On Z's Return, Lilly's Exit, and Girardi's No-Comment
— A season-high crowd of nearly 13,000—more than 5,000 above than the I-Cubs' average—was on hand for Carlos Zambrano's rehab appearance last night in Des Moines.
Zambrano threw a bumpy but scoreless inning in which he got 10 of 15 pitches over the plate, but allowed two singles and was saved from a third hit by Sam Fuld's catch against the center-field wall. (See Mike Wellman's full account here.)
Current plans are for Zambrano to pitch in Round Rock over the weekend and then in Albuquerque on Tuesday before rejoining the big club in Colorado.
— In her short list of moves that "today's contenders should make to make sure they're winners tomorrow," Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus (subscription required) says the Yankees should go hard after Ted Lilly as a replacement for the injured Andy Pettite.
Valid concerns about Lilly's flagging velocity aside, a big problem for him this season has been location against left-handers, leading to a return of the bass-ackward platoon splits that hampered his performance in 2008. With the Yankees, he'd have the advantage of pitching with great run support in a ballpark that is turning out to be less of a launching pad than initially expected. He has experience pitching in pennant races, experience pitching in pinstrips, and he wouldn't come in having to be a star, just deliver effective starts...and let the offense grind opponents to dust.
Lilly bounced between starting and relief duties as a Yankee from 2000-02, going 8-12, 4.65.
By the way, Kahrl says the Yankees could offer the Cubs Class 'A' second-base prospect Corban Joseph in return for Lilly. The 21-year-old Joseph is hitting .309/.386/.450 in the pitcher-dominated Florida State League this summer.
— In case you doubted it, Joe Girardi is more interested in winning another World Series right now than in discussing the soon-to-be-open job with the Cubs.
From the New York Daily News (which broke the Piniella story in the first place):
“I figured this would come up once Lou announced his retirement. I have a responsibility to this club and the guys in that room, and that’s my concern. People can speculate all they want, but that’s my concern right now. I don’t really think much about it.”
And also this:
“I love it here; I’ve loved my time here,” Girardi said. “I put my kids in school here and they’re enrolled to go to school here next fall. There’s going to be talk; I grew up there, I grew up a Cubs fan, I went to Northwestern, I lived in Chicago. But my concern is right now.”
— Jeff Suppan (0-5, 6.05; 6-9, 3.92 all-time vs. Cubs) goes against Randy Wells (4-7, 4.33; 0-2, 10.13 all-time vs. Cards) in Friday's opener of a three-game series with still Roy-Oswalt-less St. Louis. Including today, the teams will meet 12 more times this season.
Dolorous Jon Lester 13 hours 10 min ago (view)
He played in the big leagues longer than he played any other level of organized baseball combined.
crunch 13 hours 12 min ago (view)
al kaline has died at age 85.
from highschool to the majors without touching the minors...22 seasons, all with DET...18x all-star...3000 hit club.
Charlie 2 days 12 hours ago (view)
Currently at a near full-time job that just barely covers my monthly expenses if nothing emerges.
I make more than that.
crunch 2 days 13 hours ago (view)
"Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball is considering opening the season in empty spring training parks -- with no fans and all players quarantined.
The plan would have all teams stationed in one centralized location -- likely Arizona"
Arizona Phil 4 days 2 hours ago (view)
In addition to 40 players signed to 2020 MLB contracts, after releasing 22 minor leaguers this week the Cubs now have 279 players signed to 2020 minor league contracts (plus one minor leaguer on the Restricted List), for a total of 320 players in the organization (181 pitchers, 30 catchers, 60 infielders, and 49 outfielders).
JustSayin' 4 days 11 hours ago (view)
Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 13 hours ago (view)
Some of the players cut I am not too surprised by. Some of them I think are definitely victims of the minor league pay thing and being squeezed out.
That said, I am very surprised they gave up already on Riley McCauley and Niels Stone.
Hagsag 4 days 14 hours ago (view)
Baseball America is showing a big group of players that have been released.
Arizona Phil 5 days 4 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have released minor league catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He was selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and spent the 2019 season at South Bend. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020.
JustSayin' 6 days 13 hours ago (view)
The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever. That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.
crunch 6 days 15 hours ago (view)
"According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."
so that's where that promise landed. the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.
crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)
"Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.
crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)
i miss baseball. it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.
there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list. there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead. former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup. his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...
JustSayin' 1 week 2 days ago (view)
COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever. It WAS still America's grass roots sport. Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive. I believe that era is over. What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems. With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go. I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca
crunch 1 week 3 days ago (view)
fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv
for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...
bradsbeard 1 week 3 days ago (view)
I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement.