This winter promises to be one of the most pointless and strange in recent Cubs history. The team is coming off one of the most boring and frustrating seasons I can remember, and it doesn’t seem like much will change. The organization seems to be pulling in two different directions, on one side ownership is trying to sell us on a rebuilding project, while the GM claims the team is just “three or four moves away”.
It brings me to the only question I have about the Cubs this winter, does it matter? Is there a single thing, or a series of things that Jim Hendry can do to make 2011 anything other than a complete waste of our time? Personally, I don’t see how he can do it.
2011 will be all about hope. We have to hope that Aramis Ramirez is healthy, and interested. Hope that somehow Alfonso Soriano stays off the DL, and also manages to be a good hitter for more than 12 weeks. Hope that Carlos Zambrano doesn’t pull a muscle running out a single, that Carlos Silva isn’t the giant blob of bad he’s been most of his career, that Marlon Byrd inexplicably repeats his career season.
You get the point, because it’s the same things we’ve all been hoping for the last two seasons. Unlike previous years, Jim Hendry doesn’t have money to play with. He can’t bring us a shiny new Adam Dunn to play first base, or Cliff Lee start every fifth day. Virtually every position on the team, with the exception of first base, is occupied by somebody who can’t really go anywhere. A lot of aging mediocrity, with a little bit of Starlin Castro thrown in.
I just don’t see how this team can be interesting next year, even to the most die hard fans. Even last winter there were interesting things to talk about, Milton Bradley, Soriano, who would play center field. We thought Derrek Lee was going to be a solid hitter, that Aramis would be Aramis. The 2010 Cubs had a really good chance of at least keeping things somewhat interesting, before inevitably finishing around .500.
That isn’t the case with whatever turns out to be the 2011 Cubs. There are just too many question marks, too many young players, and not enough money to fix it all.
We can, and will, spend all winter debating who should play first base. Who should be in the bullpen, the rotation, where Tyler Colvin should play. In the end though, I think we all know this next Cubs team is destined to win 70 games, no matter how many “Nick Johnson types” Jim Hendry brings in.
Wake me up next October, when Jim Hendry is finally fired, and the team actually commits to rebuilding. Until then, it really doesn’t matter.