Mighty Casey Has Struck Out 7 & Walked but 2

Welington Castillo was penciled in at DH today for the I-Cubs but he got his catching in before the game by lunging about to stop all the ceremonial first pitches from pint-sized birthday boys and lame-armed luminaries. The only one that got past him was flung by a mascot creature from some non-profit.org.

From atop the left-field wall beckoned the giant glove that homers sometimes land in, wiggling against its moorings in the breeze that slightly relieved the generally welcome heat of summer. The thing's almost as big as the one sported by Tony Campana.

The game began and Casey Coleman got ahead of the first hitter 0-2. Seven pitches later, he'd walked him. Here, I thought, we go again. But I was wrong. Coleman proceeded to retire the next 15 in a row, seven of them on strikes, including the side in a dazzling 5th. Ranging from the high 70's to the low 90's he mixed up his pitches and the erstwhile Omaha Royals, now saddled with the too contemporary nickname of Storm Chasers [sporting teams needn't be tagged with both a first and a last name in addition to their locale ID].

This was a performance to make one believe that Coleman may yet become a solid big league starter, especially given that he was facing the first place team in the division, the top farm club in the organization that many have rated as being stocked with the best minor league talent in the game, in a league not known for its enhanced pitching conditions and stats.

He was staked to a 1-0 lead almost immediately in the bottom of the 1st after Fernando Perez bunted the first pitch leading off and wound up with a little league triple when the lunging pitcher shoveled the ball into the Omaha bullpen.

Coleman's opposite number was Jeff Suppan, reduced now to the role of Triple A innings eater. Suppan threw up on himself in a couple of early frames as the I-Cubs built a seemingly insurmountable lead behind Coleman. The spell was broken when #8 hitter Lance Zawadski [what, a Polish playboy?] blooped a double just fair down the left-field line leading off the 6th. This being the minor leagues, Coleman wasn't even accorded a symapthetic ovation to soothe the loss of his no-no. People were generally oblivious. Perhaps disappointed, Coleman walked the next hitter and eventually was touched for a pair of runs, only one of them earned, in his last inning of work. Zawadski's well-aimed badminton serve was the only hit marring Coleman's line for the day.

Meanwhile Suppan kept eating and got in a groove, retiring nine straight after Bryan LaHair, who's amassing Hoffpauiresque numbers, belted a three-run homer to max out the Iowa lead at 8-0.

Jeff [Dead Man Walking] Stevens coughed up a four-spot in the 7th in first relief of Coleman and big Kila Ka'aihue tied it up with a two-run homer in the 8th off of John Gaub in a lefty/lefty match-up before the I-Cubs walked off with the win an inning later on Matt Camp's run-scoring single.

But back to Coleman's opposition. Eric Hosmer, he of the anagrammatic headlines, has already swapped spots on the organizational flow chart with Ka'aihue and waits now at the major league level for the arrival of his playmates from the farm. The first one to join him may be third baseman Mike Moustakas whom the Royals tabbed one spot ahead of the Cubs' Josh Vitters in the '07 draft. It's fair to say that Moustakas is on a faster track than Vitters. His personal highlight today was a sparkling dive to his left from a drawn-in position to turn Perez's second at-bat into a fielder's choice at 2nd. Check out his solid offensive numbers if you care to. The kid's a player.

Omaha second baseman Johnny Giavotella is probably Kansas City bound as well. Right fielder Jarrod Dyson swiped a pair of bases and reminds of both Delino Deshields and Willie McGee. And Ka'aihue is big and agile around the bag at first. He draws a lot of walks at the plate but has blown his chance in Kansas City. Surely he could be had and is worth another look from a different team. When Omaha leaves town Round Rock and Chris Davis will arrive. He's another corner infielder who could conceivably draw some Cub interest come the latter part of July.

The Royals, er, Chasers, also fielded DH Clint Robinson who won the triple crown in the Texas League last year and Lorenzo Cain in CF who's only in Omaha so he can play daily. On the pitching side ex-Chaser Danny Duffy is one of eight, at last count, rookies already on the KC roster and Mike Montgomery too is considered can't miss.

I wonder how many of the guys I saw today will be seen again when I chug three hours south to see the C-Cubs in Kansas City in a couple of weeks.

By the way, how'd they do today? I heard they were leading into the 9th... 

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"By the way, how'd they do today? I heard they were leading into the 9th... "

Shut up, Mike!

(just kidding) :)

There are so many better names for the Omaha team.
How about the Omaha Steaks?
The Crown Royals?
The Godfathers?... Godfather Pizza is headquartered there.
The Woodmen. ...a fraternal order also HQ'd in Omaha.

Omaha Corn
Omaha Wheat
Omaha Grain

Omaha Wild Kingdom

slaughterhouse nine...

quite a crap storm this morning in the chicago press...haugh in the trib & telander in the sun-times are recommended reading...

recommended reading? - not a big fan of either - their idea of sports reporting makes Skip Bayless and Jay Mariotti seem like rocket scientists.

disagree but wasn't recommending them generally; just today in particular...nothing/nobody could make mariotti pass for a rocket scientist...

btw, gonna be a guest on the i-cub pregame radio tonight in desperate attempt to hype my book, STUBS, w/ the father's day angle...really, it would make a suitable dad's day token & if you order now @ amazon you'll have it in plenty of time to peruse before giving it away!

Mike, you can get more attention for your book if you rip the Cubs! LOL.

Brenley rips Cubs on WSCR

http://twitter.com/PWSullivan/status/77753515...

If I remember correctly it's the same term he used on Cubs when Z imploded in dugout last year.

Me thinks BB smells blood in the dug out.

I don't know if you happened to be watching, but fairly recently Len&Bob had Tom Ricketts in the booth and in between softballs lobbed by Worthless Len, Brenley actually dared to disagree with Ricketts. Talk about pregnant pauses after that happened!

Do you remember what was said?

for future reference, delete the /#! from twitter url's and it will still work and link automatically.

Full Brenly quotes (from today's radio appearance):

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/sports/c...

☑ Move the AAA Iowa Cubs to Chicago and have them play at old Wrigley Field [done! T.R.]

☠ Fire Hendry, Fleita, and Q-Ball

♫ Name Carlos Zambrano Team Captain!

☎ Call Ryno!

.....

If the Cubs end up becoming sellers and "go young" later in the season, I would like to see Oneri Fleita named manager, or at least interim manager.

Fleita has a lot of the same personality traits as Dallas Green, kind of blunt and no bullshit. I've seen him stand in the observation tower at Fitch Park between the four fields and pull players off the field when he observed inexcusable mental mistakes or vioations of team rules, and he's not afraid to be the "bad cop" to the field manager's "good cop."

I don't know if he would even take the job if it was offered to him, but Fleita does have some minor league managerial experience (three seasons) in the Orioles and Cubs organizations, was an Area Scout, National Cross-Checker, and Director of Latin American Operations for the Cubs after that, before becoming the Cubs Player Development Director (in charge of the Cubs minor league operations) in 2001. He has been VP-Player Personnel Director since 2007 (which places him over both the Player Development and Scouting departments), so nobody in the organization knows more about the Cubs system and the players in the system than he does.

A native of Miami, Fleita played for Coach Jim Hendry at Creighton University back in the 1980's (1B Fleita was named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year in 1988) before playing minor league ball in the Orioles organizarion.

He is bi-lingual and is the guy behind the upgrades (both extent and proposed) in the Cubs Dominican Academy operations (including establishment of a second Cubs DSL team and the post-season Dominican Instructional League), and I am sure that he is justfiably proud of the improvements in the Cubs Player Developmet System over the past few years. (Baseball America was set to rank the Cubs as having the #2 minor league system--behind only the KC Royals--in baseball pre-2011, before the Garza trade set them back.

But again, the thing about Fleita is that he is rather blunt, and so I'm not sure that he and Alfonso Soriano (for example) would get along too well or for very long.

He also might not want the job.

AZ Phil -

While you're on the subject, sort of, do you know if Wilken has anything to do with amateur scouting outside of US/Canada? We were talking about something the other day and it's not really clear who runs the scouting for Asia and Central/South America. How does the decision making process go with regards to offering those free agents a contract?

Submitted by The Real Neal on Mon, 06/06/2011 - 11:08am.
AZ Phil -

While you're on the subject, sort of, do you know if Wilken has anything to do with amateur scouting outside of US/Canada? We were talking about something the other day and it's not really clear who runs the scouting for Asia and Central/South America. How does the decision making process go with regards to offering those free agents a contract?

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

REAL NEAL: Tim Wilken is Scouting Director (Amateur and Professional), but he is not involved with International Scouting.

Paul Weaver has been in charge of International Scouting (Pacific Rim, Latin America, and Europe) since 2008, and he reports directly to Oneri Fleita.

While Weaver reports to Fleita (just like Fleita technically reports to Hendry), Weaver (like Fleita) has a lot of autonomy to do what he does and he decides how to spend his budget and who to sign, although I'm sure Fleita has to "sign off" on the larger signing bonuses.

Jose Serra (Dominican Republic Coordinator), Hector Ortega (Venezuela Coordinator), and Steve Wilson (Pacific Rim Coordinator) report directly to Weaver, and then various local scouts report directly to Serra, Ortega, or Wilson.

Actually Steve Wilson is in charge of all of the Cubs amateur scouts anywhere in the world except the U.S. and Canada, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela. Wilson lives in Taiwan (he is married to a Taiwanese woman) and scouts Taiwan himself, but local scouts based in South Korea (Aaron Tassano), Australia (Larry Home and Brent Phelan), Mexico (Raul Cano), and Europe (Bill Holmberg) all report directly to Wilson. And Home and Phelan also work as instructors at the MLB Australian Academy, and Holmberg is an instructor at the MLB European Academy in Italy. (Holmberg signed Alessandro Maestri, Dwayne Kemp, and Alberto Mineo).

Awesome, thanks much Phil.

Flagged!

So that means Tim Wilken is responsible for:

Colvin
Cashner
McNutt
Barney
Jackson

And no other actual prospects in 6 years?

Samarardiaj and Szczur, Vitters, Flaherty, LeMayWho, Guyer, Russell, M Smith, J Harrison, Chris Carpenter, Campana, Coleman (I guess), Whitenack, Rusin, Kirk, Gibbs, and a few others depending on how most would define "prospect".

Curious about that myself?

AZ Phil,

Just curious what YOU'RE opinion is on the performance of some Cubs upper brass?

Wilken
Hendry
Quade
Crane Kenny

The Zambrano-hating Chicago sports media are looking like idiots in this poll

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

That's awesome.

He's pitching good, don't know how you can argue with that.

well,um, i don't like zombie either...he can be interesting in the same way a street corner lunatic can, but he is not the stuff championship teams are made of...

Carlos Zambrano is one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He is actually very down-to-earth and self-deprecating, and he won't pull a "major league" on you if you talk to him.

During Spring Training he is often seen at Fitch Park with the Cubs minor leaguers, talking to them, giving them support, taking batting practice with them, and treating them like brothers.

While he quite obviously wears his emotions on his sleeve, it's because he actually really truly does care about winning (maybe too much to be a Cub), and I would venture to say that he loves playing for the Cubs every bit as much as Kerry Wood does. "Z" does bleed Cubbie blue.

all to the good, but bottom line is none of those traits warrant the salary he gets unless they are in addition to 'ace' production...

Not Z's fault that Hendry gave him that contract. The contract was compounded by the fact that Z could have been resigned the previous season for a reported 5/55 number. Hendry took him down to free agency and bid against himself. (standard operating procedure from him)

Not hendry's fault either, he was on plane when contract was signed .

Probably need to search the TCR archives. Best link I can find was this one.

http://www.sportsfrog.com/2007/04/03/cubs-fan...

Gist is that the Cubs screwed themselves by having terrible timing on when to ink an extension. (par for course)

so you read that and decided it was Hendry's fault that Trib told him to not finalize the earlier deal?

anyway, my recollection was they had something in place and was put on hold for Zell to buy the team. I don't recall a 5/55 number myself though.

Not saying it was 100% on Hendry. Just saying the Cubs were stupid to not sign the under market extension for Z.

They compounded the mistake by overpaying him to sign that extension. Look back at the archives and you will see that many of us thought the dollars were excessive.

well people think all kinds of stupid stuff...but my memory gets fuzzier as time goes on, but didn't Gil Meche sign 5/55 and Schmidt 3/47 in the 2006-2007 offseason?

What did you think a 27-year old FA Zambrano would get in the open market?

Schmidt was the infamous 3/44 and Meche got the 5/55 the same offseason that we signed Lilly and Marquis.

The discount with Zambrano was that he wouldn't have been a free agent until after 2008. So we got a discount on the original proposed extension because he was still almost 2 years from FA.

Instead we waited until he was 4 months from Free Agency and basically payed upper market for him.

Not surprising since we pay market plus for EVERYBODY that signs a Cubs contract.

Yeah, those DeRosa and Wood deals really hounded us.

Wood got 3/32.5 in 2003-2004 offseason for about 220 innings of work.

So you think in the 2010-2011 off-season Wood couldn't have gotten what we're paying him with anyone else?

He signed a "personal services" contract with Ricketts. So we don't really know the full scope of what he's actually going to earn?

Schmidt's deal ended up being 3/47 with Dodgers.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2007/08/cubs-si...

says Z had a 5/80 deal in April, signed deal in August and was a FA in 2 months, speculates that he would get near $20M in open market.

TCR archives are missing from that point in time.

wasn't oswalt the barometer @ time of zombie's extension?

The difference was another calender year. One year closer to Z being an open market FA.

5/73 and didn't have to pay state taxes

I'm pretty sure Z was on both NY teams radar that off season.

the cubs are gonna make some young men around the country very proud in the next couple days...imagine being conscripted into the french foreign legion!

Kudos for Z having the balls to say what everyone is thinking.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

Matt Barnes, RHP UConn

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/201...

Bubba Starling

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110...

Francisco Lindor, SS

Frank Piliere is doing an all-day live chat

http://sbb.scout.com/2/1077197.html

only Cub related nugget I found was saying Nats may take Hultzen if he drops leaving it open for Cubs to get Starling.

I keep on flip-flopping on Starling and Lindor... I can see the desire to sign a guy who may have "superstar" talent (not sure if Lindor qualifies there), but top 3rd of the first round and an over-slot signing bonus, it just makes no sense to me to sigh a hitter who can't actually hit.

Hopefully the Nats and Marlins save us from ourselves on those kids, but it sure seems like the Cubs are determined to take a high schooler, despite the fact that they're all about to be out on their ass.

Keith Law has Cubs taking Javier Baez.

from Piliere's chat..

I still believe it will be Mahtook, Archie, Springer, or Bubba. Everyone I talk to seems to be guessing though.

Even those four names are all over the board... I guess you can't criticize them for not taking they guy they like the best.

?: if Bradley and Starling are off the board, who do Cubs take?

Piliere: I'll say Mahtook.

Rosenthal weighs in

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/chicago-cu...

The worst thing about the Cubs? You can’t even blow them up.

Al Alburquerque, the guy traded for Jeff Baker and released by Rockies and then picked up by Tigers

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/a/a...

35 K in 19.2 IP, 3-1 with a 2.75 ERA for Tigres so far this year as a reliever

If there is one thing this organization develops, its relief pitchers. Heck our last 2 first round picks were used to bring in relievers.

I saw him pitch yesterday against Sox, looked good.
He's had injury issues though, but think of the money Ricketts is saving on that name on a jersey.

Serra signed him. He'll turn 25 in a few days. Was just a kid with the Cubs.
I know why Hendry let him get away....he likes to toss away minor league pitching to make deals happen....but is it just me or do the Rockies seem to undervalue players they get from the Cubs?

according to Muskat and Miles on twitter

Big Z's on the field, taking part in #Cubs early BP at Great American Ball Park. He's talking to Marmol in RF corner. Looks amicable

and

All indications are Quade will handle Z discussion in Cincy and that no suspension is forthcoming.

SUSPENSION? If the Cubs/Quade even thought about suspending Z they should be fired on the spot.

I'm gonna back Z on this one.
The so-called "sports journalist" in Chicago can eat a bag of dicks. Apparently, if you upset them,they call for your head.
Zambrano at least cares and makes an effort to win, which is more than I can say about A-Ram, SorryAno, and Dumpster. Those guys seem to be content with their mediocrity. A-Ram especially pisses me off. He slinks up to the plate, pops out, never runs it out (worse, he doesn't get reprimanded for it), and slinks back to the dugout. These guys don't give a shit and it shows. I don't see Quade punishing the vets.
Marc Cuban should not have gotten shot down. Shame on MLB for whispering IRS to him.

so he gets points for being the most passionate of a group of under-performing, overpaid vets? high praise there...

No. I am giving him brownie points for being honest. The Cubs are a mess and he refuses to say the BS company line. Yes we all should be honest. I don't think Z is "underperforming." The Cubs are/were fools to at anytime, consider him a #1 or #2 starter.
You're not going to give him ANY credit anyway; you don't like the guy. BTW, most people in professional sports are overpaid, so save that. My point there is that some managers (Bobby Cox, Mike Soscia), wouldn't tolerate the obvious lack of execution.

nor would they tolerate z's clubhouse/dugout bs!

Muskat says Maine most likely to get sent to Iowa to make room for Garzanzo bean

Fukudome RF, Barney 2B, Castro SS, Peña 1B, Ramirez 3B, DeWitt LF, Soto C, Colvin CF, Garza P

sticking with Colvin so far at least, 1/15 with a BB and 5 K's since returning

Yeah, I seem to remember someone saying that he looks like his timing is off...

His timing is off...

I wonder if there isn't a better place for DeWitt's singles to be, but I guess not. Took Quade a 3 months and a week, but he finally figured out it's OK to alternate LH and RH hitters.

"1/15 with a BB and 5 K's since returning"

Nah, oh-for-fifteen (now oh-for-nineteen). If Colvin had gotten his first hit since April 28th, I would remember.

My bad, must have looked at the wrong column

Bruce Levine jumps on the "Zambrano Must Go" bandwagon.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

Levine is a tool.

Well now we know where hendry stands on it, hendry must not be happy with z suggesting this isn't just because of injuries. He'll probably be traded within the month.

And Levine is HEndry's mouth piece and apologist.

He was the one that backed Hendry's "I was on a plane" when Soriano signed bs.

And Levine is Hendry's mouth piece and apologist.

isn't that what I just wrote?

I think he's the one that put it out there on Soriano, then upped the ante recently from, he was on a plane when they finalized the deal and tacked on an extra year or two, to Hendry didn't even want to do the deal.

I believe Kaplan wrote something similar, maybe they were all at the same dinner.

And don't get me wrong, some of it sounds plausible, Hendry could very well have wanted Soriano, but only at 5-6 years. It would also explain why he still has a job if there are those verifying that story (and others) to the Ricketts.

What plane was he on when they signed Bradley, Aaron Miles, Grabow and gave Smarninja his deal?

/he was hitting off a tee

Or Neifi, Glendon, Eyre, Howry and Jack Jones?

That was a whole winters worth of Market setting deals done by the Hendry/McFail braintrust.

what market did the JJ, Neifi and Rusch deals set?

The Jack Jones deal set the market for the average RF market with Encarnacion, Burnitz and Preston Wilson.

Or Dempster, Lilly, ARam, DLee, DeRosa... all of which were much more singificant positives than any of those guys were negatives.

Hendy definitely has his share of bad moves, but he has his share of good moves as well.

Don't get me wrong - I don't love Hendry. I just don't find him to be awful. Or good. Just mediocre.

Even Dempster, Aram and the DLee deals ended up being mediocre. Though he did find some value with them early on. The last contract of all 3 guys has been largely marginal.

Any guy who stays on the job for 10 years is going to have a couple of winning deals. I just think Hendry has batted less than average over the course of his tenure.

I would hardly call Dempster's deal mediocre, despite this year's struggles.

And any GM in baseball would have given ARam that deal.

The only reason DLee's deal was mediocre was because he got hurt. While no one ever thought he would repeat his monster year, if he doesn't hurt his wrist he would have been much more than mediocre. No GM can control for freak injuries.

Most of the deals that Hendry has missed on were lesser players. Yes, Soriano was a terrible deal. And Zambrano was pretty bad too, though no one really expected him to pitch as poorly as he did, and I would argue that any GM in the league would have given Z that deal as well.

Bradley was bad, but I liked the risk taking when it happened. Fukudome is overpaid, but underrated.

The rest are misses around the edges.

"And any GM in baseball would have given ARam that deal."

Including the opt out in the middle of it?

to get him at 5/75 at the time?

probably

4/52 for Ryan Dempster is anything but mediocre? I'd have rather him walked and us had gotten the comp picks.

Levine is a Weiner. I haven't been able to stomach "straight shooter Jim" since that bald-faced lie.

"Levine is a Weiner"

Timely!!!
Hopefully there are no shirtless photos forthcoming.

well, say what you will about the press corps, fact is their employers are getting more for their $ than the ricketts are...

And finally the ghosts of Ron Santo and Don Young are called upon

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/sports/c...

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