Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 MLB Preview: Chicago Cubs

As I grow tired of winter and my anticipation for spring (and baseball!) continues to grow, I will attempt to do quick 2009 previews for every MLB team. I'll rate each team in a few different categories. Because I'm a big fan, I'll start with:

Chicago Cubs

IF (4.5/5) - Not many teams are better at the corners. Theriot and Fontenot are great sparks. Miles should add OBP for a team who really needs it. DeRosa will be missed. Soto is possibly the best young catcher in MLB.

OF (4.5/5) - Rating depends on health, of course. If Bradley and Soriano are healthy, this offense is likely the best in the NL. Johnson is not the best CF in the world, but played great when given the chance last year. Fukudome is not being relied upon this year as a starter, so he can only help. A great Spring Training could land him the CF job. Replacing Pie with Gathright also helps.

SP (4.5/5) - If the top 4 stay healthy, this is already the best rotation in the NL. Marshall could really surprise some people and be a great 5th starter. The addition of Peavy would obviously make this rating a 5/5.

RP (3/5) - Biggest question mark, by far. Marmol is lights out and Gregg has proven to be reliable. Gaudin has shown signs of being very good. Samardzija could become a star this year and will have a shot at starting if the Cubs don't acquire Peavy or another LHP for the pen, which would make it hard to start Marshall.

Other positives: Coaching

Wildcards: Angel Guzman, Rich Hill, Micah Hoffpauir

EDIT (1/28): The addition of Heilman will help either the rotation or the bullpen. Marshall takes another step toward the bullpen. Removed Olson from the wildcard list. Seems Rich Hill is next.

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