Submitted by Transmission on Fri, 09/29/2006 - 8:39am
As I get ready to do some editing on the end-of-year roundtable (and those of you who haven't gotten your answers in yet, you know who you are), I thought I'd take a look back at what we thought about this team at the beginning of the season. Obviously no one foresaw Derrek Lee's injury, but plenty of people foresaw Wood & Prior's struggles. Just about everyone thought Matt Murton would have a decent-to-good year if he got to play, and opinion was decidedly mixed on whether or not the Juan Pierre trade would turn out to be a good one. Opinion was also mixed on Rafael Furcal, with lots of people wishing the Cubs had done what it took to sign him, and others suggesting that what it took was too much. I thought I'd pull out a few predictions, ones that look smart in retrospect and ones that don't, so we can all cast our minds back to six months ago, when anything seemed possible. I mean no disrespect to those people who show up on the bad side of the ledger, all of whom had some prescient things to say as well. If you want to read full responses, you can go back and see what TCR writers, TCR readers, and other Cubs bloggers had to say. The end-of-year roundtable will be posted early next week. THE GOOD MikeC: "A possible disappointment could be Ryan Dempster, he still hasn't got his control problems fixed. Very lucky pitcher last year and baseball has a tendency to even out that luck." ruz: "Jones, meanwhile, will be an albatross by 2008, but this year I expect him to contribute." Rob G.: "Iím glad they stayed away from A.J. Burnett, big upside but just as injury prone as any of our big guys." John Hill: "The short-term results, especially in Cedenoís case, may be ugly, no better than what Neifi Perez might achieve." Rob G.: "I think the biggest surprise will actually be Jacque Jones." ruz: "Sean Marshall looks like he's going to get a chance to prove some things in April, but I think before the end of the year it'll be a different tall lefty, Rich Hill, we'll be talking about." MannyTrillo: "[Hendry] did not properly prepare for the very likely injuries to Wood and Prior." THE BAD Shawngoldman: "Cedeno I think will do well and will be an upgrade over Neifi offensively." Bleeding Blue: "The biggest surprise will be Kerry Wood. Despite being written off as a waste of 12 million dollars, he will come back by early May and win 10-15 games this season." Rob G.: "I envision Baker getting fired if this team is at or below .500 on June 1st." ruz: "I think Scott Williamson is going to be a difference-maker in the bullpen." Al Yellon: "One of the distinct improvements will come from a pitcher who was on the club last year, but didn't contribute much: Scott Williamson. Just as Ryan Dempster took a year to come back from his surgery, so will Williamson." ruz: "[Hendry and Baker] will get extensions early in the season." Joe Aiello: "Juan Pierre's stolen base numbers will be a disappointment. There is no way he breaks 50 like he did in Florida." THE UGLY The Real Neal: "92 wins." Joe Aiello: "The Cubs will win 91 games." Crunch: "I'm gonna go with 87-90 wins." John Hill: "87 wins." Andrew: "The Cubs go 87-75." Al Yellon: "I think the Cubs can win between 85 and 90 games." ruz: "85 wins." Scott Lange: "84-78." Nickelnights: "83 wins." Derek Smart: "I'd peg them at the moment as an 82-win squad." Rob G.: "80-82 wins would be a safe bet." Chuck Gitles: "I've got them between 78 and 83 wins." Will Carroll: "72-90."