Cubs Convention Recap
Friday- Opening Ceremonies:
- Hendry said “I am going to promise two things. We will be good and we will stay good.”
- Kerry Wood looked great. Definitely lost some weight.
- The video highlight from the previous year was pretty weak, but not surprising coming off a 96-loss season.
- Loudest cheer was for Barrett’s punch to AJ.
- Biggest boos were for George Bush, Larry Rothschild and Dusty Baker.
- Video was mostly about offseason stuff and quotes about offseason or next year.
Management Meeting (Jim Hendry, Randy Bush and Lou Piniella):
- One of the emcee’s said that Wood lost 31 pounds since the season ended and Dempster lost 20 pounds.
- Hendry said “Medically we are in the best shape we have been in years.”
- Hendry said “Painful day when we got Pierre and had to give up a pitcher like Nolasco. It obviously didn’t work out.”
- Hendry said “Marketing Department does not get in the way of the team and never at the expense of the ballclub.” This was in response to a question (I think by All Yellon) about them having clinics on the field before games and thus the team not being able to practice.
- Hendry reiterated he has never felt handcuffed budget wise.
- Hendry said “Game is all about scoring runs and knocking in runs.” I am sure CHAD will LOVE this comment.
- Lou Piniella finally arrives to session 25 minutes late…There were lots of murmuring throughout crowd and not many people were happy he was late as they felt it was disrespectful. (Editor's Note: Piniella claimed his back flared up on him in the morning, causing his delay.)
- Hendry said “It (injuries) just happens…it’s baseball.”
- Hendry said “Jacque Jones has not expressed to us that he wanted to go.”
- Hendry said “We don’t know exactly where we are going to play Soriano.”
- Hendry said “We are not going to do anything to block his (Felix Pie)”
- At one point after a few fans asked some tough questions, Lou turns to Hendry and says “Man Jim, this is a tough crowd.”
- Both Hendry and Lou confirmed it is a virtual lock that Soriano will be leading off.
- Soriano says he wants to lead off and play CF. Lou said he will play all OF positions in Spring Training and then settle in one for the year. No moving him around.
- Lou said “You don’t want your 3-4-5 hitters taking too many pitches. OBP is important, should have a team one at .345 or better.”
A New Beginning (Jim Hendry and John McDonough):
- Some one asked about why they didn’t sign Lofton. Hendry basically said he wants to give Pie every chance to play when ready and doesn’t want him blocked in any way.
- Hendry reconfirmed he offered Furcal years $47.5 million contract.
- Hendry acknowledged that he is not trading for players who can be FA’s after this season and have the possibility of losing them after one year like he did with Pierre (he used Jason Jennings as an example).
Business Operations Meeting (Marketing, Lawyer, Tickets, Stadium Operations)
- Tickets for season ticket holders will be unchaged for this year, but because of the jump in payroll the Cubs have decided to raise ticket prices for individual ticket sales starting when they go on sale February 23rd. Every ticket will go up $2.00 per seat with the newer seats behind homeplate going up $5.00 per seat.
- The ticket brokerage company the Cubs have (Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Services) only sold 12,000-15,000 tickets last year.
Minor Leagues (Tim Wilken, Oneri Fleita, Eric Patterson and Donnie Veal)
- The Cubs will have the 3rd pick, 31st pick (first sandwich pick) with a 3rd and 4th round pick this upcoming year (and more later round picks).
- Oneri said that Angel Guzman was granted a 4th option year. AZ Phil will love to know this information.
- Oneri said that Casey McGhee decided to try catching again.
Overall the mood of the fans seemed upbeat, but they were not overconfident by any means. It seems like they feel the team has improved but are on a wait and see basis.
Thanks to Manny for this writeup....
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.
If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.