The whole spring I've been thinking that the Cubs have an obvious hole on their bench at 3B, something that's been discussed a lot and something I felt a little better about with Koskie in camp. Now that his career sadly has come to an end, it's back to either thinking about Miles or Fontenot at 3B, or picking up one of these guys that's likely to be moved like Keppinger, Jeff Baker, or who knows, someone 'spensive like Hank Blalock?
But then I start thinking that if Fontenot can handle 3B, then it's really not so bad for him to spell Aramis here and there, and that maybe the scariest potential situations are actually in the outfield.
1) Soriano -- He has to stay healthy. Our most experienced LF on the team is currently our platoon centerfielder.
2) Fukudome -- If he does falter, then we're going to probably have Reed Johnson as the main centerfielder.
3) Reed Johnson -- Solid guy, but no power. If something happens to Soriano or Bradley, he's likely playing every day. I don't dislike the idea of him playing every day, but coupled with missing the bop of Soriano or Bradley....not as much.
4) Milton Bradley -- A very important piece, can rake, and probably will be a decent rightfielder. But he's a very likely candidate to get hurt. This is actually one position where I feel very good about a replacement, because Fukudome was outstanding in RF.
5) Joey Gathright -- Super backup OF, really helps this team on defense, especially in later innings. Can't really hit, wouldn't want him as a starter for any extended stretch of time.
6) Micah Hoffpauir -- Sort of the inverse of Gathright. Having his bat in the lineup is probably just fine most of the time. Not a very good outfielder, and will likely look worse the more he's out there.
So here's my thinking: I am perfectly fine with our best case outfield of Soriano-Reed/Fukudome-Bradley. But if and when injuries start to happen, it gets kind of scary offensively. If we have Soriano or Bradley gone for an extended amount of time, that probably means both Reed and Fukudome are starting most of the time. The defense will actually be better in that case, but we are missing a lot of sock. I don't think Gathright sees too many starts in this scenario, because his defense isn't much better than theirs, if at all, and he has no power at all. Hoffpauir might be good for a spot start or two.
I guess what I am saying is that our outfield already doesn't have all that much pop, and once you get into the backups, the only one who has power is Hoffpauir. I'd feel a lot better if we had someone who could do about what Edmonds did last year. (Not Edmonds, because I doubt he could repeat last year.) This is when I start thinking about guys like Randy Winn, who have proven they can hit and won't hurt you in the field.
And I hesitate to even mention this again, but if we had Teahen, we'd have a replacement for Gathright who could also spell Aramis.