It seems to me that most people here want utter and complete perfection. That the only thing that will make you fully content is to have a lineup of All-Stars and a rotation full of Cy Young-winners backed up by a bullpen full of young, K-rod wanna-bes. I dont need to point out to you how impossible that is. I also dont need to say how proud it makes me feel to be a fellow fan of this team. As fans, we SHOULD be expecting the best of our team. We do pay to attend their games, after all. The fact that we have a general manager who cares about that is something that I am thankful for. In this day and age, major sporting events are fine diversions from whatever happened to the stock market lately, at the very least.
To summarize, the Chicago Cubs are the reigning and defending NL Central Champs and utter failures in two straight postseasons when they were favored to go to the Series both times. That's a fairly bipolar prospect. Then we factor in an offense that was in the top 5 in the NL in many categories, a pitching staff that led the majors in strikeouts (as Larry Rothschild-managed staffs tend to do) and did well in other categories, and the loss of several fan-favorite players in exchange for lower-level pieces that may or may not be a part of some larger deal by the aforementioned GM in getting another top-level pitcher. Analyzing that, they have thus far stood pat on their strong offense and improved, or attempted to improve, their pitching. This is, as many of you know, Jim Hendry's modus operandi.
If nothing at all else happens between now and Opening Day, I look at this offseason as an incomplete. Losing our closer couldn't be helped as we could not offer him what he wanted. What we gained was a serviceable arm to compete with Carlos Marmol for the job. Losing DeRosa removes a lot of versatility and clubhouse presence, but gaining Gameboard brings a good bat, good defense and...clubhouse presence. While I never advocated the trade for Bradley, or Dunn, OR Abreu, for various reasons, I also knew that Fukudome needed someone to give him time to adjust to this league.
We still do not have a prototypical leadoff hitter (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with the one we have right now).
Nor do we have an actual shortstop.
Or an outfielder in our own system that we can develop effectively.
Regardless, I am very much looking forward to Opening Day and the months ahead.