Friday, April 3, 2009

Last minute pick-ups

Opening day is near and the Cubs are pretty much set up the way they'll look when they take the field for the first time. But there are often surprises in the final days of Spring - like Detroit's release of Gary Sheffield.

Because Shef is a potential Hall of Famer nearing 500 homeruns, most fans (especially the marks) start drooling at the thought of acquiring him. Problem is, on a team like the Cubs it makes about as much sense as Kirstie Alley selling a diet product. The Cubs are already pretty loaded in the outfield - Micah Hoffpauir and Reed Johnson are both extremely talented, even if neither can really play good center field. Sheffield would just make the outfield situation awkward because unless - sorry, until - Milton Bradley gets hurt, he wouldn't be starting enough to feel satisfied.

But while Sheffield makes no sense for the Cubs, it wouldn't be shocking to see Jim Hendry make a last-minute pickup. He's still aching for another lefty reliever and the team is extremely thin on the left side of the infield.

One player who may be made available is Jays infielder Joe Inglett. The team doesn't have room for him and has demoted him to Triple A - all this despite Inglett's .297 AVG in 2008 and his ability to play pretty much every position in the field (he's never played an inning at catcher or first base, but he's played everywhere else). Hey, who knows -- the Jays are set in their 25-man-roster, but maybe they'd consider dealing Inglett. And while the Cubs aren't likely to grab Inglett specifically, he is the kind of player who may be available right now for next-to-nothing.

Either way, ESPN is projecting the Cubs to win the NL Central with 95 wins, 11 better than the 2nd place Brewers. It feels odd to follow the favorite.


  1. Those ESPN projections are backed by Baseball Prospectus and PECOTA.

    That means they're really good.

  2. "Reed Johnson and Micah Hoffpauir are both extremely talented..."