I am going to write a new article
about the Cubs every month of the 2006 Cubs season. Here is issue
Ronnie Cedeno and Matt Murton are slated to start SS and LF for the
Cubs this year. I like these guys. They seem to work hard and they seem
like good kids. I think Murton can flat out hit. His defense is not that
solid but hopefully that will come around. And Cedeno seems great with
the glove but has had trouble with the bat this Spring. I think he will
be fine. Hopefully one of them will fit into the 2nd spot in the lineup,
especially if the Cubs unload Todd Walker.
Wood and Prior
I can't tell you how sick I am of the same story out of the Kerry
Wood and Mark Prior camps. This is an annual thing. Hey it is another
year and we are looking forward to a great season - oh but wait, Prior
and Wood are hurt again. I can't take this anymore so I won't. In my head
I am looking at the season ahead without these guys. I am looking at Zamrano,
Maddux, and maybe Sean Marshall and Angel Guzman. Marshall has had a great
Spring, not giving up any runs in 5 outings. We can't rely on Wood and
Prior. I think Wood will just keep getting hurt and I think the Cubs will
shut down Prior every time his arm slightly hurts. Prior is a wimp. Just
On paper, our bullpen is better this year. This is something that Jim
Hendy went out, spent some money, and improved. I hope the money spent
pays off. I get a little nervous when they give these guys like Eyre a
multiyear deal. It reminds me of Joe Borowski. You just never know with
bullpens. You are relying on guys like Michael Wuertz and Will Ohman.
Relief pitching is tough. I loved Dempster last year. I hope he repeats
his performance from last year.
The bench is a lot like the bullpen. You are hoping you can get some thunder
from some veterans that are not good enough to be starters and also some
help from young players that have yet to prove themselves. The bench is
not the most important thing but it is good to have guys like Angel Pagan
that can come in a game and steal a base for you. And Dusty loves playing
veteran bench guys.
The big guns in the Central have lost some big names this year. The
Cardinals lost Matt Morris, Mark Grudzielanek, the Astros might not have
Clemens back and if they do he won't be back until May. The team that
seems to impress the sportswriters is the Brewers. They were .500 last
year for the first time in years. I think they are better but a wild card
team at best. I still think the Cardinals are the team to beat. I hate
saying it but it is true.
I predict the Cubs will win 86 games