Ok, I admit it. I've seen the way this team has performed all season and being the Cub fan that I am -- I simply don't even want to think about the word rebuild. If you've been a Cub fan for 15 years+, you have seen enough rebuilding for a lifetime. Hell, this franchise has been rebuilding for damn 102 years and counting. In this post, my goal is to give my opinion on why I think this team isn't a championship caliber team and why the next rebuilding stage may bring us the thing we all crave and want... a World Series Championship.
First of all, I'm not giving up on the season, and as a dedicated fan of these Cubs - I will not give up true hope until this team is mathematically eliminated. I love this team too much to give up on them, and I hope they can turn it around sooner much rather than later.
However, this team is just not good enough, in my opinion. This team is not the worst team we've had by any means. It is a flawed team, however. First of all, we don't have a guy that is the clear best player of the team. Not to say that will make or break a world championship team, usually though, you have a player that you would like to build around -- in a ideal world. If you go up to 10 random Cub fans and asked them who is the best player on the Cubs, you would possibly get 6 different answers. Sometimes it can be a good thing, but in our case it's not. We have alot of average-to-above average guys on our team and no one exceptional at it. We have Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, but really those guys are compliments more-so than a MVP caliber player. All-in-all we have 2 Scottie Pippen's.
If we do decide to rebuild, I obviously think we would have to keep all eyes on the Albert Pujols situation in St. Louis, and Adrian Gonzalez in San Diego. You have to throw as much money as possible on one of them. Both players would give us a 3-hole hitter for the next 5 years plus, and a player to build around. We all think Starlin Castro has all the tools to be a All-Star caliber player. I believe that too, and I think he can be a good second-tier player to have to also build around. Hopefully, Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson turn into the players we think they can be also.
A lineup like this is what I'm talking about: Jackson, B - Castro - Gonzalez, A - Soto - Colvin/FA signing/trade - Soriano - Vitters/FA signing/trade - Theriot/Flaherty/FA signing/trade
Our rotation is something I think needs to be adjusted for the next couple of years. The Carlos Zambrano situation didn't make sense at first, and it certainly doesn't make much sense now. Zambrano isn't a power pitcher -- he doesn't hit 96-97 anymore -- even in the bullpen. One would think, Ted Lilly will have his final year as a Cub this year and we all hope Carlos Silva won't regress as the season continues. Ryan Dempster has been a rock in the rotation since he was inserted back in 2008, but should we hold on to him though out everything, if we decide to rebuild? If Andrew Cashner can continue to pitch like he has in the minors, he could potentially be our #2 guy for years to come. If the Cubs come back to their senses, Jay Jackson can be a solid #3/4 starter for years to come also. Carlos Marmol looks like he can be the closer for the next couple of years, and Sean Marshall continues to do well at whatever the Cubs throw at him.
Signing/trading a couple of pitchers, maybe one in the rotation and two in the bullpen would be the only thing should be needed to solidify the pitching staff come 2011.
So basically it could look like this: Zambrano, Cashner, Dempster, Jackson, Marshall/FA signing
In conclusion, while we all hope this team could turn it around - rebuilding this time shouldn't really the same rebuilding that we've experienced before. This team isn't that far away from a championship caliber team, especially if the right moves are made.. Hopefully this ownership means what it says about dedicating it's self to winning first.