Gameday Open Thread / A's @ Cubs; Cubs @ Giants
In the first half of Wednesday's day/night Cubs exhibitiongameathon, Ryan Dempster gets the start at HoHoKam (2:05 Central Time), while in the second game, starting at 9:05 Central Time, Jon Lieber throws against the Giants.
If Lou Piniella sticks to his vow to name the five-man starting staff by the end of the week, this would be the last chance for Dempster and Lieber to make their respective cases. Jason Marquis, who allowed just one run in five innings against the Royals Tuesday, has made a pretty good case for himself already.
Miniscule sample sizes and spring training weirdness aside, here's how Dempster, Lieber, and Marquis stack up so far:
In at least one writer's opinion, Dempster remains "the odds-on favorite" to win the third spot in the Cubs rotation, leaving Marquis and Lieber in the running for the remaining slot. (In fairness to Dempster and Paul Sullivan, Demp's numbers looked pretty good until he blew up in his last outing, but as many have written and commented here before, Dempster's lifetime numbers as a starter are none too attractive.)
Thie picture for all three pitchers and the immediate future of the Cubs' starting five should be at least a little clearer after the action concludes tonight.
Elsewhere and otherwise:
-- According to Ken Rosenthal (and thanks to mlbtraderumors for flagging it), former Cub Jody Gerut could be in for significant playing time for the Padres as Jim Edmonds recovers from a calf strain. Arizona Phil pointed to Gerut's red-hot hitting in Venezuela months ago and obviously the Pads shared Az Phil's interest.
-- Again by way of mlbtraderumors.com--does that guy ever sleep?--comes a note from the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds are looking for a backup catcher (somehow Paul Bako isn't enough). Writer John Fay thinks the team would part with Ryan Freel to get that catching help "in a second."
Not sure that the Cubs have the catching help to offer or that Cincy would move Freel within the division, but the Cubs have supposedly had the righthanded hitting utility guy in their sights in the past.