Gameday Open Thread / Rangers @ Cubs

Ryan Dempster takes the mound today to celebrate his appointment to the starting rotation. The Rangers counter with lefty Kason Gabbard.

In site news, I've added the TCR blogroll  which you can access via Quick Links on the left sidebar or under TCR Junk Drawer up top. I'm sure I missed a few Cubs blogs, so drop me a note if you want yours added.


Pre-season rankings: 5. Chicago Cubs The weakness of the division is a major factor here. The Cubbies are set for the divisional race as they have a deep lineup and rotation. This should afford them plenty of time to shore up that shaky bullpen anchored by Kerry Wood. I am not sure what how the weak division makes the Cubs a better team, and I thought the bullpen was a strength not a weakness.

"It makes them a better team as they will win more games playing in the NL Central than if they played in the NL East or West." Not to split hairs, but winning more games against weaker teams doesn't make you a better team. It is certainly a good thing for the Cub's chances to make the play-offs, but IMO shouldn't impact a power ranking.

Hey Rob G., I hate to be the pessimistic Cubs fan here (a lifetime of rotten teams makes me question how good we really are), but how about a thread discussing what worries could come to the forefront to interfere with our self-anointed world championship. I'd rather slip in under the radar rather than have a team keep talking about how we're going to the world series. There are too many holes on this team to think we're going to win a lot of playoff games unless something strange happens. I just think that there are some major question marks and a few spots that could really throw a wrench into things, such as: Soriano's legs. If he continues to run this poorly he's going to be a major disappointment, both offensively and defensively. Sore/tight quads can cost him power on his swings, and will cost him several steps running the bases and in the outfield. The rotation: it just doesn't look like a rotation of a team with a $125 million payroll. Dempster being Dempster. If he returns to the pitcher he's been his entire career - a 1.50 whip, he's going to help sink the rotation. Rich Hill. If he can't get his form back, we're sunk right off the bat. Marquis/Lieber. They can't pitch like they did last year, specifically Marquis' awful second half and Lieber's very high opponent batting average. Injuries to Z and/or Lilly. Perhaps if the Brewers play poorly we could still win the division minus Z or Lilly for a significant period of time, but we wouldn't go anywhere in the playoffs. And for that matter having only two decent starters is not a good formula for going deep in the playoffs. The Schedule. Tons of early home games in the (likely) cold weather of Chicago. Lots of road games in the second half, including the final 7 games of the season. Cross your fingers for a nice warm April/May, but if I hear our players making excuses again for not hitting in cold weather while a team like the Dodgers come in and score 12 runs in a game I will shoot myself. Even the bullpen, despite how talented our relievers are and what a great job they collectively did last season, how often do relievers have excellent back-to-back seasons in this age? I could see Howry and Marmol having average or even below average years, and suddenly we aren't much of a world series contender. Fukudome. Even the best projections only have him hitting 12-15 hr's. But look at Iwamura last season with Tampa. Iwamura is another lefty hitter who came from Japan and was an excellent player with a very similar line to Fukudome - .311 hitter last 3 seasons, .385 obp, .560 slg., hr totals of 44, 30, 32. Then in Tampa last year he hit 7 hr's 34 rbi's, and a line of .285/.351/.411. I could see Fuku not doing much more than that his first year, especially with his lack of power this spring. Geovanny Soto. He's looked more like pre-2007 Soto than the guy who looked like a top prospect last year. Just throw a few of those possible problems together and the season could be turned on it's head. Soriano declining offense, Soto hitting .245 with 8 hr's and 40 rbis, Fukudome not being an impact bat, Dempster being Dempster, relievers returning to earth, etc. Those are all realistic scenarios.

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In reply to by vorare

None of those are a stretch, and based on what the players are doing right now that's what would happen, with the exception of Dempster having a good spring. I'll make my Dempster prediction based on his 11 years of being a bad major league pitcher instead of 3 good spring training starts. Fukudome looks overmatched offensively. What will they do if he's hitting .198 in mid-May? He'll have to go to Iowa. Even if Lee and Ramirez have great years there are problems in the 1, 2, 5, and 6 slots in the lineup. My point is, all of this offseason of claiming we're going to win the world series isn't being realistic. Yes, the division sucks. We'll probably make the playoffs again barring a complete disaster. But what good did just having a team that can get to the playoffs do last year? This team, with Jim Hendry's shopping sprees, is still poorly built, has a weak starting rotation, and too many other holes to be proclaiming they are going to win it all. Teams who talk about being a sure thing to win it all eat their words 99.9% of the time. Look at the Bears last year. All of the Cubs teams in the last 30 years who have gotten something done in the playoffs, even just playing well before bowing out, were no-name underdogs who came out of nowhere. The 84, 89, 98, and 03 teams weren't expected to do that well and overachieved. Those were fun seasons. 98 was a complete aberration because it was mostly Sammy, the rest of the team stunk. But I can do without the early victory laps. The 2008 team hasn't won squat.

Felix Pie finished the game hitting .340! Cubs Minor League Organization Scorecard Cedeno .308 Hoffpauir .382 McGehee .417 Murton .345 Patterson .298 Pie .340 Others: Blanco .345 Cintron .316 The expectation is that the Cubs will eventually ship off starter Jason Marquis to Boston for center fielder Coco Crisp. Chicago has clearly soured on Felix Pie. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Pie included in the Brian Roberts deal with Baltimore.
Is there a problem that I'm not aware with Pie that has not been publicized?

So - can someone tell me - WHY - it has just been thought of THIS YEAR that Micah Hoff-POWER should start getting some training in RF? He has been with the club, with others playing his position, for several years...

and E-Pat knoced him in with a single up the midddle. Pie had a terrific day almost hitting for the cycle and great D.

Well, with the new rumors that Felipe Lopez is being "scouted" by the Cubs, it is pretty interesting to me that the 1st Round 1998 draft he was selected 8th by the Jays. Other prominent MLB players from this round include: 1. Pat Burrel - Phils 2. Mark Mulder - A's 3. C-Pat - Cubs 5. JD Drew - Cards 7. Austin Kearns - Reds 9. Sean Burroughs - Pads 10. Carlos Pena - Tejas 14. Jeff Weaver - Tigers 17. Brad Lidge - 'Stros 20. CC. Sabathia - Indians

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In reply to by The E-Man

Can someone please tell me exactly what Felipe Lopez brings to the Cubs' table besides his switch-hitting? So far as I can tell, except for 2005 he's generally been a poor hitter who would end up hitting at the bottom of the order. Do we really need to give up prospects/players for someone who hits the same or worse than our current starting shortstop (Theriot)?

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In reply to by SheffieldCornelia

He is only 28. Younger than Theriot. Shown flashes of being an upper echelon SS offensively. Really seemed to be getting it together until he got traded to hitters purgatory in Washington. Plus he really shouldnt cost anything because the Nats apparently just want to be rid of his contract. Prototypical "buy low" high upside type of pickup. Something that Hendry used to do, but for whatever reason has shied away from recently. I'd trade Cedeno for him even up today. I'd bet the nats would make the same deal.

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In reply to by Dr. aaron b

I agree with most of that, but if you give him a pass for hitting in RFK then you have to question his stats in Great American Ballpark as well. The year he hit 23 home runs 9 guys had double digit homers for the Reds. In the majors he's basically played in two extremes. Based on his minor league numbers he projects, in a normal ballpark, to hit about 15 HRs a year. As for defense his fielding percentage (career .959 at SS) is worse than Theriot's (career .978 at SS), but his range is better. Whereas Theriot is below average on range factor (3.56), Lopez (3.99) is almost exactly at the league average (around 4.00).

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In reply to by WISCGRAD

Neither guy is winning a GG anytime soon. I don't think you give up anything great to get Lopez. But if the cost is a few $ and/or Ronny Cedeno,why not do it? If he sucks,release him and play Theriot. All Lopez would really need to do at a minimum,is replace Ronny Cedeno as the 25th man on the roster. Best case is that he repeats 2005-2006. He solves your SS black hole. And he relegates Theriot to the utility role that he is best suited for. I just do not see any downside.

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In reply to by The E-Man

Pat Burrell... it's not rational, but he's been a dream-cubbie of mine for a long time for reasons I can't explain. Btw, my prediction for winner of the TCR fantasy baseball league was the team that drafted Burrell, who got him? * And thanks to TCR for adding my blog to the blogroll! :) I feel like I need to update it more often now.

Er - he had one shitty OBP year, last year. Maybe he's a decent SS, who can switch hit, former AS (Hendry loves those - Itzturdis, etc.), has recent track record of SB's in the 20's, and has a plus arm. we have no clue as to what would have to be given up at all...

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In reply to by The E-Man

How well did Izturis work out for us? My point is that we shouldn't be giving up ANYTHING for Lopez because he's not better than what we have out there currently. Except that he happens to hit from the other side of the plate once in awhile.

Here are Lopez' career stats batting lead-off - he has been used as a lead-off hitter or 2nd in the order, by a large margin. His stats are fairly improved from the "2-Hole", but it is a difference of less than 10 AB's: Av OBP SLG OPS+ .257 .318 .386 .704 Indeed, Theriot could probably match this if not exceed. However, whomever wants to can check out RF, etc., to see if there is a big disparity in fielding.

2005 291/352/486 with 23Hrs and 15sb 2006 268/355/394 Not a single person here can reasonably expect Ryan Theriot to put up lines anywhere near those this year. Why wouldnt you take a flyer on the guy? Especially when it would cost 1/10th of what Brian Roberts would.

The problem is Aaron is your cherry picking stats....look at Lopez's career line... .258 BA, .328 OBP Ryan Theriot can match that easily, and to it for 300k versus Lopez's what 3 million or more? Theriot has better strike zone judgement, better speed, and better defense. Lopez is probably the worst SS defensively you will ever see.

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In reply to by MikeC

I'm not really cherry picking stats any more than you are. His age 25,26 and 27 season's seem more relevent than his age 21 and 22 seasons. He had a horrible year last year in the worst hitters park in Baseball. It seems that Hendry and Lou are dead set on getting a lefty Middle infielder. At worst Lopez is a better Cedeno for this year. Plus it allows us to keep Gallagher,Veal,Ceda and whomever else McFail would eventally extract from Jimbo in any Roberts deal.

Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full), plus three are on the 60-DAY IL

26 players are on the MLB ACTIVE LIST, plus two are on the 15-DAY IL, one is on the 10-DAY IL, and eleven are on OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT to minors  

Last updated 5-31-2023
* bats or throws left
# bats both

Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad
Jeremiah Estrada
Michael Fulmer
Kyle Hendricks
* Brandon Hughes
Mark Leiter Jr 
Julian Merryweather
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele 
Marcus Stroman
Jameson Taillon 
Hayden Wesneski

* Tucker Barnhart 
Yan Gomes

Nico Hoerner
* Miles Mastrobuoni 
* Matt Mervis
Christopher Morel
* Edwin Rios 
Dansby Swanson
Patrick Wisdom

# Ian Happ
Trey Mancini 
Seiya Suzuki
* Mike Tauchman

Keven Alcantara, OF 
Miguel Amaya, C
Ben Brown, P 
Alexander Canario, OF 
Brennen Davis, OF 
Ryan Jensen, P 
Caleb Kilian, P  
Nick Madrigal, INF 
Michael Rucker, P 
Keegan Thompson, P 
Nelson Velazquez, OF

10-DAY IL: 1 
* Cody Bellinger, OF 

15-DAY IL: 2 
Brad Boxberger, P 
Nick Burdi, P  

60-DAY IL: 3 
Codi Heuer, P 
Ethan Roberts, P
Adrian Sampson, P 


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Rule 5 Draft 
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