Friday Notes

I realized my Cubs apathy reached a new height when I had no idea who the Cubs are playing today and don't really care to look it up.

- In the news, Kaplan's impeccable, most-excellent sources told him that the Cubs and Starlin Castro are working on an extension that would take him up to free agency and beyond. Rosenthal piggybacks on it with a tweet today saying that it should be a 6 to 7 year deal possibly with a club option and that it could be completed by next week. If my math is right, that should take him through 2018 and possibly 2019 which would be through his age 29 season. The numbers on this should be fascinating. My prediction yesterday was something in the 6/60 range, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's higher considering inflation and factoring in the usual rise in salary numbers.

Theo is already saying nice things about Castro in the media, so looks like this is just crossing the t's and dotting the i's, and hopefully doing it a lot better than Jim Bowden did during the trade deadline.

- Filed under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up", Ryan Dempster was put on the Rangers restricted list for personal reasons and won't make his start for Saturday in Toronto. Sounds terrible, until you find out that the personal reason is that Canadian-born Ryan Dempster can't find his Canadian passport.

- And in "Sad Trombone" news, Mark Prior has been released by the Boston Red Sox. The 31-year old had a 3.96 ERA in Pawtucket in 25 innings with 38 K's, but 23 walks.

...the necessary return.

- Daytona won in spectacular fashion last night to advance to the finals of the Florida State League and will take on the St. Lucie Mets in a best of 5 starting tonight. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the 8th, the Daytona Cubs plated four with Matt Szczur delivering the game-winning two out hit.

Casey Harman starts with a lineup of Crawford (7), Watkins (4),  Cerda (5), Bour (3), Rohan (0), Burgess (9), Szczur (8), Soto (6), Noble(2) behind him.

- Smokies won game 1 of their best of 5 last night versus Chattanooga (Dodgers affiliate). After Brooks Raley put the Smokies in a  5-1 hole, the Smokies put up a 7-spot in the bottom of the 4th with the help of Josh Vitters and Blake Lalli home runs. Game 2 is tonight with Ryan Searle getting the start. The lineup is: Adduci (9), Ha (8), Lalli (3), Ridling (7), Vitters (5), Clevenger (2), Lake (6), Samson (4), Searle (1).

- As for the big league club, Jayson Stark and Jon Heyman have articles on the GM search. From Stark...

So one longtime friend of team chairman Tom Ricketts predicts that, in the end, he'll hire a young, creative, sabermetrically inclined executive willing to try a whole new approach to curse-busting.

Lineup versus the Mets tonight: Castro SS, Barney 2B, Ramirez 3B, Pena 1B, Soriano LF, Byrd CF, LaHair RF, Soto C, Coleman P

The Cubs currently have the 7th worst record in the majors.

You may have thought I've been on vacation since May, but really just the last week and next. Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things when I return.

In the meantime, the Mets visit Wrigley for this weekends exhibition. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and his surprising 2010 season start off the set against Randy "Sophomore Slump" Wells.

Fukudome, Castro, Byrd, Ramirez, Nady, Soto, Soriano, DeWitt, Wells

vs.

Pagan, Duda, Carter, Wright, Davis, Arias, Thole, Tejada, Dickey.

Gorzelanny has a hairline fracture in his pinkie and will miss his next start, hints are that he'll avoid the disabled list and pitch again this season.

Welington Castillo was called up.

The Cubs are currently tied for the 7th spot in the draft with the Nationals, a half game from the 6th spot owned by the Royals, 2 games from the 5th spot owned by the Dbacks and 3 games from the 4th spot owned by the Indians. I think the Pirates, O's and Mariners are pretty safe to take the first three picks. On the other side, it doesn't look the Cubs could do much worse than the 8th spot in the draft as they're 5.5 games behind the Astros and Brewers for the 9th spot.

Happy Weekend everyone.

The site is broken.

The Cubs are broken.

I'm swamped.

The Friday beatdown lineup, yep, Soto batting 8th.

LF Colvin, SS Castro, 1B Lee, 3B Ramy, CF Byrd, RF Fukudome, 2B DeWitt, C Soto, P Gorzelanny

I just wanted to thank Sweet Lou and Aisle 424 once again for their guest posts last week. Be sure to visit their blogs on a regular basis as well. I had one more guest column lined up, but the server issues last week preempted it. The plan is for it to be up next week.

Speaking of the server issue, everything seems to be working smoothly once again. Or at least it has since Monday when I got back. Anyone still having issues connecting? We did have to upgrade to a higher server package at three times the cost, so I'm now forced to take on advertising on my body parts for $5 a pop.

- The Cubs made some roster moves today, Marcus Mateo, John Gaub, Jeff Gray adnd James Adduci were optioned to Triple A. Darwin Barney, Bobby Scales, Robinson Chirinos were assigned to minor league camp leaving 33 in camp. It appears James Russell will be added to the 40-man roster and make the team (a 0 ERA in spring will do that for you) and Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva will be the starters, leaving the bench as the final puzzle to be solved.

I was suppose to post this Friday night, but life got in the way the rest of the weekend...

- Arizona Phil does what only he can do...an amazing retrospective on how the 1969 Cubs were built and his memories of the season.

- Ryan Theriot is losing fans in the Cubs organization apparently by sticking to his $3.4M demands. Bruce Miles on the radio and Bruce Levine both saying that an arbitration hearing looks inevitable. It would be the first arbitration hearing in 17 years between the Cubs and a player (Mark Grace).

- Orlando Cabrera signs with the Reds on a 3 million deal for one year with a $1M buyout on a $3M mutual option in 2011.  They then acquired Aaron Miles from the A's for Wily Taveras and Adam Rosales. As long as they don't land Johny Damon...

(Interesting twist to this story, A's DFA Taveras immediately. Also, the A's are sending a PTBNL to the Reds as part of the deal).

- Reed Johnson was offered $800K by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

- The mayor of Mesa discusses the city's proposal for the Cubs potential new spring training facility. The two locations being discussed are the NE part of the valley by the 202(sounds like he says by Record but couldn't find that, earlier interview he said Greenfield which is what the link goes to) or near the Gateway Airport by the 202 Freeway and Elliot Road. He also says that they'll look to try and grab another Florida team to fill HoHoKam and Fitch Park. As has been mentioned, besides the new stadium and facilties, a Wrigleyville West will be built around the park for fans to spend their cash at.

And for what it's worth, the governor of Florida says it's not quite over.

“I had the opportunity to chat with the owner last night,’’ he said
during a stop at Cambier Park in Naples. “He told me, ‘governor, you’re
going to see some thing in tomorrow’s papers, but no decision has been
made.’’

- The New York Times takes on the Cubs convention. Speaking of the NYT, they've announced a metered payment system to start in 2011 for their online content. Basically you get 10 free visits a month and then will have to pay to access anymore articles. Don't be too surprised when the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune do something similar in a few years.

- We got a mention at Big League Stew in their Chicago Cubs BLS Blogbook. Thanks. On the left sidebar of our site, I added a Cubs blogroll that randomly features 5 of the so far 36 and counting Cubs blogs that I've found.

a lot of ground to cover here, let's get to it...

UPDATE: Muskat previews the Winter Meetings and says up to three teams are interested in Bradley. Talks have happened with the Tigers for Granderson but not looking good at the moment. Reed Johnson is welcome back and Mark DeRosa is out of the Cubs price range.

- Mlive.com has a pretty detailed report on the negotiations between the Cubs and Tigers so far for Curtis Granderson. The Tigers wanted Carlos Marmol or Starlin Castro as the headliner in a trade and they've been deemed untouchable (that always works out well for the Cubs). They did do some previous scouting on Jake Fox last season and he could of been of interest as part of the package, but they'll have to get him from the A's now.  Names like Josh Vitters, Jay Jackson, Andrew Cashner and Hak-Ju Lee are thrown around, but they don't quite bring the right mixture of major league readiness and prospectdom that the Tigers are craving.

- A very sketchy rumor of the Cubs having interest in Vicente Padilla.

- Chone Figgins to the Mariners for 4/36 according to Rosenthal. A bit pricey, but such is the cost of dabbling in free agency.

A little under the weather and mourning the end of the Bears season, so some brief notes to hold you over for the weekend.

-  To add fuel to my "they better offer Rich Harden arbitration" fire, the Seattle Times suggest the Mariners have some interest in Rich Harden as I imagine a few teams will.

- Our pal Alex Eisenberg at Baseball Intellect has a new premium article scouting left-handed pitcher James Paxton (drafted by the Blue Jays in the supplemental round in the 2009 draft). The video in the game is against LSU and there's three at-bats of D.J. LeMaheiu which he does a little breakdown of. 

- Congrats to Carlos Zambrano on his third Silver Slugger award. I know Z gets a lot of heat for his Babe Ruth like swings and not worrying enough about his pitching, but I suggest if you have a problem with that you should go follow an AL team. Players like Carlos Zambrano is what makes the National League more fun.

- On the Curtis Granderson rumor front, MLBTR has a link up saying the Angels and Tigers have been talking...Granderson would presumably patrol left field.

- And now the greatest 4:30 minutes you'll watch this weekend, hat tip to Big League Stew for the find.

Enjoy the weekend!

- Alex Eisenberg runs Baseball Intellect and he's added a premium service where he breaks down video of prospects. Recently he did one that included  Logan Watkins and Hak-Juk Lee from a Boise Hawks game earlier this year. If you're a minor league junkie, I have to think that's a good way to spend $3 a month and I'll continue to give him a shout out when he features Cubs prospects.

- MLB Trade Rumors is reporting their own rumor that the Cubs have interest in the 21-year old 100 mph southpaw from Cuba - Aroldis Chapman. He's expected to be anywhere from $30 to $60M richer by the end of the offseason.

- Speaking of MLBTR, I read this bit over there:


ESPN's Keith Law, former special assistant to the GM in Toronto, mentioned a few interesting Blue Jays' non-trades in his chat today. He says that the Mets once offered 19-year-old David Wright for Jose Cruz Jr., but J.P. Ricciardi said "I'm not trading a major league player for some guy in the (Low Class-A) Sally League." Klaw also mentions that the Jays had a chance to trade Cruz Jr. for Rafael Soriano, but wouldn't do it unless the Mariners kicked in Clint Nageotte as well. What could have been, Jays fans.

Facepalm.

- Cubbery at its finest:

As Lee and Baker were mobbed by teammates in the dugout, relief pitcher Angel Guzman
slapped the side of Lee's helmet, causing Lee to experience neck spasms
that forced him to come out of the game for defense in the bottom of
the ninth.

- Rich Harden is shutting it down for the year, a mutual decision between him and the club. The tone of the article sounds like there isn't much interest by either party in reuniting beyond this season. Fine by me, but will the Cubs offer arbitration?

- Wittenmyer has a rundown of the Cubs rotation down the stretch.

Well that little fling the Cubs had with the playoffs was fun, but I'm back to not giving a damn. One of our readers suggested a poll on what was the reasons for the Cubs demise in 2009. You never want to jump the gun too soon on something like that, but I think by the end of the weekend, it'll be safe to post.

- BP looks at the some of minor leaguers around the NL that took a big stride in their prospectdom. Kyler Burke and pitcher "Cub" Carpenter(so as not be confused with the Cardinals Chris Carpenter) get mentioned.

- A nice article on where and how the Cubs make their money and where new owner Tom Ricketts will try to boost profits.

-  Fun day at the ballpark yesterday....Cubs lose again and Randy Wells looks cooked. Milton got on-base finally, but complained of a knee injury and was removed from the game. This sent the press corp into some sort of odd frenzy, which of course Bradley fed with a terse post-game press conference around his locker followed by Lou sort of dressing Bradley down for his actions. This after Lou just decided he wasn't going to hold a press conference of his own. Oh yee double standard, how I love you so...

The writing is getting pretty clear on the wall that Lou and Bradley just aren't going to get along. I imagine Hendry will be working the phones for some overpriced relievers to try and swap bad contracts this offseason. Then he can cut the reliever and flush $23M down the drain.

- Speaking of Bradley, there's been some odd debate between the on-field merits of Alfonso Soriano vs. Bradley this year in the comments. Seems pretty cut and dried to me, but I did try to look at it objectively in this comment. I reposted the analysis after the jump as well.

- And I'd like to welcome all of you Bears fans, to The Bear Truth. A little Bears blog I'm going to start up. Right now, it's just yours truly, but hopefully I can blackmail a few more writers into joining the venture (drop me a note if you're interested, qualifications are the English language and not being an over-opinionated douchebag). If anything, it will hopefully keep the Bears talk off here. I'm sure it'll one day grow into something just as kick-ass as TCR, but for the time being, it'll be just a good place to gather and chat about the Bears, including Parachat on gamedays. I also plan on using it as my testing ground for improvements to TCR as the two sites run on the same platform. Stop on by... 

- Chone Figgins loves his Orange County Angels.

"...when you find a home, you want to stay here. I love what this
organization is all about -- winning, playing hard. I love being here."

I watched not one second of Friday's affair. I managed about 10 minutes of Internet access and caught the 2-1 score, posted this premature comment and then later flipped on my XM radio to catch the final 5-2 win. The good news is the Cubs got a win and Milton Bradley and Alfonso Soriano went a combined 6/6 with 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 Runs Scored and 2 BB's. The bad news was the comedy of errors from the offensive heroes and the Cubs needing a dramatic come-from-behind win against a team missing their five best players.

Some links and notes after the jump...

I'll ease back into TCR with some links...

- Geovany Soto will be back in the lineup tonight just in
time for some Coors Field inflated hitting. Way to pick your spots
Geo...

- A rather crucial 7-game swing here for the Cubs...4 at Colorado and then 3 at home versus Philly. The Rockies are a game behind the Giants in the wild card and one ahead of the Cubs. Pitching matchups for this weekend are: Zambrano vs U. Jimenez (3.76 ERA), Dempster vs. Marquis (3.49), Wells vs. Hammell (4.62) and Gorzelanny vs. De La Rosa (5.00 ERA, although 5-0 with a 2.50 ERA in July, but then got crushed in his first August start against Philly).

- Here's a great Dusty-ism, except it's from Hendry.

"I can't say enough about Hill," general manager Jim Hendry said. "He really saved us."

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