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.
Mrs Fowler would like a word with you.
It seems to be blowing a bit out to right but far less than yesterday and much cooler so shouldn't be too much of an effect.
Only one of our hrs last night was out because of the wind though I think.
Which direction is wind blowing today? With Lackey a groundball pitcher, it might help Cubs if it is blowing in today and a 2-1 game instead of a 10-6 game.
I have convinced myself that Hammel's second half struggles were due to minor injuries and fatigue so with the extra rest he is going to be lights out.
Benji Molina is out of lineup
Yes. Unfortunately, as many of us, I have seen this movie before. Do not care for Hammel, and unlike other managers Joe will pull the plug quickly at least. I hope before things were to get out of hand.
Many of us are like "abused spouses" or whatever - with this Cubs stuff. You get hurt so many times, the trust rapidly erodes.
If the Cubs can get to Lackey early, its gonna be a big key to a W or L.
No idea what will happen. The Cards are the Cards and they have come back from 2-1 holes twice in the last 4 years, so I don't see them in panic mode at all. If anything, I expect the Cubs to be pressing more than the Cards today.
I want the Cubs to win because it would be great for the city, and great for the fans. But more than anything, I want the Cubs to win so I can see this team play for at least one more week this year. Never enjoyed watching a team more than this year.
Just to remember how far we have come: last year's opening day lineup was Bonifacio, Lake, Castro, Rizzo, Olt, Castillo, Schierholz, Barney, and Samardzija. It's been a fun ride this year!
BRADSBEARD: I haven't noticed any new rule or a change in the interpretation of an existing rule happening in Advanced Instructs, I don't know what rules will be tested in the AFL, although almost all recent rule changes and new interpretations of existing rules (the home plate collision rule, replay, time clock between innings, et al) do get their start in the AFL.
AZ Phil: I've heard that the AFL will be testing out a new force out rule that would affect break-up plays (like the Utley play). Have you heard anything about this new rule and any details about it? Are they testing it out at the advanced instructs as well?
Pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but since I will be in NYC next week I want to confirm... If the Cubs were to advance to the NLCS, the winner of LAD/NYM would have home field based on being a division winner (as opposed to Cubs by virtue of better record), correct?
CUBSTER: This "hammy" is on the other leg I heard last night. See you at the ballyard today young man!
Oh what do you know, Cubster? Go back to your day job.
--- Ducks, puts on Cardinals cap, runs.
Russell had a severe hamstring last year while with the A's system, forcing him to miss the first half of 2014. I've even wondered if his injury last year was a component of Billy Beane putting him on the trade market. He was quoted saying that last year's injury was a 10 out of 10 when it happened. Last night he said his hamstring soreness was a 1/1.5 out of 10. Hamstring injuries are tricky though, so I'd expect the medical team to be overly cautious here.