Cubs Current 25-man Roster and Lineup
A whole lot of nothing going on and I haven't had much time to polish up a few articles I've been working on, so in the meantime, let's play "Guess the Cubs Opening Day Roster".
If you haven't checked out our depth chart or 40-man roster list recently, know that Arizona Phil has taken it upon himself to do the bulk of the updating, which instantly classes up the joint by about 300%. Also, you'll see that the Cubs bullpen is rather set unless the Cubs trade or cut some players before Opening Day, which is most definitely possible. Assuming the standard roster make-up of 13 position players and 12 pitchers (5 starters, 7 relievers), here's your 3:2 odds for the Cubs opening day roster.
C - Geovany Soto
1B - Derrek Lee
2B - *Mike Fontenot
3B - Aramis Ramirez
SS - Ryan Theriot
LF - Alfonso Soriano
CF - *Kosuke Fukudome
RF - #Milton Bradley
C - #Koyie Hill (or Mark Johnson)
OF - Reed Johnson
OF - *Joey Gathright
INF - #Aaron Miles
INF - Ronny Cedeno
#1 - Carlos Zambrano
#2 - Ryan Dempster
#3 - *Ted Lilly
#4 - Rich Harden
#5 - *Sean Marshall
#1 (Closer) - Carlos Marmol
#2 (Set-Up) - Kevin Gregg
#3 - Luis Vizcaino
#4 - Michael Wuertz
#5 - *Neal Cotts
#6 - Chad Gaudin
#7 - Angel Guzman
Bullpen guys #4 through #7 are all out of options, so they are either making the team or will get traded or cut if they aren't getting the job done in spring training. Considering the Cubs are in "win it now" mode, I have little doubt that they'll pull the trigger on dumping them if they're beaten in spring training competition.
That leaves David Patton (Rule 5 pick-up), Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Hart, Rich Hill (out of options) and Garrett Olson on the outside looking in. Of course, an injury in spring training could buy the Cubs some time as well from having to make a move and it's bloody likely one of the option-less pitchers gets moved to make room for a second lefty.
As for the bench, Cedeno probably gets the nod over Micah Hoffpauir at the moment. The Cubs seem to be going back to versatility for their bench over any power bats and Cedeno is out of options, unlike Hoffpauir. Hoffpauir can keep fresh in Triple A in case of an injury if that happens. Of course, Cedeno might just get traded.
Lineup vs Lefties
(what I expect Lou will do): Soriano, Theriot, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Johnson, Soto, Miles, Pitcher
(what I would like Lou to do): Soriano, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Johnson, Soto, Miles, Theriot, Pitcher
Lineup vs Righties
(what I expect Lou will do): Soriano, Theriot, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Fontenot, Soto, Fukudome, Pitcher
(what I would like Lou to do): Soriano, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Soto, Fontenot, Theriot, Fukudome, Pitcher
As I argued in the comments earlier this week, if Theriot is hitting at the level he did in 2008 or we see the first half Fukudome (who had a .380 OBP each month of the first half), then I'm all for trying them at leadoff. Until then, I'm fine with giving one of the Cubs best hitters the most PA's on the team. It will never bother me that Soriano bats lead off until a better option clearly steps forward. There's no one on the team that's a safe bet to do it right now. I think Theriot is far more likely to be south of a .700 OPS than north of it and no one knows which Fukudome will show up in 2009. If you see another option on the Cubs roster that clearly deserves the most PA's for the team, let me know. And if that answer is Aaron Miles or Joey Gathright, expect to get punched in the mouth. Bradley would be interesting at the top of the order, but he's the only true left-handed power threat and I think you need him to break up Lee, Soto and Ramirez.
Lineups are always a fun point of contention and I'm sure you guys have plenty of your own ideas.