Milton Bradley To Mesh Well, Chicago Cubs Still Have Work To Do

Steve PopowskiCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2009

About a two years ago, the Cubs' organization began selling blue-"Believe" wrist bands, hoping to inspire Cubs fans the believe that this will be the year. I obtained one of these bracelets, and decided on that day, to wear it until the Cubs break the curse.

When they do, I will pull out an Old Style beer, light the wrist band on fire, and toast to all of those Cubs fans who have never seen a World Series trophy to the north side. That being said...

With the signing of Milton Bradley on Monday to a three-year, $30 million deal, Cubs fans should be pretty happy to see that the Cubs have obtained their fourth new opening day right fielder since Sammy last manned that post on opening day 2004. To a Cubs fan who has seen the likes of Jeromy Burnitz, Jacque Jones, and Kosuke Fukodome as his predecessors, Bradley seems like a great improvement to the Wrigleyville atmosphere.

Now, the bleacher bums that man the right field bleachers can pack board games such as Candyland, Yahtzee, or my favorite, Trouble, in their backpacks and throw them around when Bradley makes a great play. Has that been done before?

If the Cubs somehow signed Coco Crisp and stuck him in center, this team would have more personality in the names of the players than all the personality that the Cubs showed last season. For that reason, Bradley will be welcomed warmly for that reason. Chicago loves its players with  personality, see Dennis Rodman and Jim McMcMahon, and as the media keeps telling us, Bradley has a personality.

Moving on from the Bradley signing, the North Side still has a lot of work to do. Bradley fits the bill as a left-handed hitter that can play right field, one of the Cubs' needs this offseason. But when GM Jim Hendry traded away fan favorite Mark DeRosa, he left a gaping hole at second base.

I'm sorry, but Aaron Miles is NOT the answer. I would rather give Mike Fontenot the opportunity to prove himself on an every-day bases, than give another David Eckstein circa 2004 clone an everyday gig. We have The-Riot for that.

As is said every year in Chicago, the Cubs need a 2B that is fast and can leadoff, but I tend to argue with that and say that is Ryan Theriot. Theriot consistently gets on base and is a base stealing threat (.387 OBS, 22 sb), which is what the Cubs are looking for, but Lou does not see that. 

Therefore, I think that the Cubs need a 2B that can play solid defense, put the ball in play, and drive in runs. We had that in DeRosa, and Fontenot may be the answer, but I don't think anybody in Chicago is excited about Aaron Miles.

Finally, I still believe that trading for Jake Peavy, unless the deal involves giving up next to nothing, would be a mistake. If Jim Hendry wants to sign another injury prone pitcher, than look the way of free agent Ben Sheets. He will come a lot cheaper than Peavy would.

I think that the Cubs should hold on to those prospects and try to swing a deal around midseason that, if they are in the playoff hunt, will not only boost the talent on the team, but possibly create the "buzz" that the Sabathia and Harden deals created last summer.

The Cubs need a fifth starter behind Zambrano, Dempster, Lilly, and Harden. I do not believe that Sean Marshall will ever be the answer. He has had many opportunities and has never proved that he can be a big league pitcher.

Does anybody know what happened to Rich Hill? He was ranked like 40th best pitcher last year on many Web sites and has fallen off the face of the earth. Random, but just thought I would bring it up while talking about pitchers. He is probably not the answer either.

How about signing cheaper options like Randy Wolf or Chuck James? Or, how about someone that nobody is talking about but can still pitch, like Andy Pettitte? There are still viable options out there, but for the past few years, the Cubs have gone the way of the Yankees and blown large sums of money on mediocre pitchers (Jason Marquis?)

So, Bradley will be a welcoming addition to the Cubs, but GM Jim Hendry still has a lot of work to do to make the Cubs "the team" that broke the curse. Will I still be wearing a wrist band around this time next year? Probably. We are the Cubs.