When evaluating the Cubs lineup this year, one has to start with this one inescapable fact—every move that Jim Hendry made from last October until this April was pretty much a complete disaster. From the lefty obsession to the dismantling of the bullpen, Jimmy did not do well.
As much as we’d like to believe that Milton Bradley is the answer it’s just not the case.
Yes he is a switch hitter, and yes he did lead the league in OBP and OPS and POU (Pissed Off Umpires) last year, and yes he’s a hot head, but not one single analyst in the offseason could get past all that to get to one simple fact—he played 20 games in right field last year. 20. Because he was injury prone.
The only reason he hasn’t been on the DL this season is presumably so that Jim Hendry does not have to acknowledge the extremely large mistake he made in signing a guy to play 70 games for 10,000,000 dollars.
Having said that, let’s take a look at what passes for the perpetually readjusting starting lineup for your Chicago Cubs.
Alfonso Soriano can typically carry a team and do really well for about 10-14 days at a time. This season, he’s been doing it from day one consistently. He’s going to lead off—get over it.
He can’t hit a softball with a tennis racket if he doesn’t, so just learn to deal. He’s showing remarkable (for him) patience at the plate and he’s overall good for this team.
Ryan Theriot has recently decided he can be a power hitter. I’m having nightmares about a red-headed outfielder who went from a consistent bat to a wanna-be power hitter. That is scary.
Derrek Lee is currently residing on the pine due to neck issues. Micah Hoffpauir is the only reason why this is not a horrible thing.
Aramis Ramirez was doing his thing up until dislocating his shoulder a few days ago. Now he’s doing his other thing—being hurt. Only difference now is there is no Mark DeRosa to back up for him—and don’t even get me started on that fiasco.
Kosuke Fukudome is off to a great start here in 2008, er I mean 2009. Keep it up past May 31, and maybe we’ll have a bit of faith. In the mean time, ride that pony till he breaks.
Mike Fontenot is barely taller than the bat that he swings, but he swings it well. He’s off to a slower start this year being his first year as an everyday major league second baseman. No threat for ROY, but decent enough.
St. Louis didn’t want Aaron Miles (second baseman) so much, that they now have a left fielder playing the position he vacated. Jim Hendry either thought he’d be the second coming of Mark DeRosa or he was blinded by the fact that Aaron is a switch hitter and therefore stands on the correct side of the plate.
However when you’re batting .200, you’re not a switch hitter, you’re a switch stander.
Geovany Soto is off to the expected Sophomore Slump that we all know and love. Where his bat has gone is a mystery, but it’s certain to be on a beach with a martini somewhere. Reed Johnson has yet another breathtaking catch in April and is otherwise unremarkable. Ryan Freel is a recent addition, but he’s a player.
Koyie Hill got his hand cut off and still catches 95 MPH heaters—hard core. Bobby Scales is one roster move away from going right back to Iowa.
Overall, the Cubs are not hitting the ball, let alone in clutch situations. They are watching strike three sail by without even twitching their bats and then acting surprised when the umpire has the nerve to call them out.
Bradley’s already been suspended. Lee is still flexing those warning-track muscles. When the Cubs actually do start doing what they should do best which is hit the living bejesus out of the ball, they’ll be formidable.
Right now they just need to weather this storm, keep within striking distance, and when the time is right, smack down Albert and Prince like the little girls we all know they are.