It's the start of Spring Training 2011
Mike thinks it is maybe getting too far of ourselves to start bringing up people like Jeff the Shark for evaluation. I do not. It is time, and in fact, here is my radical thought of the day:
Even though I would like to win, and not embarrass ourselves, the Cubs have to get in the mindset that Spring Training 2011 has started now. Guys are battling for jobs. We need to see as much as we can of the guys currently on our 40 man roster. Thing is, though, even though it was the pitching that held us somewhat afloat the first four months of the season, it is the staff that has the most questions, and also the most people on hand who may end up providing the answers.
We do not have that many positional prospects. And, even if we did, for better or worse, the only starting position open for next year is at first base, and unless Micah Hoffpauir finds himself a new pharmacist, we will have to sign or trade for our 2011 first sacker. If Font, Nady, Three-Finger Hill and the Fooker were somehow convinced to run off and join a cult, effective immediately, that would be fine with me, Then we could see if we have some possible 2011 bench strength already in the organization. I don't see why they can't just release Nady, Hill, and Font, and somehow convince the Fooker that he is losing face by continuing to struggle in the major leagues. Then perhaps he will go back home.
The pitching, on the other hand, should be our highest priority. Dempster, Marshall and Marmol are set for next year. Everyone else should be battling for a job. Wells and Gorzellany have to reassure us that they are capable of consistency for a full season. Thomas Diamond and, yes, Jeff Samardzija should be taking turns starting. And, I suppose, Los Dos Carloses need to start some games in a last-ditch feeble attempt to show they have some shred of trade value.
Yes, the Ricketts family better plan on inviting Silva and Zambrano over, and eating some spicy Venezuelan contracts for Thanksgiving.
Of course, we are also going to need to similarly audition everyone from Grabow and Russell to Berg, Atkins, Cashner, Coleman, Gaub, Gray, Schlitter, Stevens. Is Esmailin Caridad alive? How about Angel Guzman? Nah, on second thought, don't bother digging up his old bones. We have no idea whatsoever whether any of these guys are any good. At the beginning of this season, we all thought that Berg and Caridad were strike-throwers, Grabow would be a stablizing stopping force, and we were also counting on Guzman to be our 8th inning guy.
Now? Now, as far as we currently know, every last one of these guys suck, are hurt, or both.
I do not believe we can wait until September, when the rosters expand, to see all these guys, The process should start now. We don't really need two crappy bench outfielders and two crappy bench infielders. Trade or release either Nady or Font, today, and let's get 13 pitchers up here, and see who we have on the mound. Who gives a rip if Lou has no bench flexibility anymore - he's just collecting the checks they cut him.
It's Spring Training without the cactii, HoHoKams or the golf.