Yesterday, Rick Morrissey had a decent article in the Chicago Tribune, about how 2008 is not going to be the year for the Chicago Cubs to get to the World Series, much less win it. He does believe that they improved, and that they have a good chance of getting to the World Series, but just because we’ve hit 100 years of futility, doesn’t mean this is a foregone conclusion. Unfortunately, I have to agree with him. Even with the signing of Fukudome and Jon Lieber, the Cubs are still well short of being a true force in the NL. Although, is any team in the NL a force to be reckoned with? I’m still in shock that the NL was represented by the Rockies, and look where that got them.
As we’ve discussed many times here, the pitching rotation, although strong (Joe has shown the numbers prove it) still has a scary back half. With Hendry’s signing of Lieber this past week, it’s obvious upper management doesn’t feel to strongly about it either. Seriously, Lieber? I liked him during his past stint, but is he really what’s going to help us now? I get the mentality of thinking more arms in camp are going to create better competition. It’s a good thought. No offense guys, but if these guys want to be Major League pitchers, shouldn’t they be ready to show us our best stuff anyway?
As I’ve said before, I still cringe when I look at the holes we still have at shortstop and centerfield. You should be the strongest up the middle for defense, and I just don’t think the Cubs are. At all. When Mark DeRosa is your strongest defensive player up the middle, and I like Mark, you’re in trouble. As much as you guys love Theriot, he’s just not a good Shortstop, let alone one I’d want to anchor my infield around. The whole thought of Felix Pie in Centerfield, scares me as well. Yeah, he got some reps in ’07, but it wasn’t that impressive of a stint for a player that was supposed to be the #1 product out of the farm system. In all honesty, if Hendry is looking to make more deals, which he said he was, I’m hoping it’s for a serviceable shortstop and/or centerfielder.
This isn’t to take away the possibility that the Cubs can get to the World Series, because I believe they can, and most probably will. There just isn’t a team in the NL that gives me the willies, with the exception of Arizona, and perhaps the Astros. Of course, the Astros are going to rely heavily on Miguel Tejada, and who knows if he’ll even be allowed to play. The Cardinals are now in rebuilding mode, and the Brewers short purse strings have hampered them this off season. Mike Cameron? That’s the best you can do? Oy. Don’t be surprised if the Cubs have to battle the Reds for NL Central supremacy. I’ve got a feeling the powers that be, would revel in a Dusty vs. Lou battle. The old Cubs skipper trying to beat out the new Cubs skipper. It would just be fitting wouldn’t it? The Cubs lose out on another chance by a team led by the last man that almost got them there.