Hunter Ackerman, LHP Arismendy Alcantara, INF Gioskar Amaya, INF Jose Arias, RHP Frank Batista, RHP Xavier Batista, OF Dallas Beeler, RHP Justin Bour, 1B Sergio Burruel, C Esmailin Caridad, RHP Marcelo Carreno, RHP Lendy Castillo, RHP Javier Castro, RHP Zach Cates, RHP Hunter Cervenka, LHP Pin-Chieh Chen, OF Casey Coleman, RHP Gerardo Concepcion, LHP Willson Contreras, C Wes Darvill, INF Antonio Encarnacion, RHP Luis Flores, C Anthony Giansanti, OF Enyel Gonzalez, RHP Carlos Gutierrez, RHP Jae-Hoon Ha, OF Eric Jokisch, LHP Dong-Yub Kim, OF Austin Kirk, LHP Luis Liria, RHP Matt Loosen, RHP Jeff Lorick, LHP Eric Martinez, RHP A. J. Morris, RHP Chad Noble, C Loiger Padron, RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua, RHP (see NOTE) Amaury Paulino, RHP Felix Pena, RHP Starling Peralta, RHP Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP Kevin Rhoderick, RHP Greg Rohan, IF-OF Jose Rosario, RHP Zac Rosscup, LHP Victor Salazar, RHP Brian Schlitter, RHP Ryan Searle, RHP Elliot Soto, INF Nick Struck, RHP Luis Villalba, LHP Yao-Lin Wang, RHP Oliver Zapata, OF NOTE: Player not eligible for selection if added to MLB 40-man roster by 11/20. Also, Juan Carlos Paniagua signed his first contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks as "Juan Callado" on 5-8-2009 and pitched for the DSL Diamondbacks in the Dominican Summer League in 2009-10, but the contract was "pending" for almost two years and was never officially approved by MLB. The contract was eventually rejected by MLB due to "fraudulent paperwork" and Paniagua (Callado) was suspended for one year and then was declared a free-agent. He signed with the New York Yankees in March 2011 but then was suspended again and that contract was rejected, too, because his birth certificate could not be verified. Paniagua was cleared by MLB in 2012 and he signed with the Cubs on 7-9-2012. Therefore, Paniagua could be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in December 2013, since 2009 was his "first season" on the field and he was 18 on the June 5th immediately preceding the signing of his first contract, or he might not be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft for the first time until December 2015, if 2012 is considered Paniagua's "first season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes.
The Astros hate the Cubs. Everyone who is not a Cubs fan hates Carlos Zambrano. And the Houstons are opening the season at home with the best pitcher in team history on the mound. You'd think that would be enough to activate their adrenal glands. But of course, there's that other business left over from 2008:
Strange times in the news business—I figured there would be all sorts of coverage about the new Yankee Stadium, where the Cubs will conclude their Spring Training schedule tonight and Saturday afternoon. But no, not a peep, not a detail anywhere. It's like no one is paying attention to the first-ever Major League game in that billion dollar edifice. For all anyone would know, the Yanks are still going to be playing in the old park across the street.
Last week, Arizona Phil offered a thoughtful, reasoned analysis of the Cubs' threats to vacate their spring training home in Mesa, absent major improvements at Fitch Park. In the meantime, with in-laws living in Vero Beach and no baseball to watch out at Dodgertown during my family's annual spring visit to Florida, I have been thinking about what a swell replacement the tradition-rich Cubs would be for the tradition-rich Dodgers, who began training in Vero way back in 1949. The Dodgers are currently enjoying their first spring training out west, at the Camelback Ranch complex in Arizona Phil territory.
-- Tigers, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Astros; that's your complete list of the teams which ranked lower than the Cubs in Kevin Goldstein's organizational rankings at Baseball Prospectus (subscription required).
Goldstein's comments about the Cubs, who stood 16th in his '08 rankings:
"Other than Vitters, there is
really not a single hitter in this system that excites anyone; the
weakness in terms of the organization's depth is the key reason that
the long-rumored Jake Peavy deal never went down."
"Samardzija is the only player who is likely to lose his prospect status; there's no reason to see (the Cubs) moving up considerably (in the rankings)."
--We all know that spring training numbers mean next to nothing, but since Opening Day is, what, another 11 weeks away?, they're the only numbers we have, so let's enjoy them, dammit!
In looking for some information on Koskie, I came across an mlb.com article from April of last year, when the longtime Twin, still suffering from the after-effects of a concussion he suffered as a Brewer, dropped by the Metrodome.
"...Elton John's going to help us win some ballgames."
So says Crane Kenney in explaining how the extra revenue the Cubs will realize from three Wrigley Field concerts this summer, including the Elton John/Billy Joel event in late July, will translate into additional payroll flexibility.
More from Kenney:
"The CBOE [seat] auction last year paid for Rich Harden. The 'Road to Wrigley' game sponsored our Asian scouting operation. That's the way, from the business end, we look at these things. All
these elements really help our business move forward. My view is if
you're a Cub fan, you should enjoy the concerts whether you're an Elton
John fan or not."
The Giants visit the Cubs in Mesa Wednesday afternoon (3:05 Central). Ryan Dempster and A-Ram are expected to be in the starting lineup. The game can be heard via mlb.com Webcast.
Here's your Cactus League Attendance Trivia for Wednesday:
The two highest-drawing Cactus League games ever have been played in the last three weeks. The top draw was yesterday's Cubs/Dodgers game at Camelback Ranch (13,046). Now in second place is a February 28th game which drew 13,010. It was also played at Camelback, this one hosted by the White Sox...also against your Chicago Cubs.
As noted here and everywhere else yesterday, Lou Piniella has decided to give Carlos Zambrano the Opening Day assignment at Houston. It will be the fifth time Zambrano has had the honor; the Cubs have gone 2-2 in Z's previous Opening Day outings.
Fergie Jenkins started seven openers for the Cubs, while Rick Sutcliffe started five, and Rick Reuschel, four. The real fun in looking over this list at Baseball-Reference.com is noting which Cub pitchers got to go in Game #1 once, but never again. Here are the last ten such Cub pitchers:
In Friday's New York Times, Alan Schwarz profiled Geo
Soto, and we learn that despite being born in Puerto Rico and attending
high school there, Soto played his first "significant game" in New
York. The Cub catcher lived with his family in the Bronx from the time
he was four until age eight.
Soto remembers it very clearly. It might have been just
below the reservoir. Or maybe down near that ice rink. But it was
definitely in Manhattan's Central Park.
"It was awesome," said Soto... "You go with your dad to
the practice field, but never in my life I'd ever put a uniform on and
played with other kids. I felt like, 'Wow, it's really happening—I'm
going to play baseball.'"
Schwarz also writes about Soto's rapport with the Cubs pitching staff.
as an aside...though jim d. hasn't been awful in the booth, it's a bit disappointing he didn't/doesn't do the amount of "homework" getting to know the team or critiquing things being done like bob did.
so far, when i hear jim d. calling a game it feels like he's a national "game of the week" generic type announcer that doesn't know the team well.
he's a full-on 100% replacement for "bad joke bob" type humor, though.
all kidding aside, this team really has been running on a single bright spot (the starting rotation) and rizzo pounding the ball hard when he's not slumping (and his extension)
welly's doing as expected (though a few more homers/doubles would be nice)...valbuena is helping people forget about i.stewart, though he's not doing anything extraordinary...kevin gregg has been a nice surprise as the new closer...castro is being castro, though a few more walks or hits would be nice since he's performing slightly below expectations...
It's definitely hard to get excited about this team. When they suck like this it feels like a huge part of my summer is just completely missing, so I want to come here and get a little bit of a Cubs fix, but lately it's 100% split squad games at Fitch Park. I can't stand any of the major newspapers' coverage, and I really don't like BCB or any of the other Cubs blogs. I guess I just miss the good old days with 200+ comment threads, even if 90% of it was just The Real Neal arguing with himself.
So I haven't commented much lately, and I don't want to be that guy, but is this site now exclusively dedicated to Extended Spring Training? I absolutely love everything AZ Phil brings to the table, but could we maybe get a few posts about the big league squad?