"The first test of Andy MacPhail's authority as Orioles president of baseball operations will come if a rival club makes a strong push to acquire second baseman Brian Roberts.
"A year ago, Orioles owner Peter Angelos refused to allow his previous front office to trade Roberts...Orioles executives, however, say privately that they are not under orders to keep Roberts.
"The Mets and Astros were among the teams that showed interest in Roberts before signing free-agent second basemen Luis Castillo and Kaz Matsui, respectively.
"The next team to take a run at Roberts could be the Cubs, who failed to land Matsui."
-- FoxSports.com, 12/3/07
Archive - Mar 2008
The Angels (10-6) visit HoHoKam this afternoon at 3:05 to play the Cubs (6-12). The game will be carried on WGN Radio, WGN-TV, mlb.tv and Gameday Audio, but no one will be tuning in, as the world's attention will be focused instead on the University of Illinois' attempt to secure an NCAA Tournament berth.
Rich Hill (0-1/7.04) throws against Nick Masset as the Cubs make their only visit to Tucson Electric Park this Cactus League season. (The Sox will travel to Mesa next Saturday.) First pitch is at 3:05, and the game will be telecast in Chicago on WGN, though described by the insufferable White Sox announcing team. (Wild guess: at some point in the broadcast, lifetime .239 hitter Hawk Harrelson will talk about how much more fundamentally sound baseball players were in the Old Days.) Pat and Ron will also have the call on WGN Radio.
A day after he drove in the winning run with a PH single in the bottom of the 9th, Alex Cintron apparently escaped serious injury when he was struck in the face by a line-drive off the bat of Mark DeRosa while standing in the on deck circle in the bottom of the 6th inning of this afternoon's game between the Angels and the Cubs at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
Upon seeing what had happened, DeRosa jumped into the air and then went to his knees with his face buried briefly in his hands.
Cintron lay motionless on his stomach for a couple of minutes before finally rolling over and sitting up, and being helped to his feet by the Cubs training staff. He walked into the clubhouse under his own power, and DeRosa was able to resume his AB, relieved that his teammate was apparently not seriously injured.
I couldn't help but be reminded of the possible career-ending eye injury suffered by Cardinals outfielder Juan Encarnacion last year, an injury that occurred under almost identical circumstances (struck by line drive while standing in on-deck circle)..
....counting down to Vegas (I'm going next week, Cubs arrive at the end of the month).
- Feel free to use this as today's game thread, Cubs stay home in Mesa and battle the Angels; Ryan Dempster vs. Ervin Santana.
- The big news of the week was another Lou lineup change, this one involving our highest paid player though. I immediately expressed my displeasure over the experiment, but I'll save my final judgement when it's actual put to use in a game that counts. Lou still has a few weeks to change his mind. I have no problems with moving Soriano to the 2-spot or the 5-spot or the 4-spot or even the 3-spot. I have all kinds of problems with giving Ryan Theriot even more plate appearances, even if it's just a handful more.
On the other hand...
There's just something about the Lou tenure so far that makes me give him the benefit of the doubt. It's not that I think he's infallible or anything. It's just that if he does go down this road with Theriot at the top of the order, I feel just as confident that he'll abandon it if it's not working. This is the complete opposite of how I felt about Dusty, who was stubbornly stupid.
The Cubs are a little over two weeks into spring training with about three weeks before Opening Day. It's time to check in on the yearly ritual of spring training battles. What's the fun of spring training without a little competition? The Cubs have a few spots up for grabs and today I take a look at the competition for the fabled closer role between Bob Howry, Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood. It's the final piece in the series and I know you will all miss my Wrestlemania-inspired graphic.
The closer battle is probably the least crucial of the spring training battles this year, for two reasons. First, the closer role is generally overrated. The closer protects more three-run leads with nobody on than he does one-run leads with the go-ahead run coming up. Set-up men are often asked to wiggle out of more difficult jams than closers, who are usually brought in just to start the ninth inning with a clean slate. Second, all three candidates can do the job just fine, so Lou really can't lose on this one. Sure, you'd like to pick the best, but those outs in the seventh and eighth are just as crucial; and the two "losers" will slide into the set-up men roles. Plus, if the winner out of spring training can't hack it, the Cubs have two ready-made options ready to fill-in, possibly three if Ryan Dempster isn't cutting it as a a starter. As they say in the old country, it's a good problem to have.
Let's take a closer look after the jump....