Okay, we’re two weeks in to spring training….what do we know?

We know that Josh Vitters is no closer to the major league club.  In the first cuts of spring he was sent packing to the minor league camp.  So who will play third next year?  It’s getting scary folks.

We know Matt Garza is working on some pitches, or at least we hope.  His outings show some blemishes this spring.  Working on being a ground ball pitcher is obviously in preparation to pitching in hitter friendly Wrigley Field.  Lets just hope he figures this out before we are in the basement of the central division.

We know Carlos Silva is not quite right.  This was the nicest way I could phrase it.  I am biting my tongue and trying my best not to violate the VFTB swearing policy for us writers.   He’s so large and it hurts to watch him move.  What is his off-season conditioning regiment? Is there one?  The Yankees are scouting him which is funny.  If Hendry can trade him I would be willing to wash Milton Bradley from the books. Rickett’s can put giant macaroni noodles anywhere he wants, and I won’t complain, if only they can trade Silva.  Hell, I would trade him for that Macaroni noodle.  I really would.

Back to third base for a minute…..is next off-seasons third base this offseasons first base?  I ask because we have no contingency plan (youth) to fill this position.  There are also very few free agent third basemen out there for next year.  Our best options in house(Marques Smith and Vitters) seem to have been sent down to minor league camp already….not a good sign.  I want everybody to think outside the box on this one, in other words don’t try to sell me on stop gaps…..stop gaps are for teams who like to finish fourth.  Who will start at third next year?

We know Starlin Castro is picking up right where he left off.  He just hits.  Now, if he could only cut down on the errors, which I think he will,  then we will see a fantastic sophomore effort.  I love this article comparing him to Jeter.  I hate that Len and Bob call him Star.  Strippers and horses should have the name Star, not your stud shortstop.  We need a new nickname for him, let’s think of one…..thoughts?

We know Blake DeWitt is a stop gap at second.  He really is no better then Jeff Baker, who should only get half a contract because he plays half the time.  Can we pay him more when he hits against lefties then when he goes up against righties?  Mental note, second base is another priority for this team if they want to be better then fourth place.

We know, or at least think, we like Carlos Pena.  He seems to check out as a good leader and clubhouse presence.  We need a first basemen for next year and we are in a tricky spot with Carlos.  I am not sure I want a long term relationship with Pena.  If he plays well this year then we will pay a kings ransom for his services.   If he does play well then I don’t trust him as the long term answer do to consistency.   If he plays poorly this season, well then I don’t want him at all.  He is kind of like that girl you keep around, but you never commit too.

Girl: Are we exclusive?

Guy: No, this is just casual…we are having fun!  Let’s keep it light and fun, okay?  Who needs labels, right?

Hey Carlos, let’s keep it light and fun.  No labels…..or long term contracts, okay?

We know the outfield seems to be a strength to a degree. Soriano is healthy…for the time being.  Marlon Byrd is working with Victor Conte, which is the baseball equivalent of hiring Bernie Madoff to manage your investments.  Marlon seems to be at the top of his game.  Fukudome is being his typical self.  I am actually one of the people who likes Fukudome.  The guy had the second highest OBP on the team last season, which I know is similar to being the tallest midget, but he gets the job done in the field too.   The real hole here appears to be Soriano.  He really hasn’t been a good player since 2008.  In 2009 he was such a disaster that it actually made 2010 look good….when it really wasn’t.  If he was being paid $5/year I still don’t know if I could look past his terrible efforts in the field and inconsistency at the plate.

Well that’s it, I am sure I missed a few things here and there but up ’til now this is what I see.  What’s more is that I see a lot of holes for 2012.  Yes, I am actually writing off the 2011 season as we seem to be destined for a medicore finish.  If you can find me 1o more wins out of this group then guess what you have?  A third place finish.  This team needs to find an identity, and in a hurry, or the 2011 show will look like 2010 with a few new cast members filling the gaps.

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Chet West is an IT professional living in Minneapolis, MN with his wife and two daughters. He has a pug named Banks and loves photography. Follow him on Twitter @chetwest19