Cubs Roster Moves

One of our reliable readers listening to Bruce Levine of ESPN1000 out of Chicago, is hearing that Kerry Wood will be activated before the game and Scott Eyre will be designated for assignment. The Cubs will have 10 days to release or trade Eyre and will likely get nothing more than a low-minors prospect.

We'll see if Wood jumps right back into the closer role or is eased into it after a few appearances. I think after such a long layoff and pretty good odds that his control won't be there, that it might be best for Lou to give him a few low-pressure situations and let resurgent Carlos Marmol keep closing.

 Speaking of Marmol, whatever was ailing from about the middle of June to before the All-Star Break seems to have cured itself. There certainly wasn't a shortage of theories on why he struggled, ranging from overuse to the struggles of a young player, it seemed the most obvious answer was just a "dead arm" period. Marmol's slider still had its snap, most of the time, but he started hanging it every once in awhile while getting away from locating his fastball that didn't seem to get above 92 mph. There were never any whispers of an arm injury and Lou certainly didn't let up on the gas during any of it, choosing to go the "just pitch through it" route. But since the All-Star break, he's thrown up a goose egg; 9 IP, 15 K's and 0 ER, although a bit wild with 7 BB's. He was hitting the mid 90's in the last two appearances that I've witnessed.

So welcome back Zeus and Kerry, you were both missed. And goodbye Scott Eyre, I shall never forgive you for contributing to Derrek Lee's broken wrist in 2006.

As you've certainly heard by now, Alfonso Soriano headed out to a minor league rehab stint with the rookies in the Arizona League. He lasted all of three at-bats against the AZL Padres in beautiful Peoria, Arizona going 0-2 with a walk, a strikeout and a run scored before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. Speculation arose on why he'd leave the game early and Will Carroll hinted that he might be activated for tonight's game.

Shae (Chicago): Will, there are rumors that Soriano might leave the rehab. game early and could even play tonight, what's the latest?

Will Carroll: That's what I'm hearing. I have someone at Sky Harbor watching ...

I'm not sure what that someone is watching at Sky Harbor since it's a 35 minute drive from Peoria, AZ to Phoenix, AZ, but don't be surprised if he's in the lineup tonight and (I would assume) Micah Hoffpauir gets sent down.

Game ChatPress Pass | BR Preview

SP *Ted Lilly SP Brian Moehler
9-6, 4.68, 108 K, 41 BB, 115.1 IP
5-4, 4.28, 44 K, 24 BB, 75.2 IP
SS Ryan Theriot 2B #Kaz Matsui
RF *Kosuke Fukudome CF *Darin Erstad
1B Derrek Lee 1B #Lance Berkman
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Carlos Lee
C Geovany Soto SS Miguel Tejada
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B Hunter Pence
LF Mark DeRosa RF Ty Wigginton
2B *Mike Fontenot C J.R. Towles
P *Ted Lilly P Brian Moehler

 

The second half is upon us and the Cubs trot out Ted Lilly to start it...for some reason. I assume it was to give Z and Dempster an extra day after their All-Star appearances and to limit Rich Harden as much as possible before he goes on a 27 inning scoreless streak in the playoffs. Nonetheless, Lilly's homer-happy ways will be on display tonight with the ever-present Crawford boxes looming in short left field. If he can manage a win, he'll join Dempster and Zambrano in the 10-win club.

Before the game, the Cubs put Jon Lieber on the disabled list with a right foot strain (same foot that cost him most of last year) and recalled Micah Hoffpauir. 

UPDATE 4:56 CST: One of our readers tipped us to this fantastic piece on Rich Harden's mechanics (with video) by Carlos Gomez at The Hardball Times. Can't recommend it enough....


I've had a little time to digest the trade since my initial reaction and a little time to actually write about it now. I don't think there's too many warm-blooded Cubs fan out there who aren't happy about the deal...other than maybe a Chicken Little or two that are never happy with anything the Cubs do.

We all know the risks. Rich Harden has all the durability of a roll of toilet paper caught in a rainstorm. He was called up half way through the 2003 season, proceeded to make 31 starts in 2004 and has battled injuries ever since. The list is too long and complicated for me to dive into, so we'll wait for the good Dr. Hecht to chime in on that side of the trade. Harden's 13 starts this year are his highest total since 2005 and he spent almost a month of this year already on the disabled list. But in those 13 starts, he's gone 5-1
with a 2.34 ERA, 10.75 K/9, 2.97 K:BB and 0.58 HR/9.

He once had a fastball that could hit 100, although he seems to have dialed it back a bit this year. He compliments that fastball with a fantastic change-up and that's pretty much it. He'll occasionally throw a slider in there, but seems to have scrapped it for the most part this season. A quick and dirty comparison with some of the best in the game using career numbers:

While I'm refreshing Foxsports.com for the freaking lineup like a dumbass, Jim Hendry and Billy Beane go and pull a trade.

The Cubs are getting pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin for Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson and Josh Donaldson. 

Hold on...

(catches breath)

(jumps up and down)

(pumps fist in air)

Sweet.

I have to admit that losing Sean Gallagher is unfortunate but you have to give up something to get something. Harden has a club option for 2009 and Gaudin is under team control until 2011. Eric Patterson and Matt Murton will probably go on to have respectable major league careers and Josh Donaldson has the makings of someone who could be a star...one day. But the Cubs are playing for today...and tomorrow and 2008.

More on this later, but you got to be thrilled if your a Cubs fan. Everyone knows Harden's injury risks, but when he's pitching, he's as good as they get...to a tune of a 2.34 ERA this year and 10.75 K/9. We're adding that to the best starting staff in the NL (by ERA) and third best overall staff in the NL.  

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Carlos Zambrano SP Braden Looper
  8-3, 3.13, 68 K, 36 BB, 106.1 IP
9-5, 4.26, 44 K, 26 BB, 99.1
       
LF Reed Johnson RF *Skip Shumaker
RF *Kosuke Fukudome SS #Aaron Miles
1B Derrek Lee 1B Albert Pujols
3B Aramis Ramirez CF *Rick Ankiel
CF *Jim Edmonds 3B Troy Glaus
C Geovany Soto LF *Chris Duncan
2B Mark DeRosa C Yadier Molina
SS Ryan Theriot P Braden Looper
P #Carlos Zambrano 2B *Adam Kennedy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlos Zambrano gets activated and Jose Ascanio is sent back to Iowa. Z will be on an 85-90 pitch count today.

Happy 4th of July! A Cubs win should make it a little happier.

 

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Sean Gallagher SP Tim Lincecum
  3-3, 4.36, 47 K, 20 BB, 53.2 IP
9-1, 2.38, 114 K, 43 BB, 109.2
       
LF Reed Johnson LF *Fred Lewis
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 2B #Ray Durham
1B Derrek Lee RF #Randy Winn
3B Aramis Ramirez C Bengie Molina
CF *Jim Edmonds CF Aaron Rowand
C Geovany Soto 1B *John Bowker
2B Mark DeRosa 3B Jose Castillo
SS Ryan Theriot SS #Omar Vizquel
P Sean Gallagher P Tim Lincecum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In roster moves, Reed Johnson was activated today with Eric Patterson getting sent down. Matt Murton thanks you Eric Patterson for your defensive ineptitude. Proud papa Aramis Ramirez is back in the lineup as well.

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Ryan Dempster SP *Scott Kazmir
  8-2, 2.81, 75 K, 35 BB, 89.2 IP
6-2, 1.74, 54 K, 16 BB, 51.2 IP
       
CF Reed Johnson 2B *Akinori Iwamura
SS Ryan Theriot 1B #Willy Aybar
1B Derrek Lee CF BJ Upton
3B Aramis Ramirez RF *Eric Hinske
DH Geovany Soto 3B Evan Longoria
RF Mark DeRosa DH *Cliff Floyd
LF Matt Murton C #Dionar Navarro
C Henry Blanco RF *Gabe Gross
2B Ronny Cedeno SS Jason Bartlett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Murton has been called up and Eric Patterson has been sent down. Welcome back to the Show Orange Guy, and good luck with Scott Kazmir, who has given up all of one run in four home starts this year (thanks nohit). The entire Rays team has been enjoying the comforts of Tampa, Florida with a shiny 26-11 mark at Tropicana Field. That's good for second best in the home record in the American League and has helped catapult them from the worst overall record in the league last year to the current AL Wild Card leaders. Most of that turnaround can be attributed to their pitching and defense and not that sketchy lineup that I'm looking at. But I guess you don't need good hitters if you can "Execute to the Max".

Game notes fun after the jump...

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Tim Hudson SP Carlos Zambrano
  7-4, 2.86 54 K, 23 BB, 91.1 IP
8-2, 3.01, 63 K, 29 BB, 92.2 IP
       
SS Yunel Escobar LF *Eric Patterson
2B *Kelly Johnson SS Ryan Theriot
3B Chipper Jones 1B Derrek Lee
1B #Mark Teixeira 3B Aramis Ramirez
C *Brian McCann RF *Kosuke Fukudome
RF Jeff Francoeur C Geovany Soto
LF #Greg Norton CF *Jim Edmonds
CF *Gregor Blanco 2B Mark DeRosa
P Tim Hudson P #Carlos Zambrano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe this is what our ancestors called a pitching duel. They probably called it that in 1948 as well, which is the year they will be honoring with today's "Turn back the clock" event. Both teams will break out the 1948 uniforms in honor of WGN's 60th anniversary. I hope they had a better logo in 1948 then they do now. To keep in the 1948 spirt, the first two innings will be broadcast in black and white with similar camera angles that they used back then and minimal graphics. I believe the plan is to add more graphics and cameras as the game goes on. Len and Bob will be wearing authentic 1948 garb as well.

- I wanted to once again thank everyone who took the time and hit to their bank accounts to donate during our April pledge drive. I have to say, some of you went well beyond the call of duty and while I would happily thank each of the 35 individuals that did contribute, but most of you I only know by your usernames on here and I don't want to give away your super-secret identities. But I will acknowledge the six who contributed $50 or more that helped us to our final tally of...... $912.30. Holy Cow!

UPDATE: Last second donation in, make it 36 total for $942.30. 

4 $50 Donations from:

Mr. Whipple

DC Tom

Jumbo

(I don't know the username) Buzz Music Inc.

$51 Donation (someone's a Price is Right Fan)

Tony S.

The Big Giver after the jump...

I've been informed that indeed, the Cubs brass do read this website and have promoted Matt Murton. No word on who is getting sent down. Kidding about the Cubs brass reading this website, but our pal Steve Holley at Inside the Ivy is the one giving me the news and he's with the team currently in New Orleans. We can only assume it's Eric Patterson being sent down.


If you liked this article, consider supporting us during TCR's April Pledge Drive.

...Friday's game thread is below...

- As you've probably heard by now, the Cubs received 25-year old outfielder/first basemen Doug Deeds from the Twins today as the PTBNL in the Craig Monroe deal. A ninth-round selection of the Twins in 2002, the lefty was an honorable mention on John Sickels top 20 Twins prospects before 2007, but didn't make the cut in 2008 after a rough year in AAA. His scouting report on Scout.com before the 2007 season sure had some encourging notes:

Deeds is one of the more polished hitters in
the Twins’ organization, and each year he seems to grow at the plate.
He has the ability to hit to all fields, and has shown the ability to
hit at every level he has played at during his Minor League career.

Deeds is a great defensive outfielder, and
should have a future as an everyday corner outfielder in some
organization, hopefully the Twins. He makes all the plays in right
field, and has a tremendous arm that enables him to scare potential
base runners from advancing a base. He uses good closing speed to get
to balls that most outfielders do not get to, and has had his fair
share of outfield assists throughout his Minor League career.

His career line is still a solid 291/374/463 and hopefully a change of scenery will benefit him. I imagine he'll be headed Mike Wellman's way and on to Iowa.

Sean Marshall was supposed to start for the Iowa Cubs tonight against Albuquerque in Des Moines. Instead he's on his way to Pittsburgh, exchanging roster spots with Carmen Pignatiello. Apparently Lou Piniella huffed and puffed and blew 'Piggy' back to the minors after the southpaw showed his appreciation for making the big club by walking both hitters he faced in Monday's 10-8 torture tilt.

It's on the front of Rotoworld, but the Phillies claimed Tim Lahey today off waivers. They'll have to keep him on their 25-man roster all season to keep his rights beyond 2008 without a trade or cash exchanging hands. If he can't stick, he'll go through waivers again, but more likely end up back in the Minnesota Twins organization (if they want him). The Cubs are still owed a player for the Craig Monroe deal from the Minnesota Twins. It's certainly possible that it still might be Tim Lahey, but they'll have to wait for the Phillies to be done with him first.

The Cubs travel to Tempe today to face the suddenly depleted Angels. Carlos Zamrbano's final tune-up before Opening Day and he'll be opposed by Jered Weaver. The game is on MLB.tv.

The Cubs also settled on their position players to start the season, choosing the lefty bat and infield abilities of Mike Fontenot over the superior righty bat of Matt Murton's. A difficult, but understandable decision on the Cubs part. While Murton is the better hitter, the addition of Fontenot gives the Cubs two lefty bench bats and someone besides Ronny Cedeno to back up the middle infield. The bench will consist of Henry Blanco, Daryle Ward, Ronny Cedeno, Reed Johnson and Mike Fontenot. I can't say I'm thrilled, but I do hope that if Soriano or Fukudome go down with an injury that Murton is still the top choice to replace them on an everday basis. The Cubs also released non-roster invitee Alex Cintron.

Finally, a loyal reader has four tickets for the April 2nd game at Wrigley versus the Brewers. I'm not too interested in becoming a ticket exchange or broker, but he's offering them at below face value, so I thought I'd pass along the note. Drop me an email and I'll forward it to him if you're interested. They're in Aisle 434, Row 2 and retail for $23 each. He's willing to break them up into pairs and is only asking $20 for each ticket. In other words, $40 or $80 instead of $46 or $92. I take no responsibility for their authenticity and don't think I'll do this for everyone.

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