In comparison 9/14 in the AL are over .500 (with Detroit at the mark). Cubs have the 2nd best record in MLB (by percentage in that they and Boston have 52 wins, TB has 53 wins). St. Louis is 5th in MLB (2nd in NL), behind BOSOX, CHISOX) while Minnesota, Oakland and Milwaukee are within a game of StL.
What is interesting is that last year's most competitive and supposedly best division (NL West) has AZ leading but now under .500 at 43-44, (LAD is 1/2 game back at 42-44, ironically so are the vaunted Mets). There are five teams better than the best of NL West which is best described as the current "pretender status", Baltimore,NYY, FLA, TEX, DET (.500), which is where you can place the Mets as well.
Thus as the 1/2 way mark has come and gone and the All Star Break assessment approaches it is the final big moves a GM and Manager can make before the run for the playoffs: Based on this what to expect:
Hendry is on record saying Zell has given permission to do or pay what it takes to get the players needed for a playoff run or as I dare say a WS run. Let us take CC out of the mix to gain a starter. In my book Marquis also needs to be moved to the bullpen by August meaning that the Cubs need to acquire a better starter than he and hopefully Hill returns with his new adjustment and the same command or better than 07.
Pretenders who might become contenders, this is important for someone might be buying and the other pretenders probably will be selling something.
- Figure that LAD are buying, they need a SS and another pitcher....what does that mean for AZ, are they scratching about Quinten?
- Figure the Mets could be selling although possibly late in July, what do they have to sell?
- Oh this is too good, the Yanks could also be selling as well. As well as possibly Detroit, Oakland and Texas.
Thus it could be that the FLA will be in the race with the two NL Central teams for the WC. Meaning that if the Cubs can get some distance between the Cards and Brewers by September 1st they could effect a division title and possible home field advantage. This I am certain is what they are thinking.
To do this and be in line for a WS level team they need something more than Burkett, Grienke or even Bedard, they need an experienced and capable front line pitcher and a genuine infield utility player (SS).
My thoughts are as follows: Pettitt, Oswalt, Cook, and possibly Young in the starting spot. Pettitt or Oswalt would be best. These all would be money deals.
The SS is a natural, Viquel of SF who lost his option year because of games and he would be a good welcome to help at SS in late innings.