Cubs News

We've hit the 150 mark and I'm assuming Transmission isn't doing one of his surveys this time around to see how we feel about the rest of the season. The Cubs will be eliminated from the NL Central race tonight with a Cardinal win and Cubs loss. The death magic number for the Cubs in the Wild Card is 5. Here's what you may have missed over the last few days.

- The team is 3-0 since Milton's suspension which is more likely coincidence than anything else, although WIttenmyer and Sullivan sure want you to think otherwise.

- According to Muskat, the resolution to the suspension and potential union grievance should be taken care of in the next few days.

- I haven't been able to watch the last two games, but it appears Tyler Colvin is making a good first impression including robbing a home run from everyone's least favorite Brewer. He's 2/6 with 2 BB's at the plate.

- Angel Guzman is done for the year with a strained shoulder.

- Derrek Lee set some sort of milestone with four straight months of 20 RBI's or more, and a career high in RBI's.

- Jeff Samardzija gets his second start of the season tonight for Ted Lilly, whose shoulder is acting up again.

That's all the news that's fit to print.

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We're in a bit of lull here until spring training or at least until the new owner is chosen. Luckily, The reporters found Hendry yesterday and we have some soundbites and speculation to dissect.

When the Cubs traded Mark DeRosa to Cleveland the same day they signed free agent Aaron Miles, conventional wisdom suggested Miles would be DeRosa's replacement.

I question this conventional wisdom...I thought everyone assumed it would be Fontenot? If Miles gets regular playing time versus righties over Fontenot, I'm predicting he'll be the new Neifi! whipping boy.

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The BA Top 10 came out yesterday...and surprise! Josh Vitters is #1.

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Jeff Samardzija
  3. Andrew Cashner
  4. Dae-Eun Rhee
  5. Welington Castillo
  6. Kevin Hart
  7. Starlin Castro
  8. Ryan Flaherty
  9. Jay Jackson
  10. Hak-Ju Lee 

You can view every BA Top 10 list since 1992 (sans 1997 and 1998) at this incredible new site started by some really smart people.

Some of this has already been reported in the previous thread, but rumor has it that there are a few jerks out there who don't read every comment of every thread.  I can't imagine who would be such a loser, it's just something I heard...

 

For those ignorant non-message board reading unwashed masses, I sadly report that Henry Blanco's brother has been murdured in Venezuela.  Carlos Blanco had been kidnapped two weeks earlier and held for ransom.  For several years now, Venezuelan players in MLB have had cause to worry about their families' safety back home.  Before making news for his attempt to use a machette to, uh, creatively beat out the fire he had started by dousing five employees with gasoline, Ugueth Urbina had to cope with his mother's kidnapping.  The personal security measures that Venezuelan players have felt compelled to take since then are eye-opening.  Our sympathies are with the Blanco family. 

 

Our sympathies are also with Dusty Baker, if he thinks Kerry Wood will sign with Cincinatti in order to serve as set-up guy to Francisco Cordero. 

The latest rah-rah piece from Muskat informs us that the Cubs like their current roster as they enter the winter meetings.  As well they should.

Finally, there's some phony-baloney corporate-sponsored baseball awards that the fans can vote on, and that carry about as much weight and meaning as your vote on ratemypoo.com  (I didn't link to it, on the grounds that no good could possibly come of it.)

My votes:  

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The Cubs finished up their organizational meetings in Arizona and as expected, they'll attempt to find some left-handed bats.

''We're going to try to add some different wrinkles, offensively
especially,'' Piniella told the Sun-Times. ''We are going to add
left-handed hitting to this mix. From an offensive standpoint, that is
definitely the No. 1 priority. And if we can get a little more athletic
in the process, we're going to do that, too.''

- Crane Kenney says the Cubs will increase payroll next year regardless of an ownership change.

''And when it all works, this is what it looks like,'' he said,
referring to back-to-back postseasons and a 97-win season. ''It's like
the Braves. That's the model -- the Braves and the Red Sox and the
Yankees. Play like a big market, flex your muscle like a big market and
hopefully perform like one on the field.''

- Sullivan is hearing that the Cubs will pursue a left-handed outfield bat to compete with Fukudome and Fukudome doesn't really care.

"If it means that there will be competition in right field, all I have to do is win that competition," he replied.

- Carlos Marmol got banged up a bit in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.

"Out of precaution they did different studies on my body, and I don't have any kind of serious injury," Marmol wrote.

- The headline says it all - "Harden to visit Shoulder Specialist". Apparently the Cubs have until today to decide on his option. They have until after the World Series on Blanco's. 

- The same link says all the Cubs coaches have been asked back.

- Cubs organizational meetings begin October 19th in Arizona. A few rumors and notes in that link including...

Lee has a no-trade clause but could be asked to lift it if he's dealt
to a team in California for pitching help. Lee lives in Sacramento, so
it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Ronny Cedeno
likely will be on the trade block again after yelling at trainer Mark
O'Neal during a nasty exchange before a game in Milwaukee on the final
weekend of the regular season.

Well that should add some fuel to  the sign Teixeira/deal Lee flames. Trading Cedeno, moving Theriot to the utility role and signing Furcal would be kind of neat too.

- Paul Sullivan and I agree on something. I'm not comfortable with this...

The Cubs players spent much of the season downplaying talk of the
alleged curse, only to have Cubs brass bring out a Greek priest to
spread holy water in their dugout the day of the start of the playoffs.
What kind of a show of faith in the high-priced team was that? Piniella
and the players were blind-sided by the stunt.

 

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- Sean Marshall will start Tuesday and Rich Harden will start Thursday. Letting Marshall start Tuesday means he'll likely get the start for the likely season finale on Sunday as well. Lou also said he won't be lightening any workloads for Harden or Zambrano this series. Pushing Harden to Thursday also means Lilly will get moved to a Saturday start.

Phil Rogers suggests this all means an NLDS rotation of Dempster, Harden, Zambrano and Lilly - a plan that I fully endorse.  Rogers also provides some useful information that all four possible playoff opponents are less productive (judged by OPS) against right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers. Bruce Miles has some other thoughts on the rotation and Lou himself said he's not making any announcements until this weekend.

- Rogers also reports that Jason Marquis will likely head to the pen and a long relief role for the playoffs although there are no specific quotations attributed to anyone. For some reason, I thought he was left off of last year's playoff roster, but he was just bumped from the rotation.

- Congrats to Micah Hoffpauir and Mitch Atkins, the Cubs Minor League Hitter and Pitcher of the Year.

- The Cubs claimed outfielder Brad Snyder off waivers and designated Adam Harben for assignment. Snyder was the 18th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

- The Cubs made some changes to their AFL roster. Pitcher Justin Berg will go to the Venezuelan Winter Leagues instead and be replaced by righty Jessie Estrada. Also, catcher/infielder Steve Clevenger and infielder Esmailin Caridad have been added to the Mesa Solar Sox bringing the total Cubs players up to 8 (Tyler Colvin, Darwin Barney, Nate Spears, Donald Veal and Rocky Roquet being the other 5).

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UPDATE: Looks like Lou made up his mind after the first game and it will be Sean Marshall getting the start on Sunday versus the Marlins.


Just a little scheduling note, that Lou has tabbed either Jeff Samardzija or Sean Marshall for Sunday's start against the Marlins due to today's doubleheader. That is if Marquis cannot go on short rest.

"I can't bring Harden back on short rest, but I can bring Marquis back possibly," Piniella said Wednesday. "By him pitching the day game, it gives him a little longer time. If not, we'll either pitch Samardzija or pitch [Sean] Marshall."

Other than possibly using Marquis on short rest, there was another reason Harden will pitch tonight's nightcap.

"I know he's told us his preference would be to pitch at night and in cooler weather," Piniella said  

As always, blame Canada.

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– Gordon Wittenmyer writes in today's Sun-Times that Mark DeRosa's cardiac issues are not a major concern to DeRo or Cub doctors, nor will they be the impetus for any personnel moves by Jim Hendry.

Wittenmyer also thinks the Cubs are more likely to add that
proverbial, right-handed hitting, three-position outfielder before
Opening Day than they are He Who Must Not Be Named.

Baseball Musings sizes up a potential Cubs rotation of Zambrano, Lilly, Hill, Dempster, and Marquis (Where is your Lieber?) based on the Marcel the Monkey projections
and foresees a cumulative 4.28 ERA for the fivesome. That's a few ticks
above the 4.19 ERA Cub starters pitched to last season, when their ERA
was second best in the NL, but still pretty solid.

One highly questionable element in the projection: Ryan Dempster's
projected 4.50 ERA. Only once in his career as a starting
pitcher--Dempster's All-Star season in 2000 down in pitcher-friendly
Florida--has Dempster ever had an ERA at or below 4.50.

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