Castro Casts Seattle Boat People Adrift

Starlin Castro drilled a three-run double to cap a four-run 7th inning rally, as the Cubs defeated the Seattle Mariners 6-3 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa, AZ, this afternoon  



box score


Randy Wells got the start for the Cubs, and worked 5.2 IP (91 pitches - 56 strikes), allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits and three walks, while striking out eight. Overall he pitched very well, especially innings two and onward.


Wells did have a tough 26-pitch 1st inning, though, when the Mariners scored twice, as Wells walked Jack Wilson (after getting ahead 0-2) to lead-off the game, threw a Wild Pitch to move Wilson into scoring position, before surrendering an RBI single to Jack Cust to drive-in the first run of the game. Justin Smoak then doubled into the left-center power alley to score the slow-footed Cust from 1st base.


The Mariners scored their third run in the top of the 4th when Smoak ripped his second double of the game to lead off the inning, and, after Wells struck out Ryan Langerhans and retired Luis Rodriguez on a ground out, scored on an Adam Moore two-out line-drive RBI single to left.


Cub pitchers then threw one-hit shutout ball the rest of the way, retiring 16 of the last 19 Mariners. Sean Marshall threw an 11-pitch 1-2-3 7th with two strikeouts and a GO. John Grabow pitched one inning (18 pitches - 11 strikes), allowing a lead-off walk before retiring the next three hitters (K, L-7, and 5-3), and finally Marcos Mateo put the Mariners away with some 9th inning gas (K, K, 5-3) for the Save. Mateo has had an impressive Spring Training, meaning he will probably be sent to Iowa.


With ex-CLE LHP Aaron Laffey working on a 3-0 shutout, the Cubs scored a run in the bottom of the 4th when Aramis Ramirez bounced a lead-off double off the head of Seattle second-baseman Jack Wilson (the ex-Pirate was diving for the ball and it doinked him in the head, before bounding into foul territory behind 1B), advanced to 3rd on a GO, and then scored on an RBI GO by Carlos Pena.


Blake DeWiit celebrated making the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster in style, absolutely crushing a solo HR off RHRP Tom Wilhelmsen with two outs in the bottom of the 5th far beyond the RF fence to get the Cubs within one run, and then the home team discharged their four-run rally in the bottom of the 7th to take the lead.  


Facing LHRP Cesar Jimenez, Tyler Colvin drew a one-out walk, and advanced to 3rd base when PH Josh Vitters (up from Minor League Camp) roped a double down the LF line. Blake DeWitt reached on an infield hit to load the bases, and then Starlin Castro slammed his bases-clearing three-run double into the left-center power alley to give the Cubs the lead. The Cubs scored another run in the inning on a Reed Johnson two-out PH RBI double.


The Cubs should have had even more runs in the 7th, but they suffered a baserunning brain fart with Castro on 2nd and Marlon Byrd on 1st, one out, and Johnson at bat, where Castro was picked off 2nd base when the two runners left early on what was apparently going to be either a double-steal attempt or a hit & run. Byrd was able to move up to 2nd base on the play and scored on the Johnson RBI double.


The defensive highlight of the game for the Cubs (and for me) was probably the final play of the game, when 3B Josh Vitters aggressively charged a slow chopper, and made a strong, accurate, off-balance throw to 1st base to nip Chris Gimenez by a half-step. This was a play Vitters probably does not make in 2010.

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Comments

For those who didn't see, the grounder was a chopper right down the line and Vitters came in and bare-handed it and threw across his body off-balance all in one motion. It was quite an impressive play.

Thanks, I didn't see it.

It absolutely was an impressive play by Vitters. I really hope he stays healthy and has a solid season this year. He looks a lot more toned physically. He has probably naturally filled out a bit and those couple of weeks at Camp Colvin helped as well.

Mateo looked like he was throwing gas today and had a couple sliders with hard downward movement.

Impressive performance in the last few innings today by the Cubbies.

BTW, I had never seen Rebel Ridling before, he's a pretty big dude.

Of the remaining candidates battling for the final pen slots, Mateo does bring heat and a good, albeit, inconsistent, slider. I like having guys that you can call on to throw some gas, but we'll have to wait and see how things play out.

Rebel - best name in baseball. The approach is alright for a big guy with a big swing, but the raw power hasn't really translated all that great in his minor league career so far. That said, our system is somewhat devoid of top power prospects, and there aren't really any guys blocking him from a prospect perspective, so he'll likely get a good shot to prove himself at Daytona this year.

I watched the end of the game and I was certain that Antonio Alfonseca was the Cubs pitcher in the 9th. Mateo must be his illegitimate (or legitimate) son.

When I saw that Vitters play I put to rest the idea that he won't be able to stick at 3rd. It was "Rolenesque" (just that one play)

I'm warming up to Vitters. It really looks like he's gotten serious, more mature.

Elsewhere, JAKE FOX hit his `9th spring training home run today.

What's the deal with CAPS LOCK on former Cubs? Is it your impression of a Van Earl Wright wrap-up or something?

HAHA!

I really liked Jake as a personality (and UMich grad) - and know that he will eventually be an effective DH somewhere - and even an emergency catcher.

I actually like his versatility a little more on an NL team. No, he can't play any defensive position well, but he can sort of play four of them, and when you're behind he'd be a nice guy to double switch in, hoping that he gets his chance with a couple guys on.

Last I heard, pinch hitting was legal.

(Sorry to be a wise guy, but I asked myself, would he do it to me?)

This just in: You can pinch hit in both leagues.

I don't get the strategy here. The double switch makes sense when you're ahead, and you don't want to burn a pitcher, but you don't mind burning your starting LF or 3B or 1B or C, since you're replacing him with a better defender.

Why take out your starting LF to get Fox in? The other guy is a starter and presumably can hit. Keep Fox on the bench, and all your bats are in the game or available. Who cares about burning a reliever when you're behind?

If the point of a double switch is to merely keep your pitcher in longer, just let him hit, since you're already winning, and you don't want to weaken your team by taking a starter out of the lineup. There are two reasons to do a double switch, you're totally ignoring half of them.

JAKE FOX is very serious.

Homer Bailey goes down

to miss at least 2 starts with a sore shoulder.

fwiw, Arroyo's turned out to be mono rather than valley fever...

Shouldn't have been making out with Dusty.

Bronson and Dusty sitting in a tree...

John DeWan's stat of the week lists possible 2011 breakout players based on spring training stat of hitting .200 over career slugging percentages and using Jose Bautista of TOR as last years example.

In the study, about two-thirds of hitters who had spring slugging percentages at least 200 points higher than their career total went on to best their career average that season.

http://www.actasports.com/statoftheweek/

only Cub is Starlin Castro (but ex-Cub Jake Fox heads the list)

I am going to go way out on a limb and say that Castro bests his career slugging average. I am sure that more than 2/3rds of 21 year old shortstops best their average.

It's an interesting study, but flip a coin and half of those guys beat their career average, so we're really only talking about 17% (of 34 guys) which is about 5 players on that list.

...which will be awesome as long as he doesn't make a million errors.

how about breakdown years for guys who are slugging 200 points below their career averages

the perps:

Koyie Hill (quite an accomplishment when your career slugging average is already a Mariana Trench-level .302) and Kosuke Fukudome

I'm guessing neither of these two guys finish the year with the Cubs..what would be the point?

I predict Fukudome is traded to the Cardinals for a ham sandwich and an old Aaron Miles jersey after Lance Berkman blows out a knee and we find ourselves 40 games out.

There's that ham sandwich again. You realize that you would be trading Fukudome and a Brinks truck full of money for a ham sandwich, right? For all that money, you should at least require a foot-long and a couple of sides.

The notion that we have to be "40 games out" to be WILLING to part with Fukudome is . . . is . . .

I don't know what it is. You tell me. What part of "nobody wants him" (Bruce Levine) don't you understand?

Once Fukudome saves a kitten from a burning building, LaRussa will be hot for him.

Either that or drunk and passed out at a traffic light at 8 am.

Cubs.com says today's game is on ESPN2.

probably moved to ESPN2 so they can show NCAA basketball players taking a dump on ESPN Hefe.

PHIL: I believe you mentioned that Vitters was in attendance for "Camp Colvin" this year.

Am I right?

GOOGLE=friend

CSNChicago.com - Patrick Mooney - ‎Mar 15, 2011‎
This offseason Vitters attended “Camp Colvin,” the strength and conditioning program run at the team's complex in Arizona.

Thanks for your reminder and information. What exactly is "GOOGLE"?

Thanks for your reminder and information. What exactly is "GOOGLE"?

-----------------------------------

It's French for "Poodle".

Actually, it's this number:

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

No that's a googol.

[/joke]

Google is a misspelling of googol.

ROB G: Just wanted to offer my deep appreciation to you for keeping this going and allowing us all to vent, discuss, argue, agree, disagree, opine, and read the Headline Master and Cubs Guru, AZ PHIL.

I know this takes up a lot of your time, so just wanted to acknowledge you for all of your efforts as we look forward to this season of "Project .500" - or .465.

Thanks once again. May your fingers stay limber and speedy.

+1

Rest well, and dream of large women.

well that was a randomly nice thing to say, think that breaks like 5 Internet commandments.

Thanks to Christian for starting it...I just try to keep it operational between the awesomeness that Phil, Dr. Hecht, Mike and Tim post.

Sadly as my company grows and my kids, I just don't have the time I once did, but I'll keep it going as long as possible or try to find someone worthy if I can't.

Believe the 10-year anniversary is sometime this year, I have to check the date (sometime in May or July).

If the Cubs release Carlos Silva, they are on the hook for his 2011 salary less MLB minimum if he signs elsewhere.

But there's a $12 million mutual option for 2012 with a $2 million buyout in Silva's contract.

If the Cubs release Silva and he signs elsewhere this year, can the team who signs him have him for MLB minimum for 2012 with the Cubs on the hook for the rest of that $12 million?

So lets say he's released now and signs with the Padres (for example). The Padres would owe him the $414 K (or whatever) MLB minimum for 2011 and the Cubs pay the rest of his $11.5 million for 2011 (less any $$ coming from Seattle). What happens for 2012 - can the Padres have him for MLB minimum while making the Cubs pay the bulk of the 2012 option? Or who would be responsible for the $2 million buyout for 2012 if he's not wanted back?

Submitted by QuietMan on Sat, 03/26/2011 - 9:32am.
If the Cubs release Carlos Silva, they are on the hook for his 2011 salary less MLB minimum if he signs elsewhere.

But there's a $12 million mutual option for 2012 with a $2 million buyout in Silva's contract.

If the Cubs release Silva and he signs elsewhere this year, can the team who signs him have him for MLB minimum for 2012 with the Cubs on the hook for the rest of that $12 million?

So lets say he's released now and signs with the Padres (for example). The Padres would owe him the $414 K (or whatever) MLB minimum for 2011 and the Cubs pay the rest of his $11.5 million for 2011 (less any $$ coming from Seattle). What happens for 2012 - can the Padres have him for MLB minimum while making the Cubs pay the bulk of the 2012 option? Or who would be responsible for the $2 million buyout for 2012 if he's not wanted back?

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

QUIET MAN: If the Cubs release Silva, they must pay him the balance of his 2011 salary ($11.5M) within 30 days and the $2M 2012 buy-out (in a lump sum) after the conclusion of the season. The 2012 club option is no longer an option once he is released. By releasing Silva, the Cubs are automatically declining their 2012 $12M club option to bring him back and are agreeing in advance to pay him the 2012 buy-out.

The Mariners don't actually pay Silva anything, they just send $5.5M to the Cubs to cover that part of Silva's 2011 salary, but the Cubs cut the $11.5M in payroll checks (paid twice a month beginning with the start of the regular season). But once he is released, the entire 2011 salary must be paid in a lump sum within 30 days.

If another club signs Silva after he is released and he is placed on that club's 40-man roster, the pro-rated 2011 MLB minimum salary that club owes Silva is actually sent to the Cubs twice a month, and that offsets (to a very small extent) what the Cubs had to pay Silva to go away.

As far as next season is concerned, Silva would be a totally free-agent, and having paid Silva his 2012 $2M buy-out post-2011, the Cubs would owe him nothing, but they also would not receive any money from whichever club might sign Silva for 2012.

Thanks AZ Phil!

THIS JUST... IN:CASHNER AND MATEO...SILVA OUT.

(per a Muskat tweet)

#Cubs tell Carlos Silva they'll try to trade him, but if not, would like him to consider Minor Leagues so he can be insurance for team

#Cubs name Andrew Cashner 5th starter, Marcos Mateo to bullpen.

http://twitter.com/CarrieMuskat/

probably means Casey Coleman is out too but I'm not sure about it.

There's a lot of Silva hate.... he pitched better than our #3 starter last year, and Cashner has sort of sucked this spring too. I don't get it.

The funny thing is that if we release Silva, some pitching starved team will pick him up for the minimum. If he pitches at all like he did last year then Hendry will be eating his hat (plus more donuts, etc.).

Cubs will eat most, if not all of the contract.

Who cares about Silva, seriously? From what I've heard, he's a dick in the clubhouse and in one season you never know (like his friend Z) which Carlos is going to show up on his day to start. Is Cashner a better answer as 5th starter? Who f'n knows. If everyone who follows this team (including Hendry) is honest with themselves, then they should know that:

1. This team is not likely to be playing for the World Championship this October (with or without Silva).

2. The future success of this team doesn't center around Silva, Samardzija, Hill, DeWitt or Fukudome. So Hendry can keep them on the roster or get rid of them now, by the trade deadline, or after the season. Having them on the roster NOW should say there is no prospect ready NOW to take their place.

3. I'm all for Cashner, Carpenter, Castillo, B. Jackson, and Vitters being on the 25-man if there's no more for them to learn at Iowa/Tennessee or being with the Cubs will enhance their contributions in 2012 and beyond.

If Hendry or whoever really had/has a plan, then this would be part of their thought process: Decide who are the core of this team and build around them with prospects and trades, and the OCCASIONAL free agent.

if cashner can't handle it there's always maddux-lite...coleman...who wishes he was closer to maddux-lite than coleman, but whatever.

shame j.jackson (supposedly) hasn't regained his velocity yet this spring.

I think I agree with your first sentence. Not so much the bits about Vitters being on the 25 man before he proves he can hit AA pitching.

Amazing. All this hypocritical stuff about "we want the best roster possible and money doesn't come into play". Then they should have released Shark. They can also find a backup catcher who can catch and hit better than Koyie Hill for .30 on the dollar (since Castillo apparently needs more time to improve his defense).

Tribune confirms Muskat...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking...

"If the Cubs can't find a taker for Silva, he has been informed he can start the season at Triple-A Iowa in an effort to pitch his way back onto the Cubs."

Not sure how I feel about Cashner-Silva, but happy to see Mateo make the team. He earned it with 7 IP, 9 Ks, and just 1 ER -- and the fact that he did it while missing time for his mom's funeral makes it even more impressive.

Hendry: "We felt at this time it was better served for Casey Coleman to continue being a starter -- not that he couldn't be a 'pen guy to help down the road, if he needed to. We felt that [it] was best for his development, and for the Cubs, [for him] to keep developing as a starting pitcher."

Rotation: Dempster, Z, Garza, Wells, Cashner

Bullpen: Marmol, Wood, Marshall, Grabow, Samardzija, Mateo, Russell

Starters: Soto, Pena, Baker or Barney, Castro, Ramirez, Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome or Colvin

Bench: Colvin or Fukudome, Hill, DeWitt, Baker or Barney, Johnson

On days Colvin and Baker are on the bench, the bench looks OK. But on days when Colvin and Baker start, the bench looks extremely weak.

And we have no long reliever... is it Russel?

not to mention here's hoping to lots of skipping Cashner, he shouldn't pitch more than 150 innings this year imo.

I guess Russell or Samardzija is the long relief, seems you can easily send down Russell or Mateo and call up Coleman if the bullpen gets burned over a few days.

At that pace he's been going, he'll need 40 starts to pitch 150 innings.

I guess they could do what you suggest, but what if you tire out all your short relievers and then need Coleman to actually come in and short relieve? Seems like a bad plan.

Stevens too and Wellemeyer could take the long relief role if his hip issue clears up.

just saying there's options

Don't they still have several interchangeable rh rp's at Iowa? They did over the last 1-2 years, that seemed like the single strongest position of depth for us in the minors.

FYI: Sullivan asked and answered,

"The Cubs won’t have a long man in the pen to start the season. Quade said he’s counting on Jeff Samardzija, James Russell and Mateo to be able to go two innings, while Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall and John Grabow will basically be one-inning relievers."

well if you're trading a possible HR for a much likelier out, sure, but otherwise Colvin and Fukudome are about the same .800 OPS guy, just get there in different ways.

Cubs vs Rangers for Sat: (also CM twitter)

LF Johnson, SS Barney, CF Byrd, C Soto, 1B Pena, 3B Marquez Smith, RF Fuke, 2B DeWitt, P Cashner

Silva tells Sully there's no chance of him reporting to Iowa, and that new pitching coach Mark Riggans wasn't up front with him about how they intended to use him.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/03/cubs-wi...

I don't know about the second part, he did start in ST and pitched poorly. Still, if this were Dempster having an awful spring nobody would be considering releasing him.

What a cheesedick! This should be what happens when you come to camp completely out of shape, and drastically overpaid!

True, but seems like a strange move. He's getting big bucks this year, you aren't going to contend anyway, just give him a chance and if he stinks the place up then cut him loose.

Or keep him around as a long man - who is that going to be anyway, or are all our starters going to not get hurt and go 6 innings minimum for 162 games?

If Carpenter is a reliever, Archer is a Ray and Jackson is toast, Casey Coleman is now the best our fine minor league system can produce to be our 6th starter.

Robert Redford throwing out the first pitch on opening day. Better stock up on replacement light bulbs for the field lighting.

If Hendry is offered tips on future horse racing winners from Redford, he should probably just ignore it.

Hmmm. I am happy to let one of the young pitchers a chance to pitch in the Bigs. AND, I just didn't think Hendry would have the balls to do this. Levine called this today on his show.

Statistically, one would have to think that there is no way in hell Silva would have replicated his performance from first-half of last year. It was an aberration.

But, I suppose they could have stashed Cash in the minors and then cut Silva when he couldn't pitch anymore.

Who's Jeeovanni Sato, and what was Quade doing wandering around on the field in the middle of the inning?

It's taken a bit of a while, but it looks like Quade has figured out who our best offensive player is, at least.

espn announce crew was too busy opening candy wrappers to explain what the hell was going on with the quade on field thing. i was on the phone so i missed that.

I don't think they knew... they weren't clear on the rule, but at some point someone seemed to say in the background that they had the choice of Sac fly or, "hit by pitch"... I just hope that Quade wasn't actually asking Byrd if he wanted the RBI.

I am not a fan of live K zone... how come the announcers don't know that you can't really represent a cube like structure such as the strike zone with a 2 dimensional outline anyway?

There was catcher interference on the play. The PBP team thought that Quade was given the option to put RJ back on third, and Byrd was given 1st.

So, 1st an third, no outs, and the run was taken off the board. It worked out as Soto hit a double and they ended up scoring 2 runs in the inning.

sweet...thnx.

Right? Even if you never heard his name before, how do you screw up the pronunciation?

And what the heck happened with Byrd's sac fly? Was that really called catcher's interference?

That was the call. On the slow mo replay you could see a little something flying off of the glove or the bat, maybe that had something to do with the blown call.

2 people in parachat...woo...getting crowded.

way to celebrate getting that #5 slot, cashner.

1 out in the 1st, 4 runs in.

Let's hope Cashner is not needed until June.

He looks like shit today.

He didn't look like shit in the next four innings. He's changeup was great. He threw a nice two seamer a couple times, and the slider actually slid a few times.

Give the kid a chance. Don't be like the normal Cub fan: The world will end after this pitch.!

bruce levine sounds like such a weenie.

Imagine if Josh Hamilton had got it together with the Rays...

scary thing is the guy had a mid 90s fastball in highschool and TB knew they wanted him for a batter.

If you are interested in Silva's point of view, Sullivan has it:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking...

"Say what you've got to say and say it," he said. "Don't say people are competing for a spot. Because it wasn't true. Nobody was competing for a spot. They already had their rotation done. It was very clear."

---

17.1 ip - 32 h - 2 bb - 6 k - 10.90 era

up until today he was 5th overall in IP and he had to leave early more than a few times

I think he must have a short memory or something. His results were pretty good his last start, so I guess he figures that's all that counts. Cashner went into today's start with more walks than K's in his "official" innings, so Silva sort of has a point.

it seems he's most upset by his final start, believing/knowing it was already pre-determined he wasn't gonna be a cub.

still...there was a competition, imo...he just failed out a bit early.

Which one of these seems like it doesn't belong with the others:

Albert Pujols
Ryan Braun
Joey Votto
Marlin Fucking Bryd

"Sure, I cannot hit for the power or get on base like Soto can, but Quade says I get to hit third!"

Do the Cubs have a player on the roster that belongs with those three guys?

in AAA, yes...bobby f'n scales

No, but Soto and Ramirez are both a lot closer than Marlon Byrd. Heck, I might rather give those PAs to Colvin.

I always thought ARam made more sense as a number 3 hitter over DLee the last few years. He makes more contact than DLee did.

As for this year? We're screwed. ARam probably should hit 3rd, but Soto would also be a good choice. Byrd should probably hit 2nd or 7th in most NL lineups. On our team it wouldn't be a horrible thing to have him lead off if they're so intent on Castro hitting 2nd.

Something like

Byrd/Castro/ARam/Soto/Colvin/Sori/CPena/Baker

Flip flop Sori and Pena at will, they both make too little contact to be in the 4th spot. 5th is the highest either should hit.

No.

Byrd is your average B-player. The fact that he looks so good on the Cubs says more about the Cubs than it does Marlon Byrd. And the Cubs farm system is bullshit, so don't expect to get this kind of talent in-house. And most teams aren't interested in trading this kind of talent or letting it go to free agency... meh.

The really crappy part of all this was that Soriano was supposed to be that player with all the pizazz. He's, obviously, turned out to be a $8 million/per player with a $18 million/per contract.

'Everyone' was pissed that Silva was certain to make it as the 5th starter, because Hendry didn't have the balls to put in someone better. Now that he's been replaced, people are pissed for the opposite reason. Silva has proven himself to be a behavioral problem with his on-field pre-fucking-season blowup and with his recent statements. I'm glad the Cubs (including last year with Z) have decided they're no longer putting up with this shit. He also showed up out of shape (knowing he was competing for a spot) and sucked in ST. Of all the things Silva could have done to make the team, he's done none of them. The Cubs aren't going anywhere this year, so I'm glad some young guys get the experience as they are the future, while Silva is not. I'm sure someone will take him, but he's not helping our trade chances with his behavior.

It's just the Hendry MO of not knowing how to build value and not really understanding how to construct a roster again and again. By saying "Carlos Silva is going to be in the pen", he gives the Cubs a long man, and he creates the impression that the Cubs still think he can be of value. By doing his "burn notice", he just fucks himself. The bullpen has no long man, there's plenty of guys who pitched shitty in ST on the team, and now he can't even get a team to pay $1 million of a guy's salary who was pretty solid last year.

It's just like he says "How can I fuck this up the worst possible way? OK, let's do that."

Unfortunately, it won't be until Casey Coleman makes his 12th start this year for the Cubs, while a motivated Silva is going Bob Tewksbury on us somewhere when Hendry will realize "Oh, I am a dumb fuck, I could have had that guy."

Build some value for Carlos Silva? Yeah, I'm sure everyone doesn't already know what he has to offer.

.

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