As this up-and-down Cubs season continues, I wanted to express my thoughts on the current state of Cubs baseball.
June has brought much of the same for the Chicago Cubs: close games, injuries, poor hitting, great pitching, and more frustrating moments than I care to remember.
Everyone knows the old adage that says you win as a team, you lose as a team. Baseball is obviously no different. Twenty-five men occupy an active roster and each man has a certain role to fill on that team.
There are the speed guys, the defensive stars, the big boppers, the aces of the rotation, the trusted relief pitchers, the shut-down closer and so on.
The Cubs' current roster is not what anyone would have envisioned this late in the season, but injuries and poor play have played a major role in that.
For better or worse, this 25-man roster will be called on to get the Cubs rolling. In no particular order, I now will share my comments on this team.
Geovany Soto, Catcher:
First, it was his participation in the World Baseball Classic. Then, it was an injury to his throwing shoulder that sidelined him in early April. Now he is losing at-bats to...Koyie Hill?
Geo, what happened to you? His 23 walks against only 30 strikeouts suggest his fortune can change, but when?
Derrek Lee, First Base:
Bothered by neck problems early and often, Lee has yet to get on track. He is aging before our eyes and is not much of a threat in this lineup.
Bobby Scales, Second Base:
There's a reason the 31-year old only made his major-league debut this year (he's not very good).
Ryan Theriot, Shortstop:
Basically the only speed threat on this team, his .291 average has helped the Cubs keep their heads above water while other high-priced players have struggled.
Mike Fontenot, Third Base:
Aramis, when can you return?
Alfonso Soriano, Left Field:
He can't run, he can't field, he can't get on base, he can't lay off breaking balls or off-speed pitches. A constant headache is all you're ever guaranteed of getting with this guy.
Kosuke Fukudome, Center Field:
He is in the top three of most Cubs' offensive statistics; where would this offense be without him? But unlike last year, can he sustain his success?
Milton Bradley, Right Field:
Where do I begin? Suspensions, nagging injuries, ineffectiveness. One big paycheck currently going to waste.
Koyie Hill, Catcher:
He is the Cubs' backup catcher.
Andres Blanco, Second Base:
He will be back at AAA-Iowa in hours.
Jake Fox, DH:
If he had an actual position, he might have some value on this team. He does not, and he does not.
Micah Hoffpauir, First Base/Right Field:
He is a key lefty off the bench for Piniella, but not good enough to play every day.
Reed Johnson, Outfield:
There's a guy like him on just about every team. So I'm not going to glorify him here, though I do like him.
Ted Lilly, Starting Pitcher:
Solid as a rock. If I wanted to be picky, I'd complain about his 11 home runs allowed, but let's just let that slide for now.
Ryan Dempster, Starting Pitcher:
Would you have guessed that he would be leading the team in strikeouts? Dempster got paid in the offseason, but has managed to put together a nice run of late and a solid season so far.
Carlos Zambrano, Starting Pitcher:
The only thing holding him back from being a Cy Young Award contender is Carlos Zambrano. There's no room for stupid suspensions and ill-advised injuries for the team's highest paid arm.
Randy Wells, Starting Pitcher:
Has zero wins to show for his stellar performances. Doesn't seem fair.
Sean Marshall, Starting Pitcher:
Appears to be headed back to the bullpen once injured starter Rich Harden returns. Marshall is always stuck in the rotation-to-the-bullpen muck it seems.
Jose Ascanio, Relief Pitcher:
I like what I've seen from the flame-throwing right-hander so far, but ten innings is not a large enough sample size.
Kevin Gregg, Closer:
I did not like the acquisition in November and I still don't. Also, his goggles are stupid.
Angel Guzman, Relief Pitcher:
He's been awesome and will likely assume Carlos Marmol's role as primary setup man in the seventh or eighth inning.
Aaron Heilman, Relief Pitcher:
He's issued 17 walks in only 25 innings, which is not good any way you slice it.
Carlos Marmol, Relief Pitcher:
But 27 walks in 27 innings is much worse.
David Patton, Relief Pitcher:
How is he still on this team with an ERA over six?
Jason Waddell, Relief Pitcher:
Rich Harden's arrival this weekend will result in your bus ride back to AAA-Iowa, Jason.
Note: Aramis Ramirez, Aaron Miles, and Rich Harden are not currently on the 25-man roster, so I did not include them here. With the way Miles and Harden have performed at times this year, I'm not sure I would even want to comment on them.