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- Roberto Novoa was optioned to AAA Iowa. The roster is down to 27, one of which is Wade Miller, so it's really 26. It appears the final spot on the team is down to John Koronka versus Michael Wuertz, with Wuertz most likely flying east with the team. Ryan Theriot will likely make the team as well unless the team picks up a late spring training casualty. Dusty's thoughts on the makeup of a 25-man roster:
"We're looking for the best 25 we can break with, the most options, the most variables, the most interchangeable parts, and the best ability so we don't have many holes. We want to try to cover as many parts as we can with the personnel."
Versatility over quality, let's hope the strategy pays off. Which of course it hasn't over the last 2 years. - Sean Marshall has been told (subscription required) he will be the fourth starter and likely pitch the Saturday game versus the Cardinals. Way to ease the kid in.... UPDATE: Daily Herald writer Bruce Miles tips us over at Northside Baseball that Marshall will pitch the Sunday night ESPN game versus the Cardinals instead. Feet meet fire!!! Thanks to Gaius Marius for the heads up... - Starting tomorrow, we'll begin postiing our season previews. First up are the TCR writers, Saturday will be other fine Cubs bloggers and then Sunday the readers get their voice heard. All in time for Monday's season opener against Cincy.
The Cubs optioned RHP Roberto Novoa to AAA Iowa today, cutting their Spring Training roster to 27 (26 if you don't include non-roster invitee Wade Miller, who must be added to the 40-man roster by Opening Day, although he will then immediately be placed on the DL while he continues rehabbing from last season's shoulder surgery).
Well Cubs camp stands at 29 right now with the demotion of Mike Restovich and then we get the surprise of camp that Sean Marshall may possibly overtake Jerome Williams for the fourth spot in the rotation, while Williams slides into the long relief role out of the bullpen and POSSIBLY get the 5th starter spot for that April 15th game. A bit of a shocker I'd say. Fantastic spring and all by Marshall and he's always been one of my favorite Cubs prospects over the last 2 years, but the likelihood of Marshall tearing up the big leagues after only 10 AA starts in his career is somewhere between "not bloody likely" and "what the hell are you thinking?" Trust me, I'd like nothing more then for him to dominate major leaguers from the get-go, but the guy has yet to survive a minor league season without a trip to the disabled list and now we're going to throw him out to the dogs and see if he can survive the strain of the majors? It would be nice if this organization actually had a plan to develop young talent. Oh wait, they do, it's called, "Whoever's Hot, Call them Up!" Marshall's control, poise and knowledge of the game are all very good, but the leap from Hi-A to the majors is a doozy, let's hope he can handle the jump without falling flat on his face. - Thanks for saving us from ourselves, Mr. Grissom. Does Angel Pagan owe him some Chewbacca-like life debt now? Or is it more of a "Saving Private Ryan" moment as in "Earn this....earn it!" - The Cubs released Russ Rohlicek and he's not too thrilled. Apparently he goes in for a 35 minute jog at 7am where he passes Minor League Director Oneri Fleita and says hi, and by 8:25 am Oneri is telling him that he's gone. That's class.
The Cubs were busy Tuesday, as they traded RHP Todd Wellemeyer to Florida for two minor leaguers, placed RHPs Mark Prior and Kerry Wood on the 15-day DL retroactive to March 27th, optioned RHPs David Aardsma, Angel Guzman, and Jae-Kuk Ryu to AAA Iowa, and returned C Casey Kopitzke to the minor league camp at Fitch Park. Also, veteran OF Marquis Grissom retired. So the Cubs roster currently stands at 30, but it really is more like 29, because once RHP Wade Miller is added to the 40-man roster (and he must be added to the 40-man roster sometime before Opening Day), he will certainly be placed on the 15-day DL. Miller will no doubt take the 40-man roster slot formerly occupied by the departed Todd Wellemeyer. The Cubs will need to make five more cuts before Opening Day (four cuts if you don't include Wade Miller, since he will certainly be placed on the DL). If non-roster OF Michael Restovich is added to the 25-man Opening Day roster, another player will need to be dropped from the 40-man roster, either by moving Wood, Prior, or Miller to the 60-day DL, or by outrighting, releasing, or trading a player. UPDATE #1 3/29 AM: ATTENTION! ... ATTENTION, PLEASE!... The Cubs sent OF Michael Restovich to their minor league camp at Fitch Park Wednesday morning, so the Cubs Spring Training roster now stands at 29 (includes one non-roster player--Wade Miller--who will be added to the 40-man roster prior to Opening Day and then will be immediately placed on the DL). UPDATE #2: 3/29 PM : OK. Here's another one. The Cubs optioned LHP Rich Hill to Iowa today, so their Spring Training roster now stands at 28 (including Wade Miller). Besides adding Wade Miller to the 40-man roster sometime prior to Opening Day and then immediately placing him on the DL, the Cubs will need to cut just two more players, and at least one (possibly both) will be a pitcher.
Please feel free to digest the Todd Wellemeyer trade and Marquis Grissom retirement in the post below, but I had to mention that... - Roberto Novoa has recovered from his bout with "valley fever" and will likely see Cactus League action before the team breaks camp on Thursday. - Dusty Baker has decided on who will get the bulk of the playing time at 2b, but he's not telling. Nana, nana, boo-boo - 6:1 odds that Dusty Baker is the first NL manager fired this year. Any takers? Only Bob Melvin of Arizona is a safer bet among NL managers. - Glendon Rusch goes against the Mariners today in Cactus League action.
So itís October 1968, and the Cubsí season is over. The Cubs finish 3rd in the National League (for the second consecutive season, both times behind the Cardinals and the Giants), and have played over .500 ball for two years in a row, the first time theyíve done that since 1945-46. 1969 looks like it might be The Year of the Cub.
The powers that be here at TCR are unable to attend the Cubs Convention unfortunately. But, I'm guessing a few of you will be fighting the crowds this weekend. So please, drop us your notes in the comment and let us know the buzz filling the event. Who showed up, what's being said, which players have the hottest wives, and if anyone can get a question into Baker or Hendry, please, please ask them why they've soured on Todd Walker and what would possibly possess them into thinking of starting one of the historically worst offensive players of all-time over one of the best offensive 2B in the game today? I demand answers...
Next up, the first of two big-money bullpen acquisitions, Scott Eyre.
Pitcher
6'1", 215 lb
Bats Left, Throws Left
Age 34 (DOB 5/30/72)
BRef card | ESPN card | BPro card
2005 stats (full-season career highs in bold, lows in italics)
86 G, 0 GS, 2 W, 2 L, 0 SV, 68 1/3 IP, 48 H, 21 ER, 3 HR, 26 BB, 65 K, 2.63 ERA
Please send your predicted stats for Eyre (as well as Michael Barrett, Hendry Blanco, and Ryan Dempster) to cubreporter @ gmail.com. Only predictions sent by email will be included in the final prediction.
The group-prediction project is going great! So far I have 45 entries for Barrett and 29 for Dempster. You can still get predictions in for those two, as well as today's candidate, Henry Blanco:
Catcher
5'11", 220 lb
Bats Right, Throws Right
Age 34 (DOB 8/29/71)
BRef card | ESPN card | BPro card
2005 stats (career highs in bold, lows in italics)
54 G, 161 AB, 39 H, 6 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 16 R, 11 BB, 24 K, 0 SB, 242/287/391
Look at that photo! His "action shot" on Cubs.com is one of him running the bases. Pretty funny. Please send your predicted stats for Blanco to cubreporter @ gmail.com. The categories to be predicted can be found at the initial post. Only predictions sent by email will be included in the final prediction. One other thing -- you'll notice that I'm not asking for predictions on any sort of average (batting, slugging, OBP, ERA). I'm figuring all of those automatically from the counting stats that you're sending in.
Our next candidate, and first pitcher, for the group prediction is Ryan Dempster.
Pitcher
6'2", 215 lb
Bats Right, Throws Right
Age 29 (DOB 5/3/77)
BRef card | ESPN card | BPro card
2005 stats (career highs in bold, lows in italics)
63 G, 6 GS, 5 W, 3 L, 33 SV, 92 IP, 83 H, 32 ER, 4 HR, 49 BB, 89 K, 3.13 ERA
Please send your predicted stats for Dempster to cubreporter @ gmail.com. The categories to be predicted can be found at the initial post. Only predictions sent by email will be included in the final prediction. Along with your name, send in your handle from the comments if you post under a specific name. And don't forget, you can still send in your numbers for Michael Barrett as well.

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