Some Really Minor Cubs News

According to Patrick Mooney of CSN, the Cubs added OF Brett Lillibridge and OF Darnell McDonald on minor league deals today with spring training invites. They also agreed to a $930K contract with Luis Valbuena, thus avoiding arbitration.


Check out the left sidebar for some of the other NRI's to spring training courtesy of Arizona Awesome.



Holy Crap....$930K for Valbuena? Ugh

hey, that's cheap for what will probably be their starting third baseman.


it's a little weird/high for a guy with so much arb. left...still, with minimum wage near 500K, it's "only overpaying" by 200-300K at best. still odd, though.

the comments on some articles about the signing (esp yahoo) has people doing a lot of "wtf?" i wonder how he earned this kind of payday,'s not like he has much leverage. at the end of the day, it's only a few 100 grand overpaid rather than a million+, i guess.

Brett Lillibridge = Brent, btw.

lulz... "FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi report that Justin Upton rejected a trade that would have sent him to the Mariners." he's got a limited no-trade, fwiw.

per Crasnick...Mariners, bluejays, redsox and cubs are the 4 teams on Upton's no-trade list. Can someone explain the logic in those 4 teams being selected as no trade list picks? M's because the team sucked and it's not a hitter's park. Cubs because the team sucked. Bluejays-blame Canada? and Redsox because he hates chowdah?

Imagine Justin Upton would be the only one that knows but maybe had a bad experience at Wrigley or doesn't want to run into a brick wall or over bullpen mounds. Bluejays probably wanted to protect his money because of the conversion rate. Maybe BJ told him some bad things about playing at Fenway. And maybe his agent heard whispers last season that Mariners were interested and was smart enough to put them on the no trade list and gain some leverage.

Ultimately it's leverage though and trying to get more if the trade happens.


cubs + black players don't have a good reputation (especially playing in the OF) it or not...right or the past and no longer an issue or still's rumored reputation is in play. of course, it could be any number of other things such as ivy/brick (doubtful with upton) or all the day games (more likely)

Andre Dawson really took a beating from those bleacher fans.

Jacque Jones and Milton Bradley would tell a different story.

Todd Hundley and Neifi Perez agree too

My point would be that players don't get hassled because of their skin color - that's not to say there aren't racist pigs who spew out slime when a player is going bad, but fans don't look at a guy and say "he's black, I'm going to boo him", except for a few troglodytes I suppose. I would think a white guy would have the same considerations, when thinking about playing in the Wrigley outfield. If you suck and you come riding in on a pile of money, fans are going to yell all kinds of shit at you, and you're going to hear a lot of it crystal clear. Jacos brings up Hundley, who was one of the most reviled players to ever play in Wrigley, in spite of a having a dad who played here and was pretty well liked.

you don't have entire groups of white people discussing amongst themselves the burden of getting racist taunts and mail, though. dlee didn't get hell playing for the cubs, but he saw what the other players got. a lot of that had to do with the quality of his play, his leadership, and general lack of abrasiveness/controversy. todd hollandsworth and todd hundley weren't getting a slew of racist hate mail or being told to get their cracker asses back to the ski slopes (or whatever you'd yell at white people)'s most likely not an issue that they'd be heckled for being white and playing for the cubs no matter how much they sucked. most players aren't getting hassled for their skin color, but those that are happen to not be white. i don't know what the hispanic reputation is, but the black player reputation with teams like CHC/BOS is kinda long-standing. fwiw, i once spoke with james baldwin about his treatment with the wsox and though he may not have felt like getting in it with a stranger, he claimed he never had an issue while playing in chicago for quite a while...and not exactly doing great for all of his tenure. it can all change...and change without much notice. PHI used to have a horrible reputation with black players in almost every sport it hosts in the city. that's barely an issue now, it seems.

But now you're just bringing the entire black experience of living in America into the mix. Contrary to your claims, I've been in the ballparks of enough other cities to know it happens in all of them. Most of these guys have pretty thick skin - unfortunately they've needed it since Jackie Robinson came up, and will need it until the rednecks and morans have been Darwinized. Speaking of Philadelphia, Dick Allen once scrawled "Fuck You" in the dirt at the old Philly park while playing third base after being taunted by fans. I assume they were hurling racist invectives his way.

for a lot it's about hedging're gonna hear it everywhere, but some places have a reputation for putting up with it more than others. it's not an epidemic with the cubs, but it's something that doesn't seem to be going away in the perception of players as of now. the cubs have a bit of a PR issue which they're not causing, cultivating, or ignoring. it's one of those things that has to take care of itself. it doesn't help that the cubs have such a wide reaching fan base. it's not the 999 people that don't engage in the crap, it's the 1 out of 1000 that does (example, not exact stat, of course). the cubs fan base is so nation-wide huge, this becomes magnified on a scale that 2/3rd+ of MLB teams don't have to deal with.

The simple solution is for the Cubs to implement a zero tolerance policy towards racist speech in their park (if they haven't already). There are enough ushers/guards in the bleachers to police this, and I have a feeling 99% of fans would be happy with the immediate ejection of anyone yelling racist epithets. Problem solved. And before anyone jumps on this, it's not a free speech issue.

Agreed. Too bad most of the ushers are >80 years old and can't hear shit.


while racial slurs I'm sure have been tossed far too many times, and while I do beleive that Wrigley has a bit of reputation for it, it's as you say, because they sucked or weren't liked.

It's certainly not to excuse the behavior and I do think it's being circulated around the players unjustly as "Wrigley and Cubs fans are racist". While in reality it's really, "Chicago hated me and some jack-asses tossed out some racist slurs to let me know that".

I don't believe for one second that more than a handful of Cubs' fans really pre-judged any of these players because they were black. But very unfortunately a few, once they fell out of favor, were treated very poorly.

that reputation spreads like disease, though...right or wrong. i've sat around with minor leaguers who have stated they wouldn't want to play for the cubs because of a reputation they've never come close to experiencing first-hand. that's where the battle is...perception. along with players who were actually there speaking out about it, it feeds into past stories and reputation. i've worked with GMO crops in the scope of my career. the amount of misinformation, over-the-top panic/reaction, etc to the subject doesn't warrant the fear many people have about it, but the reputation still stands...and people give it hell based upon the reputation. it doesn't have to happen to the person, themselves. some people just don't want to deal with that, especially if they have a family in tow. that said, it's going to happen everywhere. there's no escape from it. on the cubs, you have a team who's fans stretch across the country. there's more cubs fans than dbacks fans in ARZ. there's more cubs fans than almost any other team except the braves here in NC. you're going to pull a lot of love and a lot more jerks than other more localized teams. there's a whoooooooooole lot more love than hate in the fan base, but reputation takes time to fix in the world of information exchange. cubs fans aren't racist...the view doesn't seem to heavily skew in that's more of "why bother if i can avoid it" issue as far as i can tell. players don't want to drag their families to games to expose their loved ones (or themselves) to even an assumed increased chance of putting up with it.

I really think it's the proximity of the fans to the outfielders that is the real problem. The same proportion of racist fools exists city to city in my experience. So the problem should be identified as, "If I come to Chicago, do I want to deal with heckling". I also wonder how much disposition plays into it. Does Soriano get called names? I have no idea, since I've never sat in the bleachers with Soriano playing and listened to what happens there, but that smile of his is awfully disarming. I know he gets booed plenty, but what about the name calling? I am willing to bet that it's pretty rare. As for the reputation, I don't know anything either way about that, and it doesn't matter much because as a fan I can't do anything about it except deliver a good solid roundhouse to any yahoo who spews out racist taunts.

You have been postulating this for a long time. Of course entitled to your opinion - it is a tiny minority of the huge Cubs Nation that supports this racism. Boston is even more polarized than Chi. They have black players - and they have won. Minnesota has a tiny African-American population - but along your thinking lines maybe Upton doesn't want to go there b/c of this? Or is it too cold? Who knows? Hey - if someone doesn't want to work for my org, or my City, who cares? I move on.

kerry wood, don baylor, dusty baker, milton bradley, jacque jones, latroy hawkins, and dlee are some recent cubs who have spoken about or alluded to the issue. along with that, there's a reputation with the cubs that goes beyond players playing there. the cubs end up on a lot of black player's no-trade lists...especially outfielders. the cubs also end up on a lot of players of any color's no-trade list cuz of crap facilities and day games, though. that said, that doesn't stop the rumblings when it's brought up. orlando hudson wouldn't play for the cubs even when offered a generous contract...torri hunter has had the cubs on his no-trade forever and dances around the issue of why. i've heard black players in the minors discuss the reputation without even having any 1st hand experience of even playing in the majors, much less being able to pick/choose where they want to play or even being under the control of the Cubs. right or wrong...better now than then or not...the rumblings exist. with a nation-wide team like the Cubs you're going to get all types. the people in the bleachers yelling and the mail that comes in may be from 100-1000 miles away. it doesn't paint a fair picture of the fans or city on whole, but that doesn't stop the reputation.

"along with that, there's a reputation with the cubs that goes beyond players playing there. the cubs end up on a lot of black player's no-trade lists...especially outfielders. the cubs also end up on a lot of players of any color's no-trade list cuz of crap facilities and day games, though. that said, that doesn't stop the rumblings when it's brought up." Where do you get this stuff from?? I am 55 years old and I have not heard the "a lot of players" no trade lists. This s purely speculation. You are spreading rumors not based in much fact or cannot provide this.Can you? who are the "alot" CRUNCH? Got a list with verifiable facts of said players with NTC clauses based on Cubs fans racism? It was reported that Dusty had issues, Jacque Jones, Bradley, others over the last 100 years. But posting the above when you really don't know what you postulate to be fact, is just internet bullshit you put out there. I find some irony also in that you live in a Stars n Bars state - is it North Carolina perhaps? - where they still talk about "The War", not meaning WWII - yet you talk about alleged NT racism clauses by "alot" of black players. Interesting.

i made a list of players who have commented on the race thing...upton + t.hunter have more famously had cubs on their no-trade lists ("a lot of players" is an overstatement, i'll give you that.)...i've talked with minor leaguers who have talked about this who aren't even in the cubs system. also, upton may hate big cities...he may hate day games...i dunno his issue. he has allegedly removed the yanks from his no-trade and the mets were never on it.

"May.." "I talked to..." Again, all bullshit. You don't know - and you already admittd that "alot" is bullshit. Got any hard quotes on these NTC racism clauses? From something we can check? Nothing more than your internet opinion. Actually, I worked with Tori Hunter's cousin for 8 mos. He invited me to a Sox game to meet him but I could not go. I will ask him to ask his cousin as now I am curious if this has any factual basis. As you say, "Go Internet!"

"I talked to" is so far from bullshit i don't know where to start. we can start with e.dukes and go all the way to bj upton...but this was a long time ago and things change and i'm not about to put table talk on the record, even if it's a blog. kerry wood, don baylor, dusty baker, milton bradley, jacque jones, latroy hawkins, and dlee have all had some things to say about it without getting me into it... around dude. Got a copy of the Racism NTC? Minor leaguers comparing to BJ Upton? Internet hearsay bullshit unless you provide facts. Which you can't. Just your OPINION.

i'm not comparing to bj saying bj upton. you're not going to get a transcript or anything on record from me, though, so we'll have to let that one pass if you want the burden of proof. i overstepped on the no-trade thing...especially since i have nothing concrete. that one's yours to take.

If you are going to post something that is something serious regarding MLB players having actual Racism Claises in their NTCs, specifically DO NOT want to play in Wrigley due to racism, you fucking better well provide some goddamn proof of this. Which you cannot do. Which is what I thought until you prove otherwise. You already admitted that your "alot of players" was a mis statement. Why should we believe anything else?? Do yourself a favor and post stuff as, "IMO, racism might have something to do with..." NOT your hearsay, internet bullshit hypothisis. Sorry, it is just insulting...

in my reality the perception of an increased exposure to racism exists in the cubs universe, both from what i've read/heard from the list of people and crews of minor leaguers. one of those people (who btw did not weigh in on this, but was around while it was being discussed while i was there) is one of our new multi-year SPs. you can have the NTC thing...that's wrapped in speculation, but the perception exists and there's players attesting to it...and i've heard players in-person discuss it (even if they were minor leaguers not in the cubs system at the time).

At least you used "in my reality". That is close to IMO. That's a start! Things change, and racism and anti-semitism, anti-muslim, hate, still exists. I personally do not tolerate it. I have not seen it being displayed, used, threatened, ONE time at Wrigley since my 1st game in 1968. So. my opinion is that it is in the tiny minority of Cubs Nation which was in my 1st post.

it's very much a minority (no pun)'s a perception issue, not a festering sore. no one's cultivating, supporting, or ignoring it. further, the cubs are a team with a huge national reach. the idiot writing letters or screaming in the bleachers could easily be from 1000 miles away as they are from the city.

The color of money is GREEN. Players who refuse green - for whatever reasons - from the Cubs - are archaic. Very few play for their hometown and loyalty is at its lowest point. Any player who hits .210 is in danger of being heckled - even in Spanish. Can we please move on? If you don't want to play for the Cubs, there are literally hundreds willing to take your place in the lineup.

more upton... "The Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant reports that the Rangers are "moving on" from a potential trade for Justin Upton." umm...yeah. also, wtf is up with that weird indoor playhouse on page 7? also, why did the person who uploaded the photos also include the tag "Sammy Sosa Bleached" as a tag on some of the photos?

Looks like a model home for his disaster-proof home building venture. Should we start a Sammy Sosa Bankruptcy pool?

Milton Bradley could get up to 13 years of prison.

Former Los Angeles Dodger Milton Bradley was charged today with 13 counts related to several alleged attacks on his estranged wife, and could get up to 13 years behind bars ...

See what all that booing did.


Bradley has always been a piece of shit and now they got enough evidence to lock him up for a very long time. I told you his future was prison but i thought he would go down for murder. Sounds like he was damn near to doing that.

... she asked him to stop smoking marijuana in front of their kids.

from the department of wtf? "Blue Jays signed C Henry Blanco to a one-year, $750,000 contract." non-guaranteed, but good luck breaking with that team.

I think this question was asked and answered by AZ Phil before (albeit for another player, Nate S.) but Carlos Villaneueva's agreeing to a Cub contract story broke on Dec 20th. This is 22 days later. Is there a time limit for how long the Cubs can take to make a roster spot for CV? I assume they are either working on a trade where it opens up a roster spot or Lendy Castillo is watching the grains of sand drop through his hourglass and we're on the last few grains. I thought the time limit was 20 days with modifications because of holidays so we must be getting near some deadline, is it Monday?

CUBSTER: A free-agent who signs a major league contract must be added to the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) when the player is added to the club's 25-man roster (MLB Active List) or when the contract is filed with the MLB office (whichever comes first), and the club has up to 20 days to file the contract once the player actually signs.

Since the 25-man roster is not used during the off-season, the Cubs will have to add Villanueva to the 40-man roster whenever they file the contract with the MLB office, and they have 20 days to do that starting on the date he actually signed the contract.

It was reported at several different sites on December 20th that Villanueva had "agreed to terms" on a two-year contract with the Cubs, but he probably still had to take his physical and then actually sign the contract, all of which quite possibly could have been delayed until after Christmas (like maybe December 26th). If so, I would think he will have to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster on Monday or Tuesday.

Some of you may have noticed that the Cleveland Indians released OF Thomas Neal. (He was Designated for Assignment when the Tribe signed Nick Swisher).

The reason Neal was was released instead of being outrighted is that Neal was a Draft-Excluded Player (a Rule 5 eligible minor league player whose contract was selected and who was added to an MLB 40-man roster between August 15th and the Rule 5 Draft), so Cleveland could not send him to the minors (option or outright) until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day. 

Because Cleveland ended up releasing Neal, the Indians would have to sign him to a minor league contract and cannot add him back to the 40-man roster any earlier than May 15th, presuming he re-signs with the Indians (as a released player, he is free to sign with any club). However, if he were to sign with any club other than Cleveland, he can sign a major league or minor league contract and he can be added to the new club's 40-man roster immediately or anytime (doesn't have to wait until May 15th).  

The Cubs have a similiar situation with their Draft-Excluded Players (Chris Rusin, Trey McNutt, Christian Villanueva, Logan Watkins, and Rob Whitenack), which is why it is very unlikely that Rusin will be dropped from the 40-man roster when Carlos Villanueva is added. 

article on cubs pitching coordinator Derek Johnson...
Johnson believes something that may feel a little counter-intuitive to some. He believes they under-throw and under-prepare. He has a system but he keeps it flexible for the individual player. He's known for producing pitchers who throw a lot, with a highly structured system for long-tossing, and is considered a gifted teacher who adapts his style according to the strengths and weaknesses of pitchers.

from BP MLB Depth Charts Jason Martinez:
Chris Cottrell (‏@OffAirOnPoint) asks on Twitter about the Chicago Cubs pitching prospect, "‏When will Arodys Vizcaino be in Chicago and what role will he pitch in? "
Early in the offseason, I had Vizcaino penciled into a very thin Cubs bullpen as the setup man to closer Carlos Marmol. I figured with over a year to recover from Tommy John surgery, he'd be ready to roll as a reliever by the start of the season. After all, this was going to be his role with the Braves in 2012 before he went under the knife. What I don't tend to think about as much that early in the offseason -- mostly because I don't want to have "TBD" or just some random pitcher who has no chance whatsoever to make the team in a projected roster spot -- is that some teams are going to be in "win now at all costs" mode and some teams are in "try to win now but don't hurt the future of the organization" mode. The Cubs are in the latter, understanding that the best path for Vizcaino, even if it leads back to that ultimate role of a late-inning reliever, is one where he's first eased back in as a minor league starter. If you recall, Vizcaino was a top starting pitching prospect with the Yankees, and then with the Braves before they moved him to the bullpen based on need. In Triple-A Iowa, he'll be able to work on a strict pitch count, he'll eventually get to use all of his pitches, and the Cubs will be able to evaluate the 22 year-old for themselves. Remember that he's never thrown a pitch for the Cubs, who acquired him on July 30th in the deal for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson. The #4 prospect in the organization, according to Baseball Prospectus, Vizcaino could be in line to be the team's "closer of the future", or at the very least, the top setup man bridging the gap to the closer. BP's prospect guru Jason Parks wrote that Vizcaino's "long-term role will most likely come in high-leverage situations out of the ‘pen, where his plus-plus heat and power curve have a chance to make him one of the better setup men in the game". Before that happens, the Cubs will want to make sure they're not giving up too early on a guy who could end up in a much more valuable role as a top-of-the-rotation starter. I can see them coming to a conclusion by August, at which time they'll want to see him in their major league bullpen.

Blue Jays signed Hank White. I was one of the few people I know who liked Hank. Good to see him get a job at 41.

I think everyone liked him. What's not to like out of him as a backup catcher?

the chances of him breaking with the team is next to nothing...they got jp as their main guy and j.thole is dickey's knuckleball catcher of choice. he'll be waiting around for an injury in AAA...though yan gomes should be, and probably is, ahead of him on the pecking order + 1st to be called up (unless they plan on moving to gomes to 1st).

I meant that nobody disliked him while he was here, not that he'll be a great Blue Jay

Mike McCoy will be available now for an interview. What a great Playoff game. will Tom Clements. YES! The Packers finally lost!

geoff blum new HOU color guy...i'm gonna miss bob w/ the cubs, but i'm glad the snagged a gem from HOU

Soriano rumors from Nick Cafardo...

Cubs expect a significant player in return if they're assuming most of contract, think he's an excellent teammate, Soriano will only accept deal to East Coast team.

phillies...mets...o's...rays...pirates... about all that's on the east coast in the need of a LF/DH...and phillies/mets are the only ones with true needs...and they don't have DH slots.

More importantly this guy is back in the news Cubs fans. Same article. 4. Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles — He is recovering from a torn labrum in his hip after a couple of years of postconcussion syndrome, and is in the final year of his four-year, $40 million contract, so this could be his last shot. He is 35 and has been limited to 115 games the past three seasons. His last full season was 2009, when he hit .283 with 16 homers and 79 RBIs. He was once a prominent player, and Buck Showalter would love to pencil him into the lineup and never look back. But that has been difficult the past few years.

his destiny is to put on a cubs uniform...

If multi-verse theory is correct, and there are parallel universes, he's actually been wearing one for some time, and the Cubs have won a world series. Of course, in that same universe, I probably got killed by that bus that almost nailed me the year they won it all.

Am I happy in any of those universes?

Yes. In half of them.

Unless that happiness is predicated on the Cubs being in the world series, in which case, Nate Silver has determined that the probability is that has only happened in 1 in 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of these universes.

Another reason to hate Nate Silver if you are a Republican and a Cubs fan.

"Rays minor league catcher David Wendt was suspended 50 games for testing positive for the stimulant Methylhexaneamine." doh...another reason you -only- take powders/supplements/etc on the approved list. as far as speed/etc supplements go, it's about as dangerous and effective as a couple cups of's almost a non-issue. it's also an unlabeled ingredient in too many off-the-shelf workout powders/shakes. getting banned for this kinda's not even a "big boy" bad supplement. it's a shame for a guy who's career is teetering on the edge of being released or being a near full-career minor leaguer (he's 26 and not a very good hitter).

when it rains, it pours... "Minor league catcher Brian Henry was suspended 50 games for testing positive for the stimulant Methylhexaneamine." i can't tell if they're talking about b.henry the ARZ C or P given the confusing writeup at rotowurld (including spelling his 1st name wrong...both are bryan), but either way he's a non-prospect/non-impact player.

Muskat has a Dillon Maples writeup...

This is good CUBSTER. At the same place is a nice piece on Cubs-almost pitcher, and Niner's QB Colin Kaepernck.

Alleged 2 finalists for Bears heading coach job, Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell and some CFL coach Mark Trestman, although he has quite a history as an OC and QB coach in the NFL.

Trestman has garnered some amazing praise for his offensive abilities. Think he'd be great there. Still, color me very worried about our defense no matter who comes in.

Defense is a big concern for me too, but I still want an offensive minded coach to take the team into the 21st century. But yeah, the Bears D is getting long in the tooth in some key areas. Luckily, tradition is on our side here. Bears fans are used to good D and the boo birds will be out in force for any team that gives up a lot of points on a regular basis. I also have some faith in Emery - he seems to have a good idea of what he's doing.

Even if Lovie doesn't get the SD or PHI job, it's too bad he still won't be "available" to coordinate this defense. In total seriousness, no one on the planet would be better for the job.

He'll get a DC job somewhere, if he wants it, but he may just take a year off and enjoy his $5 million. Then, next year, he will be refreshed and ready to go. Hopefully not in the NFC North.

Rafael Soriano signs 2/$28M deal with Nationals.

Sucks if you're Drew Storen....

ah, what Rob said... Rafael Soriano to Nats 2/28. Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard in the 7th, 8th. Storen should have shut down the Cardinals, in the NLDS 9th inning. I guess they won't trade Morse for bullpen help.

Francona has a new book, blames owners for everything:

Re: Gonzalez and Crawford

"They told us we didn't have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle," Epstein is quoted as saying. "We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We'd become too big. It was the farthest thing removed from what we set out to be."

Review of Cubs offseason, gives them a B grade.

So-Cal Pro Football? Hey ROB G anything going on with an L.A. or Orange Co. Pro Football club? Are the Dodgers buying one or anything?

CIty approved a downtown stadium contingent on getting a team to move there by next spring (actually I think the deadline is February 15th to file).

So yeah, good luck with that.

Oakland, San Diego, Rams and Bills are some options. Minnesota and Jacksonville were long rumored but they seem committed to stay now. There's also a possibility of expansion which seems more likely to me.

There were some rumors of a second team possibly coming and sharing the stadium or moving into the Rose Bowl but that seems to have died down. I haven't heard of any viable Orange Co. options.

If it does happen, they claim it would take up to 4 years to build the stadium.

Interesting. "Downtown Stadium" where? Tar pits? Or, closer to Korea Town? I went to one Rose Bowl game, and while it was great for the "Grandaddy" feel, the vistas, and tradition, it was kinda a pit - just like Wrigley, imo.

as in Downtown, right next to Staples Center and the Convention Center. Closer to Korea Town I guess....

Rose Bowl is old, I imagine it would require a major upgrade if they attempted an NFL team.

I thought it was going to be in City of Industry?

You thought wrong :)

That was an option at one point, but Downtown won.

Jed Hoyer interviewed on CSN Hot Stove TV program (over 6 minutes) and the accompanying article by Patrick Mooney and this little tidbit... reported that the Cubs have been in contact with outfielder Scott Hairston, and they’re quite good at going into stealth mode, so maybe there will be a surprise or two this weekend.

who's jed hoy...oh yeah, that guy. also, S.Hariston was reportedly looking 2/$8m from the mets before they walked away from him.

Maybe one of you guys who knows a little more about current players can tell me why on earth the Cubs would want Scott F Hairston? Thanks

Well..Schierholtz struggles against LFP...Hairston has hit LHP pretty well in his career. As long as they're not paying too much? Meh..

ex-cubs minor league contracts... Marlins signed RHP Michael Wuertz to a minor league contract. Phillies signed RHP Juan Cruz to a minor league contract.

Juan Cruz a Phillie, on a minor league deal. Cruz is now 34. Just as a historical footnote... Hendry traded Cruz to the Braves for Andy Pratt (his dad was coaching in the Cubs system) and the comedian, Richard Lewis on 3-26-04. Seemed stupid at the time. Pratt was a lefty and started the season with the Cubs and got hurt early on and then disappeared, thankfully (4 games, 1.2 IP, 4 earned runs, 7BB and a WHIP of 4.20). By August Pratt was sent as a ptbnl to the Brewers for Ben Grieve. Grieve's Cub career included 16 AB in 2004 and 20 AB in 2005 (before retiring). Cruz was good out of the pen for the Braves then they included him in the deal that brought them Tim Hudson from the A's. Cruz was bad for the A's so he was sent to the DBacks the next year for Brad Halsey. He had 3 decent/good seasons with the Snakes. KC signed Cruz in 2009 for 2/$5.5 but he was released the next April (2010) and only saw 5IP at the major league level that year. Cruz was helpful in the Tampa bullpen in 2011 and Pirates (not so helpful) in 2012 and DFA'd in August. In the long run the Cubs didn't miss much but for brief periods of time, he was pretty good.

Pratt's Cubs career was pretty entertaining. He threw hard for a lefty, but he was the picture of wildness. Had to have been a psychological block, too, because when he missed he was absolutely nowhere close. Wish I had video to link to.

Andy Pratt's dad Tom Pratt was a Cubs minor league pitching coach for 13 years. He was supposed to be the pitching coach at Peoria in 2012, but was diagnosed with a brain tumor in Minor League Camp and so he was unable to work full time. He was at Fitch Park off & on during the 2012 season while he was undergoing treatment, helping Rick Tronerud with the rehab guys.   

He passed away last month.

Pratt was drafted by the Kansas City Royals out of a California JC in 1969 and pitched in the minor leagues for several seasons, then worked as a high school baseball coach for many years after he retired from baseball, earned a Master's degree in biomechanics and took a job as the pitching coach at Arizona State, before joining the Cubs minor league staff in 2000. 

He was the coach who saw Blake Parker throw off a mound at Fitch Park as a lark after an Extended Spring Training game in 2007, and convinced him to try pitching. (Parker was the EXST Cubs slugging clean-up hitter at the time, and had just hit a game-winning grand slam HR).

Tom Pratt was a really good guy.

...and Wuertz was pretty good for the A's and extremely good in 2009. He's also 34 yrs old. Another deal I didn't understand. Another bad Hendry choice when they had a roster crunch in the spring of 2009. Hendry got Richie Robnett and Justin Sellers. Wuertz in 2009 pitched 78 IP with a 0.95 WHIP. I think he lost his spot to...rule 5 pick David Patton and Luiz Vizcaino who Jim Hendry got in the Jason Marquis dump to Colorado (a financial move to help pay for Milton Bradley). Vizcaino was DFA'd by 4-23-09 after what I recall was an alcohol related problem. In 2011, Vizcaino got a 50 game suspension for testing positive for Stanozolol. He's been out of the majors since. Cubs opening day bullpen 2009: Neil Cotts, Angel Guzman, David Patton, Luis Vizcaino, Aaron Heilman, Marmol, Kevin Gregg

lou did not like using wuertz once 08 rolled around and his location got a little spotty. he also had issues with scott eyre in 08, though much worse. it's weird cuz he'd go nearly a week without using wuertz then run his ass out there almost every day for a week...and he liked him in 07. it doesn't seem like it pissed off wuertz as much as it did eyre, though. eyre was very happy to get out of CHC because of lack of use (rather than erratic use). i still think they got low-balled as hell on wuertz on that trade. he kept the ball down well and he didn't miss by much when he was missing. also, lol @a.guzman + j.cruz being mentioned so close to each other in a thread. OLDSKOOL.

Guzman. Man, that was an injury/series of injuries that hurt. When he came up, his stuff was, to use an overused word, electric. I was pretty sure he was going to be the next great closer for the Cubs.

Pretty excited about this Trestman fella Steve Young, who I liked listening to a lot when I was in SF, loves the guy and thinks he'll help Cutler a lot, and said he's a great GAME time play caller. Imagine that, on the Bears? And an article I read said there's a good chance Marinelli will stay. That would be awesome.