TCR Friday Notes

....counting down to Vegas (I'm going next week, Cubs arrive at the end of the month).

- Feel free to use this as today's game thread, Cubs stay home in Mesa and battle the Angels; Ryan Dempster vs. Ervin Santana. 

- The big news of the week was another Lou lineup change, this one involving our highest paid player though. I immediately expressed my displeasure over the experiment, but I'll save my final judgement when it's actual put to use in a game that counts. Lou still has a few weeks to change his mind. I have no problems with moving Soriano to the 2-spot or the 5-spot or the 4-spot or even the 3-spot. I have all kinds of problems with giving Ryan Theriot even more plate appearances, even if it's just a handful more.

On the other hand...

There's just something about the Lou tenure so far that makes me give him the benefit of the doubt. It's not that I think he's infallible or anything. It's just that if he does go down this road with Theriot at the top of the order, I feel just as confident that he'll abandon it if it's not working. This is the complete opposite of how I felt about Dusty, who was stubbornly stupid.

- There's a brand spankin' new rumor about Brian Roberts today from the Sun-Times in which the Cubs have an offer of Sean Gallagher, Ronny Cedeno, Jose Ceda and Donald Veal on the table. That would probably be three of our top four pitching prospects and two players that could be beneficial for the Cubs this year in Cedeno and Gallagher. A steep price to pay, but that's what happens when baseball folks start believing that leadoff hitter is an actual position. If it does happen though, it probably does make the Cubs a little bit better this year, and let's face it, it's all about winning this year.

- Speaking of Ceda, Oneri Fleita was on XM radio this morning with John Sickels. If Ceda does stick with the team, the plan was to use him as a starter so he could work on his secondary pitches. The way Fleita explained it, he'd be paired with another pither in a sort of duel-starters format to limit his pitch count and innings pitched, but he would be starting games.

- It seems Jim Hendry was less than genuine when he said that the Cubs asked about Johan Santana but were informed that he was not interested in signing a long-term deal with a team that has its spring training in Arizona. Part of it might be true, but it didn't prevent the Texas Rangers from making a serious run, a run that I think we'd all loved for the Cubs to have at least attempted, even if ultimately turned down. I know...sour grapes on my part...but we are looking at Ryan Dempster as a viable rotation candiate right now.

- A few shout-outs to some other Cubs blogs. It looks like "The View from the Bleachers" has taken up our old spot at of luck with that. They are running a home run derby contest which you're all encouraged to enter. Our friends at Ted Lilly Fan Club were inspired by my spring traning battles logo and created their own (or they're just openly mocking us).

- Baseball Prospectus and Will Carroll came out with the Cubs Team Health Report. I don't care to giveaway all their paid content, but the "red lights" were Geovany Soto, Carlos Zambrano, Sean Marshall, Jon Lieber and Kerry Wood. Also on BP, Nate Silver figures out a way to measure "heart". The Cubs, unsurprisingly, were the second worst at something.

- I had brief brush with baseball fame this morning that I thought I'd share with everyone. I went to my physical therapy appointment this morning and usually bring a baseball book to read as their is some downtime with heat wraps and whatnot. Today I happened to pick up "The Neyer/James Guide to Pitching". So I show up and start reading as they put the heat wrap on my elbow and there's a gentelman there with his wife and their pre-teen son is getting his knee worked on. To make a long story short, he turned out to be former pitcher Greg A. Harris and we had an opportunity to chat for a bit. He had no problem rubbing it in that he was part of the '84 Padres when he learned I was a Cubs fan. I quickly looked up his entry in the book and came across this interesting note: Harris pitched with both hands on Spetember 28, 1995. So we talked it up for awhile, covering a few topics from being at the Cubs first scheduled night game (he was with the Phillies at the time) and the confusion of having Greg W. Harris in the league at the same time. Fun way to start my morning...

- I wanted to mention that we did indeed find accurate service time information on the Cubs and added it to our 40-man roster page. Thanks to Arizona Phil and "Mannytrillo" for the assists on that one. You can find a full list of all major leaguers at the website for "The Book", although some of the Cub's players were off a few days from what is the official list being sent out by the organization.

- Finally, every week I'll give a mention of one our new features on the site. This week it's our "RSS Info" page. For those slow on the learning curve, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Essentially all of our front-page content is published to our RSS feed, and users can subscribe to that feed in a variety of ways. You can see our number of subscribers in the sidebar on the right, closer to the bottom. I use Google Reader myself to keep track of some of my favorite baseball sites and that way I don't have to go visit each and every site looking for updates - it's all in one handy place.

Now, there's a wide variety of uses and if you look on our RSS Info page via the menu link at the top of the page, you'll see that you can subscribe via email or automatically add it your favorite RSS reader (Google, Yahoo, etc). It also MIGHT be a better way for some to view our content, like those on certain handheld devices, as it's a stripped down version of the site (you just get the articles).

And for those with a Myspace or Facebook page, or if you have your own blog or website, we'd certainly appreciate if you'd consider placing the RSS widget on your site. A handy little gadget that will display TCR headlines on your page. You can also use it as a widget on your desktop. Just click on the "Options" link at the bottom of it and you'll see a bunch of icons for the code you need, depending on the type of page you have. You can also click on "Get This Widget" and customize it further, including adding more feeds to use as a news aggregator, if you wish.


so his work doesn't go to complete waste...This was his game thread post (sorry brother, don't hate me).


The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Home of Disneyland I've Heard Walt Disney Was A Fascist visit the Cubs Friday afternoon at HoHoKam.

Ryan Dempster (2-0/3.00/9 IP) takes the mound for the fourth time this Spring, but there will be at least as much interest in Lou Piniella's batting order. I'm assuming that Ryan Theriot will again lead off, with Alfonso Soriano hitting second, and Kosuke Fukudome in the fifth spot.

Soriano has done a remarkable job of sounding supportive of Piniella's decision to bat him second while simultaneously letting on that he wishes it weren't so.

Well Lou did experiment with Sori at CF last year, and when he realized it wasn't working out was man enough to admit he was wrong and correct it. Something I couldn't say about Dusty.

So if Sori bats 2nd then it's with the assurance that Lou will fix it if it doesn't work.

"It seems Jim Hendry was less than genuine when he said that the Cubs asked about Johan Santana..."

Shocking I tell ya, SHOCKING!!

I thought that was a very Manny like thing for Rob G to say.

Did Santana get traded to the Rangers? I thought he got traded to the Mets for a package that was considered not very good. So, really what you guys wanted was Hendry to be an idiot and try to trade for a guy who wasn't coming to the Cubs instead of concentrating on, you know, attainable players. Good call. Suggest you see how the Rangers do this season.

yeah, it's a bit of a random drive-by on my part...but I don't see how Hendry would have been more privileged to info than the Rangers front office to just not pursue it at all. A lot of speculation and a lot of sour grapes on my part, as I already noted.

The good thing about that proposed Roberts trade is that we don't lose Patterson.

I bet if that trade goes through BP will make fun of the Cubs for trading for Roberts when they already have his clone on the 40 man. Not that I agree, because Patterson has those slow hands for a secondbasemen.

I'll be hanging in the chat room off and on. I contacted the widget developer to see what's with all that whitespace between paragraphs. If anyone adds it to their site, let me know.

Was that Billy Crystal out there?!

1b error (by Dempster himself)
triple to left
double to left
homerun to left
double to left
fielder's choice
triple to right


lol... if only he could face Vlad every time. *rolls eyes*

great outing by Dumpster. 1.2 5 hits, 6 ER, 3 BB did manage a K...i pray he won't be the 4th or 5th guy...

Haven't been able to see the game, only the stats. Somebody that was watching, what was the problem with Dempster today?

I didn't notice anything wrong with Dempster except he came into the game with an ERA that was way below normal.


Good to see D-Lee is having a good game. Double and a triple already.

Cintron just got hit in the face with a batted ball while standing in the on-deck circle...

Serious? Minor? Blood?

Cubs still interested in Marlon Byrd.

I believe Gallagher, Veal, Ceda, and Cedeno is a little too much for Roberts but it seems Lou has Hendry convinced he needs more LH hitting and a leadoff hitter to boot. Stone on the Score yesterday said he believes the deal WILL get done. Also, with Soriano batting 2nd he would see a lot of breaking balls therefore allowing the leadoff hitter (Theriot or Roberts) to have a very easy time stealing second base. The de facto result, is Soriano would be moving the runner to second (just not in the conventional #2 hitter manner). All looks great on the big whiteboard in the clubhouse I suppose.

This makes a pretty potent lineup on paper: Roberts, Soriano, Lee, Ramirez, Fukudome, Soto, Pie, Theriot. What concerns me still is the starting pitching: Dempster reverted to form today, Gallagher/Veal is half the minor league depth (Samardzija/Marshall the other half). The only real heartburn in the deal for me is Ceda - what if he really develops into a dominant closer? Still, you have to give something to get something, but counting on Marquis/Lieber/Dempster to fill out the back end of the rotation........bad............bad, bad, bad.

I can't believe I'm saying this but, I'd rather keep Murton and/or Patterson than giving up more young pitching for Byrd.

Roberts, Crisp, Pie talk in there...

I haven't followed much of the Spring Training games but what I did see did not impress me from Fukudome at the plate. Anyone who has seen a bit more can tell me if something positive they have seen.

I've watched a few games on MLB.TV. He has a great eye, that I can tell. He makes the pitcher throw a ton of pitches, falls them off well, etc. He also seems good at making contact and slapping it the other way if need be.

The games I happened to see haven't shown me much beyond that. I think I've missed most of his hits this spring. My impression though is to expect a Mark Grace-ish player. I don't think he'll hit more than 10-12 HR, but he'll have a lot of doubles, walk a lot, hit around .300, and put the bat on the ball when needed. Others probably disagree, but that's what I see coming.

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  • I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.

    Tito 1 hour 53 min ago view
  • I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.

    And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.

    When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 57 min ago view
  • Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.

    billybucks 2 hours 2 min ago view
  • I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.

    Tito 2 hours 5 min ago view
  • Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.

    My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 18 min ago view
  • Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 22 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.

    Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 27 min ago view
  • Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?

    Hagsag 6 hours 12 min ago view
  • It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.

    Still impressive.

    John Beasley 6 hours 14 min ago view
  • Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.

    He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.

    billybucks 13 hours 9 min ago view
  • Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.

    Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.

    billybucks 13 hours 13 min ago view
  • 101 wins...most since 1910 (104).

    neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.

    crunch 13 hours 29 min ago view
  • Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?

    billybucks 13 hours 31 min ago view
  • Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump

    jacos 13 hours 35 min ago view
  • Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.

    billybucks 13 hours 40 min ago view
  • j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.

    felix pena, your turn.

    crunch 13 hours 42 min ago view