Cubs News from Arizona

I believe today is the first official workout and we're starting to get some much needed Cubs news in our morphine drips.

- Muskat says Ted Lilly was playing catch yesterday and says his shoulder feels strong. Lilly thinks he can be ready by Opening Day. The quotes from Paul Sullivan though are a bit more tempered.


"I expect to be ahead of schedule," Lilly said. "I think the real test, first, is when you get on a mound and start throwing downhill off a slope, and then when you get into a game situation and really try to dial it up. That's when you find out how healthy you really are."

- Some of the early birds among the position players include Marlon Byrd, Tyler Colvin and Andres Blanco.

- Greg Maddux is in camp. Don't get too excited that he'll ever take over pitching coach duties from Larry Rothschild though.

Now entering his ninth season with the Cubs, Rothschild has coached under three managers and will be around as long as Hendry is here.

Rumors have also been that Maddux would want a higher profile gig than pitching coach when he does decide to return full time to the game.

- Z was taking grounders at shortstop today. As one Cubs blogger noted, Z has out OPS'd Theriot over the last two years. Watch your back little man.

- Word is that the bill to keep the Cubs in Arizona has passed by a vote of 6-2. The car tax is an extra $1 on car rentals and 8% on spring training tickets. Using some fuzzy math, one representative said it's going to cost about $2.80 a person .

- Hendry is flying to St. Petersburg at the end of the week to most likely be present at Ryan Theriot's arbitration case, although he won't be doing the arguing for the Cubs. They're keeping the exact date and time a secret for whatever reason (UPDATE: flying out tomorrow with the hearing on either Friday or Saturday).

- Early contender for 2010 quote of the year by Geovany Soto responding to steroid allegations.

"I wasn't strong. I was just fat."

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Comments

http://baseballmusings.com/?p=46691

If a player has a hot week in October, I don’t think that necessarily gives you an idea of his abilities.

...but we never will.

http://koreabaseball.blogspot.com/2010/02/cub...

18-year old righty Kim Jin-yeong signed with the Cubs on Wednesday. He'll get a $1.2 million signing bonus. The Duk-Soo High School product is said to have a 148km fastball(roughly 92 mph).

damn...that's 2nd round money.

That seems a bit much unless he's got a really great second offering. 92 MPH fastballs aren't common, but they certainly can be found later in the draft than the second round.

Weren't there supplemental picks who got less than $1 million this year?

I'm fairly certain Brett Jackson received less from the Cubs.

from Cots: $0.972M signing bonus

said to have a 148km fastball

Me: ooooh

(roughly 92 mph).

Me: oh...

What's wrong with his name? It's a pretty common sounding name to me...just curious.

at first glance, I would pronounce it something similar to Kim Jong

Huh?

Name that Korean with a similar sounding name. Tip: It rhymes with Tim Long Bill

I get the reference...his name just doesn't sound anything like it.

"Z has out OPS'd Theriot over the last two years. Watch your back little man."

i always loved it when Z would swing away with less than 2 outs with his wild-ass bat when we had our power hitting, low ob%, leadoff man waiting on deck. fun times.

Opening day for Lilly? I thought he would be out until June? Someone is lying. Or do we no longer care when people in the media make things up out of thin air?

checked Fox News ratings lately?

Burn!!!

Whoever said June is an idiot!!!!!

Whoever said June is an idiot!!!!!
---
Yes Virginia, it was Captain Wrongway Phil Rogers (from his NL Central construction project analysis)

Unknowns: Pitcher Ted Lilly is recovering from shoulder surgery and could be out until June.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/topic/bal-sp.nl...

He'd never make it in the blogosphere. ^.^

Why is someone picking on June? She's a lovely gal.

Guzman nursing a knee injury already:

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/02/21...

so what you're saying is he's in mid-season form?

killer.

lol.

Isn't that the truth?!

This is one reason why there may not be such a Grey area about going with Gray over Guz.

Or, even trading the guy.

As you say CRUNCH: "He is another injury waiting to happen."

at least guz's price is right vs. his talent, but wow...he should have "made it" a long long time ago. i thought he'd never get/stay here at many points.

Lilly was back pitching 21 days after his scope (6 shutout innings, no decision), Angel Guzman's on death's doorstep from his scope:

Angel Guzman injured a knee during a workout in Venezuela and had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus two weeks ago. The procedure was done in Arizona. He was expected to be ready by Opening Day.

...depending on how much mensicus cartilage get trimmed it takes 2-6 weeks to recover.

Last season Lilly had his knee scoped on 7-27-09.

The Associated Press reports Chicago Cubs SP Ted Lilly allowed four singles, a walk and struck out four in six shutout innings in his return from the disabled list Monday, Aug. 17.

He returned in the game Kevin Gregg blew in the 9th with a 3 run HR to Kyle Blanks.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/boxscore.jsp?gid=2009...

Lacking Grey Matter:

Jeff Gray, whom the Cubs acquired from Oakland, has a moderate groin strain, injured during drills in Mesa. The right-hander will take it easy over the first few weeks of camp.

I've read that Hendry has brought in Milton Bradley on a one day contract to argue the case against Theriot. It was some Phil Rogers piece if I recall correctly.

I suspect losing Gray and Guzman for the first half of spring training just drove up the price for Jason Frasor or Luke Gregerson

Is it me or does 2010 already feel like a 2nd-place season. I'm having trouble getting excited. Yeah, sure I'm excited about spring and warmer weather. And I'm excited about getting to watch baseball again, but I'm just not feeling it from the Cubs this year.

Who knows, maybe the lowered expectations will help. Or is it just me with the lowered expectations?

3+ good starters, a crew of 3 sluggers with a possible 4th in soto...pen looks better than last season even without a lights-out pen stud.

fuku is overpaid, but he still does a good job playing the game all-around, imo. byrd...meh...

the middle IF situation should be interesting...hopefully theriot can turn in 1 more season like the last few at the very least.

bench doesn't look too bad, imo...even with a weak-bat SS backup (stay healthy riot...hell, stay healthy everyone)

I think that Theriot's actually the most replaceable guy in the lineup. It's possible that the guys behind him outperform what he's likely to do.

Fountainout is going to need to hit.

In the lineup, who weill outperform Theriot exactly...Blanco??

I agree on Fontenot....he's got something to prove..

I agree on Fontenot....he's got something to prove..

Yeah, maybe he'll show up to spring training 6 inches taller and making more contact with the bat. Then he could be considered for the 25-man roster.

Not as a hitter, but as a ballplayer. If you're in the lineup, you're also in the field.

Blanco is exciting to watch on the field. His hitting reminds me a little of Ray Ordonez.

Fontenot had something to prove last year. The only thing he did prove was that he doesn't belong in the major leagues. Instead Hendry keeps him and pays him $1 million.

damn.

sometimes i feel like im the last guy that believes he can turn in a 15hr, .350-ish ob% season. i like his swing. he needs to actually put the bat on the ball to make the swing work, though.

he's an average/+ 2nd, but not far from average. not like it'd be shocking to see him fall off the face of the earth over the next few years, but i think the midget has the skills.

He proved it just like Felix Pie proved it in 2008. Some guys just never learn. Sadly, two of those guys are our manager and our GM.

well, to be fair, fontenot isn't a 6'2 black dude from another country.

i seriously do like his form while swinging a bat...which is a decent enough thing if you're going to swing at everything. it's not like he's gonna be an ob% machine or produce a decent ob% via suddenly learning to take 80+ walks a year. he's not much for swinging at absolute trash, but it's not like when he was missing last season he was fouling stuff off...he was straight up missing the pitch.

at this point all i have in fontenot is a fan of his form, his improved work on his D, and i'm impressed at the amount of power he can produce out of his swing for such a little guy.

Pie proved what? that he needed playing time? 83 at bats? Not much to prove either way.

Last year Pie's .267/.326/.437 in a part time role wasn't exactly stellar, but at least he got some time to play. He was a more than capable fill-in in LF and CF, and he's still only 25.

Ok...so who do the Cubs play at SS instead of Theriot?

Andres Blanco should start at SS and bat 8th, Theriot to the bench, and Fontenot to Iowa. That's what a real team would do.

It ain't pretty, but Theriot's bat over Blanco's bat is not going to add more to the team than Blanco's defense over Theriot's defense... it's not even close.

Well Blanco had better be Ozzie Smith at SS for that to remotely work. .260/.320/.350
would be a career year for Blanco.

Not sure about Ozzie Smith, but Blanco is real good in the field. Another option is just throwing Castro from the pan to the fire. If he's prepared mentally and can field, why not.

How is this different than last year? A Ram injury? Maybe. It's not really an improved team, though.

Matt Capps chose the Nationals over the Cubs. Just sayin'.

they let him close.

i think having marmol as a closer is an issue on it's own, but at least the pen is looking better on whole this season.

actually I believe they said he'd get to compete against Bruney...

also read that Cubs never actually made an offer...too pricey and too much a luxury at the time he signed.

Aaron Heilman is not on the team and Kevin Gregg figured he can hide in the shadows of some Canucks. By the way Kevin, the beer is not all that it is cracked up to be.

last year has nothing to do with this year...plus some health would help...esp. with the starting staff.

i think you can march out the same team as last year and get more wins. the amount of underachieving and "bad luck" was astounding at points. this is a 140m club. it's rarely sunk before the game starts.

i think you can march out the same team as last year and get more wins.

You have a point there.

And the opposite side of the coin...

Z has struggled and never become the consistent pitcher we expected. Dempster is a middle of the road starter. Lilly misses the start of the season. Wells looks like a good 4, is he more than that? Gorz/Marshall/Shark Boy/Silva nothing to get excited about.

Bullpen features an inconsistent walk-machine closing, with mostly unproven kids at the other spots.

Lineup is full of low contact, high k hitters. Almost every hitter is slow footed and plays mediocre to bad defense. 2nd base is a gaping hole. And the idea of moving Theriot to 2b when/if Castro is ready to man SS is idiotic. A team can't have both middle infielders without power.

I'm thinking a 3rd place finish, well out of playoff contention. There are way too many guys who need to have a big rebound year to feel comfortable thinking this team is going to contend.

It was just reported on local NPR in Chicago, that Bud Selig is fighting the proposed "Cub Tax".

He is such a tool anyway, but this whole thing will get changed around.

the same Selig that allegedly pushed the Cubs to stay in Arizona. Obviously, his owner buddies have called up and bitched about it and he has no choice but to side with the guys that got him elected.

If it was the city of Arizona or the people of Arizona doing the bitching (and I'm sure some are), I would understand and support it. I'm not a big fan publicly funding stadiums myself. But when the bitching is coming from owners that already have their hands in the piggybank, it's a bit much.

Keep in mind that none of the hypocritical owners are against taxpayer funding. The part of the legislation that places a surcharge/tax on rental cars is perfectly fine with them. They just don't want a tax/surcharge on their Spring Training game tickets.

I really hope that Ricketts has the nads to stand up to these scum bags (Selig included in this case). I know Ricketts is new, but why should he play nice? Reinsdorf didn't waste any time trying to stab him in the back. If Ricketts takes his team to Naples, Reinsdorf and the White Sox will be the ones in Arizona hurt most.

Just make it a $2 tax on Cubs road games and be done with it. Cubs fans won't bitch about it and if the 100's of Sox and Padres fans don't like it, they can just skip those games.

Tell Bud that the Reds, Brewers, Pirates, and White Sox need to stop charging premium prices for Cubs games so they stop fleecing traveling Cub fans to fill their crap stadiums to play their shitty teams.

Melissa Isaacson on Lou and 2011:

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/columns...

Bruce Levine says, "The Chicago Cubs and shortstop Ryan Theriot will have their arbitration hearing on Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla., according to a league source."

http://jimripley.freedomblogging.com/2010/02/...

Arizona Diamondbacks representative Tom Dorn chided Mesa and the Cubs for its ballgame ticket surcharge and car rental tax solution. He proudly pointed out the Diamondbacks’ had avoided being a burden on others by getting the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community to build a Cactus League stadium for them and the Colorado Rockies.

Now that’s chutzpah or worse—from a team whose downtown Phoenix stadium was 71 percent publicly financed, including a quarter cent sales tax levied on taxpayers throughout the county, not just in Phoenix.

We got ours. The heck with Mesa and the Cubs.

Lawmakers were unimpressed as they noted that by playing on Indian community land, fan purchases would not be subject to sales taxes.

burn!

"Big League, Big Time" is a kick ass (imo) book on the subject. It starts out pretty dry going through the business of getting a team in Phoenix, but it picks up and pulls everything together once it finds it's pace. There's some great parts about how they built their initial team and the thought process behind it.

Kerry Wood diet.

Looks like we found a leadoff hitter

low ob%...K's a ton...power hitter.

could be.

It looks like he lost one or two of those pounds from his right shin. In all seriousness, I don't see how this won't help him as a catcher. He should have more agility behind the plate and coming out of the crouch on throws. Good for Soto to get serious after a down season and the pot thing.

I'm gonna miss the Daryle-Wardesqe badonk. Who else on the team has back? Nobody, that's who.

+1

Carlos Silva is sporting a few extra lbs.

he needs to be sporting a full release.

still can't believe this crap.

Paul Sullivan article and tweets:

http://twitter.com/PWSullivan

Cubs to Cactus League owners (and Selig): Drop Dead

http://bit.ly/cN0PiY

I am not really sure what to expect from this team coming into Spring Training and frankly I think that is a good thing. It is always nice to be the headline favorite to win the division or the NL, but in all seriousness, this team needs less attention from the national media as hard as that may come. I was listening to a local St. Louis radio station today and the radio personalities were bragging about being the favorites to win the NL Central. I thought about last year and what the "experts" were deeming the favorites. It is all relative to who stays healthy. I think talent for talent the Cubs and the Cardinals are fairly even, within reason, but it all really comes down to execution and health. Obviously the Cubs were a different team missing Ramirez for the majority of the season or at least at full production. I can go through each category and unbaisedly provide who is the favorite in each area. Here it goes:

1. Starting Pitching- This is a tough one because overall, I think that that Cubs have more depth, but I think that when Carpenter and Wainwright are healthy, they are as effective 1-2 punch as any in baseball. Edge = Cardinals.

2. 1st Base-Derrek Lee is excellent and a fan favorite, but Pujols is the best in the game and has really suprised me with his effort on the defensive side of the game. Edge = Cardinals.

3. 2nd Base-This appears to be a revolving door for both teams with Fontenot and Baker fighting for playing time with maybe Andres Blanco providing relief when needed and the Cardinals having Julio Lugo and Skip Schumaker while being linked to aquiring Felipe Lopez. Edge: Even.

4. Shortstop-Brendon Ryan is anticipated to be missing all of the spring after having surgery on a bum wrist. This kid is not afraid to get dirty and his a grinder. He is plus defensively and will put on a clinic for Theriot, but I am still siding with Theriot offensively. Overall, Theriot has been more consistent and has proven himself to be an everyday player, regardless ofthe controversy. Edge: Cubs.

5. 3rd Base-Aramis should be able to come back from the shoulder injury that plauged him for the better part of 2009. The Cardinals are looking at utilizing David Freese and Joe Mather has appearently been preparing to get a look this spring. Overall, this is the one area that may be the achilles heal for the Cardinals this year. Edge: Cubs.

6. Left Field-This position should be interesting for the Cubs. Soriano is coming off one of the worst years in his career (if not the worst). He will be coming into spring training with a repaired knee (hopefully healthy) and knowing that he will be a middle of the order guy. Holliday will be still recovering from the postseason hangover. Both guys have the potential to put up the numbers, but Holliday in my opinion is the better hitter and a slight edge defensively. Edge: Cardinals.

7. Center Field-Maryln Bryd is an interesting pickup for the Cubs. There is a lot of skeptisism regarding the splits from last year. He is not an above average fielder, but an average to slightly above average hitter that will provide some power and I think show some similar power at Wrigley as he did at Arlington. I also think this guy will tear it up at Busch Staduim. Rasmus enjoyed a fantastic year for the Cardinals in 2009 and I think this kid will grow into a solid defensive player. Edge: Even.

8. Right Field-Ryan Ludwick will only benefit from hitting behind Holliday and Pujols. I look for this guy to really produce in 2010, but I still think he is limited with the glove. I have predicted that Fukudome will have his best year of his career with the Cubs this year. He will have a defined role, hopefully splitting time with a healthy Xavier Nady, and providing a high on-base year in the two hole consistantly. However, the power potential of Ludwick is hard to overcome. Edge: Cardinals.

9. Catcher- Yadier Molina is probably the least talked about best catchers in the league. This guy continues to just make Dave Duncan look good. He knows how to handle a pitching staff and is one of the hardest hitters to strike out in all of baseball. He is exceptional at throwing runners on base and is a leader on the field. This is a big year for Soto and could really make or break the Cubs lineup in so many ways. The Cubs are in desperate need of an additional RBI guy and Soto can provide that, but he will need to stay healthy and be more selective. Edge: Cardinals.

10. Bullpen-The Cardinals have a nice healthy balance of lefty/righty combinations with Miller and Reyes and being veterans, these guys are a nice to have, but the Cubs have more depth and more lights out type of pitchers. In the end it comes down to getting guys out and the Cubs bullpen is probably more erratic, but in the end, I think in 2010, the Cubs will be more effective. Edge: Cubs.

11. Bench-This is one area that will be more or less determined in Spring for both teams. The Cubs have some interesting non-roster invitees and some guys that will get a look this spring. The Cubs have a deeper, more talented farm system than St. Louis and this will provide more options for them in the event they want to make a move. Edge: Cubs.

cards are definitely the team to watch.

i agree on your 2nd base assessment, but i'm sure that's one that would divide people.

cubs have a great core of pitching to choose from (depth), while the cards have 2 guys better than any of the 3-4 above-average guys the cubs have.

i hope the pen can keep from leading the league in walks, but at least it seems they have a decent shot of being near the top in Ks.

Ok...but
1)Schumaker, in his first year of ever playing 2B, hit .303/.364/.393, scoring 85 runs, hit 34 doubles, and wasn't a butcher in the field. Fontenot and Blanco aren't going to do that...and Baker, who I like, hit a little above his station last season.
2)Franklin, in a season and a half as the Cards' closer, has 55 saves, and was lights out last season. That's got to be an edge to the Cardinals, yeah?

What are Fountainout/Baker's career splits in a platoon? I bet they're better than .364/.393. Theriot can do that and everyone else here is agreed that it's not good enough to be a second basemen anymore.

TRN-Agreed on the platoon. If I thought the Cubs would platoon those two, I'd have brought that up as well. I just don't think they are that smart. I went by last season, and Theriot did not do better than .364/.393 last season.

Fontenot:.272/.348/.435
Baker:.285/.346/.543

1) Agreed that Schumaker was simply better than our second base options last year, but Baker may have hit .288 last year, but also had 15 doubles in 226 ABs. Schumaker had over 500 ABs. If Baker can get a full time ABs, he will be pretty close in the power numbers to Schumaker. I think Schumaker will be more selective and have a higher OBP.

2) Let's not forget Franklin blew 8 saves in 25 oportunities in 2008. Franklin will not be as effective this year as he was last year.

I feel that the Cubs have more depth in the starting pitching area and long relief. I think that their set-up men are pretty even. Franklin had a solid year last year, but Marmol had an even better year in '08. All things considered, if both are at their best, Marmol is the better option here.

Thank you for your book.

Have you considered your own blog?

Bah! The league totally figured Rasmus out and this is what he put up the second half:

.216 .278 .314 .592

Need I add, that's awful.

WE are in deep trouble if Marlon Byrd can't do better.

Of course, 22 year old players in their first full season (Rasmus)may get a little more leeway that a 32 year old guy who's been in the league a few seasons (Byrd)

Bruce Levine on the Angel Guzman meniscal knee surgery...pretty obvious but:

Guzman’s injury probably tells you why the Cubs have not been able to move on a deal to obtain another relief pitcher. Guzman is high on the list of the San Diego Padres, who are looking to replace some bullpen parts.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

they got adams/bell and want more? they need a f'n power hitter...not another reliever. =p

" who are looking to replace some bullpen parts"

Which parts of Guzman do they want?

Which parts of Guzman do they want?
---
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTzLVIc-O5E

gets $5M instead of $7M...

Player Wins: C. Ross, C. Hart
Owner Wins: W. Rodriguez, B. Bruney

Theriot is at a disadvantage by not being named Cody, although maybe 4-letter first names are an advantage.

interesting fact, according to Maury Brown at Biz of Baseball arb players that sign multi-year deals can't be used as comps.

From Bruce Miles:

"Z also revealed that he's scrapped the cutter and will concentrate on the sinker, slider and "high fastball." The sinker is his best pitch, as it comes in heavy, like a cannonball. He also said most of his mistakes last year came on the cutter."

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/3473

I hope he brings back the 69 MPH Curve he used to throw about 5 times a year too. Those were always fun.

My favorite was in 2006 or 2007 he got the bases loaded late in a game and worked a full count on dangerous hitter.

He dropped down sidearm and froze the batter and everyone in the park.

Strike three.

Crazy bastard.

Prince Fielder, I remember that. That was badass.

Thanks, Ryno!

Couldn't be happier. That cutter was dogshit even when he didn't hang it.

Good to see Lilly recovering quickly, if the Cubs want to be at all relevant this year they need him.

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