by Andy Paschen
Finally! The Cubs have a set roster for the regular season. You know, those 162 games that are currently moot and have been ruined for Cubs fans because of their playoff ineptitude. They could literally go 162-0 and not one Chicagoan would care. Well, maybe a few would care, but they’re the same idiots that go to Wrigley and don’t watch a single pitch. I’ve already talked ad nauseum about most of the players on this Cubs team here, but we can always go deeper. First, the surprises:
Koyie Hill is your back-up catcher over Gabor Paul Bako: The hope in Chicago is that Geovany Soto plays enough games that the back-up catcher becomes as important as Kathy Griffin (read: extremely unimportant), but nothing in this world is guaranteed. Especially when it comes to Chicago’s Baby Bears. Why is this surprising? Because the last time Koyie Hill played with the big boys, he sucked. Hard. He sucked to the tune of an .095 average in 10 games last year and .231 average in 36 games the year before. Those numbers are like giving a hat to a moose. Useless.
Chad Gaudin is no longer a Cub, Jeff Samardzija is in AAA and Angel Guzman and David Patton are with the big boys? So the bullpen, a bullpen that I have maligned a few times here at Midwest Swing, is finally complete. Gaudin, who flat out pitched liked dog shit, is gone, and the Cubs are going to eat $1.6 million of the $2 million he is owed. Samardzija is headed to Iowa to get stretched out into a starter, you know, for the future. He’s there because of the equally large turd he dropped in spring training — that and he had options. See the funny thing about Guzman and Patton making the roster is that they were out of options — Guzman had to clear waivers and Patton was a Rule 5 pick, meaning he would have had to be given back to the Rockies. Now Patton actually pitched like a human being trying to play in the top baseball league in the world, 1.26 ERA in 14.1 IP, which is the only reason he is still around. Guzman? Not so much. 7.30 ERA in 12.1 IP is not what the doctor ordered. BUT, he used to be my favorite prospect, so I will stand by my man for as long as he has that red C on his head.
This means that this is your 2009 Cubs’ bullpen, in rough order of how they will appear in a game: Guzman, Aaron Heilman, Luis Vizcaino, Neal Cotts, David Patton, Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg. My confidence in this group is low. One left-hander, Cotts, whose performance has bee iffy the past few years. Iffy at best. Iffy is never good. I would be shocked if the Cubs’ brass doesn’t try to shore up the bullpen by the trade deadline, either by acquiring relievers or Jake Peavy then moving Sean Marshall to the bullpen.
Your No. 2 hitter for opening day is Kosuke Fukudome. Really? Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot aren’t good enough to bat there? Let me repeat, Theriot (.307 in 2009) AND Fontenot (.305) aren’t good enough to bat higher than Fukudome (.257)? Yeesh. I understand Lou Piniella‘s quest for a balanced lineup, but it doesn’t matter how many L-R-L-Rs you have if the Ls and Rs can’t hit. The only solace I take in this is that with the projection of Fontenot batting 6th, Soto 7th and Theriot 8th, Alfonso Soriano will get plenty of RBI opportunities batting leadoff.
Here is that opening day lineup (guaranteed 100% accurate or your money back):
LF Alfonso Soriano
CF Kosuke Fukudome
1B Derrek Lee
RF Milton Bradley
3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Mike Fontenot
C Geovany Soto
SS Ryan Theriot
P Carlos Zambrano
First pitch is at 6:05 CST on CSN, possibly ESPN2. Zambrano and Roy Oswalt are your probables. Josh Mosley and I will return in three days time to beak down the series on each side and tell you what you need to know about the first N.L. Central series for these two teams.
Welcome back to baseball people, I know you missed it like that girlfriend that dumped you out of nowhere. Come back later in the day for my fearless prediction on the N.L. Central and the rest of baseball. Why? Because if they’re right you’ll hear about it all offseason, and if they’re wrong, well, nobody will remember them. It’s a win-win.