The Cubs may not be making any huge trades over the next 24-hour period, but their current players have finally started to hit. What would happen if Milton Bradley actually starts to produce for the Cubs? Can they keep pace with the Cardinals, who added Mark DeRosa and Matt Holliday over the past couple weeks? Geovany Soto and Ted Lilly are both on the DL, but with Ryan Dempster and Aramis Ramirez coming off, this could be the beginning of a nice second-half of the season.
Alfonso Soriano, who has battled a leg injury for most of the season, has finally started to swing the bat well. They moved him down to the sixth spot, and since then, he has been hitting .383 with 5 homers and 15 RBI. I’m not sure if the move down in the order sparked this offense, but resting during the All-Star break could have added to his numbers. I like him hitting behind Ramirez, Fox/Hoffpauer platoon, and Bradley, they have all found their numbers have increased. Ramirez has had an extra base-hit in 9 straight games and Bradley hit is eight homer of the season this afternoon. If they get their pitching in order, maybe they can keep pace with the Cardinals. Adam Wainwright and Cris Carpenter are the only Cardinals who has pitched well after the All-Star break, with Ryan Franklin finally looking human. If the Cubs can get a mid-level bat or someone like John Grabow over the next day, it could help their cause.
Geovany Soto has not had a great season this year, but he is expected back in a couple weeks from an oblique injury. He started to hit well before his trip to the DL, but I like the way Koyie Hill has called games for the pitching staff. Randy Wells has looked great and even Kevin Hart has looked like a professional over the last two weeks. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if Soto is out longer than expected, but I would like him to get a couple weeks of regular season activity at the end of the season, if the Cubs make the playoffs, I don’t want him rusty.
The rest of the league are scouring the league for trades, but the Cubs can’t afford to do that, nor should they do so. If their line-up starts to hit to their potential and Zambrano doesn’t eat someone’s face off, they will be in the race. The Cubs don’t have any blue-chip prospects other than Josh Vitters, who they hope will develop into something great. He’s a third-baseman, so he’ll either be an insurance policy for Aramis Ramirez, or a possible position change to first base, if Derrek Lee’s performance begins to decline.
I have really turned the wagons around the last few days concerning the Cubs season. If the Brewers get desparate and trade their lot of prospects away for Roy Halladay, I could head back the other way, but it looks like Doc Halladay isn’t headed into these parts anytime soon.