1. When is Zambrano going to earn his money as an ace, or will he ever do so?
2. Is Soto a flash in the pan, a one year wonder? What if he is?
3. What about the horrible back end of the rotation?
4. What will Marlon Byrd do when the drunken racists out in the bleachers start getting on him?
5. Will Carlos Marmol be able to close games out without walking the world?
To that I would add:
6. Is Alfonso Soriano, age 34 (we think), on his way down, permanently?
7. Will Ted Lilly return to form after his off-season shoulder procedure?
8. Can Derrick Lee put up numbers again like he did last year?
9. Which Ryan Dempster is the real one: 2008 or 2009?
I personally think that the outfield will be fine, even if Soriano goes to the DL all season. I think that Nady could probably slide over and play left, or they could slot a youngster into that position pretty quickly - maybe Colvin. Nady, Byrd and Fukudome would likely be a pretty solid if unspectacular outfield. The danger is if Soriano stays "healthy" (whatever that means at this point for him) and puts up 2009 numbers. That said, this team needs a healthy and productive Alfonso Soriano for a couple more years at least, if not all 5 remaining years.
As far as the rotation goes, it is what it is...Zambrano, Lilly (when he's ready), Dempster and Wells round out the first four, and the fifth spot will go to Gorzellany or Samardzija. Jeff Samardzija is the wild card - a guy with a great arm and a ton of talent who hasn't shown he can do it consistently at upper levels of the minors. But what if he lives up to some projections and becomes that middle to upper rotation guy, in the fifth slot? That would certainly help.
That's what championship teams need. Everything doesn't go as planned, and if you don't get some good to go with the bad, you don't usually make it all the way. We aren't all the Yankees or the Red Sox in terms of revenue.
I'm looking forward to the start of this season, which begins (in a way) today with their first spring training game...