Hey, this is fun. Byron from one of our favorite Cubbie blogs, Goat Riders of the Apocolypse, initiated a little exchange of team wisdom leading up to tonight’s battle. Here are his answers to the questions I sent him. See also: my answers to his questions.
Q1: Kosuke Fukudome is off to a good start, but is he $48 million good? Are the Cubs better off with him than they would have been with four $12 million contracts over 4 years?
As long as Fooky stays healthy, yes, he’s $48 million good. Or at least $48 million on a $100+ million club, good. I’m not sure I would build a team around him at that price, but if you’ve already got Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Zambrano inked to long-term deals, then Kozuke’s a good addition for $48 mm. And no, the Cubs have several $3-$4 a year type guys on the roster already. The problem is that there are only so many slots on the roster, and you’ve got to get significant (abover average) production out of some of those slots. You could try to bring up young guys… but the Cubs are better at paying proven talent.
Q2: How long until Kerry Wood is injured?
I’m going out on a limb here and predicting a healthy year this year. Now next year, after he’s pitched five days in a row at one point in September to get us to the post-season… well, we’ll get to next year when it comes.
Q3: Do you think the team has what it takes to keep Carlos Zambrano hydrated in the long-term?
At this point, hydrated-Carlos sucks, so we’re gonna start puncturing IV bags in the clubhouse. I vote to give him his caffeine and Red Bull back, and that Larry Rothschild just makes sure he drinks some Gatorade every other inning.
Q4: Ryan Dempster? Jason Marquis? WTF?
Ryan Dempster looks like Cy Young so far. Steroids? (I jest.) Jason, the Marquis de Suck? We’re still trying to figure out why Jim Hendry ever though signing Marquis would be a good idea. And Dempster, that one’s a head scratcher. He was a decent reliever who had a good starting season in 2000. Jon Lieber has won 20 games more recently that Dempster had a good season as a starter… but apparently Dempster’s got enough pull to muscle his way into the rotation, and so far, we can’t complain.
Q5: Is this the year?
Probably not. We are really thin in terms of playoff quality starting pitching. The other teams that look poised to make playoff runs in the NL all have more top-line depth on the mound, and so we’re in for a repeat of last year. A playoff appearance, and an opening round loss. Now if Dempster or one of the other pitchers has a career year, then we could conceivably crown this year as “the year,” but I’m not holding my breath.