2010 MLB preview: Chicago Cubs

The biggest question for any Cubs season is, is this the year? While there is not under new management sign hanging on Wrigley Field, New ownership is finally in place and Tom Ricketts looks like he will be spending huge jack on stadium upgrades. First up the clubhouse. These are all positive things, and the Cubs should be contenders in 2010, but a few questions remain. Will they finally vanquish the curse of the billy goat? Who knows?

The main issue for this team is who will bat leadoff. Since 2007 they have miscast Alfonso Soriano as their table setter, and his knee problems make him an ineffective base stealer. Last year Cubs lead off hitter hit .249, 27th best among the 30 MLB teams. They need a viable option here and that might lie with SS Ryan Theriot.

Pitcher Carlos Zambrano and catcher Geovany Soto worked very hard this off season to get into better shape, They both have lost a lot of weight and are looking to make big impacts on the team in 2010. Soto, the 2008 National League rookie of the year, lost nearly 40 pounds after seeing 67 points drop off his batting average in 2009. The Cubs will need both players to have big years.

The last issue is the Cubs need to find out quickly if the ninth inning is safe in Carlos Manuel’s hands. He assumed the closer’s duties in August and went 11 for 11 but it wasn’t always crisp and clean. He also tends to give up far too many walks. If Manuel cannot handle the job the Cubs are in a pinch, set up man Angel Guzman is recovering from shoulder surgery, and is unavailable as a plan B.

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