Lengthy, but I'm trying to be elaborate
First I'll list my line-up, question marks and all, then I'll try to explain.
1-Torri Hunter CF / Theriot 2B / Lugo SS/2B
2- Murton LF/RF
3- D. Lee 1B (hoping family things are ok, obviously more important)
4- Ramirez 3B
5- Barret LF/RF
6- Torri Hunter CF / Vernon Wells CF
7- Bengie Molina C
8- Izturis SS / Theriot 2B
- Prior / FA / Rookie
- Miller / FA / Rookie
Closer- Dempster / Wood
SU- Howry / Wood
Lefty Specialist- Ohman / Marshall
Long Relief - Wuertz / Marshall
Thats 7 relievers, obvisouly will probably be cut to six depending on who works out between Ohman, Wuertz, and Marshall in ST. And assuming Wood is able to pitch next year.
Ok, so a lot of '/'s in my lineup. Thats because there are so many options and ways things can end up this off season, and the cubs are not the only ones looking for help (obviously)
I do not hate pierre, but it's possible he'll want a lot of money, and I've seen better guys leadoff, he's fast as (metaphor), but with an OBP of .330-.340, I'm not ecstacic, especially with his low run production (obviously not his job exactly, but everyone, pitcher excluded, should be at least decent at knocking people in, especially in the majors and for that kinda cash)
Torri Hunter or Julio Lugo or Theriot are great leadoff options. Personally, I'd probably put Hunter deeper in the order, probably 6th, but he can lead off if our Middle Infielders aren't options.
Also in CF both Hunter and Wells are solid hitters and good defensive assets, I'd consider both upgrades over Pierre even though I greatly Respect his hustle and heart.
I'm sorry, but if I were a manager, or a GM, Jacque Jones would NOT be on my roster. He is an above average hitter against right handed pitching... thats it, he is NOT an all around baseball player. I'm sorry, but a defensive liablity that will allow virtually EVERYONE to go first to third on base hits to right is not good.
He's seems like a nice guy, and I'm sure he tries really hard, but he's just not an all around baseball player.
Now Barret is a defensive liablity but an offensive powerhouse. If able to play 150+ games he could probably hit more like 25-30hr and drive in more runs. It would also extend his career to move him out of the crouch, and to be honest, some of his defense HAS cost us games. I recall a passed ball 3rd strike for out number 3 with Z throwing. Which set up a 2 out 2 run blast and a loss. I would also like a catcher who can throw out a base runner.
Barret seems athletic enough, and enough of a gamer to make the switch and be solid. I don't know if he or Murton would make the better RF, but both are fantastic baseball guys who hustle everytime out of the box, and can drive in a ton of runs, just what you want from your corner OFs... right?
BTW - Murton is great, anyone who says otherwise, I.... well I disagree, I'll leave it at that and let his numbers speak. The guy is young and a fantastic hitter with patience, don't you dare consider letting him get away.
Ramirez is good, keep him
Lee is amazing, if he goes, we either catch lightning with a prospect, or consider blowing up and starting over.
I can live with Izturis at SS, a GG calibur Middle Infielder is always welcome and he can hit 8th for me. However, there have been some talks about Lugo, and while I hear he's a jerk (which is a deterrent for sure) there are worse ideas. Lugo can leadoff or hit 2nd, has some power and will steal his fair share of bases.
I, like many, really like the look of Theriot, who should legally add a space in his last name. He plays really hard, works the count and is fast. He's solid defensively and all around looks good. In reality, we have too small a sample size to judge accuratly, the league probably doesn't have a good strategy against him yet, need to see how he adjusts to pitchers using a strategy against him other than good pitches.
He has earned an invite to ST with serious consideration for the starting job.
Again, this could be a spot filled by Lugo with Izturis at short. I could live with and be excited about either scenario, personally I'd rather not have a wife beater (rumor I'm pretty sure was about Lugo) on my roster, but this is overall a direction I'd approve of.
As most people will agree, Barrett is not the best behind the dish. But again a rather large offensive asset. Toronto recently stated that they don't really plan on bringing back Molina, at least thats what I read on their site (I looked up Molina articles), he's a solid defensive catcher (he's a Molina after all) and while not a killer with the lumber, will contribute his fair share.
I understand that their will be others looking to pick up Molina, I'm really okay with a .270ish hitting solid defensive catcher. I'd take Blanco if I thought he could hit as well as he has this year, but I believe he's a bit old to be the everyday guy all year, and probably won't hit this well again for more than a small streak.
So if CF is Hunter or Wells and Infield is Izzy and Theriot:
6 Hunter or Wells
Or if Lugo is SS
6 Hunter or Wells
Theriot is 8 in this situation rather than 2, because he's the only one in the lineup likely to hit 5 hrs or even less. And with his phenominal OBP that would give the Pitcher spot a lot of bunt opportunities to move him over.
And if there's a 2B other than those in this equation I'm not sure where they'd hit (obviously)
I think everything regarding the pitching is pretty self explanatory, Spots can be taken by other young arms in the pen.
Z- Obviously the Ace
Hill - Could Potentially be the #2 Starter, but really should debut at 4 if we had a solid 3 in Prior or Miller, but too early to tell for sure on both of those. But Hill should make a fine #3 if he comes to ST with a developed change, and perhaps a work-in-progress 4th pitch.
FA- People throw around Zito and Schmidt. Schmidt would be great but will probably stay on the Coast. I'm not exactly sure who to slate here, so long as it's a tier 2 FA I can deal. If so, perhaps you see who amongst Prior, Miller, and Hill do the best in ST and put them at #2 and the FA at 3.
Prior/Miller/Young Arm - One would imagine that either Prior OR Miller will be ready by next season so they would definetly get a spot, and assuming one of them can't make it, which ever young arm in ST looks the most promising (whether it Marshall, Guzman, or Ryu - you know from Street Fight, they are the most likely condidates) can round out the 5th spot if need be.
So there it is, long winded and all. I know it's for the most part, drastically different from what many others would be planning on, however I think such a line up (once all the '?'s are answered that is) would be phenominal. Score a WHOLE LOT more runs than this current one, and would be pretty darn solid defensively.