Money talks and, well, that other thing tends to walk. Right now, the Cubs are in year one of a rebuilding process that could be alleviated as early as 2013 and as extended as the kind-of-distant future. It's one thing to cut and run on the previous general manager's mistakes and begin the process in theory, but boy, has it been hard to watch this current Cubs roster when the rubber hits the road.
Shoddy defense. A downgraded and terrible bullpen. A mediocre rotation with more unknown commodities than you can shake a cane at.
When it comes to the offense, however, it may take the proverbial garbage-cake. An absolute abandonment of power and patience, the two categories that every effective lineup needs to even pretend to contend. A lack of speed or fundamental base-running skills hurt the team further, but a lack of a true lead-off hitter, third or fourth hitter has spelled death for the team before they even got a chance to play a game.
Marlon Byrd has descended in production for four straight seasons. Alfonso Soriano is a walking injury who has also descended in production for the better part of four seasons. Ian Stewart is a complete unknown who also dabbles in the whole "I can't stay healthy if my life depended on it" variety.
If Stewart is an unknown, then Bryan LaHair is living directly on Mysterious Island. That's a Jules Verne reference; not that unwatchable kids' movie sequel.
Soto is consistently inconsistent. Barney would have to make gigantic improvements to get from quite bad to mediocre.
Castro is what the team has, and at this point in his very young career, he is a complementary player and not a centerpiece. Soon enough, he can and should be that guy, but he hardly has the ability to carry a team with this many flaws.
Pound-for-pound, it's getting as ugly as it can. This is not based on the limited time of this season, but staked in what we can all expect for the year. Does anyone see a 30-home run hitter on the team? Does anyone see a guy who can take 80 or more walks? Will anyone crack even a meager .800 OPS?
The franchise should be going extremely young by the trade deadline or earlier, with star prospects like Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson getting the Cubbie faithful all in an uproar. Yet July is quite a bit away for the already 1-4 Chicago franchise.
The question is, how truly bad is this offense? Let's look back at the past 10 Cubs teams to see if it truly is the worst in a decade of under-performance.