Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Improving this roster?

A majority of what I write is often centered on how the cubs' roster could be managed more actively or aggressively, but I will be the first to admit that a good amount of the trades I throw out there are either overzealous or borderline ludicrous.  I enjoy looking at different ways the team can improve, but I will make a concerted effort to dial it down a touch by only offering up the more sensible ideas that roll through my brain from now on.

 

Improving the cubs roster at this point is no easy task.  There are few openings on the 25 man roster, players are still in the mix who are out-of-options, and payroll is inching towards its limit.

 

However, I see one additional move that could be made to improve this roster.  Its a move that is sensible and realistic, but its one that is also a sure-fire way to improve the teams' roster heading into the 2009 season.  The move I am suggesting is that the cubs consider adding a solid catcher to the roster to backup GeoSoto, one that is perhaps capable of contibuting more to the team than Paul Bako.

 

No team in baseball can avoid carrying a backup catcher on their 25 man roster, so it should be viewed as a viable role on any team.  Geovany Soto started 133 games behind the plate in 2008 for the cubs, where most would argue that he could have used more time off than what he got to remain healthy throughout the entire season.  So the cubs' backup catcher should be prepared to start roughly 30-45 games this season, which is approximately one quarter of the season.  So my suggestion is basically to sign the best catcher they can to man the position, even if its someone that wouldn't necessarily be viewed as a backup.  By finding a better backup I think it gives the team the confidence to use that player more often thus providing Geo with more regular rest.  Soto had an amazing rookie campaign taking home ROY honors, but he had flashes of playing MVP-caliber baseball.  Those MVP flashes of Soto will only be seen when he is healthy, and bringing in a solid backup would only help promote keeping Soto healthy.  An idea such as this could even facilitate Soto working his way onto the field defensively at 1st or 3rd base to give Aramis or D-Lee rest while also giving Geo the day off behind the plate.  Last season Soto's lowest batting average and lowest number of games played by month were each seen in the final month, where having a better backup could help to keep him healthy and fresh down the stretch.

 

There are 2 names that I will mention as options to fill this role; Ivan Rodriguez & Javier Valentin.  Rodriguez would be the first choice, but also the hardest to acquire.  Pudge would likely require the most cash, have the biggest issue with playing time, and come with the most competition to acquire his services.  But if those issues can be resolved, then Pudge is well worth consideration for a spot on the cubs' roster.  He brings leadership, WS experience, a solid bat, and above average defense; while this opportunity could potentially be welcomed by Pudge at this stage in his career.  Javier Valentin is the man I would consider second.  Valentin provides a veteran presence along with being a solid switch-hitter, and he also would come at a  much lower cost than Pudge.  The addition of either guy wouldn't be the most talked about move of the offseason, but it would be one that could greatly improve the health and performance of Chicago's biggest rising star - Geovany Soto.

Back in October/Nov, which I

Back in October/Nov, which I suspect was before you knew of this blog, I noted that anybody who's not actively in baseball - myself especially included - looks like a tool when cooking up trade scenarios. Seriously, Jim Hendry could retire from GMing tomorrow and get a job with ESPN in which he writes up mock trade proposals on a weekly basis, and he'd look like a clueless dolt.

But it's a part of being a fan, so I won't hold it against you. The only reason it sometimes gets tiresome is because it sometimes seems as if you aren't satisfied with what might be the best Cubs team of our lifetime, wheras I think it's more of a case of you flexing muscles in your brain.

There are really only two

There are really only two times per year that I really even think about trades or free agents; at the trade deadline and during the off-season. This off-season is also a bit different than any I have ever seen before, with the number of free agents that remain unsigned to this point, where I feel the team should exploit the weakness of the market if at all possible. The off-season is bad for me because, well, I pretty much go stir crazy. I am extremely satisfied with the team the cubs have put together going into 2009, and without a doubt this is the best collection of talent the cubs have put on their roster in my lifetime. But at the same time, I also hold the belief that no team is that good that they cannot possibly improve in some facet of the game. More than anything I want to see the team win, and the ideas I throw out there are constructive in nature and designed to promote the team winning ballgames. I agree with you that those who aren't actively in baseball look foolish drawing up trades, but in all honesty I one day would like to be actively involved in MLB; which may somewhat explain why I think the way I do.

Believe me I realize how good this team can be, and its part of the reason that I'm losing my mind waiting for this season to get started. Once the season starts I will be watching games from noon to midnight with the Extra Innings Package and likely watching the MLB Network in between. I just hope all the fans that came before you and me, fans that didn't get to see cubs' teams like this one, enjoy watching this team in 2009 because its gonna be a fun one to watch.

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