Ricketts Gets the Keys, Spring Training Update and Other Notes

- The Ricketts family are the new official owners of the Chicago Cubs and will have a press conference on Friday. Maybe they'll bring a new GM with them.

 "My family and I are thrilled that this day has finally come and
we thank Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball owners for
approving our ownership," said Tom Ricketts. "Now we will go to work
building the championship tradition that all Cubs fans so richly
deserve.  

- It's hard to tell how much is Chris DeLuca taking educated guesses or basing his column off some sources, but he seems to expect much of the same for the next two years with Ricketts in charge. Certainly don't expect a big jump in payroll (he throws out $143M) and Hendry isn't getting a blank check to rid himself of the Bradley mess.

- Speaking of the sale, Paul Sullivan is as bitter as ever.

 Tribune era is
officially over as Ricketts familly takes control of the Cubs. First
order of business: Get rid of Milton Bradley.

- Bruce Miles offers up some free advice for the new boss.

- While Florida keeps moving forward on their bid to try and lure the Cubs spring training home to Naples, Wittenmyer spells out why Arizona will likely keep the Cubs.

But working against any Florida bid is the lengthy spring travel in
that state -- especially in a location nearly three hours from the
Tampa area -- and a decadelong exodus of teams from Florida that will
put 15 of 30 big-league teams in Arizona next spring for the first time.

And considering the Cubs are the jewel of the Cactus League, the
state's biggest spring-training revenue producer, filling stadiums
across the Phoenix valley and owning almost every league attendance
record, Arizona is especially motivated even in a tough economy to
invest in the team's future there.

- Kerry Wood confirms the racist letters sent to some Cubs players. Stop making that shit up Milton.

- The Daily Beast says 5 of the top 10 richest baseball players including endorsement deals and so forth are Yankees. Competitive balance at its finest.

- Via Baseball Musings, some fun caricatures of the Yankees

- Kevin "Tampering" Towers, who I must remind everyone is not the Padres GM anymore, has let it be known that it's just a matter of when the Padres will trade Adrian Gonzalez. 

- After missing out on Manny Acta, the Astros have settled on Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills as their new manager. 

- I generally scoff at these "this is how to fix the Cubs" articles, because ultimately the writer falls into the trap that there are no limitations and every player in the league is available and they're all dying to play for the Cubs. And while I don't think John Lackey is headed to the Cubs, Hendry's favorite contract toy - the backloaded deal - could possibly net the Cubs one decent free agent this offseason.

- Kevin Goldstein's recent take on Jeff Samardzija:

It's almost remarkable that the Cubs still think Samardzija can be an
effective starter in the big leagues. He's made no secret that he wants
to return to the rotation, but two late-season starts in the majors
were disasters, and now he's merely holding his own in Mexico, allowing
10 runs and 28 baserunners in 18 innings for the Aguilas. Turning 25 in
January, with each passing year, it seems that Samardzija will never
graduate from thrower to pitcher, and for most, his ceiling ends at
middle reliever.

I'm not really gonna argue against Samardzija detractors right now, but that's a leap on the definition of a disaster start. (5 IP, 3 ER versus the Brewers in his last appearance of 2009).

- Baseball Intellect takes a look at J.J. Hardy's swing and if he can bounce back in 2010. I still don't see any reasonable scenario that involves the Brewers willing to trade Hardy to the Cubs and the Cubs looking for a shortstop.

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Comments

Paul Sulivan either needs to drink more or quit storing his booze shoved up his ass.

Congrats, guys.

You made MLBTradeRumors today for your off-season trade targets analysis.

that was nice of him, I actually hit him up for the link or at least made him aware of it along with all the payroll and awesome info that Arizona Phil provides.

I generally don't do a lot of self-promoting of the site, but every once in awhile.

if Phil's estimates are correct ($135M+ if they bring back everybody), that would leave room for a mid-range free agent. If they can save some money on Bradley and arbitration guys, that could lean to the high end side.

Or they could save the money to take on a few nice players at midseason a la St. Louis 2009. Even without Bradley, one can construct a respectable 25-man roster from our "under control" guys plus maybe Grabow and/or Skinny Dick.

Just sayin

yeah, for all the bitching about the team and flailing of arms the team still has 3-4 very legit starters and 3 very sold power hitters supported by fuku/theriot...and it's going to be hard for soto to do worse than last season.

the cubs don't have much to spend, but it's not like they have an overbearing need for anything. heck, even the pen had some decent arm action going on late. it'd be nice to have something more sure-thing in the pen, though.

it's a good place to start even if it ends up the team only has 10m or so to blow on bringing talent in...plus there's always the excess young talent they could trade.

should be an interesting offseason...even more interesting once cubs fans find out what milton is going to bring...a new teammate or a money dump.

The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Soto, Hill
Lee, ARam, Riot, Baker, Blanco, Miles
Sori, Fuku, RJ, Hoff, Colvin/Fuld

Z, Lilly, Demp, Wells, Gorz
Marmol, Guzman, Marshall, Caridad, Ninja, two of Heilman/Stevens/Gaub/Berg/Atkins

Possibly Grabow in the mix.

Leaving Bradley and Fox as trade chips.

Then assess what the team needs after 75 games and trade for it.

that is a terrible bench...

and please no Heilman or Miles.

Then assess what the team needs after 75 games and trade for it.

they're gonna need a 2b and either a CFer or RFer just like they need now...

 

I left Fontenot off the list.

You never know. If Castro's ready in June and the Cubs signed a 2B, then you have a glut.

My bet would be there's enough offense there as long as Sori bounces back and that the pen is the question mark.

well Castro is a rant for another day, but there's a kid that need not be rushed...

it's exciting to see a 20-year old holding his own in Hi-A and Double A but it's still a .730 OPS in the minors with a cajillion errors. Let the kid find a bit of power and find some consistency on defense. I mean if some injuries hit and he's still hitting next year, great...you should give him a shot, but by no means they should be making any room for Castro right now or even entertaining the idea that he'd be part of the Cubs in 2010.

I'd rather see Jeff Baker play and well I don't like Jeff Baker much.

 

I think it's OK to count on Castro as a September callup in 2010, and alright to count on Barney as a 26th man from Spring training.

sept callup, maybe...although I'd probably just save the service time if I was the Cubs.

if Castro's kicking-ass in Double A or Triple A and enough injuries or ineffectiveness hits, that he's gonna get playing time, I'm all for the callup, but right now it's age, upside and tools with Castro, not much actual performance.

and no, I don't care about the AFL too much...

Since when does one "count on" a September call up? I mean, a prospect might count on being called up in September, but no GM is out there counting on a player not worth activating until rosters expand. It's the same as counting him out for 2010. Which I'm for.

sigh.

Sorry. My ability to read all of what is written got overwhelmed by my twitchy blogging finger/tendency for jackassitude. It would have helped if I'd noticed that you wrote "26th man in spring training" and not just "25th man" as I read it. It was integral to understanding your meaning.

All this talk about Castro being ready to play in the majors this coming season is nonsense. He's 19. He's a kid. Even if he gets to Iowa and tears things up, expecting him to come to the majors and contribute much at 19 or 20 is crazy.

Rob G. wrote: they're gonna need a 2b and either a CFer or RFer just like they need now...

They got four second basemen and Fontenot makes five. Hendry always makes sure we have plenty of second basemen. Do you want one who should start? Oh, that's different.

It would be nice to get more than 94 rbi's out of RF/CF starters combined. And only 149 rbi if Soriano is included. So I wouldn't say they are without need. They need to get at least 1 starting OF who can drive in runs, and then fire Hendry for sticking us with Fuku/Bradley/Sori's contracts.

Why overspend to fill holes in July ? Pick some low hanging, high upside fruit now.

Cubs fans aren't racist, they booed Todd Hundley 9 years ago. Please get that through your thick skulls.

yeah, it's just the FBI doesn't usually investigate people getting boo'd.

Here we go again...Just because a single Cubs fan or a handful of Cubs fans are ignorant enough to send racist letters, that does not translate into "Cubs fans are racists." Are there some Cubs fans who are racist? Yes, I think there are. Are there some Seattle Mariner fans that are racist? Same answer. You can make the same claim of any team.

For better or for worse, hardcore Cubs fans tend to be more hardcore and passionate than most baseball fans. Plus, there seem to be more Cubs fans than fans for most other teams, so there are more idiots among Cubs fans than there are for other teams.

That was a long-winded way of saying that, while some Cubs fans are racists, it is wildly incorrect to say that Cubs fans are racist.

that's the thing...no one's calling "cubs fans are racist" except those trying to defend "cubs fans are racist." cubs players get racist hate mail. that's all that's been said.

it may have to do with the cubs having nation-wide reach with their fanbase, but the cubs black players seem to get a lot of this stuff while saying they didn't have to put up with that volume of stuff on other teams. it is what it is.

i know minor league players who have gotten racist hate mail (not getting into that). it's weird stuff. hate is one thing, but to feel the need to express it in writing, even if anonymous, is just weird.

it exists, though.

yeah, arbitrarily labeling an entire fanbase based on the actions of a few is of course moronic. Of course, this happens all the time with Cardinal fans or Red Sox fans and so forth down the line.

my only contention with this whole racist thing is when jackasses say shit like well that's just part of the game and he should ignore it.

that deserves a hardy F U.

If Jacque, Dusty, Bradley or whomever feels like speaking up about, they have every right to, and if they feel there are more racist taunts in Chicago than in other places, they have every right to say that as well and they shouldn't be condemned or told, "well if you just played better"...b.s. that I've read on here and other places.

hell, it's not just them...

wrigley and fenway have some pretty rotten reputations for their treatment of black players with racist heckling. it's more than just something noticed around chicago players because the away team tends to get it much worse...they just don't get the hate mail.

baylor refuses to talk about it only to say you just got to accept it's there...dusty got so freaked out by all of it his family quit coming to the park (which also happened with j.jones mom, too)...speaking of j.jones, he got his cell phone # leaked while in chicago and got lots of interesting hate and racist-hate calls, he didn't specify how much was hate and how much was racist-hate, though.

and of course there's more specific incidents involving those guys, hawkins, etc...

it's a suck part of how the park's fans are perceived by some in the game like it or not. they know it's not everyone and they know it's a minority of voices, but it's not something some of them have to put up with elsewhere in such high volume.

found the sun-times gordo witty article with a chunk of points above + a few other blurbs from others...and some m.bradley stuff that will make some of you laugh and some of you rage.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/15271...

I guess we can scratch Mike Cameron's name off of the list of potential free agent CF candidates, as if his likely salary demands hadn't done that already.

Jacque Jones mom inserted her own foot into her mouth on why she stopped coming to the park.

When Jones missed a ball in the sun some fans around her were making fun of the fact. She got so mad that she pulled out the ultimate insult, that her baby boy would make more money than all you in your lifetime. Nothing endeers you more with fans than an uppity rich bitch telling us lowly fans how awesome you are by how much money a person makes.

And when Jones defended his mom, the party was over with the fans....

Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune says Jones lost a ball in the sun in the top of the seventh, ruining Carlos Zambrano's no-hit bid. In the bottom of the inning, Jones was called out on strikes and a fan allegedly yelled, “The sun must have gotten in your eyes.”

According to witnesses, the fan was berated by a finger-wagging woman wearing a replica of Jones' No. 11 jersey. It was Jones' mother, sitting two rows away.
“She took care of it,” Jones, a San Diego High alum, told the Tribune. “She took care of it how every parent should. You shouldn't have to listen to that when you come to games.”

so from that incident of course, the fans were perfectly justified to follow up with calling his cellphone, his Mom and leavng racist letters and messages?

clearly she and jones were just asking for it?

I am addressing why she stopped coming to the park. It had nothing to do with racism, it had to due with a lack of class by Jones mom.

keep thinking that.

"Nothing endeers you more with fans than an uppity rich bitch telling us lowly fans how awesome you are by how much money a person makes."

Funny how the term "uppity" gets used here when referring to an African-American woman.

And they cheered for dozens of non-white Cubs players. Just to name a few...Sosa, DLee, Aram, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Lee Smith, Andre Dawson, etc., etc.

Bottom line, produce and you are loved. Suck and you are boo'ed. Regardless of color.

Now jackasses sending in racist threats is a different sort. Those people are just dumb fucks who should be euthanized.

I didn't like Jacque Jones or Latroy Hawkins, but I certainly didn't hate them or want them to get hurt. I even felt bad for Jacque when the trade to the Marlins went kaput and was leaked to the press.

pretty f'n neat.

not a big fan of a proposal to use it in the way pointed out, though.

Just a conjecture, but maybe fans USE the racest thing to make their point more meaningful. Has Soriano gotten a ton of hate mail? He's black too, you know. Maybe he just throws it away, puts on his million dollar smile and say, "speak no Eingleesh." It's just his personality.

MB was hated before he got here, and the way Lou handled him did not help. If MB lands on the Cards or Angels with a manager who isn't sleeping, he just might do a Cedric Benson on us and it'll be 102 years.

It's a sad day when Cub fans, who had Williams and Banks, have to be shown how act colorblind by Yankee fans, and Joe Girardi can show Larry Rothschild how to handle pitchers. Payroll-to payroll just switch managers and Lou will mess the Yanks up. How Bradley got the blame is beyond me. Oh, excuse me, it was because he didn't have Jamarillo this year....

Here's to next year! Give the Phils the trophy and let's get on with it..

Just a conjecture, but maybe fans USE the racest thing to make their
point more meaningful. Has Soriano gotten a ton of hate mail? He's
black too, you know. Maybe he just throws it away, puts on his million
dollar smile and say, "speak no Eingleesh." It's just his personality.

I'm sure there's some brilliant sarcasm here that I'm missing, but you gotta be fucking kidding me?

Just a conjecture, but maybe the behavior of these "fans" keep players from wanting to play in Wrigley Field...such as good guy and level headed Torii Hunter who put the Cubs on his no-trade list because of such things...for instance.

Or because he didn't want to crash into a brick wall when he made his "highlight" catches.

The Cubs are stuck with two highly paid outfielders who are losers and another who is merely disappointing.

If you want the fans in the bleachers to be more respectful, either get better outfielders or wrap the bleachers around the infield. I don't think Lee and Ramirez will have much of a problem.

yeah, they suck.

they deserve to be called niggers until they get it right at the plate. i 100% agree with you. you draft that up and i'll sign it. f'n hate underachieving niggers. don't you?

anyone else got a problem with these niggers?

...does that drive the point home a little more?

...btw, don't go thinking DLee hasn't seen his share of wrigley racism, especially early in his cubs career.

Dude, please. I know you are trying to do Malcom X, but it kind of comes off like Michael Richards.

yeah, when it's spelled out literally it's a bit more blunt.

mmmm blunts.

No good shall come of any of this...

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