Well, will he or won’t he see his shadow today? As everyone knows, today is Groundhog Day and regardless of what the little fury creature may see or not see, baseball is right around the corner. The Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues will soon be filled with all of the optimism Spring Training brings to fans of every team throughout the league. For more years than they would like anyone to remember, the Cubs have played the same season over and over and over again….sound familiar?
Here is the latest news and notes from the week, a couple of experts gave their ten cents worth in relation to the Cubs, Dusty Baker speaks and Carlos Zambrano’s arbitration date was set….
February 20th is the date set for Carlos Zambrano’s arbitration hearing, the last possible day it could take place. Several reports out of Chicago on Thursday reported the date has been set. The last time the Cubs went to arbitration was with Mark Grace in 1993 and the Cubs won the case. Chris DeLuca mentioned the Cubs and Zambrano have not talked “in recent days”. Paul Sullivan in the Tribune mentioned neither Zambrano nor the Cubs appear “willing to budge, though there’s still plenty of time.”
Zambrano asked for $15.5 million, the Cubs offered $11.025 million and Zambrano set a deadline of Opening Day for the two sides to work out a multiyear deal.
Ranking the Prospects….
Keith Law from ESPN and Scouts, Inc. recently released a couple of reports in which he ranked the farm systems of all of the major league teams and the top 25 prospects in baseball. The Cubs did not have a prospect in his top 25 list but Felix Pie did make the honorable mentions list. According to Law, Pie has the ability but lost the power last season that he showed in 2005. Alex Gordon, 3rd baseman of the Royals, was listed as his top prospect and Homer Bailey of the Reds was listed 5th. Many are very high on Bailey and some feel he is the best pitching prospect in the game….at the age of 20 he could make waves in the Reds rotation this season.
The Cubs farm system ranked 19th on Law’s list. Law stated that other than Felix Pie there is nothing much in the farm system. Granted Pie has been hyped but what are Donald Veal and Sean Gallagher? Law stated the Devil Rays have the top farm system followed by the Rockies and the Diamondbacks.
Law recently questioned the moves by Jim Hendry and what his off-season moves will cost in 2009….$53.525 million.
Say it ain’t Sosa….
As most know by now Sammy Sosa signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers this week that included an invitation to Spring Training. Some have doubted his motivation and most think it is self-serving with the falling star being just 12 home runs short of 600. Sosa’s 1-year deal is worth $500,000 and he could earn an additional $2.1 million in performance bonuses. The Cubs face the Rangers in Arlington June 19th – 21st and the two teams face off in the Cactus League on March 9th (a split squad game) in Surprise and on March 21st at HoHoKam in Mesa.
Brock for Broglio….
Vaughn P. “Bing” Devine, the Cardinals General Manager that was at the helm when the Cubs traded Lou Brock to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio, passed away last Saturday at the age of 90. To this day when the trade of Brock for Broglio is brought up, the Faithful have a tendency to cringe and shake their head. Brock became a Hall of Famer and Broglio won just 7 games spread over the biggest part of 3 seasons for the Cubs.
Mike Matheny, the former Cardinal and Giant (among others), called it a career on Thursday due to lingering effects after a concussion he suffered in 2006.
Jon Heyman from SI.com released a report mentioning all of the clubs weaknesses going into the new season. His main concern for the Cubs seems to hinge on Alfonso Soriano playing center field.
Dusty Baker Speaks….
Richard Deitsch from SI.com spoke with Dusty Baker recently and the interview is worth the read. Dusty will be an analyst for ESPN this spring and questions ranged from Barry Bonds to the Cubs. Dusty lists Jacque Jones, Juan Pierre, Moises Alou, Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre among a few of his “good guys to manage” and he said:
“The Cubs can be very good. If we had the team we were supposed to have even without the additions, we would have still been good. So it was a bad year in a lot of ways. But nobody wants to hear alibis or excuses.”
A quote from the Vine Line that speaks volumes about Ronny Cedeno:
“It appears Cedeno enjoyed his first big-league season on and off the field. He’s not the first kid to get caught up in being a big-league player. He does however have a lot of talent. Eventually, I think he will be a real good starting infielder.” according to a NL scout
One last thing….
Well, that’s the news and I’m sticking to it!!!