Edit by Joe – My interview with Pat Hughes is complete and will be posted as soon as I get home from work today (4pm est). We now return you to Dave’s regularly scheduled post.
Joe’s had so much good stuff recently that the rest of us have just been trying to stay out of his way. But today he showed weakness and didn’t post anything. I’m happy to take the sloppy seconds.
Item #1, as a current resident of Allentown, PA, just 1.5 hours from Philadelphia, is the Super Bowl. I didn’t watch it, and I have gone on record as saying that Philly fans are just about the least classy on the whole that I’ve ever met. I think about 5 percent of Cubs fans are jerks I wouldn’t want to be associated with. When talking about Philly fans, I’d turn that number up to 25 percent. So to those 75 percent whose decency is steamrolled by the other 25 percent, I offer my condolences and a reminder that this year was a HECK of a year. They oughta be proud.
Item #2 is that I’m looking at the Cubs’ lineup and it’s not too bad. Here’s how I’d set it up:
1. Walker 2B
2. Garciaparra SS
3. Lee 1B
4. Ramirez 3B
5. Patterson CF
6. Barrett C
7. Burnitz RF
8. Dubois LF
Burnitz moves up when Henry the White is catching. My lineup puts the 4 best guys in the top 4, but runs out of steam at #5.
Here, however, is what I’d expect Dusty to do:
1. Patterson CF
2. Walker 2B
3. Garciaparra SS
4. Ramirez 3B
5. Lee 1B
6. Burnitz RF
7. Hollandsworth LF
8. Barrett C
Not enough of a difference to hate Baker, but all the same, that 6 or 7 spot, Burnitz, could be a big problem.
I’ll go on record with a Burnitz prediction:
.245 ba, .325 obp, .450 slg, 27 HR, 84 RBI, about 65 runs. VORP of about 20, and somewhere between 12 and 15 win shares. I expect he’ll be an anchor of this offense, in the sense that he will keep them from moving forward.
The other problem spot is Todd Hollandsworth, who’s at his best as the man off the bench. As the starter, he’ll be a greater drag on the offense than the other option, Dubois.
Let’s hope somebody unexpected puts up a career year or Hendry pulls the trigger on someone who resembles Aubrey Huff in early June, because there are going to be a lot of frustrated great pitchers on this Cubs staff at years’ end.