Padres Spoil Cubs St. Patrick’s Day Party at HoHoKam

Jose Cruz, Jr and Kevin Kouzmanoff each hit two-run home runs, as the San Diego Padres defeated the Cubs 7-3 before a capacity St. Patrick's Day crowd of 12,764 and an international WGN-TV audience at extremely hot (record-setting mid-90's) and sunny Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa today. box score Rich Hill started for the Cubs and went five strong innings, throwing 70 pitches (14/16/15/13/12) and surrendering three runs (earned) on three hits (one HR), no walks, and one HBP, and recording four strikeouts (Brian Giles called strike three twice, Jose Cruz, Jr once swinging, and Rob Bowen once swinging), over the course of the outing. His 4/7 GB/FB ratio was typical for Hill, a notorious "fly ball" pitcher. Wearing green caps, the Padres scored one run in the top of the 1st on a first pitch triple by Marcus Giles and a one-out sacrifice fly by Geoff Blum. Also wearing green caps, the Cubs grabbed the lead in the bottom of the 1st on a three-run homer by Derrek Lee over the Dos Gringos stand beyond the left-centerfield berm, following a lead-off walk to Alfonso Soriano and a ground single to RF by Matt Murton. The Pads tied the score in the top of the 2nd on a two-run homer by Jose Cruz, Jr over the LF fence, following a lead-off HBP (Kevin Kouzmanoff). Despite allowing three runs over five innings. Hill looked very sharp, throwing strikes and spreading his pitch count efficiently over his five innings. As such, he looked fresh in his last inning of work, like he could maybe have gone at least another inning, but he was probably on a 75-pitch count. Best of all, Hill retired the last ten men he faced. Will Ohman entered the game in the top of the 6th with the score tied 3-3, and immediately gave up a lead-off triple to Brian Giles, as Jacque Jones made a foolish dive attempt (but missed, naturally), as the ball rolled all the way to the RF fence. (Earlier in the game, Jones made an outstanding "emergency" diving catch in short CF when Alfonso Soriano lost a fly ball in the sun). With the infield pulled in, Ohman got Geoff Blum on a grounder to Aramis Ramirez and Todd Walker on a called third strike, and looked like he might actually get out of the inning, before Kouzmanoff lined a single to left, scoring B. Giles with what turned out to be the winning run. Carlos Marmol once again struggled with his command (21 pitches) in the 7th, giving up a double and a walk, but no runs. Neal Cotts continued his awful '07 ST, allowing a walk and a HR (and an infield single) in his one-inning of work. Les Walrond gave up the Padres final run in the 9th, on a lead-off walk and a double, followed by a one-out sac fly. Other than Derrek Lee's dinger, the Cubs were mostly quiet offensively. They had runners on base in every inning (the Cubs left 10 men on base), but just could not get the big hit when they needed one. Only D-Lee had more than one hit (he homered in the 1st, and was left stranded after a lead-off double in the 3rd), and only three other starters reached base more than once (Soriano walked in the 1st and singled in the 2nd, Ramirez walked in the 5th and singled in the 7th, and Izturis drew walks in the 4th and 6th innings). Felix Pie was 1-1 in his one AB, a ground single to RF. One troubling spectacle is Daryle Ward, who not only looks hopelessly out of shape for baseball, but maybe even out of shape for life in general. He might want to try Kerry Wood's diet. He struck out again today. Besides Jacque Jones' ill-advised dive that resulted in a triple (and ultimately the go-ahead run), Michael Barrett made errors on consecutive plays in the top of the 6th, dropping a foul pop up as he banged into Derrek Lee (just let D-Lee catch it, Michael!), and then throwing a ball away while attempting to throw out Kouzmanoff trying to steal second. (Ohman did manage to get out of the inning without any further damage, though). On top of that, Barrett went 0-3 with three pop-ups, two with runners in scoring position. The Cubs travel to Tempe tomorrow to face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Diablo Stadium. Carlos Zambrano is the scheduled starter for the Cubs. For those of you in Chicago, the game will be televised on ComCast.
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Comments

Trib's Dave van Dyke interviews LouPa...and gives he outlines the differences between his ideas when to use the bunt (DvD makes it a vs. Dusty comparison)

http://tinyurl.com/2nmcp4

Trib's DvD article on LouPa vs Dusty the philosophy on when to use the bunt

http://tinyurl.com/2nmcp4

Jock is not good in the field, but he has looked really good at the plate. He's taking pitches, hitting line drives, and overall I like. The threesome of Murton, Jones and Floyd for the two corner OF spots is going to work out just fine.

I've never been a big Barrett fan, if the Cubs draft Wieters in June, this will be Barrett's last year in Chicago. The guy is just plain lousy with the glove. Shoot, I'd almost (almost!) be ready to give the job to Jake Fox until Wieters was ready, if only Fox could catch just a little bit.

Ward and Cotts are easily the two worst-looking vets in camp from my perspective outside of Prior of course. Thing is, with Floyd here we don't even need Ward on the roster, he's really quite worthless. Someone one like Buck Coats or even Casey McGahee would be a more useful bench player for us than Ward.

As for Cotts, he sucks eggs. For once, the Sox fans were right.

From the Trib:

Piniella on the fifth starter race between Wade Miller and Angel Guzman: "Is Miller the front-runner? Yeah, he is. In fairness, let's give everyone one more turn" before making it official.

What does Piniella see in Neal Cotts? "I see he gives up runs every time he pitches," Piniella said. Cotts has allowed eight runs in eight innings, including two Saturday.

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

I should have added: we're only on the hook to Ward and Cotts for a million apiece. I wonder if Hendry could dump one or both before camp breaks? Surely some team would take Cotts off our hands, Ward though we'd probably need to eat that million.

wieters is more known for his arm strength than his receiving or catching footwork, btw.

he's far from a polished project with his D.

Eric,

Agree 100% re: Ward & Floyd.

No idea why we need both of them.

TRIVIA QUESTION

Without Googling, Who is the Cubs' union representative?

Hint: It's not Mark Prior anymore.

Does Cotts have any minor league options left? Ward was a useful pinch hitter last year with the Nationals, but perhaps he has eaten away his bat speed. I would expect a trade (Cotts given the near universal desire for lefthanders might bring something) near the end of Spring Training to add a good glove SS and perhaps reinforcements for the pen is Dempster and Wood remain questionable. Having Howry as our closer/ace is probably not the worse thing that could happen to the Cubs.

Last year the Cubs scored 716 runs and allowed 834 runs (96 losses aren't such a mystery, although Baseball Prospectus says that the stats say that the Cubs were more a 90 loss team, but Dusty's superb managing skills (like moving Walker to 1B and starting Nefi at 2d after Lee's injury) allowed them to make the run at 100 losses). Assuming (always a big assumption) that Lee and Soriano both stay healthy and have good years, that will add probably 70 to 80 runs to the Cubs offense over last year. That would put them near 800 runs scored for the season. Hopefully, having Lilly and Hill in the rotation along with Zambrano and bit better bullpen and defense may bring the runs allowed down to about 770. So we are looking at 85 to 87 wins. Who knows, in this division that might be enough.

I believe its either Barrett or Eyre.

I think the Cubs are safe on that "World Series MVP" bonus in Cotts' contract. Then again, maybe you can get MVP if you help the other team win?

I do believe that Cotts has minor league options remaining though, AZ Phil can address this better. Assuming he does, I guess there's no harm in just sending him to Iowa and playing out the option value that maybe he'll start pitching better. After all, the $1MM is a sunk cost, so may as well view it as an option.

Ward OTOH, I see little to be encouraged about on that one. Why are the Cubs so bad at selecting PHs for their bench in recent years? Daryl Ward? John Mabry? Todd Hollandsworth? Troy O'Leary? It wasn't always this way. Who remembers Thad Bosley, and Jay Johnstone, and Richie Hebner, and my all-time-favorite, Davey Lopes??? Shoot, I guess Glenallen Hill even qualifies in a sense.

I don't mean to get all Silent Towel in this thread and commandeer the discussion, but one other thing I'm curious about--Gerald Perry. He comes to us with an excellent reputation, and already we seem to be reaping the benefits. Jock and Fonzie have both shown unexpected patience at the plate in Arizona, while Murt and Cedeno are taking the ball oppo unlike their performance last year. How important is a hitting coach really, at the major league level? It would appear quite, but I'm curious on other impressions.

Daryl Ward - well I know it is "still Spring Training", but I have not seen ANYTHING from this whale!

Are you kidding me?!

If Lou really wants a better defensive club, who gets benched?

Does that mean Theriot could end up starting at second?

I'm just guessing but I expect the Cubs to give Cotts and Ward a spring training pass. If they continue to suck after the season starts, I expect changes to be made...

I'm glad to see how many walks Izturis is drawing. Maybe Perry has really helped him?

I'm also under the impression that will Lou will bench the vets in favor of hungry kids who work their ass off. Very refreshing.

Buster Olney has an Insider interview with Barrett on the ESPN Web page.

For anyone who has a subscription: anything juicy?

Olney tidbit:

Barrett: Greg Maddux taught me to eliminate the hitter in the box. He taught me to just focus on his pitch selection, and if we did that we were going to get the guy out.

i, too, would like to know if there is anything good in the barrett interview...

and a question for those who know these things, or at least where they might be: what is the OBP of the leadoff hitter, when they are truly LEADING OFF? (i.e. not at times when they are another hitter in the inning) it seems to me that OBP is indeed important for the #1 hitter in a lineup but that it is somewhat less crucial after the first inning. now, i understand that in the rhythm of the lineup it makes sense to have a high OBP guy before your power guys, but those that damn soriano for not having the highest OBP seem to have too narrow a focus.
thoughts?

CubFanFormerlyinGermany — March 18, 2007 @ 6:20 am
Does Cotts have any minor league options left?

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

CUBFAN: Yes.

Here is the minor league option status of all of the players on the Cubs 40-man roster who have less than five years of MLB service time (so that they cannot refuse an optional assignment to the minors):

CUBS MINOR LEAGUE OPTION STATUS (2007) :

* Can only be optioned to minors 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, Angel Guzman gets a 4th option year in 2007. A player receives a 4th option year if he has not played five “full seasons” (a “full season” being a minimum of 60 days on a major league or a minor league active roster from the start of a season, or a minimum of 90 days total on an active minor league or major league roster in a given season) by the time his first three minor league options have been exhausted.
NOTE 2: Once Will Ohman accrues 132 more days of MLB service time, he will have five years of MLB service time, at which point he can refuse an optional asignment to the minors.

TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT
* Neal Cotts
Brian Dopirak (has been optioned to AA)
Carlos Marmol
Scott Moore (has been optioned to AAA)
Angel Pagan
Felix Pie
* Mark Prior (see NOTE 3)
Ryan Theriot
NOTE 3: Once Mark Prior accrues 41 more days of MLB service time, he will have five years of MLB service time, and will have the right to refuse an optional assignment to the minors

THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Rocky Cherry
Buck Coats
Sean Marshall
Juan Mateo
Matt Murton
Clay Rapada (has been optioned to AAA)

FOUR MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Jeff Samardzija (has been optioned to Daytona)

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

FURTHER:

A minor league option is expended only after a player has spent at least 20 days on optional assignment to the minor leagues during the MLB regular season, so in the case of Moore, Dopirak, Rapada, and Samardzija (and any other player optioned to the minors prior to Opening Day), they will not actually use up their option for this season until April 21st (presuming they don't get recalled in the meantime). And of course, a player can be optioned and recalled (going back and forth between the minors and the majors) an unlimited number of times each season, although a player must spend at least ten days in the minors before he can be recalled again, unless it is to replace an injured player (and the player he is replacing must be placed on the DL).

As far as having to get Cotts, Novoa, Ohman, Prior, and Wuertz through Major League Waivers before they can be optioned to the minors (players who have spent part of at least three separate seasons on a Major League regular season roster must clear Major League Waivers before they can be optioned to the minors), as I've mentioned before, it is usually just a formality to get a player through "Major League Waivers" during the waiver periods prior to the one that starts on August 1st, because if a player gets claimed, his club can just pull him back.

The first time a player is placed on Major League Waivers in a given waiver period, the waivers are revocable, but if a player gets claimed and is pulled back, and then is placed on Major League Waivers a second time in the same waiver period, the Major League Waivers become irrevocable. (Release Waivers and Outright Waivers are always irrevocable). So there is not much point for a GM to put in a claim when a player is placed on Major League Waivers the first time in a given waiver period, since the player's club can just pull him back. And especially since the GM thinking about making a "nuisance claim" might be the one wanting to option one of his guys to the minors next time! So why piss off a fellow GM?

In fact, some clubs place all of the players on their 40-man roster who need to clear Major League Waivers in order to get optioned to the minors on Major League Waivers right at the start of each new waiver period (February 16th, May 1st, and August 1st), just so they can get it out of the way and so they can know where they stand with each player. (Once a player clears Major League Waivers in a given waiver period, the waivers are good for the balance of that waiver period).

So it's very possible that the Cubs placed Cotts, Novoa, Ohman, Prior, and Wuertz on Major League Waivers on February 16th (teams can place seven players at a time on Major League Waivers, and the waivers "clear" the third day, 47 hours later), and if so, each has probably already cleared Major League Waivers for the waiver period that ends on April 30th. But if the Cubs would want to option out one or more of the five after April 30th, the player(s) would need to be placed on Major League Waivers again (because May 1st is the start of a new waiver period), and clear the waivers again.

Also, if Cedeno, Hill, Murton, Soto, and/or Theriot start the regular season on the 25-man roster, they would have to clear Major League Waivers to be optioned to the minors, although that is not the case for these five players right now. (Once they have spent at least one day on an MLB regular season in 2007, they will have their "parts of three seasons" that would require them to clear Major League Waivers to get optioned out).

Beginning on August 1st, though, everything changes, After the July 31st trading deadline, "Major League Waivers" is the method by which trades are made, so clubs have much more difficulty getting players through Major League Waivers (even young players) in August than is the case prior to that period. For instance, a couple of years ago the Cubs had no difficulty getting Corey Patterson through Major League Waivers in July (so he could be optioned to the minors), but when he was placed on Major League Waivers again after the new waiver period commenced on August 1st, C-Pat was claimed by WAS (and the Cubs pulled him back).

MLB WAIVERS:

MAJOR LEAGUE WAIVERS: Revocable the first time a player is placed on this type of waivers in a given waiver period, irrevocable the second time the same player is placed on Major League Waivers in the same waiver period. Once a given player clears Major League Waivers in a given waiver period, the waivers remain in effect through the balance of that waiver period. These waivers are required before a club can option a player to the minors who has spent parts of at least three seasons on a regular season MLB roster (including DL), or to trade a player beginning on August 1st and extending through the end of the regular season.
CLAIM PRICE - $20,000

OUTRIGHT WAIVERS: Always irrevocable, these waivers must be obtained before a club can remove a player from the 40-man roster by outright assignment to the minor leagues (like if the player is out of minor league options, or if the club simply needs the player's spot on the 40-man roster for somebody else). Once a player clears Outright Waivers, the club has seven days to make the outright assignment, or until the end of that waiver period, whichever is shorter.
CLAIM PRICE - $20,000

RELEASE WAIVERS: Used to drop a player from a 40-man roster when the player cannot be sent outright to the minors

1. Player has at least three years of MLB service time and refuses to accept an Outright Assignment to the minors--EXAMPLE: Glendon Rusch

or

2. Player was added to the 40-man roster after August 15th and remained on the 40-man roster past October 15th but then the club wants to drop the player from the 40-man roster before 25 days prior to the start of the following season to make room for somebody else--EXAMPLE: Ryan O'Malley

or

3. Player who would have been eligible to be a minor league FA on October 15th if he had not been on a 40-man roster at that time remains on a club's 40-man roster past October 15th but then is dropped from the 40-man roster before he has signed a Major League contract for the following season--EXAMPLE: Miguel Negron

CLAIM PRICE - $1 (that's correct, one dollar)

NOTE: Players claimed by another MLB club off any of these types of waivers must be placed on the claiming club's 40-man roster immediately.

cwtp: I'm pretty sure it's Ohman.

Daryle Ward was arguably the best LHPH in baseball last year, so you really can't say Hendry isn't trying to build a strong bench. The only problem is that because of his weight and lack of speed and agility, he's pretty much a back-up 1B, or an extremely slow, un-athletic back-up LF. The Floyd signing does make him even less valuable, as Floyd could spell Lee on occasion (in addition to his LF duties) while also adding some left-handed thunder to the bench, but Floyd doesn't have the late-inning pinch-hitting credentials of Ward. This is just ST, so I'm not too worried about Ward's batting average. The lack of right-handed pop off the bench, as well as the lack of versatility on our bench does raise some concern, though, especially since this club isn't going to be the most fundamentally-sound team in MLB (although it should be more sound than under the previous management team). I want Ward on this team, especially if it's the bottom of the 9th with the tying run on base with Lidge or Cordero on the mound...

As for Cotts, I was against the trade when it happened, since:
1) we already have two lefties in the pen, one of which should be used strictly as a situational lefty, the other of which can get righties out pretty efficiently
2) he gives up WAY too many BB...even in his magical 2005 campaign, he gave up 29 BB in 60 innings...this team already has a problem with walking hitters
3) 2005 was a fluke for pretty much everybody in the Sox's rotation and bullpen (sans Garcia, and, to a lesser extent, El Douche-que)...his H/9 was way down, which resulted in a neat 1.11 WHIP and a very nifty 1.94 ERA, but his career #'s of 1.44 and 4.52, respectively, leave much to be desired

I'm under the impression he was traded for as an emergency spot-starter/long reliever, in which case, it's not a terrible trade for the Cubs, as Cotts will be better in that role than Glendon Rusch was. He does have a good fastball (for a lefty) and a pretty good slider to go along with an average-at-best change and a poor curveball, and he does have potential--I'd just never count on him in a late-inning situation. I don't picture him getting optioned down, but there are enough teams lacking bullpen arms that I'm sure we could pawn him off on somebody for a second-tier prospect. I wouldn't cry if he left the organization, either...

As for Barrett, he seems to always be working on improving, and seems to make small improvements every year. He's never going to be a GG-calibre catcher, but he is a tremendous offensive catcher with good patience at the plate and enough ability defensively to not be a liability. He will have his share of passed balls, but he's better than Blanco. And like someone else said, even IF (and it's looking like a big if) Weiters slips to the third pick of the draft, he's not an accomplished catcher. He's an extremely accomplished hitter, but his receiving mechanics, should he indeed stay behind the dish, will need improvement.

AZ Phil: Rapada's numbers last year seemed to indicate he was on the verge of making the jump to the MLB-level...did you notice any differences in his delivery, pitch selection, etc. that contributed to his lack of success this ST, or do you think he just needs more seasoning before making the jump?

Ryan — March 18, 2007 @ 10:27 am
AZ Phil: Rapada’s numbers last year seemed to indicate he was on the verge of making the jump to the MLB-level…did you notice any differences in his delivery, pitch selection, etc. that contributed to his lack of success this ST, or do you think he just needs more seasoning before making the jump?

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

RYAN: Against MLB caliber right-handed hitters, Rapada does not have the type of delivery (throwing sidearm on a horizontal plane), or when he does throw 3/4, the stuff to get MLB-caliber right-handed hitters out. But he is VERY effective against left-handed hitters (even quality MLB-caliber lefty swingers). So his future in MLB will be as a true Mike Myers-type "LOOGY" (Lefty One-Out GuY).

Unfortunately, in Spring Training (at least up until the last week), pitchers are not used the way they get used during the regular season, which meant Rapada had the bad luck of having to face seven Angels' right-handed hitters in a row (including Matthews, Cabrera, Guerrero, Hillenbrand, and Figgins) in his first ST outing, and he just got SMOKED. But I saw him break several bats throwing to quality left-handed hitters this ST (both in "live" BP and in games).

AZ Phil: So he basically got shelled by the righties and was effective against the lefties...that's good to know.

Ryan — March 18, 2007 @ 10:54 am
AZ Phil: So he basically got shelled by the righties and was effective against the lefties…that’s good to know.

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

RYAN: Yes, Same thing happened to Brian Shouse pitching for MIL against the Cubs last week. He got shelled by right-handed hitters, too, but he doesn't face too many right-handed hitters during the regular season, so getting clobbered by right-handed hitters in ST doesn't really mean anything in his case.

A guy like Shouse is paid to get one or two high-quality MLB-caliber left-handed hitters (like Bonds, Griffey, L. Gonzalez, Hawpe, Edmonds, J. Jones, et al) out in a critical situation in a given game, and as long as he can do that, he has a job.

Same goes for a couple of other side-arming LOOGYS I've seen out here this ST, like Royce Ring (SD) and Jay Marshall (OAK). And Rapada's just like those guys.

Right you are, Ryan. Will Ohman is the correct answer to the question, Who is the Cubs' player rep?

via cubs.com...the dumpster got back spams...oh noz.

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs closer Ryan Dempster has back spasms, but he could be back in a Cactus League game on Monday, while Mark Prior is slated to start Thursday and Kerry Wood is taking things day by day.

blah blah blah...from cubs.com

hidden deep in another carrie article..

s.marshall going vs. the brewers in maryvale tommorow (along with s.gallagher).

also evidently a.pagan has had back soreness and that's why he's only been taking right handed hacks so far this spring.

Got a question.....
What pick do the Cubs get in the draft this season and who are the players expected to go to the top five picks?
Thanks, anyone

Cubs have the 3rd pick overall...

Top 5 picks?
It'll change by June, but check this out..
http://mvn.com/mlb-cubs/2007/01/30/2007-draft/

Read through the comments as well for some other options...

Quick Weiters Update:

One weekend series into the conferrence schedule:

.341 .438 .591 1 error and 18.2% caught stealing rate (27 SB vs 6 CS).

and a question for those who know these things, or at least where they might be: what is the OBP of the leadoff hitter, when they are truly LEADING OFF?

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/bsplit.c...

Soriano's splits, his numbers leading off an inning

..303/.344/.570 for his career

I'll leave it up to you to check around on other players, but go to BR.com and any players splits should have that stat for "leading off an inning"

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