All Quiet on the Cubs Front

These few weeks before spring training starts is about as dull as it gets around these parts. We're all still waiting on Cespedes, but with Jedstein and their cone of silence, it's not like we can expect many leaks. There's also the case of the musical 40-man roster chairs with the Cubs having to drop someone once they add Gerardo Concepcion. Vegas money should be on Andy Sonnastine with Marcus Mateo and his lack of options a strong second. And the issue of compensation for both Theo and Jed still looms with no foreseeable end in sight.

I've got my annual prospect list-mania post coming up for Monday which always includes my delusional top 16 which should be good for laugh. It doesn't appear our pal Arizona Phil put up a list this year unfortunately, so you'll have to get your prospect fix from the national guys.

Speaking of Arizona, I'm sure most of you know about "Boys of Spring", the site run by the spring training P.A. announcer Tim Sheridan. While we anxiously await Arizona Phil's wonderfully detailed posts from camp, that can hold you over with pretty pictures. From what I can encode from his posts so far, the following have showed up at Arizona: Justin Bour, Zeke DeVoss, Dustin Geiger, Josh Vitters, Jim Adduci, Matt Cerda, Tony Campana, Dave Sappelt, Jeff Samardzija, David DeJesus, Darwin Barney, Matt Garza, Dale Sveum and Dave McKay. I'm sure there are others, but those seem to be the ones mentioned. He did a little paraphrasing from a pep talk Sveum was giving the kids earlier last week.

  • There will be no excuses for not doing something the right way.
  • Theo Epstein is one of the smartest people he's ever been around, and that Theo will not accept mediocrity, not from himself, not from anyone.
  • Making excuses is caused by your own insecurities and lack of preparation.
  • So many games are won by one run and the Cubs will prepare and do all the little things the right way in order to be the team that wins those close games.

  • He also told the guys they are being given the greatest opportunity in all of sports, to be the players who win it all after 103 years.

The words sound nice, let's see if he backs it up with some Soriano benching when he glides into 2nd base after a drive to right center that he gawked at.

Back to Cespedes, George Ofman whom rivals Phil Rogers in bad scoops, did tweet that someone has made a bigger offer for the Cuban outfielder than the Marlins and we obviously know the Cubs interest. Time will tell...

I leave you with these words from the Cubs Ivy League leader.

"I don't agree with the word 'rebuilding' ever," he said. "Because, for one thing, it denotes that you're building something that already existed, but that's not how baseball works. You're constantly growing and moving onto the next iteration of the club, so I think building is the appropriate [word] -- sure we're building in Chicago, but we went through some building phases here. The art of it is trying to do it in a way where nobody notices. When you're winning 95 games a year and getting into the playoffs, then people don't notice that we've integrated a lot of this talent and we've made a lot of short-term sacrifices for long-term stability. I think there were a lot of times when we were able to pull that off here [in Boston], there were a lot of times that we failed as well."

Until Monday...

Comments

Andy Sisco signed with Dodgers, Mitch Atkins with Nationals.

and the Rich Harden shoulder surgery news...

Yahoo fantasy baseball is open.

Hoyer on...

Marmol:"I don't think what happened last year is acceptable," Hoyer said Thursday on "The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on ESPN 1000. "I think there's nothing more demoralizing to a baseball team than to win for 2:45 and then lose in the last 10. I think that happened a lot last year.

"If you look back, this guy has had some dominant years. ... Everyone said the slider wasn't quite the same last. Hopefully there are some mechanical things we can do to get that back. Blowing 10 saves isn't acceptable, but we're not wiling to say he can't get back to where he was before."

Soriano (expecting him to be with team to start the year):
The power was there last year, the RBIs were there. Obviously it really comes down to defense and we're hoping with some better conditioning and some better health, that he can be a little better out there.

Garza:
"He's a great pitcher and a guy we're going to talk to him about being part of our future, for sure. We need more guys like Matt, not less, and if we can work something out we'll certainly have those discussions."

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

http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/756...

I listened to the interview live locally in the car. It was nice to hear one of the new suits. What Hoy also stated about Sori was that not only was it unlikely that he would NOT be with the team - he was "working hard" during the off-season to try to get on base more apparently. How does one do that at his age exactly?

As it stands, we all know that there ain't a lot of run producers on the current roster. So if he has another .276 obp year, its gonna be interesting to find out if the team can achieve 70 wins.

To their credit, the hosts on WMVP (one a lifetime season tix holder) asked some decent questions I think, if you check ROB G's links.

"he was "working hard" during the off-season to try to get on base more apparently. How does one do that at his age exactly?"

if people knew how to do that at any age you'd have a highly paid batting coach with a job for decades.

i imagine he'll take 2 foot widths off the top of the box rather than 1... =p

Was he still using that 10 ton bat last year? I can't remember. If so, wouldn't it help a bit to go a little lighter? I guess it won't help his on base ratio but, come on, dude, you're 36. Let it go. And maybe you won't think you have to start your swing as soon as the pitcher begins his windup.

yeah, still using a huge bat.

Lighter bat could absolutely help, if he'd actually make adjustments. Lighter bat means quicker swing means a longer time to assess the quality of the pitch.

If he's still using the heavy bat, he's beyond help.

The Soriano bats for sale on EBay are 35" and only 33 ounces.

Rangers: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Alfonso-Soriano-Game-...

Cubs: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Chicago-Cubs-Signed-G...

Yeah, but those are the giveaway bats for kids on bat day.

he was "working hard" during the off-season to try to get on base more apparently.

A lighter bat and some LASIK surgery is about all I can think of...maybe an elbow pad so he can stand on top of the plate and get plunked.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/756...

organizational meetings next Wed/Thurs...adorable story of Hoyer driving to Mesa so he can take his golden retriever with him.

Did he put the dog on the top of his car?

Aunt Edna was on top of car, dog was in back

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LrFEbxWzXI&fe...

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

Signed: RHP Steven Maxwell (37), LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith
Released: RHP Steven Maxwell, RHP Santo Rodriguez

The Cubs signed 37th-round Texas Christian senior Steven Maxwell on Feb. 2, then released him a day later.

Probably failed a physical or a drug test. Why else?

Bad breath?

Steven Maxwell was the Cubs 37th round selection in the 2011 Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft). and because he was a college senior with no eligibility left, he remained on the Cubs Negotiation List past the 8/15 deadline, and would have remained on the list through May 27, 2012 (one week prior to the 2012 Rule 4 Draft) if he had not signed.

In true Bluto Animal House fashion, Maxwell actually spent six years at TCU, getting an academic redshirt in his freshman season (2006) and a medical redshirt in 2008 when he underwent TJS. (He is now 24 years old).

He had an outstanding year in 2010 while a member of the Horned Frogs College World Series squad, and was named Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year and a 2nd team All-American. He was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 12th round of the 2010 Rule 4 Draft but did not sign.

He opted to return to school and pitched for the Frogs again this past season (2011), but struggled off & on with a sore arm, causing his draft value to plummet. So I suspect he failed his physical and had his contract voided.

Would you guys consider using coke, pot, booze etc....would you consider those PED's?
Saw this discussion on boo-yah.com....just can't believe that these are considered PED's.

I am always amazed at those guys that can show up and play when they're either still drunk or hungover.

Those soft tossers and splitfinger guys always throw better when they're hungover because they aren't overthrowing. Aside from that, I cannot understand how anybody, especially a hitter, can play when he's drunk. Does not make sense to me.

"Party tonight, gym tomorrow."

rinse and repeat. it'd be nice to be 20-something and invincible again.

Oil Can Boyd, Doc Gooden, and Stawberry did alright with the nose candy. I can't see booze being very helpful. I could see weed being advantageous for a DH, but little else.

Booze was good for David Wells. I can see all those things being good for one player or another

There's still a lot of guys in the show older than me and I can't remember how my appliances work when I'm hungover. Forget trying to figure out what some guy is looking for on a 2-2 pitch.

Jon Heyman obviously paying attention to Theo this offseason-

JonHeymanCBS #brewers, #cubs, #astros are all good fits for edgar renteria, who has something left and will play in 2012

renteria is still a FA? damn.

fukudome, dlee, damon, j.vazquez, ibanez, jd drew (rumored to be considering retirement), m.gonzalez, j.izzy, m.ordonez still looking a job.

j.vazquez kinda surprised me...up/down how people feel about him, but he finished very strong.

Vazquez may be retiring, I would imagine that might limit interest.

Lee was pulling a Jermaine Dye allegedly, telling teams he'd only play for a certain amount of money that he isn't going to get apparently.

J.D. Drew recovering from injury, asking for too much money, or just tired of the game?

sam fuld story on mlb network about his diabetes (t1 since age 10).

he said one of the first things he did when he was called up to the cubs was talk to santo. santo was ecstatic and excited about another player with t1 diabetes playing the majors.

tag in twitter is good for a laugh

https://twitter.com/search/%23ThinnestSportsB...

My contributions:
The Definitive Guide to Alfonso Soriano's Hustle Plays #ThinnestSportsBooks
Protecting the Quarterback by Mike Martz #ThinnestSportsBooks
The Importance of OBP by Jim Hendry #ThinnestSportsBooks
Protecting Young Pitchers by Dusty Baker #ThinnestSportsBooks

too easy....

baker catches a lot of hell for aggregating pitchers and treating them like they're all the same.

the surgery toll doesn't add up because the list is both short and debated who actually is his "fault."

plus it'd be neat if they'd take russ ortiz (who b.cox worked even harder) and livan hernandez out of these discussions...or at least discounted them...because they could throw 130 pitches in a game if it came down to it and do it again 5 days later.

too many articles about who he's ruined that don't even name names...except everyone's favorite fallback OMFG PRIOR 03. late september 03 with prior was the worst mistake dustbag ever made pertaining to pitching management if not for anything else than he became a scapegoat (or an evil dunce).

if there's an Internet lost and found, someone see if Crunch's sense of humor is there along with his sense of reality

can someone explain humor writing that's based on an assumed fact to RobG.

what makes your comment funny is the assumption of truth.

what i'm commenting on has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the view that makes it "funny."

the assumption of truth...and Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Jason Schmidt, Russ Ortiz, Aaron Harang, Edinson Volquez (few more in there I believe).

no shit it's hyperbolic, it' s humor, but there's plenty of smoke around Baker in this fire. There's plenty of reasons to make the joke because there's plenty of times that pitchers got hurt under Baker. Is he unfairly maligned for it? A bit....

Does he deserve some criticism and an occasional jab? Yup...

check out what f.alou did with schmidt.

...and russ ortiz has gone way out of his way to deflect away from dusty...and bobby cox has some explaining to do if dusty is somehow part of the problem. ortiz, zambrano, and l.hernandez were horses.

people aggregate his average pitches per year on a staff, it comes out 5-ish more than league average, and people flip.

criticism, yah, jab, yah...villainous hate and posterboy of pitcher abuse (thanks BBProspectus and the church of travis hafner), nah. there's defiantly smoke and perhaps fire, but some people are going around claiming arson.

Definitely, not defiantly. Unless the smoke was defiant.

Hands Off Style of Baseball Operations By Crane Kenney

+1

that should piss of Jim Hickman's Bat

there's a bunch more in the twitter box from me and Cubnut

I was actually was following your lead with our favorite TCR curmudgeon.

/I keed, crunch

Huh??

Just the +1 comment in regards to your earlier rant. Just a little teasing.

I agree.

http://joeposnanski.si.com/2012/02/10/aging-w...

an always enjoyable read by Posnanski, this one on great seasons and age.

Great read. I didn't realize Williams hit .400 in his age 22 season. I do wonder how well this translates to players with a lower peak? I guess it would probably look the same with the overall numbers depressed slightly for the 5-6 or 4-5 WAR seasons.

I can't imagine why anyone would try to sign Renteria. He played in one of the best hitter's parks in the majors last year and had an ops under 700.

Barney is a better player at an extremely low cost.

SS at a decent cost, mostly...and it seems he's willing to be a part-time player at this point.

you could probably get the guy for 1-2m...3m in a screwed up bidding war that probably don't exist.

Recent comments

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 3 hours 6 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 3 hours 7 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 12 hours 48 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 15 hours 46 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 15 hours 58 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 16 hours 7 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 16 hours 13 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 16 hours 31 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 17 hours 7 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 17 hours 25 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 17 hours 26 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 17 hours 44 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 17 hours 52 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 18 hours 47 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 19 hours 5 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 19 hours 10 min ago view