The season opens tomorrow and its time to take a look at the projected starting lineup.
The lineup is not pretty. This is Theo Year 1 and the Cubs are in a serious rebuilding mode. Most sportswriters are predicting a fifth place finish at best. What are we going to do next year when the Astros move to the American League? Plus, we used to be able to count on the Pirates and Reds to finish below us. But their young talent is blooming while our overpriced veterans have gone bust.
Many of the cards I've got are from the Topps Factory Team set, which I just got a few days ago. This is usually a preview of what the series two cards will look like for any of the returning Cubs. Those that are new to the team have photoshopped cards and will probably have a real picture if they are in series two. I'll take a closer look at the factory team set in a couple days.
For better or worse, here they are:
Left Field...Alfonso Soriano...and he's only got three years at $18,000,000 per year left on his contract.
Center Field....Marlon Byrd...good hustle...nice guy...just not a lot of production.
Right Field....David DeJesus....hit .240 last year for the A's. Lucky for him. the bar for a DeJesus in the Cubs lineup is pretty low. The last time the Cubs had a DeJesus was 1981 and Ivan hit .194.
Third Base....Ian Stewart...This will be the first time since 2004 that Aramis Ramirez is not at third. Ian Stewart his a paltry .156 last season. Let's hope we don't start another drought at third base. It took 30 years for a longterm third baseman to replace Ron Santo. Will it be another 30 to replace Ramirez?
Shortstop...Starlin Castro....He avoided the sophomore jinks. Now he just needs to avoid the baseball Annies.
Second Base....Darwin Barney...Hopefully, Castro and Barney will man the center of the diamond for many successful seasons.
First Base....Bryan LaHair....A 29-year-old without a full MLB season takes over. Derrek Lee and Carlos Pena saved the rest of the infield a lot of errors. LaHair won't.
Catcher.....Geovany Soto...Has never repeated the success of his rookie season.
Ryan Dempster makes his second straight opening day start. The best I can hope from him is a .500 record.
Matt Garza....would be the default ace of the staff.
Paul Maholm....our #3 was 6-14 last season for the Pirates. Wow.
Randy Wells....hoping he won't be eating his mitt this season
Jeff Samardzija....attempting to move from the pen to the rotation.
Carlos Marmol...when he's good he is unhittable. When he's bad, he is also unhittable, because he's walking everyone instead.
Kerry Wood....with Sean Marshall gone, Woody will be getting more innings, if his arm doesn't fall off first.
That's not exactly the '27 Yankees that Theo has put together. The best I can do is hope for a miracle.