Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Cubs 2010

I'm sure I'll write a few posts with this title. That's okay, right?

Anyway, it is looking like our Cubs team for 2010 is fairly set. The only thing that would seem to still be on the to-do list is to add a veteran arm to the rotation.

For this post, I'd like to write a bit about their apparent outfield:

In left, the 136 million (or some other obscene amount) dollar man, Alfonso Soriano. Bad year last year. He just did not perform up to his norms in any category, or so it seems without looking up his statistics. His biggest weakness at the plate is his inability to lay off pitches low and outside (WAY low and outside). In the field he just appears to take bad routes and get bad jumps, but he makes up for some of that with athleticism and speed. I get the impression that he's afraid of the wall out there, as he seems tentative on the hard-hit deep liners that are catchable.

Soriano's going to strike out more than his share, and he's going to make some boneheaded plays in left, but if he's feeling okay, he should hit better than last year, and hopefully for more power. I don't think he's their leadoff man this year, but who knows what Lou might end up doing? His best position (aside from DH, but this is the NL) is where he is - left field.

In right field, it looks like a platoon with lefty Kosuke Fukudome and righty Xavier Nady. I like this situation; it could be very prductive. Fukudome had a pretty fair year last year. Did he earn his 12+ million? Maybe not, but he wasn't bad either. His OBP was decent, and he played decent defense in center. He's moving back to right, and probably will bat 2nd or 7th. (It would make sense to lead him off, but I can't see Lou doing that.)

Nady is a guy I've always liked, from when he was drafted (by San Diego, I think) and on to his days in Pittsburgh. He was injured last year, and had Tommy John surgery to fix him up. He's not a pitcher, so I don't know how much it will affect him. I suspect he'll be okay this year. He's got a good bat and a decent glove in right.

In center the newly signed Marlon Byrd takes over. Byrd hit for some power last year in Texas, and has a little speed. When they first signed him, I thought he would lead off, but I'm not sure he's cut out to do that nowadays. I don't know yet where they plan to bat him, but he should be an improvement over Bradley in terms of demeanor if nothing else.

Reserves (probably spending the year at Iowa) will include Sam Fuld and Tyler Colvin. Colvin is the former first round pick (Tim Wilken's first as the guy in charge of the amateur draft) who started out great but has tailed off in recent years. He's had good years, but it seems they've usually come after repeating a level. I'm interested to see what he can do, but not so much this year.

Fuld is a sparkplug type, an all out player who will crash into walls and dive to make plays, leg out hits and be a bit of a pest on the bases. He might be a good 5th outfielder when they need one of them.

It isn't the greatest outfield in the world, but it's decent and uncontroversial. It's also highly paid, thanks to Soriano and Fukudome. But it isn't a weak spot exactly. I don't mind them going to battle with these guys.


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