Saturday, March 03, 2007
According to Carlos Zambrano himself, his agents and Jim Hendry will resume talks about a contract extension today by phone. Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times says the parameters are five years and an AAV between $14.6-18MM. Makes sense, and I imagine a full no-trade would be in there too.
Zambrano had a lot to say yesterday, promising a Cy Young for himself a World Series title for Chicago. He later qualified that last one by saying he's "almost sure." As a Cubs fan, I enjoy the bravado.
I once attended the 1998 Cubs Convention. That ended up being a playoff season for the Cubs, their first since 1989. I had the privilege of meeting Kevin Tapani. I told him I hoped he'd win 20 games that year (I thus take most of the credit for his career-high 19 wins despite his 4.85 ERA). Tap told me, "it'd be a great season if that happened." It was an appropriate response for a past-his-prime battler. I feel that Zambrano would tell a 15 year-old kid that he'll win 25 and hit 25 home runs too.
i really think they will get this deal done by opening day! You gotta love Big Z's attitude, saying the cubs will win the World Series and he will win the Cy Young.. Classic Zambrano!
Here is the box score to the game today-
Ronny had a homer the usual way, Barret got it the hard way by rounding the bases with the ball still in play. Pitching did well, at least the cubs didn't lose.
Prior and Wood both will pitch Monday. This will be the fourth time they have pitched in the same game. Lilly will come in after Prior and then you will see Wood in the later innings.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Carlos Zambrano had a good day. Giving up on hit, striking out 4 of the 7 batters he faced. But Murton is the one that stole the show going 3 for 3 with a homer and 4 rbis! Dlee also had a nice day. Aram and Sori are starting off cold but hey its only the first two games of the Spring.
A-Rod talkin' like Mr. Cub
With options open, Alex is still batty over 'father' Piniella
Alex Rodriguez faces decision on future as he can opt out of contract after season, but Yankee currently appears to have mind on Cubs and their new manager Lou Piniella.
There's nothing like the possibilty of being reunited with now two-time AL MVP Alex Rodriguez to bring out the Sweet in Cubs skipper.
While Alex Rodriguez has demonstrated a penchant for self-analysis, the media has provided ample evidence that this is a two-way couch.
We hang on A-Rod's every word. The season is still a month away from opening. Look what already has happened.
Rodriguez held that circus-like book signing at Barnes & Noble. Then, there he was in Tampa revising the description of his relationship with Derek Jeter.
This was followed by analysis of the "friendship." Media Freuds said the process of baring his soul was good for Mr. Rodriguez. They described it as a "cleansing."
Measuring A-Rod's words and actions has taken on added importance in determining his future. This is apparent even to those who speak before they think. The door to hyperinterpretation has been left wide open by Rodriguez and his agent Scott Boras.
For the purpose of financial flexibility, and maybe peace of mind too, Rodriguez has not taken the option of opting out of his Yankees contract (worth $25 mil per) off the table. As long as the option to opt out at the end of this season is available, there will be buzz over whether A-Rod already has another destination in mind.
Speculation will mount Monday night (10 p.m.) when Rodriguez appears on HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel." If you come away sensing the Yankees third baseman has the Windy City on his mind you will have plenty of company.
During a profile of new Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who managed Rodriguez for seven seasons in Seattle, A-Rod is interviewed by Frank Deford. While Deford never asks Rodriguez to compare Piniella to Joe Torre, it is abundantly clear the managerial qualities - and style - A-Rod enthusiastically attributes to Piniella are not subscribed to by the Yankees manager.
Rodriguez also tells Deford that Piniella "has been just like a father to me." During the piece, Piniella picks up a bat with the inscription: "To my second mom." The bat was sent by A-Rod to Piniella's wife, Anita.
Visions of Piniella wigging big on umpires, something Torre never does, still register positively with Rodriguez.
A-Rod has a serious look when he says: "But that type of passion went right on through us as players. For me it worked 100%."
For Rodriguez, Piniella is a man of radical contrasts. The sensitive side of Piniella, his ability to coddle players, also motivated him. A-Rod says during his rookie season in Seattle, Piniella blasted him for swinging wildly at a sequence of Dennis Eckersley sliders.
"I remember being 18, almost in tears," Rodriguez says. "... I just felt like, 'Get me back in my senior high school uniform.' Then sure enough (Piniella) gives me a big kiss on top of my head. He goes, 'Son, I love you. I love you. I just want you to do well.'
"From that day on," Rodriguez says, "for the next 12 years, he's been just like a father to me."
Rodriguez calls Piniella a "great" teacher.
He tells a story about finishing up a postgame spread after a night game, showering and making his way out of the Mariners clubhouse.
Doing his own Piniella impersonation, A-Rod says: "'Come here son, let's work on your swing.' ... This is now 1 o'clock in the morning. I can remember it like it was yesterday. He (Piniella) will be there in his underwear and T-shirt, maybe smoking a cigarette, and we'll stay there until 2:30-3 o'clock in the morning talking about a swing."
Piniella admitted he cried when Rodriguez left Seattle.
"No, I didn't know that (he cried)," Rodriguez says. "That was the toughest thing I've ever had to do in my life. I'll be honest with you, it was a relief once (Piniella) left Seattle because I knew the torture stopped a little bit ... I'm free."
If he decides to opt out, Rodriguez will be "free" again. The emotion he displays while speaking about his former manager and mentor leaves a distinct impression that reuniting with Piniella would be a dream come true.
And yet, yesterday, Rodriguez told Daily News Yankees beat writer Mark Feinsand a reunion with Pinella is not likely to be in the cards.
"He's on a different team in a different league," Rodriguez said. "My memories of Lou are in the present and the past, not the future."
The HBO spot is not the first time A-Rod has taken us on a tour of his Piniella pedestal.
Last June, after belting a 12th-inning, game-winning two-run homer off Braves reliever Jorge Sosa, Rodriguez told Yankees radiocaster Suzyn Waldman he had spent the prior evening in his Park Ave. condo talking "hitting" and "self-confidence" with Piniella, who was in town doing promotional work.
On that occasion, Rodriguez said the sight of Piniella was like seeing "an angel from the sky." After that June meeting, speculators wondered how Torre felt about Piniella being A-Rod's spiritual/hitting adviser. Now, with the Yankees manager perhaps more sensitive knowing George Steinbrenner was ready to pull the plug on him in in October and plug in Piniella, will A-Rod's upcoming Sweet Lou tribute rub Mr. Torre the wrong way?
"I don't take it as (a slight) if it is. It doesn't bother me at all," Torre said yesterday. "We look for whatever way to make players better. If they can do this on their own, find someone that gives them that secure feeling, so be it."
Pretty good analysis, right?
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Here is the box score if anyone is intrested-
1. Prior threw 2 innings yesterday and is right on track for his Cactus League debut on Monday. He faced Jake Fox who hit 2 out and a come backer to Mark but no damage done. Your going to have that in Spring Training. There is no sense in looking into Prior giving up HR.
2. Cliff Floyd says yesterday that he is ready to go but the Cubs say no your not. Cliff Floyd who is coming off problems with his left foot, says he is ready to play in this weeks games, the Cubs medical staff think its a good idea to let that foot heal for a week before he gets game action. The last thing they want Floyd to do is re-injure himself before the season. Floyd is seeing the ball well and he is feeling the best he has ever felt in 4 years. The last thing you want is a set back! I think this is wise, let it heal, because a healthy Floyd his .280 25hr and 80rbi!
3. Ward rejoined the club after stomach aches. So he wont be available the first two games.
4. Weurtz is feeling discomfort in his shoulder, which he felt last year. Its nothing major but the cubs will give him the weekend off have him throw Monday and get it check out again on Weds.
5. Things to be determined, it sounds like the fifth spot in the rotation is up for grabs. With Z, Lilly, Marquis, and Hill taking the four spots, there will be a battle for the fifth this Spring. The players that will be battling are Marshall(who is a long shot), Prior( who is a shoe in if he is healthy and would take the 3 spot and Marquis would take the 5th), Miller ( Prior's main completion, has lost alot of speed on his fastball, its topping out at about 87-88 but could still get the fifth spot if Prior falters at all) and Cotts( He is the dark horse and also unlikely because he will get the long relief job you would have to believe. He has good stuff, but Lou said he would like to go r,l,r,l,r in the rotation so he is also the long shot).
The other thing to watch is the battle for CF.. There is a chance that Pie could win the job if he does lights out in ST, but don't hold your breath. The other possible candidates are Soriano( most likely, if he does decent in ST he will get the job just for the fact of his speed and how he said he would like to play CF). Jones( who would have played CF in Minnasota if Hunter wasn't there, could win it if he shows he has no problem covering or throwing out there).
6. Ron Santo lobbies for yearly veterans committee voting for the Hall of Fame.
If you didn't know(lol) the Cubs play the Giants today at 2:05. It will be Marquis against Zito. Should be fun! GO CUBBIES!
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
1. Soriano CF
2. Murton LF
3. Lee 1st
4. Aram 3B
5. Barrett C
6. Jones RF
7. Derosa 2b
8. Izzy ss
9. Marquis P
The game is at 2:05 tomorrow against Barry Zito and the Giants. Lets go cubs!
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
10654 at bats
8143 at bats
1331 RBI .
The first guy is Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson and the second guy is Ron Santo. IF your going by just stats and say he doesn't belong then your crazy. Compare HR, AVG, OBP ETC.. Plain and simple Santo deserves the Hall of Fame!
Ron Santo deserves to be in the Hall and no one is going to make me believe any different. Ron to me your a guy who played the game right and not only do you have great stats but you did things that don't show up on stat sheets. Ron Santo is a Hall of Famer to me! Whether he is inducted or not!
Check Ron's Stats- http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/santoro01.shtml
9 time all-star, Lou Gehrig winner, 5 Gold Gloves, finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 4 times, twice in the top 5, 2254 hits, 342 hr, .277 average, 1331 rbi in 15 seasons. Thats Hall numbers to me!
Other Cubs News-
1. Sean Gallagher and Guzman both impressed Lou yesterday. Guzman even surprised Blanco, Blanco saying he noticed a good change. He has raised he velocity and his command is alot better.
2. Lou not worried about outfield defense, says alot of great athletes out there and shouldn't be a problem. He will get a better feel once games start. Here is a good quote from cubs.com-
"The answer is no but with one reservation -- let's see how we line them up," he said. "It shouldn't be. We've got some athleticism. We've got [Matt] Murton and [Cliff] Floyd, who are basically left fielders. Then we've got two other kids in the outfield who are very athletic, [Jacque] Jones and Soriano. I told Jones today to take a few balls in center field from time to time."
Soriano will get the most playing time in center.
"He's getting good jumps off the ball and reading it well," Piniella said. "The games will tell more than anything else. The big thing is he's willing to do it, he's willing to try it, and he feels comfortable out there.
"I wouldn't call [the outfield defense] iffy, I really wouldn't," Piniella said. "Are we going to have the best outfield defense in baseball? Probably not. We're certainly more than capable of making all the plays, the routine plays, and a few extra, and that's what we're going to strive for."
I'm really hoping Soriano makes it in CF. He has the speed to play center in Wrigley and I think he will strive there. If Pie is called up you have 2 options, move Soriano, which he said he doesn't want to do once the season starts. Or let Pie play RF, which is the hardest in baseball. He has ML defense, why not put him there to show it off. Of course if he is called up, someone would be traded, released, or injured.
3. More great news! Seems like Wood wont be held back either. Expect Kerry Wood to get in a Cactus League game early next week. This is good news for all cubs fans, instead of waiting the 2nd go around with Wood and Prior, there going with both early next week! Good news!
Monday, February 26, 2007
To me it looks like the Cubs started hearing the grumblings of fans and asked Mark if he would be ready to go. He said yes for the mere fact to show the cubs and there fans that he is healthy and ready! I'm glad they decided to shut up all those negative fans and the "jump to conclusions media" by announcing he is going to start Monday instead of the following Thursday.
There are alot of things he said in there that make me so happy he is a Cub and I hope he is a Cub for years to come. But two quotes stand out to me. Here they are-
"I will put no deadline or nothing on anything," Barrett said. "For me, I feel like I've been through a lot as a player, and I feel completely blessed to be a part of this team. For me, if there's a distraction that keeps you from appreciating putting on a Cubs uniform, then something ain't right. That's the way I feel."
He spoke like a true Cub! He deserves a extension, he is a great offensive catcher and a even better guy.
"If I'm catching and we win a World Series, it'll all work itself out," Barrett said. "Everything will take care of itself. My focus is to come to the field, really work hard to be a champion that day, and whatever happens happens.
Here is an interesting article on Prior and Wood-
MESA, Ariz. — Cubs manager Lou Piniella acted quickly Sunday to stave off any panic peddling when it comes to pitcher Mark Prior.
Prior threw live batting practice early in the morning, throwing 35 pitches to nonroster men Koyie Hill and Jake Fox. He reported no problems and said he’ll be ready for the start of the Cactus League season.
However, Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild don’t plan to use Prior until the team is at least five games through the exhibition season.
“Prior threw early today, and talking to Larry Rothschild, he took a nice step forward,” Piniella said. “He cut some balls loose. He felt good after the workout was over. No pain. No discomfort. It’s good news when we keep these guys going forward.”
Piniella further stated that Kerry Wood will join Prior in not pitching until the second week of Cactus League games. Both Prior and Wood are coming back from shoulder woes. Wood will go into the bullpen, and Prior said he’s shooting to be ready by Opening Day.
“Don’t jump to any conclusions on this; this is precautionary, nothing more, nothing else,” Piniella about Prior. “No issues. Nothing. We want to keep it positive. We want to see small, but steady, progress.”
Rothschild said Prior will throw another batting practice Tuesday and that Prior’s velocity is “getting close” to being 100 percent.
“He’s not at full velocity from what we’ve seen a couple years ago, but it’s definitely improving,” Rothschild said.
When asked if Prior would be ready for the season, Rothschild said: “I have no indication that he won’t be.”
If Prior is the fifth starter, it’s conceivable they wouldn’t need to use him until April 11 because of an off-day in the schedule.
Speed trap: To hear pitcher Wade Miller tell it, velocity on his fastball is not an issue.
“Actually, I think my velocity is where I need it to be right now,” Miller said Sunday. “To be honest, I think I’m throwing better now than I was at the end of the season last year. I’m not really worried about velocity right now. With five weeks to go, I’m pretty happy with where it is right now.”
Miller underwent surgery on his right shoulder following his 2005 season with the Boston Red Sox. The former Houston Astros standout signed with the Cubs last off-season and spent most of 2006 rehabbing. In 5 September starts, he went 0-2 with a 4.57 ERA before resuming the rehab in the winter.
On Saturday, manager Lou Piniella offered that “velocity’s not the name of the game with Wade.”
Miller threw 36 pitches during live batting practice Saturday and said he felt fine. He also said he expects to be ready Opening Day.
“Oh, I think so,” he said. “I don’t see any setbacks right now. Something major would have to happen for me to not be ready. I might have been a little behind when I came in because I was only throwing every other day, but right now, I feel fine. I feel right on track.”
I honestly believe what Lou and Larry are saying unlike some fans. But can you blame them for being skeptical? Wood and Prior have spent more time doing towel drills than working in games in the past 3 years. But this team has new thing to it, and I think its a straight forward manager. I believe in whatever Lou tells us. He hasn't went astray, he hasn't lied to us, so why doubt him. He is NOT Dusty! If you look at the way things set up having them pitch next week makes since. They have Marquis, Z, Miller, Samaj, Cotts, Lilly, and Hill. Those players all need there work to and having all those pitch before Prior and Wood is genius to me. Why have the risk of an oft-injured Wood and Prior start the first couple of ST games? The point of Spring is to get healthy and ready for the season, giving them more rest makes more sense then running them out there saying OK, go out there and go full speed. Players coming off of injuries need more time that's all. Don't look into it so much Cubs fans! The only time to worry is if Prior and Wood don't pitch the following Thursday.