Good day, Cubs fans. With spring training revving up to full speed, there’s plenty of goings on in the baseball world. Sure, some of it amounts to little more than, “Kosuke Fukudome just walked into the locker room!” But there’s other news afoot as well.
For starters, I’m going to assume most of you know by now that Ryan Theriot lost his arbitration hearing over the weekend. That means he’ll make $2.6 million dollars in 2010, not $3.4 million – still a decent raise. Naturally, Ryan said there are no hard feelings after the “Showdown in St. Petersburg Tampa,” and he’s issued an open challenge to rock star prospect Starlin Castro to, “…come get it” (referring to his job as starting shortstop, of course). So life goes on. Here are the rest of today’s top stories*:
Oh, my aching worry groin! What’s a “worry groin,” you ask? Why it’s that very vulnerable part of every Cubs fan that aches involuntarily whenever we hear about an injury or potential injury to a star player. Case in point: Alfonso Soriano reported to spring training camp yesterday and said that his surgically repaired left knee feels “80, 85%.” Immediately after making this statement, Cubs fans nationwide fell to the ground and assumed the fetal position, crying out, “Ice! Get me some ice!” Fortunately, there’s plenty of ice here in the Chicago area. Well, actually it’s more like slush. Alfonso did add, “Maybe when I test it, it’s 100%.” So, please, stand up and try not to look funny when you walk.
UPDATE: Aramis Ramirez keeps his hands off of Cubs fans’ collective worry groin by telling Carrie Muskat that he feels “100%.” I like that number!
CHoP cuts Cubs out of his plans. One of the hot stories I was following after Theriot got picked off first in arbitration was the possibility that the Cubs might use the money saved to sign former Phillies starter/reliever Chan Ho Park. And it appears our guys were very high on Park’s list of preferred destinations but, alas, he chose a team with a “history [of] championship contention.” That would be the New York Yankees. Ouch. Ah well - it’s money that stays in the bank and CHoP is hardly a lock to be an ace reliever, though he did have excellent numbers in that role last season. Bruce Levine is still mentioning a couple of Toronto Blue Jays relievers as potential trade targets.
Ricketts add to front office staff. The new Cubs ownership group isn’t kidding around when it comes to marketing the team and, thereby, presumably bolstering every possible revenue stream. Yesterday, the organization announced that it’s added two marketing-related staffers: Jahaan Blake is the Cubs’ newly created Director of Fan Experiences, and Kevin Saghy is the team’s new Public Relations and Marketing Specialist. Think of these as “human capital upgrades” to Wrigley Field, I guess.
Update: The Ricketts addressed the team this morning in a closed-door meeting.
Angel Guzman tells heartbreaking tale of his brother’s death. In one of my first “In the News” segments, I reported on the tragic story of the murder of Cubs’ reliever Angel Guzman’s brother. Angel himself commented on these very difficult events to Carrie Muskat recently. Tough stuff.
Who is Michael Parisi? This nice profile answers that question, giving us some background on the dark horse candidate for the Cubs’ bullpen (or even starting rotation). I know many fans frowned on the David Patton Experiment last season but, c’mon, Parisi is a Cards prospect. How sweet would it be to steal an arm from St. Louis and turn him into something productive? He’s got a cutter, too!
Who is Jeff Stevens? Yet another bullpen arm, of course. (Seriously, we’ve got a ton of ‘em.) If you watched carefully toward the end of last season, you may have caught Stevens throwing a few innings. The Cubs picked him up in the DeRosa deal, and he’s another guy who could “come out of nowhere” to solidify a decidedly unsettled bullpen. Plus, he’s working with Greg Maddux for God’s sake!
Who is Jose Ceda? Damnit, Daver, stop! OK, OK – Ceda is not another Cubs’ bullpen arm. But he was until the team traded him to the Florida Marlins for Kevin Gregg during the ’08-’09 off-season. Many of us (well, me, anyway) wondered whatever happened to Ceda. He was, after all, a pretty high-ceiling arm with closer stuff. Well, as this rather nightmarish story explains, Jose Ceda accidentally shot one of his friends in 2008. He’s now attempting a comeback.
Did you buy Cubs tickets last Friday? If so, or if you’re still thinking about buying them, check out this Web site. It allows you to zero in on exactly where your purchased or prospective seats are situated. Pretty cool.
*Bolded phrases leading off each paragraph are hyperlinks. Check back for updates!
Update: All Cubs players are now in camp, per Carrie Muskat.