25 Cubs, 25 Comments.

Ed LeiserCorrespondent IJune 9, 2009

CHICAGO - MAY 16: Geovany Soto #18 of the Chicago Cubs greets teammate Derrk Lee #25 as Lee scores a run against the Houston Astros on May 16, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Astros 5-4. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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.