Quick Cubs Hits
- Xavier Nady won't be ready to play regularly until...June!
The exclamation point is for a little joke going around the TCR comments, but Piniella said they'll be cautious with Nady through the cold weather. Considering he was suppose to be a 4th outfielder/pinch-hitter/short side platoon for Fukudome, it probably won't matter as much as I'm sure the Internet is about to make it out to be, but it could affect the roster construction. Sam Fuld who can play all three outfield positions moreso than Tyler Colvin could get a little edge if spring training numbers are close. Or the Cubs could finally go through with an 11-man pitching staff, considering two of them will be the losers of the 4th/5th starting rotation race.
- Milton Bradley spoke again, this time to ESPN. I'd rather watch back-to-back replays of the 2005 and 2006 World Series than revisit another Bradley story, but everyone else seems to think it's worth commenting on. He doesn't seem to say anything new except some odd reporting baiting about whether hate mail may have come from within the Cubs organization. Bradley doesn't outright deny the accusation, leaving it open with a "Who cares" and "I don't care to know". Scandalous!
Look, Bradley is (as reader "jumbo" wrote), the "ultimate narcissist crossed with a conspiracy theorist". He'll never accept responsibility for himself and nothing will ever be his fault. Hendry knocked out the response with his:
I think it's time maybe Milton looked at himself in the mirror. It is what it is. He didn't swing the bat; he didn't get the job done. His production was the only negative, or lack of."
But the Cubs are equally at fault, they signed him without knowing what they were getting themselves into and without putting anything into place to deal with his personality. Nothing that happened last year was a suprise to anyone but the Cubs, yet they handed out the three-year deal and they're the ones that thought Milton didn't need any special treatment. The Cubs are the people that buy rottweilers and then are shocked when it eats their kids. "But it looked so cute and playful at the pet store!"
- Remember this comment from Aramis Ramirez earlier in the spring?
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez refused to take batting practice against teammates during live BP on Saturday. When asked about it, Ramirez said he never takes batting practice against teammates. That’s just something he doesn’t like to do.
We all seemed a bit suprised by the statement, but it seemed reasonable enough. Problem is, our pal Arizona Phil who has been watching spring training for as least as long as I've been here at TCR (2005) and probably much longer, recalls things differently.
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.
Hopefully it's just some oddness, but I wouldn't be too surprised if he's hiding an injury either.
- Jason Frasor is the hot topic for the Cubs and Twins to bring in as a reliever. Frasor had a great 2009 with a 2.50 ERA and 11 saves, to go along with 17 saves in 2004. Phil Rogers reports that the Blue Jays are looking for an outfielder in return and speculates on Tyler Colvin or Sam Fuld. Fuld wouldn't bother me, although the Cubs would certainly need to add an arm or two in there to complete the deal. But Colvin's been putting on a show in spring training and bulked up and looks like he's the first round pick he was meant to be. I'd be more than hesitant to trade him. Even though he doesn't have a job now with the Cubs, he has 3 minor league options left and there's no reason to rush him out of the system for an unspectacular arm, considering the run of bad luck and health the Cubs seem destined to run into.
While Frasor did have a good 2009, his career FIP is 3.80 that nearly matches his career 3.78 ERA. He keeps the ball in the park(0.79) and has good strikeout rates(8.29) and would be leaving the AL East. And he did pick up a change-up after 2008, which could be the reason behind his improved season. On the other hand, the Cubs would presumably be paying the whole bill and I don't think trading a potential 25-30 HR threat that could play center field on a "regular' basis (Jim Hendry's words on WGN on Saturday) for a reliever is a good use of resources. You'll find nothing in Colvin's past minor league records to support the assertion that he could be a starter or bring mad power, but you wouldn't have found them in Geovany Soto's either before 2007. Prospects mature at odd rates and Colvin is becoming an interesting option.
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.
Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.
BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.
"KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?
Baez is looking like a pretty special player.
Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.
bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...
felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size
13ip 4h 3bb 20K
remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.
this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.
Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...
also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.
also also, the wsox are 19-8.
Win tomorrow, and the Cubs would have a 6-game lead. On May 4.
Fully agree on Addy -- hope he is our SS for a long time. I'm just surprised he has 4 errors already -- the last 2 on routine plays.
Guess how many Carlos Correa has?
I would still rather have Russell, right now, than any shortstop the team has had in many years. The future is bright enough to wear shades.
EDIT: Gonzo WOULD have been my favorite, 'cepting a certain error of a double-play ball...
Hi Phil, made it home tonight safely. Looks like Cease is getting better each outing. I see Crow did ok today too. I will be reading your write_ups everyday. Great seeing you while there!
tomorrow's game is a 12:35pm EST game for some ungodly stupid reason...then it's back to wrigley field for a night game on the 5th.