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.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.
I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.
TBS' K Zone seems to be more harsh than the others.
I wonder if MLB will ask the networks to stop using them. They just make the umps, and the game, look bad, and it only pisses off the fans.
"Strop vs. Cardinals." Seen the movie. Hated it.
Not all that disappointed -- I didn't think they would beat Lackey in Game 1. Need to get the bats going against the guys with less experience -- and they hit Wacha pretty good.