What is up in your funky house, Cubs fans? We’re rounding the last turn headed for the home stretch in spring training and, at the risk of sounding like Suzie Sunshine, I like what I’ve seen from this team. The pitchers look ready; the hitters have been hitting (more or less, give or take); no one is too-too injured (uh, except for poor Angel Guzman, of course); and the roster contains some nice depth at just about every position. (I’m still uneasy about the backup shortstop plan, but let’s see how it goes.) Oh, and there hasn’t been a whole lotta drama – which is nice.
I’m going to assume most of you are aware of the developments of the past few days: Namely, Tyler Colvin has made the team as the fourth/fifth outfielder (depending on how you look at it). And apparently Lou is reading my “In the News” segments because he basically said what I suggested last week: That Colvin will be rotated throughout the outfield, giving each of the regulars a day off here or there. The upside of this is it will get Tyler’s scorching bat into the lineup and keep the crafty veterans well-rested. The downside is it may keep those crafty vets from getting into a good rhythm and Tyler’s questionable plate discipline may come back to haunt him in those still-limited appearances. (Bruce Miles asked Lou the $10 million question regarding Colvin’s ability to draw walks. Check out Lou’s response here.) But, hey, once again, let’s see how it goes.
The other big story from over the weekend was the trade of Andres Blanco to the Rangers for the clubhouse-friendly PTBNL or cash. I was a little sorry to see Andy White go because he was/is a great glove man who could have done the team a lot of good. But his lack of options and waiver-wire desirability made trading him the right move. If this Fontenot-as-backup-SS thing doesn’t work out, the Cubs could call up Blanco’s younger counterpart, Darwin Barney. Of course, that would probably mean Tyler Colvin goes back down to Triple A. See what I did there? The circle is complete.
And now…on the with the scant few news stories* of the day:
Let’s be honest: It’s Millar v. Tracy. Depending on who you ask, Lou will announce the winner of the FINAL 25-man roster spot either later today or tomorrow. Technically, Millar, Tracy, Fuld and Hoffpauir are all in the mix. But, let’s be honest, Fuld lost his spot to Tyler Colvin, and Hoffpauir has never really been in the running. (He’s also OPS’d only .675 this spring in 46 ABs.) Micah seems like a great guy, so I don’t want to rip on him. But he’s likely destined for yet another season at Iowa or, as I’ve said half-jokingly but it does make some sense, he could probably rake if he went to Japan. (Hat Tip to Bleed Cubbie Blue’s Al Yellon for first suggesting this.)
My vote is still for Chad Tracy: He’s looked good enough in spring training; he can back up third base and first base; and he can be the left-handed counterpart to Nady’s right-handed bench bat. And, ultimately, I think Tracy will get the nod. One Rangers blogger for mlb.com has speculated that Millar could grab a spot on Texas’ bench as they need a right-handed 1B backup.
UPDATE: According to multiple sources, including Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times, Chad Tracy has won the last spot on the Cubs 25-man roster and Kevin Millar has been released. Carrie Muskat confirms, chiming in that Hoffpauir and Fuld have been optioned to Iowa.
Ted Lilly update: No news is good news. Ted is still targeting somewheres in the vicinity of April 19 - 21 for his return. All hell can’t stop him now.
Spring training is almost over, but the new facility funding flap is not. MLB Commissioner has declared the “Cubs tax” dead and, if you believe Phil Rogers, the Naples, Fla. folks are far from defeated. Mesa officials are now scrambling to find a way to fund the Cubs new spring training facility. The war is not over.
Cubs President Crane Kenney bought a house. Hey, it’s a slow news day. Before you click on that link, guess which tony Chicago suburb Kenney opted for. Were you right? I was close but a little off.
Yesterday’s (Monday’s) game results: Cubs dominate Reds 8-1. Let’s hope our guys can manhandle Dusty’s crew this well during the regular season. Colvin got his obligatory RBI double while Byrd, Baker and Fontenot went yard. Randy Wells didn’t get quite as far into the game as I believe was intended. He made it only five and two-thirds innings and gave up seven hits. But, as Randy is wont to do, he limited the damage to only one earned run and he counteracted many of those hits with an impressive five strikeouts.
Today’s (Tuesday’s) game: Cubs vs. Giants, 3:05 CDT. Tom Gorzelanny gets the start for the good guys, former Cub Todd Wellemyer goes for the other guys. Here’s the Cubs lineup via Carrie Muskat:
DLee 1B (←Yes! He’s back!)
And, last but not least, Joe’s Question of the Day:
If there were three foods that you could eat non-stop and never get full, fat or have adverse effects on your health, what three would you choose?
Oh wow – well, I’ve maintained for some time now that my three favorite kinds of food are: Indian, Persian and authentic badass, down-home BBQ. Now if we’re talking specific foods…um, probably honey, BBQ ribs and chips & salsa.
*Reddish text = hyperlinks to my sources. Check back for updates! And leave a comment for Byrd’s sake.