The 2011 Cubs Roster: A Medium Look

Geovany Soto figures to give Koyie Hill some
quality days off in 2011.
We last looked at the impending 25-man roster in December. Now, in the post-Garza world, let's reexamine it:
RF Kosuke Fukudome, LHB
SS Starlin Castro, RHB
1B Carlos Pena, LHB
3B Aramis Ramirez, RHB
CF Marlon Byrd, RHB
LF Alfonso Soriano, RHB
C Geovany Soto, RHB
2B Blake DeWitt, LHB
...the bench...
C Koyie Hill, (doesn't use a bat)
INF Jeff Baker, RHB
OF Tyler Colvin, LHB
UT Darwin Barney, RHB
...And the pitchers:
SP Carlos Zambrano, RHP
SP Ryan Dempster, RHP
SP Matt Garza, RHP
SP Randy Wells, RHP
SP Carlos Silva, RHP

CL Carlos Marmol, RHP
SU Sean Marshall, LHP
SU Kerry Wood, RHP
P John Grabow, LHP
P Jeff Samardzija, RHP
P Thomas Diamond, RHP
P James Russell, LHP
P Andrew Cashner, RHP
Nothing delights me more than seeing so many quality pitchers on a roster that features Koyie Hill. It's like garnishing a three-layer, red velvet cake with little chicken turds. You know, those little black pellets they drop everywhere that get pressed up into the ridges of your boots so your feet smell like excrement for days.

I'm sorry. I'm way too harsh on Hill. There's no way he's as bad as his numbers said he was in 2010, and even if he is, that's no reason for me to vilify him. Truthfully, it's not even his fault he's on the roster. He hasn't really done much to earn his spot, so management should have already handed the back-up reigns to Welington Castillo or Robinson Chirinos (too late).

Anyway, we have a wealth of starting pitching. We have two above average pitchers in the bullpen -- Sean Marshall and Andrew Cashner. I wouldn't be surprised if one of them replaces Carlos Silva in the rotation come spring, but still -- that's more above average starting pitching than most teams in the league.

Jim Hendry is pushing the old adage, "You can never have too much pitching," to the extreme. Also, for all the pitching we do have, we don't really have an elite pitcher. Which is kind of funny, because Philadelphia has two.

But you cannot win on pitching alone. Our offense portends to be -- at best -- average and -- at worst -- dismal. And given the advanced age of most of our roster, the worst-case scenario may be much nearer than we think.

Also, our fielding doesn't look great. We have one excellent fielder, Kosuke Fukudome, and one above average fielder, Marlon Byrd -- both of whom turn 34 this season. The rest are either average (Carlos Pena), abysmal (Aramis Ramirez), or full of yet-tapped potential (Starlin Castro).

In short: The 2011 outlook isn't great.

BUT: A big season for Carlos Pena, a healthy Aramis Ramirez, another great season from Geovany Soto, a corner turning by Starlin Castro, a late-career resurgence from Alfonso Soriano, a stable and healthy year from Carlos Marmol, and then BAM! We're in contention for the Wild Card, just like that!

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  1. Okay, I added Wood (I was at 24 men anyway). It makes me even more frustrated, though to consider how Marshall and Cashner are frittering away their talents (and cheap contracts) in the bullpen.

  2. Oh, and I think either Diamond or Samardzija will start in AAA, giving Fernando Perez a pinch-runner, fifth outfielder spot.

  3. I must have missed that picture and caption earlier. I hope Geo gives Hill plenty of days off. All of them, in fact.

  4. Eh, I think Soto should be able to give Hill 60 or so games to rest. By rest, I mean play first base.

  5. Koyie Hill is like that kid who's really good at baseball in The Sandlot. You just stick him anywhere. He's like SuperDeRosa.

  6. Samardzija can't start in AAA. He's out of options.