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The Biggest Need
by Phil Bencomo
After playing so poorly during the first few months of the season, the Cubs have experienced quite a reversal in fortune. A team that was half a dozen games under .500 just one month ago has since pulled itself up from the realm of Bad to the sacred, more fan-friendly land of Contenders That Need Solid Second Halves. So I'm actually quite pleased.
Another rough day scoring runs, in particular against a left-hander, has the Cubs looking even a little harder at trying to add a right-handed hitter to the roster before they resume play Friday.
"[General manager Jim Hendry] and I will talk during the All-Star break," manager Lou Piniella said, "and see if we can look at the possibility of getting a right-handed batter in here so it can help us out against left-handed pitching."
Whether this batter arrives by trade or the minors isn't made clear. Jacque Jones will be traded eventually, that much is certain where to is another story but will he yield said right-handed batter? Perhaps a right-handed batter, but most likely not one of significance or great value.
As for the minors, the only plausible candidate (Ronny Cedeno does not count) is Matt Murton, currently hitting .299/.380/.506 at Iowa. My guess: Unless Hendry pulls off an unexpected trade for a top-notch righty, Murton will be Lou's right-handed batter.
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So my question to you today is: What is the Cubs' biggest need for the second half? Is it a right-handed batter, or something else?