GROTA Round Table: 2010 Predictions, Part 4
Part 2, Expectations
1. What's one thing you think will happen this year that no one else expects?
Rob - Soriano becomes the fifth outfielder, eventually spending most of the year on the DL with a mystery ailment.
Yarbage - I really think the Cubs win the Central. Last year, everybody was on the Cubs bandwagon, but one bad move and a shoulder separation later it is all about the Cardinals. If there is one thing that Chris Carpenter has taught us it is that he can’t stay healthy for long periods of time. The Cardinals also are counting on washed up Brad Penny, silly Cardinals.
Byron - On July 4th, Aliens will park these monstrous space ships above all the major world cities, but the only city they'll attack is Rio de Janeiro. Chicago ends up getting the 2016 Olympics after all, and... oh sorry. The Cubs? Maybe free beer coupons on Fan Appreciation weekend.
Mike - Marlon Byrd hits 25+ homeruns and we're excited to have him.
Peter - Jeff Baker is the starting second baseman by June.
AJ - I think Alfonso Soriano will hit .290 and knock in 90 RBI. I know everyone is thinking he's old and automatically on the decline, but I think his power will play much better in the 6-hole than it did in the leadoff spot. That's probably a more bold prediction than "John Grabow will suck."
Phil - When Xavier Nady gets healthy, he will put up some great numbers and become a fan favorite.
Kurt - All of the offensive question marks get answered with authority. Ramirez? Healthy and productive. Lee? His decline is gentle and non team-destructive. Byrd? A solid addition to the outfield. Soto? A great year back. Fukudome? His mediocrity is neither worse nor is it detracting from the team. Even Fontenot puts up respectable numbers.
2. How disappointed should we be if the Cubs fail to make the playoffs?
Rob - on one hand, nobody, absolutely nobody in the 'legit' media expects it. On the other hand, perspective tells us that this team is still more talented and competitive than any other Cubs team since the late 60's-early 70's. We're closer than we've been in nearly a century. If a deadline trade can be made, and isn't, I will be crushed.
Yarbage - The Cubs have spent a lot of money, but it has not been the best return on investment. All of the questions I hear about the Cubs is the rotation, but I think they will be just fine. Zambrano, Dempster, Ted Lilly and Randy Wells are a solid top four, and it shouldn’t be too hard to get one guy to step up for the no. 5 spot. That should be enough to better the Cardinals.
Byron - We should be disappointed because the Cubs should make the playoffs (and win the World Series) every year. How disappointed will I be? Just mildly.
Mike - If you're being rational, not very. You shouldn't think the Cubs are a sure thing to make the playoffs. If anything, be upset that Hendry and co. have managed to build a $140M .500 ballclub.
Peter - No one seems to be picking the Cubs to win this year, so from a media standpoint it shouldn't be a disappointment. However, this team is more talented than they have been given credit for and should at least make a decent run at the top of the division and/or the Wild Card. I'll only be disappointed if this team decides to mail it in by August. Outside of being competitive through the whole season, everything else should be considered gravy.
AJ - Not very, but I think that's the point this year. Last offseason, everything we read said "Cubs are a lock to win NL Central," and I think the pressure made the chemistry and injury issues look even worse. This time around, no one will be surprised if we go .500 -- which will make it all the more fun if we do get hot at some point.
Phil - Not that disappointed. I'll be disappointed if they are not at least competing for a playoff spot though.
Kurt - For the money they are paying, and for the even lesser likelihood of a 2011 playoff trip (due to the contracts of aging mediocres like Sori and Fuku), this is a must-make year for the Cubs. I'll be disappointed if they fail.
Stay tuned! In part 5, we'll be discussing the future of Hendry and Piniella, the team MVP, and the team goat!