It is never too early to project the opening day roster
Good evening, friends!
We are pretty much now in the month, the raw, grey, but wonderful month of February known primarily for two things: Black History Month (which, frankly, if I were African-American, I would be royally insulted that they gave us the shortest month), and of course, Pitchers And Catchers Report (PACR for short).
God bless PACR, which is most years, the very best time of the year to be a Cub fan.
It has been a much slower off-season that we have been accustomed to lately. No hee-youge money signings; and as is typical in the Jim Hendry regime, no major life altering trades. It seems like when he got burned by the Nomar deal in 2004, like he just gave up. According to all that know him, he spends his life with the phone in his ear. I can't possibly imagine who he's talking to all that time - divorcees doing their laundry in their apartment commons, who? I think he has one more minor deal up his sleeve, and it will be a trade, not a free-agent signing. Based on his most recent signings, he has a bit of a surplus, if all goes according to plan.
So I am confident in presenting to you, intensely loyal readers and enduring sufferers of the crappiest off-season in Goatrider history, the 2010 Cubs Opening Day Roster:
Catchers (2) Geo Soto, Koyie (Three-finger) Hill
Soto looks wonderful for 2010, and Hill gained some much needed confidence during his Rebel-esque streak of starts behind the plate during the dog days last summer. Honestly, I am counting on this position being one of our anchors this summer.
Outfielders (4) Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome, Sam Fuld
Yes, yes, I said it - the Pride of Nashua, NH will come north with the big boys this April! I believe that, once again, Scott Boras has oversold his client, Xavier Nady, and the X man will probably be out for a few weeks while his double-baked elbow fully heals. No biggie, really. This year is not going to hinge on X Nady.
Infielders (7) Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker, Derrek Lee, Andres Blanco, Mike Fontenot, Chad Tracy
Where's the Great Starlin Castro? Not quite yet, people. Down boy, DOWN! How about Hoffpauir? Well, you know what Al Pacino said in "Scarface" - first you get the money, then you get the Micah Hoffpauir. Seriously, Uncle Lou has been advocating a "versatile roster" since he became a manager back in the last century. Chad Tracy, if he is actually alive and not deceased, like Ryan Freel, can back up in more positions than the Hoff, and probably hits just as well. The Hoff, the other hand, will be free to be traded to the AL team that he so desperately needs.
Pitchers (12) Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Carlos Zambrano, Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzellany, Sean Marshall, John Grabow, Carlos Marmol, Angel Guzman, Esmailin Caridad, Justin Berg, Jason Frasor
In the past, and in most cases, most teams break camp with 11 pitchers because of the frequent scheduled off-days in early April. But Ted Lilly will stay behind in Arizona for convenient midnight snacking on the abundant homeless in the Phoenix area, and I imagine neither Samardzija or Gorzellany will step up and assert themselves as a sure-thing rotation member we can count on. Thus, there will be lots of help on hand. This includes relatively new guys Caridad and Berg, who threw strikes during last year's trial period, and real new guy Jason Frasor, who is currently a Blue Jay who has put in enough time to get paid real money, and is being shopped for a young, cheap, useful guy like the Hoff.
To me, it looks like a good team, a solid team, and if Soriano and Soto bounce back, a division-winning team. Just, I'm afraid, not the team that is going to snap the streak. Already slighty ouchy (Lilly, Nady), no true staff Ace or catalyst leadoff man.