After watching the Cubs the first two games in their series against the Mets you realize the Cubs are a mess. They might be more of a mess than the Mets. The Cubs have made the Mets look good. Alfonso Soriano is not the same player anymore and in a radio interview Peter Gammons said that Lou Pinella told him that "Soriano can't run anymore." The Cubs have no table setters at all and all their guys strikeout way too much.
Not to mention the Cubs have no bullpen. In fact, the Cubs are so bad in the bullpen they are moving Carlos Zambrano from the rotation to the bullpen to cover the 7th & 8th innings as the bridge to Carlos Marmol. Zambrano will be the highest paid middle reliever ever (in the middle of a 5 year $90 million dollar contract which is 18 million per year). The reason Zambrano is moving to the bullpen is because Ted Lilly comes off the DL this weekend and joins the rotation. For Zambrano owners in an NL only league this a blow because in an NL only league I would imagine that Zambrano owners have him as their #3 starter. Hope the Zambrano experiment in middle relief is a short lived thing. Like I said the Cubs are a mess at least they are getting Lilly back. This is the kind of move that should have fans flock to buy Chicago Cubs MLB tickets ... NOT! You might now have to start looking around the MLB for a replacement SP but I'd stash Zambrano for now.
If the Cubs do not turn their season around soon you can expect some major changes from the Cubs with them looking toward the future. Both Ted Lilly & Derek Lee are free agents after this season and both are in their mid 30's. The Cubs have one of the top 5 payrolls in baseball and they are a bad baseball team. I would expect unless the Cubs to turn it around they will move both Lilly & Derek Lee for the best package of prospects they can get. It's impossible to find good pitching so as long as Lilly shows he is healthy a lot of teams will be interested. Interesting to note too is Aramis Ramirez has a player option after this season to void the rest of his contract. Having said that I wouldn't expect Ramirez to do that is he has roughly 3 more years after this season under his contract at about 15 million per season. Ramirez would have to put up a monster season or someone to give him a better deal going forward and when factor in Ramirez is getting older and has had a number of injury problems I would think that is remote. Having said all that I am sure the Cubs would be more than willing to move Aramis Ramirez given those factors. Remember the Cubs are stuck with the horrible Soriano contract and Zambrano is making 18 million a year as well for few more seasons.
Finally I can see the Cubs prized prospect shortstop Starlin Castro being part of the Cubs this season in two different scenario's. Now Castro just turned 20 in March and is playing for the Cubs AA team and Castro is tearing it up. In the first two weeks of the season Castro is hitting .380 with a 1HR & 12 RBI and has 3 doubles & 3 triples & 4 steals as well. Castro projects as lead-off hitter with really good power and huge speed. As I said at the top the Cubs a table setter and are desperately if Castro continues to light it up would they bring him up in May? Also if the Cubs decide to go the rebuilding route I can see the Cubs bringing Castro up come July to see if he is ready to be a major part of their team come opening day 2011.
Carlos Beltran - Not awful news but not good roto news for Beltran. Beltran saw his knee doctor this week and on WFAN (the #1 sports radio station in NY) they reported that Beltran still has hot spots on his knee and he cannot start baseball activities yet which by the way includes running. Beltran goes back to the doctor in early May to see if he can start baseball activities at that point and time. The word is those hot spots can need anywhere from another 2 to 6 weeks worth of rest before beginning baseball activities. Once Beltran begins baseball activities he should be back with the Mets in a months time from that point. So best case scenario for you Beltran owners is early June by also keep in mind the all star break is a realistic time table as well. Of course it could be somewhere in between as well but this goes against the last health report on Beltran that he was way ahead of schedule. That's why with injuries until the player is back assume nothing.
NL King - C.Lizza