Chicago Cubs: This is Definitely Not “The Year”

Midwest Sports FansAnalyst IJuly 10, 2009

CHICAGO - JULY 08: Manager Lou Piniella #41 of the Chicago Cubs paces in the dugout during a game against the Atlanta Braves on July 8, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Braves defeated the Cubs 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Just when you think the Cubs’ season can’t get any worse, it did.

Geovany Soto will now be on the DL due to a left oblique strain he suffered during batting practice Wednesday. Soto will be the 13th person that the Cubs have had to put on the DL this season.

There are now questions about who will be the backup to Koyie Hill, who started Friday and will start most of the games while Soto is out.

Jake Fox is currently the backup, but Lou said they are looking outside the organization to add depth at the position. Mark Johnson is the catcher in Iowa that has Major League experience, but he is on the DL so that doesn’t seem like a logical answer.

Steve Clevenger is another catcher, but he is new to the job after being converted from shortstop. Chris Robinson, who they got from Detroit and is currently in Iowa, looks to be the most logical internal answer.

The Cubs’ season has been nothing but disappointment, and they can’t seem to get away from injuries. A day after activating Aramis Ramirez, Reed Johnson, and Angel Guzman off the DL, the Cubs had to put Ryan Dempster on the 15-day DL due to a broken toe.

Believe it or not, the Cubs are not totally out of the division race. Before Friday, the Cubs stand just 3.5 games out of first place. Even though the Cubs are not out of it, there is no “This is the Year” feeling.

Lou Pinella said that there is really nothing you can do about injuries, and while that is true, players can still be careful what they do.

The Cubs might not win the World Series this year, but this year is not a total loss. This is a learning year for the Cubs and their management.

The Cubs should learn from the Milton Bradley signing. Never sign a player who is not a proven player. Bradley has never played the whole season. He has

had only one good year, and has had problems with previous players and coaches.

What the Cubs have never had was a great farm system. Very rarely do the Cubs have a rising star. The only one I can think of is Randy Wells.

Most of their first round draft picks have been busts (like Prior due to injury, or like Felix Pie due to lack of production), or they have never made it to the big leagues. With all these problems, the Cubs need an overhaul.

The only way to get better is to trade away some guys, and recruit potential All-Stars. They need to stay away from players that get hurt—Rich Harden and Bradley come to mind.

Another huge problem are the fans. One year when Dusty Baker was managing the team, the Cubs were playing the last home stand, were 20 games out of first, and they still managed to get 40,000 to show up.

Even worse was when the Cubs came back to win the game in the ninth, the fans went insane like they were playing in the World Series.

Cubs fans seem to be living in there own little baseball world. If no fans showed up, maybe the team would do something different. But no matter how bad the Cubs do, they always sell out at Wrigley.

Until things change, the Cubs will continue to go nowhere in the next few years.



* - Lou Piniella photo credit: AP Photo/Paul Connors via Sports Maven