Welington Castillo homered, doubled, and singled, Jesse Hodges doubled twice and walked, and Duane Underwood tossed four innings of no run/no hit ball, as the Kane County Cougars rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 9th to edge the Burlingtom Bees (Los Angeles Angels Lo-A affiliate) 7-6 on Field #3, while the Inland Empire 66ers (the LAA Hi-A affiliate) drubbed the Daytona Cubs 12-3 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp action this afternoon at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Christian Villanueva, Arodys Vizcaino, Zack Rossup, Mitch Maier, Armando Rivero and Rafael Lopez are optioned or reassigned...and there were 45 (I think).


With all this talk about Cub prospects and their service clocks, I couldn't help but think about mine.
Click for gif.

The Cubs made two handfuls of expected cuts yesterday which included optioning Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Arismendy Alcantara, Logan Watkins, Matt Szczur, Jeudy Valdez, Carlos Pimentel and Eric Jokisch...releasing Aaron Cunningham brings it up to 10. That leaves camp with 56, but only 25 get to travel and we know many still there are just getting their work in. So let's take a best guess at the 25-man Opening Day Roster.

Dillon Maples, Jen-Ho Tseng, Felix Pena, and Ivan Pineyro threw "live" BP this morning, as Cubs minor leaguers had their first full-squad work-out at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

2014 CUBS MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS (last updated 3-6-2014):

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...

Tags: 

Justin Ruggiano, Welington Castillo, and Christian Villanueva blasted solo home runs, and Kyle Hendricks threw 2.2 IP of no-run/no-hit ball, as the Cubs "White" team defeated the Cubs "Blue" team 5-3 in a six-inning Cactus League Intrasquad game played this afternoon in what was the first Cubs game played at Cubs Park in Mesa.

 

Next time you're driving in Chicago, take your eyes away from the road for just a moment and look in the mirror.
See that big eye in the middle of your forehead?
Pothole Eye.

The pre-season ritual of BP releasing their preliminary PECOTA numbers is upon us and as expected the Cubs are in the bottom 5 of the league. They've got them tabbed at 71 wins at the moment, 3rd worse in the league with only the Astros and Marlins being worse. Apparently that doesn't include the recent Jason Hammel signing, which should be good for maybe a win on the positive side (maybe not).  Of course, it's all just theory now, but until there's something practical to follow, forecasting and guessing are about as much fun as we're going to have around here.

I don't subscribe to BP anymore, but the link to the Cubs page can be found here and apparently it's particularly unkind to Jeff Samardzija (0.1 WARP forecast). Fangraphs posted the ZIPS projections last week as well, and they were much kinder to Samardzija (3.2 zWAR forecast). Both systems seem to think Castro and Rizzo should have solid bounceback seasons. The #1 Comp column on the ZIPS tables is always a fun read: Baez=Ripken, Soler=Candy Maldonado, Rizzo=Carlos Pena, Schierholtz=Randy Bush, Edwin Jackson=Jaime Navarro and so on down the line.

I'm taking the under by the way, I think TheJedi are gonna be a little reluctant/stubborn on bringing up Baez, Bryant and some others and then the mid-season trading will take it's toll like it did last season.

In the move that anyone could have predicted once the Cubs missed out on Tanaka, they have come to terms on a deal with RHP Jason Hammel.  The 31-year old hasn't had much of a career to-date between Tampa, Colorado and Baltimore (94 ERA+), but his stuff has always been heralded and he did have a very nice 2012 for the Orioles(123 ERA+).  It'll be another hopeful reclamation project for the Cubs and they did quite well with Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman, so here's hoping the streak stays alive.

It appears they'll head into 2014 with a rotation of Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Hammel and most likey Jake Arrieta with Carlos Villanueva, Kyle Hendricks, Justin Grimm, Brett Marshall, Chris Rusin and Brooks Raley all in the mix as well, along with I'm sure a few other surprise guests.

You've heard the news by now, that Theo's white whale got away, snatched up from the open sea by his old nemesis the S.S. Yankees. The contract numbers are absurd (7 years/$155M, opt out after 4 years), but we knew that eyeball popping was going to be required once the dust settled. There's been no confirmation that the Cubs were willing to be as absurd, although the whispers from Peter Gammons and Jeff Passan seem to indicate that no one was all that close to the Yankees offer. That being said, we're not sure how much back and forth there were in these negotiations either or what the final push was for Tanaka to pick New York over the other clubs. It may have been simply the money, maybe the glory of Yankee pinstripes, maybe the city of New York, maybe a combination of all three. What we do know is that the consolation prize (most likely) is either Paul Maholm or Jason Hammel and you kind of hope that the Cubs just don't even bother going back to pick either one up.

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