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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Bench Woes

A few minutes after I wrote my post on Calvin Pickering complaining about how weak the Cubs bench was/is I read this in the 2005 Baseball Prospectus.

"The Cubs are poised to get above average performance from at least seven out of the eight starting position players. Their bench on the other hand is barren."

So true. If you can refrain from averting your eyes due to the badness I'm about to reveal, here are BP's PECOTA predictions for the 2005 Cubs bench contenders.

OF/R Jason DuBois .262/.344/.487
OF/R David Kelton .247/.309/.433
IF/S Jose Macias .239/.278/.366
IF/S Neifi Perez .241/.276/.322
C/R Henry Blanco .226/.288/.367
OF-2B/R Jerry Hairston Jr. .274/.348/.376

I'm not a general manager but this bunch, with the exception of DuBois, would have a hard time hitting their way out of a paper bag. And keep in mind that DuBois will likely be a starter against left-handers. What you'll also notice is that it gives the Cubs exactly zero productive left-handed bats off the bench when Todd Hollandsworth is in left field. In the National Leauge that's simply unfathomable (last season Todd Walker could come off the bench when not starting). And as I've mentioned before it is dangerous to give Dusty Baker versatile light-hitting utility-type players since he'll actually use them in starting roles and bat them at or near the top of the order.

The best move for the Cubs would be to release either Macias or Perez and I'd prefer to let Macias go since at least Perez can field, let Kelton walk (he's out of options and doesn't seem to be progressing) and pick up two legitmate bats for the bench one of which must be left-handed and one of which can play a passable right field.

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