View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



January 2005



The Opinion Section

Written by , Posted in General

One of my favorite parts of a newspaper is always the opinion section. It is always a cool thing to see what the readers thing on various topics. Well, I have decided to sort of host an opinion section over the next few weeks. I will be posting my thoughts, position by position, on the current Cubs team. With the team looking more and more like it’s set for opening day as each hour passes, I figured now would be as good of a time as any. So, without further delay, we’ll begin with the Catcher position.

I’m happy to have Michael Barrett back this year. When we first signed him last year, I admit I was skeptical. I remember a particular article where he was quoted as saying something to the effect of: “My main focus will be calling a good game and working with the pitchers, not my hitting.” That article scared me half to death. I thought for sure we’d have yet another year with a non hitting catcher. Instead, Barrett seemed to be the exact opposite, hitting .287 on the year with 16 homeruns and 65 RBI. He was clutch and played the most games in a season in his entire career.

This year, I expect a let down. I do not expect a major dropoff, but some sort of dropoff is in the works. I expect an average in the high .270’s with 12 homeruns and high 50’s for RBI’s. Who knows, maybe i’m wrong. Maybe Jim Hendry saw something in this guy that no one else did, sort of like Ramirez. If that is the case, then the numbers last year could just be the beginning to a 20 HR and .300 avg season. No matter what, I like this guy’s intensity and attitude.

This is our guy. This is our big free agent signing for the offseason. I wonder if he knows that involves a lot of hype and pressure. He has the excruciating job of riding the pine and trotting out there ever five days to catch Maddux. Must be tough getting paid 750K to live that life. Blanco is a career .216 hitter who has never hit better than .234 in a season. It seems to me that we could have saved 400K and just signed a catcher to the league minimum.

Those are my thoughts on the catching situation. Now to make this work, YOU have to leave YOUR feedback and opinions on this topic in the comment section. So, what do you think? Are you happy with the catching situation? How would you have changed it this offseason? Make your opinions known.