Here are my 14 predictions for Spring Training 2014
1. Mike Olt will win the 3rd base starting job.
I have stated this before but I feel he will take the job in Spring Training and prove to a lot of his doubters he still has top prospect upside and can transform that this year into a good season with the Chicago Cubs.
2. Darwin Barney will be traded before Opening Day.
With Mike Olt getting the starting job as in prediction 1 this makes it easier for the Cubs to deal Barney who oddly enough still has trade value because of his defense. Dodgers are one team looking for middle infield help and Barney could provide that. With other decent defensive and superior offensive players on the roster that can play 2nd moving Barney is a no brainer.
3. Arodys Vizcaino will nail down the setup man role.
A guy coming off injury has the stuff to be a starter or a dominate reliever will finally prove healthy and cement him in one strong areas of the Cubs this year the bullpen. He is going to blow us all away.
4. Josh Vitters will become a utility player/power bat off the bench for the Cubs.
The Cubs need power on this team and with the likeness of the Bryant and Baez still remaining in the minors to start 2014 the Cubs can get that in the form of Josh Vitters. I think he proves this year he belongs on this Chicago Cubs team even if it is as a bench player.
5. Jake Arrieta will start the year on the DL.
The arm issues are troubling and him getting a late start is even more so. I think to protect him he will start the season on the DL showing once again why pitching depth is needed.
6. Starlin Castro will return to form.
I think during this ST training we will see the Castro of old because of the new coaching staff.
7. Bonifacio will make the 25 man roster.
I just think this guys has something the Cubs need and he will impress and give Renteria a lot more options on a daily basis.
8. Anthony Rizzo will be an All-Star because of Bill Mueller in Spring Training.
I think just working with Bill Mueller will help a lot of players on this team but none more than Rizzo. I think his addition to the team is the single biggest improvement from 2013 to 2014. He will make Rizzo a more complete hitter getting him All-Star status.
9. The Cubs will go with 3 lefties in the pen.
I think Renteria and his staff will go balance in the pen this year with at least 3 lefties which bodes well for Russell, Wright, Rusin, Rosscup, Jokish, Sanchez, Wada, and Hottovy.
10. Not one top prospect will start the season on the 25 man roster.
This should go without saying but neither Alacantra, Baez, Bryant, Almora, Soler, or any others will start the season with he parent club.
11. The rooftop saga will end on a positive note.
I think the renovation saga will conclude during ST and even allow the Cubs to do some "light construction" before and during the 2014 season. I think it will eventually end with the Ricketts family buying out one rooftop just like Tom Loxas has stated recently finally concluding the drama.
12. The Cubs Opening Day starter will be Travis Wood.
With all the problems recently toward Shark and his contract neg. through the media. Not to mention him not completely being on board with the rebuild and other things Travis Wood gets the Opening Day nod.
13. James McDonald will start the season in the Chicago Cubs rotation.
It is not hard to see that if I have Arrieta starting the season on the DL then McDonald would fill his spot but that is not the only reason...
14. Jeff Samardzija is traded before Opening Day.
With all the BS surrounding Shark with the rebuild, contract negotiations, wanting Ace money, supporting Hendry, and really just not being a team player; the Cubs finally pull the trigger and trade Shark. They trade him to a team that either ends up paying the Cubs high asking price because of an injury. Or maybe a team that finally realizes they do not think they have a team to make the playoffs :cough: Blue Jays :cough:
Those are my 14 prediction for the 2014 season! Until Next Time...