Season 13 Preview: Chicago Cubs

by 4:37 AM 1 comments
In a city rich in sports tradition and achievement, are the much beleaguered Cubbies prepared to break through and add another trophy to Chitown's considerable collection?

Perhaps. They do stand in the upper tier of NL teams, but if they do, they're doing it with offense and pitching be damned!

Greenpeace flips its eco-terrorist bird in Chicago's general direction, as several large forests were raized to stock all the wood in the Cubbies lumberyard. Kenter returns all 8 starting position players from a squad whose offense stood head and shoulders above the rest of the league. Power is the name of the game in Chitown, and so it shall remain unless returning MVP is decapitated in a freak shaving accident. In addition to Hackman's 70 dingers, starting 2B Mark Spehr smashed 52, C Alejandro Romano 42, LF Bruce Richardson 33, and CF Dee Perez 32. Along with the rest of the starters (only one -- lightweight pansy-boy shortstop David Gomez -- hit less than 20) the season 12 Cubs led the league with 306 homers and also topped the charts in batting average and on-base percentage.

Injuries could prove problematic for this team, as beyond speedster reserve Paul Kerr, the bench is about seven shades of suck. Kenter did call up suckish Gerald Martin and Captain Suckwad, Groucho "Suck Suck" Price, from the happily sucking AAA squad to replace a couple other scrubs from last year (who sucked). But if the injury bug hits (Hackman is notoriously fragile), this organization will be scrambling to find competent bodies to fill the gaps.

The flip side to this glorious collection of finely tuned run producers is the less than stellar pitching staff. When trying to pen a nickname for the Cubs staff, the best Chris Berman could come up with was "Aaron Hinske and the rest of those guys". And that's pretty much what comprises the staff, Cy Young winner Aaron Hinske and 11 other no-names and has-beens possessing varying levels of mediocrity.

Kenter returns the newly-inked Hinske (who agreed to a sweet $6.3 million/3 year contract) along with starters Chipper Anderson and Oscar Christman. Gone are starters Ivan Tavarez and starter/long reliever Carlos Urbina. Gone is heavily-used reliever Alfredo Greer. Retired is aged bullpen fixture Einar Eusebio. In their place? Pretty much more of the same, but at a hefty price.

Chicago dipped into the free agent market in an effort to bring their staff up to snuff, but ended up overpaying for marginal talent. Type B free agent Pedro Diaz will join the starting staff this year, and the Cubs faithful had best hope he finds better mojo than that which saw him relinquish a .306 batting average to compliment his 1.66 WHIP and 5.75 ERA from last season. He will cost the Cubs $5.9 million for three years.

Payroll is a concern as the Cubs are already committed for a hefty $93.9 million this season. On the plus side, payroll-wise, they do have most of their key pieces (excepting Danny Neal) locked up beyond this season.

Another free agent bust in the making is venerable starting pitcher, Benito Javier. Despite 36 years on this earth, a less-than-impressive performance last season, and a muy rapido decline in skills, kenter agreed to pay him $6.5 million for his services this season. By way of comparison, he'll be banking over a half mill more than 22 game winner Hinske. There are worse things one could blow $6.5 million on, but it would take an awful lot of trysts with transvestite hookers to rack up that kind of bill (at least according to lead alcoholic, frankum).

One nice free agent pickup for the Cubs was short relief man Bill Clifton. He is at his athletic peak and boasts a career 1.37 WHIP and 3.89 ERA.

Barring multiple injuries to key contributers, the Cubs should easily win the East for the fourth year running, and score an awful lot of runs in the process. But the question remains: Do they have the hurlers to contain other comparably potent offenses in a playoff situation? Unless if they hire a mad scientist to clone a few more Aaron Hinskes, the likely answer is: No.



Commissioner of the fakest fake baseball league on the planet: Plumpy Rules!!!!111


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