Thursday, March 31, 2011
Mike Quade is someone very few have heard of. We've tried the "all-star" managers over the past decade. Quade is most likely on the last stop of a unheralded career, but he has done a good job of keeping expectations low. He can be referred as a "players-coach" which doesn't translate into post season participation, but he has their ear and respect.
Carlos Zambrano is not starting the season as the #1 starter. Big "Z" will pitch following Ryan Dempster in the rotation. I've said that Z is a pitcher, but not the guy who is dependable enough to go out and "stop the bleeding" when a win is needed. Zambrano can now concentrate on pitching and leave the role of leader of the staff to Dempster.
Aramis Ramirez is in a contract year. He has been hurt, but came on late in the 2010 season when Quade took over the team. Quade can fuel Ramirez and his run to produce like he hasn't done since coming to the Cubs.
The National League Central won't be a tough division. The Phillies and Braves are the creme de la crem of the east, while the Giants will be defending their World Series title in the West. The Central doesn't have one strong team, but I can't picture the Brewers being able to sustain success in a 162 game schedule. And I don't have much faith in the job Dusty Baker will do wtih the Reds.