Looking forward to the 2006 season I thought that I would put out my own take on a possible (but in truth not all too likely) 25 man roster. I will try and comment on the players that would be new to the team or controversial.
C) Micheal Barrett (.276/345/479): Some want to trade him due to some bad defense. To that I say "LOOK AT THAT BATTING LINE! LOOK AT THE BRAND NEW SILVER SLUGGER! THE MAN CAN FLAT OUT RAKE!"
1b) Derrek Lee (.335/.418/.662): Nothing wrong there.
2b) Todd Walker (.305/.355/474): The arguments for/against him are basically the same as Michael Barrett.
3b) Aramis Ramirez (.302/.358/.568): Top 5 thirdbasemen in baseball.
SS) Ronny Cedeno (.300/.356/.375): He could tank and be a flaming pile but he has earned the chance to become that flaming pile.
LF) Matt Murton (.321/.381/.521): Is he going to put up those numbers over the corse of an entire year? Doubtfull. But I think a .290/350/450 line is well withing reach.
RF) Pat Burrell (.281/.389/.504): Alright his is where the team starts to stay from last year. The Cubs desperatly need to get some more offense out of the corner outfield and I don't want to put too much on the shoulders of Murton. I think that a trade of Kerry Wood plus Rich Hill should do the trick. The money even comes close to evening out.
CF) J.D. Drew (.286/.412/.520): I think this is possible. The Dodgers are going to try and trade away most of Depodesta's "Moneyball" moves. I hope the Cubs can capitalize on that and pry away a great player. Drew rates as a very good defensive centerfielder by BP's metrics and Wrigley has a small centerfield. I am not sure what the Dodgers would want for Drew. This may have to be a large minor league player say Pie or Harvey and several pitchers.
C) Henry Blanco (.242/.287/.391)
IF) Mike Fontenot (.272/.377/.430) AAA Iowa: I think he is ready for the majors. Cheap backup for A-Ram and Walker.
Calos Pena (.235/.325/.477): This is the pop off the bench that the Cubs have been missing the last few years. He is also a lefty so thats good. I may try and have him try a corner outfield spot just in case of emergency.
Kazuo Matsui (.255/.300/.352): This move is one big if. If the Mets try and get Furcal (it is in the papers today so thats all I need) then they will want to get rid of Matui. So If they Mets agree on picking up most of his contract I think he would be a great pinch runner/defensive replacement. I also have a suspition that his numbers will go back to 2004 levels.
OF) Jason Michaels (.304/.397/.415): I LOVE Jason Michaels. He is a very strong defender and would be more then capable if Drew goes down for a few months. I wouldn't even mind giving Michaels the starting job if Drew or Bradley don't work out.
Brandon Sing (.276/.404/.538) AA West Tenn.: Just one more good bench hitter that the Cubs have been lacking. Is Sing ready for the Majors? I think so, but I could be wrong. That is a risk I am willing to take with the last man on the bench.
Carlos Zambrano (223 IP, 3.26 ERA)
Mark Prior (166 IP, 3.67 ERA)
Greg Maddux (225 IP, 4.24 ERA)
Jerome Williams (106 IP, 3.91 ERA)
Glendon Rush (145 IP 4.52 ERA): We gave him three mill per, that is too much not to be in the rotation.
Ryan Dempster (92 IP 3.13 ERA) Throws (R): God I hope that arm holds up.
B.J. Ryan (70 IP 2.43 ERA) Throws (L): Relief studd. He would end up being a lot better than our closer.
Will Ohman (43 IP 2.91 ERA) Throws (L): Solid all around LOOGY maybe better.
Michael Wuertz (75.7 IP 3.81 ERA) Throws (R): He was one of the few highlights of last years pen.
Jermaine VanBuren (54.7 IP 1.98 ERA) AAA Iowa Throws (R): Give the guy a shot already.
Novoa/Willliamson/Wellenmeyer: End of the pen guys. Williamson could easily become the best of the lot but I am not holding my breath. I could also have thrown Guzman, Koronka, Mitre, Nolasoco, ect. into the mix. The Cubs have these types of arms in droves lets hope a few work out.
Pros: This linuep can flat out mash. The first eight guys in the starting linupe had OPS' over .800 last year. Runs would be scored. The bench provides lots of versatility and is no longer the black hole it has been. The rotation is solid. The pen could be very scary for opponents.
Cons: Not much speed. In fact our first basemen might be the best basestealer in the starting lineup. Not one soul in the lineup is a "bona-fide leadoff hitter" and the cubs could end up with Todd Walker hitting leadoff all year. (I don't care about this last complaint but some do) There is not much in the way of left handed hitting. There is not much help if a member of the rotation gets hurt. Our top two prospects (Pie and Hill) would be gone. This is not to mention that three of my trades (Drew, Burrell, Matsui) have big ifs attach. The pen could be very scary for Cub fans.
Conclution: I obviouly like this roster but of course I do I made it. Is it a bunch of wishcasting? Yes. I traffic in fun speculation.
I haven't mentioned what happened to some players on the Cubs last year Hairston, Patterson, ect. and I would guess that they would just be included in some of the trades. Specifics can be a bitch. I welcome any comments.