Another year of baseball is on the horizon and the city of Chicago is still BUZZING about their local team. Unfortunately for Cub fans, they are NOT buzzing about the Cubs. A year after the Whitesox won the World Series, the Cubs have to be questioning, “is Chicago turning into a WHITESOX city?” The answer to that is yes. The lovable losers of the North Side are trying desparately to do what they can to compete. But they are just doing it all wrong. We’ll lay out 5 reasons why the Cubs will fail, yet again, in 2006.
1) Outfielding Woes. How can you honestly go into a season with Murton, Pierre, and Jacque Jones as your starting outfield and expect to win? Pierre was a nice upgrade in center field and will the Cubs a much needed leadoff man. But seriously, I didn’t think it could get any worse than last year when the Cubs trotted out Hollandsworth, Patterson and Burnitz. But this year, it just got worse. Murton is a young developing player, and Jones will prove to be an overpaid RF. You need some power in the OF and the Cubs DO NOT have that.
2) Injured Pitchers. As if it wasn’t bad enough already! The Cubs go and get starting pitcher Wade Miller, who’s arm is just about to fall off, to fill out their rotation. Ok, ok… So maybe they aren’t expecting him to start right off the bat, but it’s just like the Cubs to get a guy like this. Wood is a huge question mark once again this year. Sounds like he won’t be healthy enough to start from day 1. So they might bullpen him again? Why? That’s an expensive middle reliever! Prior, who they claim is healthy, is a time bomb waiting to get hurt. Year after year it’s the same story from Cub Fans. “We have the best staff in baseball… WHEN we are healthly.” or “We would be in first place IF our starters were healthy.” Well, the Cubs did nothing to address this SP injury issue in the offseason, so expect to hear much of the same in 2006.
3) Derrek Lee Comes Back to Earth. So Derrek Lee has 1 good season and he’s all of a sudden as good as Albert Pujols? Give me a break. The guy is a career .276 hitter who had never batted over .282 before his mysterious .335 season in 2005. His power numbers were up as well. Expect Lee to come back to reality a bit this year, much like he did in the 2nd half of 2005. Remember, he WAS batting like .390 around the all star break I believe. .300, 36 HR and 100 RBI is about all I see from Mr. Lee in 2006. Not quite enough from your MVP.
4) Dusty is Desperate. This very well could be the last year for Dusty Baker in Chicago. He’s obviously going to do anything he can do get this team to win. But once he realizes they don’t have the talent once again to compete in the NL Central, he’ll tank it knowing he’s gone after this season. He’s gotta be about fed up with the fans, management and players attitudes regarding him and the Cubs. And I’m sure on most days just wishes he was back in SF. Who knows, maybe thats where he’ll be in 2007. But don’t look for him to give much extra effort to help develop the youngsters in this organization. Which will only set the franchise back another 3-4 years.
5) It’s the Cubs! The don’t win championships. Period. The curse is alive and well in Chicago, and everyone knows it. Coming up on the 100 year anniversary of the last Cub World Series has to be a bit depressing. Their fans expect them to lose, their opponents expect to beat them, and they just flat out find ways to lose. 2006 will be no exception for the Chicago Cubs.
Comments? Thoughts? Would love to hear them.