Now, I’ll be the first to admit, that I was trying to calm most Cubs fans down after many were disappointed by the start the Cubs got off to in season. However, the time for excuses is now over, the season is going to continue to slip away from the Cubs if they keep up with the pace that they are on. Changes have to be made immediately to this team, to try and improve the quality of play that we are seeing on the field.
One of the biggest concerns I have with this team, and probably most fans share this, is their lack of offensive production. A lot of it is due to the lack of “clutch” hits, and the lack of speed that this team has. Not to mention, that the Cubs have two struggling stars in Aramis Ramirez, and Derrek Lee. Ramirez, has looked awful to begin the season hitting .154/.216/.269 and already has 27 strikeouts on the season. And Derrek Lee is not doing much better as he is hitting .223/.341/.350. Now, history would tell you that those numbers would improve, and to be honest I think they will for Derrek Lee. As for Ramirez, I think it maybe a different story. I know it is extremely rare for a player to decline in production at only age 31, but he is showing a lack of bat speed as evident by his high strikeout numbers.
But, this also falls into my next concern, which is with manager Lou Piniella. You cannot tell me that a good MLB team, flip flops their lineup on an everyday basis. while Lou may argue that he is playing the players that are hot, I would say that, that is not the case. Look at last week for instance, a day after Marlon Byrd had a 3 hit day, Lou replaced him in lineup in favor of Tyler Colvin. And, I think this idea of a five man outfield rotation is just not best option the Cubs could do. It is not fair to Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, and Kosuke Fukudome, all whom are playing very well right now, to take a seat on the bench just so Lou can give playing time to Colvin and Nady.
The lack of speed on this team is big issue, as if you really look at it, the only true stolen base threats on this team are Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot. And that lack of speed, leads to the inability to score runs. If a team is going to be successful, they usually need a speed threat in their lineup. While both Theriot and Fukudome are indeed threats, they don’t really scare any pitchers when they are on base.
Now, the Cubs need to do something, whether that is a trade or a roster move, they have to do something. And, to be honest with you, I think their best option maybe to call up Starlin Castro. I know some of you rip the Cubs and say that Castro is just another over-hyped prospect that the Cubs have in their system, and given the failures of Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, and Eric Patterson that criticism is fair. But, there is not much I can tell you now to convince that he is not, but, just look at scouting reports and that stats of Castro in the minor leagues. Castro is hitting .366 in his last 10 games, and .376/.421/.569 over the course of his first 26 games in Tennessee. By calling up Castro, they would be solving the lack of speed that this team has. And, maybe Castro provides a spark to this team, and if he truly is the great player that the scouts say he is going to be, then he should not have problem handling the transition to the majors.
Look, I know it is always risky bringing up a young player and expecting him to produce, but if you’re the Cubs, what other options do you have?