Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GROTA Round Table: 2010 Predictions, Part 3

Round Table
Welcome to Part 3 of our continuing round-table adventure!  In this edition, we look at Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, and the Cubs bullpen.

Over/Under

6. Alfonso Soriano, 120 games played

Rob - as they say in all the new Bud Light commercials, Here We Go...under.  Under.  Under. In disclosure,I felt he was the best free-agent of the offseason of 2006-7, and the fact that WE signed him signaled a new era in the franchise.  The Signing of Soriano is so much bigger in Cubs History than his mere contribution as a player, which at this point in time, is nearly nil.

Here is the weakest link, kids.  IMHO, Soriano is done.  D-U-N.  If I was Piniella, I'd bench his limpy ass right now, and dare Tommy RIcketts to fire me.  The Cubs have better learn to play without this guy.  Maybe Zell put a gun to Hendry's head when they signed this guy, because, woof.  I'm not saying he's jaking it, no.  And if somebody offered me 100 bazillion dollars to play a kids' game, I'd take it too.  But, jeez, what a horrible, miserable contract.

Yarbage -  If he hits I think he will play in over 120 games, but I’m not sure he’s going to hit. We’re paying him a lot of money, so I’ll take the over on this one.

Byron - Over. Soriano stays healthy but probably not very good. This is a double whammy, keeping Colvin on the bench and loading us with a little Fred McGriff redux.

Mike - Sori's played 135, 109, and 117 games in his three seasons on the Northside.  Another year older, more brittle, and with $19M more in his pocket, I dont expect him to reverse the trend.  buckle up Cubs fans, this contract's getting HIDEOUS starting this year.  I'll predict 105 games, a .260 average and maybe 18 HR.

Peter - Over.  I figure he has to actually earn the money he's getting paid... right?  If he hits, he will play.  I get that Tyler Colvin is the biggest item of praise to hit the North Side since Sam Fuld!, but I don't see him in the everyday role just yet.  Thus, we could really use Soriano's alleged bat.  Here's to hoping that Jaramillo gets Fonzie back on track.

AJ - Over. Between Colvin and Nady, I think Soriano benefits from more regular rest, and that it helps him stay healthier longer.

Phil - Under. Soriano probably won't be healthy, and when he's be healthy I am seeing strikeouts and pain. And Awful, awful errors. *sigh*....

Kurt - Over, for one simple reason: he's bound to have one healthy season with the Cubs.  And if he has one healthy season, he's bound to do well.  And if he has one healthy season, his defense is bound to be better.  And ... and ... well, maybe not.  But Phil, Sori's defensive woes in 2009 were almost certainly because of his leg problems.  If he's healthy, he'll be an asset in the outfield.  Mostly.

7. Geovany Soto, 162 second helpings at dinner

Rob  -  Under.  This year we get Skinny Soto.  Who knows for next year, though.

Yarbage -
Geo’s lost 40 and I’ve lost 75, so I’m thinking his second helpings are gone like his weight, because I gave them up and started running. I figure he’s as committed as I am.

Byron - Geo and I went to Weight Watchers together this winter. Geo was successful, I wasn't. I'll take the under.

Mike -
Under.  He'll stay skinny.  Is this a shot at his weight or his affinity for pot?  I'm confused.

Peter -
Under.  If the under doesn't happen, the Cubs should look into adding a "burrito clause" to his contract like the Astros did for Carlos Lee.

AJ - For fun, I'm going to interpret second helpings as doubles plus home runs plus RBIs, and I'm going to call it a push.

Phil - Hey, it's another question mark on the 2010 Cubs! (Seriously, does any team have more question marks going into the year as this team?) Geo will stay fit, and what a handsome young chap he is! Under

Kurt - Under.  Actually this is the year where we find out how well he plays when under pressure.  In 2008, we saw his pure ability.  In 2009, we saw what happens when he doesn't make the effort.  In '10, he has the pressure of production coupled with the knowledge that one more bad year makes him a likely bust, despite the fact that he clearly has the ability to produce when shapely (hey, if "in good health" = healthy, then "in good shape" = shapely, right?).  I'm interested in seeing how he handles it.

8. The bullpen, 10 changes by the All Star Break

Rob - Over.  Lilly will return, this bullpen is young, and I still believe that Hoffpauir and one of the Second Basemen du Jour will get traded for a Jason Frasor-esque figure before long.

Yarbage - Wow, it seems like a lot of changes, but I could see it really easy. The bullpen was really rough last year and they could use another piece, because I’m not sure “The Shark” will be an effective pitcher. I’m going with the under, because 10 seems like a whole lot of changes by July.

Byron - I think I should ask for the definition of what exactly a bullpen change is... but I really don't have to. Unless you define it as the Ricketts moving the physical location of the bullpen, I'm pretty safe taking the over.

Mike - Over.  There's gonna be a lot of moving and shaking...there's just too many similar pieces in Iowa (Gaub, Stevens, Gray, Mateo, Parisi, Diamond, Parker, etc.) that they could shuffle with the current back-end of Smardge, Russell, and Berg.

Peter - Over.  The 'pen is a work in progress and will go through periods of fluidity until the right formula is found.  Hopefully that formula involves a trade for a veteran reliever that isn't washed out.

AJ - Well, let's count. Russell will go down for Lilly, Shark will go down for Gray, Berg seems likely to be replaced... I don't see 10. Maybe six or seven, though.

Phil -  Over, and probably over by May. This bullpen will more than likely kill any legitimate attempt the Cubs have of contending this year. This Bullpen will beat us down, make us cry, and sadly, we know it's coming.

Kurt - As ridiculous as this seems, over.  The bullpen will be one of woe in 2010.

Stay tuned for Part 4 of the Round Table, where we discuss our specific expectations of the team.  I'm particularly interested in the answers to the first question I asked the group, "what's the one thing you think will happen this year that nobody expects?"  If anybody shares the same answer, then they're automatically wrong!  Can't wait!  Stay tuned!

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award