Cubs News and Notes: LaHair, Lieber, Sox-Cubs Rivalry, MLB Draft

I haven't done a news and notes section for a while, but there's some interesting things I've come across lately that I'd like to share with you all...

  • Here's a somewhat prophetic article on Bryan LaHair by Adam Foster of Project Prospect...back in 2006.  It took a while, but it looks like scouts had LaHair down pretty well.You may remember Adam as a guy we interviewed about current Cubs prospects.
  • Former Cubs’ All-Star Jon Lieber will be the guest speaker to over 150 kids as part of the 2012 Citi Cubs Kids program here in Chicago for the Cubs CitiKids program on Wednesday May 9th  at 9:45 AM CT at the Blaine Elementary School.
    Unfortunately I won't be able to attend this one, but CitiKids does great work with our students here in Chicago.
  • The Cubs and Sox game is coming up and New ERA has a funny trash-talking promotion going on.  In case you missed the commercial, click on this link.  Looking forward to the next one.
  • Speaking of the Cubs-Sox series, be aware that the NATO Summit will be here in Chicago on May plan accordingly.  It could get a little hectic out there.
  • Ben Badler does tremendous work at Baseball America on amateur baseball and recently had a very interesting article on how teams will probably try and find a way to beat the the new CBA rules when it comes to international signings.
  • The always informative Jim Callis breaks down the first round signing bonus values.  The Cubs allotment for the 6th pick is $3.25M.  They spent $3M to sign Javier Baez at #9 last year.
  • Through the Fence Baseball put together a mock draft and has the Cubs taking LSU flamethrower Kevin Gausman.  It's contingent on Lucas Giolito going #4 to the Baltimore Orioles.  Giolito is starting some light throwing and is planning a bullpen session in the next few weeks.

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  • Interesting stuff, John.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Thanks Lokeey!

  • The Cubs should whatever is legal ,in both drafts, to get the most
    talent for their money. If there are tricks they will find them.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    If anybody can find a loophole in his CBA it's our braintrust of Theo, Jed, McLeod,and Wilken.

  • John,

    With all of the talk about Marmol and his struggles Wood and his have gone almost completely overlooked. Wood has, at times, looked every bit as bad, if not worse, than Marmol. I have followed the Cubs for a number of years now, and I don't remember Woody ever looking this bad. How long will the current admin allow both key parts of the bullpen to flounder and give away game after game?

  • In reply to supercapo:

    I think Wood has been worse than Marmol. He gets more of a free pass because he's a fan favorite but if I could keep one, I'd keep Marmol right now. I'm not sure what they'll do with Wood. It's a tricky situation. I think if he wasn't a Ricketts and fan favorite, he'd be in serious trouble...and he might be anyway.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have as much respect for Wood as anyone, for what he has meant to the Cubs and all that he has done for them. Being a Cubs mean a lot to him and it shows, but if he can't get things straightened out I don't see Theo and crew letting him struggle forever.

    Where has Bowden been lately? I thought he would get a few more innings by now.

  • In reply to supercapo:

    I've been wondering about Bowden as well. It seems they aren't willing to put him in during close games yet. He and Castillo are waiting for a big lead by the Cubs or one of their opponents to get some action.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Never been a fan of Wood the reliever. Always blows leads. Just not good in the crunch. Doubly maddening because seems like no one else sees it since most Cubs fans are Rah Rah (Rasputin) for the guy. Jepstein had good reason for not wanting to sign him.

  • I agree John, if anybody can find an "out" with the new CBA it's Theo and Co. I kind of think Gausman will be there when the Cubs pick and will take him.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    With Zimmer moving back up and Giolito presumably healthy, I think Gausman becomes a possibility once again.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Gausman is a glass is half full/half empty sort of prospect. On the half full side, he is the most projectable , and he probably has a higher ceiling than Zimmer or Appel, but on the half empty side, he isn't as major league ready as Zimmer or Appel.

    Zimmer was held out this last weekend because of a sore hamstring, but his velocity the weekend before was said to be back where it was earlier in the year. He is probably the first pitcher taken if the draft were this week.

    Appel won't make it to the Cubs if the draft were held this week. In spite of the fact that he probably leads the NCAA in Pitcher Abuse Points, he hasn't shown it yet. However, the Pitch Count Nazis would like to line his coach up against a wall, and they'd probably not bother to offer him a blindfold or a last meal.

    Giolito is the wild card. You simply won't know, even if he is throwing well, what his injury has done to his status, and for each team, that's going to be a little different, but passing up a shot at the next Nolin Ryan could be hard if he is throwing well before the draft.

    I would be perfectly happy if Gausman fell to the Cubs. He is the rare draft eligible sophomore, which makes him a year younger than Zimmer and Appel. He consistently hits upper 90's with his four seamer. He hits low to mid-90's with his two-seamer. His curve, slider and change-up are promising. His mechanics are said to be sound with a nice easy and effortless delivery. He is 6-4 and lean at 180lbs. It makes one wonder what he might be like as he fills out.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think you have to take that chance and hope Gausman learns to throw a better breaking ball. The fastball and change are both good pitches for him.

  • I love Kerry Wood..I love that he loves the Cubs as much as he does, I love that he wants to always be a Cub and the loyalty to this organization..but its he tradeable? I mean will Ricketts allow it?

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    In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Kerry isn't tradeable because of the way he is pitching, and I think, if push comes to shove, he will retire before he gets released. At least, I think the organization would give him that out in order to allow him to save face.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I'm sure Mr Ricketts and Theo would keep him around the organization for sure if he doesn't want to be moved but how much longer can we set him out there to get lit and cost us games at his age...In a perfect world, he'd pitch lights out and accepts a deal somewher ein the next couple of months., but this team has played so hard only to give away games in the 8th and 9th between him and Marmol is demoralizing

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I don't think so right now. Does have a friendly contract, so if he turns it around, he'll have some value. I think he sticks around for awhile and they give him a chance to straighten it out.

  • I feel for Wood. His velocity is still there. Besides Dolis, he throws harder than the rest of the bullpen. To me, it's just a matter of location and now confidence. Marmol has the velocity too. His problems are being stubborn and the league forcing him to throw strikes. He used to get a lot of swings at his unpredictable slider. Now teams load up lefties and force him to punch them out.

    I think it's too early to give up on Wood. Maybe it's sentiment, but he can still throw gas. The guy that I can't believe doesn't get lit up is Russell. He throws straight, at ramming speed, has a wrinkle for a curve but I am liking his changeup more.

    If the Cubs margin for error wasn't so small some of these pitching mistakes wouldn't seem so paramount. Like Lou always said, you need to put up 5 runs a night to win consistently. There's a lot of truth to that.

    I was surprised that LaHair swung at that pitcher's pitch on a 0-0 count. He's been the model for Theo's hitting mantra. Let's get them tomorrow to take the series.

  • In reply to Greg Shuey:

    Agreed. Too early to give up on him. Wood still has good stuff. As always it's command and control with him.

    Will probably be there tomorrow to try and stay undefeated on the year!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Better be there John, we need a series win!!!

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Looks good right now for the outing. I'll try and bring home the series win!

  • You look at LaHair's minor league numbers, he could have been in the bigs 2 or 3 years ago. System failed him.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Sometimes when a guy doesn't make it right away, it seems like it takes scouts a while to change their opinion, guys get labeled. LaHair's approach, though, was not as good 3 years ago but I think he still could have held his own. Luckily for the Cubs, Seattle gave up on him. Cubs didn't give him a chance though because they had an aging Lee and fading pennant hopes. Then Hendry was basically trying to save his job in 2011 and went with signing a veteran in Pena.

  • With the Cubs having 3 on the top 60 picks, I would draft a
    hitter with the 6th pick and pitchers with the other 2.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I always say best available, regardless of position. Best available early looks like it could well be a pitcher at this point.

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