My advice to Lou Piniella

Taking a break from the economic news, here are my recommendations to Lou Piniella for the Cubs 25-man playoff roster. I mean, some things just shouldn’t be left on the shoulders of just one man.

Lou, we’re here for you.

Starting Pitchers
• Ryan Dempster — He’s earned the right to start game 1
• Carlos Zambrano — But which Z will we get?
• Rich Harden — Best #3 starter in baseball
• Ted Lilly — Best #4 starter in baseball

Middle Relief
• Jason Marquis — 5th starter avoided his customary late-season struggles
• Sean Marshall — Solid lefty out of the pen, can pitch 3 or 4 innings at a stretch
• Neal Cotts — For one or two left-handed battters
• Jeff Samardzija — Flame-throwing kid has been dominant at times

Late-Inning Relief
• Bob Howry — He’s struggled this year, but looked better lately
• Carlos Marmol — Must throw strikes because he’s practically unhittable
• Kerry Wood — Sometimes makes the 9th inning more exciting than necessary, but still the go-to guy

• Geovany Soto — A better rookie season than anyone could have hoped for
• Henry Blanco — Top-notch backup who’s delivered at the plate and behind it

• Derrek Lee — Of course
• Mark DeRosa — DeRo plays, either at 2nd base or in right field
• Ryan Theriot — Shown more pop at the plate the last week or so
• Aramis Ramirez — Gold Glove candidate and clutch at the plate
• Ronny Cedeno — Starting to live up to the potential he showed a couple years ago, plays three infield positions
• Mike Fontenot — Will start at 2nd when DeRosa’s in right

• Alfonso Soriano — Never thought I’d agree with batting a 30-HR guy leadoff
• Jim Edmonds — Half of the Cubs’ surprisingly productive two-headed centerfielder
• Reed Johnson — The right-handed half of the CF tandem
• Kosuke Fukudome — Even if he doesn’t hit, his defense is worth keeping
• Micah Hoffpauir — The kid can flat hit, a left-handed bat off the bench
• Felix Pie — Provides blazing speed on the bases and late-inning outfield defense — not that Johnson or Edmonds need help in that department

Out of luck
• Chad Gaudin — Pitched well in August, but has been terrible since getting hurt
• Angel Guzman — Live arm, but not this year
• Kevin Hart — Ditto
• Michael Wuertz — He’s the choice if Lou opts for 12 pitchers
• Koyie Hill — OK defensive catcher but no bat
• Daryle Ward — Great guy, normally a good left-handed hitter, but he’s limited defensively and just hasn’t produced this year at the plate
• Casey McGehee — Promising kid, but not this year

Of course, Lou and Cubs GM Jim Hendry are free to disagree, and I will happily defer. The playoffs start Wednesday night. Don’t call; my phone will be off.

Go, Cubs, go…!

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