Please note: This column was written prior to the Cubs/Dodgers game on Wednesday night.
How are you doing? I am fine, thanks.
No, not that, how do you feel about this Cubs team? Back in February I asked if you were happy or mad, excited or mad, or basically, how did you feel about the upcoming season? Now there are still 149 games to be played, but after the first 13, what are your thoughts?
Oh, you want my thoughts; well I thought you would never askÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
The Bullpen –
Jim Hendry got slammed in the off-season for over-spending on two ‘quality’ relief men for the pen. Well there is a reason writer are writers and GM’s are GM’s. Through the first two and half weeks, I think we can all agree that Mr. Eyre and Mr. Howry, alongside Williamson and Dempster, give the Cubs a formidable crew to work the late innings for the long haul. I am confident that Will Ohman will find his stuff of ’05 and at the end of the season the Cubs will have one of, if not the best, bullpen in the league.
The Starters –
Michael Barrett –
In my humble opinion, he is the Cubs’ MVP thus far. A game-tying two run homer, a game winning Grand Slam on National TV against the arch-rivals and catching all three of Maddog’s gems thus far. I really get the feeling that this guy is a leader in the clubhouse and a general on the field. He is all heart and leaves it all out there. It appears that Mr. Barrett has definitely arrived!
Derrek Lee –
What can you say, it appears that he is picking up where he left off, and discounting a few uncharacteristic defense miscues, he will be in the chase for an MVP and another Gold Glove. He was worth the money and it gave me a glimmer of hope to see the Cubs fork it over, so to say. He is the main cog in this wheel, and once Aramis starts providing more protection, D-Lee’s numbers will soar.
Todd Walker –
Ummmm, yea, so sometimes the fans are 100% right! And this is a great example. Who knows, maybe Hendry and Baker were just trying to use a motivation tactic here, but whatever inner desire Walker is feeding off of is proving to be phenomenal. I have paid more attention to his defense this year, and I still cannot see it as a noticeable weakness. Len Kasper was a guest on ESPN 1000’s Mac, Jurko and Harry show Wednesday afternoon, and though he lauded Walker’s offensive explosion, he still referenced his ‘range’ as an ‘issue.’ I like Len, I really do, but I completely disagree with him in this regard. TW’s is on fire and I hope it continues.
Ronny Cedeno –
We were worried about his offense, but confident about his defense. Well, I guess we should have switched that around. As Neil has pointed out, he has continually flipped the lineup when needed and had multiple clutch hits. Though he has had a few wild throws, I feel that one or two of his errors were rather picky. I really like what I have seen thus far and am very excited about his future. I truly believe that losing out on Furcal will turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
Aramis Ramirez –
He started slow again, but I will reserve judgment until later. He started slowly last year and everything worked out alright, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
Matt Murton –
The next Mark Grace baby, the next Mark Grace. By that I mean this kid will become one heck of a player, a fan favorite and a Chicago icon. He has all of the tools, a great eye and a perfect demeanor to be successful. Again, way to go Jim Hendry. Murton was a throw-in in the Nomar trade and will go down as one of the best trades in Cubs history.
Juan Pierre –
Although he has gotten off to a slow start, we have already seen what happens when he gets on base. Pitchers lose focus, position players get distracted and the Cubs benefit. We just need to get his OBP up to around .400, and all will be good with the world.
Jacque Jones –
One huge homerun, a finger injury and $15 million. I just keep reminding myself there are 149 games left and that he will turn it around. It is okay to get frustrated, it is okay to get mad, let’s just hope it does not continue.
The Bench –
Mabry has been great and a good leader. Angel Pagan’s progress was very encouraging and hopefully it will continue after his DL stint. Hairston is a big spark off the bench, but he should remain a bench player, PLEASE. Neifi is Neifi and Hank White provides a good rest for Michael Barrett. Bynum has great speed but as Neil alluded to the other day, hopefully somebody in Oakland will ship his bat out here as it appears he left it behind.
Those are my thoughts folks, what are yours? I am very interested to hear how you feel right now, and how you think you may feel in two months. Today is an off day for the Cubbies so lets have some good conversation around the first 14 games.
Thanks for reading, feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com, and until next time….
Stay Classy Cub Fans!!!