If you haven’t heard by now, the Chicago Cubs have set their opening day 25 man roster. As the Cubs announced yesterday that left handed first basemen/ third basemen Chad Tracy has made the team over the veteran Kevin Millar. In a corresponding announcement, the Cubs announced that they have released Kevin Millar, who is hoping to find a spot on a major league team.
So with the 25 man roster set, with the exception being Ted Lilly who will in all likelihood begin the year on the disabled list, let’s take a look at the positional breakdown for the Cubs.
The top three pitchers in the rotation have the potential to be very solid for the Cubs this year. I think we will finally see a matured Zambrano, and that in effect will improve his game. Dempster, appears to be more focused on Baseball this year after dealing with some personal issues last year to begin the season. Randy Wells in my opinion will not suffer from a sophomore slump, because if you look into his numbers from last year you would find out that the more he a faced a team, the better he got against them. With Gorzelanny and Silva, it will be a competition between the two to begin the season to see who will remain in the rotation once Ted Lilly returns.
SS Ryan Theriot
RF Kosuke Fukudome
1B Derrek Lee
3B Aramis Ramirez
CF Marlon Byrd
LF Alfonso Soriano
2B Mike Fontenot
C Geovany Soto
If the Cubs are going to contend this year, they have to have improved offensive production than they did last year. Obviously, having Aramis Ramirez healthy for the whole year should help the Cubs regain top offensive form. But the two biggest concerns I have with the Cubs lineup, is the two players that are hoping to have bounce back years, those being Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto. The Cubs are hoping that moving Soriano down in the lineup will increase his run production, but after a miserable showing last year offensively for Soriano, I’m not so sure that he is the player he once was. And with Soto, I think he will have a better average than he did last year(.218), but I don’t think we are going to see the power numbers from him like we did in his rookie year.
C Koyie Hill
1B/3B Chad Tracy
Utility Man Jeff Baker
OF Xavier Nady
OF Tyler Colvin
In my opinion, the Cubs bench is a lot better than what it was last year. They have a lot more power options with the additions of Chad Tracy, Xavier Nady, and possibly Tyler Colvin. And Jeff Baker proved last year that he could be a very good role player for the Cubs, after he hit over .300 since he was acquired by the Cubs. With Koyie Hill, I feel the Cubs could do better for a backup catcher, but he is a very solid defensive catcher.
I am very worried about the Cubs bullpen this year. Because, even though it is only spring training Carlos Marmol has not looked very good in spring, and has not been able to hold leads. And the other concern I have with the bullpen, is that they have three rookies coming out of the bullpen. Now I will be willing to eat crow if these three have success, but I just feel that the Cubs should have added one more experienced reliever before opening day.
So their is the Cubs 25 man roster at a whole, and I think that the Cubs will be able to contend with that roster. I’m not going to say it is better than the Cardinals, because it is not. But that is not to say that the Cubs can not win their division, as they should be in the race for a playoff spot the whole season.