Archive for March, 2007

Fifth starter position likely down to two

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

Earlier plans were to use Marquis as the Cubs’ fifth starter – well that appears to have changed folks. Marquis has allowed a lot of baserunners but he’s thrown a whole lot better than I expected; he has thusfar won the #4 spot. And Lilly and Hill are locks for the second and third spots. So who’s competing for the five hole? Prior, Miller and Guzman.

It appears as though that competition is down to two – Miller and Guzman. Miller has thrown respectably – despite velocity issues he has thrown the ball commendably with an 4.00 ERA. Nonetheless Miller has had seventeen baserunners in nine innings pitched – I would consider him lucky at this point.

Angel Guzman has been a real pleasant surprise, throwing effectively with a 2.84 ERA in 6.1 IP. Guzman needs two more stong appearances and I think he’ll have #5 locked up. Then Miller will be traded for a utility infielder and Prior will be sent to “extended spring training,” which is a polite way of saying that performance-wise he isn’t ready for the 25 man roster.

Another possibility is that Miller will throw adequately and Guzman will go to Iowa, where he and Prior will gun it out in case either Miller or Cotts fail. Cotts has been totally ineffective and might even end up being traded or in Iowa if he falters in April.

Some rather amusing news from Rotoworld about former Cub Neifi Perez:

Neifi Perez left Tuesday’s game in the third inning, saying he felt congested and ill.
Tigers fans complained of the same symptoms after he was acquired last year. Perez is day-to-day.

Here is a nice little picture that was given to us from the good people at Cubs Fun. It’s Neifi dancing an Irish jig. It makes me laugh everytime I see it.

BTW if you signed up for VTFB NCAA brackets get your picks in!!! You might want to consider sixth-seeded Vanderbilt as a darkhorse – on any given day they can beat any team in the nation; conversely, on any given day they can lose to any team. I like Georgetown better as a darkhorse for the national title though…

Update:Happy days here in Guitar Town! Vanderbilt just destroyed George Washington by 33 points. These guys have a history of going to the Sweet Sixteen, I just hope that this year will be yet another. Go Dores!

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The First Cut Is The Deepest

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Well, here we are on March 13th, 2007 and the Cubs have made the first round of cuts to the Spring Training roster. Nothing too shocking for those who were cut, but a pleasant surprise to see that Felix Pie is forcing the Cubs to give him a little further consideration. My lone bold prediction that comes from all of this is that I think that Jeff Samardzija will make a fairly fast rise through the farm system. Uncle Lou gave the kid a nickname already and everyone, from the top down, seems to love him. Everything that I have heard this Spring has said that his being cut is a pure matter of baseball semantics. His stay in Daytona will be short. His time in Tennessee will probably be determined more by what the Cubs big league staff is doing in late Summer rather than whether or not he has the talent to be in Iowa by the end of the year.

On a different note, this posting on is reporting that the Cubs are “looking to deal”. While I don’t find this web site to be incredibly reliable in it’s rumor mongering, it is good for a laugh every now and again. They have caught on to what most of the Cubbie nation already knows: The Cubs probably want to make one more impact move this season. Supposedly the Cubs scouted a game between Atlanta and Toronto. So now everyone is trying to predict what the Cubs are looking for from either of those two teams. They invited their readers to make their thoughts known in the comments section. Needless to say, it makes for some INTERESTING reading. Some are informed opinions, and some are really ‘out there’. I only posted it, because I’d love to hear what some of our regulars have to say about the multitude of possibilities put forth. Not to mention the fact that I have been dying to see what my caricature head looks like!

If you really need a laugh read this posting. Posted yesterday on that same site. Not only does it not make any sense, but it’s downright dumb.

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At What Point Do We Consider Them?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

I was thinking about something the other day on my way home from work. I was thinking back to the WGN game against the White Sox. It has been the only time so far that I’ve been able to see the Cubs play so far this spring. As I was watching them on that lazy Sunday afternoon, in between sporadic naps, I noticed a guy with a curious name that I was unfamiliar with. Micah Hoffpauir, caught my eye mainly because of his strange named that reminded me a little of a name you might see in a Harry Potter novel. Obviously, he’s not going to make the team, but it did lead me to question at what point other guys, who will someday make the team, begin to get consideration for making the opening day roster. Here are a few I am curious about.

Felix Pie – Obviously he has been on Cub fans radars for a long time, yet they still pronounce his name wrong. Just to clarify, it’s pronounced pee as in urine and then the letter a. Pee A, not Pie as is in warm apple with ice cream, though that does sound nice right about now. Maybe a nice glass of milk on the side to go with it. Moving back on topic, Felix is playing pretty well this spring, hitting .321 with a .367 on base %. The casual fan would say “bring him up, he’s ready!” However, another number caught my eye and led me to believe that maybe he isn’t doing quite as well as we think he is. Granted, the sample of at bats is small, but Pie also has a slugging % identical to his batting average. The only way I know for that to happen is if he has absolutely no extra base hits. I took a look and sure enough, I was right. He has 9 hits, all of them singles. Slap on two walks and you’ve got your on base % inflated slightly. So, while he’s not ready just yet, what does he need to do to prove to us that he is in fact ready for a Major League roster spot?

Ryan Theriot – This guy, without a doubt, is our David Eckstein. I’ve always wanted my very own scrappy player to cuddle and love. Every other team seems to have one, so why don’t we? I want a scrappy player and Theriot can be our guy. This spring, after hitting well last year, he is leading the team in at bats with 29. In that time, he has hit .379 / .455 / .517. By comparison, DeRosa doesn’t seem to be doing as well, and hasn’t gotten as many at bats. Could Uncle Lou be changing his mind on the role he has for Theriot? I hope so, because desperately want a scrapster in the starting lineup to go with my warm apple pie and milk. Help me out, Uncle Lou.

On a side note, if you are looking for bracket assistance this year to win your office pool, might I suggest

It’s a fantasy sports oriented site. They have lots of good team previews and things of that nature. Here is the link for the category. Refresh it everyday and it should be updated with new information.

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Directv and MLB 4 Ever?

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

One of the stories of the off-season this year has been the immanent deal with Directv and MLB for the right to broadcast the Extra Innings package. Living in North Carolina, I am dependent on this package to be able to watch Cubs and Devil Rays games. Luckily for me, I am a Directv customer, so the new deal didn’t really bother me or affect me in any way. I can understand the frustration on behalf of the people who are non-Directv customers. It’s frustrating if you can’t get Directv or if you simply don’t feel like switching. However, with that being said, here is some information on the new deal and a glimpse of hope for Cable and Dish Network customers, albeit a small hope.

This audio was taken from the free MLB Radio podcast on Friday. It’s MLB President and COO Bob DuPuy and national reporter Barry Bloom breaking down the deal. The audio is MP3 and is about 16 minutes long.

~ Get MP3

On a side note, if you are interested in participating against me for fabulous prizes in Fantasy Baseball, view this post.

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Wood Thing

Friday, March 9th, 2007

Kerry Wood struggled in his appearance yesterday. Four runs, all earned, off of two hits. One was a grand salami. Control seemed to be a problem, as he hit a batter and had a wild pitch. Although he still managed to strike out three. I think I hear “Wild Thing” bouncing off my eardrums.

Miller was passable, giving up one run on six hits with two walks over three innings. I think he’s going to fill out that fifth spot, sending Prior to Iowa, unless of course he finds his missing 10 mph in the next few weeks.

More exciting, the defense was error free. I’m expecting this year’s incarnation to be offensively charged with average pitching, and below average fielding. Error free games may be far and few. Felix Pie is also showing he’s going to make the selection for outfielders tough.

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I want to praise John Rocker

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

Well, I did until I finished the article and then read his last quote. In case you’ve been living under a rock the past week, it was revealed that a pharmacy in Florida was busted for distributing HGH and other steroids to athletes recently. Among the two names mentioned were John Rocker and new Angels investment Gary Matthews Jr. This news has the Angels up in arms about the money they spent. I can’t say that I would really blame them either.

Yesterday, Rocker came out and corrected a statement that his publicist made that said he had a prescription for the HGH he was taking to strengthen his shoulder. He told ESPN Radio “”I never had a prescription for any HGH. If somebody’s got a beef to make with me, show me a prescription.”

I enjoyed the fact that Rocker basically came clean and said he did it and here is why I did it. He corrected an apparent cover up by his publicist and told the truth. What a great role model, right?

Then I got to the end of the article and read what his advice to younger players was.

Asked what advice he could give young baseball players, Rocker said “If the league allows you to do it, do it. If it’s legal, do it. Why not?”

Good grief John, is that mouth of yours really that big that it can hold that many feet, or do those feet taste that good that you can’t stop putting them in your mouth? Show some restraint and try just for once to be a role model.

On a random Cubs note, I saw something that worried me in the Sun Times.

If he carries 12 pitchers, Piniella might have to get by with only one pure backup infielder, Ryan Theriot.

I’d really like to see two backup infielders instead of one. What if Mark DeRosa gets spiked at second base? That leaves us with no one on the bench for the lovely double switch or in the event of a Hee Seop Choi collision. Seems like potential trouble. Let’s hope the Cubs are wise and break camp with 11 pitchers on the staff.

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Smarter Than the Average Bear?

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Jason Marquis was impressive in his second start today. He blanked the Brewcrew over three innings, giving up two hits, one walk, and striking out two. Dempster also threw one inning striking out two and giving up a hit. Thus far, Ted Lilly and Marquis are looking like fine signings. It’s early, but I’m happy with what I’ve seen thus far. It’s certainly looking better than this time last spring when the rotation was in shambles. Heck, Wood and Prior are actually throwing real baseballs, in real games. Not that gimmicky towel drill on a hiden practice field out of sight from prying eyes.

The depth that Hendry has brought in for pitching, might actually push a few of the guys that slacked their way through the Dusty era. With so many arms fighting for only what appears to be only one spot in the rotation, it should make an interesting Spring Training. Last year at this time, I felt the strongest part fo the Cubs farm system was depleted, especially after the Juan Pierre trade.
Reviewing the arms today, I think I’ve changed my tune. With the signings of Lilly, Marquis and Miller, the trade for Neal Cotts, and the experience the youngsters received last season, I’m not as fearful if we lose an arm to injury this year.

Maybe Hendry is smarter than I’ve give him credit. Then again, Hendry’s never stole a pic-a-nic basket as far as I can tell.

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Lou Piniella on MLB Radio

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

Our very own Uncle Lou was a part of MLB Radio’s daily podcast today. I usually listen each day and I clipped this part for your enjoyment. They’re available via RSS or iTunes at this link.

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Random Bears Rant

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

I was talking with my good friend Rob last night about the site and he mentioned that when we talked about the Bears awhile back, it gave him a way to vent his frustration over the Super Bowl loss.



Buried in yesterday’s win was the fact that Felix Pie went 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and an RBI. He’s hitting .500 on the young spring and will likely start his season in Iowa with the understanding that a job in RF could be waiting for him within the first two months of the season. When I spoke to him two years ago, he felt he was ready then. Obviously a lot has probably changed since then. It’s my hope that the Cubs continue to be patient with him and let him develop at a reasonable rate. has a interview with prospect Rocky Cherry, who is thought of pretty highly by Baseball America. It’s worth the read and can be found here.


>Man, it’s hard to really think about the fact that the Bears were in the Super Bowl last year. How great is that?

Overall, I am no where near as knowledgeable about the NFL as I am about baseball. Baseball has always been my passion since I was a little kid. But I am a big Bears fan and I keep up with what is going on in the NFL. Last night, as Rob and I were ending our conversation, word came over the wire that the Bears had dealt Thomas Jones to the Jets for a 2nd round draft pick. As soon as he told me they were receiving a draft pick, I knew for sure that it was 2nd round or lower. It’s weird to see how much different football is from baseball. Guys just aren’t “worth” as much in the NFL. They have a shorter shelf life and, especially running backs, are easy to replace in the draft, unless you’re the Bears.

With that being said, I want to pose some questions for discussion to you. Please don’t let this turn into a Rex vs. Orton thread again. That’s just sad. Here is what i’d like to get your input on.

1. Do you think the Bears should have dealt Thomas Jones? Why or Why Not?
2. What should be done with the Lance Briggs situation?
3. If you had to choose one position going into the draft that we most needed to focus on, what would it be?

Have at it.

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