Do YOU believe there is a plan?
One of our readers/commenters/writers/whatever responded to yesterday's visceral demand for immediate action by noting that at this point in the season, in the position we're in, nearly anything done by Cubs management would be construed as desperation.
He then continued that he would rather see us stay on course of the Ricketts five-year plan, which actually doesn't start until Lee's, Fukudome's, Lilly's, Dempster's, Silva's and Ramirez's contracts come off the books. That, my friends, is in 2012.
Which is two years from now using the new math.
He mentioned that this particular team is built for the now, and it is pretty much written in stone that the men who are here are the men that will be here until the end of next year. Which is absolutely true. I said that myself a few times this offseason, but please understand. I was doing it just to make myself feel better, because I saw other teams improving all around us, or at least trying to improve, and all we could do is stand around and tell one Milton Bradley story after another to each other, to justify s-canning our incoming 2009 Savior after one season.
Look, he is right on all counts. Nobody is trading anything of value right now, at least not explicitly. There are a few GMs that will deal anytime, anywhere, but it is still just entering Mid-May, and there are many teams that rightfully feel the whole 2010 season still lies before them.
It's just, that, we're not among them.
Bob Brenly said the other night that he thought the key to 2010 was for Soto and Soriano to bounce back to their 'old selves', and to his thinking, they have, and we're still losing. Well, Bobba-looie, not so fast. Soriano and Soto ARE doing better, but they have not returned to their 2008 form. Soto had more offensive impact in terms of power, as did Soriano. Their averages are up, and sure, I'd rather have this, now, than what both of them managed to pump out last year. But, except for a few days last week, neither one of them have truly carried us the way they did for stretches in 2008.
Marlon Byrd has been playing better than expected, but he was never expected to be a major impact guy. He's been as big an impact guy as any, but if I had to put a number on it, I'd say so far the 2010 Byrd is about 50% of the 2008 Ramirez, which is as I have said, not too bad.
Theriot and Fukudome have been getting on base. Once again, this is Fookie Time, we'll see if this carries on into June and beyond. Same with The Riot - he tends to lose steam as the season drags. Colvin is stuck in a bad place, Font has been Font, which is to say short and limited, and Nady, Baker, and Tracy are not very good.
All of which points to our so-called big men, the leaders and focal points of our lineup. Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, of course. The scope of this article is not to determine what in the name of Christ is wrong with these two, but they are most of the reason why we are a losing ball club in 2010, and there has been absolutely NO indication at all that either one of them a) accept their responsiblities, b) plan to examine themselves, or c) are going to improve in any way shape or form in the near future.
I have my theory, you have yours, and yes, past performances do indicate that if they are bound to return to the norm, that means some good times ahead. Because, Lord, both of them are WAAAAY under their norms. But you know what? I see NOTHING that suggests a turnaround soon. Absolutely nothing but the backs of their bubble gum cards.
So, basically, we are playing .429 ball right now, and that is what I think we are going to do the rest of the year. And the next - maybe even worse.
Look, I have NO desire to spend this, my 46th summer of my life, and the 40th as a Cub fan, watching a .429 ball club. Or next summer. And that just bugs the hell out of me.