If rumors are confirmed, the Cubs will have acquired starter Jason Marquis, from the Cardinals. The acquisition most likely sets the Cubs rotation as follows: Zambrano, Lilly, Marquis, Hill and Miller.
While the Cubs have done an adequate job with the rotation, the everyday lineup is still in need of a legitimate center fielder and bench help.
With the skids being greased for the disgruntled Jacque Jones departure and an abundance of arms in the bullpen, the Cubs have an opportunity to get some decent value with such a trade. There has been talk of a trade with the Nationals, for versatile left handed hitting outfielder Ryan Church. Church is 28, and posted decent numbers in 2006, with a 276BA 366OBP 10HR 6SB in 196AB. The Nationals have a huge power vacuum created by the loss of Soriano, so Jones coupled with a relief pitcher as a sweetener, could get the deal done. That still wouldn't preclude the addition of a veteran center fielder like Lofton. An addition of Lofton, would also provide an alternative at lead off, allowing Soriano to move into an RBI role.
The Cubs bullpen stands at 7 without Kerry Wood, so moving the disgruntled Jones and a surplus arm for Church, would make the club younger and provide better defensive platoons in the outfield. Then the Cubs could acquire Cliff Floyd for a viable power option off the bench.
These three additions, alongside the already acquired Daryl Ward, help balance their predominately right handed lineup. A lineup I might add, that would have have a devastating 3-4-5, with disciplined table setters at the top and the only weak offensive link being Izturis.
Your Chicago Cubs Starting Lineup:
RH Blanco C
LH Ward 1B/OF
LH Floyd OF
RH The Riot INF
LH Church OF
SH Pagan OF
Of course the bullpen will be affected depending on whose traded, leaving those remaining to compete for the 6 available spots, unless they add another bench player. Overall, a vastly improved 25 man roster to go to battle with in 2007. With some luck in the rotation, not to mention the tremendous boost that a healthy Prior would bring, let's fill out the lineup with the same urgency we addressed the pitching and the Cubs should be serious contenders.