I am going to write a new article about the Cubs every month of the 2006 Cubs season. Here is issue #1.

April 2006

We might as well start with this and get it out of the way. This Leeinjury stinks. We are going to miss him dearly. He is everything theCubs want to be. I don't know what we are going to do at 1st base butit looks so far like Todd Walker is going to fill in. And so far he hasdone a decent job both with his stick and glove. There was also rumorthe Cubs have contacted the Dbax about Tony Clark and the Royals aboutSweeney. I would be fine with either of those guys but what do you dowith them when Lee gets back?

Maddux has been just awesome. When the Cubs signed him a couple ofyears ago they were thinking he would be a nice #4 or #5 starter.Recent'y he has been our #1 guy. His numbers are out of this world andhis stuff is electric. He is not throwing hard at all but his location and movement are just perfect. I also like how the young Sean Marshallseems to go to Maddux in the dugout to talk in between innings.Hopefully he can learn from Maddux. There is also talk about extendingMaddux's contract. That might not be a bad idea. I don't know about amultiyear deal but we will see.

I am loving our pullpen this year. They are solid. Hendry said he wasgoing to improve it in the offseason and that is exactly what he did.Dempster has been awesome. This is the 1st time in years that Iremember not being worried in the 9th. Dempster has not brought any butterflies to my tummy. He just gets the job done. Eyre and Howry alsohave been decent. I am still not sold on Williamson, but hopefully hewill step it up at some point. I am also not sold on the younger guyslike Novoa and Aardsma. I am hoping this big league experience they aregetting early in the year pays off this Summer.

The kids
Murton and Cedeno have been awesome. If you would told me that 1 monthinto the year, Cedeno would be batting #2 an Murton would be close tothe team lead in RBIs I would have told you that you were crazy. But itis true. They both have been very productive. Murton's approach at theplate is very seasoned and mature. Cedeno's only problem has been some trouble with his defense but hopefully he will settle down. I didn'tthink I would be saying this but I am glad the Cubs didn't get Furcal.That is a lot of money for a guy. And Cedeno has done a solid job thisyear and has some speed. He doesn't have Furcal's arm but he only will get better at SS.

Starting rotation
I have been pretty impressed with the 2 young guns Marshall and Guzman.One kid that is really inconsistent is Jerome Williams. But Marshall hashad a lot of poise so far this year. I think we already can see theeffect that his hanging out with Maddux has had. I hope these kids keepit up. I hate talking about this but it is important to the Cubs - Wood,Prior, and Wade Miller. It seems like every year we are waiting forthese guys. I hope this year they come back and finish the remainder ofthe season strong. I think this will be Wood's last year on the Cubs. Ibelieve they hold an option on his contract in 2007 - something the Cubsmost likely will not pick up.