Quick Cubs Hits
- Xavier Nady won't be ready to play regularly until...June!
The exclamation point is for a little joke going around the TCR comments, but Piniella said they'll be cautious with Nady through the cold weather. Considering he was suppose to be a 4th outfielder/pinch-hitter/short side platoon for Fukudome, it probably won't matter as much as I'm sure the Internet is about to make it out to be, but it could affect the roster construction. Sam Fuld who can play all three outfield positions moreso than Tyler Colvin could get a little edge if spring training numbers are close. Or the Cubs could finally go through with an 11-man pitching staff, considering two of them will be the losers of the 4th/5th starting rotation race.
- Milton Bradley spoke again, this time to ESPN. I'd rather watch back-to-back replays of the 2005 and 2006 World Series than revisit another Bradley story, but everyone else seems to think it's worth commenting on. He doesn't seem to say anything new except some odd reporting baiting about whether hate mail may have come from within the Cubs organization. Bradley doesn't outright deny the accusation, leaving it open with a "Who cares" and "I don't care to know". Scandalous!
Look, Bradley is (as reader "jumbo" wrote), the "ultimate narcissist crossed with a conspiracy theorist". He'll never accept responsibility for himself and nothing will ever be his fault. Hendry knocked out the response with his:
I think it's time maybe Milton looked at himself in the mirror. It is what it is. He didn't swing the bat; he didn't get the job done. His production was the only negative, or lack of."
But the Cubs are equally at fault, they signed him without knowing what they were getting themselves into and without putting anything into place to deal with his personality. Nothing that happened last year was a suprise to anyone but the Cubs, yet they handed out the three-year deal and they're the ones that thought Milton didn't need any special treatment. The Cubs are the people that buy rottweilers and then are shocked when it eats their kids. "But it looked so cute and playful at the pet store!"
- Remember this comment from Aramis Ramirez earlier in the spring?
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez refused to take batting practice against teammates during live BP on Saturday. When asked about it, Ramirez said he never takes batting practice against teammates. That’s just something he doesn’t like to do.
We all seemed a bit suprised by the statement, but it seemed reasonable enough. Problem is, our pal Arizona Phil who has been watching spring training for as least as long as I've been here at TCR (2005) and probably much longer, recalls things differently.
I thought it was odd when Ramirez didn't take "live" BP against Cubs pitchers at Fitch Park a couple of weeks ago, when it was said in the media that it's not that uncommon for the "big leaguers" to do that... except it IS unusual.
Ramirez took "live" BP in all other previous seasons, and he was the ONLY Cub hitter to not take "live" BP this year. And then in the 50-swing BP work-out at HoHoKam the day before the first Cactus League game, Ramirez did not get good swings until the last ten or so, when he was able to drive a couple of HR.
Hopefully it's just some oddness, but I wouldn't be too surprised if he's hiding an injury either.
- Jason Frasor is the hot topic for the Cubs and Twins to bring in as a reliever. Frasor had a great 2009 with a 2.50 ERA and 11 saves, to go along with 17 saves in 2004. Phil Rogers reports that the Blue Jays are looking for an outfielder in return and speculates on Tyler Colvin or Sam Fuld. Fuld wouldn't bother me, although the Cubs would certainly need to add an arm or two in there to complete the deal. But Colvin's been putting on a show in spring training and bulked up and looks like he's the first round pick he was meant to be. I'd be more than hesitant to trade him. Even though he doesn't have a job now with the Cubs, he has 3 minor league options left and there's no reason to rush him out of the system for an unspectacular arm, considering the run of bad luck and health the Cubs seem destined to run into.
While Frasor did have a good 2009, his career FIP is 3.80 that nearly matches his career 3.78 ERA. He keeps the ball in the park(0.79) and has good strikeout rates(8.29) and would be leaving the AL East. And he did pick up a change-up after 2008, which could be the reason behind his improved season. On the other hand, the Cubs would presumably be paying the whole bill and I don't think trading a potential 25-30 HR threat that could play center field on a "regular' basis (Jim Hendry's words on WGN on Saturday) for a reliever is a good use of resources. You'll find nothing in Colvin's past minor league records to support the assertion that he could be a starter or bring mad power, but you wouldn't have found them in Geovany Soto's either before 2007. Prospects mature at odd rates and Colvin is becoming an interesting option.
Yeah, Underwood impresses the internet scouts more than the opposing hitters. Blackburn and Williams have pitched well but they would be more interesting if they missed more bats.
Myrtle Beach has a couple of guys--Trevor Clifton and Jake Stinnett--worth keeping an eye on.
South Bend has the best record in the Midwest League but it's more about their bats than their starting pitching.
Thanks Steve, I always forget about that.
Maddon spins the wheel-o-lineups and Bryant is playing 1B.
The line-ups, by the way, appear in the Twitter box on the left and usually very soon after they are made available.
Looks like no Heyward or Rizzo in the lineup today.
HAGSAG: Kevonte Mitchell has shown some improvement in 2016. He takes a lot of walks, shows occasional power, and he's an athletic defender capable of making the big play in the OF.
However, he strikes out way too much, he doesn't always take the most-direct-route to get to balls hit into the air, and he sometimes runs himself into outs on the bases. He is still very raw.
E-MAN: I don't think Dallas Beeler has a long-term future with the Cubs, but (when healthy) he has gotten the call over the past couple of years as the "26th man" when the Cubs needed an extra starter in a doubleheader.
PHIL: Thanks for the wrap. A 2010 early-ish round Hendry draft pick, why do you surmise the new management team just doesn't cut bait on Beeler? Not shown that much as a starter. Does he have a power arm when right? Is he another Schlitter? Or, is he rosyer filler while the org waits out the lower-level arms to surpass him?
Ryan Kellogg is still a fringy prospect despite being very old for low-A. He's putting up very good numbers no matter who he's facihg.
Great article on Yosh and Nobe. Thanks for including it Trans.
Phil, it looks like Kevonte Mitchell has made some progress this Spring. Your thoughts please, thanks.
so far ryan williams (AAA) is the only system prospect on the "could be ready soon" horizon doing well...that said, he's not very exciting and he's assumed to be an end-rotation talent at best.
paul blackburn is getting great early returns in AA, but he's getting surprisingly low K numbers doing it. he throws lot of low/sinking stuff with good control...also assumed to be an end-rotation guy, but he's got room to be better, especially given his control as base to build on.
Speaking of pitching -- another ugly outing for Underwood at AA. Through 6 starts: 5.19 ERA, WHIP 1.69. Yikes!
Man, do we need starting pitching depth. Our best hopes are still hanging with AZ Phil in Arizona. Very scary.
jeebus... that's terrible.
*clap* *clap* *clap*
Thanks AZ. If you like him, I like him.
Awesome report, and good to see Beeler on his way back.
I'm also very happy to hear about the bi-level bump for Daniel Lewis. In the Name of Theo, he was the Last of the Full-Season Cuts, and There Will Be Blood for those who unnecessarily slow his development. Sure, he might end up in independent ball pitching for Lincoln. But if everything breaks right, he may even have a shot at joining up with the Gangs of Chicago. I wouldn't bet My Left Foot on it, though.