TCR Friday Notes

...1,753 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.

- I had been on record saying that the Cubs choosing between Dempster, Marquis, Lieber and Marshall wasn't much of a choice at all. Just pick whatever shade of gray you're in the mood for and go from there. If anything, Marshall still having options made him the obvious choice to get sent down and be available when the inevitable injuries hit. Now that the decision has been made to go with Dempster and Marquis with Lieber to the pen and Marshall suddenly fighting for the LOOGY role, I will say I feel a bit reassured, at least in one area. 

Cubs pitchers have a tendency to run up their pitch counts early in games and it's particularly worrisome with Ryan Dempster early on, who still has to get use to pacing himself as a starter. But, with Lieber, Hart and possibly Marshall in the pen, that really shouldn't be much of a problem, as all three can go multiple innings. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Dempster and possibly Marquis will be getting some really quick hooks in their games this year to see Lieber come in for three to four innings.

- Sports Illustrated has gone and ruined our season, predicting us to lose in the World Series to the Detroit Tigers. I believe last year they picked the Los Angeles teams to square off and I'm sure we all remember how 2004 went after SI picked us to win it all. Curse you SI....

- Speaking of the Cubs and Tigers in the World Series, I stumbled across this gallery from the 1945 World Series.

- ESPN's Page2 goes through each and every painstaking year since we last won it all. 

- Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus takes a look at the Cubs signing of Reed Johnson and thinks it's another "uncreative use of resources", par for the Cubs' course.

- Doug Glanville's second career as a freelance writer sure looks promising. He writes in the New York Times about some of his past spring training exploits.

3 days until Opening Day....

Comments

I agree on the rotation, and I want to acknowledge that Mr. Hendry was pretty smart this offseason to stockpile/keep starting pitching. While I would rather have Haren or Santana et al, we have to be realistic, and I think he did a good job assembling cheap arms. The Leiber signing was brilliant, little money so limited downside. I think we all learned from the 2006 pain how important pitching depth is.

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In reply to by OmarLittle

Sounds all well and good. But being realistic here. Where has this team really improved? Probably a marginal-good upgrade at catcher. Hopefully a lateral move in Center and Right field. Unless our new magical outfield defense is going to will us to 10-12 more wins? I just don't see this team as a 92-96 win Club. Keep in mind last year also, Zambrano and Lilly made 34 starts, Hill made 32 and Marquis made 33. Not since 2003 have we been so fortunate to keep our Starters so healthy.

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

From June 3rd til the end of the season (109 games - which, to me is long stretch of time) the Cubs went: 63-46 .577 Over 162 games that translates to 93 wins. My point? That the team last year proved that they could play .577 baseball. Even with small improvements (and I believe this team to be improved over last year years. 96 wins.

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

I'm with aaronb on this one...don't see the improvement in the lineup or the rotation. The bullpen and defense did get better.
Aramis is the only hitter I expect to improve from last year. 
Derrek, Soriano, DeRosa, Theriot...status quo or worse.
Fuku, offensively a slight improvement over what we had....maybe.
Everyone's expecting a big year from our one-year wonder prospect in Soto with no real back-up, but we have 20 contingency plans for Pie, who's been tearing up the minors for year.
87 wins without a big trade I say....

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In reply to by Rob G.

Soto doesn't have to do much to be an improvement over last year, though. Same goes for Pie/Johnson in CF and Theriot at SS: 2007 Cubs: C: .239 .304 .369 SS: .254 .309 .331 CF: .254 .305 .404 I wouldn't be surprised at all if Lee's power came back (it looked to be there by the end of last season), in which case you can bump his line up nicely as well.

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In reply to by Rob G.

Tell me why the Cubs can't continue to do, at least what they did last year when the played .577 baseball? And remember, that's how the finished. It's not like they got off to a lucky start and went downhill from there once they were exposed (achem, Milwaukee). They proved that they could play at that level for an extended period of time. I see no reason why they can't do that over 162 and win at least 90 games.

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In reply to by Chad

Cubs spring optimism...feel it!!!

Maybe Soto does hit like Barrett did to start the year (who saw that coming last year?), maybe Fuku hits like JJ did to start the year, etc, etc, etc...
Personally, I don't see how we improved other than our bullpen and defense. Unless Soto and Pie do indeed put up 800 or above OPS numbers, but I'm not counting on it.
87 wins should be good enough and we probably do make a deal or two.

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In reply to by Rob G.

I don't think you are hearing me. Who were the Cubs last year? The team that was 9 games under .500 on 6/3 or the team that played .577 for the rest of the year. Even if the Cubs where 4 games under on 6/3, everything else being equal, they would have won 90 last year. It took some time for them to figure themselves out but they finally did.

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In reply to by Chad

oh geez, of course I "heard" you...
but I don't see how this team is bullet-proof from a 2-month swoon, whether it happens early, middle or late in the season or one month at a time. 
Our talent is older and extremely unlikely to get better (except Aramis) or so young, that nothing should be expected of them. They're not Brewer, Rockies or Dbacks young, where they've been around for a few years and improvement should be expected. We absolutely have no idea what we'll get from Soto and Pie. I mean, of course, we have some idea.
It's still a middle of the road offense with a good pitching staff, a staff made much better because of good defense behind them.
But damn Ryan Theriot is our leadoff hitter, might as well have Juan Pierre.

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In reply to by Rob G.

"but I don't see how this team is bullet-proof from a 2-month swoon" This is the exact point of contention. I say that the first two months of last year were the result of a team that hadn't found itself. Then Zambrano lands the shot heard round the world and they take off from there. i know all seasons will have an ebb and flow to them but i don't think that this team will play, at any point, 9 games under .500. See what I'm saying? So the point I'm making is that if this team is oveall the same (unimproved) that this team is a .577 team. I think we will get better as I expect Dlee and Aram to crack 30+ homers each and while DLee's doubles made his slugging % look nice, we know that there is a big difference between them.

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In reply to by jacos

I think this team will contend all year, and that won't be a super hard challenge in the division. I'd put the win total somewhere in the 83-90 range, with the lower totals probably being most likely. My main worry going into the season is the bottom of the rotation and the 'new' guys, Fukudome, Pie, and Soto. The bench isn't very good either, but Johnson makes it a little better than it was just a few days ago. The bullpen has a chance to be completely lights out. If Kerry Wood can stay healthy and effective it will be awesome, but I probably wouldn't bet on it.

will the cubs be playing regulers tonite and then cut back a little on saturday. hope he plays regulers tonite since the game is on wgn at 9 central.

Thanks for the link at BP. Silver writes, "A year ago, I might have blasted this transaction — but the platoon splits make clear that Johnson provides a pretty substantial upgrade over Pie against left-handed pitching." That is the summary. What the writer does not mention is how Murton's defensive liabilities will subtract from his offensive production. I really like orange guy as a solid hitter - but his limitations and lack of versitility has hurt his opportunity to stay with the Cubs anymore.

"we got a full tank of gas, half pack of cigarettes" Do you enjoy being broke? *grump*

was listening to the score, and frankly I am sick of the same old stereotypes and cliches regarding cubs fans. The Mike North fill in was rambling on and on about how cubs fans give Hendry a pass and sox fans hold Kenny accountable. Not sure that moron has ever spent a day reading manny posts on TCR. We are not drunk, baseball ignorant, status quo fans. Wake up to 2008. p.s. Red Sox nation? Yankee nation? When will people start using facts to declare the nation's team? outselling all clubs in spring attendance? I believe record setting day 1 ticket sales. I believe record setting sell out streaks? we are more than meets the eye you bone heads.

"I had been on record saying that the Cubs choosing between Dempster, Marquis, Lieber and Marshall wasn't much of a choice at all. Just pick whatever shade of gray you're in the mood for and go from there." amen. i still like dumpster the starter, though...not like im expecting anything more than a 3.75-4.25 ERA type pitcher...aka, almost everyone else on that list up there give or take an opinion or two (personally, i still think lieber is a disaster). i just hope the "september dumpster" isnt the one that shows up...i'd much prefer the one that gave up a handful of homers in the 2 years before sept. 07. and yeah...just how many 6+ inning games can this guy work? even though i like the dumpster-the-starter move i'm still very concerned about that one.

Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

+++++++++++
 
37 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (three slots are open)  

Last updated 11-18-2022
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 20
Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad 
Ben Brown
Jeremiah Estrada
Kyle Hendricks
Codi Heuer 
* Brandon Hughes
Ryan Jensen
Caleb Kilian 
Mark Leiter Jr
Ethan Roberts 
Manuel Rodriguez
Michael Rucker
Adrian Sampson
* Justin Steele 
Marcus Stroman
Keegan Thompson
Erich Uelmen 
Hayden Wesneski
Rowan Wick

CATCHERS: 3 
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes
P. J. Higgins 

INFIELDERS: 8
Rylan Bannon 
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Zach McKinstry
Christopher Morel
* Alfonso Rivas
Patrick Wisdom

OUTFIELDERS: 6
Kevin Alcantara 
Alexander Canario
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki 
Nelson Velazquez

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Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents