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Tell me when it hurts

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Sky is falling!
The Sky is falling!

Over the last week, Cubdom has been staring the boogy man face to face. It started with Nomar's wrist taking a spring opening hit-by-pitch. Then there were reports that Prior was only going to throw in a simulated game, Corey took one off the knee, and then Wood left a game early, flew back to Chicago, and was diagnosed with bursitis.

All-in-all, the first week of games have provided some headlines with a bit more substance than Dave Hansen's bid to make the roster. Which got me to thinking. Who can the Cubs least afford to lose?

First, I'll mention that this post was originally inspired by CT's post on Death, Taxes and Fifth Place, where he states:

"The Cubs have taken somewhat of a gamble in that Nomar has a history of injuries, and right now he's the one player on this team that the Cubs cannot afford to lose for an extended period of time."

I disagreed. My answer is Aramis Ramirez. And I'll tell you why.

Starting by process of elimination, we have enough high quality pitching arms that an injury to any individual pitcher would not be a death knell. At catcher, provided Barrett was incapacitated, we could run out Henry Blanco who was in a similar situation last year. He played well enough that his team still won their division.

An injury to Derrek Lee would hurt, but considering that Hollandsworth, Dubois, or Kelton could probably all play first, we'd be replacing Rodan with a pretty good bat, even though the defense would take a hit. At second, if Walker went down, we have Jerry Hairston Jr. (JHJ) who could possibly be even better than Walker.

In right or left field, an injury to Hollandsworth or Burnitz would be greeted with disappointment, but the Cubs could certainly plug in Jason Dubois, JHJ, or Dave Kelton. Similarly, an injury to Corey Patterson would really hurt the team in speed, but JHJ could do a decent job filling in.

Which brings us to the left side of the infield. Clearly one of the strengths of this team, both Nomar and Aramis are essentially irreplaceable. I won't feel real optimistic if either of these guys gets injured this year, but I frankly think that losing Nomar would hurt less than Ramirez.

If Nomar goes down, he would be replaced by a combination of Neifi Perez and Jose Macias, with possibly a little JHJ. If Aramis went down, I'm pretty sure it would be Macias and Hansen (if he makes the team.)

So, I'd be more concerned if A-Ram went down. Not only because of his replaceabilty, but also because (I think) he's more indispensable to this line-up then Nomar. But hey, we're arguing over whether it hurts worse to lose your #3 or #4 hitter. Either way, that is a tough loss.

Comments are open (though still delayed) if you want to chime in with your thoughts.

March 12, 2005 Record: 6-5, Box,Ho Ho Kam Park, Mesa AZ
ST#11 Chicago 3
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 8


March 11, 2005 Record: 6-4, Box,Ho Ho Kam Park, Mesa AZ
ST#10 Chicago 6
Arizona 4


March 10, 2005 Record: 6-3, Box,Peoria AZ
ST#9 Chicago 5
Seattle 3

This was Prior's first start of the spring

March 9, 2005 Record: 5-3, Box,Ho Ho Kam Park, Mesa AZ
ST#8 Chicago 5
Texas 6


March 8, 2005 Record: 5-2, Box,Suprise AZ
ST#7 Chicago 4
Kansas City 0


March 8, 2005 Record: 4-2, Box,Ho Ho Kam Park, Mesa AZ
ST#6 Chicago 4
Oakland 6


March 7, 2005 Record: 4-1, Box,Suprise AZ
ST#5 Chicago 9
Texas 4


March 6, 2005 Record: 3-1, Box,Scottsdale AZ
ST#4 Chicago 1
San Francisco 10


March 5, 2005 Record: 3-0, Box,Ho Ho Kam Park, Mesa AZ
ST#3 Chicago 8
San Francisco 2
Posted by Byron at March 12, 2005 9:32 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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