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September 7, 2009

'Till It's Over: It’s been rough year but no need to break up Cubs' core

Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry is only in the first year of a three-year contract, and aren’t back-to-back division championships enough to keep him around despite this year’s season filled with bad luck?

OK, it’s been more than bad luck with the injury bug; however, blaming Hendry for the changes in the offseason is not the answer to the Cubs’ future.

Several players, the main one being Alfonso Soriano, have had down years, and in Soriano’s case, his season totals are going to plateau at this point in his career. Yes, everyone knows that even without the knee pain he’s been fighting, he’s a liability in the outfield, making his 8-year, $136-million contract look ridiculous. Soriano’s irrelevant at this point though: he’s not going anywhere, and all fans can do is hope he gets it together next year.

As for the other Cub outfielder getting booed on a regular basis, Milton Bradley, he is not far off the expected level of hitting Hendry expected.

After his extremely slow start, Bradley’s been among the most reliable Cubs in July and August. His on-base plus slugging in those two months are .878 and .911.

Compared to the $18 million Soriano made this year, Bradley’s $7 million is a bargain. He leads the team in on-base percentage at .394, and he should have been an invaluable part of a lineup filled with weapons to drive in runs.

Geovany Soto’s huge fall from his Rookie of the Year season in ‘08 has obviously hurt, and Ryan Theriot hasn’t had the same season he had in 2008, when he had a .387 on-base percentage and 73 walks to 58 strikeouts. His on-base mark of .334 in 2009 means he belongs in the bottom of the order with Soriano in 2010.

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