Friday, September 4, 2009

Cubs-Mets Preview- Weren't We Just Here?

Rather than go through the boring process of writing up the pitching matchups, scouting reports, and such for a series that literally just happened last week I'm going to use this for some perspective about where the Cubs are as a franchise. 

The Mets are walking proof that things could be much worse than what is going on in Chicago. Their situation was quite enviable before the 2008 season started, they had just traded for the best pitcher in baseball and had a young core locked up for a number of deep playoff run. Instead they suffered another epic collapse in September due mainly to a terrible bullpen. They thought the addressed that problem in the offseason with the signing of K-Rod and the trade for JJ Putz.

What happened this season is nothing short of a baseball tragedy. So far this season they have lost the following all-stars: Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Putz, David Wright, and Johan Santana and Oliver Perez (no all-star). That translates to $84.75 million of payroll this season. They have resorted to starting guys like Angel Pagan everyday (their best player now). 

By my own personal calculations the Mets need a catcher, first baseman, left fielder, right fielder, and two or three starting pitchers in order to be a contending team next season. None of that will come from their farm system, which they emptied out to get Johan. The free agent class this upcoming winter is pretty weak to begin with, but the Mets might not have money to spend anyway.

This is perhaps the worst part of this story. The Mets owner Fred Wilpon was one of the victims to Bernie Madoff's Ponzi Scheme. Reports say he lost about $700 million to Madoff, and that is the complicating matter for the Mets. Their owner is essentially broke, their farm system is useless, and they have tons of holes in their roster. Not good at all.

So the next time we think about Alfonso Soriano's contract in 2014, remember that there are teams much worse off than the Cubs.  No matter your opinion of the Cubs roster situation, they are still legit contenders in 2010, will more than likely be able to deal with free agents, and have a farm system that is close to producing some real nice talent.

Onto the pitching matchups

Friday- Carlos Zambrano (7-6 3.91) vs. Bobby Parnell (3-7 5.81)
Saturday- Rich Harden (8-8 4.19) vs. Nelson Figueroa (Cy Young)
Sunday- Randy Wells (10-7 2.90) vs. Mike Pelfrey (9-10 5.03)

Really the Cubs should probably win this series, but they won't. I'll say the Mets take two of three, and it takes a stellar Randy Wells start to save us from being swept. 

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