It's Cubs Picnic Day at HoHoKam

With most all of the Cubs front office personnel, Scouting Department, and Player Development staff watching from the picnic area high above the third-base dugout, Michael Brenly singled twice and scored once, Starlin Castro singled twice (increasing his AFL-leading batting average to .433) and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and four Cubs pitchers combined to throw seven innings of one-run ball, as the Mesa Solar Sox dropped the Peoria Javelinas 8-1 in Arizona Fall League action at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon.

box score

The Cubs brain-trust had a bar-b-que at HoHoKam Park today because this week is the annual Cubs "Organizational Meetings" in Mesa (sort of a "Cubs Convention" for club employees). This is the one time every year when all the scouts and coaches and managers and execs all get together in the same place at the same time, drink a lot, and decide that the lineup is "too right-handed." (If you don't think these get-togethers are dangerous, remember it was probably at the Cubs organizational meeting this time last year that the Cubs decided to not offer Kerry Wood arbitration, to trade Mark DeRosa and Michael Wuertz, and to go hard after Kevin Gregg, Milton Bradley, Aaron Heilman, and Aaron Miles),    

RHP Andrew Cashner was supposed to have started last Tuesday in Peoria, but his start was pushed back to today, apparently to allow the Cubs brass to get a first-hand look at their prized phenom. That's also probably the reason six of the seven Cubs players assigned to the Solar Sox saw action in today's game. (Only Josh Vitters had the day off).  

Cashner worked four shutout innings again this afternoon, on the heels of his last start a week ago yesterday when he tossed four innings of no-run, no-hit ball at the Scottsdale Scorpions. He scattered five harmless singles and hit a batter today, but he didn't walk anybody, and he struck out four (4/4 GO/FO, 49 pitches - 35 strikes).

LHP James Russell followed Cashner to the mound and had a 1-2-3 5th inning, interrupted only by an E-3 on a two-out grounder, but he then retired the side without further incident (2/1 GO/FO, 16 pitches - 10 strikes). He mixed his fastball & change-up very well today..

Hard-throwin' LHP John Gaub worked the 6th, (16 pitches - 11 strikes) and struck out the only lefty batter he faced (the Dodgers' Andrew Lambo) on three pitches, Otherwise, he pitched a shutout inning (two pop-ups in addition to the strikeout and the single).

RHP Blake Parker drew the 7th, and got into immediate difficulty when Mesa CF P. J. Phillips (Angels) lost a pop fly in the sun, allowing Peoria's Jessie Mier (Dodgers) to reach base on a gift double. Parker would later surrender an RBI single to Lorenzo Cain (Brewers),before getting the third out (he threw 18 pitches - 11 strikes), but he should have escaped the inning with no run scoring. NOTE: Phillips probably should be cut some slack as far as losing the pop fly in the sun, because at other points during the game he hit a solo HR, just missed two others (settling for doubles both times), and made a spectacular diving catch in left-center.   

On offense, Starlin Castro was the Solar Sox shortstop and hit 2nd, and Michael Brenly (with dad Bob in attendance, sitting just a few feet away from me) got the start at catcher and hit 9th.

Castro grounded a single between the shortstop and third-baseman with a runner on 1st base and no outs in his first AB in the bottom of the 1st inning, but was erased on a DP.

Michael Brenly singled sharply through the box into CF with a runner at 1st base and one out in the bottom of the 2nd, and advanced to 3rd on a throwing error by Peoria CF Lorenzo Cain, before scoring on a one-out F-8 SF hit to medium-deep CF by Castro.

Brenly would later single again, as would Castro,.with Brenly's second hit a line-drive ripped to CF, and Castro's an infield grounder backhanded by Javelina SS Carlos Triunfel (Mariners) deep in the hole with no play at 1st.   

Brenly also flied out to deep CF in the 4th (deep enough to allow the runner at 2nd base to advance to 3rd), and grounded out to the third-baseman in the 8th (Peoria 3B Brent Morel making a nice back-handed stop, throwing out Brenly out on a "bang-bang" play at 1st), while Castro popped-out to CF in the 4th and struck out swinging in the 8th. 

Castro, Vitters, Parker, and Cashner were named to the AFL "Rising Stars Game" roster earlier this week (the game will be televised "live" on the MLB network Saturday night), but I believe Cashner will be unavailable to pitch in the game since he threw four innings today. If he had pitched last Tuesday in Peoria instead of today in Mesa, he could have thrown in the Rising Stars game on Saturday.

 

 

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Comments

Baseball America has some very favorable comments on Castro today. "The sky is the limit" and "ceiling more like that of Derek Jeter rather than Hanley Ramirez" and that Cub brass projects him to be 6-3 195-200 when mature.

that's cute, and I know Castro's the flavor of the month and I do hope he's fulfills all this promise, but Jeter showed a lot better control of the strike zone than Castro did at age 19 and the rest of his minor league career...

obviously they're planning on Castro grow into his power, so I won't go there yet, but let's just take a moment and let the kid show he belongs...by actually putting up an OPS number north of .800 and not making almost 40 errors over a full season.

after going from Hi-A to AA to AAA at age 20 in '94., Yanks were smart enough to put Jeter through a whole season of Triple A at age 21 in 1995.

I'm more than happy to wait for Castro until 2012 and I'm happy to wait until Vitters until then as well. I think they'll both be 22 by then, they got time.

I note that Jeter had 53 errors at age 19---but also walked 158 times to support your OBP observation. Hope Castro is everything long suffering fans hope for. Also Vitters---who may need time to grow into his power

yeah I know, but he proceeded to get significantly better in that area, although I hope Castro is a lot better defensive shortstop than Jeter is...

and all the reports on Castro is that his defense is good, but let's just make sure he actually shows it on the field for a full season before handing him any starting jobs...or putting him a class with a HOFer.

can't speak for them, but they're probably not referring to his ability to take a walk or how he earns his ob%...they're probably talking about results over method on avg/power projections.

throwing names like jeter/hanley around don't do much of anything but compare how much of their above-average contact turns into power when it comes to the bat. for all the mega-love jeter gets his power numbers for most of his career is in the 30-double/15 HR area.

Age 19 in AA Castro had a 10/12 BB/K to ratio across 122 PA's. At age 20 Jeter had a 15/16 ratio across 143 PA's.

Jeter was too advanced a hitter for the Sally league at age 19, and stuck there because he gave away too many outs in the field. That's pretty much the end of the story. Had Castro played his entire year in Peoria he would likely have torn it up.

once in 159 PA's, Theriot slugged .522...

so far, Castro has a 1.67 K/BB ratio and has never quite approached 158 walks over a full season, and I don't think they were really pitching around Jeter judging by his XBH's.

nonetheless, it's one of those we shall see...I for one would like to see all this talent actually manifest into a full good season at AA or above before I anoint him a HOFer and give him a starting job in 2010.

I was really hoping he could fly under the radar for another year at least. I've gotten very superstitious about hype for prospects, in addition to my more reality-based concerns regarding rushing them, etc.

Don't worry, there's plenty of young shortstop talent in the system, in case Castro stumbles. Examples: Hak-Ju Lee, LeMahieu, Flaherty, Barney, Logan Watkins and Junior Lake. Lee was voted #1 prospect in the Northwest League (Boise). He turned 19 two days ago. Flaherty and Watkins have been pushed over to second base--Flaherty by Lake and LeMahieu, Watkins by Lee--because there are a lot of shortstops and only so many teams.

Lake had a so-so year at Peoria at age 19, but what makes him interesting is that he is already 6-3 and he sometimes shows serious power.

Who did Corey Patterson or Felix Pie have to compete with when they were coming up? Casto is just trying to stay one step ahead of those other guys.

Competition is good, and there's plenty of it these days.

So the fact that Jeter's freakish walks one year were totally out of line with anything he'd done before or after don't come into analysis.

I get it.

completely disregarding that season then, although that doesn't seem wise...

1.22 K/BB ratio

BB/PA%, - 9%, K/PA% - 11%, Castro's at 6 and 11% and a 1.67 ratio...

Give Castro two more years in the minors, repeating a level, and it will probably be very close.

Jeter repeated a level?

He was in LowA twice and AAA twice.

i think that's what anyone not named Real Neal would call continuing a level or an early promotion the season before...

but hey, to each their own....

All these scouts and this writers point to the fact that Castro excelled at higher levels than Jeter did at a younger age, but Rob G clings to simplistic fact that he didn't walk as much as Jeter therefore he can't be a prospect of an equal level.

but hey, to each their own...

Kick his ass, seabass!

Agreed Rob,

I hope the Cubs give Castro as much ML time as possible. No more Corey Patterson treatment for our prized prospects.

Vitters does kind of worry me propect wise. His value might be as high as it ever will be. If you can put him in a blockbuster type of deal. Then I wouldn't be against it.

Guys generally just don't develop plate discipline at the 11th Hour. And the more Vitters plays the more I think he is Shea Hillenbrand 2.0.

Probably useful, but not a franchise cornerstone type of player.

I see your point Doc...but don't teams need useful players too?

absolutely they do.

But if his value is higher now (since some think he will be a star) then we should sell High on the guy.

Even though we never sell high or buy low. I wish we started getting in that habit.

Thanks AZ PHIL!

Did you happen to catch an attendance figure?

Harden - ReJo FILE for FA

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

If this is 3/44, excuse me.

Submitted by The E-Man on Thu, 11/05/2009 - 9:55pm.

Did you happen to catch an attendance figure?

===============================

E-MAN: The announced attendance was 432, but it was a late-arriving crowd, and a lot of the fans went home early. I stayed for the whole game, though.

I wonder how Bob watches a game when he doesn't have Soriano to overreact to?

seems very self-aware...

does look like he'll miss the Rising Stars game though, strained pectoral muscle during batting practice...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

once in 159 PA's, Theriot slugged .522...
---
I think that was last year when Theriot went on his 7 HR binge early in the season. From May 1st thru June 7th (134 PA) he hit 6 of the 7 HR's. His 7th (and last) HR was June 29th. On June 7th his SLG was .451 but if you exclude April (no HR's) he probably got the SLG stat up over .500.

I was talking about 2006...

he did have a .525 SLG in May last year as well in 111 PA's...

my sarcastic comment was just my pretentious way of saying I don't much stock 120-200 PA's as being reflective of a player's true talent level.

Red Sox traded for Hermida today - I'd like to have seen him on the Cubs, although I fear the Cubs would have had to give up two good prospects for him, like the Red Sox did.

discussed in the previous thread, but I assume you're kidding about the 2 good prospects.

I mean I'm sure they don't suck, but lefty relievers that rank in the 40-60 range, don't sound all that exciting.

JJ Hardy to Twins for Carlos Gomez, not sure what that does to Mike Cameron though (he's gone).

http://brewersbeat.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/11/ha...

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/69379917.html

Glad Hendry stayed away from Hermida and Hardy.

He needs to devote all his attention to backup catchers, Lefty hitting utility guys and extending Ted Lilly.

I hate this team

I personally didn't like Hermida as a fit for this ballclub, and I doubted Milwaukee would trade Hardy to a division rival, but it's nonetheless expected that a couple of low-risk/high-reward guys like those would end up with top-class organizations like Boston and Minnesota. Expecting much else is to do so without considering precedent.

Hopefully being family owned will turn the Cubs into that sort of organization.

Still can't believe we couldn't have gotten involved in these trades if we wanted to.

2 C level prospects for Hermida?

a CFer with a .623 OPS who will be arbitration eligible, and was probably a Non-Tender candidate for Hardy?

Gaub,Parker,Colvin/Fuld and Wellington Castillo should have been enough to procure both guys.

Our C level prospects are another organizations D level prospects or worse. We don't exactly have a glowing farm system. And Carlos Gomez is more talented than anything the Cubs can offer and fills a need for Milwaukee. Is Sam Fuld or Tyler Colvin going to do it for Milwaukee, hell no. At least they are taking a shot on a talented player with a pedigree.

How about some insight, why do you believe Milwaukee would trade with us? You make it sound like all it would take is a phone call and the Brewers would be tripping over themselves to help us out at SS.

Milwaukee needed a guy who doesn't get on base, who has little to no power, and strikes out a lot?

Sarcasm aside, Gomez's .246/.292/.346 makes even Willy Taveras look viable. Well...may 59 for 80 in steals is barely passable.

Agreed though...no way they were trading Hardy to a team in the division.

I don't think that Milwaukee would've dealt with us, but your first statement is fairly ridiculous. Our C level prospects are another org's D level? The Cubs system has improved a lot in the past year and is probably more middle of the pack. Last year, we were a bad system and the rankings showed it. There was some potential to look forward to last year, but it was far away. Our system isn't top 10 level right now, but there's a very solid top 7 prospect at the top, a top 7 that would be very competitive with most systems. There's still some solid cup of tea pieces, and there's good positional depth compared to year's past (case could be made that the system is more positionally oriented right now, as after the top 3 arms, things drop off a bit).

Btw, when most people use a letter grade to identify a prospect, it usually isn't relative to something within an organization, and simply a reflection of said player's talent.

_________

As for the two deals,

a) Hardy deal - I think the Brewers bungled that badly. They had a Bowden offer on the table reportedly. Pitching's their main weakness. While the system has a very nice group of arms in the low levels (Scarpetta/Peralta/Odorizzi/Arnett amongst others), there's little at the top. They argued (Melvin I think) that adding Gomez allows them to spend on pitching (rumor is Mulder). I think they would've been better off finding a cheap CF, adding Bowden and perhaps Mulder if they wanted, and building from there.

b) Hermida deal - Overall, I like it for Boston as a good gamble. He should improve his numbers solely from the park move. The monster should be a big help to him, iirc his hit chart correctly. It's a good insurance deal, as they can't be certain on Bay right now. If Bay resigns (as I expect), Hermida gives them a good depth piece at the cost of ... not much. That said, for Florida, I understand the deal. Hermida's arb number hurt his trade value, and his two inconsistent years had to leave people quizzical. Add in the rumors on his work ethic, and I'm not surprised they go so little. Jones could be a decent LOOGY perhaps, although I think he's more Waddell. The low A arm, name is slipping me, has the potential to have two solid to plus secondary pitches to go with an average fastball.

gaub and parker definitely would have gotten it done and probably would have been way too much...i am slightly disappointed in that one.

gomez is basically a cheap wily taveras, incredible defense and speed, no bat...nonetheless, they probably didn't want to deal Hardy to the Cubs.

apparently, I am now plagiarizing from Rob...mea culpa...

I theorized last month that Marshall,Tony Thomas and Jeff Stevens would be enough to get Hardy.

Today shows that would have been plenty. Enough so that Milwaukee probably would have traded him in the division.

Jim Frey is the only guy I know of that purposely took way less talent in a trade rather than trade inter division. And that worked out spectacularly.

Jim Frey is the only guy I know of that purposely took way less talent
in a trade rather than trade inter division. And that worked out
spectacularly.

intriguing theory...name all the inter-division trades in the last 25 years that involved substantial talent (Tom Gordon and Jeff Fassero deals need not apply) and one of the teams wasn't obviously rebuilding at the time...

I theorized last month that Marshall,Tony Thomas and Jeff Stevens would be enough to get Hardy.

probably, seems high, well not Tony Thomas...but maybe Brewers really like Gomez and really wanted a defensive center fielder?

Off of the top of my head:
Ryne Sandberg
Mike Morgan
Leon Durham
Lou Brock
Bill Madlock
Steve Carlton
Ruben Sierra
Rick Wilkens
Scott Servais
Ryan Church
Bruce Sutter

Probably the biggest reason that interdivisional trades have gone down in the last 15 years is intradivisional trade market used to consist of as much as 24% of your potential partners. For an AL West team it's now just 10%.

Unless I missed something, Madlock was never traded within the Division - Rangers to Cubs, Cubs to Giants, Giants to Pirates, Pirates to Dodgers

Rob also said past 25 years.

Durham-Sutter was 1980, Sandberg was 1982, Brock was 1964, Carlton was 1972, the only Morgan trade that would count would be Yankees-Blue Jays and that was 1982.

Sierra-Canseco would definitely count.

As would the Wilkins for Servias+Gonzalez trade, if you count them as substantial talent, which, at least in the case of Wilkins, is a iffy. Church-Milledge is even more of a stretch in that category.

I think that's Rob's point. We still remember these trades from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s because such inter-division trades are so rare.

You did miss something:

"Probably the biggest reason that intradivisional trades have gone down in the last 15 years is intradivisional trade market used to consist of as much as 24% of your potential partners. For an AL West team it's now just 10%."

Then if you throw Rob's other stipulations on it it gets down to about 1 in 20 trades... which if you look around will probably be about how often it happens.

"name all the inter-division trades in the last 25 years that involved substantial talent (Tom Gordon and Jeff Fassero deals need not apply) and one of the teams wasn't obviously rebuilding at the time..."

And your answer consists of people either not actually traded within the division or those traded in the division 30-40 years ago. Whatever...

Is it 2039 already? I'm amazed we haven't cooked ourselves to death with pig farts by now!

yeah I was really thinking the last 15 years and 3-division format to be honest.....

a lot of those guys on your list I'd argue were rebuilding trades (Sandberg, Durham) or not substantial (Servais, Morgan)...

Francouer for Church was probably the most recent trade that would rebuff my theory and one of the very few...

You've also got the rise of free agency and arbitration and the stratification of payrolls that hadn't really shaken out 20 years ago. The number of true 'baseball trades' is so low now that there's no way to make a valid comparison. I'd guess 85% or 90% of trades are motivated now by impending free agency, roster crunches, arbitration hearings and salary dumps. Since many of the small market teams are rarely in salary dump mode and constantly in re-building mode you're really only talking about two or three teams per division who qualify as your candidates for 'qualifying' trades.

With the wild card, it's pretty reasonable to argue that all contending teams are in the same 'division' and you still see the Cubs and Dodgers or Rays and Angels make trades.

or you could say, like half the reports that come out quoting sources and GM's, that they really don't want to trade this guy within the division...

So your theory is that they used to not care, but now they do? Does that make sense to you? The Padres were willing to discuss Peavy to the Dodgers - they said it would cost more, but what's 'more'? If Bucholz was offfered for Halladay that would have gotten the Jays interested, etc, etc.

The Reds were also after Hardy, by the way.

"Could Roy Halladay wind up in a Boston Red Sox uniform? "If we get the right package, we'll make the trade," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters when asked if Halladay could be dealt within the division yesterday. "It would be awfully narrow thinking of me to turn down the best offer because of the fact it came from within our division. "Now, if we had a strictly apples and apples offers for Halladay, one from Boston, one from another team, it would not be Boston. If we made a deal we owe it to our fans to obtain the best deal possible."

Trading Halladay is rebuilding...as were the Padres trading Peavy potentially to the Dodgers.

and it's not a uniform rule, it's a case by case basis and yeah, if you overwhelm a team they may consider but then the other team realizes, wait I'm paying too much and it almost never happens.

The Reds may have been after Hardy, but the Brewers  probably didn't want to trade him to the Reds unless they were overwhelmed and then the Reds probably were thinking, well they want too much.

and yes, it's ultimately a new phenomenen mostly brought on upon free agency, 3-division format and an unbalanced schedule.

 

Well, it turns out the Brewers were offering Hardy to the Pirates, and neither was getting prospects - which was the original point of the discussion.

In conclusion - Are there some GM's who won't trade in their division to 'rivals'? Yes. Can that blanket rule be applied to all GM's in baseball, like you and others have tried to do here? No.

I actually think it's more likely a new phenomenon brought on by increased media pressure. There's no logical justification for it.

Yes you theorized last month about getting Hardy, and I theorized it would never happen. Gee who ended up correct?

It was a fools dream to begin with.

While I think the Hardy deal was a bad one for Milwaukee, I'm not so sure that Marshall/Thomas/Stevens would've convinced them to do a deal. They were looking for a cheap CF it seems. They had a good arm offered in Bowden already, someone that has a better SP projection than Marshall. Marshall/Thomas/Stevens might've been a better offer, but I think Melvin had a one track mind here. (for the record, I think Bowden alone is a better deal than Marshall/Thomas/Stevens, at least, relative to the Brewers needs).

Hermida didn't do anything for me either, although he looked like a classic Jim Hendry guy. I would love Brad Hawpe's bat, I just don't want his defense.

fair deal...

Hardy's was the third best defensive player in baseball over the last 3 years according to UZR

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/highs-and...

I still cannot find an answer anywhere about MLB insurance.

Does anyone know if it pays 100%? If Ted Lilly is hurt do we have another 10 million to spend?

depends on the policy I suppose, my recollection is that insurance companies didn't go past the third year or $10M, but I'm kind of spitballing on those numbers...

If I recall what AZ Phil had said a while back - insurance has gone out of fad. The insurance companies were just asking too high premiums for it to make fiscal sense... sound familiar to anyone?

dated may 31, 2008

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/120793

that most MLB teams "insure their long-term deals, even though premiums
can be as high as 10% of the contract's annual value," according to Jon
Paul Morosi of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Most insurance policies "cover
three-year intervals and are renewable." Policy premiums are "linked to
the comprehensiveness of the coverage," and Idelson said that "most
policies cover between [50-80%] of a player's salary." The NBA and NHL
have "league-wide plans for their clubs," and while MLB does not, most
MLB teams "obtain some form of coverage for their stars." MLB teams are
"only able to collect on a policy" if a player is on the DL. And while
policies "generally require players to remain on the [DL] for 60 or 90
days before the payments begin," the deductible period -- like the
amount of coverage -- "can be adjusted depending on what the club is
willing to pay." But MLB and insurance industry sources indicated that
policies "often exclude areas of the body that have been seriously
injured before.&quot

I like overreacting to someone else's opinion of what may happen a few years in the future as much as the next guy. My favorite part is when three years in the future the same guy who says he will be another Jeter/Pujols/Rodriguez, blasts the organization for over-hyping the guy when he struggles.
I suggest we completely eliminate the Cubs minor league system, saving tens of millions of dollars every year in salaries, facilities, travel, insurance, etc..
Every year you would have that money available for free agents. Now instead of getting the next "Player X" you actually get "Player X". You may lose a draft choice for the FA signing but who cares. You can still draft and sign players and let them play intra-squad games until they are eligible to be sold for more money. If need be, they could play at Wrigley when the Cubs are away saving even more money. TCR could rent an apartment for AZ Phil to keep us updated, not that we'd care.
I'm an idea man Chuck. Don't be surprised to see me at the next organizational meeting. There will just be 10 of us.

Didn't the Giants sort of try this by intentionally losing their first round pick by signing arbitration eligible players many years in a row?

I don't think it worked too well.

Shouldn't they be picnic-ing in Naples?

" that's cute, and I know Castro's the flavor of the month and I do hope he's fulfills all this promise, but Jeter showed a lot better control of the strike zone than Castro did at age 19 and the rest of his minor league career...

" obviously they're planning on Castro grow into his power, so I won't go there yet, but let's just take a moment and let the kid show he belongs...by actually putting up an OPS number north of .800 and not making almost 40 errors over a full season."

As several have already pointed out, At age 19, Jeter made quite a few more errors than 40, and his OPS was well south of 800, this at a much lower level than Castro.

And I am not sure where the 158 walk figure came from According to baseball cube, Jeter had 58 walks, not 158 walks as a 19 year old.

BR.com has 158 walks, looks like a typo by one of them....

"well south" and "much lower level" seems to be some hyperbole though... 770 is still better than Castro if it is indeed 58 walks, and just one level lower for most of the season.

Jeter was up in the 800's the next 2 years, hopefully Castro can get there and take a few more walks.

as for defense, I can only pray Castro is better than Jeter (although Jeter has vastly improved the last year or so claiming he worked out some problem with his hip).

-edit- emailed BR.com to see if they can clarify, 58 would certainly seem more reasonable and I'll happily issue a minor mea culpa for my earlier stance if it turns out to be true

Couldn't really believe that 158 BB when I saw it--just assumed it to be correct.

158 can't be right, that would have given Jeter over 830 PA's in only 128 games, an average of almost 6.5 PA's per game.

I think you added walks to plate appearances, and of course PAs already include walks. Baseball reference lists him with 515 ABs and 158 BBs and 673 PAs - so their math works. The question is really if they should be instead 515, 58, and 573. I've seen both 158 and 58 online, but that's probably because other websites take their data from the main ones.

You're right, I thought I was looking at AB's for some reason. See, those brats improved your math skills!

new catcher or Kendall, Fielder, Weeks, Escobar, McGehee or Gamel, Braun, Gomez, Hart

they definitely should have some money to sign some pitching which could put them back in the picture...

Count on the Reds being dangerous next year.

*sigh*

They fired Dusty?

Would not be to concerned.

They probably had more money last year and did not get anyone.

I doubt the Brewers can sign enough quality pitching, especially from the slim pickings of the free agent class. Then again, they would be wise to go to North Korea and clone Dave Duncan, then sign a bunch of retreads on the cheap. How much does Black Market cloning cost these days? Or, they could just go to the Dominican and buy the $10 bottles of HGH Pujols uses and watch the Miracle Grow take effect.

Baseball America's top 10 prospects list for the Cubs will be published Nov 16th (a week from Monday)

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ran...

they are running thru the NL East now, Central next then West

Castro, VItters, Cashner, Lee, J. Jackson, B. Jackson, K. Burke...3 other guys.

also LeMahieu--he's been raking since the day he showed up. His hits don't go over the fence, but he's 6'4, just turned 21.

737 ops in Peoria

Maybe he turns into something? No sure thing though.

His OBP was .371, so that's not a problem. I already said he didn't hit home runs. He's an opposite-field hitter at this point, so that cuts down on power. He had two triples. Just four doubles, but the difference between a hard-hit single and a double is mainly directional. It's a very small number of at bats, anyway, since he skipped Boise and played his half-season ball at Peoria.

Here's what an eyewitness, AZ Phil, said about LeMahieu at instructionals last month:

LeMahieu narrowed the gap to 9-7 in the top of the 8th, hitting a solo HR over the LF fence, the LSU Tigers' first professional HR. (LeMahieu is probably the best hitter at Instructs, but most of his hits are rockets hit to CF or RF, and while he hits the ball very hard, he doesn't have much elevation in his swing... at least until today, when he turned on the ball like HR hitters do, and launched one out of the yard).

This one is from Cubster, concerning a Levine interview of Oneri Fleita:

They are very close to signing DJ LeMahieu. Said he saw him in the college WS and thought he might be their closest comp to G Beckham (the question asked was who, if any of this year's draft choices, have a chance to make the majors in a year like Beckham did).

No one is a sure thing, as any bleacher fan can tell you while he is looking at the nearest Cub outfielder.

I hope that's the case.

I'm very intrigued with LeMahieu as a potential 2nd baseman. That said, the Gordon comp seems odd. I just don't see the power developing unless they revamp the swing, and I think he has enough contact/gap ability with his swing as is, that I'm not sure I would want to risk that ability for a bit more power, power that might not necessarily develop. Short of it is, I like him the way he is.

Did you like Ryne Sandberg the way he hit in 1983?

If you watched the CWS, LeMahieu occasionally pulled the ball for power as well. It's not 1983, it's 2010. If you want to play 2nd base in the majors, it's a better idea to be a Dan Uggla, Chase Utley or Brandon Phillips than it is to be a Orlando Hudson or Aaron Miles.

Bo Jackson?

my top 10 goes Castro, Vitters, J. Jackson, Cashner, Carpenter, Lee, Brett Jackson ... and then three more, with Burke/Flaherty/Rhee currently slotted.

Thanks as always, Arizona Phil. Do you know what type of injury Welington Castillo has?

I think he pulled his Beef Tenderloin.

Debunking the age 27th myth... without even using steroid and diets.

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a...

The Nats declined on Austin Kearns option. It was expected. He was bad last year but had a thumb injury that required surgery in August. I kind of remember that Hendry always had a mancrush on him and he used to be a good defensive RF. I wonder if this is a buy low (rock bottom) opportunity? Or is Kearns career over? He's probably done but might be worth a spring training look.

hadn't seen this mentioned before...from a Bruce Levine blog post:

http://espn.go.com/chicago/columns/blog/_/post/462...

hope the new CHO sends his staff around the park serving hors d'oeuvres...cocktail weenies (pigs in a blanket) or these:

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.slashfood.com/media/200...

Ick. It's Michael Jackson, Part Deux. His wife looks as confused as I feel.

More pics from that trash rag Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/07/sammy-sos...

Gonna be hard to sleep after looking at those.

Brains been very very good to me.

Rising Stars game on mlb.tv now, 7-6 East bottom 4th

Starlin Castro is 2-3, both singles. Stolen base on a ball blocked at the plate and went to third on a bad throw. Looks skinny but it seems he will fill out as he gets older. Hard to imagine he's only 19.

nice! bonus baseball.

one day i hope mlb network starts regularly showing winter league baseball.

i already miss baseball season...that was a decent game.

Add to Rob G's top ten---Maybe Carpenter. Coleman and Watkins although Watkins doesn't show any power

Don't expect much power from Watkins. I know Bruce Miles has indicated that Cub folks are high on him.

He could be an interesting factor in how the middle of our future shapes up, considering he could perhaps be pondered in CF if 2nd is filled. Still, if Castro sticks at short, I'd prefer Lee to move to CF.

Blake Parker pitching bottom 7th...single to left, F7, walk, strikeout, GO 3u. No Runs.

wicked curve used for his K.

Sullivan expects Reed Johnson and Rich Harden will be gone
---
But Harden's injury-plagued history makes a multiyear deal unlikely, and Johnson may have to take a salary cut to stay.
...In the end, it depends on how much Johnson wants and whether the Cubs will seek another outfielder in return for Milton Bradley.

and a photo of a Reed Johnson Plant growing out in the vines

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/chi-08-cubs-c...

"He is going through a rejuvenation process for his skin," Polihronis said. "Women have it all of the time. He was surprised he came out looking so white. I thought it was a body double. Part of (the photo appearance) is just the lighting.

"He is in the middle of doing a cleansing process to his skin.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-08-sammy-...

a little more on Lilly (I must have missed this article, although it might be a bit 3/44 at this point)...from sun-times/wittenmeyer on thursday:
---
...Dr. Lewis Yocum (basically considered the Angels orthopod), considered one of the top two or three orthopedists associated with Major League Baseball.
---
Lilly's reputation as one of the hardest training players on the team and perhaps its most competitive should work in his favor -- and also might have played a role in not considering surgery earlier than late last week when he made the decision.

''It was something I didn't want to do,'' he said. ''But after a month [following the season] it still wasn't getting better, and I started having thoughts of going into the season trying to battle through shoulder problems all year, and I didn't want to do that. I thought if I get it taken care of now and get it behind me, I'd be all right.''

The Cubs' medical staff recommended a conservative, non-surgical approach to returning his shoulder to top fitness for next spring, but after the continued pain, Lilly sought the second opinion.
---
Lilly's not expected to begin a throwing program until early March, making his and the team's projected return of sometime in April seem at least optimistic.

Recoveries from shoulder surgeries, even among the least severe, are harder to predict than most baseball-related surgeries...

But general manager Jim Hendry said he trusts Yocum's projections and doesn't plan to look this winter for a replacement for Lilly, and he isn't expected to change his mind on allowing Rich Harden to leave via free agency.

''This wouldn't alter our plans about adding another starter because Lew Yocum is one of the best in the world,'' Hendry, who's in Mesa, Ariz., for the annual organizational meetings, said during a conference call Wednesday. ''We certainly don't want to take that spot away from Ted if he's ready.''

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/18663...

Ryan Church is a non-tender candidate - along with some more Braves conjecture.

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-braves/braves-co...

It's a gamble that I'd ponder. The Mets sorta screwed him up. forgot what it was - poor concussion treatment? Not an ideal starter, passable platoon guy, but a good bench bat. If the money's there, it's something to ponder.

Church is a bit of a problem child from what I've read and since our $4M manager doesn't want to deal with those, the Cubs should probably pass or fire Lou.

the only thing i recall was that he was very pissed at Mets management for misdiagnosing or mistreating his concussion, and that, IIRC, most outside people said he was relatively justified in his anger.

Was there something else? Because from what I remember, his time in Washington and Atlanta were relatively controversy free.

the only other thing a quick search showed was some controversy on religion (on his wiki page), where a team chaplain said somethings. That said, Church didn't do anything wrong there.

too lazy to look it up, but I recall him kind of whining about not being handed the starting job in Washington and then some complaints in New York about playing time and so forth...

Not a Milton Bradley malcontent, but he's not one to bite his lip if he feels he should be playing. Personally I could care less, but as I said, Lou has shown the streak of throwing anyone who disagrees with him into the the doghouse. 

We were just told that the Braves only take on guys who bring Starbucks and bagels to the dugout every morning, therefore it's impossible that Church is a problem guy.

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