Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Here comes the sun

Realistically speaking, with the pickup of Milton Bradley the Cubs have probably made their last huge addition to the team, barring a trade of some kind for a #5 starter - and we have to assume that Jake Peavy is probably a slimly acquirable option.

Already many of us Goat Riders have posted our lineup thoughts, so I figure what better way to start a Wednesday morning than to open the topic up to you, the reader.  So, if you could, please answer the following questions:

1. What do you think will be the best possible lineup?

2. If the Cubs don't add another pitcher to the team, which current Cub becomes the #5 starter next year?

3. Do you think the Cubs will land Peavy?

4. Does my ass look big in these pants?

I look forward to reading - and forcefully disputing - your opinions.

1.

1. Soriano/Lee/Bradley/Ramirez/Soto/Fontenot/Theriot/Fukudome
1. Soriano/Lee/Bradley/Ramirez/Soto/Fontenot/Johnson/Theriot

2. Angel Guzman

3. I think they will. They didn't NEED (there are no italics so I just put "need" in caps) any more pitching prospects. They NEEDED (see above reason) hitting prospects. San Diego needs pitching prospects.

4. Not at all. You're wearing sweatpants.

You ass definitely looks big in them pants

...and I wasn't even trying to look. That would be ghey. It is just impossible to not notice, Oprah.

I forcefully dispute

I forcefully dispute this!!

You were TOTALLY trying to look, you fop-a-gop.

1) Sori2) Miles3) Lee4)

1) Sori
2) Miles / Theriot
3) Lee
4) Ram
5) Bradley
6) Soto
7) Fukk
Cool Theriot / Font-not

Jeff S # 5

Yes I think we will eventually...

No...the pants look small on your ass...

With Bradley seemingly

in the fold the question I have is this, if money and prospects are available to trade for Peavy, why not make a push for a slick fielding SS? Acquiring a stud SS will certainly be more difficult but it wouldn't hurt for Hendry to explore acquiring the youngsters in Atlanta and Frisco as well as are old MLB farm system the Pirates about J Wilson.

They way the Cubs sit presently, it looks as though Piniella has no desire to hit anyone other than Soriano in the lead off spot, so #2 thru #8 could look like this...
Fontenot 2B...Miles 2B
A-Ram 3B
Bradley RF...Soto C when Bradley sits
Lee 1B out of the respect Piniella has for him, should really be Soto
Fukudome CF/RF...Soto C when Johnson is in CF and Fukudome sits
Soto C...Johnson CF when Fukudome sits
Theriot SS...Miles SS
Gathright probably won't get many starts, but when he does it most likely will be in CF and hopefully Fukudome and Johnson, not Bradley will be on the bench. Hitting Gathright in the 2 hole would make the most of his speed and Fontenot could then hit in the 5 hole.

Marshall, Marshall, Marshall. If not, just let him know who he has to blow to get in the rotation.

I don't have a clue, but I think it's a luxury because we'd have to trade for him. Then you're back to square one with a stronger but less dependable $7M Harden as your 5th starter. If they are going to take on that kind of salary as well as the depleting their talent pool, why not sign a FA starter?

It's all about perception you know Kurt? If you want to look thin, stand next to fat people.

sori/font/ramirez/bradley/le

sori/font/ramirez/bradley/lee/soto/fuk/theriot

we need a solid lefty in the pen so i would say marshall is out. i would try guz or shark

i think peavy is not going anywhere it would cost too much. they dont want to deal

with those lovehandles who can see your ass???

Here goes...

Against RHP:
Soriano
Fukudome
Ramirez
Bradley
Lee
Soto
Fontenot
Theriot

Against LHP:
Soriano
Johnson
Ramirez
Bradley
Lee
Soto
Miles
Theriot

#2 - Marshall - unless Hill blows our socks off in March

#3 - No...I only see some bullpen or possible bench competition added

#4 - Those are pants?

Good sir!

1. Wow, defending this is going to take a lot of words. But whatever!

Against RHP/LHP:
Theriot
Fontenot/Johnson
Ramirez/Lee
Bradley/Soriano
Soto/Bradley
Soriano/Ramirez
Lee/Soto
Fukudome/Miles
Pitcher

I know Colin has said in the past, "Don't put Theriot in the leadoff spot, it's a really bad idea." But I have to do it.

Soriano is probably going to lead off in 2009. People have said that there are two reasons why he shouldn't--his power is being wasted with fewer RBI opportunities, and his OBP is low.

Well, as for getting on base, Ryan Theriot is patient at the plate. He can draw walks. And he doesn't strike out a lot, giving himself a chance to get on with his (decent) legs. He had a terrible OBP in 2007, and a great one in 2008. Both projections at fangraphs have him in the .360 range--that'll do for me.

As for power, none's being wasted here by having him lead off. Theriot doesn't hit home runs. He slaps singles, and draws walks. By getting to first base specifically, he forces the opposing pitcher to throw more fastballs for the batter behind him. DLee hit more double play balls because of the fact that Ryan, from the 2 hole, was on 1st so often.

The rest is just balancing handedness, having looked at 2008 splits, and distributing power throughout the lineup.

2.

That's a time sensitive question. In April, I think Marshall will be the fifth starter, but how many times does a team go through a season using only five starters? If he isn't traded, Jeff Stevens should almost definitely take Jeff Samardzija's place in the bullpen, and Shark should start in AAA. He then becomes the fifth starter whenever one of our five guys needs a break.

3.

Well, for one, they almost definitely need another starter. I think I'd like to see Samardzija contribute in the bullpen, but he can't do that unless we have some insurance to back up our current starting five. Second, they're going to make another trade this offseason. There just isn't room for all the young guys they have--specifically, Pie and Cedeno have to go. Gathright and Miles' signings are indicative of this fact. Why sign either of those guys when you already have a 5th OF and 3rd MI?

So, if they need another starter, and need to make a trade, then where else can they get both of these things done? Hendry is a deal maker, and this deal makes too much sense not to make it happen.

4.

Yep.

Problem is when

you are talking trading Cedeneo and Pie, what in the hell do you expect to get for them? Marshall would most likely have to be traded to get someone who could contribute to the team now and then you're short in the rotation.

I would think it would be easier and cheaper to pick up a FA lefty relief specialist than a starter and then you could keep Marshall in the rotation.

I don't know what it would take to get J Wilson from the Pirates but I know they are looking to get rid of his $7.5M contract. If the Cubs have the payroll flexibility to handle at least most of the Wilson's contract, they may be able to get away with trading a pitching prospect or two and Cedeneo for him. Wilson's a slick fielding SS with a strong arm and would be a big defensive improvement over Theriot.

Pie is a five-tool kid that

Pie is a five-tool kid that just hasn't had a consistent opportunity in the bigs. He has the potential to be a solid center fielder, and those guys don't grow on trees.

Cedeno is another young player, not yet 27, that can play a competent shortstop, and has some offensive upside. He's just dumb; I think you might be able to grow out of that.

Both could play for a team like the Padres--a non-competitive team looking to develop young talent for the future.

Add those two to Vitters and some young pitching to make the deal happen.

Also, Jack Wilson is too expensive for my taste. The upgrade isn't worth the $7MM, in my mind.

Seriously Jack Wilson for

Seriously Jack Wilson for $7M or Brian Roberts for $8M? Both require trading away talent to get them. But something as simple as adding Jack Wilson to play SS, then means Theriot slides to 2B, and suddenly the lineup just lost the balance that they worked so hard to get. With Wilson at SS and Riot at 2B, the team has 6 RH hitters in the lineup and 2 lefties. Which puts the Cubs back to square one; with an unbalanced lineup and 3 midgets in the middle infield.

Yeah, just to prove a point,

Yeah, just to prove a point, Roberts over Wilson. And I don't know how many Cubs fans out there are more opposed to a trade for Brian Roberts than I am.

Point on acquiring Wilson

is this...we make a significant upgrade at the most defensively important position in the infield. I'm certainly not advocating replacing Fontenot with Theriot for goodness sake, so that doesn't diminish the amount of LHB's in the lineup. As far as Roberts goes, 2B isn't nearly as important a defensive position as SS, and while I'd like a legit lead off man as well as the next guy, we don't know what crazy Angelo is going to want for Roberts or if he'll even make him available.

Theriot looks to occupy the 8 hole in the lineup next season and even though Wilson carries career offensive numbers of 270BA and 312OBP, he only K's a little more than one in ten times and in 2007 his last full season, he had 12 HR's as well. However it is Wilson's career fielding numbers are what's impressive with a 492RF and 978FP, and this is my point when you're talking about upgrading what most believe to be the most important defensive infield position..

As far as what we trade for Wilson, we could include Cedeneo or Theriot for that matter along with a pitching prospect or two, it really doesn't matter. Pittsburgh had the Dodgers interested in Wilson before the Furcal deal went down and the Cubs might get the Pirates to eat a million or two, especially if they acquired a MLB ready SS to replace Wilson.

This is what big market teams do to the small ones, take their good players they can no longer afford. I'm not confusing Wilson with Cal Ripken Jr. here, but in his last full season 2007, when compared with SS's that started at least 130 games, only Tulowitzki and Furcal had better RF and FP numbers than Wilson.

The significance of the Cubs adding a slick fielding SS to replace Theriot, who rated out as one of the worst fielding SS's in baseball last year, cannot be overlooked no matter what he hits. Theriot coming off of a career year at the plate will probably slide a little offensively and his power will never improve. Wilson's not cheap, but SS is where teams anchor their infield defense and with Theriot at SS, it really weakens the Cubs infield significantly.

Enough with Jumpin Jack Flash

Jack Wilson can field, but he's expensive ($7.25M), only signed for 1 year, he's old at 31, and likely his great defense that you love so much will decline as he ages and loses range and arm strength. By acquiring Wilson and trading Theriot, you would be getting worse at 2 different positions, 2B and SS. I would rather have Theriot at both SS ahead of Jack Wilson and at 2B ahead of Mike Fontenot. Theriot is younger, cheaper, and better offensively, and lends more payroll flexibility. For $7.25M plus the players you have to trade to get Jack Wilson, you could make 500 other moves at the same cost and each would be better than getting Jack Wilson. The Pirates not only are looking for another team's best prospects they are also looking for the their trade partner to pay all of Jumpin Jack's salary for 2009, quite a deal for some lucky team.

Theriot is not the ideal SS by any means, but in his 259 career games at SS he's made 23 errors with a .976 fielding percentage. Jack Wilson has played in many more games at SS (1054), has made 113 errors in those games, and his career fielding percentage is .978. I recognize that Wilson's fielding has improved over the last few years and has been better than his career average, but you can still expect anywhere from 10-18 errors from him over the course of the season. So I will give you that Wilson is a better fielder that gets to more balls than Theriot. However, that doesn't outweigh the additional offensive production Theriot provides (20 additional points on a batting average, 20 stolen bases, and 20 runs), plus Theriot is two years younger than Wilson, and Theriot comes at a fraction of the cost. I don't understand how you could want the team to trade for Jack Wilson but not Brian Roberts, when both make nearly the same amount of money and both would likely require a big package of players to obtain in a trade. I would much rather have Theriot-Roberts up the middle as opposed to Wilson/Fontenot, if a deal had to be made.

answers:

1) If he could actually hit down in the order, the ideal lineup would be:
Fukudome
Lee
Bradley
Ramirez
Soriano
Font
Soto
Theriot
Pitcher

But realistically (and since he can't hit when he's not "leadoff") it will looks something more like this:
Soriano
Fontenot/Theriot
Lee
Bradley
Ramirez
Soto
Fukudome
Theriot/Fontenot
Pitcher

2) Marshall
3) No -- but not from any lack of trying (again).
4) It's always safer to say No.

Dang...

should have read all of the comments before posting mine. I could have just seconded most of what you said.

My thoughts...

1. I think the best lineup depends on if Fukudome bounces back. If he does:
Fukudome/Lee/Bradley/Ramirez/Soriano/Fontenot/Soto/Theriot
Otherwise:
1. Soriano/Fontenot/Lee/Ramirez/Bradley/Soto/Fukudome/Theriot

2. Marshall

3. No

4. Those pants are way too tight. Definitely too tight.

Answers

1) Best Lineups

vs RH: Soriano - Fukudome - Ramirez - Bradley - Soto - Lee - Font - Riot - P

vs LH: Riot - Soriano - Ramirez - Bradley - Soto - Lee - Johnson - Font/Miles - P

2) Sean Marshall is the top choice if no one is added, however, Marshall likely isn't ready to take on 200+ innings in a season either. I would have to believe that he and Chad Gaudin would share the 5th stater slot, while the one not starting would be the long reliever out of the bullpen and spot starter. I assume that Angel Guzman and Jeff Smardjz will both likely have roles in the bullpen and help the team right now best in that capacity, but either could pitch their way into the rotation. Rich Hill is a long-shot, but he still has a shot to put it all together and take the 5th spot as well; maybe, hopefully, probably not.

3) I hope they get Peavy, but I don't think that its likely to happen. There are now ownership issues that have to be resolved on both ends, and add to that the fact that the asking price for Peavy isn't likely to come down any either. Trading DeRo takes away one of the proposed pieces in prior talks, and with Marquis traded away too, the cubs are left with few players they could send to San Diego to offset the cost of Peavy coming to Chicago.

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