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.
KKVG: Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive of the 2015-16 IFA. He has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the 2015-16 IFA position players who could. To accommodate Paredes at SS, the Cubs have been moving Andruw Monasterio (who was the #1 SS at AZL Cubs in 2015 and the presumptive Eugene SS going into Minor League Camp) around the infield (SS-2B-3B) at EXST.
Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?
It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.
In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.
I hope Maddon can keep it going.
(It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)
Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.
Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.
Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.
BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.
"KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?
Baez is looking like a pretty special player.
Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.
bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...
felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size
13ip 4h 3bb 20K
remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.
this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.
Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...
also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.
also also, the wsox are 19-8.
Win tomorrow, and the Cubs would have a 6-game lead. On May 4.