Baseball Diamond News

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Hagerty and Sisco Update

The Florida Marlins returned rule 5 pick Luke Hagerty today. He had struggled with a blister on his finger and control problems early in the camp. Hopefully the Cubs can get him back on track to where he was before surgery as he was one of our top prospects.
In other news the Royals have decided to keep Andy Sisco on their roster instead of returning him. This hurts more because as recently as last year Sisco was rated as one of our top 5 prospects in most reports. His attitude and weight were a concern for the Cubs and they decided to leave him unprotected. As a result of that he worked extra hard this off-season and lost a lot of the weight to prove the Cubs wrong. I do wish him the best with the Royals, but maybe if he struggles enough they will send him back to the Cubs.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Cubs lefty situation and other roster moves

Well I started writing this article yesterday morning and now I have to re-edit it because the Cubs have done a few things since then. My outlook today is better than it was two days ago and below will tell why.
Today the Cubs released Stephen Randolph and optioned Wil Ohman. The Cubs acquired lefty pitcher Cliff Bartosh from Cleveland yesterday for Ronald Bay. The only thing I can say about Ronald Bay is that he was named an All-star in the Arizona Fall League in 2003. Bartosh is a young lefty who struggled at times to get lefties out last year, but has potential to improve and become a good situational lefty. I was going to suggest the other day the Cubs look into John Parrish as I thought he might be a good fit if cheap, but Bartosh is a better pitcher now and has more potential than Parrish. The Cubs still have Eddie Oropesa on the roster, but he has been horrible most of the spring and is not on 40-man roster so he doesn't have much chance to make the roster.
The Cubs also made a couple other minor moves today which were all expected. The reassigned both Angel Echevarria and Calvin Murray to minor league camp and traded Cody Ransom to the Rangers for a ptbnl. It is better to get something for Ransom than just releasing him, but I was hoping some how he would impress the Cubs management and they would keep him and release Jose Macias.

Minor trade and other moves

I have not written over the last week as my computer has been at Dell getting a major repair. The computer is back and so am I.

The Cubs made a minor trade the other day. The Cubs acquired catcher Mark Johnson from the Brewers for outfielder Travis Ezi. I don't know a thing about Ezi, but hopefully Johnson will be ticketed for Triple-A and won't have to come up unless Blanco gets hurt. I didn't say Michael Barrett because if he gets hurt and Johnson becomes his replacement, it is a major downgrade and will mean trouble for the Cubs.

Also the Cubs sent down prospects Angel Guzman and Ronny Cedeno to Iowa. Angel Guzman needs a few months if not most of the year down in Iowa before I think he will be ready. This is fine with me and I hope the Cubs organization makes sure that down in Iowa they don't overuse him, especially given the current conditions of injuries to the Cubs starters in the majors. Ronny Cedeno is a player I think needs 2 years down in the minors before he can hit major league hitting (that is if he ever can). Last year was the first year since 2000 that he showed he could semi-hit. The Cubs also returned C Casey Kopitzke and pitcher Jermaine Van Buren to minor league camp. None of the moves above were a surprise as before camp started none of those guys were slated to be on the opening day roster.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Cubs Update

Sorry for not posting this week, it was final's time and I was busy with my nose buried in the books.
This week the Cubs made a few roster moves, but none of them were surprising. IF's Mike Fontenot and Richard Lewis both were sent to Iowa. Hopefully one of those guys can break out this year while in Iowa as both now are looking like career utility guys at best. Richard Lewis had a good year in AA, but it was his first decent year since being drafted by the Braves a few years ago. Catcher Geovany Soto was sent to Iowa and now that Barrett has a couple year deal and Blanco signed for 2 years, it looks like the only chance Soto has with the Cubs is if there is an injury. Pitchers John Koronka and Russ Rohlicek also were given tickets back to Iowa. I don't think either pitcher is in the Cubs long term programs, but if I were to pick one it would be Rohlicek. The Cubs have also sent Bergeron, Danny, Jimmy Anderson, and Eddie Oropesa to minor league camp. What this means with their future with the Cubs I don't know as they may have in their contracts the ability to look for jobs elsewhere and even if they do I don't think it will both the Cubs much.
It looks like the bullpen spots for the 2nd lefty and last spot in the pen are still open. Wil Ohman who was my favorite to win the 2nd lefty spot has not done much to distinguish himself this training camp to make the team. So if the Cubs plan to keep a 2nd lefty they might have to acquire via trade. Also it looks like Chad Fox has won a spot in the bullpen, if he can stay healthy this is a very good cheap piece for the pen.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Cubs Starting Pitching bad news again.

Well at first Kerry Wood and the Cubs said he was fine and was only removed to be cautious. Now the Cubs are making plans "just in case" Kerry can't pitch on opening day. Well I think the answer to will he be starting opening day is, no.
Now the news is out that on Sunday Mark Prior had an MRI that revealed only inflammation of joint and irritation of ulnar nerve. This is the first I heard (did anyone else know, I'd be interested in knowing) that Mark Prior was experiencing discomfort after his last start, and it is not very encouraging. There is no word on when they expect him to start again or his future status, but once again as I have stated in earlier columns, I won't believe what the Cubs say about the status of any of their injuries.

So what does this mean for the Cubs? Well I won't read too deep into it yet and will wait and hopefully more facts come out, but it could mean a long season as I think the only chance of success this season for the Cubs depends on their starters ability to be healthy.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Cubs make some cuts

The Cubs made some cuts today and only 1 of them was a surprise for me. The Cubs sent down Roberto Novoa and to me that is a major disappointment. Now the trade for Farnsworth is going to produce nothing productive for us this season. Clarence Flowers and Scott Moore the other two players acquired in the trade are considered non-prospects and now that Novoa in minors we have nothing to show for trade.
The other players sent down today are all guys that really didn’t have much of a chance to make the team: David Crouthers, Raul Valdez, Adam Greenberg, Jose Reyes and Robinson Cancel.

Out of those guys Raul Valdez and Adam Greenberg are the only 2 guys I think might be major league material. Valdez had a hand injury from winter league that never let him compete and Greenberg is at least a year away from being able to be a 4th-5th OF in the majors.

Wood and Prior Updates

Kerry Wood has come back home to the Northside for a checkup on his shoulder. The team has said that it is only for precautionary reasons, but once again after last season hard to believe the Cubs on anything they say about injuries. According to an article on, Dr. Stephen Gryzlo diagnosed him with only inflammation of the shoulder and put him on anti-infammatories and he should start throwing again on Monday. Hopefully they are telling the truth about Kerry and everything will turn out ok and Kerry is fine by opening day.

Mark Prior started yesterday and pitched 3 innings giving up 4 hits and a walk and getting 2 k’s. This is a pretty decent start in my opinion for a pitchers first start of the spring. Prior stated that he need to work a little bit more on his curve to get more of a feeling for it.

I know the Cubs are determined that Wood is there #1 and Prior#2 guys, I think that maybe they should think about dropping them each down a spot and put Carlos Zambrano as their #1 starter. Last season he made great strides as a starter and is the most consistent and dependable starter they have. They only thing that scares me about Carlos are the huge pitch counts that Dusty Baker keeps leaving him in Carlos in the game for. Maybe a better and more dependable bullpen this season or having Larry Rothschild tell Dusty Baker to reduce the pitch counts will help out there.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Kerry Wood leaves game

Well yesterday, Kerry Wood left his start after just 2 innings when his shoulder became sore. He has said that it wasn’t hurting and was just trying to err on the side of caution. Hopefully Kerry is right and there is nothing wrong with him because losing him right now would be a major blow to the Cubs. Kerry said his tricep injury last year was more pain, today was tightness in the shoulder.
Another reason this worries me is that Mark Prior (though he makes his debut today) has yet to pitch in a preseason game. The reason the Cubs are giving is that they are building up his arm in simulation games, which according to them is a very controlled environment and very little chance of him getting an early injury. While I hope they are telling us the truth, after last season debacle it is hard to believe anything the Cubs brass has to say about injuries or preventing them.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Cubs Report : After 3 Spring Training Games

The Cubs are off to a nice start in Spring Training 3-0 (and yes I know these games don’t matter). Ronny Cedeno has looked pretty good in 3 games though he has no chance of making team this year, it is a good sign for the future. Dempster made his spring debut last night and pitched 2 perfect innings with 3 k’s. I don’t think he will be the Cubs closer this year, as I think they see him better suited as 1-2 inning reliever who can step in and be an instant starter if a starting pitcher gets hurt. Another good sign this spring is after 3 games the Cubs have committed no errors. As I stated earlier I know these games mean a thing, but it is a positive sign that the Cubs haven’t made an error.

As I write this Jimmy Anderson getting hit hard by the Giants in the 1st inning of game 4. He is a pitcher who can ill afford to have a game like this if he plans on making the squad. The one thing that might work in his benefit is that it is very early in spring and if he shines the rest of spring this start might be forgotten, but most likely this start will eliminate him from making the final 25 man roster.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Cubs win Spring Training Opener

Today in Arizona the Cubs won their first game of Spring Training. In what was mostly a very non-offensive game the Cubs won because of a 2-run homer by Aramis Ramirez. I was excited as I got to listen to this game on WGN radio today and it felt great listening to Pat and Ron on the radio (baseball is finally back). There was a scary moment in the 4th inning when Garciaparra was hit by a pitch and left the game, but it has been reported as only a bruise and he should be fine. I know it is earlier in the spring, but Jimmy Anderson and Michael Wuertz (whom every game counts) both pitched good games to help their plight to make the team. About the only negatives from the game I could take were: 1) Hairston was caught stealing, 2) no offense overall, 3) Patterson striking out already. Now as I stated earlier this is early in spring and none of this really matters, but wanted to talk about baseball.

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