The Chicago Cubs roster for the 2012 season is all but set, though an official announcement on the bullpen jobs will not be announced until Wednesday. Fans can finally get a look at what their team will look like on opening day and have some sort of idea just what they can expect for the upcoming season. While many of the so called experts around the country have written off the Cubs for the season, fans can finally see the team that they will be watching and make the decisions for themselves whether or not they will be worth watching.
Last week, the team announced the five man starting rotation, and how they will fall into place. The opening day nod, coming with groans from some fans, goes to Ryan Dempster who will be followed by Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija Chris Volstad and Paul Maholm. Many fans are wondering why Maholm is behind both Samardzija and Volstad, and I admit I thought he would have been listed as the third starter as well. However, a report came out after the rotation was released that he was pushed back due to an illness he was suffering through at the beginning of camp which set him back, and the team did not want to have to readjust everything to suit him and throw others off of their schedules. I am fine with this decision, because in the long scheme of things, with days off throughout the season, position in the starting rotation is rather unimportant. That means Randy Wells did not make the starting rotation, and was optioned down to Iowa to await an injury or trade for his return.
A day or so later, we discovered who would be in the starting lineup, as well as just what the batting order would be come opening day over the weekend. While there were no surprises on who would make the opening day lineup, the order they would be batting came as a surprise to some. In case you missed how they would line up, allow me to fill you in. David DeJesus will play right field and will lead off, and will be followed by the second baseman Darwin Barney. Starlin Castro continues on as the team’s short stop and will bat third while Bryan LaHair will be hanging around first base and bat fourth. Soriano, much to the disappointment of many Cub fans plays left field and bats fifth with Marlin Byrd roaming center field and hitting sixth. Ian Stewart will play third base and hit seventh while Geovany Soto will be behind the plate and hit eighth. Another version of the lineup has Soriano and LaHair switched, but one of the two lineups will be used on a regular basis until injury or trade demands something else.
The bench will consist of fan favorite Reed Johnson, new comer Joe Mater, Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt and back up catcher Steve Clevenger. What this means is fan favorite Tony Campana will be sent down to the minors while he learns how to hit the ball, as well as how to bunt properly.
Today, we pretty much learned who will be residing in the bullpen for the 2012 Cubs. Carrie Muskat reported that there are still eight pitchers in Cubs camp who were all still competing for the final bullpen spots. You have closer Carlos Marmol along with Kerry Wood, James Russell, Rafael Dolis, Shawn Camp, Rodrigo Lopez, Manny Copras and Lendy Castillo who the Cubs picked up in the rule five draft. Out of those pitchers, I would pick Corpas to be the odd man out.
There you go Cub fans, the 2012 opening day roster. You may not be happy with the decisions of Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer or Dale Sveum, but this is the team we are going to compete with this year; at least for now.
What are your thoughts, complaints and predictions with what has been assembled? Think we have a chance to do better than fifth place? Can this team really do worse than last year under Mike Quade? You never know, these guys might surprise you.