Marshall Throws Four Shutout Innings, But Cubs Lose

Sean Marshall threw four shutout innings as the Cubs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but the bullpen could not keep the Rangers down, as Texas rallied to defeat the Cubs 7-2 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa today, before a crowd of 11,082 under cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-60's.

box score

Both clubs started a regular season type lineup today, and Sean Marshall picked up right where left off last time out, going four innings (45 pitches - 33 strikes, 5/4 GO/FO ) and totally baffling the Rangers "A" team hitters. Marshall allowed no runs on just two hits (both singles), walked none, and struck out three, including Ian Kinsler and Michael Young. Marshall stayed ahead of the hitters, mixing up his pitches and throwing strikes.

Meanwhile, the Cubs scored single runs in the second and third off Rangers LHP Matt Harrison. 

Milton Bradley led off the 2nd inning with a single to center, and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. An Aramis Ramirez infield single moved Bradley to third, before Bradley scored on a 6-4-3 DP by Reed Johnson.

Koyie Hill led off the bottom of the 3rd with a ringing line double into the left-field corner, and was moved to third on a nicely-placed sacrifice bunt by Marshall. Alfonso Soriano walked, and then Ryan Theriot plated the second Cubs run on a 4-3 high chopper GO. (Soriano advanced to second base on the RBI GO, but was left stranded there when Derrek Lee struck out)

Luis Vizcaino entered the game in the 5th, and did not pitch well (0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 ER .3 BB, 0 K, 31 pitches - only 15 strikes, 0/2 GO/FO). He seemed to be visibly pissed  with home plate umpire Brian Gorman early in the inning (it did look like he was getting squeezed a bit) as he walked Chris Davis and Jarrod Saltalamacchia with one out. But Vizcaino got rookie SS Elvis Andrus (who would make two outstanding leaping catches in the field later in the game) on an infield pop up for the second out and looked like he might be able to get out of the inning, but then he walked PH Andruw Jones on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. After a visit to the mound by Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild, Ian Kinslser lined Vizcaino's very next pitch (#31 for the inning) to CF, driving in two runs and tying the game at two. Manager Lou Piniella then summoned veteran LHRP Mike Stanton from the bullpen to face LH David Murphy, and Murphy sliced a 2-2 pitch to the warning track in LF, where Alfonso Soriano made a nice running catch to end the inning. Stanton got the out, but he definitely did not fool Murphy. 

The game remained tied 2-2 through the 7th, as Jose Ascanio and Neal Cotts each struck out the side in their one inning of work.

Ascanio was just plain filthy, striking out Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, and Marlon Byrd on 11 pitches (he threw only one ball). Ascanio had to be throwing in the mid-90's, and the bottom was dropping out of his hard-slider.

Cotts was almost just as good (14 pitches - 10 strikes), striking out Chris Davis, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and PH Justin Smoak, athough he did surrender a harmless Elvis Andrus two-out bloop single along the way. Cotts had outstanding velocity today.

I think Ascanio really opened some eyes today, and I suspect Cotts has probably cemented his #1 bullpen lefty gig (although there isn't really much competition for the job, unless you count Marshall as a possible reliever),  

But while Ascanio and Cotts were striking out the world, the Cubs were not able to do anything offensively against veteran RHP Jason Jennings and fireballing rookie LHP Derek Holland.

Aramis Ramirez doubled with one out in 4th but was left stranded, Koyie Hill walked to lead-off the 5th but was doubled off first-base on a Alfonso Sorianio line drive, and Ryan Theriot walked leading off the 6th and stole second with one out, but he was also left stranded when Derrek Lee flied out to RF, Milton Bradley lined out to SS Andrus (one of the rookie's two outstanding defensive stops)  and Luis Rivas popped up.

Veteran RHP Chad Fox entered the game in the 8th, and he was not sharp (27 pitches - 14 strikes). He walked two (Omar Vizquel and Julio Borbon), allowed a stolen base and threw a wild pitch, and gave up two deep fly outs, before surrendering a two-out RBI single to Marlon Byrd (immediately after a visit to the mound by Larry Rothschild) that gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead.

But Kevin Hart was even worse.

Hart came into the game in the top of the 9th, with the Cubs trailing just 3-2. He gave up a first-pitch ground single to RF to Adam Melhuse, and then walked Elvis Andrus on four pitches. Pitcher Holland was left in the game to try and move the runners up with a bunt, but he struck out on a two-strike foul bunt (and that was probably the highlight of Hart's outing). Hart walked Kinsler to load the bases, and then (following another timely visit to the mound by Larry Rothschild) grooved one to Greg Golson, who promptly deposited said baseball over the left-centerfield fence for a grand slam. Hart did get the final two outs on a 6-3 GO and a F-8, but his final line was pretty ugly (1.0 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 26 pitches - 14 strikes, 1/1 GO/FO).

The Cubs did mount one of their (recently) typical last-gasp 9th inning rallies again today, but (once again) it fell short. 

Trailing 7-2, Aaron Miles blooped a one-out single to left and Welington Castillo followed with a broken-bat single to RF. Rangers Manager Ron Washington summoned RHP Casey Daigle to the mound to face PH So Taguchi, and Daigle hit Taguchi on the upper left arm on an 0-2 pitch to load the bases. Doug Deeds was next, and he hit the livin' crap out of the ball, a screaming line-drive headed toward the left-field corner. But Rangers 3B Travis Metcalf made a miraculous "look what I found!" catch for the second out (all the runners got back to their bases safely), and then Andres Blanco rolled out to end the game.

The Kansas City Royals will visit Mesa tomorrow for a Cactus League tilt with the Cubs.


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Comments

First!

Marshall is really making it impossible to give the 5th starter spot to anyone else. I'm glad I want to see him there. Just hope Heilman can stay sharp so when Harden goes down he can step up easily. Or cynicism, it's part of being a cubs fan.

Agreed.
Exactly what I wanted to see this spring after watching Harden and Z have health issues at the end of 08.

Also its nice to see KHill staying strong in the backup catcher derby.

http://thebiglead.com/?p=12171

Cesar Izturis is still with us....

If Izzy gives the Reverse Chalupa, then that right there has got to be the Cheesy Gordita.

lol Wes!

Introducing the 2009 Chicago Cubs... not that there's anything wrong with that.

Thanks for the eye-witness rept. AZ Phil.

It would seem that there are some better alternatives than Kevin Hart. Other than a decent September last year, he was not good for the Cubs while up. He cannot finish off a hitter with two strikes nor an Inning!

It seems that his biggest challenge is between the ears.

AZ Phil-are there any mechanical issues that are obvious which are preventing consistent performance for the pitcher? How many options are left? With Ascanio showing more promise, any chance of trading Hart and letting Ascanio into a pen role this year?

Good to hear Ascanio is putting it together. He could be a very good MLB reliever with that good fastball, the slider to use on righties and the nasty fading changeup to use on lefties. It'd be nice if Cotts could put up good numbers this year, too.

Thanks for the report, Phil.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/recap?gid=290308116&pr...

“We’re not hitting at all,” he said after a 7-2 loss on Sunday to the Texas Rangers. “And I haven’t seen anyone ask for extra batting practice or anything. If I were a hitter I’d rather get to where I wanted to get and then back off a little bit as opposed to continuing to try to get where I wanted to get. The sooner you get there the better it is.

“Look, spring training wins or losses don’t mean anything,” Piniella continued, “but you don’t want to get in the habit of getting … beat everyday either. That I can tell you.”

Somehow Micheal Barrett is behind all of this!

i would vote for marshall in the fourth spot in rotation
does anyone really think that hardin will start on april
10th in milwaukee ? anyone

When do you decide to start a new line? Wherever a sentence should end? Hitting . is much easier I think. Both for you to type and for us to read.

Just saying.

I do not expect Harden to start the 10th, and I'll be all for Marsh to be 4th. 4th, 5th, it's all semantics. But I understand what you're saying.

So I guess the bullpen Olympics are shaping up like this so far? Comments Phil, since you've seen more of these guys than we have this year?

Marshall--5th starter spot pretty much locked down
Heileman--"6th starter" spot and otherwise a 7th inning bridge reliever
Gregg, Marmol, Cotts, Gaudin--guaranteed spots

That leaves two bullpen jobs for 12 guys competing.

Veteran NRIs Stanton, Fox, Kadokura--no chance, each will be cut at some point
Hart, Atkins, Wells--haven't looked good, have minor league options, off to minor league camp
Ascanio, Caridad, and Samardzija--look good, but have options, off to minor league camp

So Vizcaino, Patton and Guzman battle for two spots. Vizcaino stinks, but he has a big contract so he probably stays, Hendry doesn't have the cajones to release him and eat that money. That means the Cubs will lose one of Patton or Guzman. Who do they keep?

it's pretty much a given viz is sticking around unless the team wants to eat his salary.

given that they traded away mark derosa to free up a few scraps of millions of dollars i don't see them eating that salary.

guzman...samninja...asscan...

early word has samninja having a spot, but if they can't trade guzman (who has a good arsenal, but with horrible injury history and iffy control) they have a hard choice to make with him.

FYI, your voting in the all-time great Cubs season, a couple posts down, is all wrong. Clearly, none of you should be allowed to vote for anything so important as an internet fan poll.

Submitted by The E-Man on Sun, 03/08/2009 - 7:55pm.
Thanks for the eye-witness rept. AZ Phil.

It would seem that there are some better alternatives than Kevin Hart. Other than a decent September last year, he was not good for the Cubs while up. He cannot finish off a hitter with two strikes nor an Inning!

It seems that his biggest challenge is between the ears.

AZ Phil-are there any mechanical issues that are obvious which are preventing consistent performance for the pitcher? How many options are left? With Ascanio showing more promise, any chance of trading Hart and letting Ascanio into a pen role this year?

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

E-MAN: Kevin Hart's #1 problem is lack of command. He has really good stuff, but he is not consistent with his command.

Hart can be optioned to the minors in 2009. At this point, I would say David Patton (who is a Rule 5 Player) and Angel Guzman (who is out of options) have a better chance of making the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster than does Hart.

Jose Ascanio has used up three minor league options, but he gets a 4th option in 2009 because he has not yet completed five "full seasons" (see my 40-man roster page for further explanation). So if there is a roster "crunch" the last week of ST, where the Cubs don't want to risk losing Patton and/or Guzman, Ascanio could get optioned to Iowa even if he keeps pitching well in Arizona.

Like Hart, Chad Gaudin is another pitcher who has had a bad Spring Training (so far) on the heels of a poor performance with the Cubs after he was acquired from Oakland last July, and it's possible he might not be around by Opening Day. He's out of minor league options, but he could get traded, or as long as he did not sign a guaranteed contract for 2009 when he re-signed with the Cubs for $2M on 12/12 (and being only an arbitration-eligible player, he probably did not get a guaranteed deal), the Cubs could release him prior to 3/21 (more than 15 days prior to Opening Day) and only have to pay him 30-days severance ($333K) to go away, or if they release him 15 days or less before Opening Day, they would only have to pay him $500K (45-days severance). This is how and why Reed Johnson got released by Toronto prior to Opening Day 2008 (he had signed a $3M+ deal with Toronto for 2008, but it was NOT guaranteed).

Luis Vizcaino has an iron-clad deal that guarantees him $3.5M in 2009, and $4M (club option with $500K buy-out) for 2010, so I would think Vizcaino is a lot more-likely to be around for Cubs Opening Day 2009 than is Gaudin. I would think the Cubs would probably love to trade Vizcaino, but there might not be any takers at this point. If Vizcaino were to be released, the Cubs would be on the hook for the balance of his contract (minus the $400K MLB minimum salary to be paid by his new club, should another club sign him after he is released).

Here is the current Minor League Option status for Cubs players with less than five years of MLB Service Time (players with five years or more of MLB Service Time cannot be optioned to the minors without their consent, so they are not listed).

MINOR LEAGUE OPTION STATUS (SPRING TRAINING 2009):

NOTE: Aaron Heilman, Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot would have to clear Optional Assignment Waivers before being optioned to minors, while Sean Marshall would have to clear Optional Assignment Waivers before being optioned to the minors beginning on Opening Day, Carlos Marmol beginning on 6/4, and Jose Ascanio beginning on 7/13.

NO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS AVAILABLE:
Neal Cotts
Joey Gathright
Chad Gaudin
Angel Guzman
Koyie Hill
David Patton (see NOTE)
Brad Snyder
Geovany Soto
NOTE: David Patton has three minor league options remaining, but he cannot be optioned to minors while he is a Rule 5 player.

ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT:
Jose Ascanio (see NOTE)
Mike Fontenot
Jake Fox
Sean Marshall
Carlos Marmol
NOTE: Jose Ascanio has used up three minor league options, but he is eligible for a 4th minor league option in 2009 because he has completed only four “full seasons” through 2008 season.

TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Sam Fuld
Kevin Hart
Aaron Heilman
Micah Hoffpauir
Richie Robnett
Jeff Samardzija (see NOTE)
Ryan Theriot
Randy Wells
NOTE: Jeff Samardzija has used up two minor league options, but he still has two options remaining because he is eligible for a 4th minor league option, as long as it is used prior to completing five “full seasons.”

THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Mitch Atkins
Justin Berg
Marcos Mateo
Jeff Stevens

FOUR MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Kosuke Fukudome (see NOTE)
NOTE: Kosuke Fukudome has four minor league options remaining because he has completed only one “full season.” However, he probably has a special clause in his contract that gives him the right to refuse an outright or optional assignment to the minors.

Great information Phil

Can you (or anybody else) further discuss exactly why Vizcaino is essentially guaranteed a spot on the 25?

I understand his contract and eating it and what not. But that money is spent, regardless of whether they release him or not. To me it makes much more sense to let him go and let one of our promising young relievers get some MLB work in.

Agreed,

The concept of Sunk cost SHOULD apply here.

However I doubt that Jim Hendry wants to admit a mistake and cut Vizcaino unless he absolutely has to.

Submitted by Jim Hickmans Bat on Sun, 03/08/2009 - 9:54pm.

So I guess the bullpen Olympics are shaping up like this so far? Comments Phil, since you've seen more of these guys than we have this year?

Marshall--5th starter spot pretty much locked down

Heileman--"6th starter" spot and otherwise a 7th inning bridge reliever

Gregg, Marmol, Cotts, Gaudin--guaranteed spots

That leaves two bullpen jobs for 12 guys competing.

Veteran NRIs Stanton, Fox, Kadokura--no chance, each will be cut at some point

Hart, Atkins, Wells--haven't looked good, have minor league options, off to minor league camp

Ascanio, Caridad, and Samardzija--look good, but have options, off to minor league camp

So Vizcaino, Patton and Guzman battle for two spots. Vizcaino stinks, but he has a big contract so he probably stays, Hendry doesn't have the cajones to release him and eat that money.

That means the Cubs will lose one of Patton or Guzman. Who do they keep?

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

JIM H: I think it's more than likely that Rich Harden will be placed on the 15-day DL prior to Opening Day and will remain in Arizona at Extended Spring Training until the weather warms up in Chicago. That would allow both Marshall and Heilman to be in the starting rotation at the beginning of the regular season, although a 5th starter will not be needed too often in April. And then Marmol, Gregg, Cotts, Vizcaino, Gaudin, Guzman, and Patton could be the bullpen.

But as I mentioned in my previous comment, if he did not sign a guaranteed contract (and he probably did not), the Cubs might opt to release Chad Gaudin (if they can't trade him) if he continues to pitch poorly in ST. If they release him before 3/21, they save $1.666M in 2009 payroll, and if they release him within 15 days of Opening Day, they would save $1.5M in 2009 payroll, AND they would save almost the entire $2M if Gaudin gets released and then signs with another MLB club (who by rule would have to pay Gaudin the MLB minimum salary of $400K if he is placed on the new club's 40-man roster.

David Patton has been the big surpirise so far. I think the Cubs really like him, but it will be tough to keep a kid like that on the 25-man roster for an entire season. I doubt that he could get through waivers without being claimed, or even if he did clear Outght Assignment Waivers (and any club claiming a Rule 5 player automatically assumes the Rule 5 roster restrictions), the Rockies would certainly gladly pay $25,000 to get him back, since (as the player's original club) they would be permitted to outright him to the minors. 

Good analysis Phil. I didn't know that about Gaudin's contract, freeing up that money is likely very tempting to Jim Hendry. He could then afford to eat some money to dump Vizcaino, and the Cubs would have the spots freed up for the kids they like in the pen (Patton et al.)

Or I suppose another possibility is to try and trade Gaudin or Vizcaino for the reserve infielder the Cubs apparently still need. I think it's even obvious to Lou that Luis Rivas is NOT the answer. Has Koskie shown up yet?

Also, there are the unsigned FAs, last I knew Aurilia, Durham and our old pal Grudzy were still available, though I doubt the latter two could cover 3B as Lou so desperately wants.

Finally, are we reading the tea leaves correctly in that it is increasingly looking like we will NOT need to live through the Gabor Bako Era, Part II?? A kid can dream....

Koskie won't show up until Canada is eliminated from the WBC.

Az Phil...so you're saying that Rothschild should stop going to the mound with men in scoring position? Maybe he needs to update his routine advice. If this keeps happening will we see Lester Strode making the trips to the mound?

(please, no reply needed)

With Marshall's recent start the battle goes like this....

Marshall - 9.0 IP, 5 SO, 0 BB, 1 ER
Heilman - 5.0 IP, 7 SO, 2 BB, 0 ER

Marshall is looking good but Heilman is looking better so far with a better strikeout ability.

Heilman has the ability to strikeout 180+ if he gets 200 innings. Marshall would probably max out at 130-150 at best over 200 innings.

I am a fan of Heilman and the bullpen may need him more. If he wins a rotation spot he could be a steal of a pick up that would provide us with a way better than average #4 or #5 starter.

Heilman is pitching very well, as is Marshall.

I'm hoping that Heilman will solidify the bullpen so we don't have to see that cavalcade of crap coming, a la Guzman, Ascanio, Hart....ugh.

He worries me as a starter, after 5 years in the bullpen, with 4 good ones, trying to make him a starter. Usually, after this long in the league, pitchers are who we thought they were..to steal a quote.

This is what many people would call a "good" problem...

Either way I feel better than Jason Marquis.

The bullpen woes are a bit concerning, but there's some time still to get those worked out. Mike Stanton needs to be cut immediately.

More troubling is the lack of offense. NO power whatsoever. Maybe they're just takin' 'er easy right now, but I tend to agree with Lou that it's time to start getting serious.

Korea beats Japan 1-0

game ends with Fukudome (played CF) in the on deck circle

he went 1-3 with a single.

Both teams go on to San Diego...

Japan simply couldn't hit Bong. But the good news is, they'll all pass their drug tests.

Yet another reason the Japanese wish they had Michael Phelps.

Dome goes 1-3, but it was only an infield single.

I really hope that this guy can give us something this year...

Yet another reason the Japanese wish they had Michael Phelps.
----
smoked sushi?

Cubs World Baseball Classic Update

Ryan Searle (Australia) - did not pitch in game 1

Vince Perkins (Canada) - did not pitch in game 1

Corey Koskie (Canada) - did not play in game 1

Hung-Wen Chen (Taiwan) - did not pitch in either game, out of tournament

Carlos Marmol (Dominican Republic) - 1 IP, 3 SO in game 1

Alex Maestri (Italy) - 1.2 IP, 2 BB, 1 SO in game 1

Kosuke Fukudome (Japan) - 2-7, 4 BB, 2 R, 2 SO through pool play

Geovany Soto (Puerto Rico) - 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO in game 1

Ted Lilly (USA) - did not pitch in games 1 or 2

Submitted by Jim Hickmans Bat on Mon, 03/09/2009 - 1:32am.

Good analysis Phil. I didn't know that about Gaudin's contract, freeing up that money is likely very tempting to Jim Hendry. He could then afford to eat some money to dump Vizcaino, and the Cubs would have the spots freed up for the kids they like in the pen (Patton et al.)

Or I suppose another possibility is to try and trade Gaudin or Vizcaino for the reserve infielder the Cubs apparently still need. I think it's even obvious to Lou that Luis Rivas is NOT the answer. Has Koskie shown up yet? Also, there are the unsigned FAs, last I knew Aurilia, Durham and our old pal Grudzy were still available, though I doubt the latter two could cover 3B as Lou so desperately wants.

Finally, are we reading the tea leaves correctly in that it is increasingly looking like we will NOT need to live through the Gabor Bako Era, Part II?? A kid can dream....

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

JIM H: One of the problems with the Cubs present projected 25-man roster configuration is that on days when a lefty starts against the Cubs, and Reed Johnson starts in CF and Aaron Miles starts at 2B, the Cubs bench would consist of five left-handed hitters (Bako, Fontenot, Fukudome, Gathright, and Hoffpauir) and no right-handed hitters (unless you include Carlos Zambrano hitting right-handed). Last year, the Cubs always had Ronny Cedeno and Henry Blanco available as potential RHPH even on days when a lefty was starting for the opposition.

The one way to deal with this imbalance is to keep switch-hitting Koyie Hill instead of Paul Bako as the back-up catcher (but K. Hill hasn't hit at the big league level), and/or to add a second back-up infielder who hits right-handed (Luis Rivas or somebody else).

But if a second back-up utility infielder is added, either the Cubs would have to go with an 11-man pitching staff (Lou might prefer this, but Larry Rothschild would probably talk him out of it), or Micah Hoffpauir (#1 LHPH and back-up 1B) or Joey Gathright (#1 late-inning PR & LHPH lead-off type) would have to be dropped, and that would be a problem, too.

I think the Cubs eventually might try to acquire a right-handed hitting 3B-1B-RHPH (I believe this is why the Cubs tried Jake Fox at 3B at Fitch Park last month), and option Hoffpauir to AAA where he can get regular playing time and be available in case D-Lee goes down with an injury for a period of time. And then Hoffpauir could be recalled for interleague play and could be added as the 14th position player for the post-season (presuming the Cubs get that far!), when the Cubs will likely go with 11 pitchers. That's not fair to Hoffpauir because he has earned a roster slot, but it just might end up that way anyway. 

"Joey Gathright (#1 late-inning PR & LHPH lead-off type) would have to be dropped, and that would be a problem, too. "

Care to share where the problem with this is? :D

both lou and hendry seem to be stoked about gath, fwiw.

Submitted by CPH2133 on Mon, 03/09/2009 - 10:38am.

"Joey Gathright (#1 late-inning PR & LHPH lead-off type) would have to be dropped, and that would be a problem, too. "

Care to share where the problem with this is? :D

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

CPH2133: It's a problem FOR LOU PINIELLA because he wants that type of player on the bench.

Now, if the Cubs can find a RH hitting (or switch-hitting) back-up infielder Piniella could use as a late-inning PR, then Gathtright could be replaced by that player. Somebody might become available at the end of Spring Training, as happened with Reed Johnson last year.

Gathright has played very well so far, BTW, and Piniella apparently feels comfortable with him on the roster. He is very fast, he can bunt,,and he has played very well in CF, too.

 

Thanks for the reply AZ, I didn't think anything with such smartass-ness deserved one, but thanks none the less.

I know Lou wants that type of player, I just see other needs on the team. But who am I?

Submitted by Andrew on Mon, 03/09/2009 - 6:22am.

The bullpen woes are a bit concerning, but there's some time still to get those worked out. Mike Stanton needs to be cut immediately.

More troubling is the lack of offense. NO power whatsoever. Maybe they're just takin' 'er easy right now, but I tend to agree with Lou that it's time to start getting serious.

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

ANDREW: Which just shows how valuable Geovany Soto is. You take Soto out of the lineup and replace him with Bako or K. Hill, and all of a sudden it's the 2005-06 Cubs. Cub fans better hope nothing bad happens to Soto in 2009

Replacing Mark DeRosa with Aaron Miles doesn't help, either. Losing DeRo is going to have a definite significant negative impact on the Cubs run production in 2009.

In retrospect, it's too bad the Cubs didn't decline the $7M 2009 club option on Rich Harden and keep DeRosa instead. 

"In retrospect, it's too bad the Cubs didn't decline the $7M 2009 club option on Rich Harden and keep DeRosa instead."

What are the guesses for Harden on the open market at the time? Not knowing he's basically Kerry Wood 2.0 as far as injured shoulder.

Submitted by kmokeefe on Mon, 03/09/2009 - 12:31pm.

Great information Phil

Can you (or anybody else) further discuss exactly why Vizcaino is essentially guaranteed a spot on the 25? I understand his contract and eating it and what not. But that money is spent, regardless of whether they release him or not.

To me it makes much more sense to let him go and let one of our promising young relievers get some MLB work in.

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

KMOKEEFE: Luis Vizcaino has pitched better than Gaudin, Hart, Stevens, Kadokura, Fox, and Stanton (so far).

Like yesterday, while he walked three, the first two were on really close pitches that just as easily could have been called strike three. And Vizcaino's first rwo outings were very good. As long as he doesn't get shelled (and he has not been hit hard so far), Vizcaino has a spot in the bullpen. That doesn't mean the Cubs wouldn't trade him if somebody expresses interest, just that they probably won't release him.

Chad Gaudin is another matter, however, presuming he has a non-guarenteed contract. If Gaudin is signed to a non-guaranteed contract (and he probably is), the Cubs could save $1.5M if they release him prior to Opening Day, or $2M if they release him prior to Opening Day and he signs with another club and is added to that club's 40-man roster. I think the Cubs would prefer to trade Gaudin, but not if they have to pick up part of his salary. It would be better just to release him, unless they can trade him to fill a perceived need (a second lefty reliever or a right-handed hitting utility INF or a better back-up catcher) who is making about the same salary.

thanks a bunch

I was under the wrong impression, I had the understanding that Vizcaino was pitching very poorly

makes much more sense if he is proving he can get hitters out with consistency

A Thousand thanks AZ PHIL.

Watching DeRo in the WBC just underlines the loss to the team losing him will be as you so correctly point out.

Unfortunately, for all us fans, this really was an outcome of not having an owner in place during the height of the FA signing period. Maybe, and we really do not know as fact, Hendry either was told to get his salary to below $145MM, OR ELSE, OR, there was something in the works regarding Jake Peavy. When one is spending that much money, and keeping a player of DeRo's caliber is possible, there is no other logical explanation.

If Jeff Stevens is a special prospect, it would at least lessen the blow in the long term.

the dero conspiracy...

is it freeing up money to scrap a payroll together?

was it that lou-gate controversy crap?

was it freeing up money for peavy?

i think it's aliens.

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