What a Difference Three Years Makes
With the signing of Yu Darvish and subsequent farewell to Jake Arrieta, it seems a good time to look forward to where we are going, and to look back at where we’ve been.
I dug through the VFTB Archives a bit and saw that just three short years ago the Cubs roster looked a lot different than it does today, as did VFTB. On Opening Night, Chris Coghlan started in LF and batted 5th. Jorge Soler was in RF, Tommy LaStella started at 2B, and Slacky McSlapdash started at SS.
Travis Wood started the third game of the year, with Wellington Castillo catching him.
Some notable excerpts from columns and comments from that time:
“Jorge Soler is the only member of the outfield I see as a long-term fixture. “
“I think they’ll probably move Bryant to LF.”
“The Cubs internally are saying that Kyle Schwarber can be an everyday catcher.”
“The Cubs will not be a quality contender until they have 3 more starting pitchers that can pitch into the 8th inning.” (note: at this point the starting 5 were the same 5 that took us to the W.S. in 2016)
People were bitching that Dexter Fowler was no leadoff man, and singing the praises of Junior Lake.
One rock solid fixture of this blog has been Raker’s unrelenting plea for the Cubs to fire Len Kasper.
However, most important than any of that, 2015 was the year I became a VFTB regular. I had visited here often for several years, but hardly ever posted.
I am proud to say the theme of my first three posts of 2015 was that the Cubs needed to get rid of Slacky McSlapdash (aka Starlin Castro).
This was my first ever Lizzie:
“One of these days Lester is going to have to quit being such a primadonna and pitch to Montero or Schwarber.”
Montero or Schwarber? Oh, the horror. The horror.
***Fast forward three years***
Today we have maybe the most elusive commodity in MLB, a great, homegrown catcher, and we’re looking at a starting five of Lester-Hendricks-Quintana-Darvish-Chatwood, with former or potential All-Stars at six of our starting positions—Rizzo, Lester and Hendricks being the only ones who were present at this time in 2015.
The bullpen needs work. I won’t deny that.
What I think still needs to happen:
- Maddon’s needs to rebrand Zobrist in his head as a backup.
- Likewise, he needs to rebrand Almora as a starter.
- The team needs to hire a full-time proctologist so he/she is available to remove Baez’s head from his ass periodically.
What about you? What do you think are the top three things the Cubs need to do to be ready to compete in this ultra-competitive MLB environment?