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
- 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.
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.
- 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
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.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.