Friday, July 17, 2009

Cubs All-Decade Team

With this season being the last in the decade (which I think is freaky), we thought it would be fun/appropriate to put together some All-Decade teams. The following is just that: the Chicago Cubs All-Decade team. Guys that played at any point from 2000 to the present were eligible. This team is based on overall performance/impact usually over a longer period. This should not be confused with single-season greatness; that team is on the way as well.

Manager - Lou Piniella: Pretty easy pick here, it has to be Lou and his back to back division titles and 97 win team. A case could be made for Rusty Dusty on 2003 alone, but the blunders of 2004, utter mediocrity of 2005, and flat out abysmal 2006 can not be overlooked. No Don Baylor consideration.

Catcher - Michael Barrett: Many Cub fans, including myself, found it difficult to tolerate Barrett and his defensive weaknesses and below average ability to call a game. Despite this, and the unsavory way he ended up leaving Chicago, the guy was a pretty good offensive player. From 2004-2006 he put up a line of .289-48-179 with an OPS+of 113. For a catcher, that really is gravy. It is clear Geo gets on the single season team, but his brief stint in '07 coupled with his disappointment so far this year disqualifies from this list, as much as it pains me to think Barrett is on this team.

1B - Derrek Lee: Another easy selection. In his 5 years in Cubbie Blue, D-Lee has already become one of the top 5 Cub first basemen ever. Depending on whether you count Ernie as a first basemen (I don't, he was a SS), D-Lee is the second best since WWII, behind Grace. The numbers speak for themselves: .303-128-407, OPS+ 131, and two Gold Gloves. Eric Karros got a second of sentimental consideration (his 3-run bomb in the Clemens/Wood game is forever etched in my memory), but that was all.

2B - Mark DeRosa: This position really came down to DeRosa or Mark Grudzielanek. Though Grudzie had two solid years (really 1 1/2 due to injury), he simply doesn't have the numbers DeRo did in his two full years. Though Grudzie has the advantage in average (.312 v. DeRo's .289) and defense (memory/naked eye), DeRo's far superior power numbers (31-159 v. Gruzie's 9-61) and great importance to two division champion clubs give him the edge. Neither performed exceptionally well in the postseason, so no edge was gained or lost there.

SS - Ryan Theriot: Continuing the 2008 infield theme, Theriot is the pick. A solid, improving defender and .292 career average give him the edge over the Ramon Martinezs' and Ricky Guitteriez's that manned the position in the decade. Alex Gonzalez was considered briefly for his defensive excellence, but then again the guy booted away the Cubs World Series berth so he can't appear on this team.

3B - Aramis Ramirez: Oh hey look at that, Ramirez rounds out the All-Decade infield and makes it 4/4 on guys from the 2008 infield. No wonder that team won 97 games. What is there to say about A-Ram? He is the best third basemen since Ronnie. If the shoulder heals up he is young enough where he could put up some serious career numbers as a Cub. He is nearing 200 home runs as a Cub and has been a Godsend since the day he came over in 2003.

RF - Sammy Sosa: Controversy, controversy. But not really. There is no way Sammy can be left off this team. I am not going to mention any numbers he put up here. Nor am I going to mention his awkward, sad departure from the Cubs. All that needs to be known is that this man was Chicago Cubs baseball in the early part of the decade, good or bad. He played a crucial role on solid teams in 2001, 2003, and 2004.

CF - Kenny Lofton: This is probably a bit of a surprise to many because he did only play 56 regular season games as a Cub. Centerfield has been a revolving door this entire decade, which is ironic because the Cubs two biggest prospects (besides Prior) have been centerfielders (Corey, Pie). Lofton rode into Chicago as the hired gun he was during the end of his career, and he didn't disappoint. He hit .327, stole 12 bases, played solid defense, and brought that small-ball ability the team needed to win with the dominant pitching staff they had. He really added another dimension to the lineup and team on the whole. Other considerations were: Corey Patterson but his awesome first half of 2003 was totally brought down by everything else he did and Jim Edmonds, but we felt that Lofton had a greater impact in his short stint than Jimmy did (as great as he was).

LF - Moises Alou: How about that, 2008 infield in front of the 2003 outfield. Figures those two years dominate the All-Decade team. This position clearly came down to Alou or Alfonso Soriano. Moises will forever be linked to a dark part of Cub history the media overblew, but he had a great Cub career. 2004 was great for him: .293-39-106. Alou ultimately gets the nod because he lived up to what was expected from him when he signed (despite a relatively disappointing 2002). Sori still has time to live up to this contract and expectations, but so far, though not bad, he hasn't been the player Hendry thought he was getting for $136 mil. Can't go wrong picking either though.

And there you have it, Justin and Greg's All-Decade team. The pitching staff and bullpen are coming later as this post got a little long as is. Let us know what we messed up and who we overlooked. Photos courtesy:,, and

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