Saturday, February 24, 2007

More Spring tidbits

More and more news is coming out of ST. So here it is-

1. One day after Marquis was named the Spring game opening day starter, Zambrano was announced today he will start the second game.

2. Lou and Larry are not gonna rush the pitchers coming off injuries. Miller is taking it slow, he has a great breaking pitch and spotting his fastball well but his velocity is down. But that is expected.

3. Lou is very impressed with Wood. Here is his quote from

"If I were Kerry Wood, I'd be very pleased with the way I threw," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "He looked nice and comfortable out there. He threw the ball nice and easy. [For the] first time out on the mound, [it was] very encouraging."
Not only was Piniella impressed, but so were the hitters who faced him. Just ask infielder Casey McGehee, a non-roster invitee to camp.
"It wasn't fun," said McGehee, the first batter to see Wood. "He looks pretty good. When he's telling you what's coming and he can buckle you on a breaking ball, he's got a pretty good one going.
"I've never faced him before but the ball was coming out of his hand good, and he threw a couple sliders, and he buckled me even though he told me it was coming," McGehee said. "He located the ball pretty good."

That sounds great, it sounds like Wood is doing very well and I bet he starts the season in the bullpen sharing the set up roll with Eyre and Howry.

4. Finley signed with the Rockies. Normally I wouldn't put this on here but he was rumored to be waiting for the cubs to offer him deal. Luckily that never did happen, he signed a minor league deal with the Rox and will compete for the backup CF spot. I can see all you cubs fans jumping with joy and I'm with you. The cubs didn't need another outfielder, let alone one who is 42 and hits .250 with not alot of power and shaky defense.

Getting Closer!

The first Chicago Cubs Spring game is getting closer. The Cubs play the Giants this Thursday at 2:05. Sweet Lou has announced that Marquis will get the Cubs Cactus League opener. There is still no word on his lineup and I am guessing it will be half AAA players and half MLB players. Expect big name position players to get 2 to 3 innings of work. It is also said that the pitchers will get two to three innings of work with Marquis working the first couple. Sean Marshall is expected to miss his first turn because of his shoulder but he is making progress. Also a thing to expect is the pitchers to get some in game batting experience, even tho the clubs get an option to bat with a DH in the games. I don't know about you guys but I'm ready to get things going!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Spring Training Tidbits

Here some general news out of the Cubs front:

1. Prior threw 25 pitches to batters yesterday. He said he just wanted to throw fastball strikes to get started. He said he feels great and likes not being behind schedule and being a part of the team again. Z, Marquis, Hill, Lilly, Miller, Eyre, Dempster, Howry, Cotts, Ohman, Weurtz, Samardzija and Ryan O'Malley all joined Prior in throwing to hitters.

2. Lou said the most impressive pitcher he seen so far was Cotts. Here is the quote from

"I'm going to tell you who threw the ball well today was Cotts," Piniella said of the lefty acquired from the White Sox this winter. "He used all his pitches. He has a good slider, good breaking ball, good changeup. That's one of the reasons we're giving him a chance to start here is to make him use all his pitches. He has got a good arm."

I think its great that he is doing so well. He could fill the long-reliever well, but as a starter I'm hesitant to put him in the mix just for the mere fact we already have 6 potential starters. I would just leave him in the pen.

3. Does Hill have a spot in the rotation? The answer is yes! The cubs have come out and said there rotation would go Right, Left, Right, Left, Right. Here is what Lou says-

"I fully anticipate he'll be in our rotation," Piniella said. "And my son has got him on his fantasy team, so I can't mess that up."

Carlos Zambrano will start Opening Day, with lefty Ted Lilly expected to follow, and either Jason Marquis or possibly Mark Prior in the third spot.

"With the starting pitching, one good thing is we're deep enough and have enough options that we don't have to rush any decisions," Piniella said. "That's a pretty good situation to be in. We have a real nice combination of lefties and righties. Let these kids compete and they'll tell us where they want to be."

To me it sounds like Lou might have his mind made up for the majority of the rotation but things could change from now til then.

Here is what I think Lou will have as his rotation-
1. Z
2. Lilly
3. Prior
4. Hill
5. Marquis

Then putting Miller in the pen. That's what I think he would do.

4. Wood did a side session because of rain but Lou said" he is ready to go"

5. Izturiz is ready to show Chicago the player of old. The gold glove, speedy, all star shortstop.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Some News, not much..

-Young pitchers threw to hitters yesterday and it there was a scare on the field. Soriano was up to bat and Randy Wells was pitching. Wells threw a 2 seamer that got to much air under it and buzzed Sori. Sori was able to get out of the way before it hit him in the head. They kinda shrugged it off, things like this happen during spring.

-Lou talked about things in this article-

- Sean Marshall is throwing and getting his strength back but is still not ready for hitters.

- Lou and Soriano are on the cover of SI, the Spring Training issue.

- 7days until the first spring training game, 8 days until the cubs play.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

BOLD PREDICTION- Z gets deal by opening day!

I have the distinct feeling that the cubs and Z come to terms with along term deal before opening day. As its stated today in the papers and on the Internet the cubs want to sign a 5year deal with Z. And Z has came out and said he wanted a 5 year deal.So the only issue is the money. Z wants a deal around 90 mill for 5 years and the cubs want to sign him to a deal like Carpenter and Oswalt got around 65-75 million over 5 seasons. Knowing at least the cubs and Z are in agreement in years is great and knowing the only thing holding them back is possibly incentives and about 35-25 mill is encouraging.
Zambrano has interesting situation. He could sign a deal now and if he falters or gets injured he financially stable and doesn't risk getting shafted in the market. He could also pitch the season, risk getting hurt or having a bad year and lose alot of money in the free agent market. Or he could have a breakout year, win 20 games and collect a 5-7 year deal worth 90-130 million.
Here is why I think Z will sign before opening day-

1. Considering the cubs and Z are only 25-35 million apart for 5 years says that tremendous progress being made and they basically have half the contract done with that agreement on the amount of years.

2. I think Big Z will sign a contract by opening day for the mere fact you wanna be granted money for the next 5 years. If he does get injured and doesn't sign a contract by opening day he risked losing millions whether he stays with the cubs or goes else where.

3. The Cubs want to lock up Carlos because they don't have a proven #1 starter in the organization. By not sighing him opening day you risk losing him after a great season because he is tempted by $$. You don't want to spend all that money for a winning program and then lose your ace the next season.

4. Carlos wants to stay with the cubs and the cubs want him to stay. There is no hidden agenda here. If they both want to stay here then they will make it happen sooner than later.

5. I personally think they already have been working on a deal. I feel that upon Z agent agree to a 1 year deal there was a condition. I think that condition is that Z is signed to a long term deal before opening day and that his salary be increased if he agreed to sign for 12.4 million for one year (which is below the midpoint). Why else would it have gone so close to hearing before they made a deal. I just have a gut feeling there was a stipulation before him and his agent agreed on that 12.4 million dollar contact.

In the end and by Opening Day or sooner the cubs will announce that they have signed Carlos Zambrano to a 5 year( with a mutual option for 6th) 83 million dollar contract. It will be back loaded like all the contracts signed this year and he will make around 13 million the first year of the 5 years and it goes up from there. 07-13m, 08-15m, 09-17m, 10-19m, 11-21m. With his mutual option not added to the contract of 22 million for 2012.

That's my Bold Prediction

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Cubs and Big Z avoided arbirtration today by agreeing on a one year deal around 12.5 million. They did so about 45 mins before the hearing. Its great to get this deal done, now lets work on getting him signed long term.

Big Z to go to arbitration?

Zambrano's agent and Jim having an arbitration hearing at 3pm central time. They have yet to agree on a one year deal. Although Z said he was 85 to 90 percent sure they wouldn't go to arbitration it now looks a little different. According to

Instead, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry left the Fitch Park complex shortly after 11:15 a.m., and the two sides appeared headed for a hearing. Hendry did talk to Zambrano on the field before leaving.

I still think there could be an agreement in place but no announcement has been made. The article on doesn't sound like they no for sure that Jim was headed to arbitration. All it says is that they "appear" to be going to arbitration. We will have to just wait to see what comes out of cubs camp. Personally Z is worth the 15 million and I think he will win if the do go to an arbitrator. If he loses, that will dramatically effect the relationship between the Cubs and Z and possibly damage or delay any multi year deal worked out before opening day.

More Arod spectulation

Dan Patrick of ESPN radio said this yesterday-

"I see A-Rod opting out of his contract after this season, it is very viable and if he does, I see him playing SS for the Chicago Cubs and reuniting with Lou."

It is really interesting that this keeps coming up. I think there is a 75% chance Arod opts out of his contract and is not a yankee next year. I think there is a 40% chance he is traded sometime this year. It would be great if we could get Arod to play short for the cubs. There is alot of talk going around that Arod cant play SS anymore. I highly doubt that, he is a tremendous athlete and if he can handle before he can handle it now. The one thing I think that would prevent him from coming here is our financial obligation the next few years. The contracts are really back loaded but it seems money hasn't been an issue so who knows. All I am saying is I would love to see Arod playing SS in cubbie blue!

Fantasy Baseball

There is only 8 spots left in my fantasy baseball league and we will start the season soon. After I start the season you cant join, so hurry if you want to join the Friendly Confines.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Santo anxiously waits til Feb.27th to find out if he is a Hall of Famer

Here is a great article thanks to

MESA, Ariz. -- He may try to low key the Feb. 27 Veterans Committee announcement, but Ron Santo isn't a low-key kind of guy.
Santo, the former third baseman for the Cubs and current WGN Radio broadcaster, will find out next week if he will get the call for Cooperstown. That's when the committee releases its results.
"Let's face it, I'm keeping a low profile," Santo said. "But there's no doubt in my mind -- I'll be honest, I want this badly. Mainly because it's every two years. Two years, because of what I have with the diabetes and being older, is like an eternity. If I do get in, I'd like to enjoy it."
Santo was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 18 but didn't reveal that he had Type 1 diabetes until the Cubs celebrated "Ron Santo Day" on Aug. 28, 1971. He played for the team from 1960-73, spent one season with the crosstown White Sox, and then retired. A career .277 hitter, he won five Gold Gloves and was a nine-time All-Star.
This is the third time the revamped Veterans Committee will release its vote. The group, which consists of all Hall of Fame players, has yet to elect anyone into Cooperstown since its formation.
Santo finished eight votes shy in 2005, tied with Gil Hodges. He likes the current Veterans Committee format, but wouldn't mind having them vote every year rather than every two years.
"Ronny had just a marvelous career," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "Yeah, he should be in the Hall of Fame. He's very popular, very loyal and very productive. I'm sure he would be a great addition to the Hall of Fame.
"People who have had really, really solid, good careers and have been dominant players at their positions should get in," Piniella said.
Santo agrees.
"The way I feel, to be honest, there are a lot of guys who deserve to be in because of the type of player they were," Santo said. "You've got to have the numbers, don't get me wrong, but you have to look at consistency, you have to look at both sides -- defense, offense. Was he an impact player? That's what I look at."
Among the players on Santo's list who have yet to gain entry but should be in the Hall of Fame are former Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson and pitchers Jim Kaat, Bert Blyleven and Tommy John.

"A good example of an impact player is Don Drysdale, 212 wins," Santo said. "You ask any right-handed hitter who faced him in my day -- Willie Mays, Henry Aaron -- anybody will tell you this guy was an impact pitcher. When he went to the mound, you didn't know what was going on there. It isn't how many wins, but it's impact. That's how I look at it."
Santo doesn't want any sympathy votes because of his battle with diabetes.
"During my career, it was not as easy as people realize, and yet I put up big numbers," he said. "I had a disability and still put up big numbers. I couldn't predict what I could've done if I wasn't a diabetic. To me, baseball was a gift to me. It was easy, I loved it. I just wonder, would I have played longer? Absolutely. There were a lot of times when my sugar was low."
He didn't have any way to register his blood sugar levels, but if he felt low, he'd eat candy. He told the Cubs he had diabetes after he made his first All-Star team, but asked the team not to reveal it.
"The first thing I read [about side effects of diabetes] was the life expectancy of a juvenile with Type 1 was 25 years," he said. "Then, No. 1 blindness, kidney failure, hardening of the arteries, gangrene."
Santo, active in raising funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, will celebrate his 67th birthday on Feb. 25, two days before the announcement.
"I've been in remission for 12 years," he said. "I've had no kidney problems, which is wonderful. Circulation, I lost both my legs. I had gangrene in my right foot at the time. Hardening of arteries -- I had open-heart surgery. That all came later, and came at the right time."
Meaning, it didn't interfere with his playing days.
This winter, Santo was hospitalized briefly because of pneumonia. He doesn't plan on missing any road trips with the Cubs, except for the two-city Washington-Pittsburgh trip in July. It's tough for him to get around RFK Stadium. The Cubs have retired his No. 10.
What are his plans for Feb. 27? He'll be at his Arizona home, waiting for the call.
"All I know is I want it very badly this year," he said. "That's how I feel. I'm being honest."

Santo hands down deserves to be in the HOF! Check all of his numbers-

Wood looking good off the mound. Z expects to avoid arbitration.

More news out of ST today. Kerry Wood threw 25 pitches of the mound and really impressed Lou. Wood is still hurting a bit with his bruised chest, he still feels it so it will be 2 or 3 bullpen sessions before he faces hitters.
Carlos Zambrano met with Jim today and says that there 85 to 90 percent chance that they come to an agreement. Jim is meeting with his agent today and hopefully by tomorrow they have a 1 year deal announced. Jim says its very unlikely they go to arbitration.

I Started a Yahoo Free Fantasy Baseball Custom League

I'm inviting all to join my Custom Fantasy Baseball league. Here is the link to check it out-

1. Click on Join League
2. Then click on Join Custom
3. Type in the League ID# 73280
4. Enter the Password- hotstovecubbies
5. Then follow the instructions from there

Its not a all day draft like some leagues and I don't sign you players either. Its all automatic and will take players off your list of players you want. Its pretty self explanatory.

If you have any problems just put it in a comment on this post.

Have Fun!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

More players show up, Zambrano talks continue, Jones might bat 2nd

Great news out of Cubs came today. All but 5 players have reported to ST, the only ones left are Aram, Ward, Cedeno, Dopirak, and non roster invitee KinKade. Alot of the players are excited to be out there and have a quiet confidence to them. Its nice to see the players so dedicated and excited to get things started.

Another interesting tidbit is that Lou continues to say all but the 1,3,and 4 spots in the lineup are up for grabs. He even says that Jones could bat 2nd in the lineup. "Look, what's going to determine all these things is what happens in center field," Piniella said.
If Jones is in center, Cliff Floyd in left and Soriano in right, Jones could bat second and Floyd fifth. If Soriano is the starting center fielder, then the Cubs have to figure out who's starting in the corners.
"We'll have a much better idea in the middle of Spring Training," Piniella said. "I have some ideas, but they're just ideas."

That definitely would be a hell of a first 5 and then bat Barrett 6th you have 6 players that can hit 16 or more HR.

Zambrano talks continue hoping to avoid arbitration by signing a one year deal then working a long term through out ST. In my personal opinion since the cubs have the years matching what Z wants then then its just the amount and incentives they have to work out. I think they get a multi year deal done before Tuesday. I know that is just around the corner but I feel they are closer than what we think. It would be huge to get a deal done before Tuesday but if it doesn't happen it would be great to get it done by opening day to avoid the Aramis situation that we faced this offseason. Hendry is meeting with Carlos and his agent later today.