Orlando Hudson is the answer for the Cubs at second base.
He’s still in the prime of his career, hits from both sides of the plate and plays exceptionally well defensively. Plus, he’s also very available as an unsigned free agent.
Shy away from O-Dog and the Cubs are left with an unproven Mike Fontenot and the veteran Aaron Miles to man the second sack.
And while Fontenot appears to be the favorite heading into Spring Training, I’m betting on Miles to win the job.
Miles certainly has more experience than Fontenot with five seasons of 300+ at-bats, including two seasons of 400+ ABs and one of 522. Fontenot, however, has never surpassed more than 243 at-bats in a season.
Yet, what’s being overlooked in the Fontenot vs. Miles competition is defense and both players combined can’t match Hudson’s fielding abilities.
Think how strong the Cubs would be up the middle with Soto behind the plate, Fukudome in center and Theriot and Hudson turning two.
As I like to say DEFENSE MATTERS!!!
Not to mention, I think Hudson would be a superb addition to the leadoff spot, assuming Soriano stays committed to moving down in the order.
One sunny July afternoon during 2007 I was sitting at Murphy’s Bleachers’ beer garden with a good friend of mine rehashing old memories and pouring down cold Old Styles.
My buddy was visiting from out of town for the Sting concert to be held that evening at Wrigley Field.
While taking in the sun we noticed a white van pull up and stop just past Murphy’s on Sheffield Avenue.
To our surprise, out stepped Sting himself, who politely posed long enough for my pal to snap a picture.
From there Sting meandered into the park and we stumbled back to the beer garden.
And the next thing we know we’re listening to the band practice on stage in center field! Cool memory for both of us.
Although, the Sting moment made me realized I was missing out by not having purchased a ticket to the show…thus, I’d make sure to be at the next Wrigley Field concert.
Of course, last year came and went with no concert held at Wrigley.
This year, however, Elton John’s and Billy Joel’s Face 2 Face Tour plays the Friendly Confines July 21st: yesterday I bought my tickets.
Section 240, seats 101 & 102 (third base side, middle deck)…it wasn’t cheap, but it had to be done.
Seats are again for sale today on-line at Ticket Master.com.
Lou Piniella says he’s “saddened” with the news of A-Rod’s PED use.
I’d like to ask Lou if he ever suspected Rodriguez was using while playing in Seattle.
Speaking of PEDs, Jim Hendry offers up an interesting angle about the actual number of MLB players on steroids (courtesy MLB.com).
There was some speculation that as many as 50 to 70 percent of the players were “cheating,” Hendry said. However, if you have 40-man rosters on 30 teams, that’s 1,200 players. Half of that is 600. The report was that 104 tested positive in 2003[It doesn't add up].
Yet, he’s also been voted an All Star, has averaged 40 home runs the past five seasons and most importantly, he’s averaged more than 152 games played per year through seven full seasons.
So, is Dunn passionate about his profession or not?
I think Dunn understands that he’s got it good earning a paycheck to play baseball, but his true passion for the game is still in hiding.
This better explains why the Big Donkey joined the god-awful Washington Nationals (59-102)?
Specifically, they’re two reasons: first off, the Nats paid top-dollar to get him and secondly, D.C. is a perfect sleepy market for Dunn to play his game without coming under fire to lose weight or improve defensively: comments that slowly ate away at Adam’s ego during his final months with Cincinnati.
Considering Dunn’s biggest supporter is GM Jim Bowden and that he’ll be reunited with good buddy Austin Kearns, and you find yourself one – fat, content and underdeveloped - happy ballplayer.
As a guest Monday morning on ESPN 1000′s Waddle & Silvy Show Mark DeRosa says he still has moments when he gets ticked about being traded by the Cubs.
The former North Sider went on to say that despite his arrival in Chicago as a virtual unknown player (to Cubs fans) the Chicago faithful welcomed him with open arms even to the point of making him a fan favorite, and that affection continues to resonate with him.
Plus, on top of his popularity in Chicago is the fact he’ll miss out on a chance to be part of the first Cubs team to win a World Series in more than 100 years.
Of course, listening to the interview made me wish for sentimental reasons that DeRosa was still a Cub, but I stand by my earlier opinion that dealing Mark was in the best interest of the team.
However, because D-Ro is a class act I have no doubt he’ll be shown the same love in Cleveland.
And according to Forbes.com DeRosa has plenty of company leaving town.
In this article Chicago is listed as one of America’s most miserable cities: terrible winter weather, high sales tax and plenty of corrupt public officials – to name a few – has steadily pushed Chicagoans to seek better living elsewhere during the past seven years.
As long as Albert Pujols is in the lineup – healthy or not – the Cardinals have a chance to win the NL Central.
That said, it’s not been much of an off season for St. Louis, a team that finished 10 games above .500 last season, but also 11.5 games behind Chicago.
Then again, maybe the winter doesn’t need to be a huge splash for St. Louis to win the NL Central?
Despite an injury plagued 2008 and an overall young roster, the Cards battled for more runs scored than allowed, found a hidden gem in OF Ryan Ludwick (37 HR, 113 RBIs) and managed to stay in the post season race until late in the season.
Besides, outside the Cubs, no team in the division has made a dramatic move this winter to merit itself contenders against mighty Chicago, which, leaves the door open again for St. Louis in 2009.
To this point the Cards’ big addition was trading for Kahlil Greene, a needed defensive hand at SS and above average hitter. Other than that, all’s quite on the Mid-Western front.
Yet, as with so many other clubs, the main question mark in St. Louis is its pitching.
Mark Mulder appears all but done and who knows what might happen with Chris Carpenter: return as a starter, return as a closer or return retired???
While the starting rotation is sufficient with Lohse, Looper and Wellemeyer, the bullpen is largely a group of unknowns: Chirs Perez, Royce Ring, Kyle McClellan, Jason Motte, Charlie Manning, Matt Scherer and Ian Ostlund…who???
And not surprisingly, no team blew more save opportunities than the Cardinals last season, not a good sign in this day-and-age of baseball where a strong bullpen is essential to winning.
With Albert all things are possible, but more realistically, if the Cards are thinking about catching the Cubs they’d better find a way to turn a schoty bunch of unknown hurlers into a group of house hold names.