Cubs Baseball is Just Around the Corner

Pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park in four days …

The on the field work begins for the Chicago Cubs on Sunday … pitchers and catchers report on February 13, position players on February 18 with the first full squad workout scheduled for February 19. Mike Quade said he’s going to “stress fundamentals like a son of a gun.”

The Cubs first Cactus League game is on February 27 and Pat Hughes, along with his new partner, will call the game against the Oakland A’s from HoHoKam Park.

The Cubs released their spring broadcast schedule on Tuesday. For the first time nearly all of the exhibition games will be broadcast either on radio, TV or via the Internet on Cubs.com. 32 of the Cubs 34 games will be carried and Len Kasper will join Mick Gillispie, the Smokies’ play-by-play man, for most of the Cubs.com radio broadcasts.

Here’s the update including Jayson Stark’s off-season grade for the Cubs, news and notes and could Augie Ojeda break camp with the Cubs?

Cubs Spring Broadcast Schedule
The Cubs released their spring broadcast schedule on Tuesday. For the first time almost all of the Cubs’ exhibition games (32 of 34) will be broadcast on either the radio, TV, or on the Internet.

Eight of the games will be broadcast on TV, with WGN carrying six of them. The first look at the 2011 Cubs will be one of the games on March 6. The Cubs have a split squad day on the 6th (the other game is against the Reds in Goodyear) and WGN will televise the game against the Dodgers at HoHoKam Park.

Pat Hughes will call the first two Cactus League games on February 27 (Oakland A’s) and February 28 (Milwaukee Brewers) from HoHoKam Park. Comcast SportsNet’s first televised game will be on March 20.

The other 19 games will be broadcast via the Internet on Cubs.com. Len Kasper will join Mick Gillispie for most of the Internet radio broadcasts. The Spring Training games on Cubs.com will be broadcast free of charge with a registered account.

Click here for the Cubs entire 2011 Spring Broadcast Schedule

Cubs 2011 Cactus League Schedule

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his last weekly chat before leaving for Arizona. Here are the highlights from Bruce Levine’s chat on ESPN Chicago.com

  • The Cubs and WGN could announce who will be Pat Hughes’ new partner in the next week. Levine is still hearing it is down to Keith Moreland and Dave Otto.
  • At the start of the season, the power on the Cubs bench will probably be Alfonso Soriano or Tyler Colvin … depending on if Soriano or Colvin are in the starting lineup. The Cubs do not appear to be looking to add any other free agents to the mix.
  • Levine reminded everyone that the Cubs hold a team option on Aramis Ramirez for the 2012 season.
  • Look for Jay Jackson and Trey McNutt to be the two young pitchers that could impress this spring.
  • As for Augie Ojeda, Levine thinks Ojeda is probably on the Cubs 25-man roster to start the season. Ojeda would serve as an experienced backup to Starlin Castro … and it would give Darwin Barney regular playing time at the Triple-A level.
  • Levine would be more concerned about run production from the outfield than Mike Quade’s managerial acumen.
  • The Cubs have no money to trade for Michael Young. They would have to trade a salary like Kosuke Fukudome’s to make Young’s salary work for just one season. Levine explained that committing to Young past one year might be a difficult process to get by ownership. Nobody wants to be spending big dollars on aging veterans. Levine admitted Young would be an upgrade and he had a great relationship with Rudy Jaramillo.
  • Jeff Samardzija will compete for a spot in the bullpen.
  • Fernando Perez and Reed Johnson will compete for the fifth outfielder’s job.
  • Levine believes that Braden Looper will either break camp in the rotation or be released. The Cubs are going to need every one of the ‘B’ games in Spring Training to get all of the starters innings.
  • The Cubs would love to sign Matt Garza to a long-term deal. They would like to be able to control what he will cost them. Levine thinks the Cubs will look to sign Garza to a three or four year contract down the line.
  • Most teams do not view Kosuke Fukudome as an everyday player. That is the reason there wasn’t any movement on Fukudome this winter … even with the Cubs eating half of the money he’s owed this season.
  • Randy Wells is aware that this could be a make or break season for him with the Cubs. Wells will compete for one of the last two spots in the rotation … and he needs to be the best he can early in the spring.
  • The Cubs have no plans to take Sean Marshall out of his set-up role.
  • The Cubs are looking at having their own network down the road, like the Yankees, Red Sox and Orioles. The Cubs are locked into their current contracts with WGN TV and Comcast SportsNet.
  • Mark Riggins is very familiar with the pitchers on the big league team … as well as the young pitchers in the minors. Riggins was the Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator for three seasons before landing the pitching coach job this off-season.
  • The Cubs system is still considered to be in good shape … even with trading four of their top prospects. Jay Jackson and Brett Jackson are considered ready for primetime. Trey McNutt is on the fast track to the majors … and the Cubs consider Welington Castillo a Major League player in the near future. The Cubs have lots of good young players coming through the system.
  • Carlos Pena is very good in the field … and many will not notice the difference, defensively, between Pena and Derrek Lee.
  • James Russell will get an opportunity to earn a starting job in Spring Training.
  • Fernando Perez dealt with a lot of injuries last season. He brings outstanding defense and great speed to the table.

Jayson Stark’s Off-Season Grades

ESPN’s Jayson Stark handed out his off-season grades for the NL Central. Stark was complimentary of the Cubs winter and gave them a ‘B’ for their moves.

Biggest additions: Matt Garza, Carlos Pena, Kerry Wood, Reed Johnson, Fernando Perez, Max Ramirez and Mike Quade

Biggest Subtractions: Tom Gorzelanny, Xavier Nady, Sam Fuld and Lou Piniella

Stark said the Cubs got better but several factors will depend on how much they got better. Which Matt Garza did they trade for? The no-hit Garza or the 19 runs in three starts in September Garza. Will Carlos Pena hit above the Mendoza Line? Will Kerry Wood make 60 trips to the mound or spend 60 days on the DL?

Garza was well-worth trading for according to Stark and Pena was a decent one-year investment but Wood could end up being “the best buy any team made all winter.”

Stark’s other NL Central Grades:
Cincinnati Reds – C
St. Louis Cardinals – C
Milwaukee Brewers – A-
Houston Astros – D
Pittsburgh Pirates – C+

Click here for Jayson Stark’s entire report

Other News and Notes
Dusty Baker weighed in on the NL Central with Fred Mitchell. Baker is wary of the Cubs in the NL Central race.

Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago handed out his off-season grades for the NL Central.

The Ricketts family is aiming to buy land in the Dominican Republic for a location “for a brand new, state of the art Cubs baseball academy to develop young players in one of the richest talent bases in the world” according to a report from Dave Kaplan.

Baseball Prospectus tweeted late Tuesday night that the projected standings for the upcoming season that was posted Monday was actually from the 2010 season. BP will release their projected standings for 2011 soon. The CCO apologizes to our readers for passing on old information. We will post the updated PECOTA standings when they are released.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Well, there’s the update … and it is almost time for baseball!

Quote of the Day

"You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him." - Leo Aikman
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  • Ripsnorter1

    I told ya’ll that Ojeda had made the team when they first signed him. What a bad deal. He can’t hit and his range is gone, but he’s ours to love. Let the Cub fans wearing their Blue goggles keep shouting his name as he strikes out yet again. You’ll be longing for Aaron Miles on your team.

    This is very, very sad.

    • Agustin_Rexach

      I agree, its sooooooo JIm Hendry like. Same goes with Hill,Reed and Looper.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      Let see what happens in spring before we talk about how bad JH is for bringing in Ojeda. I do not like him being here but he could push Barney to that next level that is a good thing.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Richard,
        Yeah, you are certainly correct. Should Barney hit .450 and Ojeda .200, there is some possibility that Barney could, by some miracle, make the team.

        Do you realize how Colvin very nearly did not make the team last year? He was the 25th man to make the roster. And he raked in ST to the tune of .468–36 hits in 77 AB, with 8 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 16 RBI–and very nearly didn’t make the cut.

        Read the stats here:
        http://espn.go.com/mlb/springStats/_/team/chc/year/2010

        • JedMosley

          But he did…

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      The only reasoning I can think of is that Barney put on about 20 pounds of muscle at Camp Colvin this winter, he is already a solid defender, but they want to see if he can develop some power. From everything I’ve heard Barney is ambitious and doesn’t want to be a backup, he wants to be a starter.
      So they are going to let him play everyday and develop some more pop in his bat in hopes he can develop some power and be a starter. Pure speculation on my part, but that is the only thing that makes sense to me.
      With the added muscle that would put him about 198 to 200 lbs. and 5’10.

  • Tony_Hall

    Augie Ojeda on the bench, and Barney at AAA. The question would be then, is Barney going to be playing SS, or will he be playig 2B more, because they view him as able to start at 2B at Wrigley someday soon. I would prefer for Barney to be with the big league team, but a new manager, same GM, they will go with the aging vet over giving the young kid experience. Barney just had a full season at AAA in 2010, played AA and AAA in 2009. He has had 3 1/2 season in the minors, and progressed well. He is way more athletic than Ojeda, and could use the year seeing major league pitching.

    • Tom U

      It will depend on whether the Cubs will want Marwin Gonzalez to start at AA or AAA. The Cubs also have Tony Thomas, who looks like he will start at second for Iowa.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        Gonzalez could go either way, but he hasn’t had a full year in AA so they could start him off in AA and move him up to AAA midway through the season.
        Also Gonzalez has played every position but C,RF and pitcher, and Barney can play 3b SS and 2b, so with their versatility they could both get playing time.
        Thomas although his BA went up to .276 last year in his second full year at AA he still struck out 24.9% of the time last year couple that with a 7.3% walk rate, he will have to bring up that walk rate drastically, and drop the K rate drastically to be projectible as a Major Leaguer. He can still strike out a lot and be projectable if his walk rate doubles to 14.6%.
        Brett Jackson strikes out a lot but he walks a lot an that is why he is projectable. Carlos Pena, Adam Dunn both strike out at very high rate but they also walk at an extremely high rate.

        • Tom U

          A very good post Patrick! Let me tell you where I’m comming from.

          DJ LeMahieu, Junior Lake, Ryan Flaherty, Arismendy Alcantara, Pierre LePage, Elliot Soto, and Wes Darvill all deserve promotions. If Tony Thomas and Marwin Gonzalez are stuck at AA Tennessee, along with Josh Vitters and Nate Samson, and Darwin Barney is stuck in AAA Iowa, where are these players going to go? Sending them back to the level they played last year could be hard on a young player’s confidence.The Cubs need to keep this in mind if they are true to their word and want to build a winning organization.

    • paulcatanese

      Totally agree with your post.Barney is my choice over Ojeda and I would think he would have more power. I look back at Castro and he was with limited long ball power,but because of defense over Theriot he was brought up and still with little long ball ability.I can only assume that Barney will be in the same position,brought up soon. Barney can field with the big boys right now and would be a plus with glove wherever they put him. I guess its whoever fails up with the Cubs early will determine the fate of Barney. I guess I would rather play than sit on the bench,but even so being in the bigs daily can only increase his confidence to be ready. I don’t know Tony, I’m ratteling around at this point. Just disappointed over Barney.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      The only reasoning I can think of is that Barney put on about 20 pounds of muscle at Camp Colvin this winter, he is already a solid defender, but they want to see if he can develop some power. From everything I’ve heard Barney is ambitious and doesn’t want to be a backup, he wants to be a starter.
      So they are going to let him play everyday and develop some more pop in his bat in hopes he can develop some power and be a starter. Pure speculation on my part, but that is the only thing that makes sense to me.
      With the added muscle that would put him about 198 to 200 lbs. and 5’10.

      • Tony_Hall

        Thanks Patrick. I honestly would still rather see him at the major league level. It wouldn’t surprise me if he would beat out Dewitt and Baker for playing time at 2B if he was up with the big league team, from the start. But at least I can buy that reasoning.

  • Tony_Hall

    Michael Young is NOT coming to the Cubs, unless he changes his list of teams, he will accpet a trade. The Cubs are not on it.

    “For the record, Young can veto a trade to all but eight teams — the Yankees, the Cardinals, the Angels, the Rockies, the Padres, the Dodgers, the Twins and the Astros”

    The full story on ESPN Insider – http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog?name=olney_buster&id=6100964

    • Wickitkevin

      He also said he would consider other team on a case to case basis.

      • Tony_Hall

        That is what I said, when I stated “unless he changes his list of teams, he will accept a trade.”

        This situation is going to be messy, and that is too bad, as Michael Young has been the face of that team for along time, and he is stuck. No one wants his contract, the Rangers don’t want to eat his contract, and their are only limited places he fits, with his cost (even minus what the Rangers pay) and teams that have job openings.

  • Tony_Hall

    So, the Cubs consider Wellington Castillo a major league player in the near future…

    So why did he sit the bench last September, when the season was over.

    Wouldn’t that of been great experience for him, to catch 4-5 games a week. Of course it would have, but instead Q played K Hill and his sub mendozza batting average…but hey, it all worked, they won games, and Q became the manager.

    But just for a moment, lets say Castillo did catch those games,and spends ST with the major league team (as he will). Isn’t that a huge motivator, for a young guy, to work as hard as he can to get back to the majors.

    Once you have had a taste of the majors, you will want to do it again – “Crash Davis: Yeah, I was in the show. I was in the show for 21 days once – the 21 greatest days of my life. You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains.”

    • Ripsnorter1

      tony,
      I just talked with Jim Clueless on the phone about your post here. His reply was, “Tony knows nothing at all about winning baseball. You win with pitching and defense. Koyie Hill is a top ML defensive catcher, right behind Yadier Molina. Furthermore, he has more upside than Yadier.”

      See? It’s all about winning baseball.

      • Tony_Hall

        That’s just too funny…

        By the way, next time you talk to Jim Clueless, I’m sure you will have more to talk about then just Koyie Hill and his remarkable superiority to Yadier Molina…

        By the way, I would take Yadier in a heartbeat!

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      I own Bull Durham and I usually watch it every year when I get the winter blues. I love that movie and I’m going to watch it this weekend thanks for the reminder.

  • Tony_Hall

    On Matt Garza going to the the Cubs (fantasy baseball)

    “Garza got off to a blazing start last season but was inconsistent the rest of the way. The highlight of his season came July 26, when he threw a no-hitter against the Tigers. He has ace stuff but has yet to take that next step from good to great. The move to the NL should help his cause. He’s worth drafting as a No. 3 Fantasy SP with upside.”

    “Matt Garza had the finest year of his career in 2010 and set career bests in almost every significant category. He recorded 15 wins and threw 204 2/3 innings, but his biggest outing came on July 26. On that faithful night the right-hander threw the first no-hitter in Tampa Bay history, one of his three complete games on the year. Garza finished the year with a 3.93 ERA in 32 starts and also recorded a save in an extra-inning relief appearance. He was traded to the Cubs in the offseason and will be counted on to help bolster a rotation that underachieved a year ago. Garza has never pitched in the NL before but owns a 5-4 record with a 4.63 ERA in 11 interleague starts. While being a fly-ball pitcher might hurt him during the summer months at Wrigley Field, the 27-year-old should be able to mow down NL hitters at a better rate and could approach 200 strikeouts. The Cubs aren’t quite as good as the Rays offensively, but Garza should still be taken as a No. 3 or 4 Fantasy SP option on Draft Day. (Updated 1/13/11)”

  • Nickschroer

    Baseball is so close to being back!!

  • nick_ss

    I can smell the fresh cut grass and I can hear the pop’s of the gloves already. Baseball is almost back!!!!

    • paulcatanese

      Nick,can you also feel the wind and woosh of the line drives going past Rami two feet away from him? ( I couldn’t let that one alone Nick,not meant as an insult) I’m just upset to no end about Barney behind Ojeda and not looking ahead to that one.

      • nick_ss

        Paulcatanese, no offense takin at all. I am hoping Barney has a hell of a spring this year. He could be the “surprise” coming out of camp.

  • Gary J

    I’d rather see Barney up here rather than Ojeda – I’ve said it before. Multiple times. But in a way it makes sense. If there’s an injury at either MI spot, I’d rather have a guy that’s been getting regular at bats get called up to play rather than someone that’s just been riding the pine. If the plan is to start and give the majority of the playing time to Castro and DeWitt (and no reason not to) then yeah – I get the move. I personally don’t see Barney as anything more than a long term backup at the MLB level anyway though, and if the Cubs see the same thing, then bring him up and let him be the backup.

    Either way – agree or disagree – it’s simply not worth a lot of angst to me :-) We’re not blocking a star – it’s the bench middle infielder.

    As for the other things mentioned above – saw a couple of positives.

    Yes – Michael Young would be an improvement obviously. But I agree 100% (and take it as a VERY good sign) with the statement “Levine explained that committing to Young past one year might be a difficult process to get by ownership. Nobody wants to be spending big dollars on aging veterans.” If everything were about win now and save Hendry’s job – then they’d be talking. But that statement alone says “we’re thinking long term”. And while it’s been debated ad nauseum, even trading 5 prospects to the Rays for Garza wasn’t a one year patch. He’s under team control through 2014 and I’d expect 2016 by the time all is said and done with the other statement above about locking him up for his arbitration years (which I took as another positive from the Levine comments)

    And while the owners aren’t bumping the MLB payroll, I think the dominican camp mention is a step in the right direction as well. Granted there’s other teams that have done the same thing, but I’d rather be late to the party than skip it altogether. They aren’t increasing the payroll, but they aren’t keeping the checkbook locked tight in a vault either. Fixing Wrigley (way past due), increasing scouting and development budget, and the above… might not translate directly to wins this year (or next) but it’s money well spent on the future of the organization as a whole.

    And I’m looking forward to the competition in the spring for the 4th and 5th rotation slots…. and I take it as a positive that I’m not hearing Silva’s name in the conversations by the sportscasters as spring approaches LOL I know he’ll be in the mix, but his name hasn’t been prominent and I sincerely hope it stays that way :-)

  • Gary J

    Also, from the Patrick Mooney article there was this little snippet….

    “Jim Hendry had a tight budget while remodeling the 2011 Cubs, but pulled off several accounting tricks to add a power-hitting, Gold Glove first baseman (Carlos Pena), a bullpen game-changer (Kerry Wood) and a front-line starter (Matt Garza). There is a certain segment of the fan base that will never trust what the Cubs general manager does. But those moves addressed the three biggest needs identified at the organizational meetings.”

    Made me think of the CCO :-)

    • The Maven

      Sorry Neil, I hope this is the only time I use this type of language on CCO.

      Who the Hell is Patrick Mooney????????? Just some Yahoo who was given a platform. What makes him more qualified than anyone else???????????

      • Tony_Hall

        CSN “Cubs Insider”

        http://www.csnchicago.com/01/18/11/Marmols-the-final-piece-to-Cubs-offseaso/landing_insider_patrick_mooney.html?blockID=393557

        I think many of us have more experience and knowledge about the Cubs than he does.
        About Patrick Mooney

        Joined CSN: 2010
        College: Boston College/Northwestern

        Prior to joining the CSNChicago.com staff, Mooney previously worked as a staff writer and columnist for Sun-Times Media, reporting primarily for its suburban daily newspapers as well as YourSeason.com. There his work was recognized by Illinois Associated Press, Associated Press Sports Editors and the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association.

        Mooney also has been a frequent contributor to MLB.com since 2005, serving as a correspondent in Detroit and Chicago.

        A New Jersey native, Mooney graduated from Boston College with a degree in English and received his master’s from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

        Contact him via e-mail at pmooney@comcastsportsnet.com and follow him on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute news and views on the Cubs.

        • The Maven

          Don’t always trust “insider” reporters. In order to maintain connections, “insiders” sometimes have to a “shill for the house” (that includes even you, Mr. Levine). Besides, ask yourself, what kind of organization would allow so many people from outside the organization to be “insiders”?

  • Ripsnorter1

    The N.I.V. White Sox NEED a fifth starter badly. Peavy admits his shoulder is a mere 60-70%. My view: that ain’t good enough to get by in MLB. After Peavy they are digging into their minor leagues for a fifth starter, and the quality ain’t there. A couple of years ago they called up 2 AAA starters to be their fifth starter, and they got a combined 2-20 out of them. Ahh, was that sweeeeeeeeeeet!

    SO, we’ve got this overweight Venezuelan hanging around named Carlos Silva. And remember–Ozzie is from Venezuela. (And so is Ozzie’s friend Hugo Chavez). I thought there was some rule somewhere that you can only have so many players named Carlos on your roster at once, and with Pena’s arrival, the Cubs are now over the limit.

    What would our friend Keeeeeeeeeeeennnny Williams give up for a stud, 6′ 4″ 330 lb. pitcher? He’s got a sinker to go along with his sinking waist line.
    And to dump some salary, too! Think of the possibilities!

  • Adfox979

    I know this would never happen, but I would love to see a Soriano for Michael Young swap. It would be one bloated contract for another (Young has 3 years left and Soriano 4 years). Young could play second and would fit in nicely in the two-hole behind Starlin Castro (who I think should bat leadoff). This would open up an outfield slot for Brett Jackson. Byrd could shift over to left with Jackson in center and Colvin in right. Soriano could go back to Texas and put up some bigger numbers as their DH and play occasional left field.

    I know the Cubs aren’t on Michael Young’s list of teams he’d like to be traded to, but if things are getting that ugly between him and Texas, he may become more flexible. Again, this is a total pipe dream and I can’t imagine why Texas would agree to my pipe dream scenario, but it’s fun to think about.

    • Tony_Hall

      Never say never…Soriano needs to go the AL and Young needs a new home. I can’t imagine this happening, as Young is the better hitter, fielder, and his contract is better (can you really say that about having 3 years and $16M/year left on a mid-30’s player). It would require some prospects, but I would be willing to give up something to move Soriano and gain Young. I sure hope that JH is at least exploring the possibility. But even if both teams wanted to do this, it would be very hard as both players can block trades to each other’s team.

      I like the thinking, except for Castro leading off. He is a perfect 2 hole hitter and should stay there for the next 15-20 years.

      • Cheryl

        The trade would be great and sometime “never” can happen. But I bet Hendry would have to throw in someone to make it a reality. My guess would be one of the pitching prospects or a second baseman.

      • Adfox979

        I agree with you that Castro is ideally suited for the two-hole, but since the Cubs don’t have anyone on this team that is a leadoff hitter, Castro is my short-term solution until Jackson is ready. Hopefully Colvin is fully recovered and makes another step forward this year. Not sure if he’s best suited for the 3, 4, or 5 hole.

        And yes, a lot of obstacles stand in the way of a potential Young for Soriano trade. I wonder how Soriano would feel about getting traded. I can’t really tell if he’s happy on the Cubs or not.

        • John_CC

          I hate the idea that just because the Cubs do not have an ideal leadoff hitter that they stick Castro in a difficult spot that he is not suited for and in all likelihood will not remain.

          As for Colvin, he needs a season hitting in the bottom third of the lineup. He does not yet belong in the heart of the order.

        • Bryan

          Is Soriano happy on the Cubs? He’s laughing all the way to the bank recognizing that chump Hendry is paying the tab for 4 more years! So yeah, he’s happy.

        • paulcatanese

          Even a short solution is not the answer with Castro in the leadoff spot, he still is learning the strike zone,and is still not a good baserunner at this point in his career,held back on stealing bases because of it.No I dont think leadoff is a good spot for him.I would think his confidence would suffer because of the pressure in that spot. I do agree though the Cubs desperatly need someone there. Probably DEWhitt,Baker platoon that has been mentioned before.

          • daverj

            I was thinking Young for Soriano plus $18 million ($2 million per year for each of the next three years to even out the salaries and then $12 million in 2014 so the Rangers would only be paying $6 million for Soriano in 2014). Very unlikely to happen, but there would be some benefits to both teams.

          • paulcatanese

            thats a good idea,probably not happen as you say but again good idea.

        • Tony_Hall

          That makes sense only if this is the year and Castro batting lead-off makes the difference. Otherwise, I want him in the 2 hole, where he belongs. No different than how our prospects would bat 3rd and 4th in the minors, even though as a major leaguer they project as a 1 or 2 hole hitter. Then they are brought up, and no one can understand why they were unsuccessful as a lead-off hitter.

    • cubs1967

      I do not see the Rangers wanting Soriano;s $75M for 4 years; however, if the Angels and Rockies are out on him; Texas does not have much leverage as the Dodgers or Mets cannot afford him due to ownership issues.
      So……..convince Texas that a $16M a year utility/bench player (how is napoli-torrelbea-mitch moreland-chris davis-young-david murphy) all gonna get enought bats at DH-1b-C???)–they aren’t.
      move Fukunuts/Silva/Baker for young. Texas gets a pitcher who had a great 1st half and a 1 yr contract, Fukunuts could play right and let Hamilton play CF (and avoid the walls) as Borbon struggled last year in CF, and Baker is their back-up ins for Kinsler/Beltre who won’t complain about not playing like Young. Plus all 3 have contracts that expire so Texas will have $16M from Young’s deal for 2012. Plus give them the $3M from seattle.
      Advantage Cubs–save about $8M this year (and that’s what it is really about w/ Pk McCaskey and family) plus have a back-up for Aram in 2012 if they do not pick up his option till Vitters is ready; if ever.
      Use the 8M to sign Pujols in 2012 as it looks like the Cards are blowing it w/ him.
      Plus Young can bat lead-off for 2011 till Castro is ready in 2012 or if Jackson is ready. Have Dewitt be the back-up for 2b/3b if injuries.
      AND, young make the team better and it should be about winning on the North side; not about having the highest tix price in MLB and the lowering of payroll 2 years runnin;!!

      year 103-no grace period-no championships!

      • Cheryl

        Sounds good. Now if only it could take place

      • Tony_Hall

        I actually like the idea. I would let ARam walk and plan on using Young to replace him.

    • Aaron

      That’s an excellent idea…I was thinking along those lines before when I wanted them to deal Soriano to the Mets for Beltran, Castillo, and Perez, where we’d take a significant hit in one year, but save more in the long run.

      Trading for Young would solve a TON of issues for us.
      1) He’s a versatile guy, having played 2B, SS, and 3B for the Rangers
      2) He’s a team player, having moved around for younger players
      3) He’s a high character guy, who never bitched,in public, or let it affect his play, despite all of his position switches AND trade rumors he’s had to deal with
      4) He’s known as a good teammate
      5) He’d solve a versatility issue for us, AND could become our everyday 2B
      6) He hits for power, drives in runs, but most importantly, hits for a high average

      Soriano had 2 good years with the Rangers, power-wise, and The Ballpark at Arlington is known as a launching pad. Given the fact he is no longer an everyday player in the field because of his legs, he’d make an excellent candidate for them at DH, and spell Cruz, Hamilton, and Borbon in the OF. He’d probably just about equal Vlad’s home run output from last year, but fall a little short in RBI…perhaps they’d overlook that?

      Anyway, I just wanted to say it was an excellent idea, and I hope both teams realize the deal makes sense on both sides. I just don’t think the Rangers can absorb the ty pe of money that Soriano is owed, 4 years and $76 million vs 3 years and $48 million owed Young. That’s an astounding $28 million difference!!!

      Neither of them is worth that kind of money, but given the choice, I’d choose Young over Soriano anyday.

      The Rangers are said to be seeking pitching in return for Young, so, perhaps if we absorb 100% of Soriano’s 4th year, or damn close to it, PLUS, include someone like Carpenter, Jay Jackson, etc., we might have a deal.

      Unfortunately, both Young AND Soriano would have to approve the trades with Soriano’s full no-trade and Young’s limited no trade clause to 8 teams, which happens to not include the Cubs.

      Even if they wouldn’t take Soriano, we could offer them Silva ($7.5 million owed from us), Baker ($1.175 million), Grabow ($4.5 million, which would solve a pen issue if they move Feliz to the rotation), plus one or two of our pitching prospects for Young and possibly even Chris Davis if we’re including that many players.

    • The Maven

      I’ve always maintained that the team that can best use someone like Soriano is the Detroit Tigers. They can use his bat, and have the money for his contract. Who would the Cubs get from the Tigers? Any junk they want to dump on us, as long as they didn’t have the same length of contract, would be better.

  • Bryan

    Curious….based on what logic does Colvin need to bat in the bottom third of the lineup for a full season? Why is everyone so adverse to thinking outside the old-time baseball model. Last year so many here were shouting that Castro wasn’t ready, he needed more time to “prove himself”, blah, blah, blah. This team is going nowhere in 2011….so think outside the box and let’s see what might happen. But oops, I forgot, you got Quade (I love my vets) as manager and JH scrambling to save his job.

    • John_CC

      I assume are asking me. Let me first state that I am a Colvin backer. I screamed for more playing time for him the whole season.

      Now it is just my opinion but Colvin did not show the discipline at the plate that a 3-4-5 hitter requires. He batted .250. I know, the Pena rants will rain down now (for the record I despise his BA too) but at least has proven he can hit 30+ HR and while he K’s too much he also walks a lot. But this isn’t about Pena. I digress.

      Let me ask you a question Bryan, how does “thinking outside the old-time” model of making a lineup look for you? Do you not want your best on base hitters up first and then followed by the teams very best hitters in order 3-4-5? Colvin simply is not one of the 3 best hitters on the team. He could be and he might be close, but in a sophomore year, I just don’t do it.

  • Tom U

    On Janurary 26, I mabe the following post concerning the Cubs being interested in signing a veteran middle infielder:

    “I find this trend disturbing. It seems like every other day, we are hearing independent reports on how good the Cubs’ farm system is becoming. Then, like a counter-puncher, Cubs management signs a veteran that seems past their prime. As much as ownership says that they are interested in building a team, it seems as if their hand-picked General Manager has other ideas. What appears to be looming is a power struggle between the General Manager and the Scouting Director. These situations have never worked out well for the Cubs in the past. Here’s hoping that ownership keeps a tight rein on the organization, and it doesn’t become short sighted by focusing just on the parent club.”

    Now we get reports from Bruce Levine the Augie Ojeda can break camp as part of the 25 man roster. My only hope is that he is wrong. If Ojeda is part of the 25 man roster, it is not an insignificant move. It would be a slap in the face of every shortstop and second baseman in the Cubs’ minor league system from AAA to Rookie League.

    If despite the successes of Darwin Barney, Marwin Gonzalez, Tony Thomas, and DJ LeMahieu the Cubs feel that a player like Ojeda belongs on the big league club, then they can possibly lose the confidence of many of their minor league players. The ripple effect could be staggering.

    If the Cubs feel they need to have a veteran “just in case”, why not have Ojeda play in Iowa? He is signed to a minor league contract, and Des Moines is only a 30 minute plane ride from Chicago. His veteran presence could also be helpful to some of the young players.

    • The Maven

      In a previous life, I was a teacher. The Cubs’ organization reminds me of a school that would keep a student at the third grade math level, and when the student was old enough for high school complain that the student can’t do algebra.

      Darwin Barney is 25 years old, Tony Thomas is 24, DJ LeMahieu will be 23 and Marwin Gonzalez will be 22. That doesn’t include Marquez Smith, Nate Samson, Junior Lake, and Ryan Flaherty. When do they get their chance?

      By the way, Augie Ojeda was 25 years old when he got hs first big league chance. He had only been playing professionally for three years and didn’t have a full season at Triple A. He had also hit and unassuming .280 in Triple A. His fielding percentage was pretty much equal to Barney’s at the same point in their minor league careers.

      • The Maven

        I just noticed this. According to Baseball Reference.com, some of the players Augie Ojeda is most similar to are Cubs’ immortals Davey Rosello, Junior Kennedy, and Manny Alexander. Whew! What a relief! I thought he was a combination of Don Kessinger and Shawon Dunston!

    • paulcatanese

      Boy,do I agree with that. Well said,Jolly good show.

    • Gary J

      You make a good point Tom

    • jw

      Interesting point about Ojeda…I think Hendry may have some sort of code or obligation that he is obliged to honor service time and his favorites Placing Ojeda in front of Barney is kind of like granting tenure in the Cub’s baseball system. However, I can see logic in allowing Barney to play everday at AAA…unless you make him your starter at the MLB level.