Hello, Cubs fans. Maybe it’s the calm before the storm, but there really aren’t too many earth-shattering Cubs news stories at the moment. Everyone is in camp. A few guys (Guzman, Lilly, Gray, Soriano) are already struggling with various injuries or maladies of one sort or the other. But “Da Gooz” and Gray are still, reportedly, on track for Opening Day. We all pretty much knew that Ted was probably going to be out of action until May. And Soriano – well, he’s honest to a fault, so I see no reason to panic about his arguably slow-to-recuperate knee.
So where does that leave us? Right where we’ve been for the last couple/few weeks. Waiting for spring training games to begin (two more days! two more days!) and wondering how the bullpen and bench will work themselves out. To that end, here are a few stories* to consider:
Lou says Cubs may invest in Cashner. While the Bruce Levines of the world float otherworldly names such as Gregerson and Frasor, I ask again: Should the Cubs really spend valuable assets trading for a set-up guy with so many live young arms in camp? I know, I know…they want a “veteran.” A guy who’s been there and shows he can take the pressure. (Not sure if the Padres’ Luke Gregerson fits the bill: He has one season (75 IP) of big league experience.)
But, aside from the aged John Smoltz (who may not want to be anything other than a starter or closer), there really aren’t any worthy veterans out there. Kiko Calero is another wacky name that’s been floating around. But Carrie Muskat mentions off-handedly in her latest “Inbox” column that his shoulder issues are too risky and the Cubs have moved on.
So who will save us? Well, click on that Sun-Times link above and you’ll find Lou has made a tantalizing mention of the Cubs’ 2008 1st round pick Andrew Cashner. The Money Man was named the team’s fifth highest prospect by minor league guru John Sickels, and Cashner even made Baseball America’s prestigious Top 100 prospects list – slipping in at No. 95. Cashner throws a mid- to upper-90s fastball with a devastating power slider. He’s also reportedly been working on a change-up. Hard to say how the bullpen will configure itself, but this is something to keep an eye on. I’m rooting for Cashner big time.
Cubs to face Derek Lowe in season opener. Oh, it’s on. I’d guess that Braves series will go Lowe vs. Z, Jurrjens (assuming he’s healthy; he’s been ailing) vs. Demp, Hanson vs. Wells.
Today’s live BP, per Carrie Muskat. Seems a fairly safe bet that no one will get plunked – unless Z is in a bad mood.
Baseball is back! No, really. If you’re absolutely dying to see some games today (Tuesday), and you have MLB.TV Premium (a rather pricey proposition for new subscribers this year), you can apparently see some games. MLB Network (which I have sadly lost since switching to AT&T U-Verse) will also be airing the Mets-Braves game at 1 PM ET. More games will, obviously, be occuring throughout with the week with the Cubs, again, kicking things off on Thursday. (I’ll have more about that game in my Thursday morning post.)
Looking for something good to read that’s, y’know, tangible? Check out this year’s Maple Street Press Cubs 2010 Annual. Shameless plug: It includes my article “A Fresh Start: A Fan’s Hopes for the Ricketts Family.”
*Click on orange-reddish text for links. Check back for updates!