Friday, July 20, 2007

Go Cubs

When the Cubs, a favorite to win the NL Central before the season, began to falter, I gave up on them pretty quickly. Hell, I thought with the signing of Alfonso Soriano, the influx of new pitchers, and the generally expensive offseason they would be good. But as usual, they were sucking and I quickly forgot about them and instead turned most of my attention to fantasy baseball. My thoughts of the Cubs, and the National League generally, began to fall away as my main fantasy baseball league was an AL-only league.

But as the All-Star break approached I was forced to notice the Cubs as they finally started getting those late game, one-run wins. And they were winning generally too - and catching up on the lagging Brewers. Well past .500, closing in on the division lead, and riding a ridiculous win streak, I knew I had to weigh in on this. Plus, the Cubs have done some deals of late.

First the transactions. The big one - the Cubs got Oakland's Jason Kendall for LHP Jerry Blevins and C Rob Bowen. It's a pretty good deal that gives the Cubs a good offensive catcher since we shipped Barrett west. And Kendall is a veteran pressence in a dugout that is getting increasingly younger. At the same time Kendall is getting pretty old and it seems like Koyie Hill is pretty good too (he had a 5-rb game this past week). The other move was the Cubs ditching Cesar Itzuris (sent to Pittsburg) - a guy who the Cubs got that was supposed to be an amazing fielder, fast on the base paths and who's hitting would improve. Instead he was pretty useless and left me begging for the likes of Ronny Cedeno and Neifi Perez. In fact, I'm actually thinking I'm starting to like the two Louisiana boys the Cub's have. Theriot to Fontenot - there's a double play combination that rhymes.

Now if the Cubs keep playing the way they are, I think they could easily contend for the NL Central crown. But that's really their only chance - I think it would be a stretch to say the Cubs could win the wildcard with all the competition out west.

Also, there's been all this talk on ESPN (a week or so ago) about how A-Rod might opt out of his contract. Among some of his destinations that were considered, were the Cubs. The Cubs might even have an advantage, because they would let A-Rod play short stop. Before we talk about how realistic this is, lets talk about how amazing this would be. The hitting of Soriano, Rodriguez, Lee, Ramirez...that's amazing. The Cubs would go from the butt of jokes to the NL's version of the Yankees. Throw in a solid leadoff hitter (Theriot, Fontenot, whoever) and you have a pretty formidable lineup. Now the reality - most people don't think the Cubs could pay A-Rod and Soriano. They might be right, but I'm more worried that an A-Rod contract would come at the cost of a Carlos Zambrano contract. Big Z is a pretty good reason the Cubs starting rotation is so solid, and losing him would be a big blow. Most commentators have already counted the Cubs out because there won't be enough ownership stability (because the Tribune is selling the Cubs) for a deal to happen. Lets hope something happens.

Well Cubs fans, cross your fingers.

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