I saw that Cubs SS and one real bright spot Starlin Castro is facing possible sexual assault charges when he returns to Chicago from the Dominican Republic later this month. The article I read on espn.com says that the woman went to the hospital the night after the early morning on which the incident happened (September 29th or 30th), but that Castro went to his off-season home in the D.R. before the police could interview him.
No way to know yet if there’s anything to the allegations, but it doesn’t sound good.
Meanwhile, it looks like the Cubbies won’t be signing Prince Fielder. Yes, anyone who signs Fielder is likely to way overpay, just as the Angels did for Prince Albert, but playing his home games in the Friendly Confines, it isn’t hard to imagine Fielder hitting 50 or more home runs a couple of times before his body starts to break down.
Also, the Cubbies unloaded Carlos Zambrano in a clear case of had enough of his s*@# for anything they could get in return. Chris Volstad is young and big, but I just don’t think he’s all that much.
Volstad doesn’t miss enough bats, and he gave up a lot of hits and home runs playing for the Marlins. Unless he improves dramatically by next April, it’s only going to get worse in Wrigley. If he gets off to a bad start and loses confidence, I could see him finishing the 2012 season with an ERA at or near 6.00.
In fairness to Volstad, he did improve both his walks and strike out rates last year. However, his numbers still look like the kind of pitcher whose arm could give out at any time.
I like the trade for Anthony Rizzo. His .141 batting average in more than 150 major league plate appearances is definitely cause of concern, but he’s still only 22 years old, and he really did have a fine year at AAA.
The latest reports are that the Cubs intend to go into 2012 with Bryan Lahair as their starting 1Bman, which sounds a lot like the kind of thing you hear in early January that’s long forgotten come late March. Meanwhile, it’s anticipated that Rizzo will start the 2012 season at AAA to rebuild his confidence after his 2011 futility with the Padres.
Lahair had a terrific season in the Pacific Coast League last year and hit very well in the Show during a late season call-up. He’s improved tremendously as a hitter his last three seasons in the minors, mainly by developing a lot more power, and at age 29, he’s still young enough to hit well in 2012.
That being said, it’s hard for any GM, even outside-the-box, new-think Theo Epstein, to go into a championship season with a 29 year old rookie at first base.
All in all, it doesn’t look like 2012 is going to be the year the Cubs break the Curse. Not hardly.