Someone Should Tell Jim Hendry That Lou Piniella Has Plans For Him

I agree Lou, this team stinks

You know there is a fork in your favorite team's playoff chances when stories like this story come out.

Manager Lou Piniella wants to add a top-of-the-order speed guy and ideally take another shot at adding that middle-of-the-order run-producer role that Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley couldn't fill.

Well, that makes sense.  Fukudome and Bradley have combined to hit 23 home runs this season.  Adam Dunn has hit 37.

Now, let's move down to the fifth bullet point of the section appropriately titled "This is what they know they're working with at this point."

''We haven't even had discussions about next year as an organization, or even myself and the staff and Jim and his staff upstairs,'' Piniella said. ''Right now we're still trying to win as many games and finish as strong as we can.''

I don't blame Piniella for not wanting to talk about next year as the Cubs ascend the NL Wild Card standings and are only 5 1/2 games out as of this post.  So, what is on Lou Piniella's off-season shopping list?  Oh, nothing that I haven't already suggested.

If the Cubs are looking to add power this off-season in the free-agent market, the top two targets are Matt Holliday and Jason Bay.  Holliday can be founds about 300 miles south on the map and about 500 miles north in the standings. Contrary to popular belief, it has been Holliday's .363/.415/.659/1.075 line ... not Mark DeRosa ... that has sparked St. Louis' resurgence.  Between his monstrous second half, and the fact his agent is Scott Boras, Holliday will get a hefty raise in 2010 and beyond.

Bay has absolutely flourished since leaving the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Go figure.  Seeing someone leave the Pirates and shine on a team that isn't the Cubs is odd, knowing that  Jim Hendry is usually on top of those deals.  Failure, meet Jim.  Jimbo, this is failure.  The Cubs could sign Bay, but I doubt the Red Sox would let Bay, his 32 homers and .919 OPS just up-and-leave Boston.

The problem with each (other than that both will require a pretty penny to lure to the North Side) is that neither has played much right field, which could be a problem in one of baseball's toughest sun fields.  Bay has one game of experience, while Holliday has none.  Is there anyone out there that thinks Alfonso Soriano can play an adequate right field in one of baseball's toughest sun fields?  Moving Soriano back to second base, or out of town, would be better options.

Finding someone fleet of foot my be an easier task for the Cubs brain trust.  The first name that needs to be thrown out there is obviously Chone Figgins.  He's versatile, but would fit perfectly at second base, which is arguably the Cubs' weakest position.  I'm scared off a little bit by some of the career-highs he has posted already in categories such as runs scored and walks ... but he's averaged 38 steals over the last three years and that is hard to ignore.

Other than those options, the 2010 Cubs offense should look a lot like the 2009 Cubs offense.  Just a year older.