2009 regular season record: 83-78, Second place, NL Central
Major Offseason Acquisitions: Marlon Byrd (TEX), John Grabow (PIT), Xavier Nady (NYY), Carlos Silva (SEA)
Major Offseason Losses: Milton Bradley (SEA), Aaron Miles (CIN), Rich Harden (TEX), Kevin Gregg (TOR), Neal Cotts (PIT)
Projected Lineup (2009 stats):
- SS-Ryan Theriot (.284 BA, .343 OBP, 7 HR, 54 RBI, 21 SB)
- RF-Kosuke Fukudome (.259 BA, .375 OBP, 11 HR, 54 RBI)
- 1B-Derek Lee (.306 BA, .393 OBP, 35 HR, 111 RBI)
- 3B-Aramis Ramirez (.317 BA, .389 OBP, 15 HR, 69 RBI)
- CF-Marlon Byrd (.283 BA, .329 OBP, 20 HR, 89 RBI)
- LF-Alfonso Soriano (.241 BA, .303 OBP, 20 HR, 55 RBI)
- 2B-Mike Fontenot (.236 BA, .301 OBP, 9 HR, 43 RBI)
- C- Geovany Soto (.218 BA, .321 OBP, 11 HR, 47 RBI)
Projected Starting Rotation/Closer (2009 stats):
- RHP Carlos Zambrano (9-7, 3.77 ERA, 169.1 IP)
- LHP Ted Lilly (12-9, 3.10 ERA, 177.0 IP)
- RHP Ryan Dempster (11-9, 3.65 ERA, 200.0 IP)
- RHP Randy Wells (12-10, 3.05 ERA, 165.1 IP)
- RHP Carlos Silva (1-3, 8.60 ERA, 30.1 IP
Closer: RHP Carlos Marmol (3.41 ERA, 15 saves)
2010 outlook: Despite finishing above .500, the 2009 season was something of a mess for the Cubs.
Milton Bradley was at the center of it all, causing several disturbances throughout the season, perhaps debilitating Chicago’s chemistry in the process.
However, he’s been jettisoned to Seattle, and the Cubs are hoping the club will be rejuvenated as a result.
Outside of Derrek Lee, nobody in a Cubs uniform had a great year at the plate in ’09.
Aramis Ramirez battled injuries, and Alfonso Soriano was inconsistent until his season ended prematurely on September 5.
Marlon Byrd was brought in to replace Bradley, and he was a steady hitter for the Rangers last season.
The rotation is strong all the way through, and Carlos Marmol is being counted on once again as the closer, where he recorded 15 saves last season.
If Ramirez and Soriano can enjoy productive seasons at the plate, and the starters can continue to put up sub-4.00 ERA’s, the Cubs may be better than people think.
2010 prediction: 86-76, Third place, NL Central