Cubs Week in Quotations
Commence the Season
"Hey, it's Opening Day. We've got some things to find out about this group, and we'll find them out relatively quick.'' - Lou Piniella
''Words can't describe how it felt. Just awesome.'' - James Russell on his major league debut.
Quote You Only Hear from the Losing Team on Opening Day
''Opening Day don't mean anything. You want to win ballgames early in the season. The more games you win now, the less you have to win later. But it's just a game.'' - Aramis Ramirez
Is There a Draft?
"We need Zambrano to shut the door." - Lou Piniella
"This Spring Training for me is very special. To have Greg Maddux around, he's my guy. ... I was asking him the other day, 'How can I throw a backdoor sinker to a lefty?' It's unbelievable -- you ask him something, and the way he answers is ... wow." - Carlos Silva
"When Greg's on your team, you're better in any role. He's got a great way about him, and he's the most successful, non-promoting person I've ever met. We can all learn from Greg." - Jim Hendry
"In every sense of the word, he's someone I aspire to be. It's just how he's so personable and knowledgeable and doesn't try to force it on you. It's almost like he breathes excellence. It's pretty cool and pretty special having him around." Randy Wells
Except Steal Their Hearts
"I haven't done nothing for them." - Greg Maddux
A Land War in Asia?
"Those things shouldn't happen." - Lou Piniella on Chad Tracy getting doubled off first on Opening Day
I Want Answers!
''We've just played two games, sir. 'We're not in our 22nd game or our 42nd. We've played two games, for God's sake. What do you want? Roles changed in two games? - Lou Piniella
Once You Lose That Trust, It's Gone Forever
"Demp pitched a heck of a ballgame, and I kind of let everyone down. But you've got to come back tomorrow and go at it again. Once you leave this place, it's over.'' - John Grabow
The Other is Where to Hide Soriano's Body
''We're going to have to sort some things out here, period. I said that coming out of spring training. And one of them is the youth that we have in the bullpen.'' - Lou Piniella
Quicksand Jesus or Jason Heyward?
''I don't want to be more impressed than I was the first day. He's impressed me enough.'' - Lou Piniella on Jason Heyward
Maybe 3 Feet
“...2-0 you’re on top of the world; 0-2, you’re six feet under. - Lou Piniella
Like How I Forgot How to Throw Strikes Last Year
"We learn from our mistakes. We have tomorrow. He needs to forget stuff."- Carlos Marmol on Esmailin Caridad
And Make Routine Catches
Control yourself, and that's all you have to do."- Alfonso Soriano on Esmailin Caridad
Lies, Damn Lies
"We have a good bullpen. We just have to trust them." - Carlos Zambrano
Someone Should Hang a Green Jacket in Fukudome's Locker
"He's a Masters player. That's when they play the Masters -- in April, right?" - Lou Piniella on Kosuke Fukudome
"This is the year I feel he'll break out and have a nice solid offensive year. We know he can play defense."- Lou Piniella on Kosuke Fukudome
"The country guys play country music, the Latin guys play Latin music -- Kosuke's on the team so he should be able to play his music." - Carlos Zambrano letting Fukudome choose the music the day he starts. It's customary to let that day's starting pitcher make the choice.
Can Lou Make It Anymore Clear that He Doesn't Like Soto's Defense?
''I like Koyie, the way he calls a ballgame. He's a really good defensive catcher. When a team isn't scoring many runs, the more defense that you have on the field, the better. Is he going to catch more? We need Soto to hit. I've said that before. That's the key to this whole thing, how well Soto swings the bat. And we'll leave it at that.'' - Lou Piniella
18 Million Excuses
"I took a couple steps then hit the grass, and as soon as I hit the grass, I thought I had two more steps. I took little steps, because I didn't want to hit the wall. You know, full speed into the wall can be very dangerous." - Alfonso Soriano
"But at the last moment, I take my eyes off the ball and just think about the wall. One second, I took my eyes off the ball, and I dropped it." - Alfonso Soriano
"I've got to have a little stop, because I don't want to go into the wall. If you go full speed into the wall, it can be very dangerous." - Alfonso Soriano
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.