Billy Goat Kurcz Alive & Well at Papago Park

Michael Gilmartin laced a double off the right-field fence with one out in the bottom of the 9th, knocking-in the tying run and the winning run, as the A’s Split Squad #2 rallied with three runs in the 8th and two in the 9th to edge the Cubs 7-6 in AZ Instructional League action at Papago Park Baseball Complex Field #2 in Phoenix this afternoon.


The Cubs were in control early, as starter Aaron Kurcz (Cubs 2010 10th round pick out of the College of Southern Nevada) threw three shutout innings, allowing just one broken-bat single and no walks while striking out three. The 20-year old RHP started his college career at the Air Force Academy, before resigning after his freshman year and enrolling at CSN, where he was a teammate of the Washington Nationals #1 draft pick (and 2010 overall #1 pick) Bryce Harper. Kurcz had the misfortune of allowing a walk-off HR in the JUCO World Series that eliminated Southern Nevada, but then he had a very impressive debut pro season after signing with the Cubs, going 2-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 0.95 WHIP, with 48 strikeouts in just 27.1 IP combined between AZL Cubs and Boise.


Although Kurcz likely projects as a closer or 8th inning set-up guy at the MLB level (he features a mid-90’s heater and a hard-breaking slider), he has been used as a starter so far at Instructs (two GS), as the Cubs are apparently doing with him what they sometimes do with pitchers they project as late-inning relievers, and that is use them as starting pitchers at the lower levels of the minor leagues to force them to use (and hopefully develop) their secondary pitches, and to accumulate as many innings as possible as soon as possible.


While Kurcz was shutting out the A’s, the Cubs scored one run in the 2nd on a two-out RBI ground single to CF by Max Kwan, and then another run in the top of the 3rd on a one-out single by Marco Hernandez (his first of three hits today), a HBP, and a two-out RBI bloop single to right-center by Justin Bour.


After the A’s tied the game in the 5th, the Cubs scored three times in the 6th as Cubs 2010 3rd round pick Micah Gibbs (LSU) crashed a one-out solo HR over the RF fence, and Cubs 2010 2nd round pick Reggie Golden (Wetumpka HS - Wetumpka, AL) ripped a two-out two-run RBI double down the LF line, scoring Dustin Geiger and Xavier Batista with the Cubs 4th and 5th runs of the day. The Cubs finished their scoring (and took a 6-2 lead) in the top of the 8th, as Geiger, Batista, and Kwan stroked three consecutive two-out singles to plate one run.


But the Cubs bullpen could not hold the lead, as 19-year old Dominican RHP Amaury Paulino surrendered three runs (but only one ER) in the bottom of the 8th on a lead-off double and a walk, two errors, and a passed ball. Then RHP Kevin Rhoderick (Cubs 2010 9th round draft pick out of Oregon State) came into the game in the bottom of the 9th trying to protect a 6-5 Cub lead and rack up the save, but he didn’t fool anybody, as the A’s strung together two singles and Gilmartin’s walk-off double to win the game 7-6. Rhoderick had an impressive pro debut last Saturday at Fitch Park, but he didn’t appear to have the same velocity on his fastball or control of his slider in today’s outing.


Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):


LINEUP:
1a. Evan Crawford, RF: 1-4 (E4, F-8, 1B, K, SB)
1b. Oliver Zapata, CF: 0-1 (5-3)
2a. Logan Watkins, 2B: 0-2 (6-3 GIDP, HBP, L-6 DP)
2b. Wes Darvill, 2B: 0-2 (L-8, K)
3a. Justin Bour, 1B: 1-3 (6-3, 1B, K, RBI)
3b. Ryan Cuneo, 1B: 0-2 (4-3, 3-U)
4a. Micah Gibbs, C: 1-2 (F-8, BB, HR, RBI, R)
4b. Engel Santana, C: 0-1 (3-U)
5. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 2-4 (P-4, 5-U FC, 1B, 1B, 2 R, SB)
6. Xavier Batista, DH-LF: 2-3 (1B, K, BB, 1B, 2 R, SB)
7. Max Kwan, DH #2: 2-4 (1B, 3-1, K, 1B, 2 RBI)
8. Reggie Golden, CF-RF: 2-3 (K, 1B, 2B, BB, 2 RBI)
9. Chris Huseby, LF-DH: 0-4 (F-9, K, 4-3, 4-3)
10. Marco Hernandez, SS: 3-4 (1B, 4-3, 1B, 2B, R, PO)


PITCHERS:
1. Aaron Kurcz: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 36 pitches (21 strikes), 3/3 GO/FO
2. Tarlandus Mitchell: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 38 pitches (22 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO
3. Luis Liria: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 27 pitches (19 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
4. Amaury Paulino: 1.0 IP, 1 H 3 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 21 pitches (12 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
5. Kevin Rhoderick: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 17 pitches (11 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO


ERRORS: (3)
3B Dustin Geiger E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base – eventually scored unearned run)
SS Marco Hernandez E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base – eventually scored unearned run)
CF Oliver Zapata E-8 (errant throw from CF on play at the plate allowed batter-runner to advance an extra base – eventually scored unearned run)


CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Engel Santana: 1 PB


. =================================================


ATTENDANCE: 14 (mostly scouts)


WEATHER: Partly cloudy & breezy, with temperatures in the 90’s


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


2010 CUBS INSTRUCTIONAL LEAGUE ROSTER:


FIELD COORDINATOR:
Dave Bialas


INSTRUCTORS:
Jeff Fassero
Franklin Font
Dave Keller
Greg Maddux
Carmelo Martinez
Marty Pevey
Tom Pratt
Mark Riggins
Min-Kyu Sung


GAME MANAGER:
Juan Cabreja


ACTIVE LIST (47):


* bats or throws left
# bats both


PITCHERS (22):
* Hunter Ackerman
* Brent Ebinger
Dustin Fitzgerald
* Cam Greathouse
* Casey Harman
Ryan Hartman
Jin-Yeong Kim
Aaron Kurcz
Luis Liria
Matt Loosen
Robinson Lopez
* Jeff Lorick
Tarlandus Mitchell
Amaury Paulino
Starling Peralta
Austin Reed
Kevin Rhoderick
Jhon Rodriguez
* Brian Smith
Alvaro Sosa (ex-C)
Charles Thomas (ex-3B)
Ben Wells


CATCHERS (5):
* Sergio Burruel
# Micah Gibbs
Max Kwan
Chad Noble
# Engel Santana


INFIELDERS (12):
Gioskar Amaya
* Justin Bour
Willson Contreras
* Ryan Cuneo
* Pin-Chieh Chen
* Wes Darvill
Dustin Geiger
* Marco Hernandez
* Hak-Ju Lee
D. J. Lemahieu
Josh Vitters
* Logan Watkins


OUTFIELDERS (8):
* Delbis Arcila
Xavier Batista
Evan Crawford
Reggie Golden
Jae-Hoon Ha
Chris Huseby (ex-P)
* Kyung-Min Na
# Oliver Zapata

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Comments

AZ Phil,

Is Logan Watkins at instructs to work on something in particular? Thanks for your reports!

Submitted by Charlie on Tue, 09/28/2010 - 7:42pm.
AZ Phil,

Is Logan Watkins at instructs to work on something in particular? Thanks for your reports!

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

CHARLIE: Nothing specific that I can tell, but I would imagine he is here mainly to work on his hitting, fielding, and baserunning. That's why most of the position players are here. To smooth off the rough edges.

I had thought they might try moving Watkins around the diamond a bit (LF-CF-SS-3B) like they did right after he first signed in 2008 (when the Cubs weren't sure what position he should play), but so far he's been working out at just 2B.

He has been out of action with back spasms for the past week, although he did play today.

10th inning on PBS.

Writer Bosley(?) said he saw a "hall of famer" drink a powdered drink. Asked player what it was? Player said "Jose Conseco milk shake". Bosley said that player had his best hr season ever that year.

Who was it? Start speculation now......

Hitters voted into the HOF by the BBWAA since 1993 (have to be retired 5 years and Canseco's first 40-40 year was 1988: Which of them had his best HR year after 1988?

Mike (steamin' pile 'o) Schmidt '95 - no
Robin Yount '99 - no
George Brett '99 - no
Tony Perez '00 - no
Carlton Fisk '00 - no
Dave Winfield '01 - no
Kirby Puckett '01 - no
Ozzie Smith '02 - no
Eddie Murray '03 - no
Gary Carter '03 - no
Paul Molitor '04 - yes (22 in '93)
Ryne Sandberg '05 - yes (40 in '90)
Wade Boggs '05 - no
Cal Ripken Jr. '07 - yes (34 in '91)
Tony Gwynn '07 - yes (17 in '97)
Jim Rice '09 - no
Rickey Henderson '09 - yes (tied high @ 28 in '90)
Andre Dawson '10 - no

So, in essence, Molitor, Sandberg, Ripken, Gwynn and Henderson.

OK, boys (do we have any females posting comments on this site?), there's the list of eligibles -- have at it.

Joe - thank you so much for the research!

Later in the program when they were talking about Ripken's streak, Bosley was the main speaker.

You guys do realize that it's OK to drink protein shakes, right?

yes, I believe he was alluding to that player was juicing.

is it possible to take steroids in shake form?

Name your steroid. You can get it in a powder and drink it in a shake.

http://www.trademetro.net/Steroid-and-Hormone...

Yes it's possible to take them orally. Every drink that every bodybuilder takes is not loaded with HGH and steriods, though. Just because you drink the same Muscle Milk as Jose Canseco, doesn't mean you're on steriods - and it's irresponsible for anyone to even imply as much.

"Writer Bosley(?) said he saw a "hall of famer" drink a powdered drink. Asked player what it was? Player said "Jose Conseco milk shake". Bosley said that player had his best hr season ever that year."

Your right, it is irresponsible for the player to imply that HE was taking steriods.

Did he say this after Canseco's book came out? Did the guy even know Canseco was using steroids?

It quote was made after Boswell reported on Canseco taking steroids in 1988 (see note below). Given that the unnamed player was talking to Boswell, I believe we can infer that he knew what the phrase "Jose Conseco milk shake" was meant to convey.

Tom Boswell Journalist

"(Canseco) is the most conspicuous example of a player who has made himself great with steroids."
Source: CBS News, Sept. 1988

http://thesteroidera.blogspot.com/2006/08/mem...

do have to agree with TRN on this...

kind of shitty to say anything if you're not willing to name names. Instead of implicating one player that could defend himself, he implicates 5 or 10.

a sportswriter too close to the game dropping incomplete insider information rather than disclosure or not bringing it up at all?

paul sullivan approves...so do a few dozen others i'm not going to name. ha.

I thought that was kind of a weird line from Boswell too. After all, 1) he's a journalist, and 2) he witnessed the act. It's news. Why wouldn't he report it?

i like Calcaterra's take on it...not 100% mine, but it's approach is logically calm.

With tonight's start at 1B, Xavier Nady just picked up another $100K in performance bonuses (70 GS), for a current running total of $225K. He gets another $250K if he can reach 350 PA (he was at 325 PA going into tonight's game).

And speaking of Xavier Nady, his alma mater (University of California) dropped its baseball program today.

This is (was) a big-time Div-1 PAC-10 baseball program, too. They were at the College World Series as recently as two years ago.

#1 Cubs position-player prospect OF Brett Jackson also attended Cal.

AZ Phil-

I saw your write up on Oliver Zapata yesterday and I was wondering if you had opinions on Marco Hernandez or Delbis Arcila? Also, I know I asked this in another thread but do you have any ideas why Arismendy Alcantara or Junior Lake wouldn't be at instructs? Another person I figured would be at Instructs is Jesus Morelli so any light you could shed on these things would be great. Thanks in advance

Submitted by W Flag on Tue, 09/28/2010 - 9:05pm.
AZ Phil-

I saw your write up on Oliver Zapata yesterday and I was wondering if you had opinions on Marco Hernandez or Delbis Arcila? Also, I know I asked this in another thread but do you have any ideas why Arismendy Alcantara or Junior Lake wouldn't be at instructs? Another person I figured would be at Instructs is Jesus Morelli so any light you could shed on these things would be great. Thanks in advance

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

W FLAG: I don't know why Arismendy Alcantara, Jesus Morelli, or Junior Lake are not at Fitch Park right now, but there is another Instructs at the Cubs Dominican Academy that starts after the AZ Instructional League ends, so I would think that Alcantara and Morelli will probably be there.

The main reason Santana, Zapata, Amaya, et al were invited to the Cubs AZ Instructs is part of the exchange program the Cubs implemented last year, where a few of the more-promising Cubs Latin American DSL kids get to go to the AZ Instructional League, and then a few U. S. kids go the Dominican Instructional League after the AZ Instructional League is over. It's not because Santana, Zapata, Anmaya, et al are better prospects than Alcantara or Morelli, because they're probably not, but they are considered the most-promising prospects among the 2010 DSL Cubs.

Junior Lake did not get invited to the AZ Instructional Leaguer last year when he was at Peoria, so I'm not surprised that he didn't get invited this year either. He's not exactly the most "coachable" player in the Cubs system, and if you can't take instruction, you don't get invited to Instructs.

As far as Marco Hernandez and Delbis Arcila are concerned, Hernandez has slightly above-average speed, adequate range, and a decent arm, and he is sort of a slap hitter, whereas Arismendy Alcantara (for example) has plus-range, a plus-arm, and some HR power. So Alcantara is the better prospect of the two.

Delbis Arcila has below-average speed and a below-average arm. He also has a line-drive stroke and shows good plate discipline for a 17-year old. Because of his lack of speed and a below-average OF arm, he probably will end up in either LF or at 1B. But to play 1B or LF and progress up through the pipeline, he will have to hit AND develop HR power eventually. But he's only 17, so he has plenty of time to add some muscle to his lanky frame.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=5...

Briggs around 1:12 says he heard from Cubs players about Wrigley fans being racist.

"Billy Goat Kurcz", indeed. Very funny, AZ Phil. How long after he was drafted did it take you to notice the pun opportunity sitting there?

:)

Thanks for another update, AZ Phil. I had a quick question about your view of Reggie Golden right now. In his limited games played for the Cubs (3 or 4 AZL games and now the 3 at Fall Instructs), it appears that he has well above average raw power; is good at taking a walk; but has trouble making contact (i.e. over a strikeout a game). I know he was considered extremely raw coming out of HS, but the walks have to be at least a little encouraging, right? Are we looking at a much shorter, more athletic version of Adam Dunn here, or do you feel that the contact potential is there? Also, how has his defense looked? Thanks again.

Submitted by Hrubes20 on Wed, 09/29/2010 - 8:53am.
Thanks for another update, AZ Phil. I had a quick question about your view of Reggie Golden right now. In his limited games played for the Cubs (3 or 4 AZL games and now the 3 at Fall Instructs), it appears that he has well above average raw power; is good at taking a walk; but has trouble making contact (i.e. over a strikeout a game). I know he was considered extremely raw coming out of HS, but the walks have to be at least a little encouraging, right? Are we looking at a much shorter, more athletic version of Adam Dunn here, or do you feel that the contact potential is there? Also, how has his defense looked? Thanks again.

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

Hrubes20: Reggie Golden reminds me most of Jimmy Wynn (the "Toy Cannon"), Houston Astros OF from the 1960's.

Golden runs just barely well enough right now to play CF (he has just average speed), but he throws well enough to play RF, so as he gets older he will probably be a corner OF.

Maybe Gary Sheffield (after he moved to the OF) or Albert Belle (minus the personality disorder) would be better top-ceiling projection-comparisons. That is NOT to say that Golden will be as successful as those guys (he has a long, long way to go), but just in terms of his "game," that's who I would compare him to. He could also turn out to be a complete bust and never get out of AA.

But as of right now, Golden has plus-power and is a dangerous hitter. As for his defense, it definitely needs work, but that's not unusual for a kid his age.

That's interesting that the Cubs are even letting him work in CF then, if he doesn't have the speed to stay there. When you factor in the depth in the system at CF, it boggles my mind even further. I love that he is rapping out extra base hits and taking walks already, though. Hopefully the strikeouts come down greatly, but since he's only 18, he has tons of time. Thanks for the response. As always, it is greatly appreciated.

My guess is that they will leave him in CF because for the most part, if you can learn the angles and making good reads as a CF, you can still be a productive fielder. Marlon Byrd doesn't have above average speed but he makes fantastic reads and takes excellent routes to the baseball. Plus, coming up through the system, he has exponentially more value as a center fielder with power and plate discipline (if he keeps the walks and maybe cuts the k's down or keep the near the level they are now). As he gets older, if he can't handle CF, hopefully he has developed enough power to be an "acceptable" corner outfielder (though there are several very valuable corner outfielders with patience and not a ton of power), he just won't have the same amount of value because he wouldn't be playing a position with such defensive significance.

I think he already has the power to be an acceptable COF. It's his contact rates that will determine how good of a player Golden can be. If he can stick in CF, I wonder if a poor man's Mike Cameron would be a good comp. He has shown the ability to take a walk, which in an 18 year old kid is huge. But he definately does have some contact issues. I don't know if he has trouble recognizing pitches or what, but he definately has whiffed a bit. As you can tell, I'm pretty excited to monitor the progress of this kid. I have a better feeling about him than most of the other high risk/high reward types that we have drafted in the past 10 years. Can't explain it, but I just do. Maybe it is the walk rate.

How many plate appearances are we talking about for Golden right now?

In the Cubs system, you're not looking at too many. 30-40 would be my guess. All of my posts about him are based on what his scouting reports were heading into the draft. His play in the Cubs' system, as limited as it may be, lends credence to the reports that he has very good raw power, can take a walk, but has a very raw swing and thus is prone to strikeouts. Hopefully he can continue this type of production in Peoria next season (or Boise, if the Cubs decide to keep him in EXST).

When I checked yesterday he had 1 HR and 7 K's in about 15 at bats.

What we've seen so far is he's the next Earl Cunningham.

Those stats only count what he did in the 3 or 4 games in the AZL before/during his hamstring injury. In his 4-5 games in Fall Instructs, he has as many walks as he does K's (3 apiece). I'm not sure Cunningham ever had 3 walks in a 4-5 game stretch in his minor league career, did he? If I remember correctly, didn't Cunningham also strike out about 40% of the time? I love the shared optimism, though.

The point is that you shouldn't get too excited over 25 at bats. When he played in the rookie league he struck out half the time, and now you're convinced he's on the track to being a power hitting corner outfielder, based on three additional games.

Maybe give the guy a season in the minors before you buy thejersey.

I'm excited that he is finally healthy and performing as his scouting report suggested he could. And there really isn't any arguing that he will be a power-hitting corner outfielder. He already has power. It's like the aforementioned Cunningham; you can't argue that he didn't have power. He just sucked in every other aspect, which is what Golden needs to keep improving upon.

You are claiming that I am overrating him based on 4 games at fall instructs, whereas I believe you are underrating him based on 3-4 AZL games. I have always maintained that the sample size is terribly small, but which small sample size should you be looking at if you are going to: (1) 3-4 games where Golden made his minor league debut after taking a couple months off of baseball and got hurt; or (2) 4 games where Golden is finally healthy; has been around baseball continuously; and no longer has the rust from the down time? As I stated before, the numbers don't mean anything in this small of a sample size unless a person wants to be optimistic (Me) or pessimistic (You). I just have higher hopes for the kid than to automatically bring up Earl Cunningham when a HS OFer is mentioned. I still realize his insane probability of busting out, as with most of our minor leaguers, but it certainly doesn't hurt to be optimistic a little bit.

I understand and appreciate your pessimism with the Cubs' minor leaguers. We have not had a good track record at all with HS players (Cunningham, Harvey, Patterson, Pie, Dopirak, Montanez, etc., etc.). But that really is no reason to not get at least a little excited by the upside some guys bring to the table. Or at least to try to take that excitement from other fans. The Cubs have given very few reasons to get excited the past 2 years (3 after next year); minor leaguers offer at least a little escape from reality for many fans, as they can sit at their desks and wonder what it would be like to have a legit, home-grown RF putting up a line of .270/.360/.550 in his peak years. So, in essence, you can be pessimistic all you want, but quit harshing my mellow. ; )

Holy mis-placed wall of text, Batman.

I am excited about plenty of the Cubs minor leaguers. I just don't get excite because a guy has a good weekend.

Then in your attempt to be witty, you completely missed the point of all my posts. Congrats on that.

And you think because I understand that 50 PA's is totally meaningless with regards to a prospect's evaluation, that I can't get excited about a prospect. Congrats on that.

Never once did I say anything remotely close to that. This was all in response to your apparent inability to have any optimism whatsoever for an extremely promising HS OFer. It's almost as if you refuse to get even a little excited over a prospect, after only a few games and a nice scouting report. If this is the case, that's fine. But don't try to make snarky little comments in an effort to dissuade others from having an optimistic point of view. I have wasted enough of my time on this subject already. Good day.

Bruce Levine speculates the Cubs might consider moving Aramis this offseason, perhaps to the Red Sox, who have shown interest, and to free up money to potentially sign Adam Dunn (he says that spread over two different posts)...

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chicago/chat/...

I only can understand moving Ramirez if it's to get a solid 3b replacement with a better track record of staying healthy. If it's to move an acceptable defensive 3b who can hit for a horrible fielding 1b who can't hit .270, I think it's not smart. There are going to be 1b bargains out there because the 1b free agent market is crowded. Sure, Dunn has the most power, but that's all he offers, and at a crazy price (seeking 4 years, $60 million). Laroche could be signed for something around $8 million per or less for 1-2 years. But there are plenty of other guys too. I don't see the logic in spending another big $ contract on another slow, one dimensional, old player who can't run or play defense and who doesn't make consistent contact.

.381 career OBP and 900+ career OPS? Not sure how that equates to adding nothing?

Derrick Lee has bettered Dunn's career average OPS in only 3 of 14 MLB season. Laroche has a career OPS of almost 100 point lower. Why waste 8 million on him when you can get a major upgrade for 11-12 million?

Dunn's k/bb ratio skyrocketed this year, his obp dropped 20 points, and when a crappy team decides he's not good enough of a fielder for them, and a scout says he sucks and costs his team half a run per game, why on earth would you want him? I can understand him as a DH. As a position player? No freaking way.

Every defensive metric shows that he is close to average. He WILL be the best hitter the Cubs have had since Sosa in his prime. Why WOULDN'T you want him?

He hits enough that if his defense becomes atrocious (which it won't) you can still trade him to an AL team.

Enough GM's are stuck in the stone age though. So you will get him cheaper than what his actual market rate should be.

Dunn at 12-13 per year > Ryan Howard at 25 or Fielder or Adrian Gonzalez at 20 million per year.

defensive metric?

the dude's range at 1st sucks. he's slow to react and pretty stiff...he doesn't even stretch well for throws.

he's adequate given his bat and being in the NL...that's about the best you can do for him on handicapping his D...and those 2 things don't have anything to do with D.

because the cubs don't get to use the DH slot except a few times a year?

he's no longer that .230 hitting guy coming off an injury and he's vocally sick of short contracts. WAS has drawn the line saying they won't go more than 3 years for him and that's already a problem, evidently. 11-12m is probably low-balling his value, too.

Oh yeah... Adam Dunn. Seems like the perennial Adam Dunn rumors are starting early this year.

Removing Ramirez to replace him with Dunn is adding nothing.

Ramirez + LaRoche > Dunn + Pedro Feliz or Marquez Smith.

I agree it seems a little self defeating to sign Dunn, and trade Rammy.

Though Adam Dunn is almost certainly the best bet of that whole group going forward.

"I only can understand moving Ramirez if it's to get a solid 3b replacement with a better track record of staying healthy. If it's to move an acceptable defensive 3b who can hit for a horrible fielding 1b who can't hit .270, I think it's not smart."

Well, whoever they get to play 3rd, my criteria is this:
* Must hit at least 270
* Must play B defense or better
* Must be built well and have good baseball sense

Flashy players are nice, but the flashy players we've had lately are prone to long cold streaks.

we have a lot of guys on this team who are going to swing and not walk...even if they hit for good average, expected starters like castro/byrd/dewitt/soriano will all be lucky to see 40-50 walks.

walks aren't everything when you're hitting well for contact, but these are very low walk totals.

should be interesting to see who's added/subtracted for 2011.

My read is that I can think of 14.6 million reasons to try and move Ramirez. On top of that he's given up trying to play 3B. The next time he steps in front of a ball to field it instead of his patented 'Ole' move to the side will be the first time in about 3 years. He gives every indication of an overpaid, got-it-made veteran who cares only about his 4 AB's a game. Notwithstanding his salary, he's now suited to an AL DH position only. Can the Cubs move him to Boston or some other AL team?.....have at it.

The unfortunate scenario with the 2011 Cubs (and maybe even 2012) is that Ramirez is just one lousy contract that needs to be moved to restructure this team - Silva, Fukudome, Samardzija, Grabow, Soriano............and unless he pitches more like his last 10 starts from this point forward, Zambrano. Of course, this all assumes the team has a President and GM who can execute a plan that would take them to the World Series.

me and you are on opposite ends of that aram D breakdown. he's not as tight as he's been in past years, but he's not dogging out there and his arm is still nice, imo.

not cubs-related, but yow...via rotowhirled...

A scout told ESPN.com's Jason Grey that Brandon Webb looked "alarmingly bad" during his instructional league appearance Wednesday.
The scout said Webb topped out at 82 MPH with his fastball and "rolled" his curveball.

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