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      Where will the Cubs be next year?
    Its all to familiar..."Wait till next year"...... a common theme here in the windy city. What do we have to look forward to next year? Lets make a list:
    1. Sosa staying put = more problems
    2. Who is going to play left field?
    3. Who will be the 2nd baseman?
    4. Can the Cubs get a closer?

    Sosa staying put means that the cubs will have the same mentality at the plate, HomeRun. Sosa and Alou have continually left runners stranded on 3rd base with less then 2 outs. Selfish play at its best. That's on field problems...What about the fact that every teammate hates Sosa. Kerry Wood took a bat to Sosa's boombox at the end of the season when Sammy left early. How does a manager repair that? Alou, Wood, and Prior had more comments about Steve Stone (who is the smartest man in baseball in my opinion) than worry about what the team was not doing on the field. This will be something to watch.

    Left field will be a spot that the Cubs need to fill. Alou is a great hitter but very old. The Cubs could use a leadoff hitter in this spot. They also have options in their farm system such as Jason Dubois and the youngster Felix Pie. The right-handed Dubois is a slugger while Pie, a lefty, will steal a bunch of bases. Pie hit .297/.358/.441 this season in 431 at bats. He finished with 18 doubles, 10 triples, and a career-high 8 HR to go along with his 32 stolen bases. He is listed as a centerfielder but could be moved to left in favor of Patterson who is an excellent fielder. The last option is to depend on Todd Hollandsworth who has not been healthy for quite some time. His positive is he has a strong lefty bat and decent speed. But can he stay healthy?

    2nd base is going to be another question mark. There are reports that the Cubs are looking to deal Sosa to the Orioles for Jay Gibbons and Jerry Hairston Jr. I think the Cubs should resign Todd Walker. He was consistent throughout the season and seems to be the best choice unless we somehow get Soriano in a trade with the Rangers.

    We desperately need a closer. The name I have been hearing is Troy Percival. The Cubs have a knack for signing closers after their prime (Rick Aguilara, Rod Beck, Lee Smith, and Randy Meyers) to name a few. This has been a pretty successful route for the Cubs and I hope they do sign Percival. LaTroy Hawkins will then be put back into the set-up role where he belongs. The other options are Hawkins, Borowski, Dempster, and Farnsworth. These options are highly unlikely.

    This will be an interesting offseason to say the least!