Cubs Cut 14, ST Roster Now at 44

The Cubs announced 14 roster cuts after today's game in Scottsdale, bringing their Spring Training roster down to 44 players. OPTIONED TO IOWA (AAA): Scott Moore, IF-OF Clay Rapada, LHP OPTIONED TO TENNESSEE (AA): Brian Dopirak, 1B OPTIONED TO DAYTONA (Hi-A) : Jeff Samardzija, RHP SENT TO MINOR LEAGUE CAMP (NRI) Jason Anderson, RHP Tyler Colvin, OF Sean Gallagher, RHP Adam Harben, RHP (rehabbing at Fitch Park after off-season TJ) Ben Howard, RHP Mike Kinkade, IF-OF (broken hand, out 4-6 weeks) Eric Patterson, 2B Chris Walker, OF John Webb, RHP Randy Wells, RHP Also, the Cubs defeated the Giants 10-5 today at Scottsdale Stadium, as Carlos Zambrano narrowly avoided a serious injury to his shoulder (non-throwing) when he fell running the bases. Derrek Lee also tweaked a groin on an awkward slide into second base, and Henry Blanco was forced to leave the game after suffering a bruised knee from a foul tip. Other than the injury report, there will be no game report from me, because I wasn't there. box score
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It is interesting Jake Fox made the cut, although maybe it is just to have an extra catcher, especially after Hank White hit one off his knee today.

Fox has been raking though, so maybe Lou is taking notice.

The 44 who remain:

2007 CHICAGO CUBS

* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS (19):
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
Kerry Wood
Michael Wuertz
Carlos Zambrano

NON-ROSTER PITCHERS (3):
* Ryan O’Malley
* Carmen Pignatiello
* Les Walrond

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

CATCHERS (3):
Michael Barrett
Henry Blanco
Geovany Soto

NON-ROSTER CATCHERS (2):
Jake Fox
# Koyie Hill

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

INFIELDERS (7):
Ronny Cedeno
Mark DeRosa
# Cesar Izturis
Derrek Lee
Aramis Ramirez
Ryan Theriot
* Daryle Ward

NON-ROSTER INFIELDERS (3):
* Micah Hoffpauir
Casey McGehee
# Tomas Perez

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

OUTFIELDERS (7):
* Buck Coats
* Cliff Floyd
* Jacque Jones
Matt Murton
# Angel Pagan
* Felix Pie
Alfonso Soriano

NON-ROSTER OUTFIELDERS (0):

JP — March 12, 2007 @ 8:29 pm
It is interesting Jake Fox made the cut, although maybe it is just to have an extra catcher, especially after Hank White hit one off his knee today.

Fox has been raking though, so maybe Lou is taking notice.

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

JP: With the way Fox has been rakin' this ST (and he has displayed as much or more consistent power as any player in camp), I think it is increasingly likely that Fox will be moved to another position this season so that his catching issues do not continue to keep him in remedial mode in the minors.

I think it's likely that Fox will start the season as the #1 LF and clean-up hitter at AA Tennessee, and if he continues to hit in AA as he has in ST, and if he can play a passable LF, he'll get a mid-season promotion to AAA.

I believe Fox has a future in the big leagues, maybe not with the Cubs, but with somebody. It could be as a corner IF-OF-RHPH, possibly even as a platoon corner OF. I just don't think it will be as a catcher.

Other than the injury report, there will be no game report from me, because I wasn’t there.

Excuses, excuses....

Can you just make one up? Think of the readers. :)

AZ Phil,

Why do you think Marshall and Mateo were kept since they really havent been streched out. I am really surprised that Mateo made the cut knowing how upset, to use a family friendly term, Loupa was at him after the Whitesox game.

chifan3887 — March 12, 2007 @ 8:47 pm
AZ Phil,

Why do you think Marshall and Mateo were kept since they really havent been streched out. I am really surprised that Mateo made the cut knowing how upset, to use a family friendly term, Loupa was at him after the Whitesox game.

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

CHIFAN3887: I don't know.

I thought Sean Marshall would get cut so that he can get stretched out as a starter at the Minor League Camp at Fitch, but it could be that the Cubs will wait to option him out until they are sure he won't have to go on the DL, because then they would have to recall him from the optional assignment. They would probably prefer to just wait and see if he is healthy enough to pitch.

As for Mateo, I suspect he, Roberto Novoa, and Carlos Marmol will continue provide Rocky Cherry with competition for the 4th RHP slot in the bullpen, although I think Cherry is the frontrunner to get the temporary slot, until Wuertz is 100% healthy.

Even if he throws in ST games, I still expect Wuertz to start the season on the DL and rehab at EXST at Fitch, before going on a minor league rehab at Iowa.

a brendon harris newsblurb from rotoworld/mlb.com

Manager Joe Maddon indicated Monday that B.J. Upton and Brendan Harris are battling for the Devil Rays' utility infielder job.

phew...g'luck there harris.

With such a signifcant number cut from the roster, this would be a good time to look at how the Cubs team has stacked up statistically against the rest of major league baseball this spring.

Offensively the the team line is .319 .386 .497 which ranks 4th/30 teams.

That OBP really stands out.

They also rank 5th in HR's (15) and stolen bases (15), and they are driving in runs, over six per game which puts them in a group that only trails the Giants and Brewers who are up around 7 runs per game.

But although our pitchers continue to be near the top in K's and have clearly worked to get the BB's down(ranking 15th or 16th) the Cubs' team ERA is a fat 5.43, good for 20th/30.

It will be interesting to see if the pitching improves from this point out.

ESPN just showed Zambrano's spill on their top 10 plays. He smoked a ball off the top of the wall in right center, and was legging it out for a triple and bit the dust hard between second and third. He still made it to third after he got back up and was all smiles.

With today's roster configurations, Fox can have a long career if he can become a legitimately servicable 3rd catcher who can effectively pinch hit against LHP and be used in double-switches and spot starts at LF/RF/1B. This type of player was more common in the late 70s and early 80s - guys like Jose Morales and Wayne Nordhagen come to mind.

lou pinella is good about giving those types of guys shots...mark mclemore springs to mind. i bet he wishes he got to derosa first instead of getting now that he's settling into a 2nd base full-time role.

theriot is the type of guy that will probably be his new pinball machine for finding ab's all over.

*COUGH* ITS BETTER THAN JOSE MACIAS. *COUGH*

Everyone's favorite shining beacon of baseball truthiness (mlbtraderumors.com) is at it again.

I think he knows somebody that saw this guy that heard from some gnarly dude whose girlfriend's cousin was dating Jim Hendry's brother-in-law's daughter that the Cubs are doing their best Monty Hall impersonation. (ahem, that's a "Let's Make a Deal" reference for the youngsters.)

http://tinyurl.com/2ccab9

jwinner - That knucklehead Zambrano is going to give us all heart attacks. Still, he's just the third craziest guy from Venezuela (after Guillen and Hugo Chavez).

"B.J. Upton and Brendan Harris are battling for the Devil Rays’ utility infielder job."

Wasn't once Upton a time that B.J. was a can't miss, untouchable for trade player, or am I remembering that wrong?

"he’s just the third craziest guy from Venezuela (after Guillen and Hugo Chavez)."

In that order! Great post BTW!!

It will still take a lot to pry Upton off of the D-Rays. I Thought the plan for him was to play at one position this spring and one spot in the order and just let him play. Appaently the D-Rays couldn't even keep that plan going for 2 weeks. Just one more reason they're the worst organization in baseball.

Any intimations of whether talks continue/progress to make Z a happy man before the start of the season? Is there any reason right now essentially not to give him what he's asking (or thereabouts)?

Sorry to not be following this in the bright one or the dim one, but only here on the good&right one.

No real surprises with these roster cuts. The next 14 are pretty easy to figure out as well. It comes down to: Prior/Wuertz on DL (probably), Pagan or Coats for last bench spot, and Guzman or Miller for 5th starter. AZ Phil, at this point who would you bet on for last bench spot and 5th starter?

Dave in Pittsburgh:

Is there any reason right now essentially not to give him what he’s asking (or thereabouts)?

Call it a hunch, and believe me, I've been wrong before, but I don't think the Cub's have any intention of extending him before the season starts.

I suspect the Cub's want him to have a "contract year" and I think Zambrano wants to prove he's worth Oswalt money. Sure, they want to keep him, I just think it will happen after this season.

AZ Phil, where's Donald Veal been the last couple of weeks? Has he reported to minor league camp at Fitch, and has anyone reported on how he's throwing?

Ditto Mark Pawelek.

RE: BJ Upton

Upton isn't helping himself any by hitting a cool .208/.240/.292 this spring, and struggling in the field.

He can't play SS or 3B, and the D-Rays have 1,234,480 outfielders in camp, with Baldelli, Young, Dukes, Crawford, and Johnny Gomes all ahead of Upton.

They should probably consider trading one or two of those guys, or one of them and Upton for some decent pitching.
Upton may just need a fresh start somewhere else.

Jake Fox needs to find another position on the field. Perhaps he can become a poor man's Aubrey Huff, or in other words a guy who is a DH but marginally tolerable at 1st base and right field. Who knows, maybe he has the ability to learn 3rd base.

B.J. Upton is a can't miss prospect who has missed. And badly so. I'm not sure what a change of scenery will do for a guy who can't play the field and who continues to be plagued with the same hitting deficiencies year in and year out.

Unfortunately, I think Wade Miller winds up the 5th starter. No matter how dazzling Angel Guzman might look the remaining two weeks. I also have a hard time believing Clay Rapada is in line to win a slot in the bullpen. Maybe Guzman gets that job vacancy, but I'm not sure that will be in his best long-term interests.

ST, Clay Rapada's just been optioned to AAA - see Phil's post that started this thread. Maybe you mean Rocky Cherry?

George Altman — March 13, 2007 @ 7:32 am
No real surprises with these roster cuts. The next 14 are pretty easy to figure out as well. It comes down to: Prior/Wuertz on DL (probably), Pagan or Coats for last bench spot, and Guzman or Miller for 5th starter. AZ Phil, at this point who would you bet on for last bench spot and 5th starter?

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

GEORGE A: If I had to guess right now, I'd say Angel Guzman gets the 5th rotation slot, Rocky Cherry gets the 4th RHP slot in the pen, and Buck Coats gets the last spot on the bench, But of course, that could all change in the next 2-1/2 weeks.

If Guzman does indeed claim the #5 spot in the rotation, then I figure Wade Miller will get traded to an A. L. club at the end of ST in a Hendry Goodfella deal for a AA or Class "A" middling pitching prospect, and Prior will either start the year on the DL or (if he continues to maintain that his shoulder "feels fine") he'll get optioned to AAA (and THEN he might say his shoulder hurts!) .

I believe Wuertz will start the year on the DL and then stay at EXST at Fitch for a few days, and then go out on a rehab stint at Iowa until he's deemed "ready." If Cherry pitches well once the regular season starts, it's possible that Wuertz could take Cotts' job (not Cherry's), and then Cotts could get sent to AAA.

The reason I think Coats has the best chance to get the last spot on the bench is because he can (in a pinch) play LF-CF-RF-SS-3B-2B-1B, and neither Angel Pagan nor Tomas Perez have that degree of versatility. With only a five-man bench and three of those slots allocated to Blanco, Ward, and Floyd, and with Theriot not having showed that he can play LF-CF-RF, a premium will be placed on IF-OF versatility for the 5th slot.

I suspect Angel Pagan will get optioned to Iowa, and I don't what will happen with Tomas Perez. A lot of times a veteran like Perez will sign a "Minor League" contract before ST, but it doesn't mean they are expected to play at AAA if they don't make the big club coming out of ST, although they usually have that option. Perez probably was told before the start of ST that if he doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day roster, he can either go to Iowa, or if he prefers, the Cubs will release him and he can make a deal elsewhere.

With Cedeno and E-Pat likely to be the SS-2B combo at Iowa, Perez would probably be (at best) the I-Cubs ultility INF.

Again, this is only as things stand right now, and an injury or injuries in the next couple of weeks would open up additional slots.

Yep. Meant to say Rocky Cherry. But the statement still applies. I don't see Sweet Lou and Rothschild going with Cherry for the last bullpen spot. I'd bet Miller is annointed 5th starter with Guzman taking the last bullpen slot.

I'm starting to think this bullpen may not be as good as originally suspected. I'm deeply suspicious of Ryan Dempster. Scott Eyre hasn't looked right. Kerry Wood is far from a certainty. Neal Cotts has been roughed up.

Phil, I sure hope you are correct about Angel Guzman. I'd love to see him get a crack at being 5th starter. If he doesn't work out, then move on to Plan B in the form of Sean Marshall, Juan Mateo, etc.

IMO, JIm Hendry is going to add a new bench player before this team breaks camp. Sweet Lou keeps intimating that he's not comfortable only going with one infield reserve (Ryan Theriot). And surely there must be some veteran out there who is upgrade over the triumvirate of Angel Pagan, Buck Coats and Tomas Perez.

What?! Jeff Samardzija didn't make the 5th starter spot? He's DONE.

Seriously though, I think that he showed a lot this spring. About the Cubs having 15 SB so far, that's not going to keep going up with EPat and C. Walker being sent to Fitch.

AZ PHIL:

The players sent to minor league camp-- are they being sent there because the organization is still deciding where to assign them?

Or another way to ask-- what's the difference between being optioned to, say Iowa (as in Moore and Rapada) versus being sent to Minor League camp?

As for the cuts-- I'm a little surprised that Moore didn't get more time on the ST roster. Do you have an idea of where Moore stands in the organization right now?

BJ Upton 2005 AAA stats:
18 HR, 74 RBI, 44 SB/13 CS (77%) , .303/.392/.490

His bat sure looked ready, even if he handled the ball like a grenade. They should have either moved him to the OF then, or in a trade to a team where he would play regularly.
He is only 22 years old. He'll get a shot somewhere.

ST-
Why wouldn't the Cubs consider Rocky Cherry?
0.00 ERA, 5.1 IP, 2 Hits, 9K/2BB, 3 saves.

If he continues to pitch well, he should be on the team.

Because I don't see Jim Hendry whacking Wade Miller, which therefore means they need to do something with Angel Guzman. And that "something" will probably be the last slot in the bullpen, although I think this is a mistake and he should be in the rotation.

B.J. Upton has never hit during any of his several big league trials. He might be a classic AAAA player with the bat. Combine that with wretched defensive skills in the infield, and his career is on very shaky ground.

nate — March 13, 2007 @ 8:14 am
AZ Phil, where’s Donald Veal been the last couple of weeks? Has he reported to minor league camp at Fitch, and has anyone reported on how he’s throwing?

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

NATE: Donald Veal is at Minor League camp, and I would think he'll probably be throwing in a minor league ST game this weekend. Nothing to report yet on how he's throwing.

The minor league camp is kind of mixed-up right now, because most of the "Iowa Cubs" have been (until today) in the big league camp. Starting today, though, the Iowa and Tennessee squads should become more well-defined, and then ST games start on Saturday.

Best I can figure, the AAA Group PROBABLY will look something like this starting today, although a number of these guys will soon be assigned to the AA Group and/or eventually traded or released.

AAA GROUP

PITCHERS:
Edgar Almonte
Thomas Atlee
Jason Anderson
Cory Bailey
Federico Baez
Nate Bland
Bobby Brownlie
Sean Gallagher
Adam Harben (rehabbing from TJ surgery)
Jim Henderson
Lincoln Holdzkom
Ben Howard
Geoff Jones
J. R. Mathes
Adalberto Mendez
Clay Rapada
Paul Schappert
Chris Shaver
Roberto Sotolongo
Donald Veal
John Webb
Randy Wells

CATCHERS:
Peter Farina
Mike Mahoney
Tony Richie
Chris Robinson

INFIELDERS:
Gary Cates
Matt Craig
Mike Fontenot
Jason Hart
Jesse Hoorelbeke
Mike Kinkade (out 4-6 weeks with broken hand)
Albenis Machado
Scott Moore
Corey Myers
Eric Patterson
Carlos Rojas
Jemel Spearman
Derek Wathan

OUTFIELDERS:
Chris Amador
Jorge Cortes
Josh Kroeger
Tony Miller
Val Pascucci
Chris Walker

I think it's fairly likely that Mike Fontenot and Matt Craig will get traded before Opening Day, because they are blocked in the Cubs system, but might be a good fit in another organization. Also, the Cubs might make a "change-of-scenery" type deal ("we'll trade you one of our disappointments for one of your's") involving somebody like Bobby Brownlie.

Do we not recall the talk a couple days ago where Hendry said he would trade Wade Miller if he didn't earn a spot with the big league club.

He's really pitching poorly right now. If he doesn't improve, there just isn't any way for him to be the 5.

Romero — March 13, 2007 @ 9:45 am
AZ PHIL:

The players sent to minor league camp– are they being sent there because the organization is still deciding where to assign them?

Or another way to ask– what’s the difference between being optioned to, say Iowa (as in Moore and Rapada) versus being sent to Minor League camp?

As for the cuts– I’m a little surprised that Moore didn’t get more time on the ST roster. Do you have an idea of where Moore stands in the organization right now?

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

ROMERO: With Minor League ST games set to begin on Saturday, and with players being sent to Fitch from HoHoKam, the four "squads" are beginning to get organized.

By optioning Moore and Rapada to Iowa, Dopirak to Tennessee, and Samardzija to Daytona, it means that the Cubs intend for them to play for those teams in 2007.

Players not on the 40-man roster (NRIs) who get cut are technically "assigned to the minor league camp." Because they signed a minor league contract, their futures are less certain than players on the 40-man roster. Players signed to minor league contracts can get released at any time (with only two weeks' severance pay), so they pretty much live week-to-week, especially the older ones who were signed as minor league FAs (itinerant AAAA players) and who have no real ties with the club's Player Development Department.

Upton is a 22 year old former top 3 pick.
He'll get a lot of chances to right himself.

He needs a change of scenery, some patience, and 500-600 AB's playing the OF.

Maybe the Devil Rays will take native son Ryan Harvey in exchange for B.J. Upton. Two major disappointments, neither of which I have faith will become serious major league players.

IMO, JIm Hendry is going to add a new bench player before this team breaks camp.

Sweet Lou already said he has all the parts he needs in camp and he just needs to decide between them. $20 virtual bucks says there's no trade.

in case anyone missed it, the first 4 spots of the rotation are set:

Z in the opener @ Cincy
Lilly 2 days later @ Cincy
Marquis in the finale
Hill gets home opener honors vs Milwaukee on that Friday

Piniella wants to go with 5 starters:

“I guess we could if we really wanted to, but look, you work the guy who earns that spot and get him nice and ready and sharp to pitch, and all of a sudden you let him sit for two weeks,” Piniella said. “That’s not really fair. So I think we’re just going to pitch in rotation unless we get some bad weather.”

Wes comment #12 got stuck in the moderation queue if anyone missed it, mlbtraderumors speculation.

LouPa:
“That’s not really fair."

Who gives a shit about being fair? Put the best pitcher out there as much as possible. I would much rather have Z pitch that 5th game on normal days rest (since they have the offdays) than have the winner of the 5th spot. They are in the 5th spot for a reason (they are not as good as those above them).

So Jason Marquis is our #3 starter? WOW!!!!

AZ Phil, a point of contention, just because a players is given an assignment in spring training, doesn't necessarily mean that player will start there when the season begins.

After re-reading, I guess your wording makes sense, the Cubs "intend" to start those players at those levels, but things can certainly change.

Just look at this SP staff of ours... Z. three question marks and a blank space

We should have kept Maddux.

Never thought of it like Piniella said. It makes sense, why have a battle for the 5th spot and then have him not pitching regularly in the majors for up to a month?

Get a good 5 man rotation going, don't adjust for days off and maybe the staff will be fresher later in the season. I wouldn't mind Z getting an extra day between starts here and there.

I am sorry CWTP.....how many team have 5 starters who are all not question marks? Anyone? Huh?

Besides Lilly and Marquis are not question marks.

mannytrillo:

So Jason Marquis is our #3 starter? WOW!!!!

cwtp:

Just look at this SP staff of ours… Z. three question marks and a blank space

Marquis & Lilly have looked pretty good so far, IMO. Besides, I don't think "keeping Maddux" was an option.

The rotation is ok... not fantastic, but ok. I'm more worried about 2 things, 1. I think Mark Derosa will be a flop. and 2. We're going to find that there are 3 left fielders and no center fielders.

So Jason Marquis is our #3 starter? WOW!!!!

You have to be smarter than that. You realize Marquis is pitching the third game only to break up the the two lefties right?

Mark DeRosa will be fine. I like both his bat and play at 2nd base. Cesar Izturis and he will form a solid double play combo.

The outfield defense could be a nightmare. The only sure thing defensively is Jacque Jones in right field. The previous poster is right -- the Cubs have three left fielders. IMO, the longer range plan must be to put Alfonso Soriano in left.

"You have to be smarter than that. You realize Marquis is pitching the third game only to break up the the two lefties right?"

Not only that, but it might be a factor that Lou wants the kid with less experience to make his first start at home. After the first couple weeks, I don't really think staff rotation means much of anything anyway. It's not like our ace is always going against their ace.

How is Murton a "nightmare" in left? He's no '92 Bonds but he's certainly not a 2007 Bonds either. Just from watching him play/throw out there, I'd say he's average to slightly above average in left.

Jason Dubois he is not.

The Matt Murton I have seen play left field has little instincts for the position. More times than not, he plays a tolerable enough left field. And one would think his play out there will improve. But the problem at hand is where to put Alfonso Soriano. He doesn't belong in center field, and IMO won't be able to cut it in right field. Besides, Jacque Jones does a very good covering territory and getting to balls in right field.

Soriano needs to be in left field. I'm betting that the Cub braintrust will come to this same conclusion sooner rather than later.

$20 virtual bucks says there’s no trade.

I'm not sure there will be a trade, but I wouldn't be shocked to see Hendry pick up someone elses waiver wire castaway. Another "Neifi" utility infielder type who doesn't quite make it on another teams roster, but has a few more skills than T.Perez.

If nothing else, I'd wager a fairly large virtual sum that Hendry picks up some utility infielder, and signs them to at least a minor league deal, with the the possibility of a call up in case of an injury - just like the 14 million Tony Womacks and Ray Ordonez's he's signed in years past.

What the Cubs need is a Pablo Ozuna type, or in other words a guy that can help you both in the outfield and infield. But doesn't go by the name of Jose Macias.

Murton's fine in left, no worse than average and he constantly works at his game. I think fans of teams fall into the trap of only watching their guys and magnifying every bad play out there and losing perspective.

His routes aren't great and his arm is average at best, but he's got above average speed to make up for some of that and it's freaking left field.

Our outfield defense was rated as one of the best in the league last year by more than one measure and up there with defenses that people would think are good that don't believe in defensive stats (yeah we were right up there with the Braves and Blue Jays).

Soriano was brought in to be the Center Fielder, and he's going to be the Center Fielder for at least a year, or longer depending upon what they decide to do with Pie.

He's got good range and a solid arm, and proved he can adapt fairly well to the outfield. Give him more than 2 weeks to adjust to the new angles of CF and he will be fine - or even above average.

Hey, Tony Womack did just get released from Nationals camp...

In all reality, though, I don't see it happening. Tomas Perez is that veteran utility infielder, he's this spring's Womack/Ordonez. I

'Soriano needs to be in left field. I’m betting that the Cub braintrust will come to this same conclusion sooner rather than later. '

So should the Cubs braintrust extend Jacque Jones's contract for 4 more years? I saw a picture of Jacque's fireplace, and amazingly the mantle wasn't covered with Silver Sluggers and Gold Gloves.

The guy, when healthy and staying 'within himself' , is a capable major league player. He's not a building block.

As far as Soriano's defense in right, it makes no sense to speculate that he can't play right field at this point. You're free to offer that opinion, and certainly entitled to it, but opinions formulated without some considerable base of facts behind them aren't really worth anything. Sure it's possible that Soriano won't cut it in center or right field, but maybe you should watch him play there or get the observations of a single professional baseball person before you start throwing it around.

Of course, for us worry-warts out here in cyberspace, I propose that DeRosa will NOT be all right.
He had a tremendous May, June, and August, a pedestrian July, and an awful September.
His career numbers of .273/.331/.404 are awfully replacement level.

I love spring training. It's the best time to be a Cub fan. Optimism reigns.

But seriously, Zambrano we know. Perhaps we can count on Lilly. The rest of our staff is one big question mark. And overall our pitching has not cut it at all.

20th best ERA out of 30 major league teams so far. Awful.

Wow, the MLBtraderumors people are retarded. People actually register for the right to say things that stupid. Another week of no making fun of anything anyone says has been awarded The Cubs Reporter.

Rob G. — March 13, 2007 @ 11:04 am

in case anyone missed it, the first 4 spots of the rotation are set:

Z in the opener @ Cincy
Lilly 2 days later @ Cincy
Marquis in the finale
Hill gets home opener honors vs Milwaukee on that Friday
----------------------------------

I'm not sure how you figure Hill is getting "Home" openers vs. Milwaukee.

That Friday game is in Milwaukee, an the Brewers start off their season at home on April 2nd so that will not be their home opener.

The Cubs home opener isn't until 1 week into the season, on April 9th, against the Stros.

Were you just thinking that our 2nd series of the season against the Brewers was at Wrigley, instead of Milwaukee, or am I missing something here?

Wow, quite a few typos on that previous post.

I miss the preview button.....

question about coats...from anyone who's SEEN him this spring(aka, not heard on the radio or etc....unless you've heard the info from an eye witness).

is coats still lost on the breaking stuff...especially anything with a sinking action not at his chest/shoulders. he's had this awful hole there in the past.

Re: Mark DeRosa

The Cubs aren't expecting him (or paying him) to be Ryne Sandberg reincarnate. Rather the expectation is that he does a damn fine impersonation of Mark Grudzielanek circa 2003. He'll be just fine.

Re: The Outfield

It gnaws at some of you that Jacque Jones is a pretty good ballplayer. In addition to being a good right fielder (notwithstanding his arm) he also provides a desperately needed quality left-handed bat to the lineup. Right field is very difficult at Wrigley. The wind, the afternoon sun right in your eyes, the puny foul territory, the corner wall angle, the friggin bricks... IMO, the Cubs $136 million investment needs to be in left field at some point. I am certain they will eventually conclude the same.

"Were you just thinking that our 2nd series of the season against the Brewers was at Wrigley, instead of Milwaukee, or am I missing something here?"

Games in Milwaukee might as well be home games. The players can probably even stay at their Chicago homes if they so desire, and 90% of the fans at the games are Cub fans.

It is known as Wrigley North after all.

yeah, I don't have the schedule memorized, I misread Bruce Miles, it indeed states lefty Rich Hill will open the Milwaukee series on Friday, April 6. For some reason I thought opener instead of open I guess.

if he sticks to his 5-man plan then the rotation will be:
Z @ Cincy
Lilly @ Cincy
Marquis @ Cincy
----
Hill @ Milwaukee
#5 guy @ Milwaukee
Z @ Milwaukee
----
Lilly in the home opener vs Houston
Marquis vs. Houston
Hill vs. Houston
----
#5 guy vs Cincy
Z vs Cincy
Lilly vs Cincy
----
Marquis vs Padres
Hill vs Padres
-----
#5 guy @ Atlanta
Z @ Atlanta
----
Lilly vs St. Louis
Marquis vs. St. Louis (Fox)
Hill vs. St. Louis
----
#5 guy vs Milwaukee
Z vs. Milwaukee
Lilly vs. Milwaukee
---
Marquis @ St. Louis
Hill @ St. Louis (Fox)
#5 guy @ St. Louis

Marquis set-up to get 2 starts vs the team he seems to hate.

'20th best ERA out of 30 major league teams so far. Awful. '

Ok, I give up on finding a site where that's available, but I would suspect that most of the bottom 11 teams play in Arizona.

anyone calling upton a failure or lost with a bat has eiher never seen him or not seen him enough.

yes, his fielding is veeeeeeery bad all over. even ozzie smith couldnt help him much. SS/3rd/2nd...forget it...even if TB wont yet.

the kid can hit, he can run, and he does have a little pop in his bat. he's also a hard worker who's managed to stay away from a **VERY** infectiously magnetic e.dukes and d.young to stay out of trouble though they were good friends and in each other's faces for 3/4 of the year the past couple years.

no one's gonna give up on his bat any time soon even if he leaves TB to go be an OF'r for someone...which is pretty much his destiny, the OF.

"In addition to being a good right fielder (notwithstanding his arm)"

That's like saying Rosie O'Donnell would be a good model (notwithstanding her horrible body).

Just kidding, I think JJ is fine in right, and hopefully he rehabbed his shoulder problem enough that his throws will be decent this year.

AZ Phil or another rules junkie:

The Tigers optioned Andrew Miller to A-ball yesterday. Since he pitched for the big club last year, does the service time clock continue to run against Detroit, or is it frozen, and for how long?

"It gnaws at some of you that Jacque Jones is a pretty good ballplayer."

1- you're not the only jones supporter just cuz you bring it up every 5 days...nor are you the first

2- you keep saying people are mad/jealous etc. about your views of jones yet give the "world vs. me" version instead of talking about/to the people who you are arguing with.

and in regards to comment #69 (insert obligatory snicker), hope Lilly pulls an Arroyo and looks like Cy Young that first week against them with 2 homers. Unfortunately Butterball Rusch isn't pitching for them.

wow...i just read the above and i cant even find anyone ragging on jones outside of "damn i hope he can throw this year" and "well, he doesnt have a gold glove".

and no one's said he sucks.

you, however, have said he's the best defensive OF the club has...and for some reason we should ignore part of his defense when coming to that conclusion.

yeah I'm fine with Jones and hoped all off-season they wouldn't deal him. He's a warrior in the corners out there and the arm stuff is overplayed. And he's a damn good hitter versus righties. I just hope the Lou has more guts to sit him though versus the bulk of lefty starters.

http://deadspin.com/sports/baseball/baseball-...

this one's for Chad, Aaron Gleeman talking about the A's and Twins playoff failures and the double-standard.

'is coats still lost on the breaking stuff…especially anything with a sinking action not at his chest/shoulders. he’s had this awful hole there in the past. '

I saw him swing over one pitch that I can remember, because I said to myself 'yep, there's a reason this guy can't hit'.

That's the thing about getting overely excited about spring training stats, particularly early spring training stats. Rocky Cherry has looked great... he's looked great against guys who are going to be in AA or AAA this year. If he is getting guys out in the 7th inning the last week of spring training, after the guys have seen him, I don't know, twice before mabye then I will jump on the Cherry for 12th pitcher bandwagon. But when you have 7 guys in the bullpen who have already shown the ability to get the same ML hitters out repeatedly, I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt over someone up for the Southrun League.

Buck Coats and Felix Pie have gotten a lot of singles off guys who's breaking stuff isn't nearly as sharp as it will be in 3 weeks or guys like Cherry, who will be in the PCL this year.

In JJ's defense, I've watched him make probably 9 or 10 throws to third and a couple to the plate this spring and they've all been MUCH better than anything he did last year. Most of them were really accurate on a couple of hops.

You can't be accurate when you're shoulder hurts. It just doesn't work that way. I said that about pitchers yesterday, it works the same way for fielders.

crunch — March 13, 2007 @ 12:41 pm
question about coats…from anyone who’s SEEN him this spring(aka, not heard on the radio or etc….unless you’ve heard the info from an eye witness).

is coats still lost on the breaking stuff…especially anything with a sinking action not at his chest/shoulders. he’s had this awful hole there in the past.

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

CRUNCH: Buck Coats used to be TOTALLY lost on anything with a bend in it, now he's only sometimes lost. He still needs to work some on his approach at the plate, but it's improving.

He's dead reddin' the four-seamers, and at least he generally knows what he can't hit, and so he's looking to go to the opposite field more than any time previous. But then he'll forget it the next time up. He needs to stay more focused.

Like Pagan did last year, Coats should start hitting more HRs this year. He's always had warning track power and could hit sky-hight fly balls, but now it seems like he's starting to drive pitches with more authority.

I have to give Coats credit. I had him totally written off and fugured him as a AAA utility guy until this Spring. He has improved as a hitter, he's hustling, and while he has all kinds of trouble going back on fly balls and line drives, he does a great job of charging balls in the outfield and then making solid throws to the bases.

Like Soriano, Coats absolutely MUST play a deep outfield to keep from misplaying fly balls and line drives into two and three base errors, but (also like Soriano) he has the speed to close fast on balls that are hit in front of him. Piniella keeps telling these guys to play deeper, but then sometimes they overdo it and play WAY too deep. There is a "right place" to set-up that's different for each player, but each of them need to find that spot.

there are far more bad decisions made off of spring training performances than good ones. Don't Believe the Hype!!!!

thnx neal and phil.

Jones is a deecent player, especially for only a $5 million committment. In a reasonably perfect world, he's be platooned in RF, getting 400-450 AB's.
His career splits are:
vs RHP: .295/.343/.493
vs LHP: .228/.275/.350

I don't care how much he makes. He should be platooned. His splits are indefensible. It is not a one seson aberration, it is over his entire career that he struggles against LHP.

Let's talk about the elephant under the rug. Fact is a some of you despise (openly or discreetly) both Jacque Jones and Cliff Floyd? Why, because you lie awake at night thinking they are going to sabotage the longetivity of Matt Murton's career in a Cub uniform.

Any objective person understands the following, even if they vehemently counter defend to keep up a good bluff.

A. Left field is very likely the best spot for Alfonso Soriano.

B. Center field is hopefully the future province of Felix Pie.

C. Jacque Jones is a good ballplayer, and a good right fielder.

D. The Cub lineup has screaming need for the left-handed bat provided by Jacque Jones. And Cliff Floyd.

mets released alay soler (the cuban defector who went from rookieball to the majors just last year).

weird. he's supposedly not injured and "27-30 years old"...officially 27.

"Let’s talk about the elephant under the rug. Fact is a some of you despise (openly or discreetly) both Jacque Jones and Cliff Floyd? Why, because you lie awake at night thinking they are going to sabotage the longetivity of Matt Murton’s career in a Cub uniform."

silent...are you aware of what psychopathic behavior consists of?

ya gotta get through the "psycho" part...some of the most business successful people/corporations in the world are true psychopaths. just throwing that out there...

No one in the world is lying awake at night thinking about Jacque Jones.

It's really a wonder, Cubs fans ability to exagerate the ability or lack thereof of their players.

Last year off season, I spent a lot of time on this board, breaking down Jones's '05 saying how he wasn't as bad as he seems. The consensus was that he hit too many groundballs and without the Metrodome those groundballs would become outs, therefore he would hit worse with the Cubs in '06. The Cubs had flushed $25 million down the drain.

Now this off-season, Jones is the least appreciated player in baseball, an obvious all-star that the man is keeping down.

He's an average ball player. Good enough to be a ML starter, but not good enough to block an All-Star from being acquired (Soriano) or developed (Pie).

WPZ — March 13, 2007 @ 12:49 pm
AZ Phil or another rules junkie:

The Tigers optioned Andrew Miller to A-ball yesterday. Since he pitched for the big club last year, does the service time clock continue to run against Detroit, or is it frozen, and for how long?

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

WPZ: If you mean MLB service time, the only way a player accrues MLB service time while playing in the minor leagues is if he's on a minor league rehab while on an MLB DL, or if the player is optioned out for 19 days or less in a given season, then the player gets credit for a full season of MLB service time.

Once the player is on optional assignment for 20 days or more, no MLB service time is accrued for the first 19 days or anytime after that while the player is on optional assignnemt,

Conversely, if a player is optioned out for 19 days or less in a given season, he doesn't use up a minor league option for that season. Once a player hits 20 days (aggregate) on optional assignmemt to the minors in a given season (starting with Opening Day), a minor league option year is charged, but the player can no longer get credit for a full season of MLB service time, either.

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

Z having fun with his fall yesterday. Agent and Hendry are set to meet Saturday.

I actually agree with all four of your points listed in alphabetical form there, ST. I'm a fan of a straight platoon in left, truthfully.. with a caveat: A healthy Floyd is a great run producer. A not healthy Floyd is not.

Also, D becomes not correct if there's a lefty on the mound, of course.

If Murton plays, JJ and Izturis will be only the lefty bats in the order (P excluded). Obviously then you would have Floyd, Ward, and either Z, Marquis, or both to pinch-hit from the left side if they bring a righty in, which is a LOT of power to have to pinch-hit late in games.

DB sez:

Jones is a deecent player, especially for only a $5 million committment. In a reasonably perfect world, he’s be platooned in RF, getting 400-450 AB’s.
His career splits are:
vs RHP: .295/.343/.493
vs LHP: .228/.275/.350

I don’t care how much he makes. He should be platooned. His splits are indefensible. It is not a one seson aberration, it is over his entire career that he struggles against LHP.
.............................................................................

I concur 100% on this. Both Theriot and DeRosa have an excellent track record against lefties. It would seem like an excellent opportunity to get DeRosa in the OF and Theriot a spot start at 2nd. Hopefully Lou will make the change if Jack starts out 1 for 24 vs Lefties again this year. Dusty didnt have the testicular fortitude to pull the plug.

Cubs order from mlb gameday:

Pie 8
Theriot 5
Murton 7
Ward 3
Barrett 2
Coats 9
Cedeno 6
Perez 2
Miller 1

Dbacks order:
Eric Byrnes 7
Stephen Drew 6
Orlando Hudson 4
Conor Jackon 3
Chad Tracy 5
Carlos Quintin 9
Chris Young 8
Chris Snyder 2
Micah Owings 1

A. Left field is very likely the best spot for Alfonso Soriano.

Objectively, there's a 33% chance this is true, and orgazational prefference is that this is not true at all. Fast, SS strenght arm. What fact is this based on?

B. Center field is hopefully the future province of Felix Pie.

Pie, it should be pointed out, bats left handed.

C. Jacque Jones is a good ballplayer, and a good right fielder.

Unless the pitcher on the opposing team throws with his left arm. Then he is just a good right fielder, and a bad ballplayer.

D. The Cub lineup has screaming need for the left-handed bat provided by Jacque Jones. And Cliff Floyd.

Last year, the Cubs had an .712 OPS against left handed pitchers. They had an .753 OPS against right handed pitchers. What are you basing this information on?

Perez 4.. sorry

its not like mlb is full of lefties...he sees about 150-ish ab's a year verses them and his power is still there if his consistancy isnt. that's worth something at least.

Real Neal, for much of the year, they did that with 2 or 3 lefties in the order that are gone.

Pierre from the left side, combination of Mabry/Walker @ 1B from the left side, all of whom are gone.

'If Murton plays, JJ and Izturis will be only the lefty bats in the order (P excluded). '

Four of the Cubs starters bat lefthanded, and two of them are pretty dangerous hitters. The only good 'reason' to have a balanced lineup is to break up the pitcher's rythm, which a pitcher can do just as effectively as Floyd will.

I'm a bit of a simpleton when it comes to lineup construction, but for a vast majority of pitchers, they have worse numbers against players who bat from the opposite side. There aren't many reverse split righties in the bigs. Thusly, since the majority of pitchers are righties (as crunch says), I'd like to get as many lefties in there against righties as possible within reason.

"The only 'good reason' to have a balanced lineup is to break up a pitcher's rhythm"

That is 100% not correct.

Doug Dascenzo:

Just kidding, I think JJ is fine in right, and hopefully he rehabbed his shoulder problem enough that his throws will be decent this year.

His throws so far this spring (the ones I've seen) haven't looked much better. Let's just say that the worms in RF should be afriad, very afraid. Let's just say, if I'm sitting on the 3rd base side, and I'm in the first 10 rows, I'll be bringing my mitt, not for foul balls, but for self defense.

Not that I oppose Jacque Jones, I like him, but he is what he is.

'Real Neal, for much of the year, they did that with 2 or 3 lefties in the order that are gone.

Pierre from the left side, combination of Mabry/Walker @ 1B from the left side, all of whom are gone.'

Not to mention the incomparable Neifi!

Unfortunately, it proves my point, not ST's. Good hitters are more important than people standing on a certain side of the plate. Murton, for example, out-hit Floyd against right handed pitchers last year.

Jones is an acceptable player in RF...not good, not terrible.
He's upper-niddle of the pack.

Floyd will be a good addition, if he is going to play 140 games and be healthy all year.

People overrate lefty/righty matchups most times. To Aaron B it is much more important to send a good hitter to the plate as opposed to a lefy hitter. Neifi Perez can bat lefty in a crucial situation. I personally would feel better with Matt Murton at the dish myself. If the cubs play lefties over hitters on a regular basis. It will be a long year.

middle of the pack....i guess i can't type today...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6563824

well stop your speculating, Soriano is playing CF

"We'll know by the third week of March, another seven or eight games," manager Lou Piniella told FOXSports.com on Monday. "But truthfully, I can almost come to that conclusion now."

Here's a gem for Silent Towel...
Matt Murton — a solid defender who is "vastly underrated" in the opinion of one rival scout — figures to get most of the playing time in left. Jones, a left-handed hitter with a career .275 on-base percentage against left-handed pitching, likely will be reduced to a platoon player in right.

very flattering piece on Soriano, who else knew he spoke Japanese? I knew he played there, didn't realize he learned the language though.

And FWIW I think Jack Jones is a better fit in CF for the cubs. He will be a free agent before Soriano or Murton. He has a very tradeable contract, so he wont block Pie. Soriano has a vastly superior arm. His long term cub future should be in Right anyway. It makes sense to make the switch now and see what youve got. Rather see it fail in March as opposed to April or May. That's what Aaron B sez anyhow.

Pierre from the left side, combination of Mabry/Walker @ 1B from the left side, all of whom are gone.’

Mabry vs. RHP:
.194/.270/.304
Yeah, he was an asset....lol.
I think the Cubs were made instantly better by getting rid of him.

"very flattering piece on Soriano, who else knew he spoke Japanese? I knew he played there, didn’t realize he learned the language though."

Do you find this surprising? I think it just makes sense. I know that if I lived/worked in another country, I'd learn the language. Oh wait, you live in So Cal where many of the 'undocumented' or 'documented' workers refuse to do the same.

If the proposition is that "Jacque Jones is an average ballplayer," then logic would flow that Matt Murton is a horsecrap ballplayer

Jones has distincly more power, more run production ability, more speed and more outfield range and acumen. Oh, and he bats from the left-hand side of the plate on a team literally dominated with right-hand bats. And, he is signed to an imminently reasonable contract and has already won the praise of his new manager. Just like he did the old one in Dusty Baker, and Terry Ryan in Minnesota.

Who's scheduled to pitch today?

Murton's Career OPS+ 111 (100 being league average)
Jones's after two season about 92 (101 for his career)

So, I don't know if I have lied awake any nights worrying about it, but I do believe an outfield of Murton, Pie, Soriano is going to outhit an outfield of Soriano, Pie, Jones and any very marginal defensive improvement that you may get with playing Jones is going to be lost in the offense you are giving away along with the extra $4 or $9 million it will cost.

In 142 games, Murton had a WARP1 of 4.1 last year. Jones needed 149 games to compile a WARP1 of 4.2. If you're a betting man, given equal opportunity, who would be the more valuable player in 2007?

ST, does your paranoia about everyone at TCR hating Jones mean you're done with your "stick a fork in Prior he's done" rants that've been peppering the threads of the last week?

bunk...no gameday audio or mlb.tv

Wade Miller today Ryno.

Do you find this surprising? I think it just makes sense. I know that if I lived/worked in another country, I’d learn the language. Oh wait, you live in So Cal where many of the ‘undocumented’ or ‘documented’ workers refuse to do the same.

Hehe, yeah I just didn't know Soriano spoke Japanese.

Gameday thread open and I expanded on the Soriano news as well...

'Jones has distincly more power,'

Jacque Jones's career Slugging%?
.461

Matt Murton's career Slugging%
.462

'more outfield range and acumen.'

Jacque Jones
Ranked 8th of 9 qualifiers among right fielders with a .976 fielding percentage and 5th in Zone Rating

Matt Murton ranked 4th of 11 left fielders in Fielding percentage and 2nd (just ahead of Soriano) in Zone Rating.

Re: POST #70‘20th best ERA out of 30 major league teams so far. Awful.
Ok, I give up on finding a site where that’s available, but I would suspect that most of the bottom 11 teams play in Arizona.

You could not be more correct, REAL NEAL. Of course...The rarefied air and higher altitude, not to mention all the balls lost in the sun, really inflate Arizona ST ERAs.

Here's how the Cactus League staffs rank in team ERA with their overall rank in ()'s.

Arizona (14)
KC (17)
Texas (18)
Cubs (20)
Colorado (21)
San Diego (22)
Oakland (23)
Seattle (24)
LA Angels (25)
San Fran (27)
Milwaukee (28)
White blanks (29)

Who, you ask ranks 30th?

The Washington Nationals.

Thanks CWTP, where is that from?

I am not learning Danish. 5 million people speak it, you can actually converse in Latin with more people that Danish.

'bunk…no gameday audio or mlb.tv '

Crap, guess I am going to have to watch Notting Hill while I iron tonight.

sure Jones does, if Pagan makes the team and/or Derosa can play out there.

Spring Training team stats are courtesy of MLB.COM

someone drag mark grace's ass off the golf course and bribe him with a carton of winstons...meh...i got a full afternoon of nothing to do and a nice day to chill in the sunroom to listen to the game.

I was going to do a post on this but I can "tease" it here. THT is posting defensive stats now including their own version of zone ratings compiled by John Dewan. ( a few modifications that THT and others feel make it a better stat)

Qualified starters only

ZR in LF
1. D. Roberts
2. Soriano
3. Murton
4. Bonds
5. Bay

ZR in RF
1. Jacque
2. Drew
3. Encarnacion
4. Giles
5. Francoeur

Here's some fun, Cliff Floyd was first in LF Zone Rating in 2005. (I'm ignoring 2006)

Rob, you're right, but I kinda meant in the same way that Murton does.

Jones won't split as much time with Pagan/DeRosa and Murton will with Floyd.

Jacque was 5th in the AL in 2005, 7th in 2004 fwiw. Ichiro's a rock star out there.

true dat Wes....

"Here’s some fun, Cliff Floyd was first in LF Zone Rating in 2005."

wouldnt that invalidate the stat right out of the box forcing the author to recant his paper and apologize profusely while looking into a career in handicapping horse races?

hehe

Murton rookie year:
.297/.365/.444

Jones last year:
..285/.334/.499....he was 37 points above his career averages in SLG.

Jones is 6 years older, and is what he is:
a decent RF, with some pop, no arm, and a fairly high strikout rate.

What Murton could be is a much better hitter than what Jones is now. He may develop into a hitter that posts .290/.360/.500 consistently.
He slugged .522 after the ASB last year, and had an OBP of .390. That is extremely promising.

It is not a knock on what Jones is, it's that Murton could be much better.

yeah for whatever reason Floyd seemed to "test" well in 2005 defensive stats while generally being below average the rest of his career. I don't see why you can't have career defensive years similarly to offensive years, so I'll chalk it up to that.

[Jones is] an average ball player. Good enough to be a ML starter . . . -Real Neal, #89

Yes, he's average or a little better than average, with a remarkable ability to hit a low outside fastball over the wall in left. Like other wrong-way hitters, he has a hole in his swing low and inside, and sometimes misses offspeed pitches at that location by a foot, reminding me of Choi and C-Pat to name just two recent late-swinging lefty Cubs. Maybe he has trouble with lefties because they throw more breaking stuff. The low outside part shouldn't bother him.

Speaking of swings, I can't get my mind off of Jake Fox's stroke, which impressed me when he went down swinging (very hard) against the White Sox, before I saw him hit the ball. I thought he looked and swung like Matt Murton, only after Murton is transformed into the Hulk.

The Cubs should break some rules and figure out how to get Fox on the bench so he can pinch hit in late innings.

And speaking of right-handed pinch hitters, if the Cubs are scouting Toronto, maybe they're trying to get Jason Smith back.

everyone is scouting everyone.

there's 5-20+ scouts at any given game...not all of them hold up guns, but they tend to congregate with pens/paper/clipboards and arent necessarily keeping score.

you can see what others are working on, have developed, the next generation of kids and what they're capable of/working on/possible roles being groomed...blah blah blah.

"there’s 5-20+ scouts at any given game"

well, in spring...

Yeah I never thought about it before, but if you've got 50 guys in your dugout, that means you're going to have twice as many scouts on hand as average, and presumably they won't be too concerned with early minor league games so it should go on for a week or two more before they break into their season assignments.

Not to mention they could catch more than one game in a day.

Hopefully Fox can get some playing time in Iowa in LF/RF (and hey, Iowa's OFs besides Pie are not world-beaters, so why not?) to see if he is an abject disgrace with the glove.

If he keeps on hitting, and he can stand in RF, then I think having him as a 3rd catcher/LF/RF would make him more valuable than Coats by midseason for the 25th spot.

The POINT that is being missed here is that Matt Murton is a left fielder, period. If Murton had the ability to play anywhere else on the field, then we wouldn't be having this argument. IMO, Alfonso Soriano is best suited for left field once Felix Pie arrives on the scene. Or sooner, if the $136 million man plays like a trainwreck in center once the season starts.

Neither Angel Pagan or Buck Coats is a world beater. My personal opinion is that major league pitchers will eat both of these guys for lunch once they have a book on them. If either gets more than a handful of at bats over the course of a month, then something is wrong.

AZ Phil:

What are your thoughts on the next round of cuts? When does that happen? Who stays on the island?

$20 virtual bucks says Jones gets traded before Murton when Pie is handed CF.

More likely someone gets hurt, some guys shift around and Pie gets called up and Pie has to give them a reason for him to stick.

The only way I see Murton getting dealt is in a true blockbuster where we land a serious top-shelf talent. Obviously not in a 1-1 move but as part of a group of young players we deal to land Johan or Miguel Cabrera. :)

I'll ask again - why can't Murton play right?

isn't it generally accepted that throwing arms distinguish right-fielders and left-fielders? And doesn't JJ have a terrible throwing arm? So why would Murton be any worse? His arm isn't that strong, but it's accurate.

And please don't use the "RF at Wrigley is the toughest of any outfield" line. I accept that, but Murton has shown an incredibly strong work ethic, and there's no reason to think he couldn't figure out the sun and bullpen in right.

Murton played right in the minors here and there and I think Piniella said something to the effect he'd give him a few games in spring training just in case.....

murton isnt a good fielder. an average one, yeah...especially since its "just" LF. he's definately good enough.

as far as RF...average glove + weak-to-average arm will probably keep him from there.

murton seeing some playing time in RF wouldnt be a world-ender or a no-chance...especially with floyd on board. murton's gonna have to scratch a few ab's in otherwise non-ideal positions.

should be interesting. im still waiting to see if they're gonna put theriot out in RF at any point this spring.

Murton's arm probably won't improve much, but I'm sure his glove/instincts will. If all the reports are correct, he's a really hard worker. Those are things that hard work can improve.

Aramis Ramirez used to be gawd-awful in the field, and now he's not a liability at all over there.

Call it irrational man-love, but I think it would be a terrible mistake if the Cubs kept Jones and got rid of Murton (not that I think that's even a possibility at this point).

Also (and I have no statistics to back this up, just a general hunch from watching/playing baseball), aren't a lot more balls hit to left-field than right-field? Just by the fact that there are more righthanded hitters in the game should dictate that. If that's the case, then shouldn't the better defender play where more balls are hit?

I understand the concept of needing a stronger arm in right, but wouldn't you want your corner outfielder with the best glove/range in the position where he would get the most chances?

let's see Jones had 287 Total Chances last year in 143 Games and 1205 innings
2.14 Chances per 9 innings

Murton had 246 in 133 Games/ 1049 innings
2.11 Chances per 9 Innings

Juan Pierre on the other hand had 384 Chances in 1426 innings/162 Games

2.42 Chances per 9 innings

Pretty limited look but it doesn't appear to be much difference between left and right.

Aramis Ramirez has the lateral range of a loaded cement truck stuck in three feet of sand. He fields the balls hit directly to him and makes good throws, but he has less than zero range. Yet another reason why Cesar Izturis will prove valuable to the left side of the infield.

Dusty Baker said Matt Murton is not an option in rght field. Jim Hendry backed him up. This spring Lou Piniella has said the same.

The man is a left fielder. Period.

Ramirez dives well to his right, pretty good at the instinct plays down the line. Still pretty bad going to his left though, but Doug Dascenzo is right, he's no longer a liability there.

right, because managers and GMs never say anything misleading or go back on their word.

for good measure

Soriano had 2.35 chances per 9 innings in Washington last year, I assume RFK would afford an OF more opportunities than Wrigley.

I always wonder how the hell you do defensive metrics for left fields like Fenway and Minute Maid. The raw stats must make your outfielders look like Cecil Fielder out there.

So what LouPa says is worth its weight in gold when it comes to Murton's ability to play RF - even though I've seen no quotes actually from LouPa saying that Murton can't play RF.

But when LouPa says the Soriano will do just fine in CF we should just dismiss that because Towel clearly knows better than the Cubs manager.

Romero — March 13, 2007 @ 3:27 pm
AZ Phil:

What are your thoughts on the next round of cuts? When does that happen? Who stays on the island?

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

ROMERO: There should be some more roster cuts once the minor league ST games start this weekend.

As for who gets cut next, I would say probably Sean Marshall (as soon as he's healthy enough to get stretched-out as a starter at minor league camp), Juan Mateo, Ryan O'Malley, Carmen Pignatiello, Jake Fox, Micah Hoffpauir, and Casey McGehee.

That would bring the roster down to 37, after-which cuts could come intermittently maybe one or two at a time, until the final cut-down to 25 the last weekend of ST .

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