Archive - Feb 2008

February 29th

The San Francisco Giants rallied to defeat the Cubs 8-6 this afternoon at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.

 box score

The game was played under sunny skies with temperatures in the 80’s, but it was far from a capacity crowd at HoHoKam, as the announced attendance was only 8,838. There was a time when the Cubs Spring Home Opener was an automatic sell-out (which would be just under 12,000), but not this year.

The same two clubs meet again with Jonathan Sanchez and a split-squad Giants team taking on Carlos "Kichigai " Zambrano.

- A couple of quick site modifications with more soon to come. I added a "module" as Drupal calls them, that will automatically fill in the subject line for users when they comment. When you first hit the comment button, it will add "Re: {Title of Post}. If you hit reply to a comment, it will fill-in the subject line with the subject of the comment you are replying to. You can go in and edit them if you wish. If you are replying to someone's comment though, we do ask that you just leave the default because it makes life a lot easier for those viewing comments in the "flat" modes.

- The next tweak is the signature module. It has a few options - the most important is that it will stylize the signature automatically (no more broken tag troubles hopefully). Currently it's set-up to have a small line break and italicize it:

__________________________

Welcome to The New Cub Reporter!

Since the system is doing all the formatting now, I do ask that if you did add a signature, to go in and remove any tags or linebreaks (directly the opposite of what I asked yesterday). I simply typed in: Welcome to the New Cub Reporter! in my signature box without any formatting and what you see above is what is pumped out.

Also, if you change your signature or add one, it will change the signature on all your old comments as well.

Next, your signature will no longer show up in the comment box and you won't have to type around it. If you added a signature to your account, it will automatically attach it to the end of your posts now.

The last note is that after I installed the module, it did take everyone who had a signature yesterday and duplicated them in your comments. An unfortunate side-effect, but everything should be working normally from here on.

February 28th

Earlier today, Rob alluded to this story in the Baltimore Sun, which says the O's will be sending a scout to Mesa next week "to get a closer look" at players the Cubs and Orioles have discussed as part of a potential Brian Roberts swap.

The same story indicates that Luis Hernandez currently has the edge over Brandon Fahey and--I'm going to try to type this without laughing--Freddie Bynum in the competition to succeed Miguel Tejada as Baltimore's starting shortstop.

Hernandez was snagged off waivers by the O's after the Braves released him following the '06 season. Though he is good with the glove, over six minor league seasons, his career OPS is 621. Baseball Prospectus says:

He's as light-hitting an infielder as you'll find, with three years of Double-A ball under his belt and no apparent improvement. Tejada's injury last year gave him a chance to play in the majors last year, and he hit .290, but it was almost all singles and was accompanied by a single solitary walk.

That's one walk in 71 plate appearances.

That's Neifi Perez...without the power.

And that's a reason you might be thinking about trading for Ronny Cedeno.

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

AZ PHIL:

Orioles GM Andy MacPhail, Scouting Director John Stockstill, and Manager Dave Trembley all came to BAL from the Cubs. Also, ex-Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Alan Dunn is the O's bullpen coach. So they probably have opinions and personal knowledge about Cubs players and prospects that go well beyond what other organizations might have. For instance, Ronny Cedeno was signed under Stockstill's tenure, and Sean Gallagher and Sean Marshall were drafted by Stockstill, as was Donald Veal.

BTW, the reason the Orioles scout will be coming to Mesa next week instead of right now is that minor league camp hasn't opened yet, so if the Orioles want to get an updated look at Veal, they will have to wait until next week. 

Cubs baseball (Cactus League version) is back! Ryan Dempster begins his attempt to win a spot in the '08 rotation; Noah Lowry starts for the Giants. Neither starter is slated to go beyond the second inning.

First pitch is at 2:05 Central Time. Pat and Ron have the radio call on WGN radio in Chicago.

Rob tells me that Parachat is open and your usernames/passwords from last year will still work, though they are different than the names you just created so you could leave comments here at the new site.

Tribune Company is now owned by a supposed money-making genius, and the best ideas he can come up with to wring more money out of Wrigley Field are more night games, additional concerts, and peddling the naming rights?

What about the weddings you could host on the pitchers mound, the bar mitzvahs, the graduation bashes, and the Congratulations On Getting Out Of Prison parties?

We've all seen the elaborate staging that happens at halftime of the Super Bowl. How hard could it possibly be to wheel a roller derby track onto the field between innings? Or put a petting zoo on the concourse. Or try this, Sam--get to know Cub fans on a personal level and feed the bottom line by setting up a booth where the Cub faithful get to kiss your beard for a buck!

Obviously the creative ideas are out there, and Sam isn't uncovering them. He needs our help. Send your suggestions to Sam Zell at Tribune Tower. Or post them in the Comments.

We can all laugh and be disgusted together.

On July 21st, 2001, Christian started this site somewhere on the World Wide Web with a post simply titled, "Welcome to the Cub Reporter." About six and a half years later, the NEW Cub Reporter is born. Yes, the rumors are true, we've moved to a new site and to our own domain name (finally). If anything, we'll be easier to find now at www.thecubreporter.com. I suppose the first question will be: Why the move?

While we appreciated the opportunities afforded to us at MVN.com and all the fine people working over there, we're just not the conforming types. Plus, we were very anxious to take on the headache of maintaining our own website. Mostly though, we just wanted to do our own thing and be able to swear whenever we wanted.

The second question you might be asking is: What's the ultimate answer to life, the Universe and Everything? Answer: 42 (it's even in our FAQ).

Third question(damn, what's with all the nagging): What's new about the site?

Plenty my friends...plenty.

Tags: 

Just like I did last year, a rundown of the various prospect lists out there.


Criteria
: Once upon a time it was all stat-based (or at least it seemed so), but since hiring Kevin Goldstein (formely of Baseball America) to be their minor league guy, I think he actually bothers to watch some of these guys and certainly talks to a scout or two.

Five-Star Prospects
1. Geovany Soto, C
2. Josh Vitters, 3B
Four-Star Prospects
None
Three-Star Prospects
3. Donald Veal, LHP
4. Jose Ceda, RHP
5. Josh Donaldson, C
6. Sean Gallagher, RHP
7. Tyler Colvin, OF
8. Eric Patterson, 2B/OF
9. Welington Castillo, C
10. Tony Thomas, 2B
Two-Star Prospects
11. Jeff Samardzija, RHP

Just Missing: Kevin Hart, RHP; Chris Huseby, RHP; Larry Suarez, RHP

Sleeper: Kyler Burke

What They Say: Colvin is a below-average center fielder range-wise, and many feel he'll need to move to a corner in short order. That leaves him as a bit of a tweener--his swing-at-anything approach led to just five walks in 62 Double-A games, which is not enough of an offensive force to play in a corner everyday. Lefties give him significant troubles, and he adjusts by shortening his swing, which costs him any chance at power against them.

February 27th

I haven't enjoyed typing anything as much as this in a very long time:

Per the Sun-Times, here is the Cubs' batting order for Thursday's Cactus League opener at 2:05 Central Time against the now Bonds-less San Francisco Giants:

ss Theriot

3b Cedeno

rf Fukudome

1b Lee

lf Murton

c Soto

2b Cintron

cf Pie

p Dempster

DeLuca and/or Wittenmyer report that following Dempster's two innings, Sean Gallagher will go for two. Ceda, Cotts, Pignatiello, Ascanio, and Hart will then pitch an inning apiece.

Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are expected to step into the lineup on Friday, when the Cubs host the Giants at HoHoKam.

From Arizona Phil:

The Cubs moved a half-mile up Center Street to HoHoKam Park this morning for the first time this Spring.

There were about 100 fans in attendance for the "free" preview, and as was the case last year, Manager Lou Piniella opted not to play an intrasquad game to prepare for the Cactus League, instead preferring an extended (90 minute) regular season-type infield practice and traditional BP, followed by baserunning practice.

February 26th

– Gordon Wittenmyer writes in today's Sun-Times that Mark DeRosa's cardiac issues are not a major concern to DeRo or Cub doctors, nor will they be the impetus for any personnel moves by Jim Hendry.

Wittenmyer also thinks the Cubs are more likely to add that
proverbial, right-handed hitting, three-position outfielder before
Opening Day than they are He Who Must Not Be Named.

Baseball Musings sizes up a potential Cubs rotation of Zambrano, Lilly, Hill, Dempster, and Marquis (Where is your Lieber?) based on the Marcel the Monkey projections
and foresees a cumulative 4.28 ERA for the fivesome. That's a few ticks
above the 4.19 ERA Cub starters pitched to last season, when their ERA
was second best in the NL, but still pretty solid.

One highly questionable element in the projection: Ryan Dempster's
projected 4.50 ERA. Only once in his career as a starting
pitcher--Dempster's All-Star season in 2000 down in pitcher-friendly
Florida--has Dempster ever had an ERA at or below 4.50.

February 25th

What the latest Baseball Prospectus annual has to say about the Cubs, minus all those pesky numbers and the obscure historical and literary allusions:

Ronny Cedeno
"...Cedeno's is a tried and true skill set–the same one that's earning Orlando Cabrera millions of dollars every season..."

Ryan Dempster
"...has experienced a steady decline in his groundball rates over the past three seasons...coupled with command that was never very good to begin with..."

Mark DeRosa
"If the Cubs bring in a Brian Roberts-type...the gains will be less than they might appear at first glance."

Kosuke Fukudome
"An inspired acquisition...a J.D. Drew/Bobby Abreu type of player..."

Cub near Hall of Fame 3rd baseman and radio broadcaster Ron Santo turns 68 today! Yes, he was born on Feb 25th, 1940 in Seattle, Washington. Rumor has it that he clicked his heels right after the delivery.

May all your wishes come true this season (and we all know what that main wish is).

...and remember to keep the "gamer" away from all those birthday cake candles.

February 23rd

OK, so it wasn't literally "Peter Gammons Day" (per se), but the Hall of Famer was at Fitch Park today, as the Cubs continued their workouts in preparation for the 2008 season.

February 22nd

It was a cold, blustery, overcast morning in Mesa today, as the Cubs continued their Spring Training work-outs at Fitch Park.

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