All's Wells at HoHoKam Park

Joe Inglett clubbed a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the 9th, as the Milwaukee Brewers overcame an early 3-0 deficit and defeated the Cubs 5-3 in Cactus League action at cold and rainy Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa.


The start of the game was delayed almost an hour as a noon-time downpour flooded HoHoKam Park. But the rain did stop, and the dark clouds gradually broke apart, even allowing the sun to shine through by mid-game.



box score


Randy Wells got the start for the Cubs today, and pitched three shutout innings (4/2 GO/FO), striking out two, and facing the minimum number of batters possible (nine) while throwing just 28 pitches (21 strikes), with the pitches fairly-evenly spread over the outing (12 pitches in the 1st inning, five in the second, and 11 in the third). He did allow a Craig Counsell first-inning line single to center, but then Counsell was erased when Wells picked him off with a nifty move, totally freezing the veteran like the proverbial "deer in headlights." Not satisfied with just a dominating pitching performance and a fancy pick-off, Wells also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.


The Cubs threatened but did not score in the bottom of the 1st, as Ryan Theriot reached base on a infield single when Milwaukee starting pitcher Jeff Suppan could not cleanly handle a topper in front of the mound. Then with two outs, The Riot stole second and advanced to 3rd on a catcher's overthrow error, but Aramis Ramirez struck out (looking) to end the threat.


The Cubs fared better in the bottom of the 2nd, however, as Marlon Byrd roped a double into the LF corner leading off the inning, and Alfonso Soriano followed with another double off the CF "Green Monster" (Batter's Eye). But because Byrd went back to tag up at 2nd with the expectation that the ball might be caught, he did not have enough time to score on the play, and so the Cubs ended up with runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Mike Fontenot then lined a single to CF to score Byrd with the first Cub run (running at less than full-speed, Soriano held up at 3rd), and Wells knocked-in Soriano with his sac fly to right.


Derrek Lee lined a home run over the right-centerfield fence leading off the bottom of the third to make the score 3-0, and then closer Carlos Marmol got the early call (managers often will use their closer early in a Spring Training game so that he can face major league hitters). But Marmol struggled with his command today, as it took him 31 pitches to get through the one inning. He had nasty stuff and he did strikeout the side (Counsell, Edmonds, and Gerut), but he also allowed two runs (one earned) on a walk and two singles along the way. (One run was unearned because catcher Geovany Soto air-mailed a throw over Aramis Ramirez's head at 3rd base while trying to cut down Carlos Gomez on a stolen base attempt, allowing Gomez to score).


NRI RHP (and 2009 Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year) Casey Coleman was next to take the hill for the Cubs, and he worked two complete innings plus two batters into a third inning. He struggled with his control (43 pitches - only 21 strikes), but he also somehow found the means to pitch out of trouble, allowing just one run while stranding five Brewer baserunners during the course of the outing, all this despite allowing three hits (a single and two doubles), two walks, and a HBP. RHP Marcos Mateo relieved Coleman when the youngster reached his pre-planned pitch count max limit, and got the final two outs of the 7th inning.


While Coleman is expected to spend the 2010 season in the Iowa Cubs starting rotation (he projects as an MLB 4th or 5th starter), I suppose it is possible that Coleman might get "drafted" into the Cubs bullpen at some point, especially if there are no othyer viable options. While Coleman does not have closer (or even set-up) type stuff, he probably could make a decent middle-reliever capable of giving the Cubs a quality inning or two when needed.


Meanwhile, the Cubs threatened in both the 5th and 7th innings, but did not score.


Theriot led off with a double and Kosuke Fukudome followed with a walk in the bottom of the 5th, but both runners were left where they started after D-Lee lined out to LF, Ramirez popped-out to Brewer 1B Prince Fielder in foul territory, and Byrd flied out to deep left-center (nice running catch by Gomez).


Facing ex-WAS RHRP Marco Estrada in the bottom of the 7th with the score tied 3-3, PH Kevin Millar worked a lead-off walk, and was advanced to 2nd base when Sam Fuld put down a picture-perfect 1-4 sac bunt. Starlin Castro then reached base on an infield hit (a "swinging bunt" down the 3rd base line), with Millar advancing to 3rd with the potential go-ahead run. But then with Starlin Castro breaking off first, Micah Hoffpauir struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch, and Castro was called out for sliding past 2nd base (he had the base stolen easily, too). I hate to say this because it's not fair to Castro, but the play brought back nightmares of Ronny Cedeno running the bases.


LHP James Russell worked a 1-2-3 top of the 8th for the Cubs, striking out the side on just 14 pitches. I wouldn't be surprised if Russell makes the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster as a reliever, especially if both Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall begin the season in the Cubs starting rotation (what with Ted Lilly not expected to be ready at the start of the season).


Tyler Colvin roped a single to RF with two outs in the bottom of the 8th, but Darwin Barney flied out to the warning track in deep right-center to end the inning, keeping the game tied at three going into the 9th.


2009 Iowa Cubs closer Blake Parker made his 2010 Cactus League debut in the 9th, and eventually allowed the two-out two-run game-winning HR to Inglett, after getting off on the wrong foot by walking the first man he faced. Like Randy Wells, Parker is a former catcher who was converted to pitcher by the Cubs, and while he has the potential to be a decent MLB reliever, he also has had a nasty habit of surrendering 9th inning gopher balls going back to the last couple of weeks of the PCL season last Summer and then again with the AFL Mesa Solar Sox in October-November '09. Perhaps as a direct result of this misfortune, Parker tends to nibble a lot (he threw 18 pitches in the 9th inning today, but only nine strikes), before having to groove a pitch down the middle to avoid another walk. He really needs to learn to just trust his stuff.


The Cubs went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th against Brewers NRI LHP A. J. Murray, although Welington Castillo did hit a near game-tying HR down ther RF line (it was caught by Jody Gerut on the warning track in front of the fence).


The San Francisco Giants visit HoHoKam Park tomorrow, and Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to get his second start in the game.

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Comments

I would not normally bring it up this early in spring, but is there a concern that Aramis is hurting? Granted only 10 AB's, but for the lack of video to see, are these quality AB's? It's never good to strike out looking, but definitely viewed different if it is on a 8-9 pitch AB as opposed to 4. Just sayin'.

He seemed fine on Saturday. His one of those guys who can roll out of bed and start hitting, by most reports. He may have been working on getting a feel for taking pitches rather than just hacking away in the AB you mentioned.

Submitted by thedirtbag on Tue, 03/09/2010 - 10:13pm.
I would not normally bring it up this early in spring, but is there a concern that Aramis is hurting? Granted only 10 AB's, but for the lack of video to see, are these quality AB's? It's never good to strike out looking, but definitely viewed different if it is on a 8-9 pitch AB as opposed to 4. Just sayin'.

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DIRT BAG: Aramis Ramirez and Jeff Baker are the two Cubs who look sick at the plate right now.

I thought it was odd when Ramirez didn't take "live" BP against Cubs pitchers at Fitch Park a couple of weeks ago, when it was said in the media that it's not that uncommon for the "big leaguers" to do that... except it IS unusual.

Ramirez took "live" BP in all other previous seasons, and he was the ONLY Cub hitter to not take "live" BP this year. And then in the 50-swing BP work-out at HoHoKam the day before the first Cactus League game, Ramirez did not get good swings until the last ten or so, when he was able to drive a couple of HR.

Taking a lot of BP myself, it looks like Ramirez is having problems getting loose, like he is hitting with some type of physical restriction, but it wouldn't necessariliy be that he's hurting. It could be he has his left shoulder harnessed or restricted in some way and he's trying to get used to playing with it. Or it could be a hand blister problem, or some type of neck or back stiffness.

In Baker's case, he plain looks flat, like he's in a profound slump. He just isn't getting good swings. And he has been this way pretty much from Day One at Fitch Park this Spring.

I do not think that they have a muzzle big enough for this asshole.

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/news/st...

hendry gave him the contract and lou said he was up to it. he's not saying anything he hasn't already said. go ahead milton...hehe.

It's just more of the same. Blaming everybody else for his shortcomings. I think everybody realizes that Bradley is a malcontent with severe behavioral issues. Asking him about his time in Chicago is like asking the retarded kid down the street about his thoughts on the economy or the Civil War. You know he's going to say something goofy. You're just not sure what it's going to be.

So tell me Sweet Lou, what are your thoughts on the Civil War?

Sorry, just too easy ; )

Touche'

You folded too soon. Ask TRN what his thoughts are on the economy.

Yes, Milton. Chicago is the reason you sucked in 2009. Okay.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

love the headline

"Piniella called out by Bradley — again
Attitude in clubhouse makes for loose ballclub as it prepares for long season"

Trib is really gonna drive home that better clubhouse angle even if their stories have nothing to do with it

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/03/...

this is the video interview link

speaking of titles...mini-series to follow?

Bradley on Chicago: 'I was a prisoner in my own home'

To be fair, the fans are drunk douchebags. Really, I'd blame them for Milton Bradley's problems, not Milton Bradley.

Ohh a prisoner in his own own home ehhh? Oh cute, now he knows how his pregnant wife felt when he beat her and took all the keys and phones and then ran like a pussy when the cops came.

And using your 3 year old as a shield like Dusty Baker is pretty sad. Remember what was supposedly going on to his child?

"Parents, teachers and their kids called him the n-word,"

Not just 1 or 2 isolated people, by faculty, parents and even other kids were calling his son nigger. I think most people understand that was a pathetic lie to excuse ones behavior.

There was never any information on where his son went to pre-school at. The last we heard was he wanted joint custody of his son and didn't want to pay spousal support. If he got joint custody then his ex-wife (the one he divorced shortly after trying to choke her out) then the child would likely be in pre-school in California.

The racism accusation came from Bradley who told his mom and his mom told a radio station. No one from the school, or anyone else has defended Bradley's remarks. And if his childs school was in California it further erodes his racism claim. Because you now have to believe his child was enrolled at the most pro-Cubs/Chicago enclave on the west coast. Racism was so bad in Chicago it got export half way across the country.

But what do you believe? Do you believe the guy who will drop the race card at the drop of a dime when the going gets tough? Its like clock-work, shit hits the fan, bam, slam down the racism excuse and slink out the door like a rat.

Bradley gives reason after reason why he is a "race baiter" of the highest form. He will find racism in a white crayon if you let him.

if you let him.
---
where's waldo?

http://tinyurl.com/ykku8xk

Could someone please tell me the status of Chad Tracy? Is he injured? Thanks.

"I hate to say this because it's not fair to Castro, but the play brought back nightmares of Ronny Cedeno running the bases."

Interesting, Phil, that Castro reminded you of Ronny Cedeno. Not too many players remind me of Cedeno. But then, Felix Pie never reminded me of Corey Patterson.

When I heard that Castro overslid a base,I was reminded of Podsednik

But Podsednik overslid the bag and was called out by the second base umpire despite the protests of Podsednik and Manager Ozzie Guillen.

and Nyger Morgan

Morgan has a propensity to slide into second on the outside part of the base and tag the base with his outstretched left hand. But that doesn't stop his momentum and has led to him oversliding the base on a handful of stolen base attempts. In one such instance, he was then tagged out after beating the throw.

and Vince Coleman

Coleman overslid third base, winding up somewhere near the coaching box, so he hopped up and started home.

and Maury Wills

During one of his rampages, he ran up a streak of 20 consecutive stolen bases, getting caught the 21st time when he overslid the bag.

and Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron hit doubles in consecutive times at bat in extra innings, but each time overslid 2nd and was tagged out.

Submitted by VirginiaPhil on Wed, 03/10/2010 - 8:09am.
Interesting, Phil, that Castro reminded you of Ronny Cedeno. Not too many players remind me of Cedeno. But then, Felix Pie never reminded me of Corey Patterson.

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

VA PHIL: I only meant that when Starlin Castro overslid second-base and got tagged out for the final out of the inning, I thought of the game where Cedeno overslid second-base on a walk and got tagged out for the final out of the game. Don't you remember that? It was a classic moment that helped to define Cedeno in many Cubs fans minds.

But I am not --REPEAT -- not saying Castro is another Ronny Cedeno. It was just funny that Castro (who is also a shortstop) did a "Cedeno." That's all.

Some of us Old Fart Cub fans have had said for years that it seems like the Cubs have a manual that their minor leaguers are required to study that outlines all the stupid plays Cubs have made over the years, and then the young players are expected to learn to do it that way. That's why the Castro play was funny.

"But Podsednik overslid the bag and was called out by the second base umpire despite the protests of Podsednik and Manager Ozzie Guillen."

I believe this was agains the Cubs last year on Fox Saturday game. Second base ump was miked and after he called Pods out, Pods said "You are going to call that?"

Ump-"Yeah! Why do you think I'm out here for?
"

Classic.

Cedeno had a long list of stupid things, the over sliding second on a walk was the topper.

HAHA!

Man, re-hashing Cedeno. lol

That is brilliant that his name is now a verb, or adjective. "He Cedeno-ed that play."

Just as dumb-as-a-post guy (baseball-wise) with some natural abilities.

Many things I can think of make me throw up in my mouth when thinking of him: "pulling out" from 2B to avoid a hard slide by a Met (or Brave, maybe). Not calling an IF pop and letting it hit him in the head. The former, and letting it drop at his feet. Air-mailing throws. Over-sliding, blowing tag-ups...

But, yes gents, the over-sliding on a walk was the topper for me too! Long live the Pirates!

If I remember correctly, Cedeno was trying to steal on the pitch, and the catcher threw to second base. Cedeno, not knowing that the pitch was called a ball, slid into second, and like many others in the course of baseball history, overslid the bag and was called out.

Like all the others that had overslid the bag, Cedeno made a mistake. But the fact that he did it on a play that turned out to be a walk was irrelivant. Cedeno may have been stupid, but that play had nothing to do with it.

Were any of those guys young stars in the Cubs system playing the same position as Castro just a few years ago? No. So it is not surprising at all that Phil thought of Cedeno.

If a young outfielder for the Cubs hit 3 home runs on opening day this year, would you first think of Tuffy Rhodes or Dmitri Young?

His point was that even the greatest base stealers in history overslid bases, and that making a big deal about Cedeno doing it one time is an overreaction.

It's a physical error, people need to get over it.

I just don't like to see Castro's name tied to Cedeno's, even if Castro is the straight man like Bud Abbott or Dean Martin.

I was able to dig up an mlb.com video of the infamous overslide and, interestingly, it took me a while to figure out what RC had actually done wrong, other than oversliding, of course, which happens to the best of 'em.

Why, in other words, has this only ever happened to Cedeno?

In Cedeno's defense, Molina and Eckstein sold the thing so well that even the second base ump turned his back to the plate and got in position to make the call. Then he hesitated and looked back toward home; but Cedeno obviously didn't have the leisure for that.

Here's what I think Cedeno did wrong. When you're running on 3 and 2, it's not a steal, it's a hit and run. On a steal, you expect the hitter to take, and your focus is on getting to second and sliding. On 3 and 2, you expect the hitter to put the bat on the ball and you have to look around to pick up the ball. It could be a ground single between first and second, and you don't want to fall for the shortstop's decoy and go into a slide that will force you to stop at second.

It was a lapse in situational awareness, compounded by great situational awareness on the part of two Cardinals, and of course by the overslide.

VA Phil-
Correct me if I'm wrong, was he not the tying run and that out ended the game?

~might be adding to the legend~

Jacos, IIRC, there was one out at the time, so instead of runners on 1st and 2nd and only one out, there was a runner on 1st and two outs.

THx Joe.

Was he the tying run?

Was it in the ninth?

I know it was late in the game.

one out, 3-2 count, JJ up, close pitch and the ump didn't make any gesture at home, JJ didn't immediately go towards first base IIRC.

2nd base ump gets in normal position to call the play and Cedeno beats the throw but his foot comes off the bag and Eckstein keeps the tag on.

it was an unfortunate play, but if that's called a strike, Cedeno's the final out and it certainly wasn't clear in the split second that Cedeno probably did look up that it was a ball.

I recall being more upset about the lack of a definitive ball or strike call at the time.
http://www.thecubreporter.com/2007/04/20/livid

It was the bottom of the ninth, 2-1 Cards leading the Cubs. He was the tying run -- he entered the game as a pinch runner for DeRosa, who singled after Aramis flied out to start the inning.

Ah..now I know why it was magnified a little bit more.

Once again thanks, Joe.

Which also means that what Phil said about it not being a straight steal is incorrect. If there's one out and the guy strikes out - guess what? You need not to get thrown out or the game is over. It could have been a hit and run, but if you don't know what the call at home plate is, then you assume you're stealing.

No, in a straight steal there's less than two strikes, and the hitter, seeing the steal sign, takes the pitch.

In the situation Cedeno was in, the hitter's job is to not strike out. The runner's job is to (a) get to second safely on a ground out or (b) get to third on a single to the outfield. The runner's job is NOT to steal second on a strikeout.

We've all seen many instances of a runner getting a half-hearted jump and sliding half-heartedly into a tag to complete the strikeout-throwout--because the hitter didn't do his job of putting the bat on the ball. Maybe it's ironic, but Cedeno was guilty of hustling when the situation called for awareness.

"but Cedeno was guilty of hustling when the situation called for awareness."

Which brings us back to...?

In the situation Cedeno was in, the hitter's job is to not strike out. The runner's job is to (a) get to second safely on a ground out or (b) get to third on a single to the outfield. The runner's job is NOT to steal second on a strikeout.

analysis worthy of Joe Morgan...

there's 1 out and he got a steal sign, you think his job was to get thrown out if JJ K's and end the game? Jones was up, even if his "job" is to not strike out, there's a good chance he still will.

Suppose Jones had popped up to the right side. I gather from your comments that Cedeno's responsibility was to follow the shortstop's decoy and slide head-first into second, thus making it impossible to get back to first and keep the game alive.

It was not (I gather) Cedeno's responsibility to pick up the ball, since that particular hitter could not be relied on to hit it. A better hitter, Cedeno's job might be different, is that it?

I gather from your comments that Cedeno's responsibility was to follow the shortstop's decoy and slide head-first into second, thus making it impossible to get back to first and keep the game alive.

that's what you gathered?

he got a steal sign, he ran and I recall that there was definitely confusion if it was a ball or strike, so he did the safe thing and slid to try and steal the base.

What's hard to understand?

had Jones hit it, he would have hopefully (albeit doubtfully knowing Cedeno) picked up the third base coach if he didn't pick up the ball immediately on his own.

you said you saw the clip, so if you have a link, I'd love to see it again. My recollection and from what I wrote that day, was that there was nothing clear about it being a ball or strike. The 2nd base ump acted like there was still a play to be made, the Cards did and Jones didn't start immediately trotting to first base.

Here's the link. You'll have to log in. For some reason, that play was not one of the top-play highlights on 4/20/07.

(I swore I'd never go this far over toward the right margin.)

Somebody's getting a long look:

Seattle's new left fielder, Uncle Milty, didn't play any left field yesterday. Corey Patterson played there the whole game, led off, and finished 2/5.

I don't think anyone else on Seattle had more than 2 AB's.

This is from Captain Wrongway... so take it with a giant mound of salt:

"They reportedly are targeting outfielders in their talks about Frasor. That would put prospects like Sam Fuld and Tyler Colvin potentially in play in the Cubs' talks with Toronto."

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2010/03/...

I'll be the first to buy Fuld an Alexander Keith's.

QUIET MAN: If I'm the Jays GM, I'll take Tyler Colvin for sure. Toss in James Russell or David Cales, and the deal gets done in a heartbeat.

Now, if I'm the Cubs GM, I'd agree to trade Colvin for Jason Frasor because the Cubs are covered behind Colvin, but I'd be inclined not to trade Russell or Cales, offering John Gaub, Jeff Stevens, or Justin Berg instead.

Isn't Colvin going to be our first option when our injury prone outfielders go on the DL? I don't think we're really covered at all, and I expect Colvin to get at least 200 PA's with the Cubs this year. Who are you liking behind him? We don't have an outfielder who's played 150 games in the last 3 years.

Submitted by The Real Neal on Wed, 03/10/2010 - 10:46am.
Isn't Colvin going to be our first option when our injury prone outfielders go on the DL? I don't think we're really covered at all, and I expect Colvin to get at least 200 PA's with the Cubs this year. Who are you liking behind him? We don't have an outfielder who's played 150 games in the last 3 years.

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NEAL: I like Tyler Colvin, but the Cubs system is well-stocked with outfielders.

AAA: Sam Fuld, Brad Snyder, and James Adduci can play all three OF positions, and both Micah Hoffpauir and Bryan Lahair can play corner OF (or at least LF). Also, Matt Camp is a supersub who can play all over the place, but he's played CF more than any other position (126 games). Roving Minor League Outfield & Baserunning Instructor Bobby Dernier likes Camp him a LOT.

AA: Matt Spencer (one of the guys the Cubs got from OAK for Jake Fox) is a LF-RF-1B, and while he will probably start the 2010 season at AA, he could move up to AAA before the end of the season. Same goes for Brandon Guyer, Ty Wright, and Tony Campana, althougth I suspect Guyer and Campana will spend the entire 2010 season at AA.

A+: Brett Jackson and Kyler Burke will be at Daytona this year with a mid-season promotion to AA always a possibility, so both will probably be contending for MLB OF jobs by 2012. And Ryan Flaherty will probably morph into a corner IF-OF guy who could surface with B. Jackson and Burke. Nelson Perez is still very raw, but he has plus-power and possesses one of the top three OF arms in the organization.

A: Bobby Wagner is a power-hitting corner IF-OF who could rise above the radar in 2010, CF Jose Valdez is one of the fastest players in the organization, and it's a possibility that Hak-Ju Lee could eventually end up in CF if he's blocked at SS by Starlin Castro.

SS-A: Korean CF Kyung-Min Na was signed for $700K+ plus last summer, and he was rated the fastest HS player in South Korea at the time. I saw him play a lot in AZ Instructs last Fall, and he is indeed VERY fast.

I was really impressed with Adduci in the little I got to see of him last weekend. He's not going to be a power hitter, but it's not hard to imagine him putting the ball into play and getting some hits, sort of a poor man's Ichiro.

The rest of those guys, and I guess you can throw Colvin into the group as well - I wouldn't want them starting an important game down the stretch.

Submitted by The Real Neal on Wed, 03/10/2010 - 11:46am.
I was really impressed with Adduci in the little I got to see of him last weekend. He's not going to be a power hitter, but it's not hard to imagine him putting the ball into play and getting some hits, sort of a poor man's Ichiro.

The rest of those guys, and I guess you can throw Colvin into the group as well - I wouldn't want them starting an important game down the stretch.

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REAL NEAL: Tyler Colvin has been the biggest surprise of camp so far. He appears to have taken his game to the next level, and I'm sure the Blue Jays scout who is at every Cubs game has seen the same thing everybody else has seen. I would almost guarantee you that the Jays have already decided they want Colvin as one of the players they get back if and when they opt to trade Frasor to the Cubs. So it's just a question of which pitchers the Cubs would have to give up.

I would think Caridad, Cashner, and J. Jackson are almost certainly not available, but starters like Chris Carpenter, Casey Coleman, and Chris Archer would be. I guess it depends on whether the Jays want an MLB-ready reliever to replace Frasor (like Berg, Stevens, Parker, Gaub, Russell, et al), or if they would be more-interested in a pitcher who is not yet ready for prime time. (Actually, they might want one of each).

With the Twins now likely looking for an MLB reliever with closer experience, it will probably drive Frasor's price up (presuming the Jays do in fact decide to trade him).

I just think a potential starter, like Colvin is right now is too much to pay for another Kevin Gregg.

Maybe Parker, Stevens or Coleman and a low minors guy.

However, as you say, Colvin's value is higher right now than it's been for a long time so if you don't see him as a long range solution, dealing him now may be a good idea.

Colvin is a potential starter? WTF?

he plays CF with a touch of power and a growing body...cubs just gave 5m a year to marlon byrd.

not every starter is going to be an all-star.

Good points on all these guys. But, trading Colvin in a deal for a reliever, none of those guys are ready to step in and help except maybe Fuld, Snyder, and Aducci. None of them are considered potential starters either. Here's another small question:Why would the Jays want another OF? Lind, Wells, Snider, with Jose Bautista, Jeremy Reed as backups?

Submitted by Dusty Baylor on Wed, 03/10/2010 - 11:55am.
Good points on all these guys. But, trading Colvin in a deal for a reliever, none of those guys are ready to step in and help except maybe Fuld, Snyder, and Aducci. None of them are considered potential starters either. Here's another small question:Why would the Jays want another OF? Lind, Wells, Snider, with Jose Bautista, Jeremy Reed as backups?

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DUSTY B: But that's the point. The Cubs do have other options behind Tyler Colvin right now (most especially Sam Fuld and Brad Snyder), with many more outfielders at various points further down the pipeline

Colvin is at the point in his development where he looks like he is ready to be an everyday (or at least platoon) MLB outfielder (CF or LF), and he is a better player than either J. Bautista or J. Reed. If I could redo my "Cubs Top 15 Prospects" list right now, I'd move Colvin into the Top 10 (I had him at #13).

I could see the Jays playing Colvin in CF and moving Wells to LF, with Snider in RF, Lind at DH, and Ruiz at 1B. Then the Jays would probably want to try and move Overbay, too. (The Jays are in a major rebuilding mode right now).

has 3 option years left and the Cubs outfield is hardly a case study in health. Do what the Angels do and use those option years to your advantage.

Agreed. But I'm not a fan of trading for relievers when their value is high. I'm also not that optimistic about the Cubs chances this year, so trading a potential starting CF along with a young pitcher to get one relief pitcher doesn't make sense to me. Why not wait until later in the season to see whether we're going to get production out of Soriano, Fukudome, Byrd, Aramis, and Soto (who are all question marks to varying degrees), and whether our starting rotation is as competitive as we might hope it is?

Cubs bullpen:
Marmol
Grabow
Caridad
Russell/Marshall/Gorzelanny/Gaub
Jeff Gray
Berg/Samardzija/Silva/Stevens
Parisi

Not fantastic, but there are plenty of options in there. Toss in Cashner, Parker, Atkins, Marcos Mateo and Raphael Dolis if any of those guys are looking sharp.

That's good enough for me, at least until it becomes clear that one or two relief pitchers will make the difference between contending or not contending, or contending and front running.

Agreed 100% Charlie,

Bullpen guys will be available as needed throughout the year. No use in trading a valuable chip for a bit player in March.

How did Heath Bell and Jason Frasor end up where they are now? Both were March scrap heap pick ups.

Charlie,

I agree with you. The Cubs may be overly optimistic to think they are just one set-up man from winning the division.

Three key Cubs players are reaching an age where a significant percentage of similar players begin to lose their elite status. Derrek Lee will be age 34 and has experienced neck and back problems since 2006. Aramis Ramirez will be age 32 and last year experienced a reoccurrence of shoulder problems. Ted Lilly will be age 34 and is recovering from 2009 knee and labrum arthroscopic surgeries. If any of these three key players cannot play at an elite level in 2010, the Cubs will not be a contender.

I am particularly skeptical about Ted Lilly. In 2009, he had a career best ERA of 3.10. Overall, for his career, his ERA is 4.25. Given his injuries, in 2010, I think he will regress to his career average.

The Cubs also do not have a good track record of acquiring set-up men. Consider Kevin Gregg, Chad Gaudin, Bob Howry, Scott Eyre, Matt Karchner and Latrell Hawkins.

Ted Lilly will be age 34 and is recovering from 2009 knee and labrum arthroscopic surgeries.
---
Just for clarification, Lilly's shoulder scope didn't involve any structural repair work on the labrum (or rotator cuff for that matter). It was reportedly a debridement (cleanup of shaggy stuff) and they never reported actually what part of the shoulder was showing wear.

http://www.thecubreporter.com/2009/11/05/ted-...

True. Who is seems more like a guy who could play full time:" fuld, colvin, or snyder?

I'd just as soon bring up one of these heralded arms from the minors..see if they can do the job.

AZ PHIL:

Just curious-- what makes you like Russell and Cales more than Gaub, Stevens, or Berg?

Submitted by Romero on Wed, 03/10/2010 - 11:31am.
AZ PHIL:

Just curious-- what makes you like Russell and Cales more than Gaub, Stevens, or Berg?

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

ROMERO: While I believe Justin Berg and Jeff Stevens will be MLB relievers (same goes for Blake Parker, BTW), I don't see them as anything more than MLB middle-relievers (which is fine). But with his plus-slider as a put-away pitch, David Cales has the potential to be an MLB 8th inning set-up guy or closer. (Cales will probably be the closer at Tennessee in 2010, but he could get a mid-season call-up if the Cubs need bullpen help).

As for James Russell versus John Gaub, while Gaub throws maybe 1-2 MPH harder, Russell has the plus change-up needed to get tough RH hitters out (see Russell vs Carlos Quentin last Saturday) and could be either a starter or a reliever, while Gaub projects as (at best) a one-inning reliever (and after watching him pitch in the AFL last Fall and at Fitch & HoHoKam this past month, I would project him more as a LOOGY at the MLB level). While I do believe both Russell and Gaub will pitch in MLB, I just think Russell has a higher ceiling.

and after watching him pitch in the AFL last Fall and at Fitch & HoHoKam this past month, I would project him more as a LOOGY at the MLB level

see I wasn't completely crazy TRN

I never said you were crazy, just giving up on the thought of him as a setup man too soon. There aren't a lot of Loogy's throwing 95 MPH.

I've heard low 90's and relies on deception with his fastball.

http://cubsminors.wikispaces.com/GaubJ

seems to sit at 90-91 but can touch 94 according to some BA reports. I guess it matters how often he can touch it.

But his rather absurd K rates against lefties and righties is certainly a good sign and I probably did sell him a tad short.

I didn't mean to imply that he works at 95, just that he can hit it if wanted. Probably with very little control. Supposedly he was approaching 100 at times in college.

Phil, I remember you raving about Russell when he was struggling mightily at AA. I remember thinking, Okay, but when does he start getting somebody out? Then, about mid-last season, he turned it around. I watched him last Saturday and thought, This guy looks a lot better than Neal Cotts--like he has a clue!

Anyway, nice scouting. It's easy to predict that a good pitcher will get better, but Russell went from bad to good, as you predicted.

Az Phil,

What's your take on David Cales?

Speaking of Wuertz, anyone know [edit] how much ($$)we eventually got back from the Dodgers for Justin Sellers?

Heard on WSCR-

Hendry said team has moved on.When press brought up mail possibly coming from the team, Hendry denied and said "Milton needs to look in mirror." And not blame fans for not performing.

Soriano said basically said team is loose, and that "when you homer they cheer and when you make an out they boo, that's baseball."

If one of the letters with no postage was written in crayon I would question Santo.

What? No, no, no... the fans are the real ones to blame. The fans suck. Boo fans.

If one of the letters with no postage was written in crayon I would question Santo.
---------------
ROFL. Post of the Year (to date).

Hendry on Sunday said that Colvin has turned himself into a legit option to be a regular, I don't think you trade a regular position player for a reliever myself.

rather see Fuld and one or two good relief options(Parker, Gaub, Berg, Mateo, etc) be the trade for Frasor, especially if Cubs are picking up the entire money tab.

not to mention Frasor is 32 and has a career FIP of 4.05 which sure isn't special for a reliever.

Submitted by Rob G. on Wed, 03/10/2010 - 12:12pm.
Hendry on Sunday said that Colvin has turned himself into a legit option to be a regular, I don't think you trade a regular position player for a reliever myself.

rather see Fuld and one or two good relief options(Parker, Gaub, Berg, Mateo, etc) be the trade for Frasor, especially if Cubs are picking up the entire money tab.

not to mention Frasor is 32 and has a career FIP of 4.05 which sure isn't special for a reliever

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

ROB G: I think what makes Jason Frasor different from other relievers wjho might be available in a trade or via FA is that Frasor has MLB closer experience, and he also has been an 8th inning set-up guy. And he would be going from a probable 100-loss team to a likely contender. So he's probably not going to be whining about not getting save opportunities. And that's exactly what the Cubs want.... a pitcher who can back-up Marmol, available to close if Marmol has thrown too many days in a row, or if Marmol gets hurt or is just plain ineffective.

If you're a team that's rebuilding, you can afford to develop your own closers and set-up guys from within and by signing minor league FAs and guys trying to come back from an injury. But a team that sees itself as a post-season contender (as the Cubs do)usually wants an experienced MLB reliever with closer experience as a Plan "B" fall-back option at closer, and Jason Frasor fits that profile to a "T". And he would appear to be available.

I think what makes Jason Frasor different from other relievers wjho might be available in a trade or via FA is that Frasor has MLB closer experience, and he also has been an 8th inning set-up guy. And he would be going from a probable 100-loss team to a likely contender.

I'm sure that's exactly why the Cubs like him, but a look at his career shows that 2009 was the flukiest of his seasons. I have a hard time believing he's any better than Gregg, Hawkins, Howry or the myriad of other vet set-up men/closers the Cubs have brought in over the years and all they gave up for Gregg was one relief arm in AA.

And just judging by how glowingly Hendry talked about Colvin on Saturday on WGN, I don't think he's really entertaining trading him right now for a reliever. But I could be wrong...

And just judging by how glowingly Hendry talked about Colvin on Saturday on WGN, I don't think he's really entertaining trading him right now for a reliever.

Were he another GM, Hendry may have been trying to pump up the value of a tradable commodity by highlighting his virtues on the air. But Hendry doesn't seem to understand marketing his players, particularly evident by the way his organization bashes players they're openly trying to trade (Bradley, Sosa, Wuertz to an extent).

maybe so, the way Colvin is hitting and all the reports of him bulking up suggest it was genuine though.

http://twitter.com/injuryexpert/status/102838...

injuryexpert

Keith Law says in his ESPN blog that Harden's looking terrible. Bad velo, bad mechanics. Anyone else seen him?

Bud's "special" committee suggests floating divisions and teams.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers...

Love the idea of team "not competing" that year and rebuilding and moving to another division.

Do the fans then get cheaper tix?

i find it an interesting idea, albeit nearly impossible to enact. Not sure making it easier for the Yanks to make the playoffs every year is all that good for baseball either.

I'm not opposed to the idea.

If we think that the Cubs aren't going to be much more than a middle of the road club, why would they want to trade much of value for a relief pitcher?

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

Piniella said the lineup Tuesday is likely to be the Opening Day lineup, with Ryan Theriot, Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Fontenot and Geovany Soto, in that order.

Jeff Baker still might challenge for the starting job at second base, he sai

not thrilled about Soto batting 8th, won't see much to hit there and can lead to stretching your strike zone.

Soto's number one job is catching. If he hits a homer every once in a while, fine, but he's no Joe Mauer. I'd be far happier if he started throwing guys out again.

Fontenot... meh. Baker... meh. Why didn't the Cubs go get Hudson, again?

when did Soto ever throw guys out?

Soto's in the majors for his offense, so yes he does need to hit to be valuable to the team.

Sheesh, he's not Mike Piazza. His CS numbers look to be pretty consistent, including last year. You would have to think the weight loss will help a bit there in that he can literally pop up faster and that his legs shouldn't get as tired as games and the season wear on.

nothing new here but...

- needs 18 wins from Z, back to his slider/sinker
- Samardzija looks like a major league pitcher instead of a football player that's trying to pitch(quoting Rothschild)
- doesn't mention Parisi in rotation battle, as expected says the 2 losers of Silva, Marshall, Gorzelanny and Samardzija will likely end up in bullpen
- Marmol, Caridad, Grabow, the 2 losers of rotation battle and then 2 spots open
- Hendry working hard at getting reliever, but prepared to go you with young arms
- says Guzman has a tear in his ACL (is that correct?), also bummed about Gray hurting his groin
- pimping team chemistry, does say production on field generally means good chemistry

AZ Phil, great article as always.

Any chance Mike Parisi makes the team? What are the chances that Carlos Silva DOESN'T?

If you had to project your Cubs Bullpen after Marmol and Grabow, who do you think is in there?

Probably Caridad has to be just about a lock now, do you agree?

The Way I see it:

Marmol
Grabow
Caridad
Silva (with a real short hook, and only because of $$$$$, not because he earned it)
Gray
Russel

(Assumes Marshall/Gorz in rotation, 11-man staff, with Marshall back in 'pen when Lilly back)

I can't understand most of it.

"lou is lou, everyone knows lou"

alright then...

- comfortable wherever in the lineup, more important that he's healthy
- another baby on the way, I assume not with this woman
http://deadspin.com/5053163/getting-to-know-a...

- Bowden actually asks if he changes the "poop" or "tink"

radio like you've never heard before...

What possesses athletes to pose and smile for pictures like these? I'd understand them getting out if they were candid photos, but he's sitting there smiling in a situation that he has to know can at least be spun in a negative way--and calling that spin would be generous to Soriano.

I am now fully convinced he's not very bright.

maybe Soriano and his wife have an "open" marriage ~shrug~

he's clearly comfortable with the girl, so probably didn't think it a big deal or even knew what facebook is...

don't think Soriano will ever be accused of being bright..

"I am now fully convinced he's not very bright"

Took until now to figure that out?

:-)

pretty cliche

- Seems they're doing some Chicago Cubs Idol to keep things fun, with him, Lee, Ramirez and Millar judging
- Berg, Barney and B. Jackson are the best singers
- S. Clevenger is terrible

also compelling radio

Go Marquette (Big East tourney)

Kung Fu Panda just hit a grand slam off Zambrano in the 3rd. 5-0 Giants.

Yeesh. Glad it's early in spring training, less than 4 weeks before the games count.

PO: Theriot (1st base by Sanchez, J).

He's obviously in mid-season form.

I hope this is his mid-season form. He's 2-2 with a SB today, and hitting .667 for the spring so far.

We're finally in agreement. If Theriot hits .667 I'll overlook the fact that he's deficient at every other aspect of the game.

Joking aside, he was hitting his singles with authority, from what I saw. Maybe his muscle will make him into a 45 or 50 XBH guy.

paul sullivan's tweetings, looks like he's training for St Patty's day a bit early:

--Big Z hits Velez with bags loaded, gives up grand slam to Sandoval. Should be in a good mood later. Lucky I'm packing heat.

--Next up: Milton blames Chicago for not reminding him to pay his rent.

"Lucky I'm packing heat."

HAHAHAH PAUL SULIVAN...YOU ARE THE STORY!

this asshat needs a year off to cover the financial beat...remind him he's not the cubs.

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

The Marlins wanted third baseman Hank Blalock and either Thomas Diamond or John Danks for Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell. Florida ended up asking for Danks over Diamond in the package.

took too long to make a decision and Marlins went to Red Sox

He would rather have sit in the bleachers-

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/03/tor...

hunter's made it pretty clear he's not a fan of what's been going on in chicago the past many years. it's one of the very few teams on his no-trade.

people can throw around the "omfg he's playing the race card! wtf?!?!" thing, but well...if it exists...it exists. people do notice it and it's not like you need a 51% majority to make it "real" vs. "not real".

i wonder how he manages NYY park...in BOS he's at least a mile away from anyone who might hand him shit except for the jog back to the dugout.

The Chicago being racist wrap is bogus as hell.

Just like any group of anything, you are going to have all types of people. Are some of them racist? Sure. Does that mean they all are? No way. Chicago just has a bigger than most fan base so you get more of a cross section.

The Cubs also have a whiter than most fan base.

No one has ever said that all Cubs fans or even a majority of Cubs fans are racist. What has been said is that there is a certain amount of Cubs fans who are intolerant, particuarly to people of African descent. There's also a lunatic fringe who go beyond just being quicker to boo dark skinned players. Are both the percentages of prejudiced and the crazies in Cubfandom higher than the national average? A reasonable person would say "yes" to that.

That doesn't mean it's racist to boo a black player. It's just racist to be quicker to boo one, and that's what happens at Wrigley field.

"...Whiter than most fan base" ?

You have done a sociological demographic study of this with respect to said, "Cubs having a more white fan base"? Geez...

So "whiter" than the Twins, Padres, Rangers, Rays, Brewers, Boston (even 'worse' racism allegations than Chicago), Toronto, Seattle, Arizona??

What a weird statement, TRN.

The "fans are quicker to boo blacks" is a good one, too.

Yes Tito, there are no racist people in America, and certainly none ever go to Cubs games. You've figured it out. God, we are all so blessed to be graced by your omniscience.

I never said, nor implied, there were no racist people in America, nor that there were no racist Cubs fans.

Are there Cubs fans that boo blacks because they're black? I'm sure there are. But, IMHO, Hawkins was booed because he sucked as a closer. Jones was booed because of his baserunning gaffes and his worm-killing throws from RF. (Go ahead and bring up Theriot's gaffes. He has a history of success, relatively, and has built fan equity. Jones started screwing up on the bases like the first month he was on the team. There was one week where he made two identical baserunning blunders.) Bradley was booed for any number of reasons spelled out ad nauseum here.

Hundley was booed unrelentingly. He's white, BTW. Burnitz was mediocre, but he was replacing a disgraced Sosa and wasn't as bad as Jones was on the bases. If he'd done the same thing as Jones, he'd have been booed.

Dempster was booed as a closer, but again, if it wasn't as bad as Hawkins, it's because he'd had success previously. (Look at his first season as closer.)

The notion that the fans are quicker to boo blacks than whites is unprovable at best and nonsense at worst. But go ahead and keep spouting it, because we know you know everything and could never be wrong.

And Ryne Sandberg?
And Fountainot last year?
And Hundley lasted two years, before he was booed out of town - Bradley less than one. Hundley hit .187 and came back the next year to hit .211, Bradley hit .257.
And the fact that Latroy was pretty fucking good as a setup man before he was moved to closer - why did he get no leeway from the fans?
Sammy Sosa didn't ever play well before 2004 either, I guess.

You've got to be just trolling or delusional. Either way there's no point in discussing things with you until your psychologist confirms you've been re-attached to planet Earth.

Sandberg? uh...huh?

As always, you're right. I'm trolling simply because I disagree with your laughable assertions. Your continued douchebaggery is a joy to behold.

I'm still waiting to see where I said there are no racist Cubs fans.

The "fans are quicker to boo blacks" is a good one, too", Monkey.

You said fans are quicker to boo blacks. I disagreed. That's not saying that there are no racist fans. Get a grip, Douchey.

Have you ever been to a game in TX, SD or Tampa? Because I can assure you, and the marketing reps for those teams would confirm it, you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

to some people...if someone is beside you screaming racist crap...you should make sure that person is STFU or embarrassed/harrassed into stopping.

when you have a culture in the bleachers that not only doesn't condemn it, but ignores or steps it up...these very few jackasses start to speak for you on whole.

tori hunter doesn't have a problem with Dude McDude and Crazy Jane in the bleachers...he's got a problem with the bleacher culture.

whether there's 10000 people in the city or 100000000000 it doesn't matter when you gotta sit through it.

i go to a lot of games in durham, nc (DRays...who's AA is in Alabama, btw) along with other smaller city games and there are/were black players in the TB system i've met and chilled with more than a few times who want out of the entire system by the time they reach AAA...and it has nothing to do with the quality of development and coaching they're getting.

The real problem Hunter had with Wrigley is the brick wall behind the ivy.

i'm just going on what he's said and had reported...i'm sure that wall doesn't play into his game, either.

Me too.

I'm pretty sure years ago, he said he wouldn't play with for the Cubs because of the brick wall.

DLee walks, hit in foot and limped off field (Hoffpauir pinch ran)
ARam rbi dooble. 5-1, now bottom 5th

Grabow pitched a scoreless top of 4 (no hits, no Ks) , Parisi pitched a scoreless top of 5 (1 hit, 1K)

per Muskat tweet: Derrek Lee came out of the game after drawing a walk. He fouled a ball off his foot in the at-bat and limped off the field

"DLee walks, hit in foot "

Which is it son???

Which is it son???
---
Dear Foghorn Leghorn: foul ball off foot

http://blogs.courant.com/colin_mcenroe_to_wit...

"Your built to low to the ground, the fast ones go right over your head."

You know you're spelleen and punctuation are bad when eye notice it,

Boy is as sharp as a bowlin' ball.

Theriot went a quiet (riot) 3-3, Castro now in.

Cashner pitching

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiet_Riot

After Z, it was a nice day for the cub bullpen

6 shutout IP, 1 hit

1 IP each for Grabow, Parisi, Cashner, Diamond, Gaub and Berg.
Only hit was off Parisi.
Walks from Cashner and Gaub.
K's from Parisi, Diamond and Gaub.

damn...that sandoval homer was a 10000mph line drive slam off something of Z's that looked low velocity and hanging with no movement.

also...check out that david price replay where he almost took a bat to the face if you can. he's okay, but woah...

Z threw a bad pitch in spring training that a good hitter turned on?

fuck, the season is over...

Re: Price, but was it a maple bat?

they didnt mention type of bat. he blocked it with his glove and got scraped/cut on his right hand according to the vo.

it was a joke, only maple bats kill...judging by the baseball news.

yeah, that's why i didn't cover the 1st topic...it's been a long long brain-draining day on this end. i'm ready to get to AZ next week for a little break.

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