From the Inbox….and the Mill, Too

Is Lou Piniella overreacting about his players’ lack of production, or is there cause for concern? Piniella was not happy with his team’s offensive output on Tuesday and said he is going to mix things up and play his regulars more. Counting today’s game in Surprise against the Rangers, the Cubs have 18 more games to get on track before they count.

Here is a catch all, if you will, of various bits of Cubs info, stuff the CCO received through email….and the latest from the mill with more on you know who.

The Rumor Mill

Dave Kaplan said on Tuesday night that his sources told him the Brian Roberts deal will get done at a very high price“….he did not mention any specifics.

Kaplan also had Steve Buckley on from the Boston Herald to discuss the Coco Crisp rumors. Buckley was very complimentary of Crisp and acknowledged he has heard all of the rumors. Buckley said there is no doubt that both teams (Cubs and Red Sox) have discussed a deal for Crisp.

The Red Sox want to deal Crisp according to Buckley. They feel he is not a 4th outfielder for the Sox. The desire in Boston is to trade Crisp for starting pitching but Buckley questioned whether the Cubs and Sox could work out a deal.

Buckley added Crisp is the best defensive centerfielder that he has seen in a Red Sox uniform. Crisp does not have as strong of an arm as Fred Lynn but he made catch after catch.

Buckley mentioned the pressures that exist to perform in Boston might have gotten to Crisp and wonders if the same could happen if he is traded to the Cubs.

Kaplan finished the segment by asking Buckley what he thought of Brian Roberts. Buckley said Roberts would be a huge upgrade.

Micah Hoffpauir

The performance of Micah Hoffpauir this spring has raised a lot of questions about the Cubs prospect. Mainly, do the Cubs have any room for him on the big league roster and what other positions can he play.

Before the position players reported to camp, the CCO ran a series of articles with information on each player. Spring Training NRI’s….The Infield and The Outfield contained the following about Micah Hoffpauir.

The Cubs drafted Micah Hoffpauir in the 13th round in 2002 and if not for a knee injury last year, chances are he would have made his Major League debut. Hoffpauir can hit and is a very good first baseman that is learning to play the outfield. He set a career high in home runs last year, 16, in just 82 games (.319 average and a .365 OBP with 73 RBI’s). Hoffpauir tore his articular cartilage in his left knee and after surgery spent the next 16 weeks rehabbing in Mesa preparing for Spring Training.

This will be the second consecutive year in big league camp for Hoffpauir. Last spring he hit .292 with a .370 OBP and hit 2 home runs in 18 games….after receiving his invitation to camp just a day before the position players reported. Hoffpauir reportedly hits left-handed pitching very well, a rarity in today’s game….a lefty that can hit southpaws.

Hoffpauir played 13 games in the outfield last year (60 total in his minor league career) in order to become a more versatile player….with Derrek Lee. There was a feeling within the organization that if Hoffpauir was not on the DL at the time both Lee and Daryle Ward were injured last year, Hoffpauir would have gotten the call.

2008 Outlook – Lou Piniella is looking for depth on his bench and Hoffpauir might be the man for the job. Hoffpauir fits the type of player Piniella likes and he could provide power off the bench, a legitimate back up for Derrek Lee as well as a backup for both corner outfield spots. Hoffpauir will likely start the season in Iowa, but he should make his Major League debut in 2008.

From the Inbox

The CCO received an email about a new blog that focuses solely on the Cubs new right fielder. Check it out when you can…

DoublePlayTV has produced a few sports videos, here is there latest about Fantasy Baseball

Chris Proctor sent a link to more Cubs photos from Arizona….Great shots as always.

Finally…. Bench Coach talked about Billy Crystal signing a 1-day contract with the Yankees.

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne