New Cubs owner Tom Ricketts lost sight of that line.
â‡¥“I’ll be honest. I think we have a team that can do it next year,” Tom Ricketts said without hesitation Friday at a Wrigley Field news conference. “The fact is, there is enough talent coming back to this team next season.”
Oh, the beauty of uninformed optimism.
Look, I know you're Mr. Big Shot Baseball Owner, Tom, but that doesn't make you right on this one. In 2009, the Cubs had the fifth-worst batting average in the majors, one player with more than 20 homers (Derrek Lee), one pitcher who threw 200 innings (Ryan Dempster), a team -3.8 UZR/150. They were achingly mediocre throughout the year, unable to challenge for either the NL Central or a wild card berth. But, hey, their Pythagorean expectation says their win percentage should've been .525! They only won at a .516 clip! They should have been 85-77, not 83-78!
In all seriousness, it seems highly unlikely for the Cubs to be even a contender in the NL in 2010. Their rotation is quite good, seventh in the majors in FIP, but that's only good for sixth in the pitching-heavy NL. Their offense is getting old: Lee is 34, Alfonso Soriano is 33, Aramis Ramirez and Kosuke Fukudome are both 32. The defense is nothing special. There's nothing to suggest that this team has designs on greatness, expect for Ricketts' bravado.
Fortunately, Ricketts also has a sense of humor: Referring to the famed "Billy Goat Curse," he said, "There is no curse. There is no curse. If anybody on our team thinks he's cursed, we will move him to a lesser-cursed team." That might help him next year when the Cubs fail to win the World Series. Again.â†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.