The 2005 Cubs: Part II
3 Players who should find the exit before 2006
1. Corey Patterson
I’m done with this jackoff. His terrible batting was not saved by intermittent moments of brilliant defense, and if he turns his back on Winter League to keep partying on the Northside, he should see the door. Let it be noted that he played more games than ANYONE with similar batting stats (.215 BA, ), and had the 2nd worst BB-to-K ratio of ANYONE IN THE LEAGUE with 0.19 (Wily Mo Pena had a BB-to-K of 0.17, but played in 23 less games). It’s awful, it’s unacceptable, and it’s sure as shit not worth a spot in any MLB starting lineup; how on earth he managed the 5th MOST AT-BATS ON THE CUBS ROSTER is just too much to even think about. Off with his head!
2. Cliff Bartosh, RP
Sure, everyone needs a LOOGY, but if Remlinger is not safe from the chop, then this chump shouldn’t be either. Bad numbers across the board despite being used as a garbage pitcher (if you can’t throw strikes when the other team is up by 7 in the 8th and have pinch-hit for half their starting lineup, then you have issues), and somehow managing to remain on the active roster for most of the year and only appearing 19 times – why bother with him on the team? Flush him out as he didn’t do much, didn’t get many opportunities as a result, and is taking up valuable room for *gasp* a AAA, Major League-ready reliever (*cough coughJermaine Van Burencough cough*). So long, enjoy the free sweatpants.
3. Jeromy Burnitz, OF
Man, am I going to cop some shit for this one. If we’re looking at our lineup objectively and without emotional bias and/or preference (you know, how it’s sometimes supposed to be done), then Burnitz wouldn’t make the grade. There are homes for guys like him, and unfortunately they’re far from competitive ones, but his mediocre “small” numbers (.254 BA, worst in the regular lineup, 262 with RISP) could be shadowed sufficiently by solid power (24 HR, 87 RBI) and honorable defense just long enough for us to get something good in return.
I don’t know what his contract situation is like, but he’s one bird that’s worth flying the coop earlier in terms of his relative league value. Our OF needs a complete overhaul, hopefully with Murton getting the lion’s share of LF time, and with Pie on the way, Burnitz has trade potential and the all-important trade value, something fellow punk Patterson certainly does not. Heck, package them to Boston for Damon, I don’t care. They just can’t stay here.
2 things we need most in the Off-Season
1. A #3 starter
Who knows what Maddux is thinking about 2006, but one thing is certain: we need another solid starter to give us a (hopefully) healthy 4-man rotation that would look good on paper. Our days of waiting around for Wood to leave the hospital should be over, and with a 4-man set of Prior, Zambrano, Maddux and someone else would give us more competitiveness and put less strain on the over-worked bullpen.
I’m not sure who is coming up, but if AJ Burnett were attainable (I’m not sure what we’d need to give up to get him), or a guy like Kyle Lohse in Minnesota (9-13, 4.18 ERA, 1.43 WHIP in 2005), someone durable and decidedly non-flashy/economical, it might be worth the jump.
2. Outfield, outfield, outfield
This is obvious. With potentially 3 guys I could think of who shouldn’t see Wrigley’s outfield again, a solid CF/RF who can leadoff is the big prize on the horizon. I remember hoping that we could get a Damon-type scratch-hitter, and he was quoted as saying he wouldn’t mind moving to the Cubs, should the situation ever arise.
I need to quit the hope and put whatever shred of trust I have in the front office to put their priorities right: a lot of problems will be solved with a solid lead-off man. Heck, you guys know that given how you covet that pest Eckstein. If he lays down a suicide squeeze one more time in this postseason, I might puke up a kidney.
1 man who can lead us in 2005
1. Carlos Zambrano, SP
Again, shoot me down from the rafters for this one. His fiery temperament has steered him through matchups against some of the best in the NL: Chris Carpenter x 2, Josh Beckett (ouch, maybe not), Ben Sheets (should have been), and Dontrelle Willis to name but a few. His batting was no slouch (24-80, .300 BA, HR, 6 RBI, 8 R and 7 XBHs), and sometimes anomalies like that can mean the difference between the W and the L.
Despite all of his innate talent, those 33 or so starts that El Toro gets are vital. Not only did he find 13 NDs in 2005, some of which were truly ridiculous (7 IP, H, 0 ER, ND vs. White Sox, CG, ER, ND vs. Cardinals, 8 IP, 2 ER, ND vs. Braves, 7 IP, ER, ND vs, Astros to name but 4), but the mere fact that his cojones glisten brightest in the summer sun against the biggest fish in the league is no coincidence.
He brings 110 percent to the big matchups, and it’s about time the team thanked him for it. Another solid year in 2006 should see him a lot closer to 20 wins than 10, and should bring the Cubs closer to the chance of a postseason.