The Starting Rotation and Tampering with Briggs

Well, in case you noticed (and you probably didn’t) I completely blew it.  My prediction was dead wrong.  Entirely incorrect.  Not even remotely accurate.  That’s right; my preseason pick for the final two starting spots was bad.

I said Lieber and Marshall would get the spots, Dempster would end up in the bullpen, and Marquis would be out the door.  Dempster and Marquis won the two positions.  Oops.

So the rotation is Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, Rich Hill, and Jason Marquis.  Not too shabby.  Of course, Rich Hill is really the number 3 starter, but he’s going to pitch in the fourth spot to separate the two lefties.  That’s smart.

And there are options in case this whole thing goes awry.  Lieber is going to be the long man in the bullpen, and I’m sure the Cubs will hold on to him.  And Sean Marshall didn’t have a bad spring, 3.65 ERA with 9 Ks and 6 walks in 12 innings, so he could be a good call-up (or trade bait) later on.  And that’s good, because I’m still not sold on Marquis and Dempster hasn’t pitched 100 innings since 2003 and hasn’t pitched 200 innings since (gulp!) 2000.  That’s a shoulder injury waiting to happen.

In all, I’m happy that Dempster’s getting the chance to start, and Marquis has had a great spring, so things are looking good for the Cubbies’ front five.  And Wood is going to close, so at least I got that one right.

Finally, da Bears may have had a rough year, but at least they did better than the 49ers.  Turns out they tried to illegally sign Lance Briggs by talking to him before he was a free agent.  This is going to cost them a fifth round pick, and they have to swap third round picks with the Bears.

What’s worse than getting caught engaging in illegal conversations with a free-agent target?  Not being able to sign him once he hits the market.  Ouch.  That’s like getting a penalty for holding the guy who sacks the quarterback.  At that point, you just can’t do anything right.

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