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First off, Darwin Barney is a "finalist" for a Gold Glove at second base...as if they dont' already know the winner. But they've decided to drum up interest by naming the top 3 or 4 at each position and then announcing the winner in a televised event on ESPN2 tomorrow. Holy overkill Batman!

As for the rumor, it's that the Angels are trying to ditch Dan Haren and Ervin Santana before picking up their options this week. Haren is owed $15.5M and Santana $13M. The Cubs aren't going to be giving too much in prospects for either, but they certainly could take on the salary. It's not much of a committment in my opinion and I'd certainly take flyers on either guy in hopes they could rebound in a walk year and a switch to the National League (or in Haren's case a switch back to the NL). And they'd certainly be worth something in a deadline trade if 2013 isn't working out.  Either one makes all kinds of sense for the Cubs in my opinion, as long as the Angels asking price is reasonable considering the salaries in question. For those not paying too close attention, Haren will be in his age 32 season after a 12-13, 4.33 ERA over 176.2 IP last year and Santana will be 30 after a 9-13, 5.16 ERA in 178 IP.  Haren sports a 116 ERA+ though for his career, while Santana rests at a meager 97 ERA+ with quite a few peaks and valleys to get that number.

The Cubs were obviously going to non-tender Chris Volstad, so they wisely outrighted him to give them some 40-man flexibility. He still may have resigned with the team, but at a much lower price, but it's pretty clear the Cubs were rather bearish on Volstad after the disastrous 2012 season. The Royals, for whatever reason, decided to clog up their 40-man by picking Volstad off waivers. While it does give them first rights to negotiate with him until the non-tender deadline, I can't possibly imagine why the rush. In about a month, he would have been very likely available and if not, there's gonna be a dozen or so other prospects that never fulfilled their potential floating around the free market. But you don't have 9 straight below .500 seasons (and 18 of 19) by doing things the smart way.

In other Cubs minutiae, Jason Berken, Adrian Cardens, Miguel Socolovich and Marcos Mateo all cleared waivers and were outrighted to Triple A. And Phil Rogers tweets some stuff about Manny Corpas becoming a free agent and Justin Germano, Blake Parker and Joe Mather being removed from the roster and being sent to Triple A as well. Rogers claims the Cubs have cleared 9 spaces (the 10 above names minus 1 for adding Carlos Gutierrez) from the 40-man roster. A Bruce Miles tweet quoting the Cubs says the 40-man stands at 33 at the moment.

Today the Cubs claimed former Twins first round pick (27th pick in 2008 draft) Carlos Gutierrez off waivers after he was outrighted.The 6-3" righty will be 26 next year and was in the midst of his third year at Triple A Rochester. Then his shoulder gave out, which led to arthriscopic surgery for a cleanup by Dr. Yocum in June. Claims are he will be ready for spring training and I'm sure our own Dr. Hecht can elaborate on the surgery details.

Aaron Gleeman had him as the Twins #25 prospect heading into the season.

From the moment they took him 27th overall in the 2008 draft the Twins have talked up Carlos Gutierrez as a future late-inning reliever, touting his "power sinker" and closing experience at the University of Miami. Unfortunately there hasn't been much about his actual performance to match those high hopes, as his impressive ground-ball rate comes attached to terrible control...

He did boost a nifty 60% groundball rate though.

As for the 40-mam carousel, it was catcher Anthony Recker's turn to get off and he was DFA'd to make room for Gutierrez.

The Cubs made it official and removed the interim tag from hitting coach James Rowson, who took over for one of the last remaining Hendry scapegoats, Rudy Jamarillo. A bit surprising to me that they didn't end up hiring Dave Magadan, the Red Sox hitting coach during some of the Theo years, but Magadan must have decided that watching Texas Rangers baseball over the Cubs was a more bearable proposition. Not that the numbers matter at all from last season, but here's a bit of out-of-context theater to make you feel better if you're not a fan of the Theo regime so far:

When the Cubs fired Jaramillo they were hitting .247 with a .689 OPS while averaging 3.7 runs per game. After replacing him with Rowson they hit .235 with a .674 OPS while averaging 3.8 runs per game.

 The Cubs also found a new third base coach, as Reds Triple A manager David Bell will take over those duties (not a very good manager by record at least). David is of course a member of the Ohioan Bell's (Buddy, Mike, Gus and David). Anyway, hopefully David has an Ipod and some good playlists as it can be lonely in the third base box with this Cubs offense.

And Randy Bush received a three year extension on his contract to round out today's really boring Cubs news.

The Twitterverse says the Cubs have finalized plans with Kane County to move their Class A player development contract a little closer to home. With guys like Almora, Vogelbach, Amaya, Candelario, Dunston Jr. and so on possibly playing there next season, there should be some good crowds. The dirty, rotten Cardinals have already taken up the void left by the Cubs in Peoria. I haven't seen where the Royals affiliate (formely Kane County) will end up at yet. Player development contracts in Boise and Daytona were also set to expire, but the Cubs say they've renewed the contracts with those two minor league franchises. The contracts with Boise, Kane County and Daytona run through 2014.

Cubs get another shot tonight at delaying the Reds from clinching the NL Central (magic number is 4). They'll go DeJesus 9, Barney 4, Rizzo 3, Soriano 7, Castro 6, Valbuena 5, Castillo 2, Jackson 8, Rusin 1.

If you haven't been paying attention to the #2 Draft Spot Derby (lower left sidebar), the Cubs have a half game "lead" over the Rockies and 3 games over the Twins and Indians. Rockies are in the midst of a series at San Francisco at the moment. In the race to avoid 100 losses, Cubs need to go 5-11 (or better) the rest of the way.

 

First off, I got a new MacBook Air this weekend. I'm hoping this helps with keeping the blog up-to-date better as my old laptop was on its last legs and seriously annoying me so much that I didn't even want to surf the net much.

As for the site, Disqus has been a bit of a disappointment. Not quite what I thought was advertised. While there are features I like, my biggest disappointments so far are:

  • lack of new comment notifications when re-visiting site
  • lack of real-time updating
  • odd thread structure when putting in new comments

I think the "Latest Comments" sidebar helps with the lack of new comment notifications. I just go there and see what I missed, but it doesn't seem to update too quickly and I feel like I'm missing comments. Granted, things are slow right now and interest is at pathetically low levels this time of year, but when the news starts coming again in the offseason, I think it will get even more annoying.


So, I'm going to try upgrading to what they call Disqus 2012. We'll see if it's any better. This requires nothing on any of your parts, but by tomorrow morning, the comments will look a little different. We'll see how we like that after a few weeks. If I/we are still unhappy with the comments, I'll see about getting the native Drupal comment system working again.

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It's the most exciting thing to happen in Cubdom all month...the 2013 schedule release!!! They actually have the entire thing up at cubs.com already, but here are some of the highlights.

The season begins at Pittsburgh on Monday, April 1st followed by a trip to Atlanta. The home schedule begins the following Monday, April 8th versus the Brewers. We'll get an immediate feel for the new interleague schedule with a 3-game series versus the Rangers during that same homestand (April 16-18). The customary city rivalry versus the White Sox has been reduced to 4 games and will be back-to-back 2-game series at each home park (May 27-May 30) starting at Comiskey. Then in a horrific bit of traveling, the Cubs head to Anaheim against the Angels for a 2-game set on June 3rd and 4th. They have an off day before and after, but it's sandwiched between two homestands and that "away" series at Comiskey.

They're next interleague match-up will be versus the Astros at Wrigley from June 21-June 23. That's sandwiched between 2 road trips of 7 and 10 games culminating at Oakland to start off July. Then they come home for a 9-game homestand versus the Pirates, Angels and Cardinals before the All-Star break. The 2nd half starts with a 10-game roadtrip to Colorado, Arizona and San Francisco. Their Southern California trip through San Diego and then Los Angeles will be from August 23-August 28th. By September, they could be playing the role of spoiler with a 11-game roadtrip versus Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. They end the season at St. Louis on Septemeber 29th.

As for 2012, Anthony Rizzo is out after a nasty collision with Brett Wallace yesterday and Brett Jackson misses his 5th straight game. That means folks will witness this: Mather CF, Barney 2B, Castro SS, Soriano LF, Castillo C, Vitters 3B, Sappelt RF, Recker 1B, Wood P

MILB.com gets the gold star for getting their homework done first and has put out a Top 20 Cubs prospect list based off the end of the 2012 season. It's actually a fairly in-depth look at the system so I encourage folks to check it out. But as for the names, check after the jump...

I waded through about 5 minutes of clips from "The Benchwarmers" trying to find something funny for this post. 5 minutes I'll never recover...

Anyway, the Cubs are taking advantage of the roster expansion with a few call-ups. The lucky bastards so far include:

(Drumroll)

  • Dave Sappelt, OF
  • Crazy Legs Campana, OF
  • Adrian Cardenas, INF
  • Miguel Socolovich, RHP
  • Jaye Chapman, RHP
  • Rafael Dolis, RHP
  • Anthony Recker, C
  • Chris Rusin, LHP

Rusin is actually taking Brooks Raley spot in the rotation as Raley hit some innings limit on the season and has been shutdown.

In the minors, the Arizona League Cubs lost to the A's team in the one-and-done semifinal playoffs last Thursday (15-3). Boise is the only other affiliate in the playoffs and lost Game 1 to Yakima (Diamondbacks affiliate) last night 5-4 (despite an early 4-1 lead on a Rock Shoulders grand slam). 1st round supplemental pick from this year's draft, Pierce Johnson pitched 3 innings, giving up an unearned run in the losing effort. They play again tonight in a must-win game for Boise.

Cubs vs. Nats tonight; Rusin vs. E. Jackson; Cubs lineup - DeJesus, Valbuena, Rizzo, Soriano, Castro, Castillo, Jackson, Barney.

I've added the Draft pick standings to the left sidebar...might as well do some scoreboard watching.

By my rough count - and I suppose Christian would be a better authority on it - this is the 7th major incarnation of the site. If I recall, there was its inception, then its days on all-baseball.com, then the buyout by mvp.com which is about the time I joined, then the move to a whole new mvp.com website, then the move to our own site so we could use profanities, I'm then going to count the last year when the old site design failed and I've been running the default theme for far too long and now this.

(Fancy hand gestures, lights go out, puff of smoke...lights go back on)

Voila!!!!

I can't apologize enough for how long this took, I pretty much had it ready in April and did something terribly stupid and had to start from scratch. Life and work tend to get in the way too much for me to devote the time I once did, but luckily a kind reader helped me this time around and we were able to get it going after Thursday's crash. I still have some tweaks to make and I'll share those in a bit. I've checked the site on Firefox, Safari and Chrome and seems to be all working. I don't have Internet Explorer and you shouldn't either, but if you do, let me know if you have any problems and then I'll suggest to you to try a better browser.

Enough of the boring stuff...here's a quick rundown of the new stuff and other supremely important things.

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