Monday, February 07, 2005

More PNR Cubs Roundtable Questions & Answers…

Here’s round 2 of our roundtable questions and answers. As before, some of the answers were submitted before the momentous events of last week.

6) Give one former Cub from the 2003 divisional championship team you think would most help this team today.

CHRIS: No question in my mind – Kenny Lofton. I think losing Lofton was significant – the Cubs never adequately replaced Lofton in the leadoff role to set the table for everyone else. Wish the Cubs would have had him last year to tell you the truth – but who needs a proven veteran when you’ve got a guy like C-Pat?!

BILL: Easy, Kenny Lofton. Wish we had 3 of him in the outfield.

CAMDEN: Kenny Lofton would really give the Cubs a lift. His presence down the stretch in 2003 was incredibly valuable.

RANDY: Gotta go with Kenny Lofton, Cubs need a LF and a lead off batter, can you say Lofton?

7) Give your recommended batting order for the Cubs.

CHRIS: Well, it’s difficult to say since the speculation is that the Cubs will make some move to fill one of those outfield spots. So this batting order comes from the roster as it presently stands – and I can’t say I’m too excited about it. Also – as a note – I put more weight on quality of the bat than on alternating lefties and righties in the line-up in terms of determining batting order.

1) Jerry Hairston Jr. (RF)
2) Todd Walker (2B)
3) Nomar Garciaparra (SS)
4) Aramis Ramirez (3B)
5) Derrek Lee (1B)
6) Burnitz/Hollandsworth (LF)
7) Michael Barrett (C)
8) Corey Patterson (CF)
9) Pitcher

BILL: Assumption: No Ordonez
(vs Righties)
1) Hairston (LF)
2) Walker (2B)
3) Garciaparra (SS)
4) Burnitz (RF)
5) Ramirez (3B)
6) Lee (1B)
7) Patterson (CF)
8) Barrett (C)
9) Pitcher

(vs Southpaws)
1) Hairston (LF)
2) Walker (2B)
3) Garciaparra (SS)
4) Ramirez (3B)
5) Lee (1B)
6) Burnitz (RF)
7) Patterson (CF)
8) Barrett (C)
9) Pitcher


1) Hairston, Jr. (R)
2) Garciaparra (R)
3) Ramirez (R)
4) Hollandsworth (L)
5) Lee (R)
6) Walker (L)
7) Barrett (R)
8) Patterson (L)
9) Pitcher

This lineup depends on if Corey is hot or not. If Corey is in a hot
streak, I'd swap Hairston and Patterson or place Corey in the two hole
and move everyone else down.


1) Walker
2) Nomar
3) Aram
4) Lee
5) Sosa
6) Patterson
7) Dubois
8) Barrett
9) Pitcher

8) Give your recommended batting order for the Cardinals (we have to throw Randy a bone).

CHRIS: Here it goes:

1) Eckstein (SS)
2) Walker (RF)
3) Pujols (1B)
4) Rolen (3B)
5) Edmonds (CF)
6) Sanders (LF)
7) Grudzielanek (2B)
8) Molina (C)
9) Pitcher

BILL: Doesn't matter. Any lineup Tony strings together will be formidable.


1) Eckstein (R)
2) Walker (L)
3) Pujols (R)
4) Edmonds (L)
5) Rolen (R)
6) Sanders (R)
7) Grudzielanek (R)
8) Molina (R)
9) Pitcher


1) Eckstein
2) Walker
3) Pujols
4) Rolen
5) Edmonds
6) Grudzy
7) Sanders
8) Molina
9) Pitcher

9) Now that Alou is no longer a Cub, who can fulfill the role of "most horrible base runner?"

CHRIS: This is actually one of Camden’s question. I thought that it was pretty funny so I included it for laughs with the thought being that I could slot Sosa & his ridiculous bunny hop here. However, Sosa won’t be hopping around Wrigley this season, so he’s out as a candidate. And looking at the current line-up (unless I’m missing someone) I don’t see any obvious base running misfits. Therefore, in the great spirit of Jeff Suppan (think 2004 World Series game 3) I’ll have to go with a pitcher I suppose – how does Mark Prior strike you (remember that disastrous base running collision with Marcus Giles in 2003)?

BILL: Lee looks pretty confused out there until about June 1.

CAMDEN: I'm going with Corey Patterson. Although Corey is by far our best base stealer, he gets picked-off an awful lot.

RANDY: I really don't know enough about the Cubs base running to make an educated answer to this one.

10) If you could get just one trade before opening day, who or what would you go after? (Cubs and Cards both – another bone for the Randster)

CHRIS: Well even though this question says TRADE, I’m interpreting it to mean ACQUISITION and so I say pick up Magglio Ordonez, and if it takes giving him a 3-5 year contract – give it to the man (and include some protective clauses for health if you have to). This is a guy who has hit very close to .300+ the last eight years running (!), and he had averaged 32 home runs and 118 RBI in the five seasons prior to his injury in 2004 (!!). I just don’t understand the lack of interest in Maggs by either the Cubs front office or the blogger army. There’s no other way to put this - If he is healthy the man is a superstar! If Hendry picks up Maggs – all is forgiven. If we’re strictly talking trade – I’ll join the rest of the dreaming ranks of the blogger army and say Aubrey Huff. That would go a long way to replacing Sosa’s numbers at least.

As far as the Cards – Not many areas of weakness besides possibly some power off the bench (Mabry possibly qualifies as a legitimate power bat off the bench). So a nice pick up of a slugger who can ride your bench and occasionally spell the big dogs might not be a bad idea for the Cards. In fact, I’ve got a great idea for them – Jeromy Burnitz! It’s been said he wants to play for a contender! Is this good or what?

BILL: I'd trade Iowa for a top tier closer. [No answer given for Cards]

CAMDEN: I would have to go after a closer, even though the cost would be steep. I'd like to see a creative deal for someone like Danny Graves. They've got a really weak starting rotation and might be interested in picking up some of the Cubs prospects. Maybe we can send them Dr. Tightpants who I'm sure would love to room with Paul Wilson. [No answer given for Cards]

RANDY: Well assuming this Sosa deal is going through, I move Hairston and a few of those money-ball pitchers you guys got in the minors for Aubrey Huff from Tampa Bay. He is a great young player and Tampa will probably ship him since he is due for a huge pay day next season. [No answer given for Cards]

Well there you have it. It appears that my desire for Hendry to add Magglio to the Cubs lineup is dead with the recent reports of him signing with the Tigers (This is essentially a repeat of what happened in 2004 with Pudge).

Anyway - look for more roundtable answers in the coming days.

And in case you missed it - Bill has a very insightful comparison to what has happened to the Cubs from 2003-2005 and what happened to them in 1969-1971. You should definitely check it out.

I think his analysis is spot-on and it portends ominously for this current Cubs lineup. As it currently stands - I believe that this team will finish third in the division (and that's assuming no injuries).

Now, perhaps that dire prediction places me in Al Yellon's "screamer" category - which is fine, I suppose. If the alternative is coming across as a paid shill for the Tribune, then I'll take the "screamer" label any day.