Goatriders of the Apocalypse

What a difference a year makes: 2010 Cubs Bench

The Cubs made their final roster cuts yesterday when they decided to keep Chad Tracy over Kevin Millar. Both A.J. and Rob talked about their takes, but I wanted to look at the bench as whole and show a few trends for the 2010 squad. Before we can move forward, we need to look back at last year's group:

Koyie Hill, C: We will cover Hill with with the 2010 group.
Micah Hoffpauir, 1B-OF: Besides having a cool name, "The Hoff" doesn't bring much to the table. He really didn't hit that well last year, and doesn't have a spot that he plays well on the infield or outfield.
Aaron Miles, IF: I was taught not say anything about a person then I shouldn't say anything. Holding my tounge....holding my tounge.....holding my tounge......Really, this was Jem Hendry's answer to Mark DeRosa. Really, Hendry should have his GM free agent signing card revoked from him. Miles and Bradley in one year.
Joey Gathright, OF: Another stellar signing from Hendry. Ir really seems that Baltimore quites like the man that can jump cars (really, its on youtube)! He went to Baltimore last year, wasn't resigned. He was then signed by Toronto and was cut a few days ago, only to be signed to a new deal by Baltimore. Ah...the power of speed and no hitting.
Reed Johnson, OF: I always like Reed, but last year was a not a banner year for the SWG of the Cubs. He broke his foot and was out for much of the year. It really was no surprise that he was let go this year in favor of more youth.

Now, here is the 2010 group of bench guys:

Hill, C:
Hill really is the perfect backup. He's cheep and plays good defense. He doesn't hit much, but that's ok with your backup catcher as long as he doesn't have to play much.
Chad Tracy, 1B-3B: Tracy locked up the final spot yesterday, and I feel it was the right choice for the job. He's lefthanded and provides another backup option off the bench for Lee and Ramirez.
Jeff Baker, IF: Baker reminds of DeRosa, just without all the home runs. Of course, DeRosa didn't hit a lot of home runs until later in his career. Baker does provide some insurance and might end up in a platoon with Fontenot before the season ends.
Tyler Colvin, OF: Here is the biggest surprise of the year. Colvin was not supposed to make this team, but he hit a ton and now the Cubs are going to give him a shot. Colvin needs at bats, and doesn't really walk much, so he will come down to earth very quickly. He's hit for power and has some speed, so he should be useful. At least, it gives the Cubs another option should Kosuke Fukudome or Alfonso Soriano be out for a long period of time.
Xavier Nady, OF: I love the Nady signing. Here is a guy that is coming off a surgery, but has shown he can hit for major league teams. If he could play the outfield without walking the ball to the infield would be nice, but he should be a solid option once he can throw again.

We can only hope that the bench will lead to a few more wins this year, but in the end I hope we don't see them too much.



Personally, I am a big proponent of Baker. I get that he really hasn't shown a lot of home run power for the Cubs so far, but last year the average was there. Moreover, he started the season with a hand sprain, which I have a feeling is one of those things that nagged at him all season and may have sapped the power a bit. He's always been scouted as a guy with plus power for the position (even with Coors being taken into account). Even with the Little Lord as our projected 2B, I have no issues with Baker taking a starting role.

Overall, the bench inspires more confidence than the one the Cubs started with last year. Hopefully, the confidence is not misguided.

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