Roosevelt Rides Again!
CSN's Patrick Mooney broke the news that Theodore Roosevelt Lilly III is back with the Cubs. No, the 38 year old crafty one, who retired last November isn't being brought back from the netherworld to be another soft tossing lefty to flip at the trade deadline. He's there in a new capacity, per Rotoworld:
Ted Lilly has been hired as a special assistant for the Cubs front office. He will work with young players in Cubs camp during spring training and then help the organization with scouting for the draft.
Then there is this quote from TL upon making the decision to take the Cubs gig:
Ted Lilly: "I want to be around the game and I feel like I have something to offer. This is the organization I would prefer to be with.”
A little more from Gulliver and the Voyage to Lilliput after the jump...
Carrie Muskat at cubs.com says that Lilly, Theo and Jed started discussions about a role with the Cubs during the recent January Cubs Convention.
"His reputation with the Cubs is sterling, which is fantastic, and not only as a person but as a competitor," Hoyer said. "I really liked what he had to say. A lot of guys want to get back in and don't want to work that much, and he made it clear he wants to work and wants to get involved in scouting. I think we'll use him in a variety of ways. He feels he has a pretty good eye and likes to try to evaluate but also was really humble and knows he has to learn how to do it. He was excited to get back involved and I think we'll feel out how to use him."
The terms of this contract have to be less stressful than when Lilly signed on for 4/40 in December 2006. GM Jim Hendry was on the stretcher to get an angioplasty when that deal was closed.
My thought is he's being brought back to teach those who will listen on how to slide into catchers given the new rules that are being invoked. Yadier Molina still aches from this lesson. Of course there are many reasons to love Ted Lilly. The TLFC, the TL Supercomputer, TCR has a long track record of showing some Ted Lilly love. Given that link showing some of Lilly's best Cub outings, maybe Travis Wood will learn a trick or two from the master crafty-sman.
Samardzija had better watch out if he gets too pranky, cause TL is THE master prankster.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.