Tribune: "starting to work its way to a conclusion," manager Lou Piniella said Saturday, Of course, as Piniella says, "assuming we don't do anything" via trade. So what is it outside the expected 11 position players and 11 pitchers who are seemingly "penned in. Where are the holes and uncertainties and how will they be filled during the season either through the system or as Piniella alluded to "via trade"? What kind of trade? Starter, bullpen or infielder?
- Let's get started: It appears Blanco will either be DL'ed or waived with the odds made that he will pass through and be placed in Iowa as the emergency SS---therefore---Fontenot is the platoon player between shortstop and 2B. This is good as long as no one gets dinged.
- With Fontenot, this leaves the opening for Millar (or Tracy) but I think Colvin has placed Tracy in Iowa as an insurance policy for Ramirez or DLee, unless he finds a contract somewhere else.Can Millar play the occasional spot time in the OF like Darrel Ward or Micah Hoffpauir?
- That leaves Colvin who has raised eyebrows and notice by actually doing what players on the cusp need to do in the off season, develop themselves. Colvin might even push Soriano or Fukudome for some playing time. He is better to have on the bench over Fuld simply because he has a real bat and Sam can go to Iowa as another insurance policy.
- Starting rotation appears to be Gorzelanny (good) and Silva (yikes) until Lilly is full time again. Is there concern regarding Wells? Next start will tell you much, what is his velocity? His movement? His command? Maddux with Zambrano appears to be the ticket. Lilly of course is the key
- Bullpen then receives Marshall and an improving Samardzija joining Berg and Al's favorite Caridad as the young right handed arms. The decision is Gaub or Parisi (or Russell or Mateo), how much you want to bet on Parisi to see if they can "Patton" him from the Cardinals. Lot of lefties in the pen.
Okay where are the weaknesses or concerns. Rotation; until Lilly is Ted of the last three years till the All Star Break last year, two bona fides is not enough. Gorzelanny might be a "steal" trade in retrospect. If Silva gives the Cubs 30 IP through mid May for someone Bradley they might be happy. Hiding Silva will be a concern unless Rothschild really has Dusty's dust! The only solution is the system, Jackson or Cashner unless Samardzija makes the next step. Marshall is a bullpen pitcher.
Next is the middle infield as there might be some moments when the Cubs would like to have a 4th IF'er who can play SS and 2B. Theriot seems to have responded to pressure and his roommate Fontenot is always a hot/cold hitter with amazing pop for a 5'7" player.
Finally the offense will either lead the league in runs or be mirred in the middle depending on Soriano. If Soriano is 2007-2008 Cubs will score runs, if he is 2009, we will either see locker room drama with Nady and Colvin getting AB's and Soriano being sore.
So what would be a trade? A real force in the bullpen? Always. A real platoon SS? A real rotation starter? I want a real starter and either move Silva (somewhere) or Gorzelanny or possibly Wells who is struggling.