Cubs News of the Moment

Cubs finish up their north of the border series versus the Blue Jays and attempt to end a 5-game slide. With Kyle Hendricks on the mound, it seems possible. Although not in the lineup, Anthony Rizzo was spotted taking BP and might be ready to return sometime this weekend.

In non-depressing news of the day, it's is the opening of the Midwest League Finals. Kane County takes on Lake County (Indians affiliate).  Jen-Ho Tseng gets the start and the lineup for the Cougars will be: Dunston Jr. LF, Zagunis DH, Candelario 3B, Balaguert RF, Rogers 1B, Brockmeyer C, Penalver SS, Martin SS. I presume Clint Frazier is Lake County's biggest prospect name if you're looking for such things.

There's not much in Cubs news or even anecdotes to pass on at this time. Rosenthal had a video report that Jon Lester's Boston teammates believe he'll sign with the Cubs, but that'll have as much weight as a feather this offseason. The Tigers may be down another pitcher in Justin Verlander, and I wonder if Edwin Jackson would be of any interest. The Cubs would probably have to pay a lot of salary and get little in return, but worth a phone call probably. As for the current team, Operation Draft Pick is moving along nicely...currently in the 4th spot (which will actually be the 5th spot in the draft because of the Astros extra pick). It's a tight race with 45 games to go and with Alcantara, Hendricks and Baez out there with something to prove, I expect them to drift farther back than closer to a #1 pick.

I'm not around much this week, but a quick note to give you a new thread to chat on. 4th overall pick Kyle Schwarber assaulted the Northwest League for a few days and got a quick promotion to Kane County and the Midwest League yesterday. Then after Kris Bryant won the home run derby in the Southern League All-Star game, he got his promotion to AAA to play along side Javier Baez. I haven't seen what the Iowa roster shake-up will be to make room for Bryant to play 3b, but demoting Christian Villanueva would probably make the most sense. I did see something that Villanueva may try some other positions as well.

On the rumor front, the Cubs have upped their offer to Samardzija on a deal that would be in the 5-year range (sans no-trade clause). The amount hasn't been uncovered, but Homer Bailey's $17.5M per year average would probably have to be the baseline to get Samardzija even interested. Presuming Samardzija spurns them again, the front office is still checking out offers with the Giants (Kyle Crick being their top pitching prospect) and Royals (Kyle Zimmer would be theirs) being the most prominently named.

 

The most exciting thing around the Cubsverse right now is the minor leagues competing in the playoffs. Meaningless as a victory may be to the big league club down the line, it's fun to follow and have a rooting interest in something, other than the Cubs losing for a better draft pick slot.

- The Dodgers have won 40 of their last 48. This has nothing to do with the Cubs right now except it gives me an opportunity to post this gif of our old friend LaTroy Hawkins after serving up the game tying home run.

- Back to the Cubs, they've lost 13 of their last 17 and have moved into a tie for the 4th draft pick with the Brewers, in which they own the tiebreaker.

Pick Team .PCT GB
1 Houston .328 --
2 Miami .387 7.0
3 White Sox .387 7.0
4 Cubs .433 12.5
5 Milwaukee .433 12.5
6 San Francisco .437 13.0
7 Philadelphia .442 13.5
8 Angels .445 14.0
9 Minnesota .449 14.5
10 San Diego .450 14.5

You can always find that table on the left sidebar by the way. While I'm mostly wrong in my predictions, I didn't do too badly this year. I surmised that the Cubs could probably make a run at .500, but once they start trading off pieces, they'll be near the bottom again. Now they never quite got to .500, but their run differential was pretty close for awhile and then once the trading began, the freefall was inevitable. Of course at this point, they're a lot closer to the 13th spot (3.5 ahead), then the 2nd spot (5.5 behind), but I think we're all confident in their ability to tank the rest of the season. I think the 4th or 5th spot is the most likely, although I wouldn't put it past the Marlins to make a decent run...they have some decent youth that's been playing much better of late.

As you all know by know, Alfonso Soriano was dealt to the New York Yankees along with a ton of cash for RHP Corey Black. According to Buster Olney, the Cubs will pay $4.7M of the remaining $6.5M owed Soriano in 2013 and then $13M of the $18M owed Soriano in 2014, saving $6.8M total on the deal and getting a decent relief prospect that Theo compared to Jessie Crain. Soriano went 0/5 in his Yankee return with a run scored and an RBI. Black will stay in Florida and head over to Daytona.

After a nice little run where the Cubs took 6 of 9 versus the baseball bottom-feeders (Astros, Brewers & Mariners), the Cubs are back to playing the major league teams and have promptly dropped 3 of 4 including yet another loss to Fransisco Liriano this afternoon. 3 More months of this fun...

A few weeks back, Jorge Soler fouled a ball of his shin...a seemingly common occurrence in baseball that carries little consequence past the few moments of stinging pain for the offending party. This being the Cubs and all, the foul ball sent Soler to the 7-day disabled list of which he returned off of this week. The leg still hurt though and now it's being reported that he has a stress fracture and will be out 4-6 walks and possibly the rest of the season. Oh Cubbery...you strike in mysterious ways! Soler will of course miss the Futures Game as well over the All-Star Break, which him and Arismendy Alcantara were named to the World rosters.

The Cubs just took 2 of 3 from the Nationals including winning games started by Strasburg and Gio.  Their starting pitching has put up the third best ERA in the senior circuit without their best pitcher. 'Mo Gregg is locking down games in the 9th, and Anthony Rizzo is the left-handed power hitting droid you've been looking for...what's not to love?

(clicks on Yahoo MLB Standings...quickly clicks off Yahoo MLB standings)

Back to the positive....let's talk the Anthony Rizzo deal...7/$41M with option years.

Once a novelty in the league, these pre-arbitration deals are fast becoming the norm. I'm sure someone's studied it more thoroughly than me, but it seems rare that they don't work out for the organization. Safe to say, he'll be a Cub for a long time though...unless he's not and they trade him away with Castro for all the good players in the league.

The other interesting tidbit I read over the weekend, was this report/presumption that Scott "2.53 ERA" Feldman could be the odd man out of the rotation once Matt Garza returns to showcase himself to a contender every 5 days. According to the Patrick Mooney tweet, Dale Sveum says Samardzija, Jackson and Travis Wood will stay in the rotation and they're not willing to try EXTREME 6-man style. That leaves Carlos Villanueva and Scott Feldman as the logical goats, although both have pitched better (by ERA at least) than Samardzija and Jackson. First, I don't get why they wouldn't try a 6-man until a deal can be made, the Cubs aren't contending for anything and showcasing these pitchers in the starter role isn't the worst thing they can do. But if I had to choose between demotion options, I think Edwin and Villanueva would be the more logical choices. Villanueva seems to be pitching over his head a little more than Feldman right now and I think we all expected he was set for the swing-man role when he was signed and that's probably the role that would interest other teams. Now Edwin signed the big deal, and that usually takes precedence over the quality of the pitching, but since the Cubs are all about flipping short-term assets for long-term assets, then it would make sense to showcase Feldman until a trade could be made, while Edwin dives into his pool of gold for a few weeks (or months) waiting to be put back into the rotation.

It certainly has been a rather drama free first week of camp, which doesn't give me much to react to...but I'll do my best.

- A Dave Kaplan tweet says Dale Sveum would bat Starlin Casto third if the season started today. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with that leading to Darwin Barney probably batting second. Hopefully the front office can talk some sense into him or he'll set a record for losing the benefit of the doubt by fans like me rather quickly. If that is the case, I presume the lineup could look like this against righties: DeJesus, Barney (gag), Castro, LaHair, Soriano, Stewart, Byrd, Soto.

I'd prefer Castro batting second, but if Sveum insists on him batting third, I'd rather see: DeJesus, Byrd, Castro, LaHair, Soriano, Stewart, Soto, Barney.

- Let's see if I kept track here correctly in the bunting tourney. First round winners to date include:

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.

After Kaplan claimed Kerry Wood was close to moving on, he then took credit that his story spurred the Cubs to up their offer for Kerry and that he should be signing with the Cubs soon. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports broke the news saying it's likely to be a one-year deal with some sort of 2013 option.

- Theo downplayed talks regarding Matt Garza, claiming more has been reported in the media than has actually happened.  The Tigers (as they should) seem more than content with keeping Jacob Turner as their 5th starter this year (he won't last long there).

- Kevin Goldstein tweets that the Cubs are "definitely interested" in Yoenis Cespedes who signed up with a Dominican team today, which should give scouts even a better look at him. Rumor is that Jorge Soler probably won't sign until the season starts.

- The cops will have a little chat with Starlin Castro next week over the sexual assault allegations.

- The Cubs baseball ops department is now working with Bloomberg Sports on a "state-of-the-art player evaluation system". Hopefully they've moved Ari Kaplan's office out of the maintenance closet by now.

- Darwin Barney is not taking for granted that he'll be the starting second baseman. I promise to not take it for granted either and will openly root for an upgrade.

- At some point it seems the Cubs signed C Juan Apodaca out of the Indians organization on a minor league deal. If you haven't heard, "popular" Cubs backstop  Koyie Hill(as coined by Jon Morosi) signed with the Cardinals on a minor league deal.

- A fun graph on which hitters are left on the free agent market, with Fielder and Pena leading the group.

- In Bears news, Mike Tice isn't buying the current pass-happy trend in the NFL. In personel news, I just slammed my head into the wall.

- The Bears have also received permission to interview four candidates: Marc Ross - director of college scouting, New York Giants, Jimmy Raye III, director of player personnel, San Diego Chargers, Jason Licht, director of pro personnel, New England Patriots and Phil Emery, director of college scouting, Kansas City Chiefs. Knowing nothing about them, I vote for the Patriot guy.

- Xavier Nady won't be ready to play regularly until...June!

The exclamation point is for a little joke going around the TCR comments, but Piniella said they'll be cautious with Nady through the cold weather.  Considering he was suppose to be a 4th outfielder/pinch-hitter/short side platoon for Fukudome, it probably won't matter as much as I'm sure the Internet is about to make it out to be, but it could affect the roster construction. Sam Fuld who can play all three outfield positions moreso than Tyler Colvin could get a little edge if spring training numbers are close. Or the Cubs could finally go through with an 11-man pitching staff, considering two of them will be the losers of the 4th/5th starting rotation race.

The headline pretty much says it all as Lou made it official today on the Cubs' Opening Day starter. If Lou skips the 5th starter as he mentioned, the rotation for the month of April could look like this.

Pages

X
  • Sign in with Twitter