2007 Chicago Cubs Baseball Preview
It was just three years ago that the Chicago Cubs (66- 96) were in the playoffs. But last season the team hit the skids, finishing last in the NL Central. During the off-season, the Cubbies spent a lot of money, hiring some veteran talent while resigning free agents.
The pitching rotation is on firm footing with RHP Carlos Zambrano (16- 7, 3.41 ERA) as the primary starter. Zambrano is a certified ace. LHP Ted Lilly (15- 13, 4.31 ERA) had his best season yet last year with the Blue Jays. The Cubs signed him to a four-year deal. LHP Rich Hill (7- 1, 1.80 ERA) came up from Triple A Iowa in 2006 and was extremely solid. Now he needs to do what he did in 15 starts for 30-plus starts. The fourth and fifth positions are of concern. Ryan Dempster (1- 9, 4.80 ERA, 24 SV), who struggled from August on, gets another chance at closer with former starter Kerry Wood in the wings.
Center fielder Alfonso Soriano (.277 AVG, 95 RBI, 46 HR, 41 SB) is an all-around hitter and an excellent lead off man. Third baseman Aramis Ramierez (.291 AVG, 119 RBI, 38 HR) has consistent clout to drive in runs and outfielders Jacque Jones (.285 AVG, 81 RBI, 27 HR) and Matt Murton (.297 AVG, 62 RBI, 13 HR) are solid offensive guys. Visit Maddux for picks on chicago cubs games during the season as well as live baseball lines.
In 2006, the Cubs finished last in double plays with 122 and tied for 11th in fielding with a percentage of .982. Behind the plate, the team has some solid backstops with good arms.
The team hired a new manager—the irascible Lou Piniella. Piniella is a solid baseball guy who can be cantankerous and entertaining. He tends to work well with young talent.
This team could contend for the Wild Card or fall flat on its face. But this Chicago club is better than the team they fielded last season. Will that translate into a fourth or second-place finish?
For more info on Chicago check out the MLB website for the Cubs.