Cubs Spring Notes: Marmol, Campana, Lillibridge, Wood, Jackson Grace

Some spring notes to help you get through that mid-afternoon lull...

  • Update (2:25 pm): Dale Sveum says Scott Feldman will start the season in the rotation and that there is only one spot up for grabs.  He also said there is "an above average chance" that Scott Baker will start the season late.  If that's the case, though as Baker himself says, it's too early to tell if he'll be ready, hat pretty much leaves that last spot to either LHP Travis Wood and RHP Carlos Villanueva.
  • Carlos Marmol would like to stay a Cub in 2013 and beyond, but is realistic.  "I don't know about that," Marmol said. "They tried to trade me before. I hope I can stay here for the full year because it is hard to think about if you are going to be going somewhere else to pitch or not. I hope to stay here."  Quite a few factors working against Marmol: 1) Theo has said he intends to get value for his closers, 2) Marmol is on the last year of his contract, 3) The Cubs have a ready replacement in Kyuji Fujikawa, and 4) A couple of contending teams, the Angels (Madson) and A's (Balfour), have had closers go down already.
  • Anthony Rizzo believes a team will trade for Tony Campana, who is in good spirits despite the DFA.  “It’s pretty good,” Rizzo said. “A fresh start. Just told him to keep his head up. He’s a good player and he’ll be pretty successful.”  Rizzo believes this team needs more power than speed and while I think they need both, I agree that power is a priority at this point.  The signing of Scott Hairson indicates the Cubs feel the same way.  As for Campana, there has been talk that the White Sox claimed him last August but I think that's meaningless at this point.  The Sox were contending  at the time and it makes sense that they could have used that kind of weapon down the stretch, especially once rosters expand.  However, carrying him on your 40 man roster for the entire season may not be as easy.  I believe there's a good chance he clears, but he still may opt for free agency and look for that fresh start.
  • As our 25th man poll predicted, Brent Lillibridge seems to have the inside track for that spot.  We know from last season that manager Dale Sveum prefers versatility for that last spot and Lillibridge certainly offers that, along with some speed off the bench. "I'm not going to lie to you, it gives you a huge edge in the National League," Sveum said of Lillibridge's versatility. "He's got some sock in his bat for a guy who looks like he's 150 pounds soaking wet."  Lillibridge could bring the Cubs a bit of a hybrid between Joe Mather and Tony Campana, the two players that fought for that spot last season.  The Cub would have to clear a 40 man roster spot for the spring training invitee, but there's plenty of time for that to happen and it's likely the Cubs will make some sort of deal before then.
  • Some optimism surrounding Cubs SP Travis Wood, the only lefty slotted for the rotation. “The ball is coming out of Wood’s hand so much better than last spring,” Sveum said. “The way he’s spinning the ball.”  Wood is not guaranteed a spot, however, he'll still have to earn it, "We have enough depth, so right now we’ll take the best seven guys in the bullpen, whoever it is,” Sveum said. “His development as a starter is pretty much over.”  He'll likely compete for one of 2 spots with Scott Feldman, Carlos Villanueva, and possibly Scott Baker, who is throwing the ball already but has been limited to fastballs only. Update: Feldman will be part of the rotation according to Dale Sveum, (see 2:25 update above).
  • We talked about Brett Jackson earlier today so I won't go into much detail, but the CF has every intention of making the ballclub.  My thought on that is this: Would we expect anything less from Jackson?  He's a competitor and he's still very confident.  I'd be surprised if he said he'd be happy with going down to AAA and working on his swing.  I won't be surprised if he makes it tough for the Cubs to send him down, much as Anthony Rizzo did last year.
  • AZ Bob sends us this from...where else?  Arizona.  I'll leave Bob's comment in it's entirety because I can't put it any better....  "The Arizona Republic reports that Mark Grace began his four month stay in tent city, courtesy of Maricopa County, AZ as a result of his second DUI in 15 months. Yes, he sleeps in a tent every night with the other inmates and complains about our 40 degree evenings. The difference between him and his other tent mates is that the D-Backs have hired him as a spring training instructor, so he's on work release, meaning he leaves at six a.m and has to be back in tent city twelve hours later. He's also spared the indignity of wearing Sheriff Joe's infamous pink underwear.They say he stuffs himself with D-Backs food so he doesn't have to eat the baloney sandwiches from the jail, and chain smokes cigarettes because he can't smoke in tent city. The article ends by saying "Baseball players get three strikes. The rest of us get two chances, and only if we're lucky" How the mighty have fallen."

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    If the Cubs take Lillibridge, that must mean we are comfortable with Valbuena's defense at SS, as a backup to Castro. Because he would be the only one on the roster at that point.

    Maysonet hit a grand salami against us last year IIRC, but aside from that he's got nothing with the bat. Lillibridge is also younger, and could help beyond this year

  • In reply to Zonk:

    He did hit a salami. Not one of the Cubs finer moments. Sveum may try Lillibridge at SS because, as the original article by Muskat says, he's played there before. Either way, it looks like Castro is going to play a ton of innings again this year.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Lillibridge had 11 starts at SS for the Indians last year, though defensive metrics on those starts was not very good, as far as that goes

    Still, I like him more than Joe Mather

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Wasn't Lillibridge a SS in the Braves system at first?

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    In reply to Just Win:

    Yeah, 480 of his 512 minor league games were as a SS. He was a decent prospect coming up.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    I love that you created your own feature in the comments "Just Win asks Just Win."

  • I agree... Even though I personally hate that Valbuena is still a cubbie

  • In reply to UTsoccer:

    I think he's better than he showed last year. Still a utility guy, but what else do you need from a backup IF'er? Good glove, can play multiple positions, hits lefty, takes walks...just needs to be a bit more lucky with BABIP and with men on base. Couldn't buy a hit in that situation last year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    W/ all this talk about the adjustment to Jackson's swing, is there any indication that Valbuena's winter hitting success may be attributable some late season aadjustments or is it due more likely to a nice prolonged hitting streak?

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    I just think it's a factor of two things. He was incredibly unlucky last year with balls in play and some of that is evening out. More importantly, he's facing a lower level of competition.

    I do expect him to be better next year. If he were to play 3B against RHP (instead of Stewart), I could see something like .260 with 8-10 HRs, OBP in the .330 range. Not a starter but with good defense you could live with it if Stewart can't rebound.

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    In reply to UTsoccer:

    What's wrong with Valbuena? He's an OK utlity guy who cost us nothing, as he was picked up on waivers. He plays a good 3B, decent 2B, and can fill in. He's overexposed as starter, but it's not his fault we had nobody to play 3B last year.

    He's fine for what he costs us

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    In reply to UTsoccer:

    Lillibridge's offense makes Valbuena look like Babe Ruth.

  • Too bad about Gracie. However, he made his bed and now has to lie in it, so to speak. Not sure how you can get a work release when serving jail time.

    It will probably be Lillibridge for the 25th spot (unless he totally craps-out in ST and someone else catches fire). I am a little worried (but not much) about having a full 40-man roster which leaves us little room to maneuver in picking up a good cast-off from another team before the season starts. He (Lillibridge) is definitely versatile, but I worry about his lack of offense.

    Hopefully we will have a bunch of guys enjoying great springs, which will make for some hard choices for the FO the last week of March.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    At least he has it better than most and like you said, he put himself in that position.

    I agree Lillibridge is probably the guy if he shows he can play multiple spots and the Cubs open up a spot.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope Grace can get his life straightened out. I told a judge almost 20 yrs ago he'd never see me again in his courtroom for a DUI. I've kept my promise. Being Sober is easy, after the 1st year, but the 11th year is just as hard as the 17th was for me. Now onto the Cubs. I liked Lilliebridge when he was on the South Side. Hope he makes the team. Do you think Soriano will get traded yet?

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    In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    I have a feeling a couple 40-man spots will work their way out via trade, or 60-day DL. Baker may start the season on the 60-day, which would open one spot.

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    We detailed earlier, but we have alot of pitching depth right now, almost like we were setting-up for a trade of Marmol.

    Barring injury, or the return of Rondon, all slots are spoken for by players with guaranteed ML contracts, (or out of options like Bowden). This leaves no room for Cory Wade or other NRIs.

    Levine thinks Marmol will not be with the club opening day, and I tend to agree. Already injuries are happening around baseball, and the Cubs are the only team with a closer to spare (albeit a flawed one)

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Ha! Was just saying on Twitter that I'm getting the feeling Marmol doesn't finish the spring as a Cub. Didn't read Levine's column today but I think he may have said that before.

    Wonder too that if the Cubs open a bullpen spot that it doesn't go to a roster LHP like Rusin or Raley.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    That's exactly what they need to do with the slot, IMO, as we need another LOOGY.

    I think it would be Rusin; Raley has a starter's repitiore, good athleticism, and a repeatable delivery. I bet the Cubs want to see if Raley can make it as a 5th starter first.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I think Rusin is more likely as well between the two. He seems closer to MLB ready and wouldn't mind to see more development with Raley.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, Ill say this, if Marmol gets traded wed better hope Fujikama is the next Kendo Sasaki or Hideo Nomo(Ok, he was a starter). Sasake was lights out for about 2 years with the Ms, then faded. Nomo had a better longterm record, but never came back to his early success he had in LA. Hers to hoping Fuji gives us numbers his first 2 years here like Sasake did in Seattle, and then not fade like Sasake eventually did.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    It's a lot to put on an untested guy. I imagine Cubs will turn to someone like Camp if Fujikama flops.

  • Nice little note about an event Javier Baez threw for some kids in Florida with Spina Bifida (his sister has the disease) %85

    Baez Tweeted out a picture from the event as well.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    He's a good kid. Just needs to mature a bit, like most 20 year olds.

  • I saw a picture of Barney. He looks real big now, even standing next to rizzo. Hopefully he adds some nice power and has better luck with balls in play.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    Agreed. He looks solid.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Barney basically willed himself, through hard work and discipline, into being a gold-glove 2B.

    If he can do that offensively, that would be even more impressive

  • In reply to Zonk:

    No doubt. You're not going to outwork Barney. Just hope it translates to a better bat this year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Adding muscle is nice, hopefully it won't make him homer happy. However, the real area he needs to improve has nothing to do with muscle, it has to do with drawing more walks. If could even maintain a .260 average, but get his OBP to .350, he would significantly increase his value to the team and really become a core peice.

  • In reply to cubman:

    I think extra base pop will help. The threat of him hitting a double, triple, or even an occasional HR could keep pitchers honest. Right now they're not afraid to throw him a strike because the likelihood is that he'll just hit a single if he hits it. Maybe he'll draw a few extra walks but I think he'll have to hit better than .260 to get that OBP up that high.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Haven't seen him yet, but it's reasonable for where he was last year, right? I.e., this isn't like Sammy putting on 40 pounds of pure muscle in a winter? I would lose my faith in the sport if that happened to Barney.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah, he made progress last year as well. Guy is a work-a-holic so I'm sure he worked hard getting stronger, but not a Sosa-like transformation.

    Some pics here...

  • There are a lot of things happening right now and I am glad we have Epstein/Hoyer/McCloud/Sveum making the decisions. And it is great that John/Tom/Felz keep us informed on this blog. Happy Valentines Day everyone and do something nice for your significant other. It's going to be a very good year.

  • In reply to John57:

    Thanks John. A Happy Valentine's day to you and yours as well.

  • I live in Maricopa Co. Grace is in Sheriff Joes tent city?(BTW, Sheriff Joe is hugely popular out here). Last couple of years, both Mike Tyson and Albert Belle spent some time getting acquainted with the good sheriff. Wish you well, Mark, and lay off the booze.

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    If Jackson makes the club out of ST how does that affect the outfield situation in your mind? Does it accelerate a Soriano trade? Move sappelt down the AAA?

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    In reply to Ken Roucka:

    I would think Sappelt would be the one to go, despite him being right-handed. If Lillibridge made the team, it would make that choice easier.

    B-Jax is going to really have to impress this spring though to do that. And don't forget, Sappelt raked in Venezuela this winter.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    Ideally they make a trade but if not Sappelt goes to Iowa. Having said that, I don't think he'll make the team. It'll be a lot like Rizzo, who actually outplayed LaHair early on -- but they'll do what they think is in Jackson's best long term interest.

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    Miguel Cairo has been hired by the Reds front office. Kudos to former Cubs farmhand and ML player; he had an insanely long playing career.

    I remember when we traded Eric Hinske for Cairo, and Hinske went on to win ROY award that year. Later it didn't look so bad, as that was pretty much the highlight of Hinske's career (though to his credit, he's another guy still playing into his 30s....)

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Good for him. I'm glad to see him stay in baseball.

  • I read the article about Grace too. In AZ, depending on the crime if you have a job they will let you out for work. So, Grace stays 6pm to 6am in tent city. He has four months in general population and it gets pretty cold at night, so he is definitely not enjoying himself.
    The D'Backs gave him the job so he could get out during the day. A few fans bitched but, by far most were happy that Grace was still in the organization and cleaning up.
    I met him in the early 90's in Chicago and ran into him several times out here, even got the chance to party with him at the racetrack. He is a really nice guy and very generous. The booze just got the better of him. He was nothing short of an idiot for driving drunk after being busted once out here and then he doesn't even bother to install the mandatory interlock device!
    Sometimes even the best people need to learn the hard way...I wish him the best...

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    In reply to jaxx51:

    I wonder why we don't have tent cities in Chicago?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    They don't have Joe Arpaio as sheriff there. Sheriff Joe is as tough as they come, doesn't know the meaning of PC, and could care less about the media criticism of him. Ive actually met him socially several different times, he even bought a police-issue 9mm handgun from our biz. The Trib would be whining like little babies if Joe Arpaio dared to put up tent cities in Cook Co jail.

  • In reply to jaxx51:

    Thanks for the info jaxx! Good stuff.

  • In reply to jaxx51:

    Re: Grace, as I posted last month, I hope he gets the help he needs.
    However, I'm not sure that giving him a day-pass to load up on free food and cigarettes is the best idea.
    That said, each person has his own path, and perhaps this regimen will set him on a better one.

  • A couple of things about Sveum naming his first 4 starters. With Baker possibly starting the season on the DL, the Cubs could put him on the 60-day DL to open on a spot on the 40-man roster if they need it. Also, in my opinion, Travis Wood did nothing to pitch himself out of the rotation. He deserves a spot, and it would be nice to have at least 1 lefty starter.

  • I still think Wood is the favorite but I'm also guessing Villanueva was promised a shot at the rotation.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would be surprised if they promised Villanueva a spot, John--in fact, I don't see how they could have. Both the FO and Sveum are very up front with the guys they target and bring in. They had already signed several other pitchers at that point. From some of Feldman's quotes, it seems that they had already told Feldman he'd have a rotation spot, and Sveum's announcement seems to bear that out.

    I think the thing that made Villanueva so attractive to the Cubs is that he's a legit starter who can also pitch well out of the pen, and he's used to doing both. Plus, since he doesn't have a long history of starting, he's relatively cheap, and he's still young.

    Villanueva is a perfect fit for the Cubs, because between likely deadline trades and the good possibility of injury attrition, a spot will open for him in the rotation at some point in the season--one would think by July at the latest. My guess is that they have him more or less penciled into the pen to start the season, and if that's the case, they wouldn't have promised him a rotation spot out of ST.

    It's easier to backfill the pen than the rotation from arms off the Iowa staff, and having Villanueva around allows them to do that. It also will allow them to take their time with Vizcaino, which I hope they do--not only does he have the TJS to recover from, but also only 8 starts above A ball in his pro career. I think it would be a mistake to expect Vizcaino to contribute anything at the MLB level this year. If he does, it's a bonus, but let's not expect it.

    The Cubs are going to be in a good position to deal one or two starters at the deadline this year, depending on guys' health. It's nice to see we have some depth and some backup plans. And a guy like Cabrera might be ready to come up in July or so, as well. The pitching staff is certainly in much better shape than it was this time last year.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    I said promised him a shot at the rotation. Not that they would give it to him.

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    If Baker starts the season on the 15-Day DL, wouldn't that open a spot for Lillibridge, at least temporarily?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It doesn't remove him from the 40 man roster. Only 60 day DL opens up a 40 man spot.

  • With all our depth in the outfield, Valbuena capable of playing 2nd, Barney capable of short, and at least two third baseman on the roster, I hope we go the route of taking an extra pitcher. I can understand wanting a 3b on the roster who hits lefties better, but Valbuena's numbers don't drop off nearly as much as Stewart's and I think having that extra arm, especially if it's a lefty, could really help us out with matchups.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Agreed,... unless Vitters does insanely positively well at the plate in the Spring and essentially forces the club to give him a 2nd audition,.... I would rather seen Stewart/Valbuena as the 2-headed monster at 3B and carry the extra Lefty pitcher.

    If Vitters forces them to let him come north in April,... then that will shift a bunch of things around,...

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Be great if that happened. I'm losing a little faith after he got bounced from winterball. Problem is that he always takes a lot of time at each level to adjust, but the major league team doesn't seem to want to give him much playing time. Not sure what's gonna happen there.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I also think Sveum's desire for versatility pretty much dooms Vitters to AAA. If that's the criteria, I'd almost have to say Lake has the best shot, even though he has yet to play AAA. If not, then I think he and Watkins have an excellent shot at getting jobs in 2014. Sveum seems to like those athletic, versatile players.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed about the versitility thing,... never a bad thing to have among your secondary players.

    Assuming that Vitters doesn't come north in April (which does seem likely),... then who is the most likely backup for Rizzo at 1B? Clevenger might be able to do it in a pinch,... but if I were betting I would be that he's not on the 25 man roster to start off with Navarro & Castillo ahead of him in line.

    As far as I know - nobody in the current OF has had any time at 1B. I don't think that Stewart has had much time at that position either.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Lillibridge played some 1b last year. Some 2b and SS too, which I didn't realize. Thought of him primarily as 3b and OF.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    He's pretty bad at 2B and SS, though. Not convinced he can play those positions better than Valbuena, despite Valbuena lacking ideal range/quickness for the middle infield.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    I think Clevenger goes to AAA to catch but maybe to play 1B occasionally too.

    I would guess Stewart. I'm sure Valbuena could handle it. Also think Schierholtz could pick it up quickly if they try him there. The problem is they're all lefty too. You'd like to sit Rizzo against a LHP.

    Castillo moves well at catcher and was signed as a 3B. If I remember correctly, they put him there for an inning last year but don't think he got any chances in the field. Lillibridge a candidate.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Lake's really grown on me. I always think about the FO saying they like players to get a full season at AAA though. Wish I knew their history in Boston and San Diego to better know if that was mostly lip service for the Rizzo situation.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    I think he goes to AAA. I actually meant best shot of the 40 man guys/prospects but didn't write it that way. I think they'll make room for a non-roster vet.

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    I'm a little suprised at how forgotten Vitters has become. Guy had decent numbers in AAA and had early setbacks at every level he came to, but got better each time. While Sveum and Rowson have been working with Jackson over the winter, has anyone at all been working with Vitters?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I have never been a big fan of Vitters I saw him back when he was with the Chiefs. I also saw him last year with the big club and he has the same issues as he did with the Chiefs.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I think the organization will give a shot to Vitters at some point, and they realize that he's still young and has a modicum of potential with the bat. There's not a whole lot of readily available good options for 3B right now out there that won't cost them an arm and a leg, in any case.

    The fact is that a lot of guys don't get established in their first shot at the big leagues. It's not a big deal. I don't think Vitters is forgotten by any means--but he showed them last year that he needs more AAA time. Not just for his bat, but also for his glove, which is pretty weak at this point.

    What the Cubs have done is collect several guys who have a reasonable shot at making a contribution at 3B. None of Stewart, Valbuena or Vitters are guys you want to pencil in as a guy you're counting on, but having all three of them means that it's likely that at least one of them will contribute something decent in 2013.

    Stewart needs to get the first crack, because of his age and the fact that he's about out of chances. Valbuena is really more of a stopgap/utility guy, but he has some characteristics that make him a useful guy to have on the roster and he's good enough to fill in. Valbuena has also been VERY good at AAA and there's a huge disparity between his AAA record and his MLB record, so there remains a sliver of hope that he could be more than a utility guy.

    Vitters is on the backburner because he was so overmatched and is so young. He will have his chance. It is in the Cubs' best interests to allow young guys to establish themselves because it is a great way to build value on the roster. A Vitters who is an established MLB starting 3Bman has immensely more value that a Vitters who has stalled out at AAA and failed in MLB--so, it's definitely worth giving him a few more shots to establish his value as a MLB player.

    Nonetheless, there's no reason to believe that Vitters is ready to contribute at the MLB level out of the gate in 2013. Let Vitters dominate AAA for awhile and build his confidence back up, and see if he's even needed on the MLB roster in the meantime.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    I just reread this post and really like it. I cannot speculate what Vitters future holds, but this is a thoughtful analysis. I commented a couple of months ago on a related thread that maybe we should not read too much into his first MLB experience or the fact that he packed his gear in winter ball. I say that sometimes things move too fast for young players and they need a little down time to process all that has impacted their process. Vitters may report with different and relaxed commitment.

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    In reply to SVAZCUB:

    I was going to type an almost identical response, but you beat me to it. Well said.

  • Lillibridge has logged some time at 1b so he would be able to spell Rizzo occasionally. I assumed of the possible utility players that only Vitters had any playing time at the position...

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    In reply to Eldrad:

    I think all this talk about Lillibridge having experience at 1b being one reason he should make the team is a joke. He can't hit, and is very small, and did I mention HE CAN'T HIT!!!??

    He's also not a gold glove caliber defender at any position. So his versatility isn't such a huge plus when he's not a good infielder and doesn't hit enough to do anything other than play an inning or two on defense in the outfield. Campana would be a better fit than Lillibridge, but so would Maysonett or anyone.

    Lillibridge career MLB slash line: .213/.278/.350

    Everyone is talking about him like he's something special. He's been on 1803 teams in 5 years. He can't hit. Joe Mather, for the love of God, is a better hitter by far.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    Lillibridge also strikes out 34% of the time in the majors. that's more than anyone in the history of breathing.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    I have to agree. I'm just not a big fan of Lillibridge. Not only does he not hit, he's not a particularly good defender at most positions. Versatile, but subpar no matter where he plays.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Jose Macias redux? Dusty loved him, because he could stink at multiple positions.

    At least Lillibridge didn't get a multi-year contract

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I'd say that's fair though I think Lillibridge is a better athlete than Macias was by the time he got to the Cubs.

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    Um....(he whispers) Brett jackson.....

  • In reply to SKMD:

    That's the vibe I get as well

  • I notice Ryan Theriot is still not signed.....take the same period when he started with the Cubs and look at Barney's stats, and Theriot has better stats than Barney.........Theriot was a greater base threat.......if Watkins can have a great spring, Barney might be traded before July ever comes around.

    Does Grace wear the orange prison jump suit when he hits fly balls to the Diamondback Rookies?....

    When Spring Training is over, Grace will have to eat those jail sandwiches......and Sheriff Joe serves them when they turn green....

    40 degrees in a tent at night in Arizona.......poor babies........our soldiers in Afghanistan sleep in tents with temps below zero.......and bombs falling on them....

    Cannot see Grace ever being part of the Cubs organization.....

    Many people in life fall during bad times in their life.....the strong ones get up off the floor and succeed once again...

    Meanwhile back in Chicago....The Mayor and the Alderman of the Wrigleyville neighborhood is trying to shake down the I said earlier, the ugliness of Chicago politics will rear its head with the Wrigley renovation project........

    There are many experts believing the Cubs could be the "Cinderella" team this season.......

    While CNN.MLB has the Cubs winning only six more games this year from last year.....

    If Taiwan and China start a war with each other this summer...expect the trouble began when Taiwan's pitcher, Carlos Zambrano, suckered punched a Chinese player.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Nat King Cole sang about you, O Ramblin' Rose.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Nate King Cole was a big time Cocaine user........probably someone like you can relate too!....

    but I did like him when he was in Cat Ballou.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    And there were those who wanted Grace to replace Brenly.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Interesting point about Theriot. The Cubs could definitely use a RH utility guy who can hit LHP, and he would be okay in that role if he wants to go to a team like the Cubs.

    As far as comparing him to Barney, Barney's defense is far superior, and Theriot is no great shakes offensively. I'd rather have Barney as an everyday guy, just because at least Barney does *something* really well.

    A lot of Cub fans really despised Jeff Baker, but we could really use a guy with his skill set just about now. Lillibridge can play multiple positions but brings nothing to the table offensively, and it's a defensive whiz, either. It's nice when a bench guy has at least one thing well enough to make you want to give him playing time. Baker could at least hit LHP well over his career, although he was streaky and inconsistent.

    It would be nice to have a veteran RH 3B/1B who hits LHP well and could platoon with Stewart or Valbuena at 3B. If he could play some LF/RF, that would be a bonus. There's no one in camp who really fits that bill, but that's what I'd be looking for in a 25th man.

    I'm a bit surprised they didn't give a ST invite to Greg Rohan, who had a nice year over three levels, is 26, hits RH and plays 3B/1B/corner OF.

  • New piece up...

    Part 1 of Kane County Preview which is the first in a series of minor league previews, we'll start here and end up in Iowa.

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