Well, I was going to throw a huge, PCR Day gala here on VFTB, complete with cigars, Courvoisier and corn chips. But because the whole event has been so confusing and anticlimactic this year, I’m just going to skip it. Most people seem to agree with my original assessment – that PCR Day was, in fact, yesterday. But the countdown clock on cubs.com indicates that it starts today (in three hours, as of this writing). Plus, it appears about 95% of Cubs players are already in camp anyway, so screw it. Let’s get right to the news*:
“I worked hard this off-season and want to make my presence known right away.” No, this quote didn’t come from an aging slugger hoping to make the Cubs bench or a young fireballer aiming for the bullpen. It comes from the Cubs disabled list (DL), which showed up to camp in “the best shape of my career – hell, the best shape ever,” and looking to make an immediate contribution to subtraction from the team. And so it did, as it was revealed that RHP Angel Guzman had arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago to repair a torn meniscus. Taking the extra base, the DL mentioned off-handedly that RHP Jeff Gray, acquired from Oakland in the Foxy Miles trade, has a strained groin as well. Both players are projected to be about two weeks behind schedule, but neither is expected to start the season on the DL – so, clearly, you’re not in midseason form after all, my man.
Ted Lilly mocks Phil Rogers. At the risk of burying the lede here, the big news for me yesterday was that Ted Lilly threw a verbal fastball into the ribcage of the Tribune’s Phil Rogers. Good Ol’ Phil, who recently discovered Bill James – and Fangraphs! – speculated in a recent column that Ted could be out until June. (If you really want to know which column, let me know, and I’ll look it up. I think it was Sunday’s.) Yet, the word all along has been that Ted should be ready by late April/early May. Naturally, Ted is aiming for Opening Day. But the Cubs don’t really need a fifth starter until roughly April 19th, so I see no reason to rush the Lillyhammer back into service. Let’s just say May 1st and get on with our lives.
Update (and not a good one): Gordon Wittenmyer tweets that Ted Lilly has a bad knee and will be visiting a doctor for an MRI.
Theriot arbritration update. On the off-chance you haven’t heard, it looks like tomorrow (Friday, February 18) is D-Day for the team’s salary conflict with its starting shortstop. An interesting sidenote on “The Showdown in St. Petersburg” is that Bruce Levine speculated in a recent live chat that the Cubs may be adamant about sticking to their salary figure because they’re trying to reserve some cash to sign former Phillies reliever Chan Ho Park. Veddy inte-des-ting.
Sweet Lou wants to get back on top. Ewwwwwww. He’s talking about baseball, of course. Expect a continuing onslaught of similar cliches, punctuated by plenty of “Looks.” Here’s a more in-depth look at Lou’s future from ESPN writer Melissa Isaacson.
Bud Selig is a pain in the ass. Or that’s what I’m guessing Tom Ricketts and Crane Kenney are saying right about now. The commish has gone on record stating that he opposes the Cubs plan to finance their new spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz. Again, I’m begging off on this story – if anyone out there has a strong, informed opinion, please do share. I just love the fact that Bud himself didn’t, in fact, speak for himself but had his lackey Bob DuPuy do so. “The commissioner is opposed to the proposed legislation,” DuPuy said. He then added, “The commissioner is also opposed to snuggies because they don’t fit right as well as nuts on his hot fudge sundae.”
Cubs sign young Korean pitcher. The team continues its impressive and expansive reach into the Pacific Rim with this signing. When I first read that Kim Jin-Yeong throws 92 MPH, I wasn’t immediately impressed. Lots of guys can do that, right? Well, considering he’s only 18 years old and I don’t believe Korean pitchers are generally known for their velocity to begin with, it’s actually pretty damn cool. Good luck to him.
Thomas Diamond is in the house! One of the dark horse candidates for the Cubs bullpen is RHP Thomas Diamond – a former No. 1 draft pick who the team snagged off waivers from the Rangers last year. Like Jeff Samardzija, Diamond had some excellent results in winter ball and is a name to watch out for – and an excellent name at that. I mean, come on, the guy is called “Diamond.”
*As always, bolded phrases leading off each paragraph are hyperlinks. Check back for updates!
Update: Big Z would’ve vetoed any trade and he’s dropping his cutter! Bruce Miles has the latest on his blog. The trade veto thing doesn’t surprise me – the cutter thing does. Well, to clarify, I’m surprised and a little upset that Carlos would announce something like that to the press, where other teams can catch wind of it. If it improves his control and lowers his walk rate, great. But let other clubs do their own scouting.
Update: Going to Wrigley Field to buy Cubs tickets tomorrow? Look for the Ricketts family who will be there greeting fans and passing out hot coffee and donuts.