Tuesday, March 18, 2008

After day off, Cubs return

The Cubs are 7-12 after taking their off-day in the Cactus League season and the roster for Tuesday's exhibition game looks a lot like what we might expect to see on March 31.

But, the way the 25-man roster will shape up on Opening Day is actually less clear now that what it was heading in the Spring Training. Here is how I see the depth chart. The names in bold are locks and the stats you see are the Cactus League numbers. They have been sorted so it's best to see what the team might look like.

Carlos Zambrano (1-0, 0.60 ERA in 14 IP)
Ted Lilly (6.00 ERA in 9 IP)
Rich Hill (0-1, 6.35 ERA in 11 IP)

Jon Lieber (1-0, 1.80 ERA in 10 IP)
Jason Marquis (0-1, 2.00 ERA in 9 IP)
Ryan Dempster (2-1, 6.75 ERA in 10 IP)
Sean Marshall (3.24 ERA in 8 IP)

Kerry Wood (3.86 ERA in 9 IP)
Bob Howry (11.81 ERA in 5 IP)
Carlos Marmol (1.29 ERA in 7 IP)
Scott Eyre (9.82 ERA in 3 IP)
Michael Wuertz (0.00 ERA in 6 IP)

Tim Leahy (1.23 ERA in 7 IP)
Kevin Hart (2.70 ERA in 6 IP)
Neal Cotts (12.00 ERA in 6 IP)
Carmen Pignatiello (0.00 ERA in 4 IP)
Jose Ascanio (6.43 ERA in 7 IP)

Geovany Soto (.241/.353 in 29 AB)
Henry Blanco (.200/.238 in 20 AB)

Derrek Lee (.167/.262 in 36 AB)
Mark DeRosa (.267/.353 in 15 AB)
Aramis Ramirez (.263/.391 in 19 AB)
Ryan Theriot (.333/.349 in 42 AB)
Daryle Ward (.500/.522, 2 HR in 22 AB)

Mike Fontenot (.250/.341, 2 HR in 36 AB)
Micah Hoffpauir (.439/.442, 2 HR in 41 AB)

Alfonso Soriano (.370/.419, 2 HR in 29 AB)
Kosuke Fukudome (.229/.378, HR in 35 AB)
Felix Pie (.290/.371, 2 HR in 31 AB)
Matt Murton (.359/.419 in 39 AB)

Sam Fuld (.172/.359 in 29 AB)
Eric Patterson (.300/.362, HR in 30 AB)

The way I see it, it's still foolish to try to project the 25-man roster with a week-plus of games remaining and the rumors of a Brian Roberts deal still lingering. However, Tim Leahy looks like he's throwing the ball well enough to make the team and Jon Lieber seems to have earned a spot in the rotation.

With the lack of a clear fifth outfielder and the fact that Micah Hoffpauir is on fire this spring, could there be a chance that Piniella decides to break camp with seven infielders and four outfielders? Besides, Ward, DeRosa and Hoffpauir can all play a corner spot in the outfield in a pinch.

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