A Big Week Ahead?

The Hot Stove Season is beginning to come to an end, the first workouts for pitchers and catchers at Fitch Park is exactly one month from today. The first sign of the new baseball season being just around the corner starts on Friday. The Cubs still have holes to fill and are rumored to be looking at adding a couple of pieces to Lou Piniella’s puzzle.

Will Jim Hendry make any moves before the Opening Ceremonies at the Cubs Convention? The mainstream media is still discussing the possibility of Brian Roberts being traded to the Cubs. Is the deal really ‘dead’ or could Roberts still end up in a Cubs’ uniform? What about Jon Lieber? And, is there any truth to Marlon Byrd being mentioned in the same sentence with the Cubs?

Here is more on the Brian Roberts front, a Cubs’ top 10 prospect list, information on the Chad Fox signing, a video from Baseball Prospectus and the latest from the around the league….

The Cubs

The Boston Globe mentioned about how many players could be wearing an “M” in the upcoming season….the Mitchell Report’s version of the Scarlet Letter. Later in the report, they had a blurb on how the Orioles need a shortstop, centerfielder and mid-rotation starter….then brought up the Cubs being the most interested in Brian Roberts.

While on the subject of Mr. Roberts. The Baltimore Sun talked about the Orioles off-season on Sunday. Dan Connolly brought up how the Orioles right now do not have enough parts to field a team with legitimate big leaguers come Opening Day. Connolly talked about Andy MacPhail waiting to get what he thinks is value for both Brian Roberts and Erik Bedard. Connolly went on to say he thinks MacPhail “expects three to five legitimate prospects or near major league-ready players for either of his two big guns.” He said neither of the deals hit a snag nor were rejected by Peter Angelos.

The Orioles are likely asking the Cubs for “outfielders Felix Pie or Tyler Colvin, pitchers Sean Marshall or Sean Gallagher and one or two othersaccording to Connolly. The fans in Baltimore are preparing for a lost season in 2008.

Rick Maese brought up the Internet announcement last week of Brian Roberts being traded to the Cubs in the Baltimore Sun. Orioleshangout.com reported the deal as being done as the rest of the baseball world waited for the official announcement….one that never came.

The Sporting News talked about what holes teams must fill before being able to win the big prize next season. For the Cubs….the middle infield. They think the Cubs “are close to landing Roberts” to play second. If they do (and that appears to be a big if at this point) having Roberts would allow Mark DeRosa to be a super-sub and Lou Piniella to move Alfonso Soriano down to the three-hole in the lineup.

According to a report by Bill Madden in the New York Daily News, the Cubs did talk to the Angels about Chone Figgins, but those talks have gone nowhere. Madden thinks the rumored deal of Sean Marshall, Sean Gallagher and Ronny Cedeno to the Orioles for Brian Roberts is a deal that will probably get done.

Murray Chass became the latest to mention “100 years” on Sunday in the New York Times….get ready to hear this before every national telecast throughout the entire season.

Chad Fox

A report in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune shed a little light on the recent signing of Chad Fox. It has been nearly two years since Fox last pitched in the majors, the Tribune reminded all of that night in April of 2005 when Fox left the field after appearing to throw his arm out against the Reds. It was the day after Fox had been named Dusty Baker’s closer.

Fox has had three elbow operations over the course of his career and at 37 wants to try again and if he is done, leave the game on his terms. The Tribune said Fox, “as improbable as it seems,” could make the team.

“This is not some soft-hearted signing by general manager Jim Hendry, who had scout Jim Crawford watch a workout for several teams Thursday in Houston. He was throwing 92 MPH and had a good slider.”

Fox saw Dr. James Andrews after he left the Cubs in April of 2005. Dr. Andrews found no structural damage according to the Tribune.

Like a scene from “The Rookie“, Fox thought his career was over “until a neighbor asked for pitching advice for his son.” Fox helped the neighbor and soon others. Then began working “at a sports complex for young pitchers.

Fox was “trying to prove a point” to a high school pitcher and “let a fastball fly.” He kept throwing and then decided to try to make a comeback.

Fox told the Tribune:

“I have a gut feeling about this thing. I feel there’s some unfinished business for me and the Cubs.”

Cubs Top Prospects

Top Prospect Alert released their Cubs Top 10 Prospect list, thanks Ben for the email. TPA varies slightly from Baseball America, John Sickels and Mound Talk….with most of the same players.

  1. Tyler Colvin
  2. Josh Vitters
  3. Eric Patterson
  4. Sean Gallagher
  5. Donald Veal
  6. Jeff Samardzija
  7. Geovany Soto
  8. Sam Fuld
  9. Jake Fox
  10. Josh Donaldson

Baseball Prospectus

Here is Will Carroll’s latest video from ProTrade on PEDs. It is well worth the time….

From Around the League

Ryan Braun told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he “is on board” with moving to left field with the recent signing of Mike Cameron. Bill Hall was rumored to not be happy with yet another position change (his third in three years) but said he is willing to make the move to third base. Many speculated, including Ken Rosenthal, that Hall could be traded.

One site…. skyking162.com anointed Mike Cameron as the savior on Sunday and mentioned his defense alone will win the Brewers games next season.

The Reds are interested in Joe Blanton according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The A’s want Jay Bruce. The Reds are not budging on Bruce but would trade either Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto or Joey Votto….but not more that one of those prospects. The Reds are also looking at Jon Lieber and Livan Hernandez. John Fay talked about Walt Jocketty like he is already the Reds’ GM….

Former Cub, Scott McClain signed a 1-year minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants with an invitation to Spring Training. McClain played for the Cubs in 2005.

According to a report on ESPN, Endy Chavez (the New York Mets) injured his right hamstring and right ankle while playing winter ball in Venezuela. The Angel Pagan trade is looking better everyday for the Mets.

Dayn Perry released which teams he feels have the best lineup, rotation, bullpen, defense and bench in the majors. All of the teams are from the American League. The Tigers have the best lineup. The Red Sox have the best rotation and bullpen. The Blue Jays have the best defense….and it could get a lot better today. The Angels have the best bench. Perry makes very good points on why he picked each of those teams.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ian Snell approached the Pirates about a long-term contract and was rejected.” Snell will be arbitration eligible for the first time following the 2008 season.

Finally…. For those of you that have been wondering what Carlos Zambrano has been up to this winter. Check out the latest from Tim Souers at Cubby-Blue.

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Quote of the Day

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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