2009 Recap: Ted Lilly
The Cubs did have one player this season that exceeded my expectations this season, and that is Theodore Roosevelt Lilly. What can you say about the lefty that isn't good? He plays hard, pitches well and leads in the clubhouse. That is just about the perfect player in my book. Now, if Jim Hendry's other moves would pay off like Lilly did. Well, maybe Hendry could end up the ER while signing players, because it seemed to work this time.
Lilly only won 12 games, but much of that was because of his time on the DL in July. He ended up with a 3.10 ERA and an even more impressive 1.06 WHIP. That's just insane for a guy, who just turned 33. He lowered his ERA by almost an entire run this year, and it's just too bad the Cubs wasted another player's career year (or at least one of the best of his career).
The Cubs have a problem now. I can't imagine that Lilly will be as good as this next season, but nobody expected him to be this good this year. It goes without saying that he won't be any better next season, because that just doesn't happen in the non-steroid era.
One thing I love about Lilly is that he is clearly a clubhouse leader for the Cubs. It's not beneath him to argue an Ump on a day off, or lobby for Reed Johnson
by wearing a T-Shirt. Kurt argued the merits of team aces yesterday, and I think Lilly is the closest thing to an ace the Cubs have right now. He makes his starts and is vocal. Also, he seems to get better as the years go on, but can he continue this trend in 2010? Who knows, but of all the problems the Cubs have in the starting rotation, I don't think Lilly will be one of them next year.