Jeff Moore of Dugout Central has a post and lists the “10 Most Important Players to the Success of their Team.” Listed at number four is Carlos Zambrano with the following blurb:
On this, the 100th year anniversary of the Cubs last World Series title, the hopes on the north side of the Windy City are once again high. After a playoff run last season, the Cubs seem primed to take the next step. Zambrano is a true ace who heads a deep rotation, but upon closer look, what would that rotation consist of if he was not in it? The combination of Lilly, Hill, Marshall, Marquis, Lieber and Dempster is not going to get them to the top of any division, even the NL Central. Zambrano is the key to 100 years of shattered hopes. No pressure Z. (Source)
Let me start by saying that Zambrano is a hugely important cog in this machine. I understand that. What I don’t agree with is the fact that he is the most important piece to this team’s success. Why? Because, as I’ve said before, we have pitching depth. We have seven or eight Major League ready guys vying for five spots. There is no question Zambrano is the Ace, but could the Cubs get by with a patchwork job in the rotation without him? I think they could.
I would argue that the most important player on this team from a depth point of view is either Derrek Lee or Aramis Ramirez. If one of them goes down for the season, who replaces them? For Lee, it’s probably someone like Mark DeRosa or Daryle Ward with an outside shot going to Micah Hoffpauir. For Ramirez, who plays for him? DeRosa again? You certainly can’t rush Josh Vitters to the majors, so does Matt Craig get a shot?
The point is this. When I look at the post important pieces, I look at the guys we can’t afford to lose. While it would hurt bad to lose Carlos, it would hurt worse to lose a corner IF. That’s just my opinion. Am I wrong? Who’s the most important guy to this team?