “now that Soriano is healthy, he’s going to hit!” articles for the fourth year in a row
– there’s almost no depth on this team; if Ram, Soto or Pena get significantly hurt, the season is over, and you might be able to throw Byrd and Castro in that group
– there’s no hitting coming off that bench. Colvin/Fukudome is the big bat off the bench, with Koskue (& Baker) only helpful in the right situation. Reed is not much. DeWitt almost played his way off this team. Koyie Hill is awful. If there was ever a team that could use a Houffpair/Fox type as a designed pinch hitter, it’d be this team (taking the place of DeWitt, who has no purpose here.)
– at least three guys – Grabow, Samardzija, DeWitt – probably don’t make the team if they weren’t already being paid decently for this year. If one turns out, it’s a big win.

things that have totally suprised me
– the many publications who have the NL Central as a four team race. Usually a bad four team race, usally with the Cubs 4th, btu somehow the Cubs haev gained ground mostly on everyone else being worse.

I really don’t understand it. Even with a bounce back year from Ram, a better bullpen and better results for guys like Wells, this seems a below average team without a strong offensive identity. Last year, I had the team at 80. They won 75. I’ll guess the recovery gets them back to 80, but this doens’t seem like a playoff team without multiple people having breakout years and it doesn’t feel like that’ll happen.

Last year, I had a feeling of dread, of the bottom falling out on this run. I don’t have that this year, but it hasn’t been replaced by any excitement. It’s a team. They’re going to play 162 games, that’s the only part I feel confident about.

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