It's been a month since the crushing disappointment that was the playoff game, and something came up in the papers recently to remind me that there's always hope for next year.
Ryan Dempster will no longer be the Cubs' closer.
This news isn't quite as amazing as it sounds, as the idea is that Lou will move the Harry Caray impersonator to the starting rotation. But he can't possibly be worse as a starter than he is as a closer, so this is definitely a step in the right direction.
This means that Sean Marshall and Jason Marquis would be competing for the final spot in the rotation, which basically means either Marquis gets the spot or we trade him and Marshall gets is. Of course the three other spots in the rotation go to Zambrano, Lilly, and Hill.
As for who has to fill the abnormally small shoes that Dempster is leaving behind, Carlos Marmol would be the obvious choice, considering he only gave up 11 runs in 59 appearances last year. Bob Howry is a solid pick too, as even though his ERA is considerably higher and he only converted 8 of 12 save opportunities last year, he was still the second best relief pitcher the Cubs had last year. His added experience in save situations might mean at least a platoon between him and Marmol.
And then there is the wild card, Kerry Wood. Coming in late in the season he posted a nearly identical ERA as Bob Howry and there is speculation that the Cubs could use the lure of a closer spot to convince him to re-sign with the team. That might sound appealing to a player that is used to a high profile spot in the starting rotation.
Whatever Lou decides, I just have one request. Please, please never let Dempster pitch a complete game. I don't care what kind of lead he has in the 9th, take him out. Heart attacks kill enough Americans every year as it is.