If you recall correctly the '03 Cubs team was floundering with supposed promise wanting. Corey Patterson got hurt and the Cubs offense suffered when he went down along with Choi which affected the platoon at 1B, Cubs needed a 3B and Bellhorn was not producing. Can something like this be done again?
First let me say this: The last week I saw Bradley start turning on the ball and start looking like he had a clue at the plate instead of frustration. Soriano appears to be a step or two behind him as Soriano is finding a way to get a couple of hits batting defensively, he too looks like his mechanics are out of cync. This could be the inside the locker room why the Cubs had to make changes in hitting coaches, don't be fooled by the press's idea that someone needed to go, there appears to be real problems in solving problems.Cubs will either get into the playoffs or not with Soriano and Bradley really being instrumental or not.
Now the problems that can be solved via a trade or two: Catcher; Soto will probably not be ready until September so the Cubs need another real catcher not an emergency catcher. The other hole in the lineup is 2B, sorry I hoped Fontenot would fill in but he is not an every day player.
Ironically looking at the MLB horizon I think the Cubs might look a trading partner team as in Pittsburgh again and attempt to make another who is in serious turmoil now----Washington. Cubs need offense and even though Ramirez appears to still be able to hit line drives his power will probably be less and he also might need to platoon with Fox or Baker, more on that later.
My suggestion is to find a way to get Cristian Guzman and put him at 2B (or move Theriot there everyday), a switch hitting IF who is batting over .300 and even though he is not a big OBP he would do well in the bottom of the order and be the left handed bat Lou wants in the order. Is Sanchez a better player as some suggest, possibly but Guzman is a better defender and bats from the left side.
The other is Doumit who just came off the DL and is one of the Pirates big payroll ($2.1M) also a switch hitting catcher allowing Lou to have another left handed bat who has some decent power hitting 15 HR's last year. Doumit could help keep the catcher position warm until Soto is healthy and then when Soto returns can also play the OF if the Cubs want to sit Soriano or Bradley once in a while.
Now acquiring talent like this takes giving up on players that the Cubs can trade. To me Chad Fox appears to be a mighty trading bait, cheap big offense and both Washington and Pittsburgh could use him. His play at 3B could be something of interest. Fontenot is another player of value for clubs like these in that he is cheap and has good stats from last year. The other trading stock the Cubs have are arms like Atkins, Ascanio, Cotts, Stevens, Mateo, et cetera.
The thing is Piniella said there are two essential things for the Cubs to have happen for them to repeat as Division Champs; health and offense. Well getting a Guzman and Doumit would provide both those things while Dempster, Ramirez, Soto get better and hitting well we have to see if or when Bradley and Soriano actually deliver.