Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Marquis officially joins Cubs, Hendry content

It's been almost two weeks since we knew that Jason Marquis would be a Cub, but finally the 28-year-old right hander has finally passed his physical and signed the contract. The three-year deal is worth $21 million, just like his number, 21, which he plans to keep, despite the history of the number within the organization. Earlier this month, Ted Lilly was told to choose a different number when he requested 31, the number he wore with the Blue Jays. Though there are no plans to formally retire the number any time soon, team president John McDonough didn't feel that it was appropriate to let another player wear it. Of course, hall-of-famer Fergie Jenkins and future hall-of-famer Greg Maddux have previously worn 31 with the Cubs. Instead, Lilly will wear number 30.

Cubs' GM Jim Hendry seems to be content for the moment, and he should be. After re-signing Ramirez, Wood and Miller, as well as adding free agents DeRosa, Soriano, Lilly, Ward, and Marquis, the Cubs have spent over $300 million this off-season. There are still a few issues that need to be addressed before the start of the season, though.

The Cubs would still like to add a left-handed bat in right-handed heavy offense, though Daryle Ward should be a threat off of the bench. Ward hit .345 in 113 at-bats last season against right-handers, posting a 1.032 OPS while slugging all 7 of his homeruns and collecting all 26 of his RBI's against righties. The team was interested in Cliff Floyd for a while, and though the interest has died down recently, Floyd is expected to remain a free agent for quite some time.

Center field also appears to be an issue of concern, as there currently isn't a clear-cut starter for the job. Though the team is leaning toward giving Felix Pie the job, the Cubs organization should be careful not to let Pie turn into another Corey Patterson. Moving Jacque Jones or Mark DeRosa to center field has also been considered.

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