Cubs 2007 Spring Training Roster, Contracts, and Options

The rain has stopped, skies have cleared, Kerry Wood is a lean, mean, fighting machine, and with pitchers, catchers, and a few of the position players having reported to Fitch Park yesterday (minus Carlos Zambrano, whose arrival was delayed), and with the first offical Spring Training workout scheduled for this morning, here is the up-to-date Cubs 40-man roster and ST NRI list, the contract status and minor league option status for all players on the 40-man roster, the list of Cubs minor league players who will be eligible to be free-agents after the 2007 season and those who will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft next December, and AZ Phil's pre-ST Cubs organizational depth chart: 2007 CHICAGO CUBS SPRING TRAINING ROSTER UPDATED 3/17 * bats or throws left # bats both ROSTERED PITCHERS : Rocky Cherry * Neal Cotts Ryan Dempster * Scott Eyre Angel Guzman * Rich Hill Bob Howry * Ted Lilly Carlos Marmol Jason Marquis * Sean Marshall Juan Mateo Wade Miller Roberto Novoa * Will Ohman Mark Prior * Clay Rapada (has been optioned to AAA Iowa) Jeff Samardzija (has been optioned at A+ Daytona) Kerry Wood Michael Wuertz Carlos Zambrano NON-ROSTER PITCHERS : * Ryan O'Malley * Carmen Pignatiello * Les Walrond =============== ROSTERED CATCHERS : Michael Barrett Henry Blanco Geovany Soto NON-ROSTER CATCHERS : Jake Fox # Koyie Hill ======================= ROSTERED INFIELDERS : Ronny Cedeno Mark DeRosa Brian Dopirak (has been optioned at AA Tennessee) # Cesar Izturis Derrek Lee * Scott Moore (has been optioned to AAA Iowa) Aramis Ramirez Ryan Theriot * Daryle Ward NON-ROSTER INFIELDERS : # Micah Hoffpauir Casey McGehee (reports to camp with catchers) # Tomas Perez ======================= ROSTERED OUTFIELDERS: * Buck Coats * Cliff Floyd * Jacque Jones Matt Murton # Angel Pagan * Felix Pie Alfonso Soriano NON-ROSTER OUTFIELDERS NONE ================================== ELIGIBLE TO BE MLB FREE-AGENTS AFTER 2007: Michael Barrett  Scott Eyre (player option for 2008) Cliff Floyd (player option for 2008 if vested, or else club option) Cesar Izturis (club option with buy-out for 2008)  Wade Miller Daryle Ward (club option for 2008) Kerry Wood Carlos Zambrano SIGNED BEYOND 2007: Ryan Dempster (thru 2008, then FA) Bob Howry (thru 2008, then FA) Jacque Jones (thru 2008, then FA)  Will Ohman (thru 2008, then FA) Henry Blanco (thru 2008 + club option with buy-out for 2009) Mark DeRosa (thru 2009, then FA) Jason Marquis (thru 2009, then FA) Derrek Lee (thru 2010, then FA)  Ted Lilly (thru 2010, then FA)  Aramis Ramirez (thru 2010 + 2011 player option and 2012 mutual option) Jeff Samardzija (thru 2011 + mutual options for 2012 and 2013)  Alfonso Soriano (thru 2014, then FA) ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE AFTER 2007: Mark Prior (4+131, FA after 2008 ) Neal Cotts (3+27, FA after 2009) Michael Wuertz (2+7, FA after 2010) - see NOTE 1 Roberto Novoa (1+169, FA after 2011) - see NOTE 2 NOTE 1: Wuertz will definitely be eligible for salary arbitation after the 2007 season if he accrues at least 165 days of MLB service time in 2007, but he would probably be eligible as a "Super Two" if he accrues at least 140 days of MLB service time in 2007. NOTE 2: Novoa would probably be eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" after the 2007 season if he accrues at least 150 days of MLB service time in 2007. HAS NO TRADE RIGHTS IN 2007: Henry Blanco (automatic through June 15th) Mark DeRosa (automatic through June 15th) Scott Eyre (limited) Cliff Floyd (automatic through June 15th) Jacque Jones (limited) Derrek Lee Ted Lilly (automatic through June 15th) Jason Marquis (automatic through June 15th) Aramis Ramirez Jeff Samardzija Alfonso Soriano Daryle Ward (automatic through June 15th) Kerry Wood (automatic through June 15th) NOTE: Blanco, DeRosa, Floyd, Lilly, Marquis, Ward, and Wood get automatic "NO TRADE" rights through June 15th because they were Type XX FA who signed contracts after the conclusion of the Free-Agency Filing Period; Wade Miller was a Type XX FA, but he does NOT have "no trade" rights through June 15th, because he re-signed with the Cubs prior to the conclusion of the MLB Free-Agency Filing Period. ======================================= OTHERS UNDER CLUB CONTROL: (MLB SERVICE TIME THROUGH 2006 SEASON IN PARENTHESIS) NOTE: Although the MLB season is 182 days, 172 days constitutes one full year of MLB service time AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) FOR 2007: Ronny Cedeno (1+108) Rocky Cherry (0) – see NOTE Buck Coats (0+41) Brian Dopirak (0) Angel Guzman (0+95) Rich Hill (0+149) Sean Marshall (1+0) Carlos Marmol (0+120) Juan Mateo (0+62) Scott Moore (0+28) Matt Murton (1+87) Roberto Novoa (1+169) Angel Pagan (1+0) Felix Pie (0)  Clay Rapada (0) – see NOTE Geovany Soto (0+61) Ryan Theriot (0+118) Michael Wuertz (2+7) NOTE: All AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) players except Rocky Cherry and Clay Rapada will be eligible for the new MINOR LEAGUE SPLIT-CONTRACT MINIMUM ($60,000) if optioned to the minors in 2007; Because this is their first-time on the 40-man roster, Cherry and Rapada get the new $30,000 split-contract minimum if optioned to the minors in '07. ========================================= MINOR LEAGUE OPTION STATUS (Spring Training 2007) * Player can be optioned to minors out of Spring Training 2007 only after clearing Major League Waivers ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT: Ronny Cedeno Angel Guzman (see NOTE 1) Rich Hill * Roberto Novoa * Will Ohman (see NOTE 2) Geovany Soto * Michael Wuertz  NOTE 1: Because of time spent on the DL in 2004 and 2005, Guzman gets a 4th option year in 2007. A player receives a 4th option year if he has not spent five “full seasons” (a “full season” being a minimum of 60 days on a major league or a minor league active roster--NOT including time spent on the DL--from the start of a season, or a minimum of 90 days total on a minor league or major league active roster--NOT including time spent on the DL--in a given season) by the time his first three minor league options have been exhausted. NOTE 2: Ohman cannot be optioned to the minors without his consent once he accrues another 132 days of MLB service time. (Players cannot be optioned to the minors without their consent once they accrue five years of MLB service time). TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT: * Neal Cotts Brian Dopirak Carlos Marmol Scott Moore Angel Pagan Felix Pie * Mark Prior (see NOTE 3) Ryan Theriot NOTE 3: Prior cannot be optioned to the minors without his consent once he accrues another 41 days of MLB service time (that's when he will have accrued five full seasons of MLB service time). THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT: Rocky Cherry Buck Coats  Sean Marshall Juan Mateo Matt Murton Clay Rapada FOUR MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT: Jeff Samardzija (see NOTE 4) NOTE 4: Samardzija will get a 4th minor league option as long as he has not spent five "full seasons" on a minor league or major league active roster (see Guzman NOTE) by the time his first three option years have been exhausted. ========================================= ELIGIBLE TO BE MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT POST-2007: Edgar Almonte, RHP Chris Amador, OF Jason Anderson, RHP Federico Baez, RHP (6Y MLFA after 2007) Cory Bailey, RHP Oscar Bernard, RHP (6Y MLFA after 2007) Nate Bland, LHP Gary Cates, IF-OF Robinson Chirinos, 2B (6Y MLFA after 2007) Kevin Ciarrachi, C Jorge Cortes, OF Jason Hart, 1B Koyie Hill, C Lincoln Holdzkom (6YMLFA after 2007) Jesse Hoorelbeke, 1B  Ben Howard, RHP Geoff Jones, LHP  Mike Kinkade, IF-OF-C Josh Kroeger, OF Albenis Machado, INF  Mike Mahoney, C  Tony Miller, OF Corey Myers, IF-C  Ryan O'Malley, LHP Edgar Omana, LHP Val Pascucci, OF Tomas Perez, INF Carmen Pignatiello, LHP Carlos Rojas (6Y MLFA after 2007) Issmael Salas, INF (6Y MLFA after 2007)  Les Walrond, LHP Derek Wathan, IF-OF John Webb, RHP ================================================== ELIGIBLE FOR 2007 RULE 5 DRAFT IF NOT ADDED TO 40-MAN ROSTER BY 11-20-07: Alberto Alburquerque, RHP Thomas Atlee, RHP Justin Berg, RHP Chadd Blasko, RHP  Jerry Blevins, LHP  Bobby Brownlie, RHP Matt Ciaramella, OF  Matt Craig, 3B Darin Downs, LHP  Mike Fontenot, 2B  Jake Fox, C  Alfredo Francisco, RHP  Sam Fuld, OF Alberto Garcia, 1B-OF Luke Hagerty, LHP  Adam Harben, RHP Kevin Hart, RHP  Ryan Harvey, OF Jim Henderson, RHP  Micah Hoffpauir, 1B Jonathan Hunton, RHP Fabian Jimenez-Angulo, LHP Grant Johnson, RHP  Scott Koerber, LHP Tim Layden, LHP J. R. Mathes, LHP Casey McGehee, 3B Adalberto Mendez, RHP  Mario Mercedes, C Jonathan Mota, INF Ryan Norwood, 1B Leonel Perez, RHP  Billy Petrick, RHP Jose Pina, RHP Elvin Puello, 3B  Tony Richie, C Alan Rick, C-1B Lisandro Rosario, INF Joel Santo, RHP  Paul Schappert, LHP Chris Shaver, LHP Roberto Sotolongo, RHP  Jemel Spearman, INF Nate Spears, 2B Jesus Valdez, OF Chris Walker, OF Randy Wells, RHP  =============================== AZ PHIL'S PROJECTED 2007 ORGANIZATIONAL DEPTH CHART (2/15 - pre-ST) * bats or throws left # bats both CATCHERS: CUBS: Michael Barrett/Henry Blanco IOWA: Geovany Soto/# Koyie Hill/Mike Mahoney TENN: Jake Fox/Chris Robinson/Tony Richie DAYT: * Mark Reed/Jake Muyco/* Alan Rick PEOR: Mario Mercedes/Matt Canepa/Cory Vanderhook/Matt Ciarrachi EXST: Welington Castillo/Carlos Perez/Peter Farina/Blake Lalli FIRST-BASEMEN: CUBS: Derrek Lee/* Daryle Ward IOWA: * Micah Hoffpauir/Jason Hart TENN: Brian Dopirak/Jesse Hoorelbeke DAYT: Ryan Norwood/Alberto Garcia PEOR: Russ Canzler/# Adam Hackstedt EXST: * James Adduci/Luther Murphy SECOND-BASEMEN: CUBS: Mark DeRosa/Ryan Theriot IOWA: *Eric Patterson/* Mike Fontenot TENN: Jemel Spearman/* Nate Spears DAYT: * Ryne Malone/Robinson Chirinos PEOR: * Matt Camp/* Steve Clevenger EXST: # Lisandro Rosario/# Valerio Heredia/Elvis Lara THIRD-BASEMEN: CUBS: Aramis Ramirezl IOWA: Casey McGehee/Corey Myers TENN: # Matt Craig/* Gary Cates/Issmael Salas DAYT: * Kyle Reynolds/Ryan Lilly PEOR: Josh Lansford/Elvin Puello EXST: Blake Parker/# Marwin Gonzalez/# Francisco Tirado SHORTSTOPS: CUBS: # Cesar Izturis/# Tomas Perez IOWA: Ronny Cedeno/Derek Wathan TENN: Joe Simokaitis/Carlos Rojas DAYT: Jonathan Mota/# Albenis Machado PEOR: * Dylan Johnston/# Matt Matulia EXST: Nathan Samson/Sammy Baez/Cesar Valentin LEFT-FIELDERS: CUBS: Matt Murton/* Cliff Floyd IOWA: * Scott Moore/* Josh Kroeger TENN: * Jeff Culpepper/Chris Amador DAYT: Jesus Valdez/* Nate Price PEOR: D. J. Lewis EXST: Cody Gilbert/* Victor Liriano CENTER-FIELDERS: CUBS: Alfonso Soriano/# Angel Pagan IOWA: * Felix Pie/# Chris Walker TENN: * Sam Fuld/Tony Miller DAYT: * Tyler Colvin/# Matt Ciaramella PEOR: Alfred Joseph/* Davy Gregg EXST: * Clifford Andersen/Jeremy Williams RIGHT-FIELDERS: CUBS: * Jacque Jones/Mike Kinkade IOWA: * Buck Coats/Val Pacucci TENN: Ryan Harvey/* Jorge Cortes DAYT: Yusuf Carter PEOR: Andy Lopez EXST: * Drew Rundle/# Wilson Inoa STARTING PITCHERS: CUBS: Carlos Zambrano * Ted Lilly * Rich Hill Jason Marquis Mark Prior Wade Miller IOWA: * Sean Marshall Angel Guzman Juan Mateo * Ryan O’Malley Randy Wells * Les Walrond John Webb TENN: Sean Gallagher * Donnie Veal * Chris Shaver Mark Holliman * J. R. Mathes Bobby Brownlie Chadd Blasko DAYT: Jeff Samardzija Kevin Hart Mitch Atkins Scott Taylor Greg Reinhard Billy Petrick PEOR: * Mark Pawelek Billy Muldowney Joel Santo Todd Blackford Mike Billek * Darin Downs Jose Pina EXST: Chris Huseby Jake Renshaw Kitt Kopach * Taylor Parker Rafael Dolis Kevin Kreier Larry Suarez BULLPEN: CUBS: Ryan Dempster (closer) * Scott Eyre Bob Howry * Will Ohman Michael Wuertz * Neal Cotts Kerry Wood IOWA: Carlos Marmol (closer) Roberto Novoa * Clay Rapada Rocky Cherry Adalberto Mendez * Carmen Pignatiello Federico Baez Thomas Atlee Jason Anderson Ben Howard * Nate Bland Cory Bailey Edgar Almonte TENN: Grant Johnson (closer) Lincoln Holdzkom * Tim Layden Michael Phelps Jon Hunton * Paul Schappert Justin Berg Roberto Sotolongo * Geoff Jones Adam Harben DAYT: Matt Avery (closer) Jesse Estrada Justin Rayborn * Scott Koerber Jim Henderson Jon Mueller * Jerry Blevins Matt Harrington * Luke Hagerty PEOR: Jose Ceda (closer) Miguel Cuevas Rocky Roquet * Jeremy Papelbon Alfredo Francisco Michael Cooper * Jayson Ruhlman Alessandro Maestri * Fabian Jimenez-Angulo Oscar Bernard EXST: Chuckie Platt (closer) * Edgar Omana Marco Carillo Ronald Clipp * Luis Astorga Robert Hernandez Donny Walters Julio Castillo Alberto Alburquerque Eli Diaz Brett Jackson Simon Lee Matt Maradeo Andrew McCormick Leonel Perez Brandon Taylor
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Comments

btw...where is bobby hill gonna play in AAA?

fontenot, 2nd...moore, 3rd...his SS days are probably long gone...perez is also backing up SS/3rd/2nd and cedeno may or may not break as a bench guy (if perez doesnt...or hell, hill).

Here is the money quote from Wood:

"I would say this is the first season that I trained," he said. "In the past, I've worked out and gotten in shape, but this year I trained for the season. So it's a little bit different."

So, they have been paying him many many millions of dollars, he gets hurt constantly and THIS year is the first year he has actually trained for the season???

Someone needs to be fired. Today.

CRUNCH: I suspect if Bobby Hill and Tomas Perez don't make the Opening Day 25, they will get released. There are only 24 spots available on AA and AAA rosters, and since all minor league teams go with 12-man pitching staffs, there are only four bench slots available for back-up position players, and (understandably) versatility is highly valued.

At this point and as things stand right now, barring injuries, the Opening Day Iowa roster should look something like this:

* bats or throws left
# bats both

(likely 2007 Opening Day starters in bold)

STARTING PITCHERS:
Angel Guzman
Sean Marshall
Juan Mateo
Ryan O'Malley
Randy Wells

BULLPEN:
Thomas Atlee
Federico Baez
Rocky Cherry
Carlos Marmol (likely closer)
Roberto Novoa
* Carmen Pignatiello
* Clay Rapada

CATCHERS:
# Koyie Hill
Geovany Soto

INFIELDERS:
Ronny Cedeno
* Mike Fontenot (or could get traded before Opening Day)
* Micah Hoffpauir
Casey McGehee
* Eric Patterson
Derek Wathan

OUTFIELDERS:
* Buck Coats
* Scott Moore
* Felix Pie
Chris Walker

If they don't make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster, veteran AAA pitchers like Jason Anderson, Ben Howard, Les Walrond, and John Webb, catcher Mike Mahoney, and infielders Bobby Hill, Mike Kinkade, and Tomas Perez will probably be SOL (released at the end of Spring Training) unless a roster spot opens up at Iowa during ST due to a trade (Fontenot?) or injury.

wood can "train" his skull off as much as he wants...he's still got shoulder/elbow issues out the ass that seems to be more wear/tear and comfort mechanics than a lack of conditioning.

hopefully his training he's done (besides the weight drop) will allow his shoulder to stay strong through the late season.

at least the pen isnt much of a concern if other places are.

oh yeah, mcgehee at 3rd...better option than moore.

moore's doomed to not be a Cub at 3rd/1st anyway...he's got a weak glove at 3rd, but hopefully he'll be able to stay sharp (or at least keep his arm sharp) and get a few token games at 3rd.

CRUNCH: I think the Cubs will be grooming Scott Moore as a future Geoff Blum/Rob Mackowiak-type MLB bench guy, so I expect him to play all over the place at Iowa in 2007, although mostly in the OF, because that's where he has the least experience.

FWIW, BA named Moore the #1 defensive 3B in the Southern League last year, as voted by the league's managers.

Kerry Wood was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff last year, and opted to deal with it by rest and then exercise/rehab rather than with surgery So far he says he feels fine. And I hope that approach (no surgery) will be successful for Woody, but choosing rest and rehab over surgery for a torn rotator cuff sure didn't work out too well for Todd Stottlemyre or Sidney Ponson.

I'm certainly rooting for KW to be successful pitching out of the pen in '07, but at this point, every time I write Kerry Wood's name someplace, I write it in pencil.

Phil,

Where do you see Larry Suarez playing this year? He certainly was hyped quite a bit when they signed him. You would think he would at least be in Mesa for the start of Rookie ball?

"BA named Moore the #1 defensive 3B in the Southern League last year"

wow...not bad for a guy who's range involves falling toward the ball, but he does have a hell of an arm.

aaronb — February 15, 2007 @ 9:53 am
Phil,

Where do you see Larry Suarez playing this year? He certainly was hyped quite a bit when they signed him. You would think he would at least be in Mesa for the start of Rookie ball?

==============================

AARON B: Since he's only 17 (and won't turn 18 until after the 2007 season), I believe Larry Suarez will probably remain in Venezuela and pitch for the VSL Cubs this year (as Angel Guzman did his first year in the Cubs organization), but he could conceivably pitch at AZL Mesa.

After reading your post, I went ahead and added him to the EXST (Boise/AZL Mesa) STARTING PITCHERS list, but I still think it's more likely he'll pitch in the VSL in 2007 and then move up to Mesa in 2008. Suarez just turned 17 in December, and he will not need to be added to the 40-man roster until after the 2010 season, so the Cubs don't need to rush him.

Is Lee Gwaltney still with the organization?

To add to Rob G's thought on Reds getting every crappy reliever signed-

"Cincinnati Enquirer :"The Reds remain interested in free agent Dustin Hermanson as well."

bt — February 15, 2007 @ 10:20 am
Is Lee Gwaltney still with the organization?

=================================

BT: No. Gwaltney became a minor league FA after last season and either was not offered a 2007 minor league contract by the Cubs or chose not to re-sign with the Cubs. He had shoulder surgery in September 2005 and only pitched in three games (rehab at AZL Mesa) in 2006 before he got shut-down, so his career might be over.

There are a number of former Cubs pitching prospects who have left the organization (most having been released) after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Thanks for all the info Arizona Phil.

If you're not putting Bobby Hill on the Cubs opening day roster, may as well boot Walrond, O'malley or Webb out of Iowa, I don't think the plan for Gallagher is to go back to AA. How come you have Marshall listed as the opening day starter instead of Guzman?

Couple more questions:

Rationale for listing Harvey in AA and Ceda in Spring Training? Hasn't Ceda showed enough last year to get a crack at Peoria?

Kerry Wood is playing with fire. He's working his ass off to overcome going under the knife for a clear problem with his rotator cuff, which likely will put an end to his enigmatic career for good. And I continue to be sobered by Steve Stone's assessment, mainly that Wood continues to throw across his body and pitch in a manner that puts undo strain on his shoulder, elbow and hips.

The Real Neal — February 15, 2007 @ 10:45 am
Thanks for all the info Arizona Phil.

If you’re not putting Bobby Hill on the Cubs opening day roster, may as well boot Walrond, O’malley or Webb out of Iowa, I don’t think the plan for Gallagher is to go back to AA. How come you have Marshall listed as the opening day starter instead of Guzman?

============================

NEAL: Barring unforseen circumstances (like Rich Hill failing to make the Cubs Opening Day roster and getting optioned to Iowa), either Guzman or Marshall will probably get the Opening Day start at Iowa. I designated Marshall only because he spent the 2006 season in the big leagues, while Guzman spent most of the '06 season at Iowa.

I think Sean Gallagher will start the season at AA. He struggled some with his command there after getting promoted from Daytona, and the Iowa staff is fairly loaded. But if Gallagher pitches well at AA, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a promotion to AAA at some Point in 2007.

2 comments;

1. AZ PHIL, I don't think we should be worried that Kerry Wood chose the wrong treatment. The Orthopaedic surgeons would have surgically repaired the "Partially" torn rotator cuff if they had too. In the past, Kerry Wood has had stiffness in his shoulder...anytime you have surgery, scar tissue builds up in the joint space and the more you have surgery, the more scar tissue builds up - ulitimately causing minimal range of motion. The condition is called Adhesive Capsulitis and is part of the bodies natural healing process. It is common and can't be prevented in surgery. Even the minimally invasive/arthroscopic prodcedures face this complication. It is better he did not have surgery! The surgeons have a lot more cases to support their non-operative treatment other than Sidney Ponson and Todd Stottlemyer.

2. Can someone dig into the story being reported on Colin Coherd's show that the cubs have sold advertising space to Under Armor. This is the first I have hear of it. These adds will appear on the doors on the outfield wall!!! This is terrible.

Bobby Hill? Oh good grief. I look forward to the days when Triple A is no longer populated mostly by the Trenidad Hubbards and Bobby Hills of the world. Felix Pie, Eric Patterson and some of the Cubs better pitching prospects (e..g, Sean Marshall) would actually be better served by playing at Double A in 2007. At least the quality of competition is better. If your Felix Pie, then how much development can take place when you face Les Walrond types on the mound 4 days a week? Or if your Angel Guzman, how much progress can happen for yourself when you pitch to the Bobby Friggin Hills of the world? .

The other day Trans posted an article concerning how blogs compare to traditional media. Trib Bulls reporter Sam Smith has weighed in on the debate at:

http://Chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

In a nutshell, Smith refers to bloggers as "some guy in his basement in his underwear" and blogs as "the electronic version of the neighborhood tavern."

I think the problem with Smith's opinion is that he lumps all "legitimate media" together as good and all blogs and bloggers together as bad. The truth is that there are some journalists who do a good job and that I trust, while there are some that are so bad I don't believe anything they say. Same thing with blogs.

Probably my favorite part of Smith's article is that he rails against the blogosphere after admitting that he never reads blogs. That's good journalism?

"Wood continues to throw across his body and pitch in a manner that puts undo strain on his shoulder, elbow and hips."

wood has always thrown slightly across his body but many have gotten away with it and its no mystery to wood or anyone else who has coached him (except maybe the torture king that was his highschool coach).

i'd like to see stone explain d.willis' lack of injury given the same criteria cuz willis has one of the ugliest body-crosses with heavy torque ive ever seen. vida blue's got nothing on him...

not all humans are created equal and not all pitchers can make an adjustment and stay the same pitcher (van burren being an extreme example of a guy who can pretty much only pitch one way and totally ineffective any other way).

The Real Neal — February 15, 2007 @ 10:51 am
Couple more questions:

Rationale for listing Harvey in AA and Ceda in Spring Training? Hasn’t Ceda showed enough last year to get a crack at Peoria?

==============================

REAL NEAL: I'm sure the Cubs will promote Harvey to AA, just like they promoted Brian Dopirak to AA last year when he was coming off a mediocre previous season at Hi-A..The Cubs still consider Harvey to be one of their better prospects, and they aren't going to make him repeat Daytona. Both Dopirak and Harvey (they were HS teammates, BTW) will have to prove themselves at AA this year, though. The big difference between Dopirak and Harvey is that Harvey has the best OF arm in the organization and could be converted to pitcher. Dopirak is a slug who can barely play 1B, much less a corner OF spot.

BTW, Dopirak has zero future in the Cubs organization, because he will be out of minor league options two years before Derrek Lee's contract expires. And Dopirak is essentially a DH. So even if Dopirak were to have a break-out power year in AA this season, the best thing the Cubs could get out of Dopirak would be to include him in a trade. But that's his only value.

As for Ceda, he could start the season at Peoria, but I don't think he will. He needs to work on his secondary pitches, and the Cubs like to do that in Extended Spring Training (EXST). What might happen is Ceda starts the season at EXST (April-May), and then instead of going to Boise in June, he might get promoted directly to Peoria out of EXST. I can tell you this: He has a golden arm

Grant Johnson predicted as the AA closer? Yuck. It must be nice to get a position like that based on draft position rather than performance. He stunk as a reliever at single A last season.

|I’m sure the Cubs will promote Harvey to AA|

I wonder what the over under on his K's will be this year. I go with 193.

Thanks AZ Phil.

Oh Silent Towel,

The level of play a AAA is better than AA. The physical talent may not be as good, but the baseball is definetly better. Those guys who have been playing pro baseball for 8-10 years can expose flaws that the 23 year olds in AA can't, and thus they add to the learning experience that the minor leagues are all about.

Silent Towel, so Mark Prior and now Kerry Wood are finished? Interesting, I wonder why the Cubs haven't released them yet.

And more signs Murton's playing time will be non-existent....

The Cubs are adamant that Soriano is batting where he belongs, and general manager Jim Hendry believes he'll excel at the top spot while sluggers Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Jacque Jones and Cliff Floyd take care of business in the power spots.

I hate you Cliff Floyd.

What is the chance Drew Rundle and Chris Huseby make it to Peoria anytime this year?

Missing from this article is ARIZONA PHIL'S LIST OF MINOR LEAGUE CUB PITCHERS MOST LIKELY TO BE THROWN INTO A JIM HENDRY DEAL IN RETURN FOR VIRTUALLY NOTHING.

I'd really like to see that list.

I continue to be sobered by Steve Stone’s assessment, mainly that Wood continues to throw across his body and pitch in a manner that puts undo strain on his shoulder, elbow and hips.

The idea that Steve Stone is some expert on pitching mechanics really needs to be put to rest. Stone suffered from arm problems his entire career and arm problems ended it ...early... at age 33, less than a year after he won the Cy Young.

Steve Stone really shouldnt be assessing anything. Steve Stone thinks that Cesar Izturis is an excellent player and a possible all star. Yet he thinks Matt Murton cant hit enough to play in an MLB outfiled. As much as I loved listening to Stoney when I was growing up. His "old school" baseball ideals make Dusty Baker sound like Bill James.

As Tribune guys go, Smith is probably one of the best. That being said, he should maybe get an editor of some sort, he's obviously losing it:

'I like this question because I don't read any blogs.' Followed up by 'I'm also probably resentful on some level as I see this unsubstantiated, personal opinion passing for journalism'

I don't know about all of that AaronB, Stone has mentioned the Cubs aversion to walking as a problem, both when he broadcasted and I believe in his radio stints afterwards.

Cesar Izturis IS a potential all-star. Trouble is people want to fixate on his offensive production, when defense is most important at shortstop. If healthy, Izturis wins the 2007 NL Gold Glove at shortstop and flashes ungodly range to his left and right. If he hits .260, then he's worth his weight in gold.

Matt Murton had better do more than play one position on the field (and not altogether well) and bat for a decent average. Cliff Floyd was acquired because the Cubs believe (and me) believe that you need to get better run production out of left that what Murton seems capable of delivering by himself.

Actually, winning a Cy Young would probably mean you know WTF you're talking about when it comes to pitching mechanics. I personally don't think he knows much else aside from mechanics.

Arm problems aren't always necessarily mechanically related, you know.

"Trib Bulls reporter Sam Smith has weighed in on the debate "

If Smith was ever correct about his Bulls trade speculations the Bulls would have Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce right now.

He's probably typing in his office in his underwear.

"Actually, winning a Cy Young would probably mean you know WTF you’re talking about when it comes to pitching mechanics. I personally don’t think he knows much else aside from mechanics"

Totally false

Just cause you can wing it doesn't mean you know anything about the mechanics of it.

"If Smith was ever correct about his Bulls trade speculations the Bulls would have Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce right now."

Kobe was actually looking for houses in Chicago when he decided to accept the Lakers' offer.

Silent Towel,

|Trouble is people want to fixate on his offensive production, when defense is most important at shortstop.|

Have you downloaded the patch for the Y2K bug yet? I know 2000 seems like a long time from now, but it is best to get ready ASAP.

|If healthy, Izturis wins the 2007 NL Gold Glove at shortstop and flashes ungodly range to his left and right. If he hits .260, then he’s worth his weight in gold.|

Well, gold is trading at $668 per ounce. That comes to $10668 per pound and if BR is right, around $16 million for one Izturis. Even if he is healthy, he won't be the best fielding SS in the NL, unfortunately.

What I am really curious about is why a guy who combines Kerry Wood's arm history and Aram Ram's leg woes all into a twoish dimensional player gets a free pass by you?

Your comment is nonsense Wes. It's like saying Kerry Wood striking out 20 batters must mean he knows something about pitching mechanics.

The fact is, Stone started out as flame thrower and retired as a lame thrower with elbow tendinitis. Along the way he had one sore arm after another. So what did he do about? He decided to destroy his arm in pursuit of the Cy Young:

"Stone had decided to try for one big year, throwing more curveballs -- over 50% -- at the expense of his arm. He later said "I knew it would ruin my arm. But one year of 25-7 is worth five of 15-15."

Source:baseballreference.com

AZ Phil you are some kinda completist! Really nice work again.

DJH, yes the Under Armour story is true. There's a picture of what it WILL look when it goes onto the green outfield gated in May at this Tribune link.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/

"Kobe was actually looking for houses in Chicago when he decided to accept the Lakers’ offer."

And I'm sure we will hear about Z looking for houses in SoCal.

Precious Wrigley Field hasn't been all that precious for awhile now..

It's just going to be more and more of this, get use to it.

No one's going to stop watching or going because of advertisements, so why would they stop putting them on?

Kerry Wood can take his 30 lbs. and do Slim Fast commercials for all I care.

The biggest issue of Spring Training is this: Has there been a Mark Prior sighting yet, and if so, can he actually throw a baseball with his right arm? Because if he is healthy and can serve as even the #3 starter, he will impact this club more than any other player.

Regarding WOOD and PRIOR,

"Both are healthy right now, 'knock knock,' they've been throwing their bullpens," general managed Jim Hendry said. "They're set to be on schedule with everyone else."

Source:Sun Media

Saying that Cesar Izturis IS a ponential all star is the same as saying that Neifi Perez is a potential all star. Izturis made the team one time on the strength of a fluke hot 1st half and the fact that he played on a bad big market team. That is the same reason he won his gold glove. Every fielding metric in the book rates Izturis as slightly above average in most all categories. Conversely they rate Murton as slightly above average as a Lfer in the same comps. The Izturis/Murton crap is more about heresay and nostalgia on Stone's part in my opinion. In his day Mark Belanger was his SS and he never hit either. But the corner OF on his 70's teams were big burly High HR high K guys. Steve Stone is from the Jim Hendry/Dusty Baker toolsy, look good in a uniform crowd. I personally would rather play guys on merit and production numbers. But that is just me. Everyone is entitled to dissagree.

"Every fielding metric in the book rates Izturis as slightly above average in most all categories. "

Fielding metric? Oh crap, where do I begin. Hitting metrics are worthless enough and now we are going to have to hear about fielding metrics. My God!

Izturis makes tough plays look routine and gets to balls that cedeno had to dive for. You could see it last year in the games he played with the cubs and that was what he was doing in 04. Is he the best national league shortstop? No, but he is a excellent defender and if he hits over .260 and doesn't hit in the 2 hole I will be happy.

Chad, I generally think that all stats are bull. I would just assume that we watch any 3 random games and base all of our opinions on that. Stats and metrics are totally overrated.

"Fielding metric? Oh crap, where do I begin."

Begin by learning about how baseball is analyzed in 2007.

Learn about Rate2, UZR, defensive Win Shares, etc. Do a little reading, a little research. Decide which methodology you respect. And take advantage of their efforts to support any claims you make.

But do not just piss all over the work that intelligent baseball fans are doing to measure defensive performance. Smart people are out there helping us understand the game better. We should be grateful, not dismissive.

well-said, thanks.

Re #51:

Before I go off on yet another Jane, you ignorant slut rant, let me just say that all the numbers in the world will never tell you anything about a guy's ability to read a ball or know where a player tends to hit it. Cal Ripken talked about as he got older and slower he worked hard on positioning himself better to make up for the ground he could no longer cover. Judging defense is totally subjective and can only be gauged by the eye. And I don't care what kind of BS stats you throw out there, Izturis is gold glove caliber and Matt Murton is not. You can't judge savvy and you can't judge sheer will. But whatever, go keep you nose in books. Some day you will realize that this game is not played with dice.

oh oh...the under armor photo looks like two St. Louis Arches painted on the door...only one of them is upside down.

can Burma Shave be far behind?

Chad, I'm usually a troll here and I usually pass on yours' and others' luddite comments with only a sigh and no word of my own. But for some reason tonight's different.

"all the numbers in the world will never tell you anything about a guy’s ability to read a ball or know where a player tends to hit it"

You don't need all the numbers. You need the right ones. People are out there collecting volumes of play-by-play data on every hitter and every fielder, recording more observations than you or I would make in a year. Then they take those observations and make sense of them, turning them into statistics that reveal strengths and weaknesses of players. That's valuable information for teams and fans and it's information I want to know. Don't you want to know what some of the most intelligent baseball fans in the world are saying about your team? Don't you want to what statistics (that is, observations of real events) tell you about how these players are likely to perform?

"Cal Ripken talked about as he got older and slower he worked hard on positioning himself better to make up for the ground he could no longer cover."

Good for Cal. If a player does that today (and it makes any difference) it will show up in the play-by-play data that good defensive metrics are using.

"Judging defense is totally subjective and can only be gauged by the eye."

No. It's not subjective. Players can only reach a certain range, throw a certain speed, etc. Yes, it can only be gauged by the eye. Which is why good defensive metrics use observations and play-by-play data.

"And I don’t care what kind of BS stats you throw out there, Izturis is gold glove caliber and Matt Murton is not."

No argument. Izturis' defensive prowess is precisely what the poster's point was when you crapped all over defensive metrics.

"You can’t judge savvy and you can’t judge sheer will."

Yes you can. Statistics have nothing to do with either, but "make-up" is important to a lot of front offices. They make judgements on it all the time.

"But whatever, go keep you nose in books. Some day you will realize that this game is not played with dice."

Cute. Right. Books. Those terrible things. And Web sites! And television! How dare they give me information and share the experience of trained observers? How dare they!

Look, Chad, wallow in the dark if you want. But don't infer my ignorance or the ignorance of anyone who is taking advantage of the intelligence, observation and--yes--savvy of the fantastic analysts who are providing more insight into hitting, pitching and defense for those of us who will listen than any previous generation of fans has had the opportunity to hear.

My comment comparing Izturis and Murton comes from Aaron B's quote:

"Every fielding metric in the book rates Izturis as slightly above average in most all categories. Conversely they rate Murton as slightly above average as a Lfer in the same comps."

Go ahead and use whatever numbers you like, you will never correctly pick the outcome. Why? Cause stats lie. Stats only tell you what HAPPENED! It can never tell you what will happen. Like I said before and I'll say it again. A guy is a .300 lifetime hitter. In his last 9 abs he has 2 hits. You think its a lock that the next ab he gets a hit? NOPE. And I get the whole idea of balls hit to locations and assigning numbers to those locations. But who would you rather have, a guy who can get to that spot or a guys who knows enough to be standing there?

And then take a guy like Corey Patterson. He may get high marks in certain categories cause he is fast enough to make up for his lack of understanding fielding. But Jim Edmonds is a much better fielder. How do I know this? I watch them play. Stats can't tell you if a guy can get a good read on a ball or knows the best way to attack it. I am/was a very slow runner yet I was a great fielder cause I knew where to be. There is no number for that.

and chad's in mid-season form as well.....

hopefully the Cubs come out swinging to start the season like you guys have....

Kerry Wood is playing with fire. He’s working his ass off to overcome going under the knife for a clear problem with his rotator cuff, which likely will put an end to his enigmatic career for good.
---------
It's not so clear that partial thickness rotator cuff tears need surgery. The arthroscopic procedure he underwent found a labral tear which is completely different part of the shoulder anatomy (the fibrous attachment to the shoulder socket) and was repaired at that time. Dr. Kremchek didn't find a cuff tear or any cuff damage. Full thickness tears which leave a hole that can be a millimeter or larger can definitely be seen through the scope for diagnosis as well as repair purposes. In addition to cuff repair the acromion is shaved flat (this is the bone of the scapula (shoulder blade) that projects above the cuff (supraspinatus tendon) and it often has a curved shape which can rub on the cuff, hence the impingement leading to cuff wear and tear. Shaving the acromion helps in the long run but slows up the recovery process as it add to the stiffness that has to be worked through in rehab. KW didn't have an acromionplasty because he wasn't diagnosed as having a cuff tear at the time of his shoulder surgery.

Partial tears can also be seen through the scope both from the joint side view or from the bursal side. In ortho circles it's controversial to repair partial thickness tears unless that is the pathology that is clearly causing the problem. Partial tears have worn "fabric" but no structural defect. They can be taken down and converted to a full thickness tear and then repaired with sutures. That is the current approach when surgically repairing a partial thickness tear. Here is the concept that is being used in KW's situation: partial thickness cuff tears do not always lead to pain particularly if activity can be modified.

In KW's case, I recall reading that a partial cuff tear was diagnosed with an MRI enhanced with dye injected into the shoulder joint (the arthrogram component of the test) after he had returned from the labral repair surgery and rehab and pitched several games but experienced pain after throwing 70+ pitches. Thus it's not so clear to me what the MRI images precisely were showing just from reading the sports press on this. The arthrogram component is a useful adjunct to the MRI but it usually doesn't add much if the dx is not a full thickness tear. The dye is injected into the joint and outlines the undersurface of the cuff. Thus if it leaks out through a hole in the cuff, it proves there is a tear. I'm not sure this is what was seen though since I've heard repeatedly that he had a partial thickness tear which is seen on the MRI (with or without dye) as an abnormal signal in the cuff but not with any evidence of separation. The dye, if it tracks into the substance of the tendon but not to the bursal side of the shoulder might help in the dx of a partial cuff tear, but that would be somewhat unusual especially the cuff was reportedly normal on the arthroscopy.

It was recommended that KW modify his work situation (ie. go to the bullpen). The logic was similar to John Smoltz converting to the bullpen although I don't recall if it was because of elbow or shoulder problems in Smoltz's situation. Now after years of functional work in the bullpen Smoltz felt healthy enough resume starting which has worked out well and could just be the KW situation...if he can get through this year without the shoulder acting up.

Playing with fire? Maybe, if the partial tear was his problem all along and not the labral tear. Can he pitch out of the bullpen with a partial tear? I believe so although I doubt he could return to the starting routines for a few years. Change his mechanics? I dunno, Larry R. has done somethings without trying to turn KW into a Rick Sutcliffe circa 1989. Mike Marshall says it's possible to fix KW's mechanics...but that's another can of worms.

From an orthopod's perspective, the Kerry Wood shoulder story will be a very interesting one to watch unfold this spring and hopefully summer.

And then take a guy like Corey Patterson. He may get high marks in certain categories cause he is fast enough to make up for his lack of understanding fielding. But Jim Edmonds is a much better fielder. How do I know this? I watch them play. Stats can’t tell you if a guy can get a good read on a ball or knows the best way to attack it. I am/was a very slow runner yet I was a great fielder cause I knew where to be. There is no number for that.
----
Why on earth do you believe that the phenomenon you're describing is not quantifiable? That's preposterous.

Let's play your example out here. Despite your physical limitations, you're the most savvy and willful CF around, and not only that, but you have a tremendous sense of where to position yourself for every hitter. Consequently, over the course of a 162-game season, you manage to catch 75% of the fly balls hit into your predefined fielding "zone".

Meanwhile, Corey Patterson, although a far superior athlete, lacks those key intangibles, and thus he can only get to 50% of the fly balls hit to his fielding "zone".

Virtually immediately, we've got a quantifiable, statistical representation of your fielding value relative to Patterson's -- you catch 50% more flyballs than he does. (That's (75-50)/50 by the way.)

Now how much of all of this extra 50% is attributable to savvy, and how much to will, and how much to positioning, and how much you lose to Patterson on athleticism? Who cares? All that is essentially irrelevant.

In the end, all that matters (and all our statistic needs to capture) is how many fly balls hit to your zone you catch, how many drop in, and how your numbers compare to the next guy.

That's easy to put into numbers, and the folks Stevens refers to are doing precisely that these days.

Maybe if someone tells Chad that RBI's and HR's are metrics he will relax his stance.

He is correct to some degree though, that even these most advanced fielding stats have more subjectivenes than the batting measures. It just isn't cost effective to have 100 people breakdown every play, and if you do have 100 people do it, it should probably be Indians, who have no biases prejudices or expectations about the game, not baseball fans.

Cubster, it was elbow issues that forced Schmoltz into the bullpen.

bt — February 15, 2007 @ 11:50 am
What is the chance Drew Rundle and Chris Huseby make it to Peoria anytime this year?

==================================

BT: I think Huseby and Rundle will both spend April-May at EXST, and then be assigned to Boise (SS-A) in June. Depending on how things go at Boise, Huseby or Rundle could (maybe) get a promotion to Peoria in August. But I really wouldn't expect Huseby and Rundle in Peoria until 2008.

With the new MLB rule giving teams an additional year before having to add a prospect to their 40-man rosters or risk losing the player in the Rule 5 Draft, and with both Huseby and Rundle having been signed out of high school, and since both were under age 18 when they signed, the Cubs will not need to add either to their 40-man roster until after the 2010 season. So I would not expect the Cubs to rush either of them through the system.

|not need to add either to their 40-man roster until after the 2010 season. |

In an ideal world, wouldn't you want to have to make a 40-man decision on a guy after a year in AAA?

I think the point is that the cubs may be gun shy about rushing kids in the future. The organization has really struggled in the past with premature promotions and losing prospects to attrition. At the very least, a prospect will/should retain their trade value/luster if they are dominant one level at a time. This is how the Dodgers and Mets were able to overhype their kids and make overly astute trades in the 70's and 80's.

The Real Neal — February 16, 2007 @ 10:59 am
|not need to add either to their 40-man roster until after the 2010 season. |

In an ideal world, wouldn’t you want to have to make a 40-man decision on a guy after a year in AAA?

===============================

REAL NEAL: I wouldn't say a prospect needs to necessarily prove himself AAA, because AAA is really a place for guys who need smoothing-out.

I would say I'd definitely prefer to see what a prospect can do in AA his first year there before I would commit a major league roster spot to him, though. That's going to be a lot easier to do now because teams get that extra year before having to make a 40-man roster commitment. Before the rule change last October, the Cubs would have had to make a decision on Ryan Harvey, but the change postponed that decision for another year.

For instance, under the new rules, the Cubs could have waited another year with Andy Sisco and Brian Dopirak before having to decide whether to add them to the 40. Personally, I don't think there was a chance in hell that any team was going to select Dopirak post-2005 even if he had been left off the 40, but I would tend to be more careful with pitchers (especially lefties), since they can be more-easily stashed on 25-man rosters than one-dimensional power-hitting first-basemen can be.

This will likely change, but as of right now, the Top 10 candidates most-likely to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster post-2007 are:

1. Eric Patterson, 2B (barring a career-ending injury, an absolute lock to be added to the 40)
2. Ryan Harvey, RF (likely to be added, unless he's a total flop at AA)
3. Chris Shaver, LHP (must prove he's healthy post-shoulder surgery and then must pitch well again at AA)
4. Jake Fox, C (must have a VERY good year at the plate and show some improvement behind the plate in AA)
5. Sam Fuld, CF (has to prove he's healthy AND must have a VERY good year across the board in AA)
6. Grant Johnson, RHP (but only if he turns the corner and pitches well--probably as the closer--at AA)
7. Casey McGehee, 3B-1B-C (must show he can play multiple-positions--including catcher--and hit .300+ with a bit more HR power at AAA)
8. Randy Wells, RHP (must pitch at AAA in '07 like he did at AA in '06)
9. Carmen Pignatiello, LHP (has to have OUTSTANDING year at AAA as a lefty reliever)
10. Federico Baez, RHP (must pitch effectively out of bullpen at AAA and continue to display his ex-SS "rubber-arm")

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