Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Extremely early roster thoughts: 2009 Edition

Despite the "predictions" tag I used, I'm not trying to be Goatstradamus here or anything.  I am not saying that this is what I expect to happen.  I'm not even saying that the guys who decide about things on these matters will agree with me.  But if today was opening day and in a moment of frantic desperation Jim Hendry called me up for advice, this is the Cubs team I'd trot out to face the league.


SP
1. Carlos Zambrano
- Arm problems?  Inconsistent delivery?  Loss of "ace" status to Ryan Dempster last October?  Zambrano remains the best Big Game Pitcher the Cubs have.
2. Ryan Dempster - A 17-game winner and receiver of a large contract this past winter, Dempster probably won't have as good a 2009 but he should still be a reliable #2 starter.
3. Ted Lilly - The Ice Man has been worth every dollar of his contract so far.  Another 17-game-winner, Lilly just might be the best #3 pitcher in the NL.
4. Rich Harden - Call him the defacto 5th starter if you want, but it's an insult to his talent to even have him listed as the #4 guy.  If Harden had a healthy arm, he'd be a perennial Cy Young contender.  If he can be healthy enough to give the Cubs 25+ starts in 2009, then he'll be hands-down the best #4 pitcher in the game.
5. Jeff Samardzija - My first controversial pick!  Here's the logic: he's proven that, in a limited capacity, he can pitch effectively in the Major Leagues.  He's young, will certainly encounter growing pains, may get his ass handed to him from time to time, but pitching for an offensive juggernaut on a team with four other extremely talented guys in the rotation means that there is room to grow.  In other words, the Cubs can afford to allow the Shark to struggle.  And while he is unlikely to have the same impact as the '98 version of Kerry Wood, he just might be one of those feel-good stories that comes along every once in a while.


Note: The next section has been edited on account of how I forgot about Heilman.  Vizcaino has subsequently been moved to long relief and Heilman has been inserted into the MR role.  My official take is this: if Guzman gets "awarded" another option, let him start out in Iowa out of the rotation.  If he doesn't, then his fate will be determined by the guys who are gunning for the 5th spot of the rotation.  If Shark actually does win, Guz is done.  If Shark loses and starts his year in Iowa, then Guzman becomes the defacto Long Reliever, Vizcaino gets bumped back to Middle Relief, and all is well. 


The Bullpen
LR - Luis Vizcaino -
He's sort of the forgotten man on the Cubs pitching staff, at least by fans.  From 2004 to 2006, he was a reliable arm.  In '07 he was Howry-like, and in '08 he was even worse.  The good news is that he remains an effective strikeout pitcher (which tells us a little bit about his stuff).  The bad news is he gave up a Howry-load of homeruns in '08 (even though he was pitching in Colorado, but he gave up an even number of homers at home and on the road).  If he can rebound, he'll be a reliable arm.  If not, he'll just be another Gas Can.  But he won't be able to do too much damage as a long reliever if he's running on fumes.
LHMR - Neal Cotts - I don't like him.  Watching him pitch is a sweat-inducing experience.  Unfortunately he's entrenched and I doubt that any other lefty reliever can outperform him. 
RHMR - Aaron Heilman - He wants to start but he might not get the chance.  He's possibly good enough to serve in the setup role, perhaps even better than Gregg if he finds his groove again.  When you consider how unreliable the Cubs pen was after its three best pitchers, and you then look at this year's bunch, it's really Heilman who puts them over as having improved.  With him - and even with Cotts and Vizcaino occupying roster spots - the Cubs might be five strong out of the pen -- and that sort of thing can make a huge difference in the playoffs.
RHMR - Chad Gaudin - Gaudin wants to start.  Can't say I don't blame him.  In my pretend scenario, he lost the gig fair and square to Samardzija.  Last year as a Cub he was pretty good until he got hurt and was Piniella's whipping boy in the August 22nd game against the Nationals.  Based on his age and ability, I'd expect him to be reliable.
LHSU - Sean Marshall - Not that he's shown a ton of ability to be an Out pitcher, but between he and Cotts it's a no-brainer.  If Piniella needs a lefty in the 8th inning, Marshall will be his guy in '09 in this pretend scenario.
RHSU - Kevin Gregg - It's true - Carlos Marmol is better for this job.  For 2 years, Kevin Gregg has been a reliable-if-not-unimpressive closer.  If baseball was a computer game, I'd assign this gig to Marmol.  Since baseball is played by people with egos, it goes to Gregg.
CL - Carlos Marmol - The most dominating setup man of my lifetime has earned his shot to close.  I can't see why he'd fail.  Marmol shutting down the opposition in the 9th would be a refreshing change on the North Side.


The Regulars


C - Geovany Soto - In his second full season, I'd hope and expect Geo to have a year similar to that of many premier catchers in their second full years.  In his second year, Johnny Bench saw his OPS go up by almost 100 points.  Carlton Fisk saw his power numbers go up, but his AVG dropped by about .50 points.  Pudge Rodriguez's OPS went up by about 70 points.  Mike Piazza's numbers were almost identical.  Granted, none of that is at all relevant to Soto.  But I do not think he'll do worse, and based on his age he could do better. 


1B - Derrek Lee - If they made a movie about Lee's life at this moment, maybe they'd call it The Slow Decline.  I'd still expect Derrek to be a reliable bat in the lineup and glove in the field, although he was defensively shaky in '08.


2B - Mike Fontenot - Bats lefty?  Check.  Good pop to his swing?  Check.  Gritty?  Check.  Shawty has played well and I expect that he will earn his way to the starting role come April. 


SS - Ryan Theriot - I believe that Theriot will probably produce numbers somewhere between his '07 and '08 output.  That would land him at a .287 AVG, 25 doubles, 3 triples, 2 homers, and about a 75% base stealing success percentage.  Oh, and his OPS would be at .358.  Actually that about puts him right where he'd need to be to leadoff.  More on that later.


3B - Aramis Ramirez - I don't think Ramirez will hit 38+ homeruns again, as he appears to have elected not to go the Sammy Sosa route in terms of career progression.  But at 30, he is still well within the window of legitimate Massive Production.  If A-Ram has the kind of year he is capable of, then the Cubs opponents will weep.


Lf - Alfonso Soriano - This guy is bound to stay healthy sooner or later, right?  I mean, he was never injury prone before he began dodging Wrigley Field potholes, so we may have a healthy '09 to look forward to for Sori.  Imagine the kind of runs the Cubs would score if he was smashing the ball with regularity all season long.


CF - Kosuke Fukudome - Before he came to Chicago and tried to bring back the twist, Fukudome was a pure hitter of science and grace.  Call me crazy, but I believe he could return to form.  Maybe he'll never be a hitter of Matsui/Ichiro proportions, but if he can actively increase his offensive output in 2009 then the Cubs will have a phenomenal lineup.


RF - Milton Bradley - Crazy Milton had the best OPS in baseball last year.  He walks a ton.  He hits the ball a ton.  He gets injured a ton.  He hasn't had a healthy year since 2004.  Maybe he's due?


Bench


C - Paul Bako - What does Paul Bako have in common with only two Cubs on the current roster?  He's played for the Cubs when they won playoff games and a playoff series.  Not that it means much.  I can't believe he'll live up to the work of Henry Blanco, but as a backup how much will it matter?


IF - Aaron Miles - He's replacing the versatility of Mark DeRosa without the actual hitting ability.  He's spent time playing every position but catcher and first base, and while he's not a homerun hitter, Miles does get his fair share of singles.  If he can match his career averages of .289 in a limited capacity, then he might be extremely valuable in 2009.


IF - Luis Rivas - Based on their current available players, the unlikelihood of pursuing another Nomar, and their undeniable need for another infielder who can play shortstop, it's pretty hard to deny that Rivas will break camp with the Cubs in April.  He's offensively about as exciting as Neifi Perez was in his heyday, but as long as he isn't as stupid with the glove as Ronny Cedeno was, I can't see him being any worse.


OF - Reed Johnson - Reed Johnson is one of the best bargains Jim Hendry has acquired in recent years.  Picked up off the scrapheap after back surgery, Reed delivered unto the Cubs a great performance in 2008.  Based on his consistency (apart from the year of the back surgery), it's safe to bet that Reed will see more at bats than any other backup outfielder in 2009, and he should do well there.


OF - So Taguchi - Probably the second most controversal "choice" I've made, this selection is where Childhood Dreams go to die.  Micah Hoffpauir turns 29 in a week or so and had a great month with the Cubs last year.  Joey Gathright is a 27-year-old bases-stealing fool.  Taguchi can converse fluently in Kosuke Fukudome's native tongue.  I love Hoffpauir, but I don't think it's realistic that he will be a successful major leaguer.  I've made this point before, so here it is again: if he's as good as you think he is, then how come he's on the bubble with the Cubs and not a single Major League GM has attempted to acquire him?  Don't you think a tight-budgeted team would spring at the chance to acquire a guy who - according to you - will outperform Derrek Lee and his 12 million dollar 2009 contract?  Sorry, just thought I'd point that out.  Anyway, probably Gathright is the better choice, although both he and Taguchi both suck fairly badly.  There are really only two things working in So's favor - a) he could be a friend for Fukudome, and b) he bats righty, and the Cubs have a lot of lefty bench bats. 


Lineup and unscientific projections:


Taking this scenario a step further, below is how I'd bat 'em and how I think they might do (if the stars align correctly)


1. Ryan Theriot - .285 AVG, .350 OBP, 30 SB, 5 CS
2. Mike Fontenot - .285 AVG, .350 OBP, 30 2B, 15 HR, 5-10 SB
3. Aramis Ramirez - .300 AVG, .370 OBP, 40 2B, 35 HR
4. Milton Bradley - .300 AVG, .400 OBP, 40 2B, 25 HR
5. Alfonso Soriano - .285 AVG, .340 OBP, 40 2B, 40 HR, 20 SB
6. Derrek Lee - .290 AVG, .350 OBP, 30 2B, 20 HR
7. Geovany Soto - .280 AVG, .340 OBP, 30 2B, 25 HR
8. Kosuke Fukudome - .280 AVG, .360 OBP, 30 2B, 10-15 HR, 10-15 SB


That would be potent.  It's also surely on the high side a little but don't forget, we are blogging from pretend land today.


Anyway, I like this team.  I like the roster.  The rotation is solid, the bullpen isn't weak, the lineup is amazing (and probably could score the most runs in all of baseball), and there is enough depth for me to not feel too worried about potential injuries.

Nice

Anytime you have D-Lee and Geo batting 6-7 in your lineup, you are freaking stacked! I would also like to commend you on your pick for the 5 spot in the rotation, Shark was dominant at times and if he can stretch his arm out, I think he could win 15 games.

I think we ALL want to see the Shark in there

Let's hope he earns the spot this spring.

Did you trade Heilman in

Did you trade Heilman in your scenario too? I like what you put together, though, the lineup especially. The toughest person to squeeze onto this roster out of camp is Jeff Samardzija, so if he has a spot in the rotation or in the bullpen he will have earned it. The significance of Samardzija making the team is that they will be forced to either carry 13 pitchers or make a trade (Gaudin, Guzman, Heilman, Vizcaino, etc) unless someone gets hurt of course. Simply because of roster inflexibility I don't see Samardzija starting the season on the MLB team, but I can easily see him being the first to get called up to fill a role in the back-end of the rotation or the bullpen as soon as May even. I would set-up a roster similar to what you have, with a few minor changes:

Starting 5: Z, Lilly, Dempster, Marshall, Harden

Bullpen: Heilman, Gaudin, Guzman, Vizcaino, Cotts, Marmol, Gregg

IF/OF: Soto, Lee, Font, Theriot, Ramirez, Soriano, Fukudome, Bradley

Bench: Miles, Johnson, Bako, Hoffpauir, Jake Fox

Samardzija starts the season in AAA, to keep his innings down in the early portion of the season and to serve as the first pitcher called up in case of injury, a trade, or ineffectiveness. Hoffpauir makes the bench, where he and Jake Fox combined can backup C, 1st, 3rd, and the corner OF spots, while providing a good L/R pinch-hitting combo off the bench as well.
Bako-Johnson-Miles are pretty much locks for the bench, while the other 2 spots are up for grabs. However, the team could also easily make a trade to secure a utility infielder, and in doing so trade Gaudin or Guzman, which could free up a roster spot on the pitching staff for Samardzija and wipe out the need for Jake Fox.

Good point, HC. I knew I

Good point, HC. I knew I forgot somebody out of the bullpen.

I think the cubs should

I think the cubs should consider using Geovany Soto as the primary backup for Aramis Ramirez at 3B. It could be a system as simple as letting Geo play 3B every Thursday game. Aramis would get rest consistently throughout the season, and Geo could get in the extra at bats without taking the abuse behind the plate catching. If Geo could make 15-20 starts at 3B throughout the course of the season, while still making 120+ catching, then I think the idea could potentially pay dividends in the long-run.

This time I think you're

This time I think you're joking.

I know it isn't going to

I know it isn't going to happen or even be considered, so I guess that could be considered joking yes.

3B is not easy, and Soto has

3B is not easy, and Soto has never played it. Hard to see him just kinda getting the job.

Soto has played 3B some

Soto has played 3B some early in his minor league career, but this would have been at the very lowest levels of the minor leagues, and how much time exactly I'm not sure either. Another idea that the team could possibly consider or not. I don't think that putting Soto out at 3B on Thursday day games, when subs usually play alot anyway, would do much harm though. Spring training is the time of year that the team can figure things out such as this.

I was kind of hoping the

I was kind of hoping the Cubs wouldn't be sending too many players to the WBC, especially the pitchers. I was glad to see that Lee, Aramis, Zambrano, and Harden have all withdrawn from participation. But Lilly, Marmol, Soto, Soriano, and Fukudome are still options that can be a part of the final rosters that will be announced Feb 24th. I would especially love to see Lilly and Marmol stay in camp with the cubs, as injury has to be a concern regarding any of the players on the team that intend to compete.

WBC

You would think Fukudome would skip the WBC seeing as how he looked like a girl in the batters box for the majority of the second half of last year. I would want to get my stroke back and spend every sec I could working on it. Guess he likes the tornado swing!!

Generally, I think the guys

Generally, I think the guys that are still on the rosters have a lot to gain from participating.

Lilly's tough, and his troubles in April last year make me think he might benefit from a bit more intense competition early on in the game. I don't mind his being involved.

Marmol gets closing experience, which is also nice.

Soto is a hard worker, and will be a hard worker no matter where he goes. I think Piniella will be prudent with his use depending on how hard he goes at the WBC.

Soriano will almost certainly not lead off for the Dominicans, given HanRam and Jose Reyes' spots on the roster. Again, experience he might benefit from.

Finally, Fukudome. I am strongly in favor of as much time as possible around other Japanese players and coaches, to give him a chance to figure his shit out.

Fukudome

I can kinda agree with that but what happens when all the Japanese players go back to Japan and Fukudome heads to Chicago to meet his non-Japanese teamates? My point is you are making $10 million or so a year to play ball, you shouldnt need to be surrounded by Japanese players to perform. But trust me I hope I'm wrong, I would love to see him knock the cover off the ball!

OPS

'Crazy Milton had the best OPS in baseball last year*'

* - for an AL player who qualified for the batting title.

Of course the best OPS in baseball last year belongs to Felix Hernandez, with a sparkling 5.000 and 4 RBIs to boot.

Gathright & Hoffpauer

What happened to Joey Gathright? You took 37-yr old Taguchi and Luis Rivas over Hoffpauer... what are you thinking?

Here's the depth by position:

C-- Soto/Bako
1B- Lee/Hoffpauer
2B- Fontenot/Miles
SS- Theriot/Fontenot
3B- Ramirez/Miles
LF- Soriano/Hoffpauer
CF- Fukudome/Johnson/Gathright
RF- Bradley/Fukudome/Johnson

That's 13 position players; Lou said he wants to have 14 position players and 11 pitchers, so it's possible that the Cubs add another middle-infielder; if it's an in-house addition, I like Andres Blanco. He's a non-roster invitee from the Royals' system, or Andy Marte, as a backup 3B.

However, I think they'll end up with 12 pitchers and the 13 position players listed above. The breakdown of pitchers is as follows:

Rotation: Zambrano, Harden, Lilly, Dempster, Marshall
Long Relief: Heilman and Gaudin
Mid-Relief: Vizcaino and Cotts
Setup Men: Samardzija and Marmol (Lou understands how valuable Carlos is in this role)
Closer: Kevin Gregg

There's my two cents.

This is what happens when

This is what happens when you respond to something you don't read. (Can't say I don't blame you, it was lengthy).

To quote myself, "this selection is where Childhood Dreams go to die. Micah Hoffpauir turns 29 in a week or so and had a great month with the Cubs last year. Joey Gathright is a 27-year-old bases-stealing fool. Taguchi can converse fluently in Kosuke Fukudome's native tongue. I love Hoffpauir, but I don't think it's realistic that he will be a successful major leaguer. I've made this point before, so here it is again: if he's as good as you think he is, then how come he's on the bubble with the Cubs and not a single Major League GM has attempted to acquire him? Don't you think a tight-budgeted team would spring at the chance to acquire a guy who - according to you - will outperform Derrek Lee and his 12 million dollar 2009 contract? Sorry, just thought I'd point that out. Anyway, probably Gathright is the better choice, although both he and Taguchi both suck fairly badly. There are really only two things working in So's favor - a) he could be a friend for Fukudome, and b) he bats righty, and the Cubs have a lot of lefty bench bats."

But So is actually 39, not 37. Gathright is 27 but he hits like he's 39, so it's a wash. But if you think Hoffpauir can cover shortstop adequately, sure, replace Rivas with him.

P.S. Even if he'd be the best setup man on the team, there's just no way that Samardzija pitches in relief this year - at least not to start the season. The bullpen is for failed starters, and Shark has not failed yet.

P.P.S. As I said in the article, Marmol is the best setup man in the game but until you see setup men getting 10 million a year contracts he's going to push to close. If the Cubs want to keep him for a while, they're going to have to let him go there even if he's more valuable as a setup guy.

Oops

Yeah, read every word up to So Taguchi and decided to respond. Didn't see the mention of Gathright and Hoffpauer even though I was looking for them.

Hoffpauer is going to fill Daryl Ward's shoes (and better). To say that you don't see him as a major league success is a joke because he's done nothing but succeed at this level; I understand he was only up for a short period of time, but he hit major league pitchers well.

Regarding the Rivas vs. Hoffpauer argument, we have three middle infielders who are capable of playing both spots. The weakness is behind Aramis at third; that's where trading DeRosa hurts the most. We have an extra outfielder this year in Gathright. He's taken Cedeno's (4th MIF) roster spot; they'll need to figure out some way to balance that out.

I'm sold on Gathright being a specialist off the bench. I really don't think Taguchi is around after Spring training.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised to see Samardzija sent down after camp to work on becoming a starter. I think they want him to get more pitches before taking on that role at the major league level & the bullpen should be deep enough early in the season for him to do so.

If you take what I said before, but take out Samardzija and put in Rivas, I think we're close.

At the moment, the Cubs have

At the moment, the Cubs have 3 guys with middle infield experience - 2 of them will be starters, and Mike Fontenot did not play shortstop well during a brief audition. If you really feel comfortable with letting Aaron Miles be the team's ONLY backup for 2nd, SS, and 3B that's great, but don't expect me to join you.

The Baseball Almanac is full of players like The Hoff who needed 3+ tries to hit well at AAA and/or had one brief brilliant month of success in the Major Leagues. His age and his LACK of success in his first trips to Iowa are very concerning. That he's on the bubble with the Cubs and yet no team has pursued him is telling. That so many Cub fans have a mancrush on the guy is predictable. Still, he's neither versatile enough to be the 5th outfielder nor is he likely to be productive enough to be a starter anywhere.

Like I say, I like him a lot, but I also liked Doug Dascenzo and Brooks Kieshnick.

Dlee

Why not have lee bat 2 his power numbers are not what they used to be
I'm thinkin:
1-theriot
2-lee
3-Bradley
4-A-Ram
5-Sori
6-fuku
7-soto
8-miles/fontenot

The one thing that worries

The one thing that worries me about Lee is the number of double plays he hit into last year ... although I'm pretty sure it was flukish. Still, he'd be alright to bat #2 but only if a lefty batted leadoff.

RE: Dlee

I'd prefer to see:

1-Theriot
2-Fontenot/Miles
3-Soriano
4-Ramirez
5-Bradley
6-Lee
7-Soto
8-Fukudome

I think that based on his

I think that based on his pure ability, his lack of strikeouts, and his increasing walk totals, the best #3 guy is A-Ram. Maybe Lou knows something we don't, though.

I would like to see

I would like to see Samardzija on the 25 man roster out of camp, pitching in the rotation or relief, but purely from a numbers standpoint how is there room for him? Barring the case of an injury, in order to have Shark on the roster someone would have to be traded, clear waivers, or Angel Guzman would have to be granted an extra year in the minors. The cubs are likely to carry 7 relievers at any one time, 8 tops. So say Samardzija is named the 5th starter; then that leaves Marshall, Guzman, Gaudin, Vizcaino, Heilman, Cotts, Gregg, and Marmol - 8 pitchers for 7 roster spots. I think if all pitchers involved in the competition for roster spots could be optioned to AAA then Samardzija makes the team without a doubt, but that's far from the case. Given Samardzija's remaining options and the depth of pitching the team already has it makes sense to let him start the season in AAA. He can get his feet under him and get comfortable as a starter in AAA, where he is only a phone call away when someone lands on the DL or gets traded. Few teams in baseball can match the quality of the cubs' pitching staff from top-to-bottom, but what really sets them apart is having guys like Jeff Samardzija and Kevin Hart stashed away to bring up in May, June, or whenever needed.

Me Too

I agree. I would like to see Shark on the roster out of camp. I also agree that "stashing" arms away to bring up later is necessary. I'm really wondering how durable Z and Harden are going to be this year. You have many guys outside of the top 4 that can start in Marshall, Guadin, Guz and Hielman plus Shark and Hart in AAA. I also think that if the right deal comes along a trade will be made involving Cub relievers for some middle infield help.

Bullpen Balance

I agree with you about trading a couple relievers Matt. Presently, after Marmol and Gregg, there isn't a single reliever who is effective against both LH and RH hitters. In fact, all of the righthanders other than Samardzija (who had a brief debut and will likely end up in the rotation, whether it's in AAA or in the big leagues) are pretty much carbon copies of each other. Consider the following splits over the last three seasons combined (a pretty good sample size).

These are the BA, OBP, SLG, and OPS allowed stats for each:

Gaudin
vs LH .276 .372 .424 .795
vs RH .242 .316 .385 .700

Heilman
vs LH .256 .348 .435 .783
vs RH .223 .282 .318 .601

Vizcaino
vs LH .261 .351 .469 .820
vs RH .217 .305 .379 .683

Letting these three face lefties is asking for disaster and a worn out bullpen, especially since the Cubs have a rotation full of six inning pitchers. As for the two lefty candidates, Marshall and Cotts, Marshall has gotten better each year and will be valuable as a long reliever and spot starter. His splits are nearly identical:

Marshall
vs LH .243 .328 .439 .767
vs RH .268 .333 .431 .764

That's not great, but he is young and likely to improve. Cotts on the other hand, has had one decent year and to put it bluntly, stinks.
Cotts
vs LH .262 .321 .487 .808
vs RH .288 .371 .489 .861

I would like to see the Cubs hang onto Heilman as their RH specialist and trade Gaudin, Vizcaino and Cotts. Hopefully, Samardzija has a huge spring and takes the 5th starter spot and runs with it. That leaves Marmol, Gregg, Heilman, and Marshall in the bullpen. Then Hendry really needs to acquire a lefty specialist. Dennys Reyes and Joe Beimel are the top free agents out there, and both dominate lefties.

Reyes
vs LH .202 .265 .266 .531
vs RH .281 .372 .410 .781

Beimel
vs LH .232 .274 .304 .578
vs RH .280 .350 .397 .747

Guzman, who still has some upside and probably not much trade value, could fill the 6th bullpen slot in long relief. There is some debate about whether or not Guzman has an option left and can be sent to the minors without having to pass thru waivers. If he does have an option remaining and isn't convincing in exhibition play, he could go start in AAA and Hendry could either go with Hart, Stevens, Wells, or maybe even Stanton if he has anything left, in the 6th bullpen spot. Better yet, Hendry could acquire another reliever by dealing Vizcaino, Cotts, and Gaudin.

2009 Lineup

Remember the 1986 Mets? What does that have to do with the 2009 Cubs lineup? The Cubs have two guys I'd like to see play every day and currently are role players: Mike Fontenot and Reed Johnson. These guys remind me of tough, lil' bit nasty guys from the '86 Mets (think Lenny Dykstra). Fukudome will not be the answer this year or for the remainder of his dreaded contract. Here's my lineup:

1. Theriot, ss
2. Lee, 1b
3. Bradley, rf
4. Aramis, 3b
5. Soto, c
6. Soriano, lf
7. Fontenot, 2b
8. Johnson, cf

I should have come up with a different headline

It might have helped me to throw Andy Dolan off the scent so he wouldn’t steal this as a blog entry 1 day later. But it probably wouldn't have worked.

What is the situation with David Patten

who we aquired for cash from the Reds after he was selected in the Rule 5 draft? Does he have to make ther roster?

Outfield

Rather than give the totally one dimensional Joey Gathright a roster spot, why not re-sign Jim Edmonds? As the saying goes, you can't steal first base. Edmonds can play any of the outfield spots and would provide a starter with some pop to play when Bradley is out of the lineup hurt or to give him a day off. With Bradley on the bench, if Lou makes the mistake of leaving Soriano in the leadoff spot, that would leave the middle of the lineup with only Ramirez, Lee, and Soto, who won't be able to play everyday. So Edmonds would be a great addition and he'd also be a nice veteran bat to have off the bench.

OF-Bradley, Fukudome, Soriano, Johnson, and Edmonds
IF-Lee, Fontenot, Theriot, Ramirez, Miles, and
C-Soto and Hill/Bako

That leaves two more spots on the bench if they go with 11 pitchers. They would be shorthanded in the middle infield and without a very viable backup option for 3B. I was hoping to see Hendry sign Rich Aurilia, but since he's elected to go back to SF, a couple other RH bench options could be signing free agent Mark Grudzielanek who absolutely crushed LHP last year to the tune of a .972 OPS and put up a respectable .321 BA and .816 OPS against LHP over the past three years combined. Another option would be trading for Xavier Nady (a former third baseman), who the Yankees are trying to deal. Nady has posted a .296 BA and .863 OPS against LHP over the past three seasons, and hasn't exactly been a slouch vs RHP either with a .287 BA and .812 OPS. Ray Durham is another guy who is still out there and could be another economy driven bargain. Internally, the Cubs have Micah Hoffpauir and Jake Fox as LH and RH power options off the bench.

Well here's the thing if D

Well here's the thing if D Lee doesn't show flashes of his 2005 form which isn't going to happen then he needs to drop down fast. I feel A-Ram is the best fit for the 3 hitter OK and why not Soriano in the 4 spot he only capable person of hitting 40+ homers not only that Heres my lineup
1. Theriot Bats R
2. Fontonot(High OBP) Bats L
3. A-Ram(I Stated MY case for both 3 and 4) Bats R
4. Soriano Bats R
5. Bradley (Bats LEFTY/RIGHTY)
6. D LEE (HE STILL RELIABLE HES A GREAT 6 MAN NOT AS GOOD AS BEN GORDON BULLS THOUGH) BATS R
7.SOTO (WE PRETTY MUCH KNOW WHAT WHERE GONNA GET HERE) BATS R
8 FUKODOME L GIVEM CONSISTENT AT BATS FOR NOW IF HE DOESNT DO GOOD REED NEEDS TO GO IN. A BATS L
9. PITCHER (ITS WHATEV)

LINEUP

Well here's the thing if D Lee doesn't show flashes of his 2005 form which isn't going to happen then he needs to drop down fast. I feel A-Ram is the best fit for the 3 hitter OK and why not Soriano in the 4 spot he only capable person of hitting 40+ homers not only that Heres my lineup
1. Theriot Bats R
2. Fontonot(High OBP) Bats L
3. A-Ram(I Stated MY case for both 3 and 4) Bats R
4. Soriano Bats R
5. Bradley (Bats LEFTY/RIGHTY)
6. D LEE (HE STILL RELIABLE HES A GREAT 6 MAN NOT AS GOOD AS BEN GORDON BULLS THOUGH) BATS R
7.SOTO (WE PRETTY MUCH KNOW WHAT WHERE GONNA GET HERE) BATS R
8 FUKODOME L GIVEM CONSISTENT AT BATS FOR NOW IF HE DOESNT DO GOOD REED NEEDS TO GO IN. A BATS L
9. PITCHER (ITS WHATEV)
SOMEOBODY TELL ME WHY THIS WONT WORK

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