What the Cubs Need
It may seem like the Cubs, who are two games under .500 and only 3.5 GB of the division leading Brewers and Cardinals, may only need Aramis Ramirez’s bat back in the lineup to be true contenders, but they need more than that.
Aramis’ bat will help the Cubs contend for a division title but after watching the same team for the last two seasons do the same things wrong (i.e. swing at awful pitches with RISP), the Cubs need a lot more than Aramis’ bat to be World Series contenders.
Will they make a trade?
Probably, but it may only be for bullpen help (Matt Capps?).
I do not think the Cubs will make a trade for Matt Holliday because the Cubs do not have the firepower in the minor leagues to acquire Holliday nor the space on the team.
The Cubs are stuck with Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley, and Alfonso Soriano for a long time due to their incompetence and horrible contracts (sad face).
These are the Cubs top priorities to getting back to the playoffs:
Priority number one: getting Alfonso Soriano’s OBP above .330. It is currently at .299, which is absolutely the number one reason why the Cubs are struggling scoring runs. When the top of the order does not get on base at at least a .330 clip then the offense is going to struggle.
Priority number two: get Aramis Ramirez back. Although he will not be 100% healthy the remainder of the season, his presence alone will put more pressure on teams and will create more runs.
Priority number three: get Ryan Theriot back to hitting to the right side of the IF. For some reason he loves pulling the ball and until he gets back to hitting to the right side, the top of the Cubs lineup is going to struggle, which means the Cubs will struggle to score runs.
Sidenote: Last season I used to call Theriot “Mini Jeter” due to his propensity to inside-out the ball the other way. For some reason this season he is trying to be “Mini Hanley”, but Hanley is a 30/30 candidate and Theriot is not.
I’ll stick to calling him Theriot, or horrible base runner or bad defender.
Priority number four: get one more arm for the bullpen (Matt Capps?). We do not need a lefty because Sean Marshall is the man, and we do not need a starter. If we went to the playoffs right now we would go Lilly, Dempster, Zambrano, Harden, and with Wells out of the ‘pen. Our pitching is fine, except for our bullpen.
Getting Carlos Zambrano back on track used to be a priority, but I do not know what track Zambrano needs to get back on. He is lost out there and does not understand how to pitch.
To be successful as a major league pitcher you need to keep your cool, throw strikes, and defend your position. He’s 0-3, like Soriano and he is an extremely overpaid No.3 starter. His contract, like Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome, will haunt the North Side for years to come.
The Cubs need a lot to contend for a shot at the World Series. They need to change the way they play, which will not happen, and they need to add and subtract certain players, which also will not happen.
Getting Aramis back will help the Cubs contend for a division title, but the Cardinals and Brewers will be making a giant splash at the trade deadline, unlike the Cubs.