Now that the Superbowl is over and the media craze is drawing to a close it is time to talk baseball. Really the only concern left in the cubs front is will Z get signed to a long term deal? and will they avoid arbitration? Here's my thoughts-
The cubs have spent a crap load of cash this off season. Getting a 40/40 guy, a tough bench with the additions of Floyd and Ward, a solid rotation by adding Lilly, Marquis, and resigning Miller, and not to mention keeping one of the best power 3rd baseman in baseball. The reason I am mentioning this is because I don't see Jim doing all that spending just to lose an ace next season. Jim is a very smart man and will do what it takes to keep Z. Now having said that I don't think they will get the long term deal done before the arbitration date. I think they will agree on a one year deal around 13-14 million for next year then in Spring Training they will announce he has been signed to a long term deal. The amount and years I think will be agreed upon is 5-6 years 85-95 million. I feel the only thing that may snag a deal is the years, but never less they will get the deal done before opening day. So I really think cubs fans have nothing to worry about here, Jim will get the deal done.
Another minor concern is will Jones still be traded with the addition of Floyd. I say that depends on how Floyd does in the spring and how Jones does with his mouth and his work in the outfield. I think this will be the same situation as the Walker dilemma last year. We will look to trade him but no one will give up enough for him. As I see it now is Murton in LF, Soriano in CF and Jones in RF with Floyd coming off the bench to spell Matt and JJ.
Another thought I have is who is gonna bat 2nd in the lineup. My thought is that it will be Derosa. Yeah it will be awfully right handed 1 thru 4 but you cant always base it on lefty righty match ups. Now if I was I was Lou I would bat Murton 2nd. He has a high on base percentage, can still hit he homer and is OK speed. That way you could bat Derosa in the 7 spot behind Barrett and would have a decent solid lineup instead of being top or middle heavy. That's just my thoughts.. I would also entertain the idea of Barrett batting 2nd, he has OK speed for a catcher, .365 OBP last year( Matt's is .368), he provides home run power and would provide more protection for Lee than Murton would. Either Derosa(.357 OBP), Murton, or Barrett batting 2nd is fine by me, the stats show any of them can do it.
Addressing the rotation for the Chicago Cubs is very interesting because you don't know who is gonna be injured or not ready by opening day so here's my rotation on opening day-
1. Zambrano- Of course he is the ace of the staff and in the top 5 best pitchers in baseball right now.
2. Lilly- A solid lefty who can be a great #2 starter in the NL central. Pitched in the strongest division in baseball last year and I think will have a breakout year. At times he is unhittable and such a competitor. He is my number two starter.
3. Prior- Yes, I do think he will be ready by opening day. I even think he will be ready in 9 days when pitchers and catcher report. I think you will see the Prior of 03 and he will be a very good #3 starter.
4. Hill- Hill looked magnificent late in the year. Got to love the looping curve ball and his nice 90mph fastball. With experience under his belt I see him winning 8 or more games this year and finish with a even or winning record. That's why he is my #4.
5. Marquis- They brought Jason in for insurance but he is getting paid 27 million for 3years so he wont be in the pen. He will be the dark horse in the rotation. He will come in and fans(except me) will expect him to be at .500 or worst and have a 4.50 era or worst. I on the other hand think he will come in and learn alot from Larry and win more games than he loses and be in the 3.75 to 4.00 era range I feel he will have his sinker working and all his pitches fine tuned during spring training. By doing that he gets the #5 spot in the rotation.
Miller gets my spot starter in the pen for the reason he is only making 1.5 mil and There is not enough room in the rotation for him
Marshall/Guzman will start in Iowa and might get called up if someone is injured or traded.
Either way the Cubs look good this year and I'm excited to start seeing them play!