The 2009 Chicago Cubs season is winding down.
This means two things: It's time to look forward to football full-time (most of you already have) and it's time to evaluate the worst members of the 2009 Cubs.
Nothing went right for this bunch in 2009. They were picked by nearly everyone to run away with the National League Central Division.
They were picked by many to represent the National League in the World Series.
Some brainiacs even said, "This is the year" that the Cubs would win the World...I'm not even going to finish that sentence.
As we stare at our September calendars we see a little over two more weeks of Cubs "baseball."
Most teams will hand out their awards for high performance, high character, high desire to win.
I'll do the opposite. Thanks for nothing, 2009 Cubs.
I'll remember this next year (total lie, I'll be back as always in 2010, I never learn from previous mistakes).
Most Disappointing Cub
There's plenty of candidates (Alfonso Soriano, Milton Bradley, Carlos Zambrano, Kevin Gregg, Geovanny Soto, etc.) but the clear-cut winner, or, loser, is Mr. Soriano.
No one, perhaps in the history of the game, has done so little for so much. Soriano's pedestrian numbers (.241, 20 HR, 55 RBI, 9 SB, .303 OBP) are not even close to anything that could be considered respectable for a player who makes $19 million a year.
His $136 million contract over eight years will likely go down as the worst contract in the history of the game, or at least very close to it.
Consider that this, Soriano's third year as a Cub, was the third consecutive year he served time on the disabled list after spending zero days on the disabled list his previous eight years.
What does that tell you? Game after game after game, Soriano did less and less and less. Until, finally, he did none, and was shut down for the year.
Most Irritating Cub
If Soriano's horrible contract signing is No. 1 on the "are you kidding me?" list, then Bradley is 1A.
$30 million for three years boggles the mind, especially when Bradley had played on five different teams since 2002. If five different teams felt comfortable letting Bradley walk, then why on earth would the Cubs be the one team that would want to secure him for three years?
OK, every player deserves a second chance. Maybe Bradley would turn a corner. Maybe he'd justify the contract and help the Cubs win.
Bradley has a very healthy OBP of .380.
But what he does not have is a very healthy mind. The Cubs fans, though fickle and often clueless, were not your enemies, Milton, until you made them that way.
Cubs fans have booed many players over the years. White players, black players, Japanese players.
They all had one thing in common: They were bad.
Stop painting yourself in such a negative picture and stop telling everyone how hard it is to "walk in your shoes."
So irritating. So Bradley.
Worst Bullpen Arm
Kevin Gregg or Carlos Marmol. Which player drove me up the wall more?
Gregg gets the nod over Marmol for worst bullpen arm because Marmol can do one thing that Gregg can not do. Strike people out, seemingly at will.
Of course, Marmol can't really do that a lot either, because he decided to never again throw a strike.
But Gregg decided to never again retire a batter, and in my mind that's worse.
Gregg led the league last year in blown saves pitching in front of 40 fans in Florida, where baseball does not matter.
How was he going to react to crowds of 40,000 fans at Wrigley, where baseball is more important than deep dish pizza and the Sears Tower?
You know the answer to that question, Cubs fans.
The Aaron Miles Award
This award goes out to the worst player on the team. This year's winner, no surprise, is Aaron Miles.
A .181 batting average gets you the award every time.
Miles has almost as many stints on the disabled list (2) as he does RBI (5). Wow.
Can't make that up.
The Jeff Samardzija Award for Undeserving, Overpaid Arms goes to...
Jeff Samardzija. What a waste of everyone's time and money.
Unlike Aaron Miles, who actually proved his worth contract-wise (in 2008, he hit .317), Samardzija has done little, if anything, to convince anyone he's a major league talent.
He was given $10 million as an un-tested rookie pitcher from Notre Dame because it was assumed his football skills would translate into the game of baseball.
He is 24-years-old and the Cubs have not seen enough return on their investment.
This guy makes me want to throw up most of the time.
Most Valuable Player
Derrek Lee, thank you.
Though you started off a little slow in April and May, you more than made up for it time and time again. Without D-Lee's bat, the Cubs might have seven wins total on the year.
Derrek Lee will likely get votes for MVP based on his incredible season in which he proved his critics wrong when they said he was getting too old.
Most Valuable Pitcher
Ted Lilly, thank you.
The club's lone All-Star, you delivered every fifth day because that's what good pitchers and good people do.
Even tonight, against the rival Cardinals in a meaningless, though heated, late September game, you delivered a brilliant outing to give your team a chance to win a baseball game.
Ted Lilly is worth every penny the Cubs have paid him.
The rest of the team...
Not so much.
2009, a lost year for the Chicago Cubs.