Last week, the Cubs outrighted Tony Campana off thier 40-man to make room for Scott Hairston. Today, the Diamondbacks agreed to give up two pitchers for the speedster...RHP Erick Leal and RHP Jesus Castillo. Judging by the quality going out, I wouldn't expect much on the quality coming in, but maybe the Cubs unearth one of those diamonds in the rough.
Rob G.'s Archives
So the Cubs are going to sign Scott Hairston, but since the deal isn't official we don't really have comments from TheJedi on his exact purpose. Chances are though, he'll platoon with DeJesus and Schierholtz and be the thunder off the bench late in games. And if they happen to trade Alfonso Soriano at some point, he might just be the starting left fielder. The 33-year old usually puts up OPS numbers around the mid 700's, most of it playing in pitching friendly parks like Oakland, San Diego and Citi Field, although he did start out his career in Arizona.
The Bears get their new coach in Marc Trestman, his last gig was with the CFL Montreal Alouettes...who knew Moises Alou was so popular in Canada. Trestman has been out of the NFL for 8 years, coaching in the CFL and college, but has plenty of NFL experience.
According to Patrick Mooney of CSN, the Cubs added OF Brett Lillibridge and OF Darnell McDonald on minor league deals today with spring training invites. They also agreed to a $930K contract with Luis Valbuena, thus avoiding arbitration.
Check out the left sidebar for some of the other NRI's to spring training courtesy of Arizona Awesome.
So the Bears won yesterday and finished 10-6 on the year, a 2-game improvement upon 2011. Normally this doesn't get your coach fired, but when the coach has been there for 9 seasons and has only put together back-to-back winning seasons once, normal doesn't apply. So the Bears owners (maybe management) did what I'd say 99% of Bears fans wanted and fired Lovie today.
These few paragraphs from the Trib story sum up his Bears' career best.
Since Smith took over in 2004, the Bears have ranked higher than 23rd in offense only once. They have ranked 28th or lower four times.
Since 2004, the Bears defense ranks first in the league in takeaways, three-and-out drives forced and third-down percentage and is fourth in scoring defense.
Smith's defenders scored 34 touchdowns, which became a signature of the Bears' style of play.
There was some good, some bad and I'm sure after 9 years of a defense first team, many fans will be screaming for an offensive first coach. Sure. But if that happens, you know by mid-season the same fans will be complaining why the defense doesn't get takeaways anymore. Regardless of what the future holds, the Bears finally got rid of the past they held on well past the expiration date. So as the hope of the New Year approaches, the hope for a new Bears dynasty comes with it.
UPDATE: Carrie Muskat tweet says Cubs talking to Edwin Jackson and Villanueva, but no deal done with either. And so we wait...
Some quick hits...
- Frankly, i have no idea what effect this has on anything, but the Cubs are one of three teams to have opted out of the MLB/StubHub agreement that was recently renewed. I imagine tickets for Wrigley will still be available on StubHub, but not in some official capacity. I also imagine the Ricketts didn't like seeing tickets going for $2 on game day on StubHub that still cost $20 or more if you purchased from MLB.com.
- Jason Grilli ended up officially resigning with the Pittsburg Pirates today, although it was rumored last week that would be the case. It was claimed he had a better offer that he turned down to return to Pittsburgh, which may or may not have been the Cubs offer.
The Cubs added another short term contract tonight, signing outfield Nate Schierholtz on a one year deal for $2.25M that includes $500K in incentives. As Arizona Phil pointed out, they actually retain the rights to Schierholtz for two seasons as he's only at a little over 4 years of service time. Along with the signings of Scott Feldman and Scott Baker, the Cubs have added over $14M in payroll for next season, almost what they were paying Carlos Zambrano to not play for them.
Here's the deal, I'll post updates at the top as I have time, since most are Twitter stories, just look at the Twitter box for the link if you must.
3:08 PM CST: Nick Cafardo says Red Sox offered 3/38 for Victorino, don't see the Cubs getting near that.
Dale Sveum had a press conference, said Matt Garza ready to start pitching by end of month and was impressed by Javier Baez's bat speed using the Gary Sheffield comp that's been thrown out a lot.
1:18 PM CST: Muskat scares the Cubs' world by tweeting that Cubs are looking at Yunielsky Betancourt for third base.
12:00 PM CST: Jerry Crasnick says Cubs checking in on Shane Victorino, Red Sox and Yankees as well. Indians seem to have the most interest though at the moment. Says Reds and Braves not so much with the interest and calls Phillies interest "tepid". Shane looking for a 3 to 4 year deal after seeing Upton and Pagan sign.
...and away we go.
- The big rumor this morning came from Jayson Stark where he mentioned the Cubs among one of four suitors for the recently traded Yunel Escobar (Rays, A's and Yankees were the other teams mentioned). I imagine the Cubs see him as a possible option at third base. Regardless of his past and potential future performance, he's the jack-ass that advertised homophobic slurs on his eye black, so hoping the Cubs just pass on this one.
'Twas the night before the Winter Meetings, when all through the hotel
Not a creature was stirring, not even Rosenthal.
The writers hung out by the bar with care
In hopes that a GM would soon be there.
Anyway, the Rumor Mill goes full tilt tomorrow as the Winter Meetings begin in Nashville. According to Kapman, the Cubs are searching for a starting pitcher and a right fielder. They also want a third baseman, but pickings are slim.
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.