Monday, April 19, 2010

Change Things Up

Chicago's Best Prospect, SS Starlin Castro
This season, as young as it is, is giving Chicago Cub fans fears of Christmas Past. It has been over 100 years since the last Cubs World Championship (there wasn't much of a "world" in 1908) and with how the 2010 campaign is starting, there doesn't appear to be much of a chance of a pennant being hung at Wrigley Field following this October. So it is time to make a change before it is too late.

A popular way to shake up a team is to fire the manager. Of course it is easier to lose one person than replace up to twenty-five others. But the Cubs organization need to look at the twenty-five taking the field, not the one who puts them out there. Cub manager, Lou Pinella has proven he can win, but who on this team has also proven that? Those returning from 2009 with a World Series ring is first baseman Derrek Lee. Other than that, there are no proven winners on a team that has not proven it can win.

Quite simply it is time to add some youth to this team and find out if they have what it takes to play major league ball. Begin with the hottest prospect in the Cubs' organization, shortstop Starlin Castro. He is currently at double A West Tennessee awaiting a phone call from the Windy City. Castro batted over .400 in spring training with the parent club.

Along with bringing Castro up from double A, I would also bring up outfielder Sam Fuld from triple-A Iowa. He had many at bats with Chicago in 2009 and showed promise at the plate as well as hustle and determination in the field. Other former Chicago Cubs in the minor leagues include third baseman Bobby Scales, first baseman Micah Hoffpauier, and outfielder / first baseman Jason DuBois. Individually each of these prospects may not have a future in the major leagues, but collectively they may provide enthusiasm and a willingness to prove themselves, it may give Cubs fans a reason to believe.

To make way for these additions the Cubs must decide what they want to do with aging outfielder Alfonso Soriano. With a hefty contract through 2014, the Cubs will either have to tolerate a poor fielding and sporadic hitter in Soriano or cut their losses now, release him and pay him. Releasing him may be a costly option, but the Cubs may not be able to afford to keep his lackluster effort around.

As much as I like Ryan Theriot the player, it is possible to get quality players in return for his services. After beginning 2010 as one of the hottest players in the league, it will only be time for Kosuke Fukodome to cool off into his May swoon. And third baseman Aramis Ramirez is not All-Star caliber.

This is Lou Pinella's last season on his contract. He has dealt with the same roster since his first year. It is time to give him a second chance with players that are willing to play for something other than money. The pitching staff is solid, although not great, but consistent enough to get a few more wins with enough run production. After two weeks, there is nothing in this team that can give Cub fans any hope to success in 2010. If they are serious about winning, changes must occur now.

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