Kurt's special Cubs roster scenarios post
Editor/Writer's Note - In an earlier post today, Rob made a very eloquent point when he wrote "Where's the funny?" Sometimes it's hard to forget that I am but a simple blogger, and not an expert baseball analyst. So, I will make an effort to remember the funny - or at least my bizarre, humorless brand of it - in the future.
I posted an article the other day in which I proposed the two likeliest lineups if the Cubs entered April with their current roster. Since I'm off work early, I figured I'd take another crack at it and look at a few possible hypothetical moves the Cubs could perhaps theoretically potentially make, maybe. Let's revisit the two of recent debate first:
Option the First - Cubs stand pat
I'm on record as not being a fan of this option. This option puts DeRosa in RF, it puts Fontenot at 2B, and it makes the Cubs a worse team offensively than they were last year. I'm basing this statement on two facts - the surprising offensive boon of Reed/Edmonds in center won't be back, and DeRosa is more likely to put up similar numbers to Fontenot than he is to duplicate '08's offensive bounty. And let's not even get started on the likelihood that meh-diocre shortstop Ryan Theriot is likely to return to earth in a ball of of screaming fire. (Yes, I know, fire doesn't actually scream, but when things fall to earth from the heavens they do make a kind of noise that mimics how most women sound when they see me nekkid for the first time.)
Option the Second - Cubs sign Dunn, and either start in in LF (moving Soriano to RF) or in RF
I am on record here saying that I find this option to be better than the first one. I'll clarify a bit and say that it's still pretty shizz-itty. As Maddog and others have so aptly pointed out, Dunn is the defensive equivilent of a box, while he is the offensive equivilent of a boom. (I guess that makes him a boxboom or something.) Smarter people than me have pointed out that his defensive shortcomings completely defeat his offensive gains, and lamer people than me have voiced unequivocal support for Dunn even over a better option like Milton Bradley.
Nobody's really given me a direct answer, but I admit I don't know everything - or even much, really - and I'm wondering why Soriano would be a bad choice in RF. While it's true that he drops too many easy fly balls, I would think that he'd adjust to playing RF in Wrigley before too long and his arm is so plus that it tricks pregnancy tests. But if Sori would be defensively atrocious in RF, and if Dunn would be defensively attrocious in LF, while I still think* the net gain of runs would be higher than Option The First, this is still not what you'd call a good option. While it's really not my money, it's probably not the optimal way to spend 12 or more million a year. Let's explore other ideas.
(*I could be wrong about that, and some people would be happy to tell you just how wrong I am. But I ask you, if I'm so wrong, doesn't it eventually become a double negative, therefore making me right? Smoke that one in your pipe, pal!)
Option the Third - Cubs sign Bradley to play RF, and either deal DeRo or keep him at second
Now we're cooking with napalm. Bradley may not have the healthiest body, but neither did Andre Dawson. He may not have the best attitude, but neither did Dave Kingman. He may not have the ... well, that's pretty much where the may nots stop. Bradley hits the ball with anger, he's defensively decent when healthy, and he is a switch hitter. He is without a doubt a superior option to Adam Dunn. Note to those who disagree with this irrefutable fact: it doesn't matter how epic a homerun he hits, nor does it matter what crazy OPS he has, Adam Dunn's game is so one-dimensional that if it turned sideways he could slide through the cracks of a closed door. I'm just sayin'.
As for DeRosa, I'm not opposed to the Cubs trading him but I'd be less inclined if they sign Bradley for one simple reason: insurance. Bradley has a potential to injure, and if he goes down then DeRosa would almost certainly be an adequate replacement in the outfield. However, one reason to advocate a trade - Fontenot is a much cheaper lefty option with the potential to put up similar numbers to DeRosa.
Option the Fourth - Cubs sign Bobby Abreu to play RF, and either deal DeRo or keep him at second
This is also a better option than Dunn. I've been pretty well opposed to signing Abreu because he's old, his numbers are on the decline, and he's not a defensive juggernaut. However, if he'd entertain a shorter contract, he probably has a few good years left in him and might be worth pursuing, and chances are he won't cost any more than Dunn would. I'd say this isn't as good an option as #3, but if the Cubs did indeed sign Bobby Abs, then I'd be more welcoming to a DeRosa trade.
Besides, if Abreu - or for that matter Dunn or Bradley - was in the lineup with Fontenot, then the Cubs could basically try a batting order consisting of...
1. Theriot, R
2. Fontenot, L
3. Ramirez, R
4. Bradley/Dunn/Abreu, S/L
5. Soriano, R
6. Lee, R
7. Soto, R
8. Fukudome, L
Or even ...
1. Fontenot, L
2. Lee, R
3. Bradley/Dunn/Abreu S/L
4. Ramirez, R
5. Soriano, R
6. Soto, R
7. Fukudome, L
8. Theriot, R
It would be just a little more evenly distributed of a lineup, one which would give me warm and fuzzy feelings in my stomach as the Cubs approached October as an offensive juggernaut bound to win the World Series.
Option the Fifth - Hendry makes a trade for a yet-to-be-determined RFer who bats lefty
Possibly the most likely option. If the Cubs are playing on a shoe-stringed budget, then this might be their only path to improvement. Chances are, this theoretical guy would have the ability to put up similar numbers to DeRosa in '08 and the Cubs could then focus on moving DeRo for some bullpen help while trying desperately to make ammends to the Cub Fan Nation for letting Kerry Wood sign with Cleveland. Jim Hendry, I'll never forgive you unless you buy me a car, or at least pay off my student loans.
Last week when things got obnoxiously serious, I was painted into a corner of Dunn Defense. Although I said "he's not my first choice," I still became a Dunn apologist and nobody seemed to bother to ask "if he's not your first pick, then who is?"
All told, I'll maintain the following view point: sitting on one's laurels is not good, because one rarely gets the chance to stand up. But all told, Dunn is for Dopes. I suspect and maintain that he'll be a plus compared to any DeRosa other than the '08 model - even when you take into account that he plays the outfield like it's littered with banana peels - but that doesn't make him the best option for the Cubs. Instead, pursue Milton Bradley. Chase Abreu. Swing an Epic Trade that will cause many Cub fans to shiz their piz's. (Hint: piz in this case = pants.) But please, whatever happens, do not stand pat. I'd like to see an even better Cubs team in 2009 than what we saw in 2008, because all good teams - even when they have a solid nucleus of players - has an expiration date, and there is no promise that the 2010 Cubs will be in position to do anything but suck.