Wednesday, August 31, 2005

posted by James - 12:54 AM

Make no doubt about it Cubs fans... 2006 is here now. Well, 2005 was over quite a while ago (losing a series to the Colorado Rockies immediately eliminates any team from playoff contention... it should be some form of post-season probation like they have in the NCAA), we just couldn't get 2006 started until we got rid of the slag from the roster such as Todd Hollandsworth and Matt Lawton.

My good friend and yours, Kurt from Cubs Fan Nation looked into the free-agent class for 2006 and made a list of the Cubs' options.

Go ahead and peruse the list and come back. I'll catch up on some TiVo, while I wait.

Now that you're back, I'll start by saying the Cubs are definitely going to look inside their organization and at non-free agents outside the organization to fill some of the gaps in the major league roster next year.

But they'll have a stack of cash to spend and they better get out there and spend it.

I want Rafael Furcal to play short and leadoff, Johnny "Captain Caveman" Damon to play center (maybe then, people would stop telling me to cut my hair), with Pie, Murton and Hairston sharing time at the other two OF positions.

I'm giggly at the thought of this lineup:

1. Furcal ss
2. Murton rf
3. Damon cf
4. Lee 1b
5. Ramirez 3b
6. Walker 2b
7. Barrett c
8. Pie/Hairston lf

ok... this might be a pipe dream to get both Damon and Furcal and still provide the necessary pitching upgrades for next year... but if we can only get one of them and re-sign Nomar to play either leftfield or short... I'm happy with that as long as our fall-back plan isn't Neifi Perez.

But the Cubs will have a left-handed hitting problem in the middle of the lineup if they don't acquire someone or bring back Burnitz.

Until I see concrete evidence to the contrary (like a video tape of someone leaving the GM Meetings early), I have no problem with Jim Hendry making the decisions with this year's team. My beefs lie with Dusty and Cubs ownership. I love the moves Jim Hendry has made.

The acquisition and development of players such as Matt Murton, Jerry Hairston, Ronny Cedeno, Rafael Novoa, etc., gives me ample confidence in Jim Hendry in this area. It's their use on the field (see also Dempster, Ryan) that pisses me off.

I don't see anything that Hendry's done that I disagree with. The ownership forced his hand with Sosa, and if I'm a team who needs a guy who can get on-base with some speed and pop I trade for Matt Lawton every time... it just didn't work out for us, but that's not Jim Hendry's fault.

He made the best move at the trade deadline that any GM made and he might have made the second-best move by trading him and Hollandsworth to, hopefully, force Dusty into playing Murton.

Every bit of success the Cubs have had over the last three years, I attribute to Jim Hendry, and I place my confidence in him.

It's funny that my birthday (Sept. 2) coincides with what I hope is a rebirth of the Cubs as a playoff contender.

There would be no better birthday present than to have the Cubs to show me that I can keep my hope alive... even if it just for next year.