This Cubs starting lineup from 12 years ago is the stuff of nightmares

Deep in the throes of a full rebuild, the 2012 Chicago Cubs were a forgettable bunch.
Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs
Washington Nationals v Chicago Cubs / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

On a Thursday afternoon when I was feeling less than thrilled about the current state of the Chicago Cubs starting lineup as Craig Counsell bides his time, waiting for key contributors to return from the IL, a random tweet helped me gain some perspective.

Looking back at the lineup trotted out on May 2, 2012, it's clear just how far the organization has come - and just how far into the deepest, darkest chasms Theo Esptein and Jed Hoyer had to go to pull off the rebuild that culminated in three straight NLCS appearances, a National League pennant and World Series championship.

Few Cubs fans look back on the 2012 team with a lot of fond memories

The 2012 campaign was, more or less, unremarkable on the North Side. Chicago's often forgotten All-Star representative that year? Cubs legend Bryan LaHair, who turned in the best season of his career, finishing with a 110 OPS+ in 380 plate appearances, due largely to a scorching hot first half when he slashed .286/.364/.520. Oddly enough, this was his last big league campaign - and that Midsummer Classic appearance marked the high-water mark of his MLB career.

Starlin Castro once looked like he was headed for a date with the 3,000 hit club. Instead, his playing career wrapped up far sooner than anyone anticipated due to domestic violence allegations. On the heels of the first and only 200-hit season of his career, the Cubs shortstop led the team with 183 hits in 2012, earning his second All-Star appearance.

An aging Alfonso Soriano still showed he could swing hit, with a 32/108 campaign in his final full season with Chicago. The Cubs traded him to the Yankees the following summer, ending his tenure after 5+ years. Looking at the bottom of this lineup, in particular, it's safe to say not many pitchers dreaded facing Dale Sveum's club.

This was a below-average offense and, while the pitching staff had a little more to be excited about, namely Jeff Samardzija and Matt Garza, the big memory on the mound from that season is, without a doubt, Kerry Wood riding off into the sunset after striking out Dayan Viciedo.