Been a while since I've posted here. Part of that was the hangover from the Bulls' championship run. Part was the fact that the Hawks were out early, although the team that oustered them went on to the league finals (only to lose to Boston). And part was the lackluster performance of our baseball teams.
The Cubs have fallen apart. My preseason prediction was that they should be very competitive in the division. On paper, they looked to have a good rotation, a solid bullpen, a decent bench and a reasonably good everyday lineup.
It hasn't worked out that way. Starters have been injured, veterans look like they're disinterested, and the bullpen has been inconsistent bordering on ineffective. Quade looks lost as a manager, and Hendry and the new owner, Tom Ricketts, just keep spewing out the same "We'll be fine" type of lines.
They're not fine. And in my opinion, it all goes back to their farm system. I listen to callers on talk radio suggesting that one of the bright spots of this organization is their farm system. Well, I disagree. It's a lowlight. It's underwhelming. There is not a single guy in that system that doesn't have a question mark attached to his future status.
You can say that's true of all systems, and it is. But for the Cubs, there really is no one name that you say, "this guy has a chance to be a Hall-of-Fame quality major league star." Starlin Castro is the sole bright spot, and many experts seem to think he won't end up as a shortstop in the majors.
Darwin Barney, you say? Nice player. I like him. But he's a middle of the road ballplayer. Hard worker, grind-it-out type. Every team needs some guys like him. But he's not an impact player. If Barney goes down, the Cubs replace him with, well, any number of names.
Brett Jackson? Big question marks. Josh Vitters? Ditto. Tyler Colvin? Regressed significantly after his harrowing injury last year. No guys that make you the fan go, "Now THERE'S an impact player."
So why is this significant now? It's significant because they NEVER have developed an impact position player in the last 20 or maybe 30 years. Dunston and Grace were good quality major leaguers, but they aren't Hall-of-Fame quality stars. This failure has caused them to dive into free agency, overpaying for guys like Soriano and Fukudome and others. They've done okay with trades, getting ARam and DLee in their prime, but that prime is passed now. And ARam, Dempster, Zambrano, Soriano and Fukudome cause this team to not be able to spend money on free agents NOW, when they need new blood. The Cubs are destined to be mediocre or worse for a couple years because of it.
Tom Ricketts had better be careful or he'll lose a generation of Cubs fans. My kids don't care if they watch or now right now. A lot of that comes from me, since I don't really care if I watch this team either.
I hope this team can find some direction in the next few months, and start going in that direction.