Heading into the 2009 season, the Chicago Cubs still have plenty of work to do. With the heartbreaking losses to the LA Dodgers in the playoffs, plenty of issues still need to be resolved in order to make it to the World Series in 2009. The top five ongoing problems will continue to haunt the Cubs unless they can be corrected.
1. Alfonso Soriano needs to quit leading off. Someone needs to explain to this primadonna that his power would far benefit the team in the middle of the lineup. Solo home runs at the start of the game won't help when the bullpen is continuing to give up two or three runs in the seventh.
If Soriano could simply understand that every pitcher will continue to throw him the first pitch far off the plate, knowing that he will swing, his average might actually rise a bit.
2. Carlos Marmol needs to be the closer. Kevin Gregg isn't the answer after Wood's departure, he's a poor man's Joe Borowski. Move Gregg to the setup spot and leave the ninth to the Marmot.
3. Leave Fukudome in the batting cage from now until opening day and after every game. If the pitchers in MLB were all from Japan, his continued corkscrew swinging himself into the ground might not pose a problem. Until Kosuke can adjust to American pitchers, he's not worth putting in until the eighth for a defensive substitution.
4. Milton Bradley is a head case, injury prone, and a cancer in the clubhouse. Nice move considering there were so many more valid options out there to choose from. The Cubs need a true captain to step up and lead this team, and this move certainly will not help.
5. Find another hitting coach other than Gerald Perry. The Cubs finally found their first bout of patience at the plate during the first half of the season in 2008. If this had continued throughout the year, things may have fared better during late September and into the playoffs. Maybe Ryno might have been a better choice. This could have vaulted him into taking over for Lou when he retires.