The Cubs are the last squad left in my 2007 preview of the NL Central. St. Louis (Part 1), Houston (Part 2) and Cincinnati (Part 3) failed to impress me–it seems as if an overachieving Pirates squad could hang with those teams. Milwaukee (Part 4) was a different story; they got better in the off-season. And Chicago?
Dusty Baker’s Cubs finished at 66-96 in 2006, 17.5 games back of the Cardinals (and one back of the Pirates). But $297,550,000 later, they're a new team. Their Hot Stove transactions, according to ESPN:
ADD: Lou Piniella, manager; Mark DeRosa, IF; Cliff Floyd, OF; Ted Lilly, SP; Jason Marquis, SP; Alfonso Soriano, 2B/OF; Daryle Ward, 1B/OF; Neil Cotts, RP
DROP: Juan Pierre, CF; Josh Hamilton, OF; David Aardsma, RP; Freddie Bynum, OF
Included in that nearly $300m total is ...

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