Musical Chairs …

Just start the music, let the eight starters dance around a circle of seven chairs, stop the music, and let the mad dash ensue. Repeat until there is one chair left.

The winner will be your new 2009 Cubs leadoff hitter.

I know it sounds stupid, but, well, why not?

I know this for sure, the game must be replayed if Alfonso Soriano wins. He should not bat leadoff.

I openly admit that I have flip-flopped on this, but after watching it for two seasons, and more importantly, two post-seasons, it must end now. He dominates a third, fourth or fifth starter, but struggles mightily against ones and twos. This is a major problem for a leadoff hitter, especially in the playoffs.

When I look at the players on the team, Ryan Theriot should bat first. However, he must work on his base-stealing skills. He is too fast to get thrown out at the rate he does. He got caught stealing 33% of the time in 2008, but was only cut down 12% of the time in 2007. This is a situation that must be addressed.

The debate will rage on until the beginning of the season and throughout at the season as the lineup will most likely be tinkered with for a while.

Now to address Mr. Soriano. If your mental makeup is so weak that your place in the order actually plays a role in your performance, you are not worth your current salary (sorry if that was obvious). I am glad to hear he is open to moving down the order because that is exactly what should happen. And if he is nervous, someone needs to explain to him what it will be like to bat between Milton Bradley and Geovany Soto.

  1. Ryan Theriot
  2. Derrek Lee
  3. Aramis Ramirez
  4. Milton Bradley
  5. Alfonso Soriano
  6. Geovany Soto
  7. Fukudome/Johnson
  8. Miles/Fontenot

Now, I preface this lineup with one crucial point. If Lee has similar groundball/double play issues as he did in 2008, he should bat seventh and either Kosuke Fukudome or Reed Johnson should bat second.

Also, if Lou is going to play a lot of small ball, then Fukudome or Johnson should bat second no matter what. However, minus the small-ball and the ground balls (big assumption, I know) Derrek Lee could thrive in the 2-hole.

Derrek Lee is too good to bat seventh, but after his struggles last year and the emergence of Soto, it’s difficult to hit Lee in front of Soto. This will be something to watch during the season.

Ryan Theriot could also benefit from having Lee bat second. A healthy and successful Derrek Lee gives Theriot more protection than a Fukudome/Johnson combination or even a Miles/Fontenot combination.

As you can tell, I think Derrek Lee holds the key to the way the lineup is written day after day. Heck, a 2005 Derrek Lee could bat third, but I don’t see that happening.

It’s fun to play with different scenarios, but based on the assumptions I put forth above, the lineup I proposed is the way I would go. Playing the lineup game must be done with certain assumptions in order to defend one’s thoughts.

No one knows exactly what the opening day lineup will be, but as Len Kasper suggested at the Cubs Convention, maybe Milton Bradley should hit first with his OBP. Stranger things have happened.

Let’s see your lineup below. Not that we haven’t been playing that game for a few days now, but the CCO is reigniting the conversation.

Feel free to contact me at brian@chicagocubsonline.com and until next time ….

Stay Classy Cubs Fans

Quote of the Day

"The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice." - George Eliot
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