TCR Friday Notes

Let's see, what did I miss over the last week?

Baseball America put out their top 10 Cubs list and it looks a little something like this

  1. Javier Baez
  2. Kris Bryant
  3. C.J. Edwards
  4. Albert Almora
  5. Jorge Soler
  6. Pierce Johnson
  7. Arismendy Alcantara
  8. Jeimer Candelario
  9. Dan Vogelbach
  10. Arodys Vizcaino

Edwards above Almora is a bit of surprise, but also completely meaningless. Mike Olt is falling faster than a reality star.

The Mesa Solar Sox will play in the AFL Finals this Saturday.

Bill Mueller's name is in the hat for taking over hitting instructor duties from James Rowson.

I'm pretty sure you can replace "upper management" with "Crane Kenney" in this story about being way off base on Joe Girardi's interest in returning to Chicago.

Amongst the offseaon rumors, so far we know Jeff Samardzija is certainly on the block with teams like Arizona and Toronto being mentioned. The DBacks also may have their eye on Nate Schierholtz according to Jon Morosi. Patrick Mooney says don't expect McCann or Saltalamacchia signing with the Cubs, but Kurt Suzuki is on the radar. Ricky Nolasco allegedly has a 4-year offer on the table in the 50M+ range. Adjust your contract expectations accordingly for players like Josh Johnson and so on.

...lightning round...go!

- David DeJesus ends up going to the Rays, essentially confirming hat the Nationals weren't all that interested in DeJesus afterall and claimed him only in a hope to block him from another team. Instead they ended up with $2.5M committment that they were able to shift to the Rays. The Rays will throw a player to be named later or cash (more likely cash) towards the Nats, which will then most likely get forwarded to the Cubs. You think they Western Union for that?

Looks like the Rays have use for DeJesus as they said he'll play against most righties, mostly instead of Kelly Johnson.

You know it's been a long offseason when you're actually looking forward to the results of a bunting competition.

- So Ryan Braun won his appeal to overturn a 50-game suspension for testing positive for elevated testerone levels. Many are claiming he's only been exonerated because of a technicality as Braun won his appeal because the "chain-of-custody" was not followed, a fancy way of saying the tester did not make Fed Ex in time and stored the urine sample in his home. There are conflicting reports on where it was stored, some saying a fridge at the tester's house, another a tupperware container on his desk for two days*. Regardless, the real winner here is due process. Clearly the standards agreed upon were not followed and a neutral arbitrator ruled accordingly. Whether he actually took anything or not will have to be decided in the court of opinion, but I'll say his 2011 numbers aren't anything out of the ordinary for a 27 year old that was already third in the MVP vote in 2008.

- Dale Sveum says that David DeJesus will likely bat leadoff to start spring training with Bryan LaHair batting fourth, Alfonso Soriano has an outside shot at the cleanup spot. He's still filling out the rest, buy my guess would be a lineup of: DeJesus, Castro, Soriano, LaHair, Soto, Stewart, Byrd, Barney.

-  Sveum also goes into great detail on what he means by hustle. He's already giving Soriano a pass for gawking at home runs if you had any notions of him cracking down on that.

- Speaking of lack of hustle, Junior Lake, Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano were the last ones to report to camp.

- Sickels came out with his top 120 prospects, Jackson at #27, Rizzo #37, Baez at #109 (believe he's predetermined that Baez will not be a SS already and adjusted accordingly). Jonathon Mayo on his blog put together an average ranking of "the big 4" prospect lists (himself, Keith Law, Baseball America and Kevin Goldstein).  Rizzo comes in at 48.75 average, Jackson 49.50 and Baez at 71. Their actually ranking on that list though - since others move around as well - is Rizzo at #38, Jackson at #40 and Baez at #69.

- Former Cub Josh Donaldson is working out a little at third base while also vying for the backup catcher job with the A's.

Enjoy the weekend!!!

*misread that bit, ESPN article just says tupperware container, nothing about a desk. There was some discrepancy about whether it was in a fridge or a basement though or maybe a fridge in the basement...whateves...FREEDOM!!!

**I swear they keep changing the article because now it mentions the desk again.

Sources told Munson that the collector left Braun's sample on a desk in a Tupperware container and left it there for two days.

I give up.

The flow of rumors is down to a drip as we near the Christmas break. Yet the Cubs are without a first basemen or much of a starting staff and still employ Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. There is still work to be done JedStein.

- Early in the day yesterday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported that "there were signs today (I can't say precisely what) to indicate the Cubs are stepping up their pursuit of Prince Fielder." Four hours later Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, claimed the "Cubs are not major players for Prince Fielder. Not ready to spend big." I hate when my baseless rumors contradict. WHO AM I TO BELIEVE?!?!?!?!

Al at BCB scores an interview with Crane Kenney and Tom Ricketts.

BCB: Are you open to expanding the payroll a little if there’s an acquisition, let’s say, the middle of this season that might help get the Cubs over the top into the playoffs? Jim Hendry comes and says I’d like to get this guy it’ll cost $8 million, are you...

TR: I’m not sure .. probably not an $8 million mid -season addition, but what we’re always talking about and what Jim likes to do … we’re going to play out the first half of the season we’ll see what we need I think it’s good I think he has a philosophy to bring in a fresh guy or two at the trade deadline to help push the team forward the last couple months. We’ll be open minded to that stuff.

There's plenty of interesting information in there, along with a healthy dose of Trib bashing by Crane Kenney.

A chance to comment on some happenings from the past week....

- The Cubs signed Cuban defector Juan Yasser Serrano and while he may not be able to hit a curveball, he probably can throw one. At a $250K bonus (about 4th/5th round money), I don't think the expectations are going to be to high. An "insider" of Caribbean Baseball didn't give a flattering report back in April of last year:

Just a few things that have been lying in my "in" box...

- Updating the August Player of the Month race, DeRosa and Ramirez didn't do much to help themselves this weekend. Ramirez did end up with the most RBI's in August, but his .975 OPS for the month is good for only 16th out of players with at least 50 PA's. DeRosa ended up 5th in OPS, 2nd in Runs Scored and 3rd in extra-base hits. Manny Ramirez had the highest OPS and his .415 BA along with 9 home runs(tied for 2nd) is going to look appealing as will Ty Wigginton's 12 HR's(1st), 26 RBI's(2nd) and 19 XBH's (1st).

- Fred Mitchell teases Cubs fans that Geovany Soto could have been an Orioles as part of the Sammy Sosa trade back in 2005.

- For those worried about the Cubs collapsing in September, don't forget Lou does his best work in September. The numbers in that article don't account for 2007, where the Cubs were 17-12. 

- Alex Eisenberg, who runs things at Baseball Intellect, does some video breakdowns of 2008 draftees at The Hardball Times. Here's Andrew Cashner's and Ryan Flaherty's videos. 

• There has been a lot of talk–some of it here–about how Milwaukee's signing of Mike Cameron and resultant shifting of Bill Hall to 3B and Ryan Braun to LF will improve the Brewers' overall defense. On Friday, Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus (subscription req'd) tried to gauge what that improvement might be.

According to Jaffe's rough, "back of the envelope" calculations, the Brewers project to be about 42 runs better on defense, which could mean between 1.5 and 4 extra victories. That's even assuming both Hall and Braun are below average at their new positions.

• Last week, I wrote about Dave Pinto's Lineup Analysis machine. Pinto finally fed the projected 2008 Cubs numbers into his virtual gizmo and the results show that the Cubs' most productive starting lineup would look like this:

Fukudome rf
Lee 1b
DeRosa 2b
Ramirez 3b
Soto c
Soriano lf
Pie cf
Pitcher
Theriot ss

In his write-up, Pinto shows (projected) love for Geo Soto and questions why Soriano's big bat would lead off, which puts Pinto in the company of many millions of wondering Chicago Cub fans.

• Just guessing here, but based on what we're hearing about operations in the Orioles front office, I suspect Peter Angelos keeps the key to the team's executive washroom locked in his desk, and when Andy MacPhail has to go, he has to ask Angelos for permission. I'm thinking sometimes the old man says yes, and sometimes the old man says no.

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