Archive for March, 2008

Carlos Zambrano Hits the Small Screen

Thursday, March 27th, 2008


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Does Fantasy Mirror Reality for the Cubbies?

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

I love my PS3. I also love my newest addition, MLB 08 The Show. As any Cub fan would do, the first thing I did when I got the game was start a new franchise with my beloved Cubbies. I’ve run through about 20 games of the season, so I thought I’d share a few things that stand out…

  • Despite going 15-5, the Cubs are in 3rd place behind the Brewers and get this, the Reds
  • Carlos Zambrano and Ted Lilly have combined to go 5-0 with an ERA around 2, while the rest of the starting rotation is 4-3 with an ERA in the mid-4s.
  • Ryan Dempster, who is the Cubs closer in the game, has already blown 2 saves, has an ERA of 7.00, and is no longer my closer as of last night. Kerry Wood will be my closer as I must match reality as closely as possible.
  • Tom Jung, aka Kosuke Fukudome, has been just OK, hitting around .250 with a couple homeruns, but does have two game winning hits already.
  • Alfonso Soriano and Derrek Lee lead the team in home runs with 7 a piece, while Soriano has the best batting average of any regular, hitting .337.
  • The bullpen has been very good with the trio of Carlos Marmol, Bob Howry, and Kerry Wood all competing for innings. Scott Eyre, whose virtual shoulder is healthy, has yet to give up a run in 10 appearances.
  • Felix Pie is hitting in the low .300s with 4 stolen bases.

Those are the highlights, and I’m sure all of us will be thrilled if the Cubbies jump out to a 15-5 start. Curious about other’s performances? Just ask!

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Cubs Sign Reed Johnson & Other Fun Tales

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

MESA, AZ – The Chicago Cubs today announced the club has agreed to terms with outfielder Reed Johnson on a one-year contract.  Johnson, who will wear uniform number 13, is scheduled to be in the Cubs line-up for this afternoon’s game against San Francisco in Scottsdale.

Additionally, the club today announced its fifth round of roster cuts.

The Cubs optioned outfielders Sam Fuld and Eric Patterson to Triple-A Iowa and assigned left-handed pitcher Les Walrond and infielders Micah Hoffpauir and Casey McGehee to minor league camp.

Also, the Cubs today placed right-handed pitcher Angel Guzman on the 60-day disabled list with status post ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction of his right elbow.

Johnson, 31, is a career .281 hitter (585-for-2083) with 114 doubles, 14 triples, 42 home runs, and a .342 on-base percentage in all or part of five major league seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays (2003-07) covering 610 games.  He has excelled in his career vs. left-handed pitching, batting .308 (216-for-701) with a .371 on-base percentage and a .462 slugging percentage vs. southpaws.

The right-handed batter and thrower has batted in the leadoff spot in 394 games, batting .290 (443-for-1526) with a .353 on-base percentage, and batted in the second spot in the order in 104 games, posting a .273 batting average.  He has seen action in 398 games in left field, 197 games in right and 64 games in center.

In his last full major league season with the Blue Jays in 2006, Johnson batted .319 (147-for-461) with 86 runs scored, 34 doubles, 12 home runs, a .390 on-base percentage and a .479 slugging percentage in 134 games, all career bests.  The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder missed more than three months last season due to surgery on April 17 to correct a herniated disc in his lower back.  He batted .236 in only 79 contests, though still hit .325 (25-for-77) with a .381 on-base percentage vs. left-handed pitching.

Following today’s moves, Chicago’s spring roster of 32 players consists of 17 pitchers (including Guzman and non-roster invitee Chad Fox), two catchers, eight infielders (one non-roster invitee) and five outfielders.

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Jose Ceda has a (Not So) Secret Admirer

Monday, March 24th, 2008

If ranking Jose Ceda the Cubs #4 prospect wasn’t enough evidence, Jim Callis and Baseball America have yet again stated that they are high on hard throwing reliever in their latest edition of Ask Baseball America.

Callis is asked which players could move up the top 100 lists the most…

My leading candidates to make a significant surge from the bottom half of the Top 100 are Athletics righthander Fautino de los Santos (No. 60), Pirates third baseman Neil Walker (No. 61), Marlins righthander Brett Sinkbeil (No. 68), Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden (No. 80), Angels righthander Jordan Walden (No. 81) and Phillies lefthander Joe Savery (No. 90). And going off the board with prospects who couldn’t make the Top 100, I’ll take Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra, Cubs righthander Jose Ceda, Pirates righty Brad Lincoln (I picked him last year, right before he needed Tommy John surgery), Orioles third baseman Bill Rowell, Braves lefty Cole Rohrbough, Braves righty Julio Teheran and Red Sox outfielder Josh Reddick.

Ceda is also mentioned again in another question regarding the Cubs possible interest in Brandon Inge…

But if the Cubs do want Inge, they’re loaded with catchers who might interest the Tigers. Projected starter Geovany Soto and 2007 supplemental first-round pick Josh Donaldson aren’t going anywhere, but that still leaves Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger and Carlos Perez as possibilities. Likewise, Chicago wouldn’t part with Jose Ceda, but they have a number of relief prospects, including Billy Petrick, Alex Maestri and Jose Ascanio.

Ceda has already had quite an interesting spring, getting invited to camp with the big club for the first time and then subsequently getting hit quite hard. Hopefully, the experience will serve as a benchmark for Ceda going into a season where the Cubs’ brass expect improvement.

Going into the season, there have been multiple reports that say that Ceda will actually begin the season in the starting rotation, likely with the Tennessee Smokies. Doing so will allow Ceda to work on his secondary pitches, instead of relying on his dynamite fastball, exclusively.

As a result, don’t be surprised if Ceda’s numbers suffer a bit early in the season. It will be important for the organization to communicate with Ceda in regards to his goals in expanding his arsenal of pitches, while not being discouraged by any struggles that might occur.

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Fourth Round of Roster Cuts

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Mesa, ARIZ. – The Chicago Cubs today announced their fourth round of roster cuts, reducing the roster from 38 to 36 players.

Left-handed pitcher Neal Cotts has been optioned to Triple-A Iowa. In addition, catcher Koyie Hill has been re-assigned to minor league camp.

Chicago’s spring roster of 36 players consists of 18 pitchers (two non-roster invitees), two catchers, 10 infielders (three non-roster invitees) and six outfielders.

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