If You Were Lou….

With the signing of Cliff Floyd on Wednesday and other than a possible trade of Jacque Jones, the list of players Lou Piniella has to pull from to form the 2007 version of the Cubs is complete. Baring injury the Cubs should have an explosive offense and enough pitching to play meaningful games in September….a feat the Faithful have not seen since 2004.

Spring Training should be very competitive this year with many questions still in need of an answer. A few roster spots will be up for grab along with several spots in the starting rotation. So if you were Lou, what would you do?

Last off-season there were two discussions here at the CCO that centered around what moves you would make if you were the Cubs GM. Well, this year with the documented moves by Jim Hendry, the Cubs’ coaching staff will have more major league talent than they have roster spots. So let’s have another “Free-form Friday”, put on your game day cap and discuss how you would assemble a team from all of the parts you have been given.

Being a manager of a big league club comes with a lot of responsibilities. First you have to assemble your roster and then a lineup that will give your team the best opportunity to win. So put health questions aside and name your 25-man roster that includes a starting rotation, bullpen, bench and the eight that will make up your starting lineup. The Cubs 40-man roster currently stands at 41, after Glendon Rusch was released on Thursday, so there is room for suggestions from management for a move to be made there as well.

The Cubs 40-man roster as of 1/26/07:

Starting Pitchers

  • Angel Guzman
  • Rich Hill
  • Ted Lilly
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Jason Marquis
  • Sean Marshall
  • Juan Mateo
  • Wade Miller
  • Mark Prior
  • Jae Kuk Ryu
  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Carlos Zambrano

Relief Pitchers

  • Rocky Cherry
  • Neal Cotts
  • Ryan Dempster
  • Scott Eyre
  • Bobby Howry
  • Roberto Novoa
  • Will Ohman
  • Clay Rapada
  • Kerry Wood
  • Michael Wuertz

Catchers

  • Michael Barrett
  • Henry Blanco
  • Geovany Soto

Infielders

  • Ronny Cedeno
  • Mark DeRosa
  • Brian Dopirak
  • Cesar Izturis
  • Derrek Lee
  • Scott Moore
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Ryan Theriot

Outfielders

  • Buck Coats
  • Cliff Floyd
  • Jacque Jones
  • Matt Murton
  • Angel Pagan
  • Felix Pie
  • Alfonso Soriano
  • Daryle Ward

The 25-man roster will likely be made up of 12 pitchers and 13 position players. Such names as Lee, Ramirez, Barrett, Izturis, DeRosa, Soriano, Murton, Jones, Floyd, Ward and Blanco are, let’s say, locks….that is 11 spots which obviously leaves 2 spots to be filled. Which two position players get the final spots?

On the pitching staff….Zambrano, Lilly, Marquis, Hill, Howry, Eyre, Cotts, Dempster and Wuertz should be locks, based on money spent in the off-season and last year’s performances. So that is 9 of the 12….is Ohman a lock which would put 3 southpaws in the bullpen or is he trade bait? Of the 3 remaining spots, 2 if you count Ohman, who would be included on your staff?

Then there is the Cliff Floyd/Matt Murton/Jacque Jones platoon-athon. Do you take at bats away from the guy with the most upside and a player that had the highest average, and most importantly, the highest OBP on the team last season? Where would you play Soriano? Who is your backup infielder? And after the 25th spot is filled….it is time for Opening Day.

Carlos Zambrano is your Opening Day starter, but who would make up the defense behind him and what would your starting lineup be on April 2nd in Cincinnati?

A lot of decisions lie ahead for Piniella and his staff. There have been many comments made by Piniella about him building a deep team that he can keep fresh from day to day with all of the day games at Wrigley. Piniella will be looking to have a very good bench with a lot of diversity.

So have fun today, state your opinion, fill out your roster and lineup cards and remember there is no pressure….its only been 99 years.

Quote of the Day

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did." - Mark Twain

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