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the book
Tom Verducci
March 27, 2000
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Cubs
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March 27, 2000

The Book

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an opposing team's scout sizes up the Cubs

"Last year The Cubs were old, slow I and awful up the middle. Manager Jim Riggleman paid the price....

Now they're slightly better, and new manager Don Baylor will help. He's good at getting guys ready to play, and he comes to the park expecting to win. But are the Cubs good enough to contend? No. They have a chance to contend for .500. I can see them making a 10-game improvement on last season....

I like what they've done up the middle. Their double-play combination is more stable and has more speed. Eric Young is a decent second baseman who'll give them offense and speed. He's better than Mickey Morandini, who had no range. And Ricky Gutierrez is an upgrade over Jeff Blauser at short....

Catcher Joe Girardi is a great addition. He'll hit .230 to .250, but he moves runners and his greatest value is how he handles a staff. Pitchers rave about the guy. He was born to catch....

The Cubs need pitching. Starters Kevin Tapani and Jon Lieber are battlers, and every once in a while they can shut someone down, but stuffwise I they're both a little short."