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Look, I would love to see the Cubs sign a premier starting pitcher like Jason Schmidt, or a "big bat" like Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Lee. I really would. But I just can't see that happening.
48 Cubs prospects will soon be playing in fall leagues in Arizona and Hawaii. A number of other players from the Cubs organization (TBD) will play in Latin Winter Leagues in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.
If nothing were to change during the off-season, and if all pitchers are healthy come Spring Training, the Cubs would probably enter the 2007 season with a starting rotation consisting of Carlos Zambrano, Mark Prior, Rich Hill, Sean Marshall, and either Angel Guzman, Juan Mateo, Jae-kuk Ryu, or Ryan OíMalley. In an interview with Len Kasper on WGN-TV last week, Cubs GM Jim Hendry was talking about 2007 and mentioned the need to upgrade pitching as (obviously) something he (obviously) would be trying to do. Obviously. With Ryan Dempster, Scott Eyre, and Bob Howry signed through 2008, and with four or five younger relievers (Will Ohman, Michael Wuertz, David Aardsma, Roberto Novoa, and Carlos Marmol) already on board and another half-dozen or so possible candidates (Federico Baez, Lincoln Holdzkom, Carmen Pignatiello, Clay Rapada, Andy Shipman, and Randy Wells, plus Guzman, Mateo, Ryu, and OíMalley if they don't start) likely to compete for a spot in the pen, I would imagine when Hendry was talking about addressing pitching, he was mainly talking about adding at least one veteran established healthy starting pitcher to the rotation, or possibly two.
According to Bruce Miles in the Daily Herald, the Pirates "commandeered" Wrigley Field for some extra batting & fielding practice prior to last night's game. So Bucs manager Jim Tracy apparently had a novel idea: How about some extra practice during the season? And Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune reports that Cubs #1 prospect Felix Pie is upset that he didn't get a September recall, and that he is being sent to Fitch Park in Mesa to work one-on-one with hitting instructor Von Joshua and base-running instructor Bob Dernier instead of getting a chance to strut his stuff at Wrigley Field in September.
We can all go about the business of counting the days until spring training. It appears that Miguel Tejada has mellowed out on his trade demand and he'll be staying put, for now. It could all be a smokescreen from the O's camp to get teams to pony up their offers, but this quote from Orioles GM Jim Duquette makes me think it's on the up and up.
"This is the first time we heard this directly from him. We're elated that he's chosen to stay. We're all committed to improving the team, and it's easier to do it with Miguel than without him."
Doesn't mean Miggy won't change his mind in the middle of the season when the O's are hovering near last place, but for now, I think he's staying put.
The Cubs have invited the following players to Spring Training to join previous NRIs Marqius Grissom, Augie Ojeda, and Michael Restovich: * OF Adam Greenberg * RHP Bobby Brownlie * LHP Carmen Pignatiello * LHP Raul Valdez * RHP Randy Wells * C Dennis Anderson * C Jake Fox * IF Casey McGehee * 1B Brandon Sing * OF Buck Coats Arizona Phil mentioned most of these guys a few days ago, and none of them has a chance to make the team, but it will be great to see Brownlie throwing in Mesa. It's not much news, but it is actual news about the 2006 season. Pitchers and catchers report on February 15th, and the first Cactus League game is on March 2nd against the A's. That's only 55 days away! PS: I didn't open comments on the Frappr post because I didn't figure it was worth discussing. I guess I should have realized that you guys will talk about anything. At least that's one post where the comments aren't full of Miguel Tejada rumors...
Put your pin in the Cub Reporter Frappr! Thanks to Geoff at Ducksnorts for the idea.
Looks like the cellphone minutes that have been accumulating between Orioles GM Jim Duquette and Jim Hendry will finally payoff. It probably won't land us Miguel Tejada, but it does look like we'll rid ourselves of Corey Patterson. Rumor has is that the 2 teams are close to a trade sending Patterson for a mid-level prospect. If the Cubs can just rid themselves of Patterson's salary, I'll consider it a good trade no matter who we get in return. It should free up a 40-man roster spot as well so that we can welcome in the Marquis Grissom era.
ìNice guys finish lastî ñ Leo "The Lip" Durocher The 1965 season closed with the Cubs mired in 8th place in the National League, with a 72-90 record, 25 games behind the N. L. pennant-winning Dodgers. 1965 was the fifth year for the College of Coaches, and the experiment wasnít working. After the season, Cubs Athletic Director Col. Robert Whitlow (USAF ñ RET.) resigned, and there was some question about who P. K. Wrigley would hire to replace him. Two Ton Baker? Bozo the Clown? The Doublemint Twins? Garfield Goose, perhaps?
Well thanks to everyone who responded to my call for action last week. Not only did you make us the top Cubs blog, but you voted us the top MLB blog out there. I'm not going to put a lot of merit into the award, considering the list of entrants didn't include some of the better MLB blogs out there, the most glaring admission being Athletics Nation. But a win is a win and apparently this victory earned us a year subscription to baseball prospectus.com so we can fill your heads with an array of abbreviations that Einstein would have trouble comprehending. Thanks for the support and congratulations to you guys as well. The victory says as much about our readers as it does us writers. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the comments section and those who contribute, is as much a part of TCR's success (if not more) then the daily ravings of a few crazed Cubs fans scattered around the globe. Congrats once again and looking forward to another fun year in 2006!!! And feel free to use this as open thread to discuss whatever is on your mind regarding our boys in blue.

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