Cubs News Round-Up: Ben Sheets, Spring Training, Top 10 Prospect List, Zambrano Interview

- The Hardball Times has put up their top 10 Cubs' Prospects:

  1. Starlin Castro
  2. Josh Vitters
  3. Brett Jackson
  4. Jay Jackson
  5. Hak-Ju Lee
  6. Kyler Burke
  7. Andrew Cashner
  8. Chris Archer
  9. Chris Carpenter
  10. Ryan Flaherty

Archer's not a name you see on a lot of Top 10 or even Top 20 lists so far.

- Ben Sheets will throw for teams tomorrow down in Louisiana, the Cubs and about nine other clubs will be there. While the odds of Sheets making it through a full season are about on par with the odds that you're going to go home with Megan Fox tonight, it sure would make for some exciting buzz heading into the season if the Cubs could land him. There's been a few comparisons to Rich Harden and why would they let Harden go and then pursue Sheets. And yes the injury concerns are similar, but the one thing Sheets has going for him over Harden is his ability to go deep into games when he is pitching. He has 18 complete games in his career including 5 in 2008. Maybe he shouldn't have completed those games, but his season high was 123 pitches in 2008 and for the most part he was in the 100-110 range. You have to admit - Zambrano, Sheets, Dempster, Lilly and Wells would be a real nice looking 5-man rotation and suddenly make 2010 a lot more interesting.

- One of our readers "jacos" heard an interview with Carlos Zambrano on ESPN 1000 earlier. The highlights...

-Said he's in "best shape ever"
- Wants to help team win
-Said he had "6 pack abs" lifted up his shirt, Waddle said atleast a "4 pack" and could not believe Z was 265, but he looked so fit
-Talked about Lou visits to mound and what he says, (Z doing Lou's voice)-"Ya gotta throw strikes. Cmon. A lot of people are watching"
-Most feared hitter Pujlos then Carlos Lee
-Goals for next year "stay in shape" and help the team win
-Did not play softball last year
-Didn't want to address Sosa and McGwire but said he had baseball friend who took "asteroids"(no joke)
The friend did not make MLB but had warning track power and when he took "asteroids"(second time) he could "smash the ball"

*Before we get chastized for making fun of Z's accent or whatever, it's come to my attention that it's "esteroide" in Spanish which is what he was probably saying, but asteroid is way funnier.

Naples, Florida took a big step in trying to woo the Cubs yesterday and we may have uncovered the smoking gun that would indicate Phil Rogers might have been right for once when he said the Ricketts have already made up their mind that they want their spring training operations out of Florida.

“Kenney said if he got the consensus of the lodging organiztion within the county that it would suppoprt the project by virtue of bed tax funds it would be the last piece he was looking for to approach the owners that they submit their notice of termination with Mesa and start negotiations with Collier,” Medweddeff said.

You never want to read too much into a newspaper quote and maybe this Medweddeff person is just trying to make everyone feel good about why they're pursuing this whole thing, but that sure does sound like the Cubs are really just looking for reasons to move to Florida.

UPDATE: Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Cubs will move to Florida barring Arizona coming up with "unforeseen money".

- One little note I wanted to pass along from a Rick Sutcliffe interview on XM radio this morning. He was talking about how he's glad Nolan Ryan is trying to get pitchers to go deeper into games with Texas and then said he's hearing that the Cubs plan to make a similar push with the addition of Greg Maddux. It wasn't a big point he was making, but that is what he said.


This list seems more like "10 cubs minor leaguers I've heard of" rather than a top 10.

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In reply to by Rob G.

"I would love to hear, 'You know what I took steroids because I wanted to hit the ball farther, I wanted to throw the ball harder or I wanted to run faster,'" he said. "Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, why did they take steroids? To run faster, not to heal from injuries. They did it to run faster, OK? And I would love to start hearing, 'You know what, I did steroids because I wanted to improve my performance on the baseball field. I wanted to be bigger so I could hit the ball farther, I wanted to be able to run faster or I wanted to be able to throw the ball harder.' Then I'll start respecting some of these guys who come out and give the reasons for their steroid use. But, you know, "I had an injuruy...' Every ballplayer, every football player, every basketball player has some kind of a little nagging injury during the season. That's a baloney cop-out." awesome.

forgot to mention something I heard on Xm radio this morning...

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In reply to by Rob G.

And the Mets agreed to pay for it.
Carlos Beltran's agent Scott Boras told Andrew Marchand of ESPN Radio in New York that the Mets provided workman's compensation paperwork to pay for the procedure on his client's right knee. "The Mets gave consent to pay for the surgery," Boras said, noting that the office for Dr. Richard Steadman, the surgeon who performed Carlos Beltran's knee surgery, received the paperwork from team trainer Ray Ramirez. Boras also said he spoke with both Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya about the surgery on Tuesday while Beltran also spoke with Minaya. The Mets are expected to address the matter with the media at 2 p.m. ET. Jan. 14 - 1:54 pm et Source:…

Without doing much research, here is a list of pitching reclamation projects by Hendry: Wade Miller Ryan Dempster Chad Fox Kerry Wood Shawn Estes Angel Guzman Glendon Rusch Jerome Williams Scott Williamson Neal Cotts Not included: The "Human Towel Drill", and Joe Borowski. There are 10 I can think of. Five were/are useful. How does this compare to the other GM's around baseball?

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In reply to by Paul Noce

considering no one seems to like Dempster I don't get the over-hyped otherwise, he's 28-15, 3.30 ERA and 406 IP's over the last two seasons...ERA is 7th best in the NL over 2 seasons.

[ ]

In reply to by Paul Noce

Then McPhail offered him a contract and Grace left to take a bigger payday from Arizona.
A ring on his finger begs to differ.

Interesting comments on each person in the Hardball Times list, especially Vitters. They describe Vitters as "a good defender." Really? I am not sure that there is anyone other than Vitters mom that would agree that Vitters is "a good defender."

KICK-OFF. Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano announces the launch of the BIG Z FOUNDATION, which helps underserved children and families. Mr. Zambrano and other Cubs are expected to attend the event at Fogo de Chão, where the evening includes a three-course meal. Jan. 17, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Tickets are $125, proceeds benefit this Big Z Foundation. 661 N. LaSalle St., (312) 932-9330,

I'll never forget the propaganda trip Grace was on when his final Cubs contract expired, and he called out McPhail in the press and claimed he didn't care about the money, he just wanted to be a Cub. Then McPhail offered him a contract and Grace left to take a bigger payday from Arizona. Class-less prick. I never did like the guy. As a ballplayer he was good, not great. He had the misfortune of being surrounded mostly by pure crap talent his entire time with the Cubs, but as a person, Grace is just another stuck-up, hypocritical, lying scumbag who loves to hear himself talk. Grace, Sutcliffe, and Joe Morgan should be locked in a booth together in some alternate reality.

Rumors now that the D-Backs may release Eric Byrnes. If he's healthy enough to play (and this is all speculation on my part now), he, Reed Johnson, and Dye might be three righthanded, lefty-mashing outfielders the Cubs could consider to platoon in RF and spell Soriano (or Byrd in Johnson or maybe even Byrnes's case).

i was looking for info on Grace and came across this partial article, dated Nov 1st, 1992.
Insider has learned Dawson is ready to sign a five-year contract that would allow him to play for another two seasons, then join the coaching staff, front office or broadcasting team. The total package could be worth between $10 million and $12 million. "That's part of the structure, but I don't want to get into specifics," general manager Larry Himes said of the long-term deal. It is believed the deal has been agreed to in principle and could be signed as soon as Nov. 10. That's the day after expansion rosters are due in to league offices and the first date non-protected players can
of course, he ended up with the Red Sox in '93 so that's interesting...

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In reply to by Rob G.

damn you teflon himes... oh...wait...

Seamhead already mentioned one way to donate to relief efforts in Haiti in the last post, but I thought I would reiterate the need for help and offer another way. If you want to make a difference quickly and easily, you can simply text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross for Haiti. It gets added right to your phone bill and 100% of the funds go to the relief effort. Just hold yourself to one less beer and hot dog at Wrigley next summer and you can give food, water, and medical supplies to earthquake victims! Impressively, US citizens have already raised over $5 million through this method.

jack clark has opinions about stuff... "All those guys are cheaters," Clark said. "A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez): Fake, phony. Rafael Palmeiro: Fake, a phony. (Roger) Clemens, (Barry) Bonds. (Sammy) Sosa. Fakes. Phonies. They don't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. They should all be in the Hall of Shame. They can afford to build it. They've all got so much money. And they could all go there and talk about the next way to rub something on your skin. The whole thing is creepy. "I don't know how they sleep at night, looking at all their fame, let alone the money they took by faking everybody out and lying to everybody."

not too bad over his career versus lefties...probably prefer Reed though if it came down to those 2.

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In reply to by Sweet Lou

Submitted by Sweet Lou on Fri, 01/15/2010 - 3:54pm. If he's released, Byrnes would be cheaper than signing Johnson for $2-3 million, wouldn't he? ==================================== LOU: A lot cheaper. If Eric Byrnes gets released, the Cubs (or any club) can sign him for the MLB minimum ($400K), and his former club (the D'backs) is on the hook for the balance, just as happened when the Padres released Jim Edmonds a couple of years ago and the Cubs signed him for the MLB minimum, or when the Padres signed Chad Gaudin for the MLB minimum after the Cubs released him last March. The only way it costs more than the MLB minimum to sign a released player is if the player can command more as a free-agent than what he got as termination pay. This happened with Reed Johnson when he was released by the Blue Jays at the end of Spring Training 2008. Toronto only had to pay him 25% of his $3.275M 2008 salary as termination pay because the contract wasn't guaranteed and he was released prior to Opening Day. Then the Cubs signed him for $1.3M, so that Johnson made $2.1M (total) instead of $3.275M for that season, getting $800K (termination pay) from TOR and $1.3M (2008 salary) from the Cubs. The Cubs should offer the D'backs Carlos Silva in exchange for Eric Byrnes, and then the clubs could split the portion of Silva's 2011 & 2012 salary obligation that is not being paid by Seattle ($8M in 2011 and the $2M buy-out in 2012) 50/50. The Cubs would end up spending the same total money to get Byrnes for 2010 as they were going to have to pay Silva 2010-12 ($11M for Byrnes in 2010, $4M of Silva's salary in 2011, and $1M of Silva's buy-out in 2012), and the D'backs would be able to spread the $11M hit over three seasons ($6M in 2010, $4M in 2011, and $1M in 2012), instead of having to eat Byrnes $11M 2010 salary all at once, which they would have to do if he is released.

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In reply to by Rob G.

Wow, this Silva-Brynes talk does sound good. Just getting Silva off the 2011-12 roster would be part of the benefit. That said, if the Diamondbacks are looking at cutting Brynes despite being on the hook for his salary, they must also value roster spots like there's only 25 of them. Even if we need to pay more than 1/2 of the split Phil mentions, it might be worth it. If it can't be worked out, maybe we can arrange for Silva to do some gardening for the Urbinas.

He was on WSCR today said he has "dropped 35-40 lbs". Diet ganch?

all 8 Cubs filed today, although certainly some if not all will agree to deals before their hearing.

all Cubs convention talk, but anything on how Sheets looked?

Randy Wells has some good quotes from the Convention. I like this kid:… "I used to say when I got to the Blue Jays that if my career ended now, I made it," Wells said. "Now, that's not good enough for me. Why not make an All-Star team? Why not MVP? Why not win the Cy Young? That's the kind of stuff that keeps you moving forward. "I know if I have a bad spring, I could be out of a rotation spot," he said. "You've go to keep it real. People who lose focus of that are the ones who struggle. I'm not taking anything for granted." He did take some time off this winter to travel, see friends. Wells joked that he took the "Rocky" approach this offseason and just threw the ball as hard as he could into a net to get ready for 2010. "Everybody talks about the sophomore slump that people go through," Wells said. "I don't believe in it. I was a guy who spent seven, eight years in the Minor Leagues and I got the opportunity and I caught a shooting star and I grabbed hold of it and I'm not letting go. "I'm [ticked] I didn't win 15, 16, 17 games last year," he said. "Instead of 12, I'm going to try to win 15, 16, 17, 18 games this year. It's just the way I am. I don't ever get complacent. I want to be better. I want to pitch 10 years. I'm not going to go in there and say, 'Hey, I had a heckuva rookie year and I'm going to sit here and look pretty on the bench.'"

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In reply to by Andrew

Sounds like a Greg Maddux quote to me. --- "I'm [ticked] I didn't win 15, 16, 17 games last year," he said. "Instead of 12, I'm going to try to win 15, 16, 17, 18 games this year. It's just the way I am. I don't ever get complacent. I want to be better. I want to pitch 10 years. I'm not going to go in there and say, 'Hey, I had a heckuva rookie year and I'm going to sit here and look pretty on the bench.'"

Cubs MLB Roster

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38 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (two slots are open), plus two players are on 60-DAY IL   

27 players
are on the MLB ACTIVE LIST (26-man limit in effect on MLB Opening Day)

5 players signed to minor league contracts are Spring Training NON-ROSTER INVITEES (NRI) 

: 32 

Last updated 3-27-2023
* bats or throws left
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Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad 
Brad Boxberger
Michael Fulmer
Kyle Hendricks
* Brandon Hughes
Julian Merryweather
Michael Rucker
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele 
Marcus Stroman
Jameson Taillon 
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski

* Ryan Borucki  
Tyler Duffey 
* Anthony Kay  
Mark Leiter Jr 

* Tucker Barnhart 
Yan Gomes

Luis Torrens 

Nico Hoerner
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Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Edwin Rios
Dansby Swanson
Patrick Wisdom


* Cody Bellinger 
# Ian Happ
Trey Mancini 
Seiya Suzuki 


Keven Alcantara, OF 
Miguel Amaya, C 
Ben Brown, P 
Alexander Canario, OF 
Brennen Davis, OF 
Jeremiah Estrada, P 
Ryan Jensen, P 
Caleb Kilian, P
Christopher Morel, INF-OF
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