Friday, March 13, 2009

Cubs Sign German... Cut Players...Etc

-The Cubs today signed Esteban German today to a minor league deal. He was released by the Royals last week after he cleared waivers. The Cubs will have him battle for the back up third base vacancy.

German is nothing special. He hit .245 with 22 RBI and 7 SB last season. He is basically an older Ronny Cedeno in my opinion. If anything he just adds depth in AAA. I do not see him winning a competition against Scales, Koskie, or even Rivas.

- Larry Rothchild got tossed out of a ST game today. Sweet!

- The Cubs sent Richie Robnett, Brian Schlitter, JR Mathes, Matt Smith, and Steve Clevenger to minor league camp.

- Lou says the Cubs closer, backup catcher, and 5th stater spots will be named in about 1 week. He said everyone will know their place. Closer will be Kevin Gregg, backup catcher will be Koyie Hill, and the 5th starter will be Aaron Heilman. Those are just my opinions. I wonder if Lou is leaning toward Hoff and Gathright?? Gathright and backup 3rd guy?? Hoff and backup third guy??

- Speaking of Heilman, he will get the start tomorrow. I hope he pitches well because I really want to see him in the rotation!

- Koskie will undergo a physical, then should get in some games.

- According to David Kaplan the White Sox offered Nick Swisher for Fukudome this off season. I do not know if I would have made that trade even though I am a Swisher fan!

- Here are my three wild card guys that could make the pen: Jose Ascanio, Waddell, and Patton. Watch out these guys my pitch their way into the pen!

More to Come!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cubs Scouting Angels, like Brandon Wood.

The Chicago Cubs are currently scouting the LA Angels and like what they are seeing from Brandon Wood according to one source close to the Cubs. Wood has only had 183 career at bats at the Major League level, mainly because Chone Figgins and other middle infielders are taking a potential roster spot for him. Brandon Wood was once one of the Angels top prospects in their system and has not made that big of an impact on scouts or the Angels to trade Figgins in favor for him.

So far this Spring he has show a lot of improvement (.417 AVG .417 OBP 2 Homers 8 RBI and 2 SBs in just 25 ABs) along with the ability to play all over the infield. His main position is 3rd base but he can also play SS and 2b. Some scouting reports stat that he could handle first base as well but has not seen a lot of time there.

The Angels may look to trade him for some relief pitching or a minor leaguer or two with more than just one option left on their contract like Wood has. The Angels did shop Chone Figgins this winter but did not find a suitor willing to pay their high asking price, so that leaves Brandon Wood the odd man out. Especially with their infield depth of Aybar, Kendrick, Izzy, Figgins, Quinlan, and Morales.

The Cubs could be shopping Angel Guzman, Luis Vizcaino, Kevin Hart, Bobby Scales, or one of their prospects to the Angels for Brandon Wood. Lou has made if publicly known that he wants a righty power bat off the bench that can play third base well and Wood fits the bill very well.

I am all for any of the players above being involved in a deal for Wood.

I will keep you updated as always!

Cubs Notes....

- Big Z gets the Opening Day nod today. The Cubs will go with a four man rotation to start the season with Dempster, Lilly, and Harden following him.

- Marmol is back with the Cubs after the Dominican Republic lost. He took the lost in the 11 inning lost to the Netherlands. He is still going to battle Kevin Gregg for the closer job.

- Yu Darvish is a stud. He pitched two innings against the Cubs today only giving up two hits, two walks and getting two K's. There is still a slight chance he gets posted sometime next season.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Angel Guzman Suitors.

The Cubs might be in a position they could trade some of their pitching. We have already heard Luis Vizcaino name today and now Angel Guzman is getting some of the trade talk attention. Angel Guzman is not pitching well this Spring and has been injury prone his entire Cub career. Guzman is finally healthy but is now out of options, so if he is not looked at a guy that would be in the Cubs pen he could be traded or put on waivers.

Guzman's stats this Spring has been anything but good. He has pitched 4 innings, gave up 5 hits, 4 ER, 2 SO, 1BB, and a 9.00 ERA. He has really struggled with his command and Cubs scouts think he may be trying to hard. One thing that makes him very attractive is his 95 mph fastball, good slider, and decent change up. He is only 27 years old and very cheap. The other thing that makes him appealing is that he can be used as a starter, long reliever, middle relief, set-up, or a poor man's closer. He is very versatile and a lot of teams find that, along with his upside, very appealing!

The Cubs have received "numerous" calls on Angel Guzman according to sources with some stating that the Indians and Padres as potential trading partners.

The Indians are looking to trade for pitching by dangling some of their young position players out there. They may want more of a seasoned starter but could go with a young fireball pitcher with upside like Guzman. The Cubs could look at some guys like Trevor Crowe, Eric Berger, or Chuck Lofgren.

The Padres really do not have too much to offer considering one GM says half of their 25 man roster looks lost this offseason. Besides making a trade for Jake Peavy or Adrian Gonzales there are not too many names that jump off the page for me. The Padres really need good young inexpensive pitching so they should jump all over Guzman. Some names in the Padres system I would not mind looking at are Cedric Hunter, Allan Dykstra, and Simon Castro.

If the Cubs make Guzman move available I think more suitors will come out.

Like always, I will update you on this situation as it develops.

Milton Bradley Talks... Other Notes....

Thanks to MLBTR for this-

Milton Bradley's comments to Gil Lebreton of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram are causing a mini-stir. He spoke about how the Rangers wouldn't commit to him:

"My agent was saying that Jon Daniels was telling him, 'There are days when he doesn’t want to play because of his health.' Well, you can get a healthy guy to go out there and play 162 games, but he won’t do what I did in 120."

As Lebreton said, the comment was "crudely self-serving" but "mostly right" given his production last year. Worse, though, Bradley seemed to admit to prioritizing his stats:

"If I'm being paid, and I've got the commitment to me that I give to them, you make more of an effort to be out there every day. When you're on one-year deals constantly, you've got to put up as good numbers as you can. When you have days where you’re not feeling like you can contribute, you're not going to go out there, because you’re not going to want your numbers to suck. So, if you're in a situation like I am now, if they want me to go out there when I'm feeling a little banged up, I've got no problem doing that because they've made the commitment to me."

To be honest, I cannot disagree with Bradley. He has gone through out his career with only one year deals, if he in fact hurts himself he has no guarantee that he plays next season. He was concerned about getting a multi year deal so he can have some security. Not to mention have someone that actually depended and believed in him. I am glad the Cubs took a chance on Bradley and think it will benefit him and the Cubs in the end.

Here are some other Cubbie notes-

- The Cubs are still keeping tabs on Bobby Crosby but want to subtract some payroll to get him. The Cubs are talking about possibly trading Luis Vizcaino and the 2.5 million he is owed for 2009. If the Cubs traded Vizcaino for Crosby straight up they would only be adding 2.75 million to their payroll if no money is thrown the Cubs way. The A's said they would make a trade if the Cubs included a prospect (Guzman?) according to a source.

- I know the season has not even started and Spring Training stats along with the WBC does not matter that much but I think the Cubs should have traded Lee and the 26 million due to him, kept DeRosa as a utility player, and signed Dunn (even though I do like the Bradley signing). They could have put Dunn in RF, Hoffpauir at 1st, with DeRosa backing up all positions, and Lee would have brought back good prospects to stock up our farm. Would have worked out better. Just my opinion though.

- The Cubs are hitting again! Beating the M's 8-1. Everyone pitched great. Harden had 2 innings with 2 hits, Dempster had 3 innings with 2 hits, Heilman had 3 innings with 2 hits, one run, and 5 strike outs (favorite for 5th starter) and Ascanio had one inning of no hit ball.

- Lou told Kosuke that he will mostly hit 2nd for the Cubs this season. Besides having Lee in the 2 hole he is the next best thing. I also think Johnson would be nice in the 2 hole, if he starts hitting again.

- Corey Koskie will join the Cubs on Thursday.

- Dempster or Z will be the opening day starter, Lou will make he decision at the end of the week.

- If Vizcaino is traded, that could mean Shark or Waddell would move into the Cubs pen. I think Shark should be a starter in AAA and Waddell should get the nod as the other lefty in the pen.

That is all for now, more to come!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Levine Latest....

Here is the latest tidbits with Bruce Levine. He was joined by Chet Coppock, Derrek Lee, and Len Kasper.

- Lee told Bruce that everyone could be ready for Opening Day in 2 weeks. He says ST is way too long especially with the WBC this year.

- Lee thinks Fukudome will bounce back this year because last season he put too much pressure on himself.

- He hopes and feels his numbers will come back this year. I hope they do because if not you might see Hoffpauir starting at 1st.

- Kasper said the has not paid much attention the the WBC. I think a lot of people have not.

- The Cubs need to keep everyone healthy to be successful. Especially Soriano and Aram.

- Len actually said that Fukudome could find himself on the bench early if Johnson and Gathright get off to a good start but if he hits well he could be the everyday CF guy.

- Kapser thinks the Cubs are good up the middle of the infield but could use a backup at 3rd. Koskie is an interesting option according to Len. I agree with him, they need to carry Koskie, Hoffpauir, and Gathright on the 25 man roster and cut the pitchers to 11.

- Len also said that if they add another back-up infielder, that it could affect Gathright's status on the roster. He is also out of options so he cannot be sent to minors without passing through waivers. He would probably not make it through waivers.

On other Cub news-

- Z will not have LASIK eye surgery before the season.

- Lou said he will increase the competition for backup catcher by giving Mark Johnson a chance to win a spot. He really does not have a chance against Hill or Bako. Plus he is pretty old for a catcher but hey, so is Bako.

- Cubs have dropped their 6th game in a row. They could rebound tomorrow against the Royals.

- Take a look at Alex Maestri!( Thanks to GROTA) He pitched well for Team Italy the other day, setting down guys like Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Jose Guillen, Cesar Izturis, and Endy Chavez.

Rumor Rumbling....

The Cubs, with their stack full bullpen depth, may trade some players for a right handed bat off the bench or a guy with more versatility or just a guy to stick in the minors. Some possible trade candidates are Angel Guzman( who is out of options) and Vizcaino( who has struggled some in ST and owed about 2 million from the Cubs). Keep an eye on the bullpen situation.

More to Come....