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Chicago Cubs Issues: With Milton Bradley Gone, Now What?

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IDecember 18, 2009

MILWAUKEE - JUNE 4: General Manager Jim Hendry of the Chicago Cubs talks with reporters before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park June 4, 2007 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Reports on Friday morning are that the Chicago Cubs are sending Milton Bradley to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Carlos Silva and between $6-9 million .

Do you feel the collective exhale from Cubs Nation?

Now, the job of Cubs GM Jim Hendry becomes trying to patch the holes in the roster that have been created by his terrible personnel decisions (Aaron Miles) and poor handling of internal free agents (Rich Harden).

But what's left?

Other reports on Friday are that the Padres are close to a deal with Coco Crisp, which would take another centerfielder off the market at a position the Cubs have need. Hendry coveted Mike Cameron, but handcuffed his winter to moving Bradley and watched Cameron sign in Boston.

Does anyone really think an outfield of Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Rick Ankiel is a championship-caliber situation? It might have to be, because there aren't many names left on the market for Hendry to choose from if he's going to fill the gaps.

Because Silva has the worst contract in baseball, it's highly unlikely the Cubs will be a players for Jason Bay, Matt Holliday or Johnny Damon. Ankiel, Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik have been rumored to be on the Cubs radar. Ankiel would be the best defensive choice from the list, while Podsednik would be a left-handed leadoff man.

If you've looked at Silva's numbers over the last few years, this trade also means the Cubs still need starting pitching. With Ted Lilly out until the end of April (at best), and Harden moving on as a freee agent, the Cubs now have one slot to permanently fill and another to patch for a month.

And that's assuming Randy Wells' 2009 was legit.

Does Joel Piniero get you excited? Because Randy Wolf signed in Milwaukee and John Lackey's on the Red Sox already, and Piniero is probably the "best" pitcher left on the market. But he'll be cashing in on his success the last couple years in St. Louis, while his career numbers indicate he could be average at best.

The Cubs also need infield help and bench depth. Right now, the Cubs have a bench that looks more like a high school roster than the bench of a team that hopes to win the National League. Mike Fontenot, Andres Blanco, Koyie Hill and Micah Hoffpauir? As a group they might hit .220 next year, but that's the Cubs bench right now.

Oh, and Jeff Baker's your starting second baseman.

The 2010 Chicago Cubs appear to be a trainwreck in progress. Hendry has watched as free agent market in which he could have afforded to be a player and add quality disappeared while he looked for a way to dump his biggest mistake as the Cubs' GM, and now he'll be forced to sell a mediocre team to the fans because of it.

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