Cubs Spring Training

The Cubs return to Mesa and take on the Dodgers. Batting second and pitching for them is Randy Wolf, the Cubs send out Dempster. The lineup from Muskat:

3B Aaron Miles, SS Ryan Theriot, 1B Derrek Lee, RF Milton Bradley, LF
Micah Hoffpauir, 2B Bobby Scales, C Koyie Hill, CF Joey Gathright and P
Ryan Dempster.

Rich Harden threw a 43-pitch simulated game and could start Tuesday.

The Cubs finish their Vegas tour with Aaron Heilman taking the mound. The game is on WGN television and WSCR radio and on MLB.com as well.

A few more links from this afternoon and an invitation to Parachat for tonight's game on WGN per request by Carlos. I may stop by after the kids are in bed.

- If you're worried about Milton Bradley being healthy enough this season and need a national writer in your corner, Joe Sheehan has your back.

That's why this signing was a mistake. It has nothing to do with Bradley's anger-management issues, ones that have defined his career. It has nothing to do with Bradley's skill set as a hitter. It has nothing to do with the money, which was in line with what Adam Dunn and Raul Ibañez signed for. No, the problem is that the Cubs signed a player to do a job that he's not capable of doing. Signing Milton Bradley to be an everyday outfielder is like signing Mark Prior to make 34 starts, or trading for Carlos Delgado to be your catcher, or bringing in Will Carroll to endorse hair-care products. You're asking people to do things their bodies long ago stopped being able to do, and that's a recipe for failure.

- Bradley did return to the lineup and went 1-3 with a double. On cue, the beat writers get to file their weekly "Is Milton Crazy or Not?" report.  

- This shouldn't be news to any of our loyal readers, but Fangraphs notices that the Cubs pitchers have a eight year streak of leading the majors in strikeout rate and wonders if the Giants staff can surpass them this year. I'm a bit too lazy to look it up, but I believe the Cubs were in second or third for a good portion of last season until they acquired Rich Harden (and probably some injuries to the staffs ahead of them).

- "Blame Paul Bako" - the title says it all. (Hat tip to Wrigleyville23)

A tour of the latest from the web...

-  A rather random rumor that the Cubs may have some interest in A's shortstop Bobby Crosby.He's set to make $5.25M this year, so you know he wouldn't cost much in prospects and the A's would probably have to eat at least half his salary. If he's willing to be a utility guy, he'd be a step up from Aaron Miles. Baseball Prospectus projects Crosby at a .243 EqA versus Miles .232. Defensively, Crosby's been a bit above average (according to UZR) to below average (according to BP) at shortstop but probably has a strong enough arm to handle third base. Of course, he'd be replacing Joey Gathright or Micah Hoffpauir on the roster - unless Lou comes through with a six-man bench - and in that case he'd be replacing Bobby Scales, Jake Fox, Luis Rivas or Corey Koskie, in which we'd finally have an acceptable scenario for acquiring Crosby. That is unless the Cubs wise up quickly on this Aaron Miles fiasco that is about to be unleased upon unsuspecting fans.

- Caption fun with Ted Lilly at Big League Stew. Comment #3 has to be the winner.

- Dave Pinto runs through the Cubs expected offensive output. Marcel Projections and the Lineup Tool come up with 5.15 runs per game with the projected lineup, 5.42 with the optimum lineup. The Cubs scored 5.31 runs per game last year.

UPDATE: One wonderful reader pointed out that the probable lineup has Fukudome batting second which(to steal kmokeefe's line) is improbable (at least to begin the season). Let's try it on our own using the lineup of Soriano, Fontenot, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Fukudome, Soto, Theriot and the pitcher as suggested by Lou (actually Lou suggested Aaron Miles batting second, but we'll do that next).

That comes up with 5.29 runs per game. The optimal lineup of Bradley, Soto, Fukudome, Ramirez, Lee, Soriano, Fontenot, Pitcher and Theriot comes up with 5.469 runs per game. Flipping Miles for Fontenot results in: 5.025 runs per game and 5.317 with the computer-generated optimal lineup. 

- Lou took on Steve Phillips...Lou will win.

- Baseball Analysts takes a look at the All-Time One Teamers - the best player at each position to play for only one club. I checked on Ryne Sandberg(80.8) and Ernie Banks (80), but both are out-WARP'd by the author's choices of  Charlie Gehringer (85.3) and Cal Ripken Jr. (120.7). I was quite surprised to see Lou Whitaker(85.7) with a better career WARP-3 than Sandberg; I think I'll need to add him to my subjective Hall of Fame class.

UPDATE #2: Clearly I need an editor, as it was pointed out that Sandberg played 13 games for the Phillies in 1981.

- The miracles of science. We'll be taking donations for TCR's own $10,000 electrolysis machine in April.

- Split-squad action today, Cubs travel to Goodyear to take on the Indians; Carl Pavano vs. Chad Gaudin to start. Milton Bradley will DH in that game as well. Here's the lineup from Muskat:

CF Joey Gathright, SS Aaron Miles, 1B Derrek Lee, DH Bradley, LF Jason Dubois, RF Brad Snyder, 3B Bobby Scales, 2B Nate Spears.

Jeff Samardzija will lead the team in Las Vegas tonight versus the White Sox. MLB.com shows radio for the Indians game and TV for the White Sox game.

Sean Marshall,threw three perfect innings and Alfonso Soriano, Jake Fox, and Aramis Ramirez slammed home runs, helping the Cubs dump the Oakland A's 6-4 under overcast skies and 80-degree temperatures and in front of 6.500 fans at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon.

box score

As a service to our readers, I will avoid the obligatory double Sean puns for today's starters - Marshall vs. Gallagher. Here's the lineup from Muskat:

LF Alfonso Soriano, SS Ryan Theriot, 3B Aramis Ramirez, 1B Jake Fox, RF
Richie Robnett, CF Reed Johnson, C Paul Bako, 2B Andres Blanco, P Sean
Marshall.

You can listen to this one on the radio if you have the means.

Chris Snyder stroked a three-run homer off the scoreboard to key a five-run 4th, and the Arizona Diamondbacks drubbed the Chicago Cubs 9-1 in record-setting heat at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa.

box score

Carlos Zambrano gets his first start of the spring, the Diamondbacks send Dan Haren out to begin the game.

Muskat says Lou is deciding between Zambrano or Dempster for the Opening Day start versus the Houston Astros. 

The Cubs travel to Peoria to play the San Diego Padres. Ryan Dempster and Jake Peavy will start. Here is the lineup from Muskat:

SS Ryan Theriot, 2B Aaron Miles, CF Reed Johnson, 1B Jake Fox, 3B
Fontenot, RF Doug Deeds, LF Richie Robnett, C Paul Bako, P Ryan
Dempster.

Carlos Marmol has changed his mind and will pitch in the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic. Zambrano is still sitting out though.

Curt Schilling said if he does pitch this year, he would like it to be for either the Tampa Bay Rays or the Chicago Cubs. A Cubs source seems open to the idea.  Of course, I'm not sure if anyone has seen if he can still pitch.

Sam Fuld was named to Baseball America's All Winter League Team.

Thanks to the readers for the links.

Brad Snyder smacked a grand slam home run and Bobby Scales batted twice and drove in three runs with two singles to highlight a nine-run 7th, as the Cubs shutout the White Sox 13-0 before an all-time record crowd of 13,010 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in hot & sunny Mesa, Arizona.  

box score

Aaron Heilman goes for the Cubs, Jeff Marquez for the White Sox.

Corey Koskie signed a minor league deal and will join the Cubs after Team Canada is eliminated from the WBC. The Cubs have been searching for someone that could play third base and spell Aramis Ramirez on occasion, and with his left-handedness he seems like the perfect fit if the game hasn't passed him by.

Micah Hoffpauir hit a three-run homer and reached base three times, Mike Fontenot drove in four runs with a two-run homer and a two-run triple, and Sam Fuld smacked a solo home run, scored two runs, and threw a runner out at the plate, as the Cubs thrashed the Texas Rangers 10-4 at Surprise Stadium today.

box score

Ted Lilly will start for the Cubs before heading off to Team USA. The Rangers will start Scott Feldman.

Lineup from Muskat:

 SS Ryan Theriot, CF Reed Johnson, 1B Micah Hoffpauir, DH Jason Dubois,
C Geovany Soto, 2B Mike Fontenot, LF Doug Deeds, 3B Luis Rivas, RF So
Taguchi.

Jake Fox slammed a three-run homer and Joey Gathright had three hits, a walk, an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base (and made a nice running catch in right-centerfield as well), as the Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 7-4 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny Mesa, Arizona this afternoon, before another smallish crowd (6,711).

box score

 Yovanni Gallardo vs. Sean Marshall to start the game at HoHoKam Park.

Lineup from Muskat:

CF Joey Gathright, 2B Aaron Miles, RF Milton Bradley, 3B Aramis
Ramirez, LF Micah Hoffpauir, 1B Jake Fox, C Paul Bako, SS Darwin Barney
and P Sean Marshall.

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