Good teams are strong up in the middle, deep in the ‘pen and balanced offensively.
That’s three strikes against the Cubs, which have players best suited as reserves at short, second and CF. Catcher Geovanny Soto appeared to be a budding star but hit just .218 last season. Their closer averaged nearly a walk per inning, and their line-up is overly right-handed and plodding. Of their projected starters, only one, Fukudome, bats left. And he sucks, with an onerous contract (two years and $26.5 mil remaining), though it’s not their worst. Soriano, who’s missed 98 games the last two years, is due $90 million.
Meanwhile, their best starter in 2009, Ted Lilly, is coming off shoulder surgery and has a bum knee. And Zambrano seems to be regressing rapidly.
Oh, and they don’t have much help on the farm. Hard to believe many picked this team to go to the World Series in ’09. This year, they’ll be lucky to finish .500, which could lead to a midseason deal of FA-to-be Derrek Lee. If Troy Glaus doesn’t work out he’d be an ideal pick-up for the Bravos. And since it’s the Cubs, you could probably get him for Jo-Jo Reyes and Gregor Blanco.