The Team MVP
I don't think we've really covered this topic on GROTA, and on Monday morning I will be opening a poll to get a direct vote from you guys. The Cubs won a lot of games this year for one reason - they were a complete team. Every player at every position contributed, and I'm not sure if any of them could be called superstars. However, there may have been one who served as the glue that held everything together. So, which one was it? Which Cubs player was the guy who everybody else looked to? A few suggestions:
Alfonso Soriano: I figured I'd go with the least likely choice first. Maybe it's not a coincidence that when Soriano evaporated like the fine morning mist in October, so did the Cubs offense. What cannot be contested, however, is that his bat was huge to the team as they surged toward the playoffs. In that regard, his biggest detraction is all the injury time.
Mark DeRosa: He played multiple positions and had the best season of his career. Players like DeRosa are jersey-wearing, glove hefting, bat swinging gold.
Geovany Soto: The 2008 NL Rookie of the Year was offensively solid and called good games behind the plate. He very well may be the best catcher in 70 years, which is more a criticism of the Cubs' luck with catchers.
Carlos Marmol: When he was on target, he was the best setup man in baseball. When he lost himself for a month, Cubs games were hard to watch. Marmol, also known as the Dramatic Gopher, pitched outstandingly for the Cubs and was usually the most reliable reliever in the bullpen.
Ryan Dempster: The Cubs were supposed to be a team with strong pitching. It turns out that they were, but they had more trouble than anybody could have expected - particularly with the disintegration of Rich Hill's career. As of March, I was convinced that Dempster would be out of the rotation before June. I thought he would be erratic, inconsistent, and craptacular. I was wrong. He instead led the team in wins, he had a sub-3 ERA, and he was the most reliable arm during the regular season.
So, that gives us Dempster, Marmol, Soto, DeRosa, and Soriano. I'm actually not sure who I think was the team MVP. I welcome you to debate it in the comments section.