Hoff-Power Strikes Again!

For the second time this Spring, Micah Hoffpauir stroked a game-winning HR, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-4 before an all-time single-game Cactus League record crowd of 12,917 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon. box score I can tell you that Diamondbacks fans in attendance at HoHoKam Park today were none too happy when they found out that everybody in the Snakes' starting lineup (except the starting pitcher and the catcher) were minor leaguers sent to Mesa from Arizona's minor league camp in Tucson. No Stephen Drew. No Chad Tracy. No Eric Byrnes, No Orlando Hudson. No Conor Jackson. Instead, fans got to see Matt Erickson, Jesus Cota, Chris Rahl, and Donnie Sadler. The Cubs were just slightly better, resting starters Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Michael Barrett, and Cesar Izturis, but at least Cubs fans did get to see D-Lee and A-Ram pinch-hit, and they also got to see a reasonably "big league" Cubs starting lineup, not including the two guys who came up to HoHoKam from Fitch Park (Daytona Cubs RF Tyler Colvin and C Mark Reed). The Iowa Cubs had the day off today, so most of their players were at the game, although only a half-dozen played. Lou Piniella opted to start Jacque Jones in CF today, and JJ played center the way it's supposed to be played, assertively and assuredly taking every ball he could get to, and just simply making the play. It was like a breath of fresh-air. Heck, even Matt Murton made a fine running catch in left-center, a play where he actually took a cross-diagonal route instead of running an up-and-out pattern! Although most of the D'backs at HoHoKam were minor leaguers, Arizona's starting pitcher (LHP Doug Davis) was a major leaguer, as was the Cubs starting pitcher (RHP Wade Miller). Miller had a poor outing, going three innings (63 pitches - 32/16/15), allowing three hits, three runs (two earned), and two walks, with one K (Donnie Sadler). And remember, Miller was pitching to a lineup of minor leaguers. Especially excrutiating was Miller's 32-pitch 1st inning, where he fell behind every hitter and just could not put anybody away. The first three batters reached base (a walk, a bunt + E5, and a two-run RBI double) giving the D'backs a quick 2-0 lead, but at least Miller was able to leave Miguel Montero (who had hit the RBI double) stranded at 3B. The Diamondbacks scored again in the top of the second on a lead-off double by Matt Erickson, a sac bunt by Doug Davis, and an RBI single by Rich Thompson (who was on base all day). The Cubs began their comeback in the bottom of the second, as Ronny Cedeno laced a two-out double into the LF corner, followed by an RBI bloop single into left-center by Tyler Colvin. The Cubs scored again in the bottom of the 3rd, on a one-out single by Ryan Theriot, a stolen base, and a two-out double by Matt Murton to the far-reaches of right-center field. (Murton has been consistently hitting most of his doubles and home runs to the opposite field this Spring). Bob Howry pitched the 4th inning, and had an easy nine-pitch 1-2-3 inning (one K), before the Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the 4th, keyed by a lead-off double by Mark DeRosa. Ronny Cedeno followed DeRosa's double with a nice piece of "situational hitting," grounding out to second as DeRosa advanced to third. With the infield pulled in, Tyler Colvin blasted a single off the first-baseman's glove and beat the the second-baseman's throw to Doug Davis covering 1st, and then DeRosa was able to score and Colvin advanced to second when Davis threw the ball past the catcher for an E-1. Aramis Ramirez followed later in the inning with a two-out PH RBI double dumped down the RF line. The Diamondbacks tied the game in the top of the 5th against Will Ohman. Rich Thompson led-off with a single and stole second (his second SB of the game), and scored on a two-out RBI double hit into the left-centerfield power-alley by Mark Reynolds. It was not an impressive outing for Ohman, but at least he got through his one inning of work. Iowa reliever Hector Almonte (competing for the 12th spot on th I-Cubs staff) probably did himself some good by retiring six straight Baby Backs in the 6th and 7th, before Micah Hoffpauir unloaded his three-run dinger high over the RF fence (following a Theriot single off D'backs pitcher D. J. Carrasco's leg and a walk to Murton) with two outs in the bottom of the 7th. I still believe Hoffpauir could well develop into a Mark Sweeney/Ross Gload/John Rodriguez type 1B-LF-LHPH. He has a nice batting stroke with HR power, he can hit "cold" off the bench, he's an OK defensive first-baseman, he hustles, and not only that, he is a heckuva nice guy, too (he's a dad gum good ol' boy from Texas). Clay Rapada looked sharp in the 8th (single, K-called, and a 6-4-3 GIDP), and Rocky Cherry chalked up his 4th save of the Spring (tying him for the ST MLB lead in saves) with a scoreless 9th (F-8, K-swinging, a single, and another K-swinging) to end the game. Offensively, Ryan Theriot had two singles, a walk, and a stolen base, Matt Murton was 2-4 (including a double) with an RBI and a walk, Ronny Cedeno was 2-4 with a single and a double, and Tyler Colvin was 2-4 with an RBI. Cliff Floyd had a PH single. Daryle Ward was 0-3 with two Ks (both against LHP Doug Davis) and looked really stiff and immobile at 1st base. The Cubs are probably already at Sky Harbor Airport and may even be on the airplane en route to Las Vegas, where they will be playing the Seattle Mariners in a two-game series (Friday night and Saturday afternoon) at Cashman Field, in preparation for Opening Day at Cincinnati on Monday. Ted Lilly is the scheduled Cubs starter in the Friday night game (which will be televised on WGN-TV), and Jason Marquis will start the Saturday afternoon game (a CSN TV game). Iowa Cubs RHP Rocky Cherry, LHP Carmen Pignatiello, 1B Micah Hoffpauir, 3B Casey McGehee, and OF Chris Walker will be traveling to Las Vegas with the big club. Rich Hill gets his last ST start Sunday at Fitch Park in Mesa, pitching for the Iowa Cubs in a minor league ST game against the Salt Lake Bees (LAA).
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Comments

Az Phil-
Your ST analysis will be missed, thank you very much.

Lets all chip in and put AzP on a Southwest flight to LV!!

Hopefully Soriano will not kill him self before Lou figures out to put JJ in center at some point.

When I was in AZ in the early 90's the various ST site would brag about "setting a spring training record attendance" at these games. I'm glad to see it has not change.

Soriano may kill the Cubs in CF, better shot of killing himself in RF.

Put in him Left then if Bonds can do it so can he.

Murton could play RF.

Real Neal,

Just to let you know, that wasn't me who made some stupid joke about you in a previous thread. Some a**hole must have thought it would funny to use my handle. Just wanted to let you know.

Go Internet

LF or RF, bullpen mounds, tarps, short foul area, the well

neither one is pleasant at Wrigley....

looks like common names is all, he used what appears to be a valid email address and has commented once before with a far more innocent post.

2007 CUB Predictions, Yahoo Sports, Passan, et. al.

Highest finish is 3rd - 81-81

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=A0WTeQO...

az phil. what do you make of cedeno's incredible spring? do you think it will continue? do you think he could, or should, supplant izturis at ss? do you think he figured something out? how do you explain all of those walks? thanks for all of the great spring game reports, they have been greatly appreciated.

hey gang.

im leaving my current job (which entailed of lots of desk-work when i wasnt interpreting) so i might not be able to post so often as of monday in my new line of work....i know, but please try to hold back the tears.

i know youll miss my insight, like, hey how about soriano in CF at wrigley, and in RF away? a new kind of platooning. anything to avoid a key-stone out-fielder situation.

man, my stomach is doing back-flips just thinking about opening day. WHOO HOOO!!

Cubby -- are you....Mark Prior?

Henry — March 29, 2007 @ 8:04 pm
az phil. what do you make of cedeno’s incredible spring? do you think it will continue? do you think he could, or should, supplant izturis at ss? do you think he figured something out? how do you explain all of those walks? thanks for all of the great spring game reports, they have been greatly appreciated.

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

HENRY: Nobody seems to have benefited from the Lou Piniella regime more than Ronny Cedeno.

I've watched Cedeno for six or seven years out here, and he's always been one of the first guys on the field and one of the last to leave. He's intelligent, he's conscientious, he works hard, and he seems to be willing and able to take instruction.

Maybe he finally got some decent coaching.

I've always believed that Cedeno's defensive problems last season were directly related to his offensive struggles, because Cedeno is a good defensive shortstop. But he also seems to be kind of sensitive and gets down on himself sometimes.

He has really taken to Piniella's ideas about looking to go to RF more, allowing him to get a longer look at pitches, and giving him a better chance to recognize pitches (especially breaking balls) that are out of the strike zone, and then not swing at them. That's why his walk total has improved.

As for Cedeno replacing Izturis this season, I happen to think that when he;s 100% healthy, Izturis is a fine MLB player. If he can stay healthy, I wouldn't be surprised to see him hit in the .280's this year, with maybe 30 doubles, and more walks than Ks, along with solid (if not spectacular) defense at SS.

Now, next year, when Izturis will be getting $5.85M unless the Cubs exercise their $300K buy-out, that's when I would think about replacing him with Cedeno. The problem is, if Cedeno doesn't play a lot this year, it will be kind of difficult to get a good handle on him as an everyday player. That's why I had hoped that the Cubs would option him to Iowa where he could play everyday and be evaluated as a possible Cubs everyday SS for 2008.

But Cedeno DID outplay Tomas Perez in ST, so if Uncle Lou wants the best 25 men in camp to start the season on the Opening Day roster, and if he wants the two best available in-house utility middle-infielders on the 25, then with Theriot and Cedeno, he's got 'em.

Only three more days to sign Z.

Just sayin.

az phil. thanks for the reply. i, too, think that cedeno has benefited greatly from uncle loupa, and i must admit that i wouldn't mind seeing him everyday at ss. i do think that izturis is a serviceable ss but he, so far, has not dazzled. i guess i am just a cedeno fan and want him to continue to play as he has been playing. thanks again for all of your insight.

Arizona Phil is the best.

Cesar Izturis is an outstanding defensive shortstop who will hold his own with the bat. IMO, he is a distinct strength of this ballclub.

If Ronny Cedeno can develop some, then this makes the Cub infield situation that much better. Ryan Theriot has no business playing shortstop, so the addition of Cedeno helps provide quality backup to Izturis.

When opinions are repeated often enough, people tend to take them as fact, regardless of their basis in reality.

Example 1:
- Right field at Wrigley is the hardest position in the majors, so Soriano shouldn't play there.

While it might be more difficult than, say, the Metrodome, Soriano is an incredible athlete and could surely learn the nuances of the foul territory and wear some flip-down shades for the sun. It's not like there's a moat filled with alligators out there.

Example 2:
- Matt Murton is a lousy defender and can't possibly play RF.

Why? He has average to above average speed, and his arm is very accurate, although only average in strength. How does that preclude him from playing right?

AZP, I'm actually curious about the insistence on the part of Lou to have Soriano play center. I saw him in spring training a few weekends ago and he looked absolutely tentative and lost. He misjudged everything, even in BP. I know there's a high sun and all, but there's a high sun for Felix Pie and he didn't have the same kind of issues.

If you really want Felix Pie in center, why was the plan to put Soriano in CF? Was it cuz our beloved Cubby management was sure Jones was gonna be traded? Guess what, Trader Jim, Jones is still here.

Now, with that awful right field of the Cubs, this team is risking losing Soriano to an injury when it discovers that he can't play center and is forced to flip him and JJ.

$300 million dollars has not erased the deep level of incompetence of this team's (mis)management.

It has been the general conclusion of the Cub hierarchy for some time now that Matt Murton is not an option to play right field. Personally, I think it is a colossal mistake to keep Alfonso Soriano in center field. It's the one decision of Lou Piniella that I disagree with. Though I do understand he is boxed into a corner given that the Cubs are insistent on giving Matt Murton a chance plus the fact that Felix Pie isn't quite ready for a big league trial. But, if Murton gets off to a so-so start, I think we will see Soriano shifted to left field permanently by mid-season, with Murton becoming the 4th outfielder.

Jeez, how long has Manny played Left at Fenway?

The Cubs have "fly ball" pitchers in Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis and Rich Hill. Wade Miller is the only guy who, when effective, gets outs primarily via inducement of the ground ball.

An outfield of Murton in left and Soriano in center is a disaster waiting to happen. The Cubs aren't so good that they can afford to give opposing teams extra outs. And why screw with your $136 million franchise investment? Adjusting to a position like center is tough business, as attested to by Soriano's shaky spring. Do we really want our franchise player who is capable of 40-40 production taking his defensive woes into the batter's box?!? Hell no.

The Cubs have “fly ball” pitchers in Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Jason Marquis and Rich Hill. Wade Miller is the only guy who, when effective, gets outs primarily via inducement of the ground ball.

Whose ass did you pull that one out of?

Right field at Wrigley IS tough. Very tough. Again, Alfonso Soriano has proven to the world that he can be a pretty good left fielder. Also, left field is, by far, the easiest of the three outfield positions (that is why Manny Ramirez plays left in Boston, and why also the Red Sox have always surrounded him with a rangy centerfielder like Johnny Damon and now Coco Crisp).

Alfonso Soriano was signed by the Cubs to be a dominant offensive force, period. Why screw with him? Put him in left where he belongs and figure out what to do with Murton, not the bloody other way around.

Rob (aka professor), you might want to examine the career pattern of Lilly and Marquis. And you might want to remind yourself that Zambrano is a strikeout pitcher. And when he isn't striking out hitters, more times than not he is getting them to hit fly balls. Hill is a definite fly ball pitcher.

No, seriously...where are you getting this from ST? You must have some sort of basis for all this because I've got a slew of numbers that tell me that your wrong on 3 of those pitchers, I'll let you figure out which ones.

Rob G-

Did you get my email with the Michael Barrett song?

yeah, thanks for the great write upsall spring, azphil.

its been a great compliment to spring training when all that can be found are quick game summaries and box scores.

oh I did, totally forgot about it though. I'll give it a listen by this weekend as I don't have my laptop with me at the moment.

...write ups all...

It's pretty funny, especially if you like Johnny Cash.

alright, looking at it again, maybe two and a half, one of them has been jumping back and forth.

Silent Towel, I also am confused by your ground ball/fly ball analysis. Unless I am losing my mind, our only "fly ball" starters are Hill and Lilly.

Carlos Zambrano is 1.69 gb/fb for his career. FWIW.

Had to add to the chorus--awesome, awesome stuff Arizona Phil.

Is there gonna be some sort of Cubs predictions for 2007 contest/prediction-fest?

I'd like to see something along the lines of many categories:

Cubs W-L
Cubs finishing position
Most AB's per spot in lineup (2-8)
Most AB's on the team
Most Starts
Most games played for position players
Most games played for pitchers
Most games started (and who) for pitchers
BA's for all Opening Day Lineup players

What d'ya think?

aw come on, why you letting ST cheat off your quizzes?

let him go find a bubblegum card to figure it out....

I was wrong on Carlos Zambrano and apologize. But there is no denying that Hill, Lilly and Marquis are more flyball versus groundball pitchers. A lousy outfield is going to bite this team no matter how you slice it. I admit to being a big defense guy. But I'm not asking for three gold glovers out there either. It is beyond idiotic to have Soriano playing center field.

I'm not running anything, I promise that, I'm still calculating contests from 2 years ago.

I was wrong on Carlos Zambrano and apologize. But there is no denying that Hill, Lilly and Marquis are more flyball versus groundball pitchers.

Unreal...try again.

Predictions...

NL Central...St. Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Houston

Cubs win 81 games. The biggest sabateur to success turns out to be the pitching. I have no worries the Cubs will hit in 2007. But the pitching, combined with a lousy defense outside of Derrek Lee, Cesar Izturis and Jacque Jones, is the killer.

Cub MVP...Lilly
Cub Goat...Dempster
The pitching pluses....Z, Lilly, Miller, Howry, Eyre, Ohlman, Cherry, Guzman
The pitching negatives...Marquis, Hill, Dempster, Cotts, Wuertz, Wood

"The pitching pluses….Z, Lilly, Miller"

miller is good again! phew.

jacos - Re the deadline, Buster Olney made "an educated guess" that the Cubs would have an opening day surprise (5 years, $85 million).

I'll stick my Excel sheet out there to tabulate some predictions from loyal TCR readers. I don't mind putting something together. I think it'd be fun, and something to do while the Cubs aren't playing between the 31st and April 2nd.

Silent Towel, are you the guy that was once called 'CUBFAN'? Cause I haven't seen a bigger self-hating Cub fan since he was around here.

alright pal, remember you volunteered.....

I'll put up something as soon as I get a chance...hopefully tomorrow but no promises.

I'll probably tweak your suggestions as well a little.

That sounds good to me. Send me an email.

Old and Blue — March 29, 2007 @ 8:52 pm
AZP, I’m actually curious about the insistence on the part of Lou to have Soriano play center. I saw him in spring training a few weekends ago and he looked absolutely tentative and lost. He misjudged everything, even in BP. I know there’s a high sun and all, but there’s a high sun for Felix Pie and he didn’t have the same kind of issues.

If you really want Felix Pie in center, why was the plan to put Soriano in CF? Was it cuz our beloved Cubby management was sure Jones was gonna be traded? Guess what, Trader Jim, Jones is still here.

Now, with that awful right field of the Cubs, this team is risking losing Soriano to an injury when it discovers that he can’t play center and is forced to flip him and JJ.

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

OLD AND BLUE: I don't think when they signed Soriano, the Cubs thought much about where he would play in the oufield. They just wanted his bat and figured the rest would just work itself out.

Piniella seemed genuinely surprised (and pleased) at the start of ST when Soriano said he'd be willing to play CF. Until then, it was presumed he would only be willing to play a corner OF spot (presumably RF), and then either Jacque Jones (if he didn't get traded before Opening Day) or Felix Pie would necessarily (by default) have to play CF.

I think Jacque Jones is best as a corner OF, but he CAN play CF. Soriano has tried to play CF, but he just doesn't have the personality and savvy needed for that position. The best centerfielders play the position like a free safety in football. It's "Me first, get out of my way, it's MY ball." You have to be assertive and aggressive, but you also have to know when to hold back and play it safe. Soriano doesn't do any of that.

Soriano is deferential to the other outfielders and tries to stay out of their way, he plays line drives and ground balls that are hit in front of him like a shortstop, diving for line drives or trying to make fancy one hop picks without remembering that he doesn't have anybody playing behind him, and he has diffilculty catching fly balls that are hit to the base of the wall. He also has problems making throws to home plate without hitting the pitcher's mound.

I can live with Soriano as a LF, because he would do the least damage there. Even if he doesn't catch the ball, it's probably only going to cost the Cubs two bases, But if he's in CF or RF and misplays a line drive or fly ball or allows a ball to get past him, that's three bases, maybe even four.

Here's the riddle:

1. Soriano should really play LF, but he's willing to play CF or RF.
2. Murton is a passable LF, but it's very doubtful that he can play RF (and he knows it, so he doesn't want to).
3. Because of his achilles problem, Floyd can't easily start or stop, so he can't play anywhere in the OF. He is a DH playing in the wrong league
4. Jones can play either LF, CF or RF. His arm strength has been OK this Spring (so far). Also, he is one of Lou Piniella's favorite players.
5. Pie is the Cubs CF of the future and he might be able to play CF for the Cubs right now (or then again, maybe not quite yet)
6. DeRosa can play RF, but he wants to play 2B.
7. Theriot's best position is (by far) 2B. He also plays a spirited (but artless) outfield.
8. Daryle Ward can barely move, so he can't play OF either.

For me, I would start by moving Soriano back to LF and just leave him there. Absolutely. No question. That's bottom line. He led all of MLB in OF assists playing LF last year, so at least he wiped 22 runners off the bases, even if he also gave up extra bases with his 11 errors and who knows how many misplays.

Then what?

The best solution would be for the National League to implement the DH rule. The Cubs would be the #1 beneficiary of that rule change. Murton would be the DH.

If I had to come up with something in the meantime, I would have to say either:

1. Soriano-Jones-DeRosa LF-CF-RF (with Theriot at 2B)
2. Soriano-Jones-Murton LF-CF-RF
3. Soriano-Pie-Jones LF-CF-RF

Pick yer poison, matie.

Silent Towel is suddenly "silent" after he gets caught in a bullshit moment.

I guess he will use the standard tactic of laying low until another thread appears and then pretend this little brain fart never happened.

I just love this moment....

Rob (aka professor), you might want to examine the career pattern of Lilly and Marquis.

Gee, it looks like ST needs to do the examining not Rob.

I do like how he pimps out Wade Miller for his great ground ball stuff when Marquis is as good and has been better at it than Miller has in his career.

This is some world class BS Silent Towel is slinging.

if anyone still cares...

Marquis has a career 1.48 G/F ratio and that's on OUTS only

if you use THT stats, they have GB% on all balls in play. Marquis was 2nd in the NL in 2004, 8th in 2005, dropped to the 20's last year. Z's been around the 8-12 range those 3 years.

Wade Miller was the third pitcher I was referring to, but he did have groundball tendencies in his heyday with the Astros. I looked at his THT page first which has the last 3 years and 2 of those years he was more of a flyball pitcher but those would be his 2 most injured years (2004, 2006)...so you gotta give him a mulligan.

ROB G: The way he pitches now, Wade Miller is not a GB pitcher anymore. He throws sophisticated slop, and you never know what you're going to get... sometimes ground balls, sometimes fly balls. But always a surprise.

Lilly or Hill are both FB pitchers, although Lilly got a lot of ground balls in his last start (and threw six shutout innings).

When he's at his best, Zambrano is a GB pitcher.

Marquis had his sinker going out here in ST, although sometimes he overthrows (like he did in STL the last half of lsat season) and then his pitches stay up and he gets creamed. Piniella has supposedly talked to him about that. But Marquis is a GB pitcher.

AZ PHIL, you had a great spring training and the big club is making a mistake if they don't take you with them to Chicago.

Anyone remember that trade Hendry Made back in, what, December 2005? I thought it was made out of desperation. The trade where many of you--you know who you are-- agreed with fellow boneheads like that MLB Trade Rumors site when they analyzed it and concluded, "To sum it up, the Cubs didn't really give up any can't miss prospects in this trade."

Well the last of the trio of pitchers Hendry dealt to Florida for a one-year rental of Pierre, just was named to the opening day roster.

Yep, Nolasco and Mitre are in the rotation and Renyel Pinto is in the bullpen.

Arizona Phil, tell us something about Colvin now that spring training is over and what we can expect from him in the future, sounds like he'll be playing in Daytona?

Thanks for all the write ups, AZ Phil. Excellent job all spring.

Vince,

No worries. The only thing sadder than the comment itself, is that someone made it anomously. That's world class pathetic.

"Aramis Ramirez followed later in the inning with a two-out PH RBI double to left-center."

On my MLB.TV it was a bloop down the right field line that bounced into fould territory... I know who was in the beer line when A-Ram was batting!

The Texas Rangers cut Rick Bauer, who had a solid season in middle relief for them last year and can get left-handed hitters out.
If no one offers him a major-league contract, he may be good inventory for Iowa.

It seems like everyday Cedeno is putting up multihit games. I know it's just spring training, but has he possibly turned a corner?

I'm not sure it was anonymous, I think it's just 2 people called Vince. The "regular" Vince doesn't post that often so the "new" Vince may not be aware there's another one going by that name.l

Rob is very busy now. He's examining the career pattern of Lilly AND Marquis.

(I have this vision of Rob smoking a pipe in his wood paneled study with piles of spreadsheets on the desk, sorting these important things out...)

Apple to offer Major League Baseball video highlights on the iTunes store

Co announced that MLB video on iTunes will include a daily 25 minute "MLB.com Daily Rewind" highlight show and two weekly "Games of the Week," featuring full versions of the best games from the National and American Leagues.

Does it say how much it will cost?

ST is obviously a Cardinals fan, or an Astros fan. Too bad we cant troll rate on CubReporter.

I think The Riot might just outplay DeRosa for the 2B spot if given the chance this April. DeRosa has been throwing balls away lately. Do that too many times in April and Lou Pa will have him riding pine. And The Riot can hit pretty well.

Plus, he is The Riot.

"Well the last of the trio of pitchers Hendry dealt to Florida for a one-year rental of Pierre, just was named to the opening day roster."

Well, you just can't let this go, can you?

Let's see how they do in the Real season.

I will admit I'm wrong if these guys pitch to an above .500 record by years' end.

Then again, you were advocating for Wood to be your closer for months, right?

Cub Employee of the Month (September 2003)
speaks about demotion-

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

If he were like a real employee he probably would have been dismissed for not showing up for work for the last two years and counting.

In reference to left field and Manny Ramirez. Actually, Manny was primarily the DH in Boston prior to Grady Little. It was Grady's suggestion that Manny play regularly in left. That was also the year they got Damon in center. And, imo, you definitely need a "rangy" center fielder in Boston regardless of who is playing in left due to the cavernous center field and the quirks of the park in general.

...Customers will be able to download individual episodes of “MLB.com Daily Rewind” and each “Game of the Week” for $1.99, or purchase a Multi-Pass for a month of Daily Rewind shows for $7.99 or a Season Pass for every “Game of the Week” at just $19.99.

here is the full Apple press release
http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/03/30itu...

That has to be VERY difficult for Prior to swallow. Kudos to him for handling it professionally and being a man about it.

That said, I think that the Cubs are making the correct decision. But, man, that has to be tough on Prior.

"That has to be VERY difficult for Prior to swallow. Kudos to him for handling it professionally and being a man about it."

uhh, you're kidding, right? This "hey, I just work here" attitude is the sullen response of the McDonalds wage-slave, not a highly paid professional, IMHO.

Here's hoping there is a dose of the old-school harsh reality check which is going to serve to light a fire in this case. From attitude, behavior and public comments, I think Wood was rising to challenge of the occasion more than Prior appears to be. But hey, I just read the papers, what do I know.

Fonzie will be fine in CF. He is a very good athlete and seems to be willing to work to improve. With his speed, he can adapt well to CF. The one park that does worry me is Houston. With the hill, pole and the sharp angle from the left field wall to center, it could get ugly. I don't think that he will win any gold gloves, but by the ASG he could be at least an average CF and we can live with that as long as he hits like he did last year.

"is the sullen response of the McDonalds wage-slave, not a highly paid professional, IMHO. "

And one that asked for a raise in the off season also.

If the first thing that comes to your mind when you wake up in the morning is, "I wonder what JASON DUBOIS IS UP TO THESE DAYS?", he's the subject of this feature article

http://feed.insnews.org/v-cgi/feeds.cgi?feedi...

Go Tides!

comment 14-
Silent Towel — March 29, 2007 @ 8:46 pm
Arizona Phil is the best.


compare with
comment 49
cubswinthepennant — March 29, 2007 @ 11:01 pm
AZ PHIL, you had a great spring training and the big club is making a mistake if they don’t take you with them to Chicago.

surely this agreement is one of the 7 signs of the apocalypse?

*******

any possibility the cubs can leave jones with seattle and kidnap ichiro? and promote pie? soriano could take his lawn chair to left field, and let
pie and ichiro handle everything.

JASON DUBOIS article in case link above doesn't work

http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?sto...

Fonzie will be fine in CF. He is a very good athlete, etc.

Center is one of the key defensive positions, along with shortstop and catcher and maybe third.

Look at how the Cardinals think these positions should be staffed defensively, versus the Cubs. (Eckstein may not be slick, but the other three certainly are.)

Of course, we're going all out to win THIS YEAR, whereas they tend to think on a more long-term basis.

Ok..I'm poking the bear here, but:

Jones is average, AT BEST in the outfield. He takes bad routes, and thankfully, he has decent speed to make up for this.
He made 7 errors in RF last year. This is not that great folks.

Murton did have 3 errors, but his range factor was above average. Murton is less graceful than Jones, but Jones is not some defensive wizard out there either.

Silent Towel,

Your assesment of our outfield related to our pitching staff is unfortunately true - we have fly ball pitchers, yet, our outfield defense, both catching and throwing is not good -----at least for the time being.

This could all change with a promotion of pie...however, you truly can't depend on this happening.

if pie gets promoted, this solves the cf problem, but lets face it, Soriano should be in left, where he woudl be adequate at best. Soriano in right field would also be weak, at best.

If i were Hendry, i would not hesitate to throw Smarjdzza /Guzman / eyre combination over to the devil rays for the likes of Carl Crawford.....or Rocco Baldelli.

This would put the cubs in a great position with a stellar defensive outfield. Pie, Crawford/Rocco, Soriano.

I think that is a steep price, but one that addresses all future concerns in the outfield. also, if we lock up Zam, our pitching should be pretty set for the next few years.

This buds for you..

they are not good defenders.

One of the things I have always found interesting about Zambrano is the degree that some of his games vary between groundballs and strikeouts. It seems that sometimes he falls in love with his four seamer and tries to strike everyone out, and other times he throws a lot of sinkers and gets a massive amount of groundballs (like this game
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?gameId...). I won't post more links because of the blocker, but you can check out some of his games from 2004 and 2005 to see what I'm talking about. I don't think the variance was as pronounced last season. Over time, he has been one of the hardest pitchers to hit home runs off.

"If i were Hendry, i would not hesitate to throw Smarjdzza /Guzman / eyre combination over to the devil rays for the likes of Carl Crawford…..or Rocco Baldelli."

Well I for one am glad you are NOT Hendry. Here's to Old Style!

2/4 of our starting staff are big-time groundball pitchers

Wade Miller is sort of one too...

so where's this shit coming from again?

as for relievers...
Dempster - GB
Cotts - slightly more GB's
Eyre - All over the place, let's say neutral
Howry - FB
Wuertz - overall neutral, lot of GB's last year though
Ohman - all over the place too, say neutral
Guzman - not much to go on, but I'd say FB

It seems amazing to me that the Cubs signed Soriano for a zillion dollars and then signed a crappy second basemen [De Rosa] for far too much money AND THEN suddenly realized they had too many outfielders.

Why didn't they just send Soriano back to 2b? Yeah, yeah, he's a butcher there, too, but for pete's sake they could have brought up Pie for his defense in CF alone and let him learn to hit up here, taken the money they wasted on DeRosa [and Ward...and Cliff Floyd] and spent it on, you know, actual pitching and stuff.

Oh well, give 'em another 100 years--perhaps they will figure it out.

# 74

Careful there CFBM---the bullies will swarm on you for agreeing with Silent.

Who REALLY knows if the rotation is made up of fly ball vs ground ball pitchers???? Rob G's stats, while accurate, don't take in to account that Dusty Baker called MOST of the pitches while he was manager. Yet, the stats are pinned on the pitchers.

Silent's observation is likewise off base for the same reason.

MOST Major league pitchers are accurate enough MOST of the time to throw in a strike zone broken down in to quartiles (fourths). They can hit any quartile they want with any pitch they want to throw.

Fly ball pitcher......ground ball pitcher......MOST of the time the CAUSE of either is what is called for as a pitch...and MOST of the time it's the manager calling it.

This year...results could be WAY different than the past. Statistics blow.

Joey

slamdog — March 29, 2007 @ 11:42 pm
Arizona Phil, tell us something about Colvin now that spring training is over and what we can expect from him in the future, sounds like he’ll be playing in Daytona?

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

SLAMDOG: Yes, Tyler Colvin will be the CF at Daytona in 2007 (Jesus Valdez will play LF, and Yusuf Carter will play RF).

When he was drafted, the rap on Colvin was that he had a below-average arm and was strictly a left-fielder, but that's not true. He has the arm to play all three OF positions, and he is at least an average defender, if not slightly above-average, no matter where he plays. His best position appears to be CF.

Colvin has a nice line-drive stroke with occasional power that should become more frequent as he gets older. He also has plus-speed. His main problem at Boise in 2006 was that he was very streaky as a hitter, with extended hot streaks alternating with prolonged slumps.

Colvin is only 21, but he could move quickly through the pipeline if he can develop more consistency as a hitter. I would think the estimated projection for Colvin would be AA in 2008 and AAA in 2009, and then an opportunity to compete for an MLB gig in 2010.

Why is no one talking about the possibility of Theriot replacing Derosa as the starting 2B??? Piniella seems to like him a lot. He is perfect in the #2 spot behind Soriano, brings solid on-base skills + speed + good defense, plus Derosa has always been more of a super-sub type, playing 2B, 3B and the outfield, providing a bit more right-handed power off the bench for the late innings. Seems like a no-brainer, and yet no one speaks of this. Does Derosa's contract prohibit Piniella from benching him?

I guess if you're an organizaion that promotes Harvey after his year in Daytona, you may just as well promote Yusuf Carter to replace him.

I think that may be one of the Cubs organization's problems with developing position players. You don't actually have to be good to get promoted, you just have to be relatively healthy.

I would rather have a career minor leaguer start in right field this year for TN, than have Harvey who is going get destroyed. Same obviously for Carter.

Joey,

That post made no sense. Why would a manager ever call 'fly ball'? Even one as stupid as Dusty? And if major league pitchers could hit the strike zone with conistency, they wouldn't walk 4 batters per 9 innings, now would they?

I've been watching Colvin play a bit, and I think he is a great left fielder. We should release Floyd, and promote Colvin to start in left. Murton can be pinch hitter and get occasional starts against really tough lefties.

Baker called the pitches for Lilly and Marquis? Wade Miller in Houston too, right? Impressive....

Lilly looks to have been working on his 2-seamer this spring, hope that brings down his flyball numbers. Hill's going to give up some dingers no doubt, if keeps the BB's down though, you can live with the solo shots.

"Why didn’t they just send Soriano back to 2b?"

5x as many total chances at 2nd base than there is in CF.

The poison would be stronger in this scenario. See AZ PHIL above. Personally, solidity up the middle, at LEAST in the IF, will be more adventagious when comparing the CF or 2b for Sori discussion.

"Why is no one talking about the possibility of Theriot replacing Derosa as the starting 2B???"

Because Derosa was signed to play 2nd, not to be a super sub. He also got flu in ST which affected his AB's. Patterson may push him to that utility roll next year, but Theriot just doesn't have the upside to do it.

theriot getting a lot of spring ABs points to him as a super-sub. he's getting his heavy work in now so he's warm off the bench and ready to go. pinella loves his supersubs...mark mclemore was one of his favorites recently in seattle (also guys like desi relaford, luis sojo, etc)

derosa missed a chunk of time to illness and hasnt really looked bad at all for it...especially in the field where he's held up solid at 2nd and put on a few clinics playing 3rd with his range and especially his arm.

Now that I think about it, having Jones in right, it will be nice to have that third basemen's arm playing 2nd.

Not that I don't have total confidence in our starting pitching to bring four or five consecutive championships to the North Side, but should they prove to be something less than the Baltimore teams of the early 70s, who are some of the top trade-deadline candidates based on pending free agency or arbitration?

new post up....prediction contest

wait a second. why is it so important to have Izturis (the best defensive shortstop ever) in there if the Cub pitchers will be giving up so many fly balls?

"2/4 of our starting staff are big-time groundball pitchers"

Rob, you should have said 1/2. You see, this is the Cub Reporter and it's probably better to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Just a joke here folks, just a joke.

or in the vein of following dusty's every move/word and "analyzing it to death" we could say its a 200/400th's.

and if dusty would quit making the other 200/400th pitch flyball pitches we wouldnt be having this conversation.

WPZ,

From Cot's baseball contracts the 2007 FA starting pitchers:

Starting Pitchers
Kris Benson * BAL
Mark Buerhle CWS
Paul Byrd * CLE
Shawn Chacon PIT
Matt Clement BOS
Bartolo Colon LAA
Scott Elarton KC
Josh Fogg COL
Casey Fossum * TB
Freddy Garcia CWS
Geremi Gonzalez TOR
Livan Hernandez ARZ
Jason Jennings COL
Randy Johnson NYY
Brian Lawrence WAS
Jon Lieber PHI
Kyle Lohse CIN
Wade Miller CHC
Eric Milton CIN
Odalis Perez * KC
Joel Pineiro SEA
Kenny Rogers DET
Curt Schilling BOS
Carlos Silva MIN
John Smoltz * ATL
Brett Tomko * LAD
Kip Wells STL
Jake Westbrook CLE
Randy Wolf * LAD
Jaret Wright BAL
Carlos Zambrano CHC
Victor Zambrano NYM

Not a lot of difference makers in there, especially when you consider most of those teams should still be sniffing contention by end of July.

yeah, that was a joke, too.

god knows i dont want pinella to get the "dusty treatment" no matter how good or bad he is...though it is weird seeing, especially on some other unnamed blogs, how much credit pinella is getting for things he doesnt really have much of an impact in.

i am happy to see the #2 slot returned to a guy who's main attributes arent #1 contact and #2 speed before the ability to work a count and get on base more consistantly. on a non-baseball front, im happy to hear more about players and a lot less about managers.

Big Unit signed an extension I believe, fwiw.

You're right, though I can't quite figure out why.

He also has a Gold Glove $50k bonus built into his contract, may as well have put a silver slugger in their too.

Thanks Neal. No wonder Zambrano knows he can get paid in free agency.

Maybe if everything comes up roses for the Angels' rotation they'll want to deal Colon for a bat. Pretty sure the Stros would lock up Jennings, they traded a lot to have him. Good players don't become free agents anymore ... unless they're Cubs, then they become free agents and re-sign with the club.

Just saw Brian Lawrence ... if he's healthy ... we all know the Nats will be buried by then ... that's a guy to keep your eye on.

I thought Lawrence was on the Rockies...no?

Oops... you're right, Rob... that list is a tad outdated.

Is this old news?

L.A. billionaires up bid for Tribune Co.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070330/ap_on_bi_...

You know, I have read them three times and I just don't get it. What's wrong with Prior's comments about being sent to Iowa?

I don't agree with it. My opinion doesn't count. I am going to do the best I can there.

What was he supposed to say?

#83 & #84

Splitting hairs on me kids. You got the point, and if you didn't here are the Cliffs Notes.

Pinning those fly ball/ground ball percentages on the pitcher is absolute lunacy since the manager calls the pitch MOST OF THE TIME.

If you want to come up with a meanginful statistic to more accurately predict the Cubs pitching results (fly balls vs ground balls)----then give me a statistic on the type of game Piniella calls from a pitch standpoint.....high, low, inside, outside, slider, change, etc, etc.

About now...ROB G will say:

"Whatever...boring...new thread"

Statistics blow unless you think about HOW they're created. Cause and effect.

Joey

Home Run! Cause = Fly ball
GIDP Cause = Ground ball

Something like that?

I agree with you, The Real Neal, I think he handled it about as good as could be. He could have skipped a couple days and just shown up at Fitch Park not to be heard from.

If he doesn't show some kind of disappointment then people would complain that he lacks passion.

He could have even said, I thought I was supposed to get 1 more start but he already named a fifth starter, which would have had some truth to it, but made him look like a jerk.

I think that's new RN, Trib was ready to accept Zell's bid, looks like it's not over.

I had no problems with Prior's comments, he seemed unthrilled with the idea but wasn't about to cause a major ruckus over it.

I think GB/FG tendencies have everything to do with the pitcher and just about as much to do with the manager as game-calling has to do with the catcher, which isn't much.

It has more to due with what type of pitches you throw, 2-seamer, sinker, splitter versus where you throw it.

I’ve been watching Colvin play a bit, and I think he is a great left fielder. We should release Floyd, and promote Colvin to start in left. Murton can be pinch hitter and get occasional starts against really tough lefties.

............................................................................

I like the Idea above about promoting Colvin and letting murton be a 4th outfielder. Lf is an underrated defensive position. We need a solid defender in Lf so we can keep out ERA low. I dont know of any Lf'ers on good teams that are butchers in the field. Colvin was a first round pick so I know he must be good. I think we need to up Pawelek in our rotation. And Brownlie as well. Where is Matt Clanton? He can be our closer.

sarcasm on sarcasm...Woo Friday...

"Pinning those fly ball/ground ball percentages on the pitcher is absolute lunacy since the manager calls the pitch MOST OF THE TIME."

huh?

Thanks, AZ.

That's one of the most dispiriting posts i've seen in a long time. Unfortunately, I can't find anything to argue with you about.

I doubt Dusty Baker was awake enough of the time last year to call pitches.

The Real Neal — March 30, 2007 @ 10:51 am
I guess if you’re an organizaion that promotes Harvey after his year in Daytona, you may just as well promote Yusuf Carter to replace him.

I think that may be one of the Cubs organization’s problems with developing position players. You don’t actually have to be good to get promoted, you just have to be relatively healthy.

I would rather have a career minor leaguer start in right field this year for TN, than have Harvey who is going get destroyed. Same obviously for Carter.

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

REAL NEAL: Oneri Fleita apparently not only reads your comments, he acts upon them!

No sooner do you question the wisdom of promoting Yusuf Carter from Peoria to Daytona, than the Cubs demote Carter back to Peoria.

This was part of a trickle-down effect caused by Felix Pie and Angel Pagan getting optioned to Iowa, Jorge Cortes (MiLFA ex-HOU) was moved from AAA down to AA, Matt Ciamarella was sent from AA down to Daytona, and Carter was sent from Daytona to Peoria.

Other demotions from the last day or two are INF Gary Cates from AAA to AA, INF Robinson Chirinos from AA to Daytona, and INF Jonathan Mota from Daytona to Peoria. Although these moves would appear to relate to Tomas Perez being sent to the minor league camp, I have not seen T. Perez in minor league camp as of yet. He may have asked for his release. Albenis Machado is the utility infielder for Iowa (as of right now, anyway).

With the arrival of Koyie Hill at AAA,catcher Tony Richie has been demoted from AAA to AA, C-1B Alan Rick has been demoted from AA to Daytona, catcher Blake Lalli has been demoted from Daytona to Peoria, and Steve Clevenger (who is being converted from 2B to catcher) has been sent to the EXST group (Boise/Mesa cadre) from Peoria.

Position players For Whom the Bell Tolls:

C Matt Ciarrachi (definitely has been released)
OF Jeff Culpepper (I haven't seen him, so he's either injured, retired, or got released)
C Peter Farina (unknown)
OF Davy Gregg (retired)
1B Jason Hart (definitely got released)
OF Ryan Harvey (probably injured, I haven't seen him all ST)
INF Bobby Hill (released - flunked physical)
!B Jesse Hoorelbeke (probably retired or was released)
INF Ryan Lilly (don't know)
OF Victor Liriano (haven't seen him all ST)
C Mike Mahoney (appears to have retired, because he's serving as a coach with Iowa)
INF Ryne Malone (I've seen him with the EXST guys, so he's apparently rehabbling from an off-season injury or surgery)
INF Matt Matulia (haven't seen him lately)
OF Tony Miller (definitely released)
3B Corey Myers (same as Hoorelbeke)
OF Nathan Price (has definitely been released)
INF Derek Wathan (definitely released)
OF Jeremy Williams (unknown, probably released or retired)

AA CF Sam Fuld is injured again, but I don't know what happened this time or how bad.

I saw AA OF Chris Amador get hit on the forearm by a pitch and leave a game, so he could be on the DL, or if he wasn't hurt bad, then he either got released or retired.

AAA 3B-1B-OF Mike Kinkade is definitely on the DL with a broken hand.

Iowa INF Mike Fontenot seems to have disappeared. I still think he will be traded before Opening Day (minor league deal), or maybe it already happened. Or maybe he'll reappear.

The pitching situations at the various levels are even more complicated, so I'm not even going to TRY to sort those out right now.

I did see Peoria RHP Billy Muldowney throw six shutout innings against Cedar Rapids (LAA) today, though. And Daytona RHP Mitch Atkins threw four shutout innings versus Rancho Cucamonga (also LAA).

They both pitched well, but the main difference between Muldowney and Atkins was that Muldowney had much better command and was more economical with his pitches. Muldowney was drafted just last June (8th round) out of the University of Pittsburgh, and he is a polished pitcher who really seems to have an idea out there on the mound. He should move quickly through the system.

The Cubs also had hard-throwing RHP Rocky Roquet (who should be starting the season in the Peoria bullpen) throwing in relief for Tennessee in the AA game at the Angels Diablo Complex today. He got hit pretty hard.

AZ PHIL: One more, if you please:

Have you seen, or heard from Jose Ceda in the last several months?

He's the player we received in the Todd Walker trade...

Thanks again for the great work!

The E-Man — March 30, 2007 @ 5:03 pm
AZ PHIL: One more, if you please:

Have you seen, or heard from Jose Ceda in the last several months?

He’s the player we received in the Todd Walker trade…

Thanks again for the great work!

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

E-MAN: Yes and no.

I saw Jose Ceda working out with the Peoria group a while back, and I presume he is OK and is still with Peoria. But I haven't seen him pitch in a game. That doesn't mean much, though, because they've only been playing minor league ST games for two weeks, and I have only been able to see minor league ST games when they didn't conflict with Cubs ST games I attended, and even when I was able to make it to Fitch, there was only a 50/50 chance I'd get to see Peoria, because Iowa and Tennessee are on the road when Daytona and Peoria play at Fitch, and vice versa. For instance, I've now seen Jose Pina start a game for Peoria three times!

One other thing of interest, and that is getting to observe and compare Jody Davis (Daytona manager) and Ryne Sandberg (Peoria manager) VERY up close and personal. As you know, they were teammates for several years with the Cubs in the 1980's, and now they manage on adjacent fields every day (until they leave Mesa).

One is laid back and aloof, always sits on a chair in front of the bench next to his hitting coach and pitching coach, and rarely says anything to his players.

The other is a lot more animated, will sometimes pace back and forth when his team is in the field, and will stop a player in his tracks and talk to him right away as he comes off the field if the player made a mistake.

Which one do you think is which?

That's a pretty good ancdote AZ Phil. My only problem with that of the, one I don't actually trust one of them to know when a player made a mistake.

The logjam effect is good, in my mind, even if not intentional. Just like for you and me in our jobs, the players should have goals defined if they want promotion and the only goal shouldn't be attendance.

seeing as you have to be manager and 3rd base coach on the level they're on...guess that'd be sandberg.

good for him...only took him 2 wives and 20-30 years to come out of his shell. =p

hehe.

well, they dont have to...its just "industry practice"

AZ Phil,

Your reports from AZ are the bomb......great work. On your assessment of Soriano, I couldn't agree with you more that the sooner he's moved to LF the better. I vote option 3 (Soriano - Pie - Jones) but wouldn't care if Murton went to RF and Jones got traded or better yet they were platooned.

Question: Will you detailing the rosters for Iowa, Tennesse, Daytona, Peoria, and EXST soon?

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