Battling with a case of writer’s block lately, I just decided to let you in on my feelings for the current club. One thing I have always tried to maintain on the site and as a fan is a positive outlook. That doesn’t mean I am a homer and will go to tons of games when they are losing. Last year, for example, when Dave and I went to New York to watch the brutal sweep that basically put them out of it, I vowed to Dave and my wife that I was done with the Cubs for that year. True to my word, I did not watch another Cub game for more than 2 innings the rest of the year.

Be positive does not mean you can be real as well. With that being said, I’d like to take a short, real look at this ballclub and give you some opinions. They may surprise you and get you to ask “Is he stupid?”

Personally, I do not make the Tejada deal unless Eric Bedard is in the trade as well. A lot of people have been up in arms about the idea of dealing Prior, as was I at first, but if you have a shot to get an MVP shortstop and a very promising young pitcher in Bedard, you make that trade. When you look at Prior, you see a kid with CY Young potential. People argue that under Leo Mazzone, he could win multiple Cy Young awards. This is a dumb argument for NOT trading him, because last I checked, it’s irrelevant. We do not have Leo Mazzone, nor will we ever have him. He wants to be in Baltimore and will probably be there for life. So not trading Prior for that reason would be like taking your ball and going home. “If I can’t play with it, no one can!!” Bedard would fit right into our rotation and Tejada could anchor our lineup nicely. In addition, it would make Todd Walker expendable come deadline time when we know that Cedeno can play.

Now, in terms of Cedeno, I get this kid in the lineup any way possible. There is not 1 reason you can give me that justifies Dusty Baker starting Perez over Cedeno ever unless it’s due to injury or rest. He is tearing up winter ball and hit .300 at both levels of baseball last year (ML – .300 & AAA – .355) We know what we have with Perez. We don’t know what we have with Cedeno, so we need to see him.

Matt Murton – He needs to get the starting Left Field job and be assured that he will not be benched when he goes into a slump. Slumps happen and I can guarantee it will happen to Matt. Dusty has got to realize that he is a tremendous hitter with a great knowledge of the strike zone. He reminds me of a future batting champion. If Murton can get the full time job, that would be the smart move.

Jacque Jones – Call me a homer, but I believe in Hendry on this one. If he saw something in Jones, then I am going to trust him. When he traded for Ramirez, he was nothing special. When he traded for Lee, he was not the upper tier guy he is now. When he signed Neifi, as much as we hate to admit it, he performed admirably as a fill in. In fact, some were even voting him into the all star game. Hendry seems to know what he’s doing in terms of evaluating sleepers, so I am going to trust him on this one, especially, because I think he’ll bring in one more OF to help the team out.

Pitching Staff – In my opinion, the staff is not as shaky as it appears. Everyone talks about how Prior is fragile, but his injuries were freak ones. Zambrano is a horse. Maddux is smart enough to make up for his diminishing skills these days. Jerome Williams, when you look at him from a number for or five standpoint is not bad, and Glendon Rusch has proven he can get the job done as a starter. That doesn’t even include Kerry Wood, who could end up being a wild card. With the improved bullpen, I see know reason why the pitching staff should be a problem for this team.

All in all, I have no problem going on a limb and picking this team, as it stands RIGHT NOW, as a 2nd place team with potential to win the division.


Misc. Notes

  • In case you did not notice, we added a prospect search tool on the sidebar. It lets you type in a last name and will pull him up on The Baseball Cube, for stat info.
  • I am looking for some new poll suggestions. If you have any, e-mail me
  • I am scheduling an interview with Pat Huges for later this January. If you have questions, send them to me via e-mail.
  • As of 10:45 EST, we were 16 hits away from 100,000. Thank you so much for making us what we are in this short of time.

UPDATE:

Straight from Rotoworld:

David Kaplan on WGN radio said he believes the Cubs are discussing a Barry Zito deal with the Athletics.
Matt Murton or Felix Pie would be nice, but the A’s probably aren’t going to deal Zito without getting some immediate help and the Cubs don’t have a lot to offer. We’re skeptical that the A’s would trade Zito for one of the outfielders and either Jerome Williams or Rich Hill. Dec. 30 – 12:22 am et

Also, this is your last weekend to Bet on Football during the regular season.

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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