Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 3/19/12

2011 wasn't a great year for the Cubs by any stretch of the imagination, and as large market teams tend to do when they get into that situation, the Cubs retooled. A new manager in Dale Sveum, a new president in Theo Epstein, and a new general manager in Jed Hoyer are in the process of completely blowing up the Cubs and rebuilding them. It might take awhile, but the results will eventually be worth it.

Cubs on TOC
End of Season Postmortem
Top Ten Prospects
You May Say I'm a Dreamer

Depth Chart (as of 3/19)
C: Geovany Soto
1B: Brian LaHair
2B: Darwin Barney
SS: Starlin Castro
3B: Ian Stewart
LF: Alfonso Soriano
CF: Marlon Byrd
RF: David DeJesus
SP: Matt Garza
SP: Ryan Dempster
SP: Paul Maholm
SP: Jeff Samardzija
SP: Chris Volstad
CL: Carlos Marmol

New Faces
I already mentioned the new manager, GM, and president of the Cubs. Ian Stewart is the team's new third baseman, coming over from the Rockies this offseason. The Cubs also have a new utility player in Adrian Cardenas, the former Athletics prospect. Chicago's new right fielder is former Royals and A's standout David DeJesus. They also have a pair of new starting pitchers, in Paul Maholm (last of the Pirates) and Chris Volstad (the former Marlin).

Departures
Let's see here....hothead Carlos Zambrano was dealt to the Marlins for Volstad this offseason, with the Cubs picking up a huge chunk of his contract in the process. Reliever Andrew Cashner was dealt to San Diego for future first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Former first baseman Carlos Pena went back to Tampa after a year with the Cubs.  Across the diamond, long-time third baseman Aramis Ramirez left town as well, going to to the division rival Brewers. Former outfielder Tyler Colvin was dealt to Colorado as part of the Stewart deal. The Cubs' top reliever, Sean Marshall, was traded to the Reds before hitting free agency as well.

Impact Rookies
There's Rizzo, who could push minor league veteran Brian LaHair for playing time at first base if he struggles. Rafael Dolis is seemingly destined for a slot in this year's Cubs bullpen. If catcher Geovany Soto is dealt for some reason, Wellington Castillo could get a shot at a full-time job behind the plate.

Position Battles
LaHair was promised the first base position this offseason, but don't be surprised when Rizzo wrests it from his grasp, possibly before we even get to the summer. If Jeff Samardzija struggles in his new role as a member of the Cubs rotation, former starter Randy Wells could switch spots with him and go back to starting every fifth day.

Injury Concerns
The Cubs are healthy right now. The team is probably wishing Alfonso Soriano would do something dumb and wouldn't have to play every day, though.

Burning Question
Is the Cubs rotation solid enough to break .500 after Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster?

Best Case
Soriano remembers he was once a 40/40 player, and plays like one. Maholm, Samardzija, and Volstad all post ERAs under 4.00. The rest of the Cubs offense comes into sync, and the team cracks .500 and contends for a wild card slot.

Worst Case
Soriano's contract continues to sap the life out of the team. The rotation is dreadful. The Cubs "scrappy" young players play like they're all David Eckstein, and the Cubs battle the Astros for the basement in the NL Central.

Realistic Prediction
This is not a great team. I'm not even sure if it's a good team. But there are some good players on this Cubs squad, and they could contend under the right circumstances. I don't think that's this year though, as this looks like a team with the ceiling of a fourth place team.

[follow]

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Hawks could entertain trading core players at deadline

Arthur Blank diagnosed with prostate cancer

Browns deny coverup of Manziel showing up drunk at practice

Jimmy Butler will miss 3-4 weeks with knee strain

Phil Jackson justifies firing Fisher with psychology lesson

Emmitt Smith takes shot at Colin Kaepernick

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eli Manning explains why he made face during Super Bowl

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

John Elway: ‘No deadline’ for Peyton Manning decision

Titans release former Pro Bowl safety Michael Griffin

Maple Leafs trade Dion Phaneuf to Senators in blockbuster deal

Tom Brady says he’s not among the greatest QBs ever

10 NBA teams that could be active at the trade deadline

‘The X-Files’ takes a shot at the Philadelphia 76ers

Ranking the top 50 NFL players slated to become free agents

Jay Williams advocates for pot as painkiller for athletes

Photographer uninjured in SB collision with Corey Brown

Did Messi outbid Ronaldo for most expensive car?

Newton erotic novella ‘Dabbin’ with Cam’ released on Amazon

In Inglewood, representation by NFL may come with taxation

Mets will be present for two Royals’ WS ceremonies

Best and worst free agent signings of 2016 MLB offseason

McShay: Attending Michigan signing day a 'mistake'

Wofford sets NCAA 3-point FG percentage record

Phil Jackson reunion with Lakers possible?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker