Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Who goes where

Ok, here's what I say we do for right now.

Given that Lou Piniella has just announced we're "set" for starting pitching, I'm taking that into account and not adding any starters.

SP1: Zambrano

SP2: Dempster

SP3: Harden

SP4: Lilly

SP5: Note 1

SP6/Swing man: Note 1

Closer 1: Note 1

Closer 2: Note 2 and Note 4

Set-up 8th inning: Carlos Marmol

Set-up 6-7th inning: Kevin Hart *OR* Michael Wuertz

Long Reliever/Mop-up guy: Rich Hill

Lefty One-Out GuY: Neal Cotts

Catcher 1: Soto

Catcher 2: Blanco (Having this good a backup catcher is worth 3 million)

1B: Lee

2B/Util: DeRosa

3B: Ramirez

SS: Cedeno

Backup 2B/SS: Theriot

LF: Soriano

CF1: Edmonds

CF2: Reed Johnson

RF: Fukudome, presuming he can re-learn to hit

Util/PH 1: Hoffpauir, or if he suddenly starts sucking, sign Doug Mientkiewicz while his price is low (We need a backup first baseman other than Daryle Ward)

Util/PH 2: Note 3

Util/PH 3: Note 4

Note 1: As of now, Marquis is the fifth starter, and Samardzija is the closer. If we can sign/develop someone else to be closer, than Samardzija is the 5th starter, and Marquis is the Swing Man.

Note 2: I believe in having two closers: that way you can bring in one in a critical situation (i.e. bases loaded, none out, small lead) early in the game, and bring in the other in the 9th inning. However, the 9th-inning closer should be gotten as cheaply as possible, as he's not as important (in my opinion) as the guy who can get you out of bases-loaded no-out jams with minimal damage.

Note 3: I don't know who's available to fill this slot. I advocate Nick Punto, who can play 2B, 3B, and SS, and well (although he might need some practice at wrigley, being used to the Metrodome) and who earned $2.4M last year while putting up decent numbers. He can probably be had for a discount.

Note 4: Realistically, we aren't going to get the two closers I advise, so drop one of them for another backup bat, preferably an outfielder who can play all outfield positions. Maybe Scott Podsednik, who earned $750,000 last year, doesn't hit too well, but can play both LF and CF fairly well, and has just over 100 career innings in RF (and did well in those games.)

 

In short, the three guys not on the Cubs last year I advocate signing are 1. a closer, any closer; 2. Nick Punto, 3. Scott Podsednik. For the closer role, one possibility that can be had cheap is Juan Rincon; yes, he's sucked the last two years, but was dominant for 3 years before that; if we can make Lilly not suck, and Marquis suck less, we can probably fix up Juan Rincon. He made $2.5M last year but
can probably be had for less given the ERA the last two years; maybe even sign him to a minor league contract and see if he can put it together in spring training.

I think these three guys can be had for a total well under $10M, as we'd be "buying low" on all three. This wouldn't put much of a dent in the budget while retaining the other 22 guys I mentioned.

We might have some in-house

We have some in-house people who can do this stuff just as cheaply.

Specifically, from your '3 guys not on the Cubs list', these roles can be easily taken care of by

1. Kevin Gregg (if you think that 'closing experience' is worth anything...he's just serviceable IMHO. I do agree that Marmol as Fireman is the best deployment, but I am skeptical that the rest of the BP can be managed around that by ANY current manager, except maybe Acta)
2. Ronny Cedeno
3. Felix Pie

These guys are already under the team's control, so we don't have to shell out the money for expensive 'veterans' who would put up the same mediocre stats. No thanks especially to Punto and Pods.

Also, as much of a fan I am of Rich Hill, there's no way he sniffs the 25 man roster this year. I don't really view Cotts as a LOOGY - the splits just aren't there for him.

EDIT: I didn't see that you had Cedeno slotted in as SS. Still, he can back up 3b (along with Derosa) and we still have Riot and Fontenot to play MI. The last thing the Cubs need is ANOTHER middle infielder

Samardzija will not close.

Kevin Gregg is the first candidate. Behind him, like last year, is Marmol. Carlos pitched in several save situations last year, and would almost certainly be considered as the next option if Gregg doesn't work out. Also, where are Marshall and Gaudin in this write-up?

Cedeno should not start in front of Theriot.

Also, I want nothing to do with Scott Podsednik, or Doug Mientkiewicz for that matter.

Maybe take one more look at what the Cubs already have.

How is this an upgrade?

"1. a closer, any closer; 2. Nick Punto, 3. Scott Podsednik."

Not an upgrade that i think will win us anything more than we haven't this year.

Lilly had a worse ERA this year, but overall his stuff looked better this year than the year before. He doesn't 'suck' per se, but he's got a little bit better stuff, his curveball has been getting him into more trouble with his control, but his fastball has gotten better.

Why a closer? I mean, I'm not sold on Marmol as the ANSWER yet, but I think we have our power pitcher firefighter guy in Samardjiza who's able to give you 1+ innings in the 6-7 to transition into Gregg-Marmol. Marmol hasn't shown me a real ability to come back after a bad night like I'd want from the closer role, but he has the stuff i'd like out of our closer. Marmol HAS to be the closer in this situation in the 9th, even with his consistency issues. Samardjiza could close, but we want him to be throwing longer, not harder. Marmol on the other hand. Three Innings.

I would agree that we are looking for some middle relief in the very near future, but we don't need a closer.

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