Baseball Diamond News

Thursday, March 29, 2007

More Cuts

I have been a little bit sick lately and haven't really felt well enough to write, but feeling much better today. Over the last few days the Cubs have made some roster moves and again none of them surprising.
The first of the moves was sending Felix Pie to AAA. I think this is the smartest thing they have done in a while. He needs more time to learn to bat and there is no need to rush him like they did with Corey Patterson and ruin him. Some Cub fans might disagree, but as I said a few weeks earlier I don't think that they will win many games and this is the best action for the future. The next cuts made that day were assigning the following guys to minor league camp: Koyie Hill, Tomas Perez (thank goodness),Les Walrond.
Then this morning the Cubs sent Mark Prior, Rocky Cherry and Angel Pagan all to the minor leagues. While I love Angel Pagan's name, it might be best that he is not on the roster at the moment. He had a great spring last year, but after that he got injured and didn't show much after that. Rocky is a guy who had a great spring this year, but from the beginning of the camp was a huge longshot to make the team. While Mark Prior going down would have been a shock from the start of the camp, as things played out and with Wade Miller becoming the 5th starter there was no room on the roster for him. Hopefully he goes to Iowa with an open mind and becomes a glimpse of his former self.
The Cubs still have Juan Mateo on the roster, but he will be sent down to the minors and probably open season there on DL. Kerry Wood and Angel Guzman are fighting for the last spot on the roster (not really), with Guzman probably going to win and Wood go on DL. The reason Guzman is going to win, is because Wood shoulder hasn't been as cooperative as it should be and might have to once again start the year on the DL trying to strengthen it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Roberto Novoa sent down

Like I thought the other day Roberto Novoa has been sent down to Iowa to start the season. He started the camp with a sore shoulder and then when he did pitch he had a hard time throwing strikes which led to a 11.57 ERA, though he held the opposition to a .200 batting average.

It also looks like Ronny Cedeno will be making the Cubs roster out of camp. The team is impressed with his improved offense and defense. It can't hurt to have Alan Trammell helping out on defense and also can't hurt that Baker's swing always philosophy is gone. Though for overall development of Ronny this might not be the best thing, but he is better to have on bench than Tomas Perez.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cubs Cuts

Over the last 24 hours the Cubs have made a number of cuts, none of which are surprising. The team sent the following 3 guys to AAA: Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol and Geovany Soto while the following non-roster players were sent to minor league camp: Ryan O'Malley, Carmen Pignatiello, Casey McGehee, Micah Hoffpauir and Jake Fox. The team is now down to 36 players in the major league camp with only 2 real races going on. One is the final bullpen spot and the other is for the spot of utility IF or OF.
The bullpen spot is down between Rocky Cherry and Angel Guzman both of whom could end up in the minors if Kerry Wood shows that his arm is healthy enough not to end on the DL. This might be best for Guzman so he can get some innings in the minors as a starter and be the first person recalled to take Wade Miller's place if he falters or gets hurt. I left Roberto Novoa out of the equation becuase I suspect the Cubs will have him start the season on DL to make up for his missed time (though I don't think much of him while he is healthy).
The last spot on the bench looks to be between Buck Coats, Ronny Cedeno, Angel Pagan and Tomas Perez. While I stated early in camp that I wanted Cedeno to be starting SS, I think Izturis has earned the job and it would be better for Cedeno to be in the minors. That said, I think either Pagan or Perez will win the spot on the roster. I say this because even though Coats has come out of nowhere, there really is no place for him to play and he wouldn't help the team overall. Pagan has the inside track due to last season, but he also has been hampered by lingering injuries during camp and isn't any better than a 5th OF anyway. The Cubs might just decide to keep non-roster invitee Tomas Perez. My problem with Tomas Perez is that he is a clone player of Jose Macias (who is available again, maybe I shouldn't say this). This would be the equivalent of having a 24 man roster like the mid 80's experiment.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Michael Wuertz and other pitching updates

Lou Piniella announced today that Michael Wuertz has made the team unless he gets injured before the end of spring training. I think this is a great decision because as people who know me, I am very high on Wuertz as a setup man. I know that Bob Howry is the primary setup man now and he has done a good enough job to keep it, but if he gets hurt or needs a day off I currently have more faith in Wuertz, than I do Kerry Wood.

Wade Miller has won the job for the 5th starter in the rotation. While I am not high on him, there are plenty worse guys out there to have as a 5th starter. Hopefully Wade can get his velocity up a little bit as the Cubs get into the season and can show that he is worthy of staying in the rotation.

It looks like another season with both Mark Prior and Kerry Wood trying to build up arm strength and most likely to start the season on the DL. The Cubs are saying Wood's arm problem is just a strain, but we all know how accurate the information the Cub's give out about injuries. Mark Prior, well he just has no velocity and isn't pitching well either. He is regressing at an ever speedy pace and I wonder if he can ever turn it around.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster has also decided to donate to Derek Lee's charity, Project 3000. He is giving $50,000 to start and 1,000 for each save. He also had a real funny quote, "I'm actually going to do more than Michael," Dempster said. "I'm going to do $100,000 for every home run I hit." I hope Dempster hits a homer, not to screw him, but to help the charity. As I said earlier when Barrett said he was donating, I think all the Cubs players should do something for the charity, even if it is just a little contribution.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cub Roster Cuts

Today the Cubs made their first round of cuts and none of them were a real surprise. If I had to pick some though one would be Scott Moore, but he became an early cut due to a sore shoulder that has kept him out most of the spring. Another was Clay Rapada who people had been saying might surprise people early in the off-season, was cut most likely due to Cotts now being in the pen. Here are the rest of the cuts: Brian Dopirak optioned to Double-A Tennessee, Samardzija optioned to Class A Daytona. The following 10 players were all sent to Minor League Cam, pitchers Jason Anderson, Sean Gallagher, Adam Harben, Ben Howard, John Webb and Randy Wells. Infielders Mike Kinkade and Eric Patterson and outfielders Tyler Colvin and Chris Walker.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Prior sucks again, maybe an Angel can save us

Well Mark Prior went out there again yesterday and didn't look good. Once again he couldn't get any of his breaking stuff over the plate and his velocity was that of a turtle. He had a quote on the Chicago Cubs website about his velocity that cracked me up, "I'm not worried about the velocity," Prior said. "It'll come. It's not something you lose."
If velocity is something you don't lose, then how come he doesn't have it? And I would like him to ask other pitchers that have had continuous shoulder problems if they have lost velocity and if it ever came back. A lot of times it doesn't and when it doesn't, Mark is either going to have to learn how to actually pitch the ball or he will become another one of the many 1st round flops the Cub's have had.

Angel Guzman put in three solid innings of work and has looked good all spring. He has put himself in the running for the 5th starting spot and if he continues to pitch the way he is, the Cubs will have to give it to him ahead of Wade Miller or Mark Prior. I know I would rather have Angel over Wade, and if Mark keeps up at this pace then I would surely want Angel of Mark.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

My Predictions

Well my buddy Mike Marron called me tonight and we got in a small disagreement on how the Cubs will finish. I told him I don' t think that they will be at or above .500 this year. He called me crazy and bet me a dinner on it. Mike I can't wait until the season is over and I am at Joe's Stone Crab eating some nice big stone crabs.

Here are my predictions below for the year. Maybe I can win my bobblehead doll.
Cubs record. 77-85 (that is for my sister, kind of like The Price is Right)
How many wins for Zambrano? 15
How many hr's for Soriano? 38
How many plate appearances for Cliff Floyd? (too many) 310
Who will lead the team in saves? Dempster
How many stolen bases will Cubs have as team? 81

Friday, March 09, 2007

Contest reminder

Just wanted to remind people I have the contest I have going on. It is a chance to win a free Derek Lee bobblehead, anyone can enter.
If you want either enter as a comment (not anonymous because I won't know who you are) or email via contact link. In email put "Cubs Contest" in title. The deadline for entering is 1 second before the first pitch to the Cubs in Cincinnati on April 2.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Not a good day at office for Cubs pitchers. Other notes.

Today wasn't a good day on the mound for either Wade Miller or Kerry Wood, though Wood has the worst day of the two. Along with Mark Prior sucking in his last appearance the race for who is going to be 5th sp not really enticing (I know Wood going to be a relief pitcher).
From what I have read Mark Prior's velocity is down a lot. This should be a concern to the Cubs and us fans. Why? Well it just means that he probably will never be worthwhile, not even as a relief pitcher if he doesn't turn it around. I don't know if his shoulder is shot or if he just doesn't give a damn. I sometimes think that he has money now and just doesn't try in the off-season to build up his arm strength so he is not coming into camp throwing 85-87 mph.

Felix Pie is hitting the ball well this spring and hopefully can keep it up. I don't think he will keep hitting at this pace (.421), but if he keeps doing well, the Cubs might give him an early call-up this year and move Soriano to RF and take Jones out of the lineup. This I think not only would make the lineup better, but also help the team improve defensively.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Cub Rantings

I know that it is only spring training, but the Cubs are not off to a good start. Today getting shellacked by the White Sox and have still yet to win a game. The good thing about it is mostly the guys getting hit hard and the errors made on the field are from players most likely not to be on the team. Mateo and Marmol, who were both long-shots to begin with, were hit in their first appearances and need to show something more if they expect to be even consider for the last spot in the pen.

Wade Miller started the other day and did semi-decent, though I read at that his velocity was still down. I am really hoping that Mark Prior shows something this spring to take the 5th spot in the rotation because I have more faith in Prior than I do in Miller. I don’t think Miller can be effect over a season if his velocity does not increase.

Matt Murton has been starting in LF because Cliff Floyd still isn’t ready for game duty, and the Cubs expect him to start around March 10 or so. Hopefully Murton keeps hitting well and earns more playing time for the upcoming season.

Another thing I wanted to comment on is Michael Barrett giving $10,000 for every homer he hits to Lee’s Project 3000. I think more players on the team should do the same, maybe not the same dollar amount or even same charity and then the Cubs organization should match the amount. This would be great for the community and charities and would also be nice publicity for the Cubs and the Tribune Company. If the Cubs hit 200 homers (that would be near a 25% increase over last year), it would cost them $2,000,000 to help good causes and make people feel like they are giving back to the public.

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