Oh So Close

In seven short days the 2008 version of the Chicago Cubs will take the field for the first time in Scottsdale against the San Francisco Giants….the baseball season is just around the corner. Many have predicted the Cubs will have a good season but some feel the Cubs still have areas they must address, mainly in centerfield and in the bullpen.

A majority of the roster is set, barring injuries, but there is always at least one surprise that comes out of Mesa. Which player will end up turning heads this year? Tyler Colvin? Jose Ceda? The main competition to watch will be in centerfield between Felix Pie and Sam Fuld….and possibly Eric Patterson.

Here is the news from Day 7 of Camp Lou, minor league reporting days, projections and notes as well as a couple of rumors….

Here is the rest of the news from Day 7 of Camp Lou….

Cubs News and Notes

The Rumor Mill

Ken Rosenthal reported on Wednesday, “the chances of the Orioles trading All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts to the Cubs seem to diminish each day.” Rosenthal said if a deal is done it must include Ronny Cedeno.

Brian Roberts left Orioles’ camp on Wednesday with a stomach ailment according to a report in the Baltimore Sun. Roch Kubatko said he checked to see if Ronny Cedeno had a similar illness.

Coco Crisp said on Wednesday he would ask for a trade if it appears he won’t get his starting job back” from Jacoby Ellsbury. Crisp mentioned he heard rumors over the winter about possible interest from the Cubs. Bruce Levine as mentioned Crisp’s name more than once in recent weeks.

Yahoo! Projections

Yahoo Sports released their weekly team report on the Cubs and made a couple of interesting points as well as what they think Lou Piniella’s roster, rotation and bullpen will look like on March 31st.

Top Candidate to SurpriseRonny Cedeno
Yahoo mentioned if Cedeno could finally “put it together” he could push Ryan Theriot for the starting job at short.

Top Candidate to DisappointFelix Pie
Yahoo made the Corey Patterson comparison but said Pie could need more time at the age of 23.

Projected Rotation

  1. Carlos Zambrano
  2. Ted Lilly
  3. Jon Lieber
  4. Rich Hill
  5. Ryan Dempster

Projected Bullpen

  • Bobby Howry (closer)
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Kerry Wood
  • Scott Eyre
  • Michael Wuertz
  • Kevin Hart

Projected Lineup

  1. Alfonso Soriano
  2. Ryan Theriot
  3. Derrek Lee
  4. Aramis Ramirez
  5. Kosuke Fukudome
  6. Mark DeRosa
  7. Geovany Soto
  8. Felix Pie

Projected Reserves

  • Henry Blanco
  • Daryle Ward
  • Ronny Cedeno
  • Mike Fontenot
  • Sam Fuld

The report lists only 24 players with two notable names missing….Jason Marquis and Matt Murton. Most of the predictions Yahoo made are no brainers but their projected bench is a question mark.

In the weeks leading up to Opening Day, the CCO will have a prediction contest for the upcoming season as well as a projections contest for the players. So get your thinking cap back out and be ready to voice your opinion. Speaking of contests….with Brian Roberts still wearing black and orange, only one person remains in the running.

Minor League Reporting Dates

According to a report on Scout.com, the Cubs minor league pitchers and catchers will report to Fitch Park on March 1st and the position players will report on March 3rd….the first full squad workout is scheduled for March 4th.

Minor League Spring Training games begin on March 14th at Fitch Park. The Cubs farm system will host the Padres’ farm system at Fitch. There are four games between each level of each team….in other words, the Triple-A teams face off in one game, the Double-A teams in another, Class High-A and Class Low-A. All of these games are free to the public.

Fewer Games on WGN

The number of Cubs telecasts on WGN will be reduced once again this year. A total of 70 games will be aired on WGN but 6 are Spring Training and WGN will carry the Hall of Fame game on June 16th….reducing the number of regular season games down to 63. The Cubs claim economics as the reason according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. In 1997, Harry Caray’s last season on the air, WGN carried 144 games.

Fukudomania

First, hat tip to Bruce Miles for his description of the media the follows Kosuke Fukudome’s every move. Fukudome is enjoying his first Spring Training in the big leagues according to a report on Daily Yomiuri Online. Fukudome is adjusting to the three-hour practices that typically last half a day in Japan.

Yost Throws Cubs Pitching Staff Under the Bus

Several reports on Wednesday indicated the manager of the Brewers has pointed to the inability of the Cubs pitching staff to hold runners as the reason for Jason Kendall’s inability to throw out base runners. Ned Yost said, “His pitchers did not give him a chance. It was probably 70 percent of the time that he had no chance.

Hockey at Wrigley?

The Chicago Blackhawks made a request on Monday to host next year’s “Winter Classic” outdoor hockey game. The details of the request have not been officially released but a report in the Daily Herald indicated the game could take place at Wrigley Field. The New York Rangers are also interested and have pitched Yankee Stadium as their venue.

Cubs Single Game Tickets

Just a quick reminder, single game tickets at Wrigley for the 2008 season go on sale Friday morning at 10:00am C.T. ….the virtual waiting room will start causing frustration at 9:30am C.T. Single game tickets for the dugout, bullpen and Bud Light bleacher box seats will go on sale March 14th at 10:00am C.T. and only through Cubs.com….and the premium seats will be very pricey.

Finally….Mark McGuire of the Times Union in Albany, New York picked the Cubs to win this year’s big series in October.

2008 Spring Training Articles from the CCO

Quote of the Day

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old." - George Burns
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