October 2010


So I bought this camera off a guy who works as a doorman at the Congress Hotel, which is supposedly haunted or whatever. Guy said he found it in a room in basement in a closet that hadn't been opened since 1908. Or maybe 1969 -he couldn't remember.

The Cubs have sent RHP Jeff Gray outright to Iowa. This moves leaves three slots open on the 40-man roster, two of which will be taken when LHP John Grabow (knee surgery) and RHP Angel Guzman (shoulder surgery) are reactivated from the 60-day DL.


The 28-year old Gray was acquired from the Oakland A's last December 3rd along with 1B-OF Matt Spencer and RHP Ronny Morla in exchange for INF Aaron Miles, IF-OF-C Jake Fox, and cash considerations.


Gray suffered a groin strain at Fitch Park in the very early days of Spring Training 2010 and never was able to get it together, going 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA and 1.82 WHIP in seven games (9.1 IP) for the Cubs, and 3-1 with one save, a 5.66 ERA and and 1.71 WHIP, allowing 45 hits and 15/25 BB/K in 25 games (35.0 IP) at AAA Iowa. 


Gray would have been out of minor league options if he had remained on the Cubs 40-man roster going into the 2011 season. He is eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league free-agent if he does not sign a 2011 minor league contract with the Cubs.


In other Cubs minor league roster news, IF-C Jonathan Mota (who was eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league FA post-2010) has signed a 2011 minor league contract with the Cubs, and INF George Matheus was released.

There is a tendency for fans to write-off older players in the minor leagues. But throughout the history of baseball there have been many players labeled “4-A guy” or "career AAA player” who became successful front-line players after being given a chance. And that's still true today, as many minor league players buried in the bush leagues long for the serendipity of being in the right place at the right time.

I had a decent write-up on this, but Firefox ate it. Eff it.

Anyway, Quade has been named Cubs manager with a two year deal and a third year club option. No word on what will happen with Ryne Sandberg other than he'll pursue other managerial openings. Of course, the only other team mentioned has been the Toronto Blue Jays and they're interviewing everyone and seemed to be favoring Sandy Alomar Jr. at the moment if the reports that they've brought him in for a third interview are true. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Will Carroll's tweet rumor comes to fruition by the end of it all that Sandberg does indeed become the bench coach.

What can we infer from this move? Well unfortunately, the Ricketts seem serious about this whole let Hendry run the organization corporate philosophy they've been spouting since they took over. Quade is obviously a Hendry favorite joining the organization at about the same time Hendry took over the GM job. Then he was named to Lou's coaching staff despite any known past relationship between the two and finally picked as the interim manager last year when Ryne Sandberg or Alan Trammell could have just as easily been named.

I'm not going to put much stock in the team's magical turnaround last year under Quade. I believe the term, "dead cat bounce" is appropriate. He might be do good, he might do poorly and it'll most likely be determined by the moves the Cubs make this offseason and if some of the minor league talent continues to progress. Ultimately I would have preferred Sandberg get the job of course, he's the guy many of us grew up rooting for and those things just kind of stick with you, but I understand the hesitation as well on Hendry's part.

Godspeed Quade. Enjoy the honeymoon, it won't last.

Here are the FINAL unofficial statistics for the Cubs AZ Instructional League team. (There is no Official Scorer at Instructs games, so the stats are not official).

The Cubs and Giants played to a 1-1 tie this morning at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale, in what was the Cubs final 2010 AZ Instructional League game.


The Cubs finished with a record of 7-9-4 in Instructional League play.

Roberto Lopez laced a double into the LF corner to knock-in the tying run, and Drew Heid hit a sacrifice fly to RF to drive-in the winning run, as the Angels scored six runs in the bottom of the 9th and edged the Cubs 9-8 in AZ instructional League action at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe this afternoon.  

Delbis Arcila, Oliver Zapata, and Evan Crawford ripped consecutive two-out doubles in the bottom of the 8th inning, plating first the tying run and then the go-ahead run, as the Cubs rallied to edge the Angels 8-7 in AZ instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.  

Will Carroll tweets that Mike Quade will get the manager job for 2011 with Ryne Sandberg being promoted to bench coach.

In related news, I've registered firequade.com.

In future news, calls for Mike Quade to be fired will start around game 5 of next season.

UPDATE: If it wasn't obvious enough from "Will Carroll tweets", this was the beginning stages of a rumor. One in which Carroll then backed off when a guy "who's very WIRED into the Cubs" told him he was wrong, "especially on the timing" (the original tweet said it could be announced as soon as next week). Wittenmyer tweets, "don't believe every tweet you read".

I could not begin to tell you with any type of certainty who is right or wrong or what will happen, but I would say an examination of recent history would lead to the conclusion that Mike Quade is Hendry's choice. If that means anything in the end, I guess we'll find out. Hendry could have very easily gave Sandberg (or Trammell) the interim job after Piniella quit, but chose Quade. Then Quade went and done good, got the backing of the players, all of which most likely justified Hendry's decision in his mind. Whether the Ricketts pull rank on Hendry and insist on Sandberg to create some buzz and sell ticket plans, remains to be seen.

Evan Crawford singled twice, stole a base, and scored a run, and Justin Bour reached base three times on two singles and a HBP, leading the Cubs to a 2-1 victory over the A’s Split Squad #1 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.  

The A’s scored two runs in the bottom of the 7th to overcome a 2-0 deficit, and then neither team could plate another run, as the Cubs and the A’s Split Squad #1 played to a 2-2 tie in AZ Instructional League action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this afternoon.  

Five Cub pitchers combined to throw a two-hitter and Justin Bour drove-in two runs with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly, leading the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the A’s Split Squad #2 in AZ Instructional League action at Papago Park Field #2 in Phoenix this afternoon.


With the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies set to move their Spring Training & Minor League operations from Tucson to a new joint/shared facility at Salt River Fields at the Talking Stick Resort next year, it is likely that the "Arizona Advanced Instructional League" (AKA "Arizona Parallel League" or "Junior Arizona Fall League") will be expanded to include at least two teams from the east-side of the metro Phoenix area (AZ and COL).


Five Cub pitchers combined to throw a no run, no hit game, but the Angels threw a three-hit shutout of their own right back at the Cubs, as the two teams played to a scoreless tie in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.

San Francisco Giants 2009 2nd round draft pick Tommy Joseph (Horizon HS – Scottsdale, AZ) blasted a two-run home run to cap a five-run 3rd as the Giants trounced the Cubs 13-2 in AZ Instructional League action at Indian School Park Field #2 in Scottsdale this afternoon. Local-boy Joseph also hit a two-run bomb in yesterday’s 12-1 Giants victory at Fitch Park.

Tommy Joseph cracked a two-run home run to lead the Giants to a 12-1 drubbing of the Cubs in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #1 in Mesa this afternoon. (Field #3 remains unplayable in the aftermath of the torrential rain and flash flood that hit Mesa Tuesday afternoon).

Trayce Thompson crushed a towering home run and the White Sox scored five runs in the 6th to overcome a 3-1 deficit, as the Cubs dropped a 7-4 decision to their crosstown rivals in AZ Instructional League action at Camelback Ranch this afternoon.

My annual useless guess at how the playoffs will go. To my lucky credit, I did nail 6 of 8 playoff teams this year and all 4 A.L. teams. I was too bearish on the Braves and Reds, and too bullish on the Cubs(as usual) and Cardinals. To the playoff predictions...

The Cubs and the A’s Split Squad #1 squared-off in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 this afternoon, in a game that was halted due to a sudden, torrential rain storm after three innings, with the Cubs ahead 1-0. And it was a real gully-washer, too, as much of Mesa (including Fitch Park) was under water within minutes.


The Cubs scored the lone run of the game in the bottom of the 1st inning. Logan Watkins lined a one-out double into the RF corner, advanced to 3rd base on a WP, and scored on a Josh Vitters sacrifice fly to the warning track in LF. (Vitters once again got the start at 1st base, and handled his one and only chance without incident).

Hak-Ju Lee ripped a double and a triple, drove-in three runs, and scored another, Gioskar Amaya had three hits (two singles and a triple), two RBI, and two runs scored, and five pitchers combined to throw a four-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts, as the Cubs blanked the A’s Split Squad #1 7-0 in AZ Instructional League action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this afternoon.


The game was halted with two outs in the top of the 9th after a severe thunderstorm came roaring into Mesa, causing BP screens and tarps to fly across Fitch Park amidst high winds, heavy rain, and lightning & thunder, as the Cubs ran for their clubhouse, the umpires hot-footed it for their dressing room, the A’s loaded up their gear (and themselves) into their two maxi-vans, and the scouts in attendance made a beeline for their cars parked in the lot across the street.

I do this every year, so might as well keep up tradition. In a season wrapped in disappointment and deep fried in irrelevancy, someone was still the best player on the Cubs. Someone was also the worst. Check out the numbers and cast your vote after the jump.

2009 - Lee (MVP) and Soriano (LVP)

2008 - Geovany Soto(MVP)

A. J. Kirby-Jones smashed a grand slam home run to power the A’s Split Squad #1 to a 6-0 whitewashing of the Cubs in AZ Instructional League action at Papago Park Baseball Complex Field #3 in Phoenix this morning.

Hak-Ju Lee singled twice, stole a base, and scored two runs, leading the Cubs to a 5-1 victory over the A’s Split Squad #1 in AZ Instructional League action this afternoon.

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