Here we are less than two weeks away from Opening Day. Most of the Cubs’ lineup is falling in place as we thought it would; the only question in the rotation seems to be if Silva or Gorzelanny will stick when Lilly comes back up in mid- to late April. On the bench there is the shortstop backup question and whether or not either Millar or Tracy will accept a demotion to Iowa (there won’t be room for both.)
Far and away the biggest question marks are in the bullpen and we can expect to see a lot of them in April. Marmol, Marshall, Caridad, Berg and Russell appear to be locks and all are pitching well. After that it gets dicey – Grabow and Samardzija will almost certainly make the 25 man roster but neither is pitching effectively. And God help us if anybody gets hurt – we’ll have Diamond ready in the minors and after that you’ve got Gaub, Atkins and Cashner, none of whom appear to be ready at this time. I’ve seen enough of Parisi to conclude that he has no future wearing Cubbie Blue and he will be returned to St. Louis (assuming they will take him back.)
Pretty soon roster cuts will begin in earnest and a few teams are going to have to part ways with relievers that might still have a little gas in the tank – I’m hopeful that the Cubs will be able to latch on to one or two and possibly return Samardzija and Berg to minor league camp. Samardzija’s pitches look like frozen ropes and he’s real hittable, I see a lot of blown saves and L’s in his 2010 future if he doesn’t get more development time in Iowa. Berg has certainly pitched well but having three minor leaguers in our pen is a dicey proposition. Hopefully the Cubs can make a trade or pick up someone prior to Opening Day – it’s going to be easier to do now than it will be after the season starts.