A look at some of the headlines for the Cubs over the Labor Day weekend:
First, some good news to start us off, the Cubs may have found their current and future closer. Carlos Marmol has pitched pretty well since becoming the closer for the Cubs 2 1/2 weeks ago. Mark's Remarks - Despite my reservations regarding Marmol and his wildness, he has proven to be effective in the closer role. However, it remains to be seen if the Cubs and Piniella will commit to Marmol or look for a veteran closer in the offseason.
Also, Tribune writer Paul Sullivan sings the praises of Ted Lilly and Derrek Lee. Two bright spots in an otherwise dismal season. Mark's Remarks - Lee has gotten reacquainted with his power swing this year, hitting 29 HR's so far, the most he's had since his career year in 2005. Lilly has been the most consistent pitcher on the staff. Both players are signed only through the 2010 season and it will be interesting to see if the new ownership or Jim Hendry will try to sign either or both to an extension.
Looking towards 2010, which is exactly what the Sun Times' Gordon Wittenmyer suggests the Cubs should do, the Cubs apparently already have free agent Chone Figgins on their radar. However, the White Sox could also be in the hunt for Figgins' services. Mark's Remarks - The new Cubs owners will have to open the purse strings a bit more to land Figgins, but he could solve two weaknesses for the Cubs, a second baseman and a leadoff hitter.
Finally, even though all of Cubdom will probably disagree with him Derrek Lee chalks up the 2009 fiasco to "just one of those years" and doesn't think the Cubs need to make big changes to get back to the playoffs. Mark's Remarks - Nah, the Cubs don't need big changes, just a new catcher, second baseman, rightfielder, 5th starter (to replace Harden) and a revamped bullpen. But nothing BIG.