Arizona Fall League Begins

The AFL league began last night, and as you may know, 7 Cubs are down there right now. David Aardsma, Buck Coats, Angel Guzman, John Koronka, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson, and Brandon Sing. The Mesa Solar Sox lost last night and the only Cub to get into the game was David Aardsma, who came out guns ablazing: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1BB, 2 K, 0 HR, 20.25 ERA. Aardsma came in with 2 outs in the bottom of the fifth and got D'Backs Jarred Bell to ground out. Then, in true Aardsma fashion, got the next two batters out in the bottom of the sixth before giving up three runs with 2 outs. This is something Aardsma has been very familiar with all year, starting innings strong, but unable to get that third out, at least not without some serious difficulties. Last night it started with a single by D'Back uber-prospect Stephen Drew, then a double by the Dodgers uber-prospect Andy LaRoche, a walk to the A's Andre Ethier and finally a triple to the Dodgers Matt Kemp before he struck out Braves catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (imagine Harry trying to pronounce that one). They play the Phoenix Desert Dogs again today and Angel Guzman will be starting on the mound and likely going about 3 innings I'm guessing. Game time is 3:00 pm CST and you can catch a live radio broadcast at MILB.com Here's the schedule for the other Mesa Solar Sox games that MILB will be streaming. Oct. 11th - 1:00 pm Oct. 13th - 1:00 pm OCt. 14th - 1:00 pm Oct. 17th - 1:00 pm Oct. 18th - 1:00 pm UPDATE: MILB.com has it's own organization report on the Cubs minor league system. Nothing compared to what you get here on TCR on a regular basis, (kidding) but you get some audio and video clips. Check out Sean Gallagher's yakker!!!
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Potential Harry Pronounciations:

Salt A MOCK E Ahhhh

Salt ahh ManCHURiaahhh

Salt ahh Mation

Satelite Mochaaaahhhhh

Salt alt ah Machie

And did you know, Saltalamacchia spelled backwards is

A Itch a mal Atlas?

For those who care, BaseballAmerica has a new stat finder thing for the minor leagues. It doesn't have home road splits, but it has G/F ratio and a lot of other things MiLB doesnt have

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/Stats/fi...

Go lil' Cubs...

Guzman goes through the first with a K and just a single.

Patterson leadoff with a single and then stole a base and has already scored. Sing walked. Coats is starting too.

I think I heard that Murton is taking a few days off before joing the team.

Nice start...

1-2-3 2nd inning for Guzman with another K.

Coats and E-Pat both ground out in the second.

Jonathan Schuerholz singles on a ground ball to shortstop Buck Coats.
Josh Burrus grounds into a force out, shortstop Buck Coats to second baseman Eric Patterson. Jonathan Schuerholz out at 2nd. Josh Burrus to 1st.
Jason Pridie singles on a ground ball to pitcher Angel Guzman. Josh Burrus to 2nd.
Tony Abreu doubles (1) on a line drive to left fielder David Espinosa. Josh Burrus scores. Jason Pridie to 3rd.
Injury Delay.

Heart skip a beat????

Don't worry it wasn't Guzman, one of the other guys on the other team took a facial into the bag while sliding.

3rd inning not so hot for Guzman, although you can't really blame him. Gave up 2 infield singles that didn't sound like they were hit hard at all, then a double to Tony Abreu(Dodgers) that scored a run. Caught Stephen Drew looking and should of got out of the inning with the lead, but stone hands Buck Coats booted a ball, Coats recovered though to throw Abreu out @ home as he tried to score from 2nd.

not a bad day for the lil' Cubbies...

E-Pat 1 for 5, 1 run, 1 Sb, 2 K's
B. Sing 3/4 1 run, 3 2b's, 1 Rbis, 1 BB, 1 K
B. Coats 2/5, 1 2b, 1 RBI
A. Guzman 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
6 FB, 6 GB (roughly)

ROB G: I attended the Mesa v. Phoenix AFL game at HoHoKam this afternoon and sat behind home plate with the scouts.

I don't know if you are aware of this, but Guzman threw all four of his pitches for strikes, with his 4-seam fast ball topping out at 97 MPH! (Not a misprint). His two-seamer was consistently 93 MPH, and he threw 12 of his 16 curves for strikes.

In total, he threw 52 pitches in four innings of work, 35 strikes, and 17 balls:

1st inning: 7 pitches (7 strikes)
2nd inning: 11 pitches (9 strikes)
3rd inning: 18 pitches (11 strikes)
4th inning: 16 pitches (8 strikes)

He quite obviously was tiring in the 4th and started missing his spots, but all in all it was quite an impressive performance by Angel.

Of the six hits off Guzman, three were infield singles (two of which would have been outs if Neifi had been playing SS, and the third was a chop off home plate that bounced high into the air to E-Pat who couldn't make a play), one was a bloop double down the LF line that fell in front of the left-fielder, and the other two were parachute bloops into left-center and right-center.

The most impressive thing about Guzman's outing was that he worked quickly and threw free & easy. No sweat. No strain. Just high & low gas, a wicked change, and a knee-bending curve. And four broken bats.

This is the guy who missed most of the past season and who some are already writing off?

Baloney Sausage. This guy is a crown jewel, people.

Stephen Drew hit the hardest ball all day off Guzman, smoking a line drive to the center-fielder in the first inning (Guzman threw seven pitches--ALL STRIKES--to get out of the top of the first).

The next time Drew came up, Guzman threw this sequencc:

Pitch 1: 4-seamer, fouled straight back
Pitch 2: change, swing & miss
Pitch 3: two seamer (ball), low & inside
Pitch 4: back-door curve, freezing Drew, called stee-rike three!

Brandon Sing looked good at the plate today. He kind of loks like (gulp!) Dave Kingman when he's at bat. Same sorta batting style.

AZ Phil:
"This is the guy who missed most of the past season and who some are already writing off?

Baloney Sausage. This guy is a crown jewel, people."

Yeah, Corey Patterson was the crown jewel too remember.

The reason why many are writing him off is because he is more injury prone that Kerry Wood. When Wood is healthy and throwing good, he is NASTY too. The question is not is Guzman any good, is if he can stay healthy for more than a month.

This is a guy who has only thrown 100 innings in a season ONCE (2002) and has thrown only 47.2 innings in the past 2 seasons.

If he can stay healthy great for the Cubs, but that is a HUGE if...i do hope he does though.

Manny T: You gotta be OPTIMISTIC, man! Think positive! Just say "no" to bad karma. Look it straight in the eye and say "f**k you!"

We need more Ernie Banks and Jack Brickhouse, and less voodoo hexes and negative mojo.

Go Cubs!!!!

anyone else excited?

Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild is reportedly in line to be Jim Leyland's pitching coach in Detroit. Leyland had Rothschild as his pitching coach in Florida in 1997 when the Marlins won their first World Series. Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski was GM in Florida at the time and has retained a good relationship with Rothschild.
-- Chicago Tribune

how can you be excited til you know the replacement?

ya know, not many people consider rothschild a bad pitching coach. he'd probally make most people's top-10 pretty easily. he's got a laundry list of kids and reclaimation projects he's worked with in his career.

if you hear about a guy's mechanics and his problems you know its seen...whether the person changes it is ultimately up to the player. dontrelle willis didnt listen, didnt change, and well...we know where that has led so far. go figure.

some injuries cannot be avoided and some pitchers never were meant for the majors. roth's not God, but he's got a good track record.

that said, roth is the perfect "scapegoat" for a city and fans thirsty for some non-player-responsible blood theyre demanding.

Good thoughts gang.

I gotta say though, I just don't understand the "Wood has to start, he makes too much money for the bullpen" argument. It's simple Sunk Cost theory -- he was signed for the $11 million in a different time under different circumstances. If he can start, great. If not, he needs to fill a role where he can help the team. His salary is no longer relevant -- we will be paying him that figure no matter where he plays (or if he is on the DL for that matter).

It's like this. If you rent a movie and it sucks, you are a sillyman if you keep watching it because you paid for it. The money is gone; you make a new decision based on the new facts and circumstances: is my time better spent watching the rest of this movie or doing something else?

Of course you give KW a chance to start -- that's certainly Plan A. But to leave him as a starter if he can't succeed as such would only serve to compound the error.

wrong thread, dude...its the one above this if you still wanna toss it out there for the people.

folks-

first time poster, long time reader here. this will be the LAST time that I will allow myself to get excited about Guzman- he sounds like wood with much better control. please angel, for the love of GOD- stay healthy! guzman would really be a nice addition to the starting staff next year- if he can stay healthy!

folks-

first time poster, long time reader here. this will be the LAST time that I will allow myself to get excited about Guzman- he sounds like wood with much better control. we've only been saying that since, oh, 2002, right? please angel, for the love of GOD- stay healthy! guzman would really be a nice addition to the starting staff next year...

Angel Guzman should make the team, barring injury. That said, 70-80 innings from him in a setup role seems far more realistic than 200 innings from the starter's role. If you can't get 200 innings from a starter, he need not be a starter...People forget that in 2001, 2002 and 2003 Kerry Wood went to the post 28, 33 and 33 starts. On a good team he would have at least 5 more games (I know a claim I can't back up)those years-basing that on his number of quality starts. I know his injuries the past two years are fresh in our minds but Kwood is a man...I still think we need a number 3 starter however-just in case.

Watching the Braves last night I couldn't help but think how our bullpen could have beeen with Hawkins, Farnsworth and Dempster. Huge difference.

Been toying with this in my head, I'd like to get some thoughts on it:

Furcal
Murton
Lee
Giles
Ramirez
Walker
Barrett
Pie

CARMEN F:

For better or worse, like it or not, I believe Jim Hendry will target Rafael Furcal (SS) and Jacques Jones (RF) as free-agents. Both are the kind of younger (that is, younger than Nomar or Burnitz, anyway) "athletic"-type defenders preferred by Hendry & Hughes, plus Furcal is the type of lead-off hitter Dusty can live with, and J. Jones is the type of aggressive first-ball fastball hitter Dusty seems to prefer.

If Hendry can't sign one or both, I believe he will drop back and wait out the market, possibly re-signing Jeromy Burnitz (who I expect the Cubs to buy-out) for less money, or making a deal for Austin Kearns or Aubrey Huff (who should be readily available now that Chuck LaMarr is gone). I just don't think Hendry is interested in signing Brian Giles. I sure would, but I don't think Hendry would.

And I don't think Nomar or Neifi will be back. If Hendry can't sign Furcal (and I expect Hendry's pursuit of Furcal to be a "full-court press" where the Cubs will make Furcal an offer he can't refuse), I would expect Hendry to deliver Ronny Cedeno & Todd Walker to Dusty as the Cubs SS-2B combo to start the season. I expect Neifi will get a two-year deal somewhere to be a starting SS, and I expect Nomar to either go to his hometown Dodgers, or back to the A. L. (possibly the White Sox, Mariners, Rangers or Red Sox), where he would be a full-time player, splitting time between DH and the infield (2B-SS-3B).

As y'all knowm, NOBODY here at TCR is a bigger Felix Pie fan than ol' Arizona Phil. However...

I have a thing called the "Gary Scott Rule." What that rule says is, no matter how good a young player/top prospect looks in Spring Training, NEVER, EVER allow that player to start the season on the Opening Day 25-man roster. There is just too much pressure and too much scrutiny on a young player starting the seasaon with the big club coming out of Spring Training.

Plus, if you send a young guy to AA or AAA for even just one month, the club buys an extra year of MLB service time toward free-agency. In other words, if Pie is optioned to the minors out of Spring Training and stays down there for at least 21 days, he cannot be a free-agent until after the 2012 season. If he starts the season on the 25-man roster, or is recalled within the first 20 days of the season, he would be a free-agent after the 2011 season.

So even if Pie tears it up in Winter Ball and hits .800 in Spring Training, I would still option him out to AA or AAA for at least a month. Then, if he is ripping it up at West Tenn or Iowa on May 1st or June 1st, I would have no problem with bringing him up at that time.

Another question that needs to be answered is...

What will the Cubs get for Corey Patterson?

If the Cubs get somebody like Rob Mackowiak (Pirates) or Larry Bigbie (Rockies) as part of a C-Pat deal, I can see Rob Mac or Bigs playing CF until Pie is ready, probably in a platoon with Jerry Hairston, Jr. If the Cubs don't get another CF for C-Pat, then I could see Hairston possibly platooning with Adam Greenberg to start the eeason (until Pie is ready).

Or if Jeromy Burnitz is brought back (which I doubt, but it could happen if the Cubs decline their 2006 club option, buy him out, and then re-sign him for less money), Burnitz could play CF until Pie is ready, with J. Jones playing RF. Or if Hendry does sign Brian Giles (which I think is a very, very remnote possiiity), B. Giles could play CF until Pie is ready, and Burnitz could play RF. Then when Pie is brought up in mid-season, B. Giles woulfd move to RF, and Burnitz would become the 4th OF or trade bait.

The bottom line is, I don't think Pie starts the season with the Cubs, not just because I wouldn't do it, but because I don't think the Cubs would be that foolish (just in terms of starting the MLB service time clock ticking, not to mention any other reason related to Pie being ready or not).

Hendry has also made it clear that he loking for another starting pitcher to bolster the rotation in case Kerry Wood isn't ready at the start of season, or if Jerome Williams struggles (J. Williams has one option left if the Cubs choose to send him to AAA to get his act together).

In talking about adding another starter, Hendry also might be giving a hint about whar he would expect to get back as part of a deal for Corey Patterson (like maybe Kip Wells from Pittsburgh or Jason Jennings from Colorado). He also could pursue a free-agent starter like A. J. Burnett, Jeff Weaver, or Kevin Millwood, except signing a free-agent starting pitcher would mean a minimum three-year commitment to that pitcher, while somebody like Kip Wells or Jason Jannings would be a matter of just a year or two (K. Wells is a FA after the 2006 season, Jennings after 2007).

If Jim Hendry gets his way, this will be the Cubs Opening Day lineup:

Furcal, SS
Walker or Cedeno, 2B
D. Lee, 1B
Ramirez, 3B
J. Jones, RF
Murton, LF
Barrett, C
Hairston, CF

BENCH:
Blanco, C
Fontenot, 2B-3B
Cedeno or Walker, IF
Mackowiak or Bigbie, OF
Macias, IF-OF

STARTING PITCHERS:
Zambrano
Prior
Wood
Maddux
K. Wells or Jennings

BULLPEN:
Dempster
Williamson
Novoa
Ohman
Wuertz
R. Hill
J. Williams (in rotation if Wood not ready) or Leicestsr (if J. Williams is in starting rotation or at AAA, Leicester is out of options)

I figure Mitre and Wellemeyer (both out of minor league option) will be traded before Openingb Day 2006.

PITCHERS AT AAA:
Aardsma
Brownlie
Guzman
Koronka
Nolasco
O'Malley
Pignatiello
Pinto
Rohlicek
Ryu
Shipman
Van Buren

PITCHERS AT AA:
Blasko
Connolly
Ferraras
Gwaltney
Marmol
Marshall
Mateo
Mathes
Nolen
Ramos
Ryu
Wells

AZ Phil: I think Guzman makes the team in the pen-just a hunch. I also think they trade Williams because of his trade value. The real interesting thing becomes where to put the money. Typically shortstop and centerfield require a high percentage of payroll. Cedeno and Pie make for some interesting scenarios. I've said all along if we fill the leadoff and add a number 5 hitter, the rest of spots become pretty easy to fill.

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