Roster Check

So did the Cubs solve all of their problems in spring training? Probably not. Their outfield remains strong offensively and suspect defensively. They are relying on a starting rotation with more hope than confidence. Still, looking around the rest of the National League Central, they seem to be just as good as anyone, and they hope they can take advantage of a weak division.


1. RHP Carlos Zambrano

2. LHP Ted Lilly

3. RHP Jason Marquis

4. LHP Rich Hill

5. RHP Wade Miller or RHP Mark Prior

Zambrano, Lilly and Marquis are making close to $30 million this year. While Zambrano is a horse, newcomers Lilly and Marquis are more X factors at this point than proven commodities. The Cubs need them to step up their game. Marquis' 6.02 ERA from 2006 is a concern.

Hill showed remarkable stuff in the final two months of 2006 but needs to show he can do it over six months. It was hinted that Miller won the fifth spot, but he is being pushed by Prior after the struggling Prior threw four strong innings on March 22.


RHP Ryan Dempster (closer)

RHP Bob Howry

LHP Scott Eyre

LHP Will Ohman

LHP Neal Cotts

RHP Angel Guzman

RHP Michael Wuertz

If Dempster returns to the form he displayed when he saved a franchise-record 26 games in a row, this area will be a strength for the Cubs with proven setup men Howry and Eyre back.

Fireballing starter-turn-reliever Kerry Wood (triceps injury) is expected to open the season at extended spring training, but when he comes back as a setup man, the bullpen could be even more dangerous.


1. CF Alfonso Soriano

2. LF Matt Murton

3. 1B Derrek Lee

4. 3B Aramis Ramirez

5. RF Jacque Jones

6. C Michael Barrett

7. 2B Mark DeRosa

8. SS Cesar Izturis

Soriano and Lee are capable of hitting 40 homers, and Ramirez can hit in the high-30 range, so power doesn't appear to be a problem. At worst, this is a solid lineup. At best, it can be spectacular with its power mixed in with Soriano's speed at the top.

If they get production from their second-place hitter, the Cubs could score plenty of runs this season.


C Henry Blanco

INF/OF Ryan Theriot

INF Ronny Cedeno

OF Cliff Floyd

INF/OF Daryle Ward

Cedeno, who was the Cubs' Opening Day shortstop in 2006, had to fight hard to make the club, and his defensive work with bench coach Alan Trammel paid off. Cedeno is in good shape to make the roster again. Switch-hitting OF Angel Pagan still has an outside shot at making the squad, but he is hurt by the fact that DeRosa and Theriot can also serve as backup outfielders.

Floyd will back up Murton in left field early in the season but could get more starting time after April.

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