I don't know about you guys, but I've haven't been this disinterested in a Cubs team since the mid 90's. It might just be continuing resentment over how 2008 ended or the fact that I disagreed with the majority of their moves since then and since most of it's not working, I just feel no connection to the team. But personal feelings aside, the Cubs are 5 games below .500 and 6.5 back in the division and 7 out of the wild card. They could turn it around, of course, but they probably won't. Knowing Jim Hendry and the Cubs desire to sell seats, they'll wait far longer than most of us would like to pull the plug on 2010, but if they do, here are some possible trade partners with my reasoning. I'm sure you guys will have your own ideas.
The Cubs rumor mill is starting to churn and the vultures are circling over the Cubs carcassas.
- Bruce Levine writes that teams are already sendng scouts to follow the Cubs and a bad road trip could mean the Cubs start selling. That might just be wishful thinking by the other teams, but losing 7 of 8 to the Pirates (so far) will send out a bad stench.
- Depending on who you want to believe, the Angels seemed to be interested in some of the Cubs first basemen. Dave Kaplan and Fred Mitchell are saying it's Derrek Lee. The L.A. Times says it's Xavier Nady and Gordon Wittenmyer agrees. The L.A. Times also lists all the other first basemen in the league that the Angels could go after which includes Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko, Adam LaRoche, Ty Wigginton or Russell Branyan. It'll come down to which teams are quitting their season the first and how little the Angels will have to give up. It should also be noted that the Angels are hoping Morales returns by September, so a more versatile and cheaper option like Nady may make more sense for them. Nady does have no-trade rights until June 15th and Lee has them for the rest of the season of course thanks to 10/5 CBA rights.
Cody Shields had three hits, an RBI, and an outfield assist, Wes Darvill reached base three times on two singles and a walk, and Jesus Morelli extended his hitting streak to 18 games, but Eduardo Figueroa and Jose Rosario were tagged to the tune of seven runs on ten hits (including two doubles and a HR) and four walks in five combined innings, as the EXST A’s edged the EXST Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this morning. The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair, to allow more pitchers to get work.
UPDATE: Wednesday night's game was rained out and will be made up this coming Monday at 11:35am, Chicago time. According to the Tribune's Paul Sullivan, Lou Piniella has yet to determine if Carlos Zambrano will start on Friday, when the Cubs open a three-game series in Houston.
From starter to set-up guy to long relief man to who-knows-what and finally, back to starter, Carlos Zambrano's strange season takes its next turn tonight at PNC Park. Zambrano will be making his first start since April 20th, when he threw 119 pitches and gave up two runs over six innings in a 4-0 loss to the Mets. Lou Piniella said he will limit Zambrano's workload tonight to 70 pitches or so. Can't help but wonder if that will get us through the second or third inning...
It's not that there is absolutely nothing positive to say about the Cubs right now. It's that the positives are so deep beneath so much raw sewage, I just don't have it in me to go baling through the muck to uncover them.
Instead, I have decided that the best way to get through this latest low spot in this awful season is to find a National League team even more woeful than our Cubs.
There are some solid candidates:
"I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I really don't know. I'm going to be honest with you, I wish I had some answers."
When your manager brings insight like that to the ballpark, how can you question his methods?
As promised/threatened, Mr. Piniella has made a number of changes in his lineup tonight. Young Castro moves back up to the second spot, Nady gets a spot start in place of Derrek Lee, Colvin escapes for a night from Piniella Purgatory to spell the slumping Marlon Byrd in center, Baker gets back on the field for the first time since suffering that ocular migraine last week against the Dodgers, and Hill catches while Soto (.200/.333/.329 in May) sits.
Jesus Morelli extended his hitting streak to 17 games with two doubles, Arismendy Alcantara tripled, singled, and scored a run, Xavier Batista doubled, tripled, and scored a run, and Vismeldy Bieneme reached base three times, scored one run, and drove-in another, as the EXST Cubs defeated the EXST Giants 4-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Indian School Park Field #4 in Scottsdale this morning.
Morelli has hit 437/485/621 over the course of his 17-game hit streak that goes back to May 5th, and with two more hits today, Morelli is hitting 384/452/603 with a team-leading 12 doubles in 23 EXST games since being sent down from Peoria on April 23rd. He has hit safely in 22 out of the 23 games he has played at Extended Spring Training, and he has reached base safely in all 23 games (he walked in the one game he went hitless).
Everytime I recall Szcur's bone marrow donation to a stranger, it makes me smile:
If Matt is out will Kawasaki get the call-up? Or "Shane"?
"Matt Szczur will undergo an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday."
One of the reasons I think Maddon is a great manager -- he has changed the conversation on Baez from HR & strikeouts to great defense, versatility and an all-around good ballplayer. He rarely talks about his offense, which is the only thing anybody used to talk about with Javy. He took a lot of pressure off the kid, and he seems to have responded.
Good pitching and some nifty D tonight -- nice win.
In case you didn't see it -- it was the Little League play where the guy on first gets caught in a rundown on purpose and the guy on third tries to score. It worked.
Gotta love the Pirates pitcher intentionally hitting Zobrist, then allowing Zobrist to score on a 2-out wild pitch.
Also, glad to see Zobrist coming around with RISP after my remarks last week. Heh!
ESPN reporting heyward day-to-day with an injured wrist
ESPN game tonight, btw.
Cardinal way #48
"negligent transmission of STDs"
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Twitterverse reporting that Heyward is dealing with a sore right wrist
Cardinal way #47
See ya on parrot chat
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.