The Cubs and Diamondbacks play in Tucson, their first meeting since the clubs matched up in last season's NLDS. (I don't recall who won.) Carlos Zambrano makes his second appearance of the Spring after pitching two scoreless innings against the Giants last Friday. Kosuke Fukudome had a big day in yesterday's loss to the Brewers, collecting three hits while batting in the two hole. Plus he has learned how to yank Bruce Miles's chain.
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, appearing Monday night on WGN Sports Central with Dave Kaplan, said he expects the Cubs and Orioles to reach agreement on a trade involving Brian Roberts in "a week to ten days."
An incomplete list, in no particular order...
Jason Marquis. Though Lou Piniella apologized for "overreacting" to Marquis' comments following Saturday's game, the pitcher's "I have a family to worry about" statement made him look stupid and foolish and...like a modern-day Major Leaguer.
Reader Crunch beat me to this by a couple minutes in the Comments, but Paul Sullivan of the Tribune writes that after making his Spring Training debut Saturday in a 6-2 Cubs loss to the Angels (2 runs, 3 hits allowed in 2 IP), Jason Marquis let it be known that he wants to be traded if the Cubs aren't going to let him start:
Earlier today, Rob alluded to this story in the Baltimore Sun, which says the O's will be sending a scout to Mesa next week "to get a closer look" at players the Cubs and Orioles have discussed as part of a potential Brian Roberts swap.
Cubs baseball (Cactus League version) is back! Ryan Dempster begins his attempt to win a spot in the '08 rotation; Noah Lowry starts for the Giants. Neither starter is slated to go beyond the second inning.
First pitch is at 2:05 Central Time. Pat and Ron have the radio call on WGN radio in Chicago.
Rob tells me that Parachat is open and your usernames/passwords from last year will still work, though they are different than the names you just created so you could leave comments here at the new site.
Tribune Company is now owned by a supposed money-making genius, and the best ideas he can come up with to wring more money out of Wrigley Field are more night games, additional concerts, and peddling the naming rights?
What about the weddings you could host on the pitchers mound, the bar mitzvahs, the graduation bashes, and the Congratulations On Getting Out Of Prison parties?
I haven't enjoyed typing anything as much as this in a very long time:
Per the Sun-Times, here is the Cubs' batting order for Thursday's Cactus League opener at 2:05 Central Time against the now Bonds-less San Francisco Giants:
DeLuca and/or Wittenmyer report that following Dempster's two innings, Sean Gallagher will go for two. Ceda, Cotts, Pignatiello, Ascanio, and Hart will then pitch an inning apiece.
Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are expected to step into the lineup on Friday, when the Cubs host the Giants at HoHoKam.
From Arizona Phil:
The Cubs moved a half-mile up Center Street to HoHoKam Park this morning for the first time this Spring.
There were about 100 fans in attendance for the "free" preview, and as was the case last year, Manager Lou Piniella opted not to play an intrasquad game to prepare for the Cactus League, instead preferring an extended (90 minute) regular season-type infield practice and traditional BP, followed by baserunning practice.
– Gordon Wittenmyer writes in today's Sun-Times that Mark DeRosa's cardiac issues are not a major concern to DeRo or Cub doctors, nor will they be the impetus for any personnel moves by Jim Hendry.
Wittenmyer also thinks the Cubs are more likely to add that
proverbial, right-handed hitting, three-position outfielder before
Opening Day than they are He Who Must Not Be Named.
– Baseball Musings sizes up a potential Cubs rotation of Zambrano, Lilly, Hill, Dempster, and Marquis (Where is your Lieber?) based on the Marcel the Monkey projections
and foresees a cumulative 4.28 ERA for the fivesome. That's a few ticks
above the 4.19 ERA Cub starters pitched to last season, when their ERA
was second best in the NL, but still pretty solid.
One highly questionable element in the projection: Ryan Dempster's
projected 4.50 ERA. Only once in his career as a starting
pitcher--Dempster's All-Star season in 2000 down in pitcher-friendly
Florida--has Dempster ever had an ERA at or below 4.50.
What the latest Baseball Prospectus annual has to say about the Cubs, minus all those pesky numbers and the obscure historical and literary allusions:
"...Cedeno's is a tried and true skill set–the same one that's earning Orlando Cabrera millions of dollars every season..."
"...has experienced a steady decline in his groundball rates over the past three seasons...coupled with command that was never very good to begin with..."
"If the Cubs bring in a Brian Roberts-type...the gains will be less than they might appear at first glance."
"An inspired acquisition...a J.D. Drew/Bobby Abreu type of player..."