Everyone knows the list of candidates out there. And with each candidate brings a thousand different opinions. I've been absorbing all these opinions and stats and everything. As a concerned Cubs fan, I think this slot is a huge thing that can't be filled by some nobody. After watching the Cubs lose their NINTH playoff game in a row this October, it became obvious to me that yes, the pitching was terrible, but also there was no hitting. Which is why I think the Cubs need to go after someone who swings a big bat.
Here are some things that need to be taken into consideration when going after this right fielder:
Defense: Defense becomes a factor because of the (IMO) lack thereof in right field. Look we all know that Soriano isn't going to be winning a gold glove any time soon. I know most fans out there aren't ok with that. But I know also that we'd be happy (well, just not as ticked off) if he didn't do the hop every time a ball comes towards him. I don't think that there's much need to worry about center field, given two players with great defensive skills, given that Piniella sticks with the platoon of Reed Johnson and Felix Pie. One thing to consider also, is that in close games, Fukudome CAN come in and play right field. Right field at Wrigley, as we all know, is considered one of the hardest places to play defense, along with center field in Houston and left field in Boston.
Speed/RBIs: Speed is a factor of defense yes, but this is more in reference to on the basepaths. The Cubs don't have a clear cut basestealer. Theriot is good for some but he is almost just as likely to get caught then to successfully steall a base. And we all know that Soriano isn't healthy all of th time and Lou doesn't like to risk injury with him. A good basestealer is important to getting men in scoring position and scoring more runs. The tradeoff to all of this is that the right fielder can drive in a bunch of runs. If this right fielder can't get on base and steal bases, then maybe he can drive in runs through home runs.
Leadership/Intangibles: Al has suggested many times that we go after somebody like Kevin Millar, who can provide leadership and stability when the team is in a tense game or the playoffs. Someone who is good at doing that is able to keep the clubhouse loose and probably has been there before. Think about it: someone who has been to the playoffs and on winning teams knows what it takes to be successful. That person can transfer that knowledge over to the Cubs. It doesn't seem like the Cubs have much of a problem keeping the clubhouse loose during the season. They seem to have a lot of players who are funny guys, and there were many times over the season where the cameras would go over to the dugout and everyone would be laughing. Dempster and DeRosa are two guys who stand out in my mind (common knowledge, I know). So maybe just having that experience of winning is good. And obviously not someone who hates his teammates or avoids them (Barry Bonds anyone?).
I leave hitting out actually. I know hitting is important but we don't NEED a 30 home run guy. We had the best record in the league without having a single player hit above 30 home runs or .310. The team seems to be good at driving in runs in many ways, and as it has been said many times before, there is no clear MVP of the team. I'm saying we do need someone who fits that mold, someone who can hit on a consistant basis but doesn't need to be an MVP candidate by any means. Just not someone like Fukudome or Alex Gonzalez of the 2003 team.
So given this information, who do you think fits the mold? My vote has and still is for Adam Dunn. Minus the experience of being on a playoff team, he is consistant and a fun guy in the clubhouse. He does hit well and gets on base often, which does go against what I say but who's going to turn away 30 homers a year? My second candidate would be Hermida. I like his youth and speed and athleticism and I think his hitting is strong and could become much better at Wrigley. Again, this is just my opinion though. i write this post to hear your opinions.