Fixing the roster in easy steps
Let's see if I've got this straight. At this moment, the Cubs have on their 25 roster 12 pitchers and 13 fielders.
Of those 12 pitchers, 7 are relievers. Of those 7 relievers, 1 is a Rule V pick and 1 is a LHP.
Of those 13 fielders, there are 2 catchers, 2 1B (one of whom can theoretically play RF and LF), 2 2B (one who plays third, one who plays shortstop), 1 SS, 1 3B, 2 LF (one who plays CF), 2 CF (one who can play all other outfield positions) and 1 RF.
At the moment, the following players are hurt: Derrek Lee (stiff neck), Aramis Ramirez (sore leg), Milton Bradley (sore groin), Carlos Marmol (sore leg), Geovany Soto (sore shoulder in my opinion).
That means the Cubs effectively have 2 catchers (Soto, Three Finger), 1 first baseman (Hoffpauir), 1 second baseman (Miles), 1 shortstop (Theriot), 1 third baseman (Fontenot), 2 left fielders (Soriano, Gathright), 1 center fielder (Johnson), and 1 right fielder (Fukudome).
This. Is. Not. GOOD.
But worse than this current situation of gum and twine is the fact that even if everybody is healthy they're still dangerously thin due to Lou's insistance of keeping 7 relievers and a backup first baseman. We've seen already just how easy it is for the Cubs to come undone by a few troublesome injuries. Therefore I am going to propose the following simple moves that the Cubs can take to rectify their current situation.
Round One: Disabled List Roll Call
- Place the following players on the DL: Milton Bradley, Geovany Soto, Carlos Marmol. Let's be honest. Bradley's a waste right now. Geo Soto has something wrong. Maybe a trip to the DL will help him straighten out his problems. And Marmol might be ok and not needing a trip to the DL, but better safe than sorry with your best arm out of the pen.
- I'd replace my DL'd Cubs with the following 3 players:
IF Bobby Scales - One of my favorite players from Spring Training, Scales has started out hot in Iowa batting .328 in 67 at bats. He'd be the eventual equivilent replacement of Joey Gathright once Bradley came back.
IF/OF/C Jake Fox - Fox plays first, third, and left field (and has caught in the past). Fox has already hit 11 homeruns in Iowa and was doing well in Spring Training before he got cut.
LHP Jason Waddell - the Cubs aren't exactly brimming with lefty talent this year, but Neal Cotts needs help. (Actually he needs to be cut but it ain't gonna happen just yet). I think the Cubs should promote Waddell - who has an ERA of 3.12 in 9 relief appearances - and, should Waddell be capable of handling major league hitting, cut Cotts and replace him with another lefty down the line.
Round 2: Roster Moves
So long as my three Cubs remained on the DL, I'd probably hold off on making too many roster cuts. However, once Bradley, Soto, and Marmol were set to return, I would cut the following players:
- Cut Joey Gathright. Whatever he brings to the table can't possibly be better than that of any number of minor league outfielders in the Cubs system. Maybe Lou chose to keep him around on the assumption that Milton Bradley would eventually get hurt, but Gathright is not receiving the play time - nor putting up the numbers - to justify a roster spot on a major league club.
- Cut David Patton. Sorry, I know, we love his unlikely story and the fact that he says Yogi Berraesque things. But the Cubs bullpen is too weak to justify his continued prescence. In fact, I reallllly don't understand this need for 7 relief pitchers. Let's just cut Patton and go with 6.
- Cut Angel Guzman. See above. It's time for Jim Hendry to let go; Guzman's ability does not justify his place on the roster, especially if Samardzija has been promoted to pitch in relief for the Cubs.
This would basically ensure a better balance on the Cubs. They'd no longer have 7 relievers, but the 6 in place would theoretically be a lot better at their jobs -- and as I previously mentioned, once Waddell proves himself as a lefty in the majors I'd cut Cotts and find somebody else to replace him.
Anyway, here's what the lineup would look like once everybody is healthy:
SP - Zambrano, Lilly, Dempster, Harden, Marshall
Bullpen - LHP Cotts, Waddell, RHP - Samardzija, Heilman, Marmol, CL Gregg
C - Soto, Hill
IF - Lee, Fontenot, Theriot, Ramirez, Hoffpauir, Miles, Scales, Fox
OF - Soriano, Fukudome, Bradley, Johnson, Hoffpauir, Fox
The team would be better balanced, they'd have greater depth, and they'd be less inclined to go all topsy-turvy at the first sign of multiple freak injuries. But maybe it makes too much sense to ever happen? You decide.