I'm supposed to be doing research for an editorial about these assholes
, so, of course, I'm looking for any excuse whatsoever to procrastinate. And I think I found one when I came up with the idea of a "Who Should Fill The Final Slots of the Cubs 25-Man Playoff Roster?" blog post.
As I see it, 22 spots are locked: 9 by our normal starters, which includes Soto/Kendall. (I'm hoping the bench catcher is Kendall, particularly if the opponent is the D-Backs, who have some speed.) 4 starting pitchers (Z, Lilly, Hill, Marquis). 6 relievers are a sure thing (Dempster, Howry, Marmol, Wood, Eyre and Wuertz). Then on the bench, you got three OF specialists in Craig Monroe (who can hit lefties and has some serious power), Matt Murton (who, though better against lefites, is also semi-decent against righties and has shown some pop as of late) and Felix Pie (who can pinch run and play stellar, late-inning defense). I'm guessing that, for the backup infielder, Cedeno will probably get the nod over Fontenot, as his defense at mulitple infield positions (3B, SS and 2B) is steadier--Fontenot's a superior 2B, but he's not as good a SS and can't play 3B at all--and Ronny's had a hotter bat as of late. So that's 23, leaving two slots.
If Daryle Ward's healthy, you've gotta figure he's a lock. He's the type of situational, pinch-hitting stud who you can totally forsee being absolutely huge in a playoff game. Then that last spot would have to go to another reliever, which probably comes down to either Sean Marshall or Kevin Hart. The way Hart's pitched this last month, it would be hard to leave him off, and Marshall would really only be best effective when spelling for Z and Marquis, as he's a pretty similar pitcher to Lilly and Hill. That said, are you cool with only having one left-hander in the pen? (And that one left-hander being Scott "Stevie" Eyre?)
But what if Ward can't go? Do you go with both Hart and Marshall? Or do you throw the defensive specialist/speedster Sam Fuld in the mix? Sully says yes,
but I'm not sure how I feel about that. The Greatest Catch I've Ever Seen
notwithstanding, it seems to me that Fuld and Pie's skill sets overlap quite a bit, and I just don't know if you need two of that same type of player on such a limited roster. Personally, I think I'd rather have an extra reliever, just in case (God forbid) there's an injury in the pen or some mammoth, marathon, extra-inning game. Or would it be totally stupid to carry eight relievers and only five bench guys in a playoff series? To be honest, I have no idea, so if y'all have any thoughts, chime in.