End of Week Dis-N-Dat….Counting Down the Days

The long winter without baseball is nearing a conclusion. The trucks are making the long trek to Arizona. It is only seven short days until pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park in Mesa. So while the players and coaches enjoy their last free weekend for at least eight months, here are a few updates from and other news and tidbits from the North Side….

Right-Handed Options

Bruce Levine indicated on Wednesday when he checked in on the Afternoon Saloon (ESPN 1000 in Chicago) that the Cubs are still in need of a right-handed bat to come off the bench to back-up Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez.

As the roster currently stands, Reed Johnson could be the only right-handed option off the bench on the days he does not start. The Cubs have looked into adding players like Nomar Garciaparra, Kevin Millar and Rich Aurilia according to Levine.

While Kevin Millar appears to be close to signing a minor league contract with the Blue Jays, the Cubs are going to keep looking at the free-agent market according to Levine. The Story Breaker did not single out any of the close to 90 free agents looking for a job.

Leading off for the 2009

The debate began during the convention, will continue throughout spring….and likely for the entire season. Who will hit leadoff for the Chicago Cubs? Buster Olney mentioned the Cubs leadoff quandary in his blog on Thursday.

Alfonso Soriano said “he’s willing to hit anywhere” and Olney said Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot could be options to hit at the top of the lineup for Lou Piniella.

Buster Olney suggested two different lineups for Lou Piniella last week:

  1. Mike Fontenot
  2. Derrek Lee
  3. Milton Bradley
  4. Aramis Ramirez
  5. Kosuke Fukudome
  6. Alfonso Soriano
  7. Geovany Soto
  8. Ryan Theriot
  1. Ryan Theriot
  2. Alfonso Soriano
  3. Milton Bradley
  4. Aramis Ramirez
  5. Derrek Lee
  6. Kosuke Fukudome
  7. Geovany Soto
  8. Mike Fontenot

Projected Lineup and Rotation from the Sporting News

The annual pre-season magazines have begun to surface. The Sporting News projected the Cubs lineup on for the upcoming year to be:

  1. Alfonso Soriano
  2. Aaron Miles
  3. Derrek Lee
  4. Milton Bradley
  5. Aramis Ramirez
  6. Geovany Soto
  7. Reed Johnson/Kosuke Fukudome
  8. Ryan Theriot

With the starting five being:

  1. Carlos Zambrano
  2. Ryan Dempster
  3. Ted Lilly
  4. Rich Harden
  5. Sean Marshall

A New Cub

The Cubs purchased the contract of Lincoln Saltdogs catcher Shawn McGill on Wednesday. McGill was drafted by the Phillies in 2006 but was released by the organization in 2007 after only 27 minor league games.

McGill will turn 25 in February and will report to Mesa later in the month. The signing does not appear to include an invitation to big league camp.

USA Today’s 100 Names for 2009

USA Today released their annual ‘100 Names You Need to Know‘ list on Wednesday. Names of note include:

  • 30. Luis Montanez
  • 52. Felix Pie
  • 59. Jeff Samardzija
  • 89. Eric Patterson

Wood’s Masterpiece on MLB Network

Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game from May 6, 1998 will be replayed at its entirety on Sunday, February 8th at 5:00pm C.T on the MLB Network. For those that have only seen the highlights, tune in and watch one of the most dominant pitching performances in the history of the game.

Cubs Special on CSN

Comcast SportsNet will airSportsNite: A Perspective on Cubs Pitching” Sunday, February 8th at 10:30pm. The half-hour special will breakdown the Cubs’ rotation and bullpen. Dave Kaplan and Len Kasper will host and the special will feature interviews with Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Kevin Gregg, Neal Cotts, Lou Piniella and Jim Hendry.

Former Cubs on the Move

Ex-Cubs have made several headlines since Wednesday, here is a run down of all the moves:

The ‘P’ Word

What would an update be this winter without mentioning Jake Peavy? Well….the sell of the Padres to a group led by Jeff Moorad does not change the team’s position on trading right-hander Jake Peavyaccording to Ken Rosenthal.

Cory Provus on the Move?

According to a report from the Tribune, WGN Radio’s Cory Provus is the leading candidate to join Bob Uecker in the booth in Milwaukee. Jim Powell moved to Atlanta’s booth after spending the last 13 years calling Brewer’s game with the Hall of Famer.

Kevin Costner in Zion

According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, Kevin Costner is bringing a minor-league baseball team to the north suburban community” of Zion. Crash Davis’ new team will begin play in May of 2010.

CCO Site News and Community Blog

Just a quick ‘thank you‘ and reminder. The CCO set a new record for traffic in January for the third month in a row. February is off to a good start as well….a huge tip of the cap to the Faithful.

Also, do not forget about the Community Blog section of the CCO. There are thought provoking posts that deserve the proper attention…..take a look.

Well, that’s the latest….and I’m sticking to it!

Quote of the Day

"The man says 'play ball' not 'work ball,' you know." - Willie Stargell
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