Well, it’s now 2 days away. Baseball is close enough now that you could just reach out and touch it. With that being said, I better work doubletime to get this series done before Monday, when we post our picks for the season. So, without further delay, lets get started.

ShortstopNomar Garciaparra
When we got Nomar last year for next to nothing, I almost wet my pants from excitement. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was on the couch watching the end of the baseball game on Fox, which just happened to NOT be the Cubs game. It usually isn’t here in NC. I was anxiously awaiting any trade news and it had been a very slow afternoon. Finally, right before they left the broadcast, they got word of the trade and announced it. I jumped out of my seat and cheered. This year, I am more excited than ever to have Nomar on the roster. We have one of the best Shortstops in the game today and he’s been on fire this spring.

From everything I read this spring, he’s healthy and ready to return to form in 2005. I hadn’t realized how rare it was to have such a good offensive shortstop until I researched the Cubs shortstops since I have been alive. Here is the list.

  • A. Gonzalez

  • R. Guttierrez
  • J. Hernandez
  • J. Blauser
  • S. Dunston (Fan Fav. but really not very good with the bat)
  • R. Sanchez (Childhood hero and I have no clue why)
  • L. Bowa
  • I. DeJesus

Boy oh boy that is quite a terrible list. That right there could be the entire Could Be Worse section for Shortstop. Makes me thankful for Nomar in 2005.

Could Be Better
Like I said before, there are not many better these days than Nomar, but there is one guy that I would rather have. Michael Young from the Rangers is just a class act. When Texas went out and traded for Soriano, that left a hole at shortstop. It also made Michael Young’s position, second base, unavailable anymore. Instead of pout and hold out, he simply went to the manager and said put my and short and I’ll get the job done for you. At that point he had only played 18 big league games at the position. Last year, in his first full year at short, he committed only 19 errors, which isn’t bad given the difficulty and newness of the position. Young is faster, cheaper, and younger than Nomar and hits for just as much contact and power. I’ll take that any day of the week when you couple it with his sacrificial attitude.

Could Be Worse
If the list above isn’t enough for you, just remember that our starting shortstop in 2005 could be none other than the Seattle Mariners own Pokey Reese. You mean people actually pay money for him to play? Apparently after the M’s threw all their money at Sexson, Beltre and Sele, they had no money for a decent SS.

VORP Numbers

M. Young – 60.1
Nomar – 15.6 / 12.6 (Boston / Chicago)
P. Reese-7.3

Third BaseAramis Ramirez
This is a guy that always killed me in fantasy leagues. I would draft him based on what COULD be and it never actually WAS. When we got him in the trade I was more excited about Kenny Loften arriving than Ramirez. Boy was I wrong. Ramirez has been exploding onto the scene of late and enters 2005 as a legit MVP candidate. Between improving his power numbers and batting average to cutting down his errors at one of the toughest places in the infield to play, Ramirez has become the team’s franchise hitter. I have not been able to figure out why we aren’t giving him the 13 million he wants. He makes almost 9 now. What is 4 million more to lock up a guy long term that can help you for a long long time. If nothing else convinces Hendry to make this deal, it should be the long line of IT COULD BE WORSE Cubs thirdbasemen since Ron Santo.

Could Be Better
Yes, it can indeed get better than Ramirez, in my opinion, though only slightly. As much as it pains me to admit it, the Cardinals have a better option at the hot corner in 2005. Scott Rolen has virtually the same numbers as Ramirez but his glove is just so much better. He makes plays that just make my jaw drop at times when I see them on Baseball Tonight. He’s a true star and I wish we had him. At the same time, he is a Cardinal, so I hate him with a passion and would have a hard time welcoming him to the team.

Could Be Worse
Can it get much worse than Alex Gonzalez at third? Not only can he not hit (except for the occasional clutch walk off homer), but he’ll be playing a new position for the Devil Rays in 2005. I ran across this headline “Gonzalez ready to sizzle at third” Are they serious? If they are, the GM and that writer need to be fired if they really believe that. Good Luck Tampa, you’re gonna need it this year.

VORP Numbers

Rolen – 73.7
Ramirez – 59.6
Gonzalez – 1.5 / -1.0 / -2.9 (Mon / SD / Cubs #’s)

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail