Cubs Eyes Focused on Mesa Ayes

Josh Vitters homered, singled, walked, and knocked-in three runs, and Ryan Flaherty singled twice, doubled, scored twice, and drove-in a run, helping to lead the Mesa Solar Sox (Cubs, Angels, Mets, Phillies, and Pirates) to a 15-1 drubbing of the Peoria Saguaros (Padres, Rays, Reds, Twins, and White Sox) in Arizona Fall League (AFL) action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa. Vitters slugged his dinger (a two-run blast) over the 390-foot sign in left-center, and also made several fine defensive plays at 3B during the course of the game. 


As the Solar Sox were chopping down the Saguaros, Cubs executives, management, and most all the members of the teams's Player Development and Scouting departments were at the park meeting informally in preparation for this week's annual organizational meetings. Reports from the park are that Pat Listach (presently the Washington Nationals 3rd base coach) will be named the Cubs new bench coach (Listach was a Cubs minor league manager at AA in 2006-07 and at AAA in 2008, and was Mike Quade's hitting coach at Iowa 2003-05 when Quade was the I-Cubs manager), and Boise Hawks manager Jody Davis has been told he will not be offered a position in the organization for next season.


Davis created a stir when he forfeited a Northwest League game at Everett in August, pulling the Hawks off the field in the bottom of the 1st inning after LF Ryan Cuneo slipped and fell on a wet warning track while chasing a fly ball. (The game had been delayed prior to start by rain, but the field was deemed playable by the NWL umpire crew chief assigned to the game). As a result of the forfeit, the Everett Aqua Sox had to refund all the tickets sold for the game, and Jo-dee was suspended by the the league for six games.


Meanwhile, the Cubs are nervously waiting the outcome of tomorrow's election, when they will find out if Prop 420 is approved or not approved by Mesa voters. If the proposition passes, the City of Mesa will be permitted to increase the hotel bed tax and sell vacant land owned by the city in Pinal County, providing the funding necessary to build a new Cubs Spring Training facility at Riverview Park (located on 8th Steeet at Dobson Road, near the intersection of the Loop 101 Pima Freeway and Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway). Even though the plan does not involve increasing property taxes or the city sales tax, there has been opposition from citizens groups who just don't want the city to spend money on a Cubs Spring Training facility no matter what the funding source is.


If Prop 420 does not pass, the Cubs could remain at Fitch Park and HoHoKam Park through the 2016 season (when the lease expires), or move their Spring Training and Minor League HQ to Naples, FL, for the 2012 season, or maybe find someplace in Arizona (perhaps the Gila River Indian Resevation, which is awash in casino money) that is willing to provide the funds needed to build the envisioned "Wrigleyville West."


Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts, GM Jim Hendry, and several Cubs legends (including Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, and Ferguson Jenkins) have been spending a lot of time in Mesa recently, shaking hands and pushing hard for passage of Prop 420.  No question the Cubs want to keep their Spring Training and Minor League HQ in Mesa, if at all possible, but the voters will ultimately get to make the "safe" or "out" call. 

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Comments

demoted to Astros minor leagues after runs with the Marlins and O's.

former Cub minor league pitching coach with an odd cult following around here at times.

Submitted by Rob G. on Mon, 11/01/2010 - 6:44pm.
demoted to Astros minor leagues after runs with the Marlins and O's.

former Cub minor league pitching coach with an odd cult following around here at times.

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

ROB G: Rick Kranitz was named the Astros Minor League Pitching Coordinator, and at least as it applies to the Cubs (where ex-STL pitching coach Mark Riggins is MiLPC), it is a fairly significant job that requires knowledge, insight, and coaching skill, because he's the guy who is most-responsible for getting minor league pitchers ready to pitch in the big leagues.

Major league pitching coaches make more money just because it's the big leagues, but the MiLPC actually has more of a direct-impact on the organization's overall pitching philosophy and a given prospect's development.

It's a VERY important job, and an underrated one.

no doubt

I'm sure it was Rick Kranitz's first choice.

no more baseball :(

Congrats Giants

They show the Cubs even though your two highest paid players are not contributing you can still win it.

they also showed that you can indeed bench your two highest paid players when they are not contributing.

and that trophies are shiny.

I am really happy for Giants fans.

WTG!

Also, I had never seen Brian Sabean on t.v. or speaking before. Cool.

So, raise your hand if you thought the Giants would finish 3rd (or worse) in their Division, and that their "old and useless" players would help bury the team?

i picked them to win the division.

Which year?

remarkably this year...

I also had the Cubs taking the WC, so it's not all sunshine and rainbows.

I said the Cubs would win 90 this year, so I'm predicting that I'm never predicting sports again.

Mike Fontenot and Mark DeRosa...World Series rings..

woo..fontenot.

wonder who will take him for a spin in 2011...

So would it be smart of the Ricketts to tell Hendry he can't sign anyone past a 2 year contract this offseason? (3rd year club options are acceptable). Just send that message loud and clear to Hendry.

Submitted by Rob G. on Tue, 11/02/2010 - 9:23am.
So would it be smart of the Ricketts to tell Hendry he can't sign anyone past a 2 year contract this offseason? (3rd year club options are acceptable). Just send that message loud and clear to Hendry.

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

ROB G: I believe we won't be seeing any four-year deals where the 4th year is guaranteed, but a three-year deal for a free-agent probably isn't off the table. Hendry is really proud of the Marlon Byrd deal, so look for that type of contract (three years, escalating each year) to become the norm.

If the Cubs do in fact pursue Adam Dunn (and I think they will), I would think 3/42 (13-14-15) will probably be the max offer. And if Dunn wants a longer deal, the Cubs will just move on to another FA 1B (like Aubrey Huff, Adam LaRoche, or Lance Berkman) or acquire a 1B via trade (where arbitration-eligible Luke Scott would probably be the most-likely target).

I love that we live in a bizarro world where Adam Dunn is gonna be worth more than Lance Berkman.

but yeah, put me in the camp where Ricketts says no deals over 2 years. There's no one but Cliff Lee worth more than 2 years anyway.

although Dunn at 3/39 would be acceptable and I know how much they crave my endorsements.

Lance Berkman is pretty much done - his body is just giving up on him.

'prolly so

The bizarro world on not 2002?

Naples News reports that Mesa, AZ Prop 420 may be in considerable trouble:

There is no publicly available polling to show how Proposition 420 is faring with Mesa voters.

Robert Kammrath, spokesman for the Mesa Taxpayers Alliance, which opposes Proposition 420, said he’s been searching for such data. “I have asked if there’s been any polls done and I’ve been told there haven’t. I suspect there have been privately funded polls, just to see how things are going.”

One source claiming knowledge of private Proposition 420 polling said support has dropped to around 30 percent.

more---> http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2010/nov/01/br...

BPD reports the same gloom over Prop 420's chances

The Cubs have been hitting local residents pretty hard for their support, sending out multiple mailings, airing commercials on local TV and bringing out Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, to public events. At a time when the mood in Arizona is conservative and antigovernment even by Arizona standards, passage of these measures -- for something as popular as the Cubs -- isn't assured. indeed, the rumblings from Clark and Addison is that the question has been polling poorly among random voters; hence the need to bring out Banks and a barrage of pro-Cubs TV ads.

I'm more concerned about California's Prop 420. LOL.

good to see that Selig stepped in and took care of it like he promised.

He was too busy dedicating a cheezy statue of himself up in Milwaukee.

Welcome to AZ. Enjoy everything that's a public service while it lasts because we're not going to pay for any of it.

Who needs state parks, public restrooms on the highways, or even highways for that matter?

Hey, let's pass laws to scare a couple 100K taxpayers away. Awesome.

U of Arizona is hiring teachers/instructors with Master's degrees because they don't want to pay PhD level (already below private pay scale) instructors to fill vacancies. I talked to an agriculture extension agent there who said they're filling vacancies, B.Science or Master's preferred, in extension (assisting state agriculture) at a starting pay of $24K-$28K.

It is the state of the f'd-up academic world. Where I teach, 70% (over 1000 faculty) of classes are taught by adjuncts, of which I am one. 70%! Masters level. No ranking system. No health benefits.

And the school charges $30+k a year/private tuition.

Educators are not valued. Only athletes.

In my department, most of the classes are taught by graduate student Teaching Assistants who are not actually assisting anyone in a classroom but are teaching all by their lonesomes. They get paid just under $11,000 a year to teach half as many classes as the adjuncts, and they have to pay around $1,500 of that back in fees even though they get tuition waivers as a part of teaching.

My point is, the fact that we educators agree to work for such low wages is part of why we get paid so little. But then, what else are we going to do? And if we won't work for $30,000 a year (or $11,000 and a tuition break), there are plenty others whose applications are next in line.

I'd kill for $24,000 a year right now. (My car just bit it again.) Of course, that doesn't make it decent pay.

It seems like $9500 a year plus tuition for a part time job, while earning experience in your chose profession is a pretty good deal. There are still plenty of people doing unpaid internships and waiting tables to make it through school/grad school and graduating with 10-15 years of student loans hanging over their heads. Those are the guys waiting in line.

It is actually a pretty good deal in comparison to everything else, which is the most damning part of it, I think. I'm actually at one of the best funded, most reputable programs in the country. The graduate assistant union here actually just fought to get students in the Music department a minimum of $6000 a year for teaching the same number of credit hours as we English students do.

The $9500 + experience would be much more attractive if it weren't for the fact that teaching positions above the level of adjunct seem to be disappearing--and teaching is the field in which we are earning experience.

I mostly am annoyed because we graduate assistants become a money-making tool for a system that is now making up its mind to not pay back even the best of us on our investment. But we will continue--because we love our studies the way that Adam Dunn does not love baseball.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to whine. (My car just bit it again.)

"Educators are not valued. Only athletes."

Ask a K-12 teacher in a public school in the greater Chicago area if they agree with this. My single mom with two kids retired at 58 to a $70k+ a year pension. She and all of her friends certainly are not complaining.

The Illinois teacher's pension did really well. It's not typical, and last I heard one of the corrupt governors was trying to get his hands on it.

Thursday midnight is the deadline for Ramirez to decide on his option

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/11/11...

does he need a postal stamp or a phone card?

no-brainers are no-brainers. yeesh.

Ron Roenicke looks to be the new Brewers manager.

http://twitter.com/#!/cst_sox/status/29494692293

meh, twitter throws that stupid ! to throw off the automatic linking.

Nady officially a FA...looks like 1st will probably come from outside of last year's crew...or colvin on the cheap (which i doubt).

players are automatically filed for FA now, Cubs still have 5 exclusive days to resign him if they want.

but yeah, he's not coming back.

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/4829

apparently Chris Carpenter is hitting 100mph in the AFL or close to it.

too bad he doesn't have the stamina to start. his arm craps out way too early.

it was suspected early he would build the stamina as he comes back from pre-draft (and post-draft) injury concerns, but he can't get over that hurdle. he's just not currently built for the 110-120 pitch outing.

i'd be more worried about him actually making through the minors in 1 piece, though. he just loves to be injured.

Crunch,

All Cubs minor league starters are on a 90-100 pitch limit. Exactly what pro injuries are you talking about? 57 starts the past 2 seasons.

he was injured twice before signing and off/on stuff since.

he hits a hard wall rather early on his pitch counts from reports. guy is already 24. he just doesn't project (at this moment) as a guy who's likely to throw 200ip in a season...works deep counts and tires early.

Agreed about the deep counts. I live in Tenn. and seen the Smokies a lot. Haven't seen the tiring part. No injuries that has cost him time since signing. I understand if you don't like him. Thats your opinion. I've talked to plenty of people that do. 24 years old for a pitcher in his 2nd full year of pro ball is retirement age I guess?!?

well, yeah, i like him. i just don't like his rich-harden-like performances with his deep counts.

he would/should have been drafted twice before (if you count highschool) and probably would have been a 1st rounder when the cubs got him if not for past injuries, imo.

he was a stealth gamble with a rocket arm.

Submitted by crunch on Tue, 11/02/2010 - 5:25pm.
well, yeah, i like him. i just don't like his rich-harden-like performances with his deep counts.

he would/should have been drafted twice before (if you count highschool) and probably would have been a 1st rounder when the cubs got him if not for past injuries, imo.

he was a stealth gamble with a rocket arm.

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

CRUNCH: Rich Harden is a good comparison for Chris Carpenter. It's interesting that Harden remained a starter throughout his career, despite being basically a "five-inning/two-pitch pitcher" (fastball & change-up). The reason for that was because Harden could not throw every day, even if it was just one inning. He could not get loose. He always needed at least one or two days off before he could throw again, so he HAD to be a starter.

Submitted by junior on Tue, 11/02/2010 - 4:36pm.
Agreed about the deep counts. I live in Tenn. and seen the Smokies a lot. Haven't seen the tiring part. No injuries that has cost him time since signing. I understand if you don't like him. Thats your opinion. I've talked to plenty of people that do. 24 years old for a pitcher in his 2nd full year of pro ball is retirement age I guess?!?

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

JUNIOR: Carpenter had a sore arm at Minor League Camp and started the 2010 season at Extended Spring Training, but once he got going he was OK.

In talking with a couple of the MLB scouts who sit behind home plate, Carpenter has been throwing 96-98 and had touched 100 in the AFL, but he is just letting it all hang out and firing without regard to pacing. He also seems to be changing his release point from pitch-to-pitch and that has affected his control. But when he was a starter at Tennessee, he tended to lose velocity around pitch #80.

Remember, Carpenter has always been a starting pitcher, while Andrew Cashner (for example) was the #1 closer in college baseball (at TCU) the year he was drafted in the 1st round by the Cubs. So Cashner is used to working out of the pen, which is why the Cubs felt comfortable moving him there even though he pitched well as a starter in the minors and in the AFL last year. But it's possible that Carpenter is actually the one best-suited to throw in relief.

So if Carpenter can get into the relief routine and learn to harness his fastball, use his curve as a second pitch, and junk the change-up, Cashner and Carpenter could ultimately switch places, with Cashner going back to starting and Carpenter getting moved permanently to the pen. But that won't happen until Carpenter proves he can function as a reliever.

Why would the nature of Carpenter's development have any effect on the way the Cubs use Cashner next year? They're not even going to start at the same level. Cashner looks like be more blocked by guys like Carlos Silva and Casey Coleman than by Carpenter, and Carpenter should be developing in the same role where his long-term ceiling projects to be the highest. Does that really sound so crazy? Isn't this the same organization who turned a catcher prospect into one of the best closers in baseball?

Why would the nature of Carpenter's development have any effect on the way the Cubs use Cashner next year? They're not even going to start at the same level.

It's entirely possible that they both wind up in Iowa or with the Cubs.

The only thing Coleman should be blocking anyone in is as an organizational pitching coach somewhere.

Submitted by John Beasley on Wed, 11/03/2010 - 6:32am.
Why would the nature of Carpenter's development have any effect on the way the Cubs use Cashner next year? They're not even going to start at the same level. Cashner looks like be more blocked by guys like Carlos Silva and Casey Coleman than by Carpenter, and Carpenter should be developing in the same role where his long-term ceiling projects to be the highest. Does that really sound so crazy? Isn't this the same organization who turned a catcher prospect into one of the best closers in baseball?

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

JOHN B: I said Chris Carpenter moving to the bullpen could ultimately have an effect on whether Andrew Cashner remains a reliever (long-term). I didn't say anything about next year.

If Carpenter can develop into an effective power arm out of the bullpen, it could release Cashner from the pen and allow him to be a starter IF there is a spot for him in the rotation. There might not be right now, but if the Cubs were to move Silva and perhaps trade Randy Wells at some point, that could open up a spot for two young starters, one of whom could be Cashner IF he isn't needed in the bullpen. Also, Ryan Dempster is eligible to be a FA after next season (player option).

Right now the Cubs are desperately looking for in-house guys who can throw effectively out of the bullpen, and because Cashner has experience as a reliever (he was the #1 closer in college baseball in 2008), he is an obvious candidate right now. Conversely, Carpenter, Archer, and McNutt are starting pitchers who would have to adjust to the bullpen, and Carpenter is already trying it.

AZ Phil:

Speaking of in-house candidates for the pen, what is the scoop on Caridad? Can he regain some of the stature he earned at the end of 2009?

As always, thanks for the knowledge.

Submitted by Seamhead on Wed, 11/03/2010 - 1:17pm.
AZ Phil:

Speaking of in-house candidates for the pen, what is the scoop on Caridad? Can he regain some of the stature he earned at the end of 2009?

As always, thanks for the knowledge

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

SEAMHEAD: Esmailin Caridad has to prove in Spring Training that he's healthy. (He missed most of the 2010 season with a forearm strain). If he can prove he's healthy, he is a good candidate to win a spot in the Cubs bullpen in 2011, especially since so many of the pitchers who were given opportunities in 2010 failed to click.

One thing to keep in mind is that Jeff Samardzija will almost certainly be on the Cubs 25-man man roster in 2011, because unless he waives his "no trade" rights, the only other option would be to release him and eat his $2.8M salary. So if Marmol, Marshall, Cashner, Grabow, and Samardzija take five of the seven slots in the pen, that leaves just two bullpen roster slots for everybody else (Berg, Caridad, Diamond, Dolis, Gaub, Mateo, Maine, Russell, Schlitter, and Stevens, plus the NRIs), or maybe even just one slot if the Cubs (as I would expect) sign a FA RH set-up man with closer experience.

Mateo (1.59 ERA) and Maine (1.64 ERA) in September-- both appeared in 11 games and were instrumental in the Cubs' surge at the end of the season.

Nice article. It even includes a start for the unsubstantiated Wood rumors as well as a dig at Pinhead.

wsox sign o.vizquel for 1.75m...not bad for someone that helped Jamie Moyer load up Noah's Arc back in the day.

There's a space at the end of the survey for comments. I used this space to write in my thoughts about how ultimately, it doesn't matter if the organization upgrades Wrigley Field--what Cubs fans really care about is the product on the field. If they can bring a World Series to the North Side, the Ricketts will make way more money, and garner far greater support for the team, than if they focus only on the stadium and fail to upgrade the baseball side of the organization.

I would think that this is an opportunity for like-minded fans to express en masse their concerns over the poor state of the organization from a baseball perspective, and let the Ricketts know that the team is what we care about, with the stadium coming in a distinct second.

i asked for an exploding scoreboard and pony rides.

named to AFL Rising Stars Game

game on MLB Network

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects...

In AFL, Carpenter sports an ERA of 5.79, with 7 walks in 9 innings.

Carpenter and Vitters must really LOOK good. Same with Muyco, for that matter.

numbers have nothing to do with it, nor should it.

it's just a showcase. no one has earned anything in AFL this early.

Submitted by crunch on Tue, 11/02/2010 - 2:21pm.
numbers have nothing to do with it, nor should it.

it's just a showcase. no one has earned anything in AFL this early.

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

CRUNCH: Correct. The Showcase game rosters are tentatively decided before the start of the AFL season. It's not an AFL All-Star Game, it is a Best Prospects Game.

fwiw, he had a 2.08 ERA before his last outing where he gave up 4 ER in .2 IP

for all we know, they voted before that game on Saturday.

2.08 ERA, 8.2 IP, 3 BB, 7 K before Saturday's performance

Josh Harrison (former Cub) doing well (.943 OPS)

I don't look at walks while evaluating minor league pitchers.

via rotowurld:

"Cubs prospect outfielder Brett Jackson has been shut down from the Arizona Fall League after being hospitalized with a bacterial infection in his right shin.

The injury is being compared to a staph infection. He is expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday."

"hospitalized with a bacterial infection in his right shin."

Kind of a non-specific "medical" report there. Cubster, any thoughts on what's probably going on there? When it says "shin" I start thinking "tibia" and an infection in the bone (which scares me as being significantly dangerous), but then they say he's expected to be released Wednesday, which makes me think it is something not nearly so dire. Mind you, I used to know something about these things but I've been out of the loop for a few years.

Do you care to speculate?

from the link rotoworld took it's blurb from:

"Cubs player development director Oneri Fleita said Tuesday that Jackson had to be hospitalized in Mesa, Ariz., because of cellulitis with an abscess in his shin, which is similar to a staph infection. Jackson was expected to be released Wednesday."

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/11/11...

Thanks for the updated info, crunch.

I doubt it's a tibia infection, which would mean he has osteomyelitis, probably acute...Mickey Mantle played his career with chronic osteomyelitis of the tibia and that was in the early days of antibiotics (basically just penicillin).

More likely he has a soft tissue infection in his leg aka cellulitis. This would get a few doses of IV antibiotics before switching to oral antibiotics. I think the press is using the term "shin" as a non-medical synonym for "leg".

The term abcess means there is a pocket of accumulated infection. If small, it can respond to antibiotics alone. if larger it can be aspirated or surgically incised and drained (I&D) as blood might not get to it rendering the antibiotics less effective.

A common use of the term "shin" is "shin splints" which is an irritation of the fibrous attachments to the leg bone (tibia) often seen in distance runners. In this instance, it has nothing to do with infection but is an early precursor to a stress fracture (hairline fx when the bone remodeling system is outpaced by repetitive stresses). In shin splints the soft tissue attaching to bone is inflammed but the bone is OK.

At any rate, in this case regarding Brett Jackson, shin is probably being used as a synonym for "leg" rather than referring to the leg bone "tibia".

The smaller leg bone on the outside (lateral) aspect of the leg is the fibula. The term "shin-bone" does refer to the tibia though and not the fibula.

CUBSTER: Actually, I believe It goes like this.

Thanks, Dr. Hecht. Makes sense. And I feel much better now.

AZ Phil, I saw that one coming.

The Cubs will stay in Mesa!

With 72% of the precincts reporting, Mesa Prop 420 is a slam-dunk winner, with 64% voting "YES."

Great news! Though many of us would selfishly want it closer to Chicago, your year-round reports more than offset an extra 10 hours of driving. Keep up the great work.

You can take the FOR SALE sign down from in front of your house.

Long Live Arizona Phil!

Anyone here really believe P.K. Ricketts is gonna bring us a pennant?

As I write, plenty of tickets still available to the Cubs Convention.
http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/community/com...

"Anyone here really believe P.K. Ricketts is gonna bring us a pennant?"

At the risk of answering a rhetorical question, I believe Ricketts is going to put a very successful team on the field in a couple of years. He's doing very well on the facilities side--wasn't that a big victory for Ricketts yesterday?--and there is more talent in the organization by far than I ever remember.

I'm certainly pulling for him, because it all starts with the owner. (Consider the Bears.)

Cmon Phil!!!!

The guy has already owned this team for 11 months now. Obviously he doesn't care about the fans. He just wants to lose.

-sarcasm'd-

there is more talent in the organization by far than I ever remember.

How did Ricketts have anything to do with that?

The guy came in and immediately allowed payroll to go from 134-144 million. I doubt he'd have done that if he was going to slash and burn this thing.

Much like College football coaches. Owners need more than 11 months to evaluate.

The guy came in and immediately allowed payroll to go from 134-144 million. I doubt he'd have done that if he was going to slash and burn this thing.

And that really has nothing to do with VA Phil's point that the team has "more talent in the organization" than he can ever remember.

I am not yet a critic of Ricketts, for the exact reason that you say. Its way too early. But to credit Rickett's for the talent in the organization is pretty silly.

Agreed,

It seems like we had alot of ML talent in the early 00's. Only Prior,Wood,Z, and Juanny Cruz really developed into anything. But we did get alot of love from BA.

I'd like to see us vary our draft strategy a bit more. Maybe take a projectable bat over an athlete every once in awhile?

Well, he bought the organization and the talent. He retained the guy who hired Wilken and Fleita and the organizational personnel, and he said he retained Hendry for exactly that reason (not for signing Soriano, Fuku and Bradley).

UPDATE: 99% of the precincts have now reported... Prop 420 - 63% YES.

and they didn't have to make 2-3 changes to their state constitution to do it!

...kinda surprised the "right to hunt" amendment proposal didn't pass. it was put into many states as a referendum by citizens...i mean, lobbyists...and passed in AK, SC, and TN.

I asked for a full time pitch count scoreboard, free wi-fi and a TCR logo on the cf scoreboard (hmmmm, that scoreboard does look kinda familiar)

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