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This is a Cubs-Sox team we can all root for...

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Can't we all just get along?

Making two good baseball teams in Chicago has proven difficult.  In fact, making one good one has been no piece of cake either, considering the two teams have combined for 1 World Series victory in over 90 years.  Perhaps the Cubs and Sox should do what corporations do when faced with failure: merge together and get rid of all the dead weight. 

So, what I'm doing here is taking the best players between the two teams to make one good team.  I've given myself the freedom to move players to different positions -- within reason.  There will be no Paul Konerko in CF, for example.

Starting Lineup 

1. Kosuke Fukudome (CF)
:  He's not the greatest defensive CF'er out there, but the options are limited.  Fukudome's .400 OBP looks sweet in the leadoff spot.
2. Alexei Ramirez (SS):  He gets the nod over Castro because he's the steadier fielder of the two, but fret not Cubs fans...
3. Starlin Castro (3b):  You'd like a little more power from your 3rd baseman, but Castro is too good a hitter not to be on this team.  And this team isn't going to need power.   They need guys to get on base -- and not clog them-- for the next few guys. 
4. Paul Konerko (DH): Of course I'm using the DH.  We're trying to build the best team here.
5. Carlos Pena (1B):  He's a better defensive player than Konerko.  The .221 average is unsightly but the .352 OBP is solid, as is the 13 HRs.  He gets the 5th spot to break up the string of righties.
6. Carlos Quentin (RF): I'm a little troubled by the way this OF defense is shaping up, but we'll beat people up on offense.
7. Alfonso Soriano (LF): Not a bad hitter in the 7th hole.  OF defense is officially a horror show.  I'm also taking half his salary and donating it to charity.  He won't get booed so much then.
8. Geovany Soto (C):  Pierzynski can't throw anyone out.  And I think Soto will start hitting.
9. Darwin Barney (2b):  I was tempted to put Beckham here but I'm going with defense here since this team will hit.  His singles and lack of walks don't hurt you as much at the bottom of the lineup.

Reserves

C: AJ Pierzyns
ki:  Could start if Soto keeps slumping.
IF: Gordon Beckham:  A better talent than Barney, but he hasn't played that way.
OF: Reed Johnson: Defense! 
OF: Brent Lillibridge: Defense, part 2.  Versatile guy too.

Starting Rotation:

Mark Buehrle: Steady veteran at the top
Matt Garza: Better than his record indicates
Phil Humber:  Having a great year
Ryan Dempster: He's been pitching well of late.
Carlos Zambrano: His FIP is actually better than Buehrle's.  He edges out Floyd.  Besides, wouldn't you want to see him and Guillen together?

Bullpen:

Carlos Marmol (R/CL):  Gets the edge at closer because of experience and demonic slider.
Sergio Santos (R): Righty Set-Up man has great stuff too.
Sean Marshall (L): Lefty Set-Up guy has been more consistent than Thornton this year.
Jessie Crain (R): This bullpen is looking nasty.
Matt Thornton (L):  Could make his way up if he pitches like his old self.
Kerry Wood (R): I'm taking him off the DL.
Chris Sale (L): Would like another lefty...and how many long relievers can throw 95 mph?

Manager: Ozzie Guillen  Quade can coach 3rd base.  I like Ozzie.   He tells it like it is.
GM: Me  Can I be any worse than Hendry or KW?  On second thought, don't answer that question.

I'm thinking this is a pretty good team except for that OF defense -- and the bullpen is filthy.  The rotation is solid, though it could use a true ace, and we have a powerful lineup and a solid bench.

What do you guys think?  Who would you put on the team?

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  • That OF defense is terrifying. Especially after seeing the route Fukudome took on that triple tonight. Sure you wouldn't rather have Rios than Johnson off the bench? Natural CF with more offensive potential than a career (albeit very solid) bench player.

    I figured you wouldn't take Floyd after watching him fall to pieces Monday, but I would plead for Danks to find his way in here, even at the expense of Buehrle. A lefty with reverse splits gives some balance to the rotation.

    What do you think of Castro's throwing arm? Might it be better to shift him to 2nd and slot Beckham to 3rd where he played in 2009?

    I could ramble about this for hours...

  • In reply to James Fegan:

    Those are all good suggestions...looked at the list afterward and I think my Cubs bias showed a bit! A lot of these choices are open for debate. I even debated myself quite a bit.

    I wrestled between Danks, Floyd, and Zambrano for the last rotation spot. I decided to go with FIP as the deciding factor and was surprised to see Zambrano came out on top there. I thought it was going to be Floyd.

    I believe Castro has the arm to play 3rd, although I do agree 2B might be the better fit. Ideally, Barney is your utility guy. Original version actually had Beckham at 3B, Castro at 2B -- but with Beckham frustratingly not able to hit like he should, I decided to go with Barney's D and slide Castro over to an offensive position. That and I felt I needed to somehow atone for that terrible OF defense.

    The sad truth is that I think this team needs at least 4 DHs.

    A couple of my Sox fan friends, plus my wife were getting on me over not putting AJ in as the starter, so that was something I considered as well.

    I even considered putting Rios in as the starter and Fukudome on the bench. That would give the team a true CF, but in the end I just wanted to put some good OBP at the top of the order. That one was more of a personal preference.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think if I could do this again, by the way, I'd put Danks in the rotation. Not a lot of separation between him, Floyd, and Z. And Danks adds a lefty to the mix...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sorry but the defense is horrendous..

    1. Fukudome RF
    2. Castro SS
    3. Konerko DH
    4 Pena 1b
    5 Quentin RF
    6 Ramirez 3b
    7 Soto C
    8 Rios CF
    9 Barney 2b

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Oh, the OF defense is horrendous. I can't argue with that.

    I could live with your lineup with one exception: I'd have to find a way to get Alexei Ramirez in that lineup.

    I actually think Castro may eventually move off SS, and almost certainly would have had the Cubs kept Hak Ju Lee. His bat is going to play anywhere. I also think Alexei Ramirez is a better defensive SS at this point (or at least more consistent) than Castro's and I'd want his bat in the lineup over Barney's. Especially when you sub Rios subpar offensive production and take out Soriano's solid offense so far.

    So, in your scenario, I'd go Alexei Ramirez at SS and move Castro to 2B and make Barney your utility guy.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I say if they start making games with this team there would be nothing stopping me from going to all their games, no matter how expensive the tickets !

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    New theory!

    The outfield defense is atrocious, so...stock up on groundball guys

    Garza 49.5%
    Dempster 47.6%
    Davis 46.8%
    Jackson 45.9%
    Humber 44.5%
    Floyd 43.9%
    Danks 42.9%
    Zambrano 41.6%
    Buehrle 40.8%
    Peavy 40.2%
    Wells 39.4%

    Say we find Doug Davis generally uninspiring, and would just as soon have the actual Nuke LaLoosh than Edwin, then by this criteria, we'd have Garza, Dempster, Humber, Floyd, Danks.

    It should be noted that Cashner had a 62.5% rate through 5.1 IP, but that's a small sample, and it would ruin my superficially objective scheme of getting a rotation of mostly Sox pitchers.

  • In reply to James Fegan:

    Groundball pitchers and good infield defense...now that works. You don't lose much overall (if anything) subbing Floyd for Zambrano and Danks for Buehrle -- and you can better play to the team's strengths.

    I like the new theory.

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