I am going to write a new article about the Cubs every month of the 2007 Cubs season.

April 2007

The Cubs open the season with the rotation being set up as Zambrano, Lilly, Marquis, Hill, and Wade Miller. This looks better that last year considering the rotation included Jerome Williams and Glendon Rusch. The thing I hope that happens this year is the rotation eats up some innings. The bullpen was spent last year. I think Rich Hill will break out this year and be a stud. Also don't forget about our hurt buddy Mark Prior. If he can come up and contribute this year that is a huge bonus.

Opening Day Lineup
I think Murton batting second is long overdue. He is the perfect fit in the 2hole. The Cubs lineup should pack some punch and score runs. The fact that Lee is back and healthy is huge. I am a little skeptical about Soriano batting first but then I think what alternatives we could have there. Soriano does have speed which is awesome. Based on some sort of calculation, Sports Illustrated said that Barrett would be the Cubs ideal leadoff hitter. That is very interesting but I don't see Lou ever doing that but who knows? The middle of the lineup with Lee and Ramirez should provide a lot of thump. This is a solid lineup 1 through 9 and should provide more patience at the plate and score more runs this year.

Zambrano Contract
There has been a lot of talk about a new 5 year deal for Zambrano, somewhere around 80 million. Zambrano said he didn't want to talk about the deal during the season but I guess they were close so he lifted that restriction. But now the new wrinkle is because Sam Zell is buying the Tribune, contract negotiations between the Cubs and Zambrano are on hold. I hope the sale of the Trib doesn't force Zambrano to become an agent and go somewhere else after this season. The Cubs need to sign Zambrano.

NL Central
The NL Central looks pretty week this year. I don't think the Cardinals have enough arms in their rotation do get it done this year. I hate not picking the Cubs, but I have to pick the Brewers to win the division this year. I think they have a nice rotation and I think guys like Fielder and Weeks are really going to come into their own this season. I think the Astros still have too many question marks especially considering they lost Petitte and won't have Clemens back for a month or two, or maybe not at all. The Pirates should be a little better this year and I think the Reds still don't have enough quality pitchers but I have always liked their lineup offensively.

Wood and Prior
I am so happy that we don't have to go into the season relying on Wood and Prior. Another year is upon us and yet again Wood and Prior are not with the team. They are hurt or rehabbing elsewhere. But this year we have capable replacements for them and we are not relying on them to be our #1 and #2 pitchers. I have to admit I still get excited about the possibility of them coming back and dominating but until then we have Marquis and Lilly to eat up some innings.