Cubs News and Notes: Marmol, Garza, Navarro Vogelbach, and more...

Cubs News and Notes: Marmol, Garza, Navarro Vogelbach, and more...

The Cubs will have their first full workout today and we'll keep an eye out for any news.  For now here's a few news and notes items...

  • Carlos Marmol denies any wrongdoing and has the full support of his front office.  He's not expected to miss any time in camp.  He will open as the Cubs closer barring a trade.  Speaking of which, Tim Dierkes of Closer News tweets that Angels closer Ryan Madson has had a setback in his attempt to comeback this season after missing all of 2012.  The Angels would go with Ernesto Fieri if Madson misses time, but the question for Cubs fans is whether the injury would renew their interest in Marmol.  The teams had basically agreed on a deal for Dan Haren pending review of financials and a physical.  Then, as we all know now, the Cubs backed out of the deal.  The problem with dealing Marmol to the Angels is that it's tough to find a match between the two teams.  The Angels don't have a deep farm system and, as contenders, are unlikely to trade someone useful from their MLB roster.
  • Matt Garza is entering an important season and given that a top pitcher like Kyle Lohse is still on the market, it's fair to ask how draft pick compensation might affect Garza's own potential free agency after the season.  Patrick Mooney of CSN writes on that very subject here.  As for Garza's view on this, he's taking the right approach, “That’s out of my hands. I have to pitch. If I pitch well enough, that’s not going to matter. So if I just go out there and do what I’m capable of doing – toeing the rubber every five days and being as consistent as I need to be and as durable as I have my entire career – then that’s not going to matter. I’m just going to go out there and pitch. I’m going to make people want me.”   If he does that this spring, it's fair to say that he'll start drawing interest from other teams well before he enters free agency.
  • Garza touts backup catcher Dioner Navarro as a force behind the plate when it comes to controlling the running game and thinks he'll make a great mentor for Welington Castillo.  "He provides a force back there," Garza said of his former Rays teammate. "He's known to stop a running game, and people don't run on him. ... Teams that rely on speed or the small game, a guy like Navarro behind the plate, he'll shut it down. That's a huge thing for a pitcher. Having a guy like Navy as a backup will be a huge help, and not only for the rotation but the learning curve to get Castillo there quicker."  Garza said, however, that it doesn't matter who catches for him and won't request that Navarro be his personal catcher.
  • In case you missed it, Bleed Cubbie Blue had a video of Dan Vogelbach taking batting practice and he looks even leaner then when I saw him in October.  I'm not worried about the weight loss affecting his power.  Vogelbach is still a big, strong kid and he generates power in large part because of this powerful, yet efficient swing.  The biggest difference will be increased mobility at 1B.  If Vogelbach continues to mash at Kane County and takes a big step forward on defense, he will rise up those prospect charts.
  • Looking to see some Cubs games but can't seem to find the right ticket package?  Reader Jordan has season tickets with some nice seats (section 215) and is looking for Cubs fans who want to buy 3, 6, or 9 game packages.  He can make them similar to the Cubs packages and if you're interested, leave a comment here or contact him on Twitter (@chistyle82).
  • There is some interest in a baseball fantasy league among readers here and if anyone is interested in creating, promoting, or joining a league, feel free to say so in the comments section.  Personally, I will not be in a league this year simply because I'm not capable of casually joining a fantasy baseball league. I have to either go all out or just not play at all.  Right now, I maximize my computer-based baseball time here on the blog, so unfortunately I have to choose the latter.
  • I've mentioned this before in the comments section but if you want a great blog to follow during spring training (in addition to this one, of course!) check out boysofspring.com.  Tim Sheridan does a great job with news and stories -- and takes outstanding photos.

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  • Good column but think you had a brain fart with this sentence: ■Looking to see some Cubs games but can't seem to find the write ticket package?

  • In reply to Dr Gonzo26:

    Haha! Total brain fart. Thanks.

  • In reply to Dr Gonzo26:

    If we took the thyme to correct minor errors of bloggers and (mostly) participants, you're comments section wood get real boaring.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Isn't that supposed to be reel boaring?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Man, that was some low hanging fruit, not sure how I missed that one.

    On to baseball, Rogers column today boldly states that the Ian Stewart trade was a bust. In a vacuum, I don't think that's necessarily true (as you've pointed out Colvin's splits tell an interesting story) but it did get me thinking that if Colvin were still here, we probably wouldn't have needed Schierholtz and/or Hairston.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Given Colvin and DeJesus' struggles against LHP, I think you'd still need Hairston and Sappelt. LeMahieu could have been 2nd utility IF...RH bat who can play 3B in a platoon with Valbuena, maybe.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    If Rogers wrote that before Stewart even gets a chance to show he's healthy, then I submit that the Trib should never have traded "In the Wake of the News" for Phil's column.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Im wondering if Mr Rogers will shut up if Stewart puts up big numbers this year?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Has anyone else noticed what an ENORMOUS man-crush Rogers has on Mark Buerhle? The dude has been gone for over a year and he's still writing columns about him. I don't think he's ever liked a ball player more. It's a little unnerving... just propose already!

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Or write about how the Cubs trade Starlin Castro for him straight up.

  • In reply to Dr Gonzo26:

    I'd be interested in a 3 game package if I could get the info first

  • fb_avatar

    Definitely would be interested in a fantasy league. I prefer to play Roto, and would prefer if there's a decent buy in. If we could get 10-12 guys to play, that'd be awesome.

  • I really hope a couple people here fire up fantasy leagues again this year. Joined a couple last year and really enjoyed it. My first time playing fantasy anything and now I'm addicted.

  • Garza and Navarro evidently came to blows once. Good that they've put it behind them.

  • In reply to BudMan:

    Yes I remember reading about that. I think both players have grown up a lot since then.

  • If anyone is interested in joining a 12 team head to head fantasy league please email me : jskariah4@yahoo.com . Pretty competitive so please email if seriously interested. Thanks John for allowing me to post. Love your site !!

  • In reply to jska:

    No problem jsk and thanks for the kind words!

  • fb_avatar

    Cubs Den II is up and running. In order to join the league, copy and paste the link below to your browser. Find the icon that says "Join A League" and click on it. Underneath where it says "Accept Invite", enter the League ID, 6240, and then enter the Password, cubswin2013.

    http://baseball.fantasysports.yahoo.com/b1

    This years league is not head to head. It's rotisserie style. Offensive stat categories are: Runs, Runs Batted In, Total Bases, Batting Average, On-base Percentage, Slugging Percentage and Net Stolen Bases. Pitching state categories are: Earned Run Average, (Walks + Hits)/ Innings Pitched, Strikeouts per Walk Ratio, Strikeouts per Nine Innings, On-base Percentage Against, Quality Starts, and Net Saves and Holds.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Pretty good set up Michael. I would just shave it down from it being a 7x7 to a 5x5.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Peter Ottoson:

    I know, but I'm to into stats, and I hate a standard set up.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think you could get rid of RBI's and total bases for offense and OBP Against and K/BB ratio or K/9 and have it be less daunting. I love me some stats, but trying to keep track of the extra 4 categories would be overwhelming. At least to me!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Peter Ottoson:

    I'll think it over. I'm surprised, though I shouldn't be, how fast it filled up after I posted it.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If a spot opens up, please let me know, as I see all spots have been filled up, as of this writing. My email is: michael7097124@yahoo.com. That's an "L", not a "1", before the 7 in my address. Thanks!

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Not a roto fan, but am a Cubs' Den fan so I joined. Still have 10 spots in my Yahoo H2H league and 16 in my ESPN league.

  • Raymond,.... if you still got a spot in your H2H Yahoo! league,... send me an invite at

    drkazmd65@yahoo.com

    Not a roto fan either.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Invite sent.

  • Thanks Raymond - will join up when I get home tonight from work.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    You are welcome.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks for setting that up, Michael. Let me know if a spot opens.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Mr. Moody, as I wrote above, I'm not a big roto fan. If you like, I can drop out of the Cubs' Den league so there's a spot for you. Your call.

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    That's very nice of you.

    Can you think of a way to time it so I jump in just as you leave? Otherwise seems a decent chance you'll give up your team and someone else will jump in.

    Also: Mike, please. Mr. Moody is far too formal.

  • fb_avatar

    Phil Rogers has made it his job to go on the web and MLB Network to single out Starlin Castro only for Alfonso Soriano being next-to-last in the league for coming up to plate with running in scoring position. Starlin batted 5th for a good portion of the season so what the hell do he have to do with that?

    Not to mention nobody got on in front of Sori at a high clip for half the season but of course, in Rogers fashion, he finds a way to put all the blame on Castro and his .328OBP. The guy is just picking on him at this point.

    He also thinks the cubs should go all in on Granderson next year just because he's from Chicago. Literally that was his only reason. Neglecting the fact that he'll be what 33. Numbers inflated by Yankee Stadium, declining defense, Almora in the wings, etc he doesn't even fit the plan.

    How Rogers get paid salary for covering the cubs and John doesn't still boggles my mind. He's terrible at it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    My spies have Phil Rogers saying, just this morning, "Well, I guess I picked a bad day to quit smoking crack." Nuff Said!!!

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Lol Tribune writers. Now Paul Sullivan just put up an article about Shark turning down a 5yr deal from the cubs this offseason because he wants a bigger payday come 2015. Nowhere has it been reported that there was a 5yr deal on the table and I HIGHLY doubt Paul Suckivan has the inside scoop on something like that.

    I call bullshit unless someone on here confirms Cubs offered Shark a 5yr deal and he turned it down.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I'm not buying it either. I really do think a lot of the mainstream types just make stuff up when they don't have anything else to write.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Jayson Blair. Janet Cooke. Chris Mortenson from Espn, the NFL guy who just throws things up against the wall , hoping something sticks. Most "reporters" today don't care about facts, they just want something that sounds like a good story. Not too many Grantland Rices left anymore.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Rogers was agitating for Granderson three or four years ago when the Tigers were shopping him. Apparently he's never gotten over it. If Rogers were a G.M., he'd be Ken Williams (see past-their-prime acquisitions of Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones, Omar Vizquel, etc....)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    there wasnt a ton of press on it but good story about Granderson giving back to UIC and the new stadium will be named after him
    might be better links out there:

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130206/BLOGS04/130209854/video-curtis-granderson-uic-unveil-new-baseball-stadium

    http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/8926271/curtis-granderson-new-york-yankees-uic-stadium-named-honor

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I wonder if Phil Rogers, Bob Brenly, and Bobby Valentine get together to get drunk and bash Starlin Castro. I guess the other two are now out of town so it's up to Rogers to take notes and report back to all of us.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    HA! got that right. Wouldn't surprise me if they were all drinking buddies. Article literally had nothing to do with Castro and he still finds a way to bash him in it.

  • John, when I saw Vogelboom in Az last year, his weight was reported at 250. And hes dropped even more? Great news, shows the kid has a work ethic on top of talent. Too bad I wont be getting to any Kane Co games this year. If Soler, VBoom and Almora all end up there, that offense can be dynamic.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Batting practice alone will be worth the price of admission.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    saw some of that down in Az. Im wondering if Soler and VBoom did the old Reggie Jax/Dave Winfield "winner buys a coke" during BP. Or else the old Michael Jordan/Larry Bird playing horse for MickeyDs lunch.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Soler, Vogelbach, and Almora actually had a BP HR competition on the last day (I think) of instructs, which I happened to attend. Soler won. Even found one of the baseballs on the way home. Thinking it was Soler's because of the distance, it was in LF, and that one of his HRs drew the loudest "ooohs" from the other two.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I would have paid to see that happen. Add Baez and you could make it an official event.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    It was actually not that great. There weren't all that many hit out and Vogelbach kept popping it up, although he did tear the padding off of the batting practice cage with one of them.

  • fb_avatar

    If anyone would like tickets as well, I have 4 season tickets for section 219. From my understanding, they're under the overhang so you won't get fried by the sun. If you want single games, that's cool too. I got season tickets with a buddy and we live in Columbus, OH so we can't attend them all. Feel free to email me at ryan.kalasz@gmail.com. Thanks and Go Cubs!

  • I would def be interested in a fantasy baseball league! My email is erikjmyers@gmail.com

  • In reply to MyersTech:

    I sent you 2 invitations.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm interested in the fantasy league vptrentz13@hotmail.com

  • Just sent the invitation.

  • Raymond, I'd be all about the H2H league if there are any spots still open.

    flori_dan@att.net

  • I joined the yahoo league, I didn't see the draft, do u know when that would be? And is there a buy in?

  • Thank you, John for including the quote from Garza about Navarro. It's interesting to note that Navarro has previously caught not only Garza, but Edwin Jackson as well. Also, Garza and Jackson were teammates once, of course. And, Garza and Scott Baker were teammates as well on the Twins. So were Villanueva and Camp. I know it's bound to happen...former teammates playing on new teams with each other again. But I think it's interesting that the Cubs have several of these guys playing together again. I like it.

  • In reply to MikeWadle:

    You have to like the familiarity there. That can only help everyone involved.

  • fb_avatar

    I would be interested in a mixed roto league for money. Prefer at least 10 teams and to play for money. Email me at; ajmills100@yahoo.com

  • I also have Season Tickets...four seats in the first row of the upper deck, just behind 3B. Everything but Opening Day and the Cardinals games are available for face value.

    I started a Cubs Den FFB league last year and over half the league was done playing by mid-May. Hope you guys have better luck than I did because I know how frustrating it is to be stuck with inactive owners.

  • I always enjoy getting home and reading your latest, John.

    I'm still in favor of putting Dan Vogelbach in LF, leaving him there, and providing him the best coaching available : good reads off the bat, good routes to the ball, no hopping, etc., etc. Waiting until he gets to the Big Leagues to make the switch from 1B wastes the next two years. Considering that (without the departed Astros) we're dead last in offense (HRs, runs, BA, etc, etc), we've got to find a way to get this young man's bat into our lineup ASAP!

  • I would also be interested in a fantasy league. My email is wtrhuntg@yahoo.com

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