Prior Demoted, Final 25 Set

The Cubs optioned Mark Prior to AAA today along with Angel Pagan and Rocky Cherry. That leaves 28 warm bodies in camp and Buck Coats, Juan Mateo and Kerry Wood will all head to the disabled list. So your 2007 Chicago Cubs: STARTERS Carlos Zambrano Ted Lilly Jason Marquis Rich Hill Wade Miller BULLPEN Neal Cotts Will Ohman Scott Eyre Michael Wuertz Angel Guzman Bob Howry Ryan Dempster CATCHERS Michael Barrett Henry Blanco INFIELDERS Derrek Lee Daryle Ward Mark Derosa Ryan Theriot Ronny Cedeno Cesar Izturis Aramis Ramirez OUTFIELDERS Matt Murton Cliff Floyd Alfonso Soriano Jacque Jones Piniella also announced his Opening Day lineup versus the Reds and Aaron Harang. Soriano, Murton, Lee, Ramirez, Jones, Barrett, Derosa, Izturis, Zambrano.
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Prior optioned to AAA.

So is Prior the most expensive minor leaguer in all of baseball at $3.575 million?

I'm disappointed that Cherry didn't get the last bullpen slot given his excellent spring. I'd rather see Guzman pitching every 5th day in Iowa than sitting for days at a time in the Chicago bullpen. Otherwise, looks like a decent lineup, with plenty of offense and just-enough pitching. Team defense is the only real achilles heel that I can see.

I guess that pegs Iowa's staff for early April as Prior, Marshall, Walrond, Pignatiello and either Marmol or O'Malley. Cubs would rather Marmol be in the bullpen, but there will be a lot of innings that need to go around amongst Cherry, Novoa and Rapada, so Marmol is likely to get more consistent work if he starts. Phil, who else will fill out Iowa's staff?

Possible Iowa lineup:

LF-McGahee
CF-Pie
RF-Pagan
3B-Moore
SS-Hill
2B-Patterson
1B-Hoffpauir
C-Soto

Reserves-Koyie Hill, Chris Walker, Mike Fontenot, Tomas Perez. When Buck Coats returns, I'd like to see the I-Cubs give Moore some time at SS, move McGahee in to 3B, and put Coats in LF.

Well, let's see. We go into April with good health (since at this point, we can't count Wood or Prior against the overall team ledger) and some intriguing players waiting in AAA if needed. We go in with a set rotation, a set lineup, a new manager with some encouraging early indicators of how he'll manage, and at least a decent offense.

Mildly optimistic.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...

quotes from Hendry and Piniella, nothing from Prior.

I will approach this season with quiet optimism; but since I'll (hopefully) be managing a sports bar and grill, I'll either suffer through of be giddy through most games this season.

Ouch... that cubs.com article says Prior only hit 87 today.

Eric the Great — March 28, 2007 @ 7:01 pm
I’m disappointed that Cherry didn’t get the last bullpen slot given his excellent spring. I’d rather see Guzman pitching every 5th day in Iowa than sitting for days at a time in the Chicago bullpen. Otherwise, looks like a decent lineup, with plenty of offense and just-enough pitching. Team defense is the only real achilles heel that I can see.

I guess that pegs Iowa’s staff for early April as Prior, Marshall, Walrond, Pignatiello and either Marmol or O’Malley. Cubs would rather Marmol be in the bullpen, but there will be a lot of innings that need to go around amongst Cherry, Novoa and Rapada, so Marmol is likely to get more consistent work if he starts. Phil, who else will fill out Iowa’s staff?

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

ERIC: I will write an article about it this weekend, but as of right now, the Iowa starting rotation will probably be:

STARTING ROTATION (alphabetical)
Carlos Marmol
Sean Marshall
Ryan O'Malley
Mark Prior
Les Walrond

BULLPEN:
Rocky Cherry (closer)
Roberto Novoa
Clay Rapada
Adalberto Mendez
Carmen Pignatiello
Federico Baez
7th guy TBD
(still subject to change)

The I-Cubs Opening Day lineup should be:

Felix Pie, CF
Eric Patterson, 2B
Casey McGehee, 3B
Micah Hoffpauir, 1B
Scott Moore, LF
Angel Pagan, RF
Geovany Soto, C
Carlos Rojas, SS

BENCH:
Mike Fontenot, INF
Koyie Hill, C
Chris Walker, OF

Plus One from among:
Jorge Cortes, OF
Josh Kroeger, OF
Val Pascucci, OF
Tomas Perez, INF

Mike Kinkade will start the year on the DL (broken hand)

AAA and AA teams have 24-man regular season rosters, so they only carry four bench guys

And everything is still subject to change right now.

Eric the Great says:

March 28th, 2007 at 7:05 pm

Possible Iowa lineup:

LF-McGahee
CF-Pie"

Okay, why is PIE going to play CF? The Cubs have this guy they're paying $130 million who's blocking him until about the middle of the next decade.

STARTING ROTATION (alphabetical)
Carlos Marmol
Sean Marshall
Ryan O’Malley
Mark Prior

All that's missing is Z and there you have the typical Cubs 2006 rotation.

CWTP, I believe there is a day coming when Soriano moves to LF and Pie comes into CF. I'd hate to see Murton go, but I am betting that is the longer term thinking. Since most agree that OF defense is going to be a liability, Pie might be needed to improve that defense and Soriano could then move back to a position that is more suited for. Say what you want about JJ in RF, but he can go get the ball and is not nearly as much a liability in the OF as the Soriano and Murton can be, in spite of his arm.

What about Randy Wells at Iowa, AZ Phil?

Is anyone disappointed that Pagan wasn't added and Wuertz sent packing?

Our starting outfield is truly mediocre to BAD.

Until the Cubs do the right thing and put Alfonso Soriano in left field where he belongs, the outfield defense is going to be a major achilles heel. So too is the defense and pitch calling behind the plate on those days Hank White ain't playing. But the biggest saboteur to Cub success in 2007 is going to be that bullpen.

CWTP, I believe there is a day coming when Soriano moves to LF and Pie comes into CF.

Well, I don't know if you read any of my THOUSANDS of posts this month regarding PIE, but in a nutshell, I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU, ET.

In fact, I have several dozen reasons why it's a mistake to send FP down to rot in AAA. The first reason being that it would really be great to have a real centerfielder play center field for the Chicago Cubs.

I mean, don't people realize how stupid and ironic it is to say Pie needs more time in the minors when it's Soriano and Floyd who don't know what they're doing out there?!

It doesn't matter how well Soriano, Floyd, Murt, and Jones hit, there will be stretches where they don't. And, I guarantee you, it will not take long for the Bleacher Yuppies to turn on them. They will be booed.

Pagan is not a good outfielder. He looked lost trying to find balls last year. They should have gone with 11 pitchers and made a trade for a Tom Goodwin type 5th outfielder. We could have gotten Brady Clark who would have been perfect in that role for a mop up guy (Novoa).

Agreed on Angel Pagan. I for the life of do not understand his presence on this roster. If Piniella believes he needs another outfielder for defensive purposes (and who can blame him), then Hendry should be scouring the market for a proven gloveman. Surely there are guys like that available. A Bobby Kielty type.

I'm be pretty surprised if Scott Moore's not playing a lot more 3b than LF.

Looks like the only thing I was wrong on with the 25 man roster was Guzman. I predicted that Miller would be the #5 guy... (and most underrated). I predicted that the last utility spot would be a battle between Cedeno and Pagan (looks like Pagan lost out). My only error was in not knowing that Wood would re-injure himself in spring training. Well, I guess we can't all be perfect.

As for some future predictions, I believe this Cubs team is going to jump out of the box really scoring some big time runs. It might take a week or two for other teams to really get an idea on how to pitch against this lineup and get some of these guys out. Hopefully Sheets won't be completely healthy, otherwise the division could be a battle between the Cubs and Brewers of all teams. Beyond Carpenter and Reyes, the Cardinals are hurting for starters.

So Sayeth the God of WAR!

oh yeah... RobG... when do I get my poster signing bonus of a case of Old Style? I'm still waiting man.

So Sayeth the God of WAR!

"It doesn’t matter how well Soriano, Floyd, Murt, and Jones hit, there will be stretches where they don’t. And, I guarantee you, it will not take long for the Bleacher Yuppies to turn on them. They will be booed."

Murton's a pretty good left fielder, and the Cubs 'fans' don't need to wait for someone to play poorly in the field and at bat to be booed. If Soriano, Floyd , Murton and Jones are going to be prone to slumps, Pie is going to be doubly prone to them. Piniella already set the bar for Pie, let him hit .325 in AAA then they will find a spot for him - most likely one manned currently by Jacque Jones.

From the Trib's article on the 25 man roster (Sullivan):

"The outfield defense remains questionable, and Wuertz and Neal Cotts had rocky springs, "

Besides Cotts, for whom I haven't seen any explanation why he's on the team, 4 other pitchers on the staff had worse ST ERA's than Weurtz.

It took me all of 32 seconds to do that research, I wonder why Sullivan couldn't.

Piniella already set the bar for Pie, let him hit .325 in AAA then they will find a spot for him

I thought I made it pretty clear that the Cubs need Pie because they need an outfielder who can replace one of the three bricks out there when it's close and late. We don't need Pie for his offense and we don't need him to take JJ's job this season.

As for Pie having to hit .325 at Iowa, Piniella might as well just shoot him. Only one Iowa Cub with more than 68 at bats managed that in 2005 and nobody hit over .304 last year.

Cubswinthepennant,

Bricks in the outfield? I'm not sure why you think that the Cub outfielders are subpar. Sure, Soriano's defense is still in the "wait and see" stage, but Jones/Murton/and Floyd all performed above average defensively last season compared to other national league outfielders.

So Sayeth the God of WAR!

I couldn't make a better Opening Day lineup myself. At least not with these guys. I just hope we don't look like the Bad News Cubs in the field all April.

Nathan — March 28, 2007 @ 9:21 pm
What about Randy Wells at Iowa, AZ Phil?

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

NATHAN: I didn't list the half-dozen candidates for the last spot on the Iowa staff, but Randy Wells is right at the top of the list.

AZ Phil,

Once you have more details on the MiLB lineups and rosters, will you be making a separate post on them? I ask because i'm linking to these comments elsewhere, and think people will be able to find your analysis more easily if you have a separate article to link to.

Bricks in the outfield? I’m not sure why you think that the Cub outfielders are subpar.

Last year Murton, Pierre and Jones did a good job of ballhawking but teams ran on their arms without worry. Not a one of them could throw a ball to the infield. This year we have a man in CF who doesn't have a clue how to play it properly, nor does he know how to direct the corners. We're going to see dropped balls and collisions in the alleys. We're going to see Jones and Murton poaching balls the CF should be taking. We're going to see Soriano give up on some catchable balls over his head and make vain stabs at line drive singles and play them into extra bases. Sitting behind home plate we're going to see the back of Soriano's uniform way more than normal, 'cause he's going to be running after liners he just missed.

And then there's Floyd.....

#2 Temporarily he is. Until Wood shows up there.

Cubswinthepennant,

I disagree with you 66%.

First, lets agree on something. Juan Pierre has no arm whatsoever and gets run on all the time.

That said... you are totally wrong on Jacque Jones. He's got a hell of an arm for an outfielder. The problem is that he messes up mentally and sometimes throws the ball straight into the ground rather than where he's supposed to throw it. This results in him being a very streaky guy when it comes to throwing the ball. Sometimes he astounds, and other times fans are shaking their heads wondering what planet he's from.

As for Murton, yet again wrong. Murton has an average arm in left. It's not outstanding, but definitely not subpar.

As for Soriano, you can possibly try to predict that his defense won't be good, but that doesn't erase his pretty good LF defense last season for the Washington Nationals. Even learning a new position from scratch last season, he performed (defensively) better than most National League left fielders. And as for his arm... there is no question that he's got an excellant arm (just like Jacque) except perhaps that Soriano throws it where it's supposed to be thrown :P

In short, if you are reviewing arm strength in the outfield, we've got 2 excellant arms in Soriano and Jones and an average arm in Murton.

This isn't cool aid I'm talking, but the facts.

So Sayeth the God of WAR!

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