MLB Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs need to start putting some things together to bounce back from a travesty of a 2012 season. They can go a million ways in terms of free agency and the trade market, but none of that really matters if they don't clean up what they already have. Here are the top 10 things I believe the Cubs need to improve in if they want to improve in 2013.
Darwin Barney is the best defensive second basemen in all of baseball. He set some records this year, but it's just not enough if you want to be considered one of the best overall in baseball. The Cubs need to get some more offensive production from Darwin Barney or he's nothing more than a utility/platoon guy. Saving Runs is one thing- but you need to score runs if you wanna win ball games.
The Cubs blow a lot of late inning leads. Whether it's the 7th, 8th, or 9th inning you can't blow as many leads if you want to contend for a playoff spot. The Cubs need to figure out a way to piece together a dominant bullpen. Whether that's with or without Carlos Marmol- it starts here.
The Chicago Cubs were brutal at third base. If they want to win, they're going to need someone a little better than Ian Stewart and Luis Valbuena. It's time to make this a priority because I'm not sure Josh Vitters is the answer here.
I can't tell you how many times I flipped out when a Cubs pitcher would fall behind with runners on base by leading with breaking stuff they can't command. This falls on Chris Bosio but it's time for the Cubs to get aggressive in the count and attack hitters. If they continue to not trust their stuff, might as well forfeit 2013 season.
When was the last time the Cubs had a defensive catcher that would control the tempo of a baseball game? The Cubs desperately need someone to step up and be a leader on a young team. It all starts with the field general and this is something the Cubs need to have and need to find...quickly.
How many arms did the Cubs bring up from the minors last year? A lot. How many arms came up and had an impact? 1? How about none. If the Cubs want to go the youth route, someone has to take control of the opportunity and turn into an impact pitcher. It looks like guys will get an opportunity. Seize the day young guys.
Starlin Castro is the best Cubs young player in a long time. I'm tired of watching him anywhere from 1st through 6th. Dale Sveum is killing his best players approach. Every spot in the order has a job to do. When it's consistently changing for one player, he can't get comfortable. If you don't want Starlin to hit 3- go get a 3 hitter and hit him 2nd. If you want him to hit 5th, move him to third, bulk him up. Make a decision Cubs management and stop screwing around.
I know I'm campaigning here, but I believe the Cubs can contend next year and in future years with the right moves this offseason. I believe they need to go out and find a guy that's going to drive in 120 runs out of the 3 hole. Josh Hamilton fits that bill and I'm sorry but I would love to see him hit behind Starlin Castro and in front of Anthony Rizzo. It's going to help this team offensively and a young lineup could be served well with a veteran that's had all the ups and downs.
The Cubs don't have the rotation that's going to compete in the NL. So make something happen. Since the Cubs don't have the top of the rotation guys needed, go get a few. Dan Haren and Francisco Liriano would be perfect for a rotation that already has Matt Garza, Travis Wood, and Jeff Samardzija.
Anyone that knows me knows that I don't like Dale Sveum. I think he's a bad manager for what the Cubs are trying to do. I don't care that he had no talent because some of the moves he made were ridiculous. If the Cubs want to grow up as a team, Sveum has to grow up as a field general. He needs to be someone the organization looks too, not someone players need to be run from because of what he might say in the media. If the Cubs do these 10 things, I believe they can win a division next year.
10 Things The Chicago Cubs Need To Improve On In 2013
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#10: Offensive Production From 2nd Base
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#9: Less Blown Saves
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#8: Third Base Production
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#7: Pitchers approach on the mound
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#6: Defensive Captan Behind Home Plate
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#5: Young Pitching Making an impact
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#4: Permanent Spot In the Order For Starlin Castro
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#3: Veteran Run Producer
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#2: 2 Starting Pitchers
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#1: Clubhouse Leadership
If the Chicago Cubs can do these 10 things this offseason, I believe this team can win a NL Central title in 2013 and beyond. Let me know what you think this team needs to do.