Rank the reasons behind the Cubs 2009 demise from most important (1) to least (10). Thanks to reader dc60124 for the idea. Your choices after the jump with explanations or just go ahead and vote.
The Bullpen - 5th most losses in the NL, 5th least amount of wins. 18 blown saves ranks in the middle of the pack. Heilman and Gregg gave up 21 HR's between them. Carlos Marmol made Mitch Williams look like a control artist.
Lou Piniella - Started offseason by demanding a left-handed power bat that proved to be the wrong Jinga piece to move. Replaced Aramis Ramirez for 50 games with the likes of Aaron Miles, Ryan Freel and Bobby Scales while hot-hitting Jake Fox sat. Never got through to Milton Bradley. Stuck with Kevin Gregg in closer role all year, killed a pony in front of some small children....
Aramis Ramirez injury - Cubs were 6-2 in May before injury hit, went 24-26 in the 50 games he missed, actually gained a half game in the standings. They did score lowest monthly total in runs in June (3.56 R/G) than any other month, May was second worst at 4.32 R/G and just 3.95 R/G once he hit the disabled list that month.
All the Other Injuries - Zambrano x2, Lilly, Dempster, Harden, Soto, R. Johnson x2, Waddell, Guzman, Miles, Freel, Patton, C. Fox, A. Blanco. Plus non-DL injuries to Bradley and Derrek Lee along with a few others.
Milton Bradley - nutcase, combative, didn't bring any power with him, killed 5 innocent people who looked at him the wrong way.
Alfonso Soriano - 85 OPS+, one of three worst regulars in baseball this year by Fangraphs numbers, refused to sit despite being hurt, defense made Adam Dunn go, "woah, you suck".
Geovany Soto - looked out of shape all year, home run balls last year died on warning track this year, OPS was in the high 500's in May, warmed up to a low 700's by July before hitting the disabled list.
Mike Fontenot - Godenot was anything but, essentially hovering around a .700 OPS most of the season and playing most of the time due to other injuries and Lou sleeping in the dugout.
Jim Hendry - The Brown touch, almost every move turned to sh** for him this year from trading away Marquis, Wuertz, and DeRosa and acquiring Gregg and Bradley. Willfully went along with haphazard left-handed plan, then apparently did little to smooth Bradley's transition to media-frenzy Chicago, then waited until far too late to suspend supposed clubhouse cancer. Ran over old lady outside Wrigley Field...
Sam Zell and Delay in Sale - Cubs had plenty of money to spend in offseason but rudderless ship during season made things difficult for Hendry to adapt in-season.
Honorable Mentions: Cardinals suprisingly good, the Media, the Fans, Transmission, Larry Rothschild, Scalpers, Goats, Curses, Parachat Behavior