Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 2012 Cubs...the same as the 2011 Cubs?

Last year, I made a post where I warned people that the 2011 Cubs were likely to look a lot like the 2010 Cubs...and they they would again be kinda crappy. And that is exactly what happened.

Well the emergence of both Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Peña over the last month should make Cubs fans a little concerned over the potential composition of the 2012 Cubs roster.

As of right now as far as position players are concerned, Castro, Barney, Soriano and Soto are all pretty much locks to return.

Depending on how things pan out as the trade deadline approaches, Marlon Byrd may also return for the final year of his contract.

That's 5 of the 8 position players returning.

At this point, I believe the likelihood of Aramis Ramirez returning is extremely high for one and only one reason...there is no one else out there that is any cheaper/better. At the very best, the Cubs may pay off his $2 million and then re-sign him at a lower amount ($10 million?).

That's 6 of 8 position players.

What about first base? Well, it's more than a pipe dream for the Cubs to acquire Albert Pujols. That really only leaves Prince Fielder as an option. I honestly don't think the Cubs are going to meet Fielder's contract demand of around $22 to $25 million for 5 to 6 years. Signing Fielder also means a huge reduction in 1st base defense, which, as this season has progressed, is quite important with Castro at shortstop.

So with that said, Carlos Peña's power surge since April seems to have made him a viable option for the 2012 Cubs in the eyes of Jim Hendry.

That would mean that the Cubs could very well return 7 of their 8 starting position players, with right fielder Kosuke Fukudome not returning.

So the Cubs of 2012 could very well be Castro, Barney, Ramirez, Peña, Byrd, Soriano and Soto. It is very easy to see Jim Hendry thinking that this group of players should return next year.

The problem is that this group sucks! With the exception of Soriano, the other seven guys here are considered, for some reason, as decent players.

And, unfortunately, replacing Kosuke Fukudome isn't going to put this team over the top.

Let's move over to the pitching staff quickly.

Zambrano, Garza, Dempster, Wells and Cashner are all likely to return. Zambrano is the most tradeable commodity with Dempster a close second. Hendry's comments would indicate that he'd probably keep these guys. Kerry Wood...even if he is traded, is returning. Sean Marshall is considered an important part of this team's future for some reason. And I can't imagine the Cubs would be willing to trade Carlos Marmol.

The result here is that the Cubs would retool in right field, middle relief and their bench.

That isn't going to accomplish anything.

While it appears there are some really good components to this team, according to Jim Hendry's analysis, this team should be competitive next year...and that might be true if you look strictly at old outdated statistics...but these players, combined, create a really crappy team. We saw it last year. We are seeing it again this year.

I know it, you know it...everyone knows it. Blow this team up!

If that means trading Marmol, then do so. If it means trading Zambrano, then do so. If it means trading Byrd, Ramirez, Peña, Marshall and Soto, then do so!!!

Both Jim Hendry and Tom Ricketts have mentioned that they want to keep players that they think are key components to competing next season. Everything we've seen indicates that they might very well think that just about every one of the players on this year's opening day roster could be a key component to the 2012 World Series champion. They aren't.

A two or three year plan is what this team should be building toward, not to make some pathetic shot at pointless playoff appearance next year. Blow this thing up. Please?