What If We're Okay?
There has been a ton of hand-wringing on this site and others recently. From my ESP with my friend Kyle, I know he's not exactly happy, and he's my moral compass on all things Cubs. But here I demur.
What if we're okay? I mean, we have holes. That's true. Things are by no means perfect. Specifically, Marmol is most likely our new Rod Beck. Of course, that could be okay. Despite giving me an average of 2.3 heart attacks per outing, Mr. Beck actually was pretty decent that one year that he was raising the salaries of cardiologists everywhere. The next, well, we traded him, right? Heh.
Our lineup isn't perfect. We still lack a true leadoff hitter, as we have since I can remember (I don't think Kenny Lofton counts). Our best left-handed hitter is comparable to Randy Moss in terms of the WTF? factor. And of course Fonzie. If he hops one more time, I'm going to cut him off at the knees. I can't take Marmol and Fonzie for an entire season testing my testicular fortitude.
Theriot is still...Cajun? I don't know. I alternate between hating him and being somewhat okay with him. As long as he's league minimum, he's not going to be castrated Colin-style by me.
So, we have a questionablely complete 1B, a 2B who's never played a full season as a major league starter (last year does not count), a SS who is Cajun, a LF who should probably undergo psychiatric counseling, a CF who...doesn't yet exist, a RF who has never been a reliable fielder much less a reliable human being physically or emotionally, a 5th starter who...also doesn't exist, a setup man who I wasn't even sure was capable of that role, and a closer who has never regularly closed.
That makes me uneasy.
But not really. We had essentially the EXACT same thing last year. With the exception of RF (Fukudome was certainly a good fielder and human being, but lacked the consistent offense of Bradley) and 2B (but DeRo had never played like that before, and Aaron Miles has played a lot of ball). This is the mindset I had going in to last year. YES, I thought we were very good. But we aren't so bad now that this is worth losing it over.
In my oh so humble opinion, Mike Fontenot may have been one of the most impressive players down the stretch, where he always seemed to come up big in big situations. Milton, on the other hand, caused almost no commotion in Arlington, where the biggest story all year was about how much of a clubhouse cancer he was...as he was in no way a clubhouse cancer there. He may very well cause problems, and I am no one to judge his emotional stability, but he is also not Terrell Owens. The man at least has shown the desire to rise above his statistics.
I may be dead wrong. All of those concerns may turn out to be valid. But my point is that this is not that different than the way we entered last year. This year we have Satan/Zell to deal with as well. If we stay anywhere near .500 as we approach July and Death/Zell has finally sold the team, I DO have faith in Hendry to fix which ever of these problems has reared it's ugly (and unfixable without trading..) head.
Obviously, I would like upgrades at 5 starter, 2B, SS and CF. Jake Peavy would cause me to spend my last cent in jerseys. But...it's not that bad. I look at us and still see the best team in the NL Central. If Moose ever gets his act together, he is exactly the type of pitcher you want to throw in Game 2 to get your team on a roll (huge IF). Dempster is unlikely to drop to his low as he ended his last starting gig. He was playing on a broken Marlins team (thank you Jeffrey Loria) and had a toxic environment. I don't think MB is the type of problem Owens or Avery or even Bonds was towards a team.
I think we're okay. Not perfect, but this team should win a lot of games.
Cubs We Can Believe In.