Chicago Cubs

Manager: Rick Renteria
Stadium: Wrigley Field
2008 Record: 97-64 (1st in NL Cent)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule

LINEUP

08: Batting | Runs (1st in NL)
PLAYER B POS
Alfonso Soriano R LF
Mike Fontenot L 2B
Derrek Lee R 1B
Milton Bradley B RF
Aramis Ramirez R 3B
Kosuke Fukudome L CF
Geovany Soto R C
Ryan Theriot R SS
OFF THE BENCH
Reed Johnson R OF
Aaron Miles B INF

PITCHING

08: Pitching | ERA (3rd in NL)
ROTATION T POS
Carlos Zambrano R SP1
Ryan Dempster R SP2
Ted Lilly L SP3
Rich Harden R SP4
Sean Marshall L SP5
BULLPEN
Aaron Heilman R Setup
Carlos Marmol R Setup
Kevin Gregg R Closer
 
While being swept by the Dodgers in the NLDS, the Cubs were exposed as a team too reliant on right-handed hitters. Joe Torre didn't use a single lefty pitcher, and Chicago scored just six runs in three games. Welcome to the Windy City, Milton Bradley! "He's intense," Lou Piniella says of his new outfielder. "I like that. He hates to lose. I like that, too." Piniella would love it if Bradley, a switch-hitter who signed for $30 million over three years, can replicate his 2008 season. He hit .309 from the left side and led the AL with a .436 OBP for the Rangers. The Cubs are counting on Bradley, mainly a DH in Texas, to be their right fielder, but a variety of injuries have prevented him from playing more than 100 games in the field in any season since 2004. Kosuke Fukudome, last year's big-ticket addition, was supposed to be the solution in right, but after a dismal second half in which he hit .217, he'll now share time in center with Reed Johnson. Signing Bradley is a calculated risk. Then again, the Cubs haven't won in more than a century, so maybe it's time to take some chances.
-- Tim Kurkjian

ESPN The Magazine's Cubs preview Insider

PROSPECTS

HITTER TO WATCH:

If Derrek Lee gets hurt, you could see Micah Hoffpauir at first base; he has power but is below-average in every other tool.

PITCHER TO WATCH:

Jeff Samardzija should garner some middle-relief innings this year even if he doesn't make the club right away; he has closer stuff but below-average command and no history of missing bats.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.

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AL
NL
 

SPORTSNATION

Is Geovany Soto the best catcher in the National League? Do the Cubs have the best starting rotation? Will Milton Bradley stay healthy and play right field enough to emerge as one of the NL's best? Register your vote.

NL poll page

Featured Comment

Alfonso Soriano stays healthy all season and makes a strong run not only for the NL MVP, but also at a Triple Crown.


HuffyT13

National League fan previews

FANTASY

SLEEPER

Mike Fontenot batted .360 after the All-Star break and has been over .300 for much of the spring. Since he's at least the lefty part -- the better part -- of a second-base platoon with Aaron Miles, he'll stand a great chance at a .290-15 year with upside.

BUST

People still seem to think Derrek Lee is capable of a .335 batting average and 46 homers, his numbers in 2005, but the truth is that these days, he's more of a .290-hitting, 20-homer type. That's not a bad player, but it's not even top-10 material at what is a deep position.
--Tristan H. Cockcroft

INJURY TO WATCH

Rich Harden. He is awesome when he plays. But his health history leaves everyone on the edge of their seats wondering when the injury bug is going to strike again. Harden had his highest number of starts in four years in 2008, and his shoulder, which had limited him previously, appeared much improved. It's also worth noting that his outings were carefully managed, and he will continue to be monitored for pitch counts in 2009. So far this spring, the only thing to affect him was an unpleasant round of food poisoning. The Cubs have to be keeping their fingers crossed that this is the worst thing Harden has to deal with this year.
-- Stephania Bell

MORE

30 Questions: Will Ryan Dempster repeat his 2008 performance?

PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

  • Jayson Stark

    Stark
    No. 3 overall
    (1st in
    NL Central)

  • Tim Kurkjian

    Kurkjian
    No. 1 overall
    (1st in
    NL Central)

  • Buster Olney

    Olney
    No. 5 overall
    (1st in
    NL Central)

  • Rob Neyer

    Neyer
    No. 4 overall
    (1st in
    NL Central)

  • Jim Caple

    Caple
    No. 2 overall
    (1st in
    NL Central)