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Nothing But Bad News For Cubs

By Garrett Monaghan

With the Cardinals' acquisition of Matt Holliday from Oakland, and the news that Led Lilly will miss his next start with a dreaded case of "shoulder soreness," today's been nothing but bad news for the Cubbies.

Holliday gives the Cardinals some much-needed protection for Albert Pujols, and that's bad news for everybody else in the NL Central. Even though he's having a bit of an off year, Holliday is still a solid hitter and his numbers are likely to improve in a more hitter-friendly park. With the Brewers still in the hunt for Roy Hallady, the Cubs are now in the unenviable position of being the only contending team in their division not to pursue a major deal.

Lilly's been sent for an MRI on his shoulder, and the Cubs are expected to put him on the 15-day DL in the next day or two. As far as bad news goes for the Cubs, this is about as bad as it gets. Even with Ryan Dempster due back early from a broken toe, the Cubs can't afford to lose another one of their starters right now. With Harden, Zambrano, and Dempster all having erratic years to one degree or another, losing Lilly costs the Cubs their most stable starter.

The Cubs are just starting a stretch of playing ten out of the next thirteen games against divisional rivals, and then follow that up with a seven game stretch against Colorado and Philadelphia. If Lilly misses most or all of the next two to three weeks, the Cubs are screwed. Kevin Hart has been spectacularly lucky in his first two starts, and hasn't shown any ability to throw strikes consistently. The Cubs now seriously need to think about shifting someone like Jeff Samardzija into the rotation or trying to find a cheap arm on the trade market.

At best, today's developments are a severe setback for the Cubs. At worst, they mark the beginning of the end for 2009.

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