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2012 Cubs aren't quite 'Major League'

February 22, 2012|By Julie DiCaro | For RedEye

Jake Taylor, Willie Mays Hayes, Rick Vaughn.

David DeJesus, Bryan LaHair, Paul Maholm.

"Who are these guys?"

The 2012 Cubs bear a startling resemblance to the Cleveland Indians, as featured in the 1989 blockbuster "Major League." The movie chronicles the improbable rise of a team populated by no-names that wins the AL pennant while battling the team's narcissistic owner, who has purposefully filled the roster with "has-beens" and "never-will-bes" in order to move the team to Miami.

While Cubs owner Tom Ricketts' motives are purer, fans are going to have to get used to watching less-than-famous ballplayers bumble their way through 2012, only without announcer Harry Doyle to provide the intentional humor. I'm fairly confident there will still be unintentional humor. Don't count on winning the pennant at the end of the movie—I mean "season"—either.

Welcome to rebuilding, Theo Epstein-style.

Whereas previous front offices despised the word "rebuilding," Epstein has been frank about how far the Cubs have to go to compete. And while many fans lost their collective minds over the idea of Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder manning first base, such moves were never in line with Epstein's philosophy of building from within the organization. The Cubs won't go after a high-priced free agent until Epstein thinks the rest of the team is good enough to support him.

But while the Cubs might not have Jobu's rum or hats for bats, there is good news in Wrigleyville.

Four prospects, Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Matt Szczur, were named to Baseball America's list of Top 100 Prospects. By all accounts, the Cubs are "in" on Cuban free-agent sensation Jorge Soler. And the club seems focused on doing the "little things": painting the inside corner of bases blue to help runners hit the proper part of the bag and creating games to help practice bunt placement.

So while the second half of "Major League's" plot might not show up in 2012, it's at least in previews.

Let's just hope the Cubs don't have to use a photo of Tom Ricketts in a G-string to get there.

Julie DiCaro is a RedEye special contributor.

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