Opening Day is less than two weeks away. Soon we will all be in front of a t.v. or radio, or even at a stadium watching our favorite team. As a Cubs fan, I am really looking forward to this season. Not because I believe the Cubs will win a world series (although that would be nice) but because I am excited to see what changes the front office will make. I am also looking forward to watching the young players on the team. The off-season saw a lot of change in the front office and in management. We saw some additions to the team as well but it seems the regular season will bring a lot of change to the roster.
There have plenty of trade rumors so far and I’m positive there will be plenty of more rumors. Some of the players involved in these rumors are Garza, Soriano, Soto, Byrd, Marmol and Dempster. If these rumors are true it could mean half of the Opening Day line up will be gone. That would be an extreme make over. I do hope some of these trade rumors become reality. I’d like to see Soriano, Soto and Dempster get off to good starts and become attractive targets for playoff contenders. Teams contending for playoff spots are always looking to add depth to their team and are willing to give up talented prospects in order to win right now. I’d like to see Marmol succeed but remain with the Cubs. I don’t see who the Cubs could replace him via the farm system or trade. As for Garza, I’m stuck in between. Id like the Cubs to build a future around him but I’d also like to see them trade him. Garza has a lot of value and could bring a lot in return. The Cubs seem to have depth in the catchers position. Wellington, Castillo and Clevenger can both hit and play the position very well. Soto has shown that he can be a good player and could possibly bring a few good prospects if traded.
There are several prospects knocking on the door. Players like Rizzo, Jackson, Vitters and McNutt are developing very quickly and may spend time in the Majors this year. Along with Castro, these guys will be the future of the Cubs. The Cubs seem to be on the right path but they are still missing pieces. The Cubs need to boost their pitching. This off-season they picked up a lot of pitchers but its clear that these aren’t the guys Theo wants for the future. Cubs pitching definitely needs improvement. The Cubs also need to make a push for Jorge Soler. He seems to have a lot of upside and can improve the outfield when the Cubs are ready to contend. Although Theo insists that this year is not a rebuilding year, it seems it is. We will likely see many changes. The Cubs don’t seem to want to spend big money in free agency but making trades can clear up a lot of money. Hammels and Cain will both be free agents at the end of the year if they don’t sign extensions.
My predictions for the 2012 season are the following:
Matt Garza signs an extension but is then traded to the Tigers, Yankees or Blue Jays.
Dempster, Soriano, Byrd and Soto will not be in a Cubs uniform next year.
Jackson will see action in the Majors. Rizzo will play first by the end of year and LaHair will either be traded or moved to the outfield.
The Cubs will end the season 80-82 in fourth place behind the first place Cardinals, second place Reds and third place Brewers.