From Logos to Hot Tubs to Contract Offers….What a First Day!!
Pitchers and catchers had their first full workout on Thursday and a few of the position players showed up as well, including the Cubs new $136 million dollar man….Alfonso Soriano. The position players are not scheduled to report to Fitch Park until Monday but Soriano, Felix Pie, Ryan Theriot and Scott Moore joined the pitchers on the field on Thursday.
Mark Prior and Wade Miller both threw off the mound on Thursday but Kerry Wood was slowed by bruised ribs that he suffered when he fell out of a hot tub, at his house, on Monday….Wood will miss 4-5 days.
Here is the latest from Mesa….
Carlos Zambrano was in camp on time and has calmed down from the ultimatum he issued earlier in the week. According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Zambrano did receive his first formal offer from the Cubs. The deal was a multi-year offer in the 5-year range and “very close” to the contract Barry Zito received. The Sun-Times speculated the contract offer to be in the 5-year, $90 million dollar range. Zambrano did clear up his statements made earlier in the week and the report made by Chris DeLuca questioning the source of the report on Monday might be accurate. Zambrano did say he wants to stay with the Cubs….
The mainstream media finally picked up on Lou Piniella’s catch phrase for the Cubs….swagger. Several reports on Thursday morning mentioned the phrase Piniella uttered at the Cubs Convention. Piniella called it “Cubbie Swagger” but the fact they missed such an obvious headline is mind-boggling.
The Chicago Sun-Times put the “Tribune on Trial” on Thursday and charged the company with the following:
“Gross negligence and neglect in its ownership of the Chicago Cubs. Case No. 1908.”
The Sun-Times wants the Cubs sold now and mentioned the fans anguish and disappointment as the main reasons. They go on to say there is not a curse, no Billy Goat, no Steve Bartman, just bad management by ownership.
Speaking of money, there will be a new logo in the outfield of the old ballpark this season. The Cubs negotiated a deal with the Under Armour company that will allow the athletic apparel company to put their logo on the green doors in right and left field. The logos will be the first ads on the outfield walls of Wrigley since 1920 when Wilson Sports was among the advertisers and the first since Bill Veeck planted the ivy on the walls 70 years ago.
From the National Media….
Jayson Stark released his report concerning a few of the top storylines as spring training starts. Stark thinks it is strange the Cubs are unsure of where they will be playing Alfonso Soriano but he does mention it should be fun to watch. Stark mentioned the Cubs will be the most improved team in the National League and stated if they are not after a 96-loss season then Lou Piniella “might spontaneously combust.” He went on to say Soriano was the 3rd best free agent signing and Kerry Wood is the best free agent signing for under $2 million dollars. The yearly question of Prior’s health was mentioned and according to Stark, Mark Prior is the most important injury comeback in the NL according to Stark.
Dayn Perry released his report on the NL Central and mentioned the teams in the central were a combined 65 games under .500 against other divisions in 2006. Perry stated with the Cubs playing in the central there is a strong chance their off-season spending spree lands them in the playoffs. He went on to say the Cubs could set a new franchise record for home runs in a season (235 in 2004) and finished his report stating the Cubs will have problems down the road with all of the contracts they signed….“but in 2007 the Cubs will be for real.”
What will the next six weeks be like after just one day?
Well, that’s the news and I’m sticking to it!!!!
(images from Chicago Sun-Times and Brands of the World)