Baseball Diamond News

Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day

Today was opening day again and unfortunately the Cub's came up just short. In an exciting 9th inning newcomer Fukudome hit a 3-run homer to tie it up, but the pen who had given up 3 runs in the top of the 9th, then gave up another in the tenth and could not overcome that.

What I observed today is that Theriot and Soriano batting 1-2 is probably not the best idea. I didn't like it when I heard it, but I really don't like it after getting to see it in motion. The Cubs think too highly of Theriot and by putting him at the top spot in the order are setting him up for a big fall. Though I am not a fan of Soriano leading off, if the Cubs are so determined to get him to bat at top of lineup I think he should be 1 and Theriot should bat 2nd.
Another thing, what is up with Zambrano and his forearm cramps? I ask this because today was not a warm day by any means and yet Carlos cramped up again. I am not sure what is happening but I know that it can't be a normal thing. I have no idea what would be causing it. Though I thought I saw him looking at his finger more than his forearm, but what do I know and when have the Cubs ever lied to us fans?

A random thought, why is Matt Murton not on the team? I think it is silly that he is in AAA. The man can simply hit and even early in spring training he even said Matt had one of the best swings on the team. I don't get it. Management must not like him much. He is a way better option to have to pinch-hit then Fontenot is.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

More Cuts

Well as soon as I said a nice thing about Neal Cotts he has to go out and pitch of a stinkner of a game. Now he finds himself being optioned back to Iowa with Sean Gallagher and Jose Ascanio who both were optioned a few days earlier. Also Koyie Hill was reassigned today. Koyie didn't have much chance to make the team from his performance with the Cubs last year and didn't do much to impress in camp. I doubt we ever see him in a Cubs uniform again, unless we get a major injury at the catch position.
Another player that was reassigned was Josh Kroeger. At one point he was a very good prospect for the Diamondbacks, but now is just a Quad-A player. If Felix Pie fails this year and the Cubs need an emergency guy, Josh might get a look if puts up good numbers in AAA, but I doubt that he will get the chance and if he does I don't think he will be able to do anything meaningful for them.

The roster is now down to 36 and there are 3 players that are non-roster invitees that still have a good chance to make the roster. They are Casey McGehee, Micah Hoffpauir and Alex Cintron. If Alex makes the team, it will be at the cost of Ronny Cedeno going to AAA with a very unimpressive spring and the fact that he has been hobbled with a minor injury lately hasn't had much chance to turn things around. McGehee and Hoffpauir both won't make the club, but one of them might make it for a bat off the bench as they are hitting the heck out of the ball, but it isn't clear who wouldn't make it if one of them does.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cubs Update

Well I have been under the weather the last 10 days so sorry for not writing.

Since the last time I wrote, the Cubs first cuts were sending these non-roster invities back to minor league camp Esmailin Caridad and Jose Ceda and left-handed pitcher Geoff Jones. Outfielders Tyler Colvin and Andres Torres, infielder Bobby Scales and catchers Welington Castillo and Josh Donaldson.

In that all were young and really had no shot to make the team and were kept around for the split squad games to get some big league exposure.

Then the Cubs optioned Adam Harben to AA. Who?

Next the Cubs sent Jake Fox and Juan Mateo to AAA and Jeff Samardzija to AA. None of these were a surprise as Samardzija is in only his 2nd year and has a way to go. Jake Fox has no where to play on the Cubs as his defense isn't good enough behind the plate to beat out Henry Blanco as a backup and Juan Mateo is coming back from surgery last year so wasn't expected to make the team.
The same day the team re-assigned these non roster players pitcher Ed Campusano, infielder Luis Figueroa and catcher JD Closser. I was a little surprised that JD didn't get a longer look, but I guess that is how far his stock has fallen in a few years. The team then released Shingo Takatsu. This was a signing that no one in Cubs nation could understand why it was made, any of us fans would have signed a contract for 1/10 of the price.

Then today the Cubs reassigned infielder Andres Blanco. I thought he might have a small chance to make the team if the Cubs had traded Cedeno and Fontenot had completely stunk, but neither has happened.

Now why is Ryan Dempster even in the running for a spot (4 G, 10.2 IP, 8 ER, 6 bb, 6 k), not just in the rotation, but on the roster? Marquis is putting up a good spring (3GS, 9 IP, 9 hit, 2 ER, 4 bb, 3 k), but I am sure come 2nd half he will be the same Jason. Sean Marshall is putting up good numbers (3 G, 8.1 IP, 8 hit, 3 ER,4 bb, 6 k) and Jon Lieber's numbers are real good (3 G, 10 IP, 7 h, 2 ER, 1 bb, 8 k). So with this the Cubs should pick Lieber and either Marshall or Marquis and forget Dempster as a SP. Now let's look at pen:
We have Wood, Marmol, Howry, Eyre, Wuertz all making the pen without much debate. That then leaves 2 spots right? The Cubs need 2 lefties out of pen this year and Neal Cotts who got hammered in his first outing this spring has put up 4 scoreless innnings since, so unless he melts down that leaves 1. Why not Kevin Hart, who did well last year and is putting up decent numbers this spring (6 G, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER,0 BB, 4 K)? That then leaves Ryan Dempster off the roster. I know he is due 5 million dollars this year, but isn't it worth eating that contract if it will help you win 5-7 more games this year when you are trying to win the division and also the World Series?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Spring Training Update

The Cubs got bad news yesterday when it was announced Alfonzo Soriano has a fracture in his middle right finger. He is only expected to miss a few days and not a serious injury, but any injury to your franchise player (at least paid that way) is not good. I expect it to bother him for a little while, but should be normal before the season starts. This also should give Matt Murton some more PA’s and maybe he can peak the interest of another team (if the Cubs are still looking to move him), though I hope he stays in Chicago.

Also in the news is Jason Marquis sounding off that he doesn’t want to go to the pen and should be traded if that is where he is goig to end up. Well then I say trade him. To ANYONE!!!! He is the biggest waste of 20 million dollars since the Cubs signed Todd Hundley back in the 90’s. Heck even Ryan Dempster would be a better starting pitcher over the course of a full season then Marquis is. Marquis has this uncanny ability to suck after the all-star break for the past few years and no matter where he goes it still happens. So get rid of him now (if possible) to prevent him from being a cancer in the clubhouse.

Neal Cotts has pretty much put the final nail in his coffin with that last performance unless he can somehow get everyone else he faces out from now until end of camp (not likely). Also Shingo hasn’t looked too good in his two appearances so far (imagine that) and his chances are fading quickly.

In other good news for the Cubs and their fans, Mark DeRosa is back on the field and doing fine after surgery was down to correct his irregular heart beat. He is not likely to play until March 10, but until then he will be hitting and fielding.

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