Here We Go Again

We could see some hope for the Cubs. They were looking to take the first 3 games of their opening 2nd half series with the Phillies. Right when Colvin was about to gun Greg Dobbs at the plate, Geovany Soto drops a routine throw.

A few more walks and hits follow…

Phillies score 4 runs…

Cubs fail to score in bottom of 9th…

Here we go again.

Zambrano has another “no-no”

          After his latest scuffle with a teammate, one thing is clear about Carlos Zambrano: Winning isn’t his biggest concern. In both instances Zambrano got in a fight with a teammate over something individual, not a team issue. He plays the game hard, which you have to like, but this time he’s crossed the line.

          The last two years, he hasn’t been earning his $90 million contract. Once his team suspension is over, he’ll be back in the bullpen, no place for someone making more than $16 million a year. Cubs fans, including myself were able to put up with his behavior before because he could still produce on the field. Now that he’s not producing, our patience with him is up. We have a team that has most players in the final years of their primes and will most likely now be sellers at the trade deadline. If we were lucky, we’d be “selling” Zambrno. Too bad nobody wants a $16 million contract for a pitcher who hasn’t had double-digit wins in two years.

Colvin to Start Season With the Major League Squad

 Manager Lou Piniella hinted yesterday that the south paw outfielder will start the season on the Opening Day roster. This is a surprising move because Sam Fuld was expected to be carried as the team’s 5th outfielder. However, a more powerful and filled out Tyler Colvin should have a chance to contribute to the team this year. Lou did say that Colvin will only make the team if he will have enough playing time available which seems plausable.

Colvin will join the following outfielders for the Cubs Opening Day roster:

LF Alfonso Soriano

CF Marlon Byrd

RF Kosuke Fukudome

OF Xavier Nady 

Only 12 days until Opening Day…

Soriano’s Knee okay?

When Alfonso Soriano reported to Cubs camp he said that his knee was feeling “80-85 percent” but he would have a better idea after running full speed. He was shut down last year to have surgery on that knee and he’s hurt that knee multiple times before. His power numbers have been decent as a Cub, but his average and steals have gone way down ever since he’s come to the North Side.

It would be key if Soriano could start stealing bases, because it would mean that pretty much any part of the lineup could run a hit and run. It’s all up to Soriano to work hard to get back to All-Star form. As for his efforts to hit a slider: that’s Rudy Jaramillo’s job.

Cubs win arbitration

     Sorry guys, i haven’t posted in a few days because I’ve been pretty busy, but with Spring Training starting I can’t wait for the season to start. In other news, the Cubbies won their arbitration case against Ryan Theriot…

     Theriot was one of only eight players that actually went to trial. Overall the owners won 5 out of the 8 cases. The Cubs offered their projected leadoff man 2.6 Million while Theriot wanted 3.4 Million. Even though Theriot lost his case, he’s getting a big raise from the $500,000 that he made last year.

     This was the Cubs’ first arbitration hearing since 1993 when they went (and won) against Mark Grace. The Cubs’ shorstop was the only player out of eight that were arbitration eligible that actually went to a hearing. 

     It’s important to know that GM Jim Hendry and Theriot have both said multiple times that this hearing brings no hard feelings between the two. Ultimately, Theriot will have to earn his new higher salary on the only thing that matters. The baseball field. 

Good Luck

   Good luck and welcome to the following Cubs new players:

 

  CF Marlon Byrd

  RF Xavier Nady

  RHP Jeff Gray

  LHP Mike Parisi

  1B/3B Chad Tracy

  All the other minor additions that could step up this season.

MLB Preseason Power Rankings

     This is my preliminary list for the Power Rankings that will be updated weekly when the season starts. Feel free to leave comments with arguements and your own personal opinion..

 

   1. New York Yankees- Best team only got better

   2. Philadelphia Phillies- A little skeptical of the Cliff Lee deal, but still have a great lineup

   3. Boston Red Sox- Should keep pace with Yankees after addition of Lackey

   4. Seattle Mariners- By far the most improved team in the offseason, favorite in AL West

   5. St. Louis Cardinals- Pujols’ numbers will only get better with Holliday behind him

   6. Los Angeles Dodgers- Have one of the deepest bullpens in the league

   7. Chicago White Sox- Added lots of speed, Gordan Beckham’s coming out year

   8. Colorado Rockies- Very young and very talented, solid pitching staff

   9. Minnesota Twins- Have lots of speed and power, pitching depth is a concern

 10. Chicago Cubs- Improved lineup, if they stay healty, they’re a strong contender

 11. Atlanta Braves- Mix of veterans and young talent make them a contender in the NL East

 12. San Francisco Giants- One big bat away from being serious World Series contenders

 13. Detroit Tigers- Slightly behind White Sox and Twins, should be in 3-way for the division

 14. Milwaukee Brewers- Made some key additions to their pitching staff

 15. Texas Rangers- Very good lineup, pitching is a question mark as usual

 16. Arizona Diamondbacks- Their offseason moves were key, but overlooked

 17. Tampa Bay Rays- Their youth gives them an outside chance at the division

 18. Los Angeles Angels- Lost way too many key parts to contend seriously again

 19. New York Mets- There’s veteran leadership, then there’s just too many old guys

 20. Houston Astros- Always seem to be in the race until at least July

 21. Florida Marlins- Their young pitching gives them a small chance for the playoffs

 22. Baltimore Orioles- Young players keep getting more talented, should contend in 2-3 yrs.

 23. Cincinatti Reds- Any other manager but Baker would have them close to the playoffs

 24. Oakland A’s- Classic young unexperienced team, classic result

 25. Cleveland Indians- Seems like a sure-fire rebuilding year

 26. Kansas City Royals- Some unusual veterans will keep them above water

 27. Toronto Blue Jays- Gave up Halladay to get better in years to come, not this year

 28. Washington Nationals- Honestly believe they could be contenders in 3 years

 29. Pittsburgh Pirates- Promising young talent, well they’ll get traded soon anyway

 30. San Diego Padres- Can’t win many games with a team batting avg. barely over .200

What we really got in return for DeRosa

     A comment on one of my other posts brought attention to the subject of, what kind of return did we get on Mark DeRosa?

     Well, we got three minor league pitchers, two of them now major league ready. Their names are Jeff Stevens, John Gaub and Chris Archer.

     When the Cubs dealt “DeRo” to the Indians many fans were surprised and upset, and rightfully so. DeRosa was Mr. Everything in Chicago, filling in at any position that needed filling in. He wasn’t only a utility player, but he was the Cubs’ most consistent hitter in the 2008 season. On New Year’s Eve, the Cubs got rid of DeRosa in hopes of acquiring prospects that would better their chances of getting San Diego Padres (now Chicago White Sox) pitcher Jake Peavy. Unfortunately that deal fell through and now were stuck with the prospects. However, it’s starting to look like maybe that’s not a bad thing.

     Who are they?…

     Jeff Stevens: He got a very small sample of life in the big leagues for the Cubs last year, going 1-0 with a 7.11 ERA in 11 games over 12 1/3 innings pitched. Most scouts agree that Stevens is the player who got the Cubs to pull the trigger on the deal and he has a chance to make the major league team out of Spring Training. If not out of Spring Training, expect him to be among the first called up if there are injuries in the bullpen.

     John Gaub: Combined last year between AA and AAA, Gaub went 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA, in 60 innings pitched, he only gave up 4 home runs, while striking out 80. His fast rise through the minors has given fans reason to believe that we could be seeing him in the bullpen in the upcoming years.

     Chris Archer: He’s still learning proper mechanics and form in A Peoria right now so don’t plan on seeing him anytime in the near future.

     It was devastating when we lost Mark DeRosa, perhaps the most beloved Cub from the 2008 season, but as time moves on, it seems that some future Cubs favorites are just on the horizon.

The Hardest (and greatest) Game?

     Today during conversation with another individual, the topic of “hardest sport to play” came up. Of course I said baseball while he said wrestling (enough said).

     You have to hit a ball with less than half a second to prepare with a stick made of wood. As some coaches like to say, “You have to hit a circular object with another circular object, squarely.

    

 

      It’s also extremely difficult to be able to incorporate your hands, arms, hips, head, eyes etc. all at the same time. Along with needing a very strong core, you need a very strong noggin.

     Finally, baseball is a game of failure. If you get a hit 3 out of every 10, you’ll be making millions of dollars for a very long time. Maybe that’s why athletes that play in major league baseball are the most beloved in all of sports.

Pitching Confusion

         There are so many pitchers on the Cubs 40-man roster that could end up anywhere from the starting rotation to AAA.

          Here’s 5 pitchers to watch when Spring Training comes this March:

     Jeff Samardzija- This former Notre Dame football reciever has loads of potential. His cut-fastball is considered to be his best pitch because of its extraordinary tailing movement. He has seen lots of time in both AAA and with the Cubs. With the Cubs he mostly performed in relief, although he did make a few appearances as a starter. It is widely considered that the one thing Samardzija is missing is a solid 3rd pitch. With Ted Lilly missing the first month of the season, it is very possible that he could be in the rotation during that time.

     Tom Gorzelanny- As a member of the Pirates, Gorzelanny had some success as a starter, but recently he has been utilized more as a long relief man. When he came over to the Cubs last season from the Pirates along with lefty John Grabow, he performed very well in relief and spot-start duty. His experience as a starter definately gives him the inside track at the 5th starter spot come April.

     Michael Parisi- There isn’t that much information about this unproven former-Cardinal. He was claimed off of waivers by the Cubs after they realized that Ted Lilly would be ready for the season. He’s played sparingly as a reliever for the Cardinals, but he really reminds me of Randy Wells in his build and pitching style. If he really shows Lou Piniella something in Spring Training, he’ll be in the rotation.

     Jeff Gray- The Cubs acquired him in their Jake Fox-Aaron Miles deal with the A’s. He’s a very hard throwing (can touch 98 on a good day) young righty who has limited relief experience in the majors for the A’s. Gray is a great young prospect, but unless he performs extremely well in Spring Training, he’ll start out this season with AAA Iowa.

    Andrew Cashner- The Cubs took Cashner with the first-round pick in the 2008 draft because they knew about his potential. He’s a 6′ 6″ former TCU Horned Frog who was built for the set-up role. Although the organization has been grooming him into a starter, his eventual place in the organization will be in the major league bullpen. His arm could possibly be needed this summer there already.

          How Things SHOULD Turn Out: (Remember that Ted Lilly is out until May) 

   Starter: Carlos Zambrano

   Starter: Ryan Dempster

   Starter: Randy Wells

   Starter: Tom Gorzelanny

   Starter: Sean Marshall

   Relief- Andrew Cashner

   Relief- John Grabow

   Relief- Esmalin Caridad

   Relief- David Patton

   Relief- Carlos Silva

   Set-Up- Angel Guzman

   Closer- Carlos Marmol

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