April 21, 2006

Grrr...Rob Neyer

I read Rob Neyer's article about what the Cubs should do now that Lee's gone and it left me pretty annoyed. Neyer rightly points out that we have 0 1b prospects who can fill in adequately for Lee, and recommends that the Cubs call up Michael Restovitch from the Minors to play 1b. That's certainly a reasonable suggestion, but he takes a huge shot at the Cubs when he describes their other option (which is what will likely happen).

The Cubs will probably play Walker at 1b most of the time and use one of their two remaining second basemen (Hairston and Perez - hopefully Hairston) at second. What burns me is that in the article, Neyer writes off both of them as terrible. I'm not going to be waving a flag for Perez anytime soon, but Hairston should do well as a primary 2nd baseman. He's fully healthy, unlike last year, and he had a good spring.

Neyer continues by slamming Jacque Jones, suggesting that Restovitch should have been called up anyway to replace him. This is foolish on two counts. First of all, while Jones's average has been poor, he was injured just has he was getting his stroke back, and he's been hitting the heck out of the ball and has just had bad luck. Rob Neyer is someone who will be the first to tell you that a 2-week sample of ABs (with injury included) is no indicator whatsoever for the rest of the season, and this makes no sense. Speaking of making no sense - it would make no sense at this point for the Cubs to bench a guy they just signed to a decent contract - what are the paying him for? If he's still doing this badly in late May...then things would be a little different. What he seems to think is that the Cubs should call up Felix Pie and put him in the RF spot instead of Jones, which I do not think he is ready for.

Anyway, this what I think the Cubs should do. I do agree with Neyer - they should call up Restovitch. However, he should be around as another utility guy. Mabry will be backing up Walker at first base but Restovitch should be our 4th outfielder - since Bynum is more of a pinch-runner type instead of a pinch-hitter type. He's a good pinch-runner/defensive replacement but he should not have to swing the bat. The new lineup should look something like this:

CF Pierre
2B Hairston
1B Walker
3B Ramirez
C Barrett
RF Jones
LF Murton
SS Cedeno

I guess the only silver lining in this Lee injury was that it cleared up the logjam at second base. If the Cubs can play .500 ball until the horses arrive, they will still be in good shape to make a run at the postseason.