Pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park in just two days …
Several of the players are already in Mesa preparing for the start of camp. Those that have yet to show up to Fitch Park are in route … and that goes for Jim Hendry and Mike Quade as well.
Hendry and Quade are expected to meet with the media on Sunday, prior to the pitchers and catchers first official workout of the spring on Monday.
The Cubs are reportedly still working on long-term contract with Carlos Marmol as Tuesday’s arbitration hearing looms. The Cubs and Marmol are expected to avoid his arbitration hearing by settling on a one-year contract or agreeing to a multi-year deal before the February 15 deadline.
The Cubs announced their 2011 TV schedule on Thursday … and the Opening Day game against the Pirates (Friday, April 1) will be broadcast on WGN.
Here’s the rest of the update that includes a minor league signing …
Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald got a chance to talk to Mike Quade before he left for Mesa. Here are a few of the highlights … click here for the entire blog post.
- Quade is more than ready to get going.
- Pat Listach (Quade’s bench coach) will plan and run the day-to-day activities in Spring Training.
- Bruce Miles expects Quade to be more hands on in Spring Training than Lou Piniella was during his tenure.
- With all of the position-player spots just about set, “there probably won’t be a chance for a kid like Brett Jackson to pull a Tyler Colvin and force his way onto the team in Spring Training.”
- All of the kids will have a chance to make an impression according to Miles.
- Quade has not made out lineups yet because a lot can happen in Spring Training. Miles came to the conclusion that means the leadoff spot is still up in the air.
- As for the fundamentals of the game, Quade told Miles … “My thing is just making sure that this group understands how important it is to us winning ballgames and how vital it is to playing for me and expecting to win. All quality fundamentals do is give you a chance to win championships.” If you don’t have solid fundaments, “you better out-talent the living daylights out of people, and I think it’s just a very rare situation where you’ve got so much talent that you can relax in all of these other areas and still win.”
USA Today’s 100 Names for the 2011 Season
USA Today began releasing names on their annual list of the 100 young players in baseball that every fan should know. The top 50 players have not been revealed yet but two of the young players in the Cubs’ system have already made the list.
The player’s are not necessarily top prospects but “rather ones most likely to make a mark in 2011.”
63. Brett Jackson – “The Cubs have spent several years searching the trade and free agent markets, looking for impact outfielders. Jackson is about ready to fulfill that wish without a lot of glitz or fanfare. This is the season he’ll get eased into the majors, probably with an in-season call-up or two. It might take more than a couple of cameos for his all-around effectiveness to sink in. Just 22, he can play any of the outfield positions, run well and hit the ball hard to all fields. He’s not spectacular in any of those areas, but has hit .303 while moving through five of the six levels of the farm system in two seasons.”
69. Darwin Barney – “He’s just the kind of overachiever that turns into a Wrigley Field favorite. A slick fielder, Barney, 25, isn’t going to unseat Starlin Castro, who is often spectacular. But he also can play second and third bases. He can take a walk, steal a base and play situational baseball. In other words, he’s just the kind of player who can carve out a long-term niche on a National League bench. Of course, that’s exactly the description Detroit’s Will Rhymes carried around the minors until he got a chance last year and became the Tigers’ starter.”
The CCO will update if more young Cubs make USA Today’s countdown.
As Spring Training approaches, the addition of Matt Garza to the Cubs’ rotation is making more and more noise in the mainstream media.
Kevin Kennedy and Jim Bowden (XM Radio) really like the addition of Garza to the Cubs’ rotation. Kennedy feels the Cubs will be better than most people think and Bowden thinks Garza will win 18 games for the Cubs this season.
Harold Reynolds talked about the addition of Garza on the Mully and Hanley Show. Reynolds said the former Tampa Bay Ray is “one of the top ten pitchers in baseball.”
“When you look back at what Tampa has done: making that run to the World Series and then being as competitive as they were in the American League East as quick as they were. It was when they got Matt Garza in that trade from the [Minnesota] Twins, things changed. And he changed that pitching staff.”
“This guy is a gamer. Every fifth day just give him the baseball. And he’s not just going to go out there and throw. He’s prepared. He has good stuff. And I think coming from the American League makes him even better. He’s a true No. 1, I think it will really show up this year.”
Minor League Addition
According to a report from Baseball America, the Cubs signed outfield T.J. Baxter. The 25-year old outfielder was the Orioles’ 24th round pick in the 2008 draft.
Baxter (6’1″, 208 lb.) hit .243/.318/.361/.679 in 106 games at the A-ball level last season with 16 doubles, four triples and eight home runs. Baxter played both outfield corner spots (15 in right, 31 in left) and 25 games at first base. Baxter even took the mound for a game.
Bruce Levine previewed the Cubs pitching staff on ESPN Chicago. The Cubs have a lot of pitching depth. Jeff Samardzija will battle for a spot in the pen. Andrew Cashner, Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, James Russell, Casey Coleman, Todd Wellemeyer and Braden Looper will compete for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation.
As for the pen … John Grabow and Scott Maine could be the second and third lefties behind Sean Marshall. Chris Carpenter and Jay Jackson will compete for a spot in the pen.
Bruce Levine also looked at four keys to the Cubs’ success in 2011 … Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, the bullpen and outfield run production.
Barry Rozner asked … Albert Pujols to the Cubs? According to Rozner, crazier things have happened.
Jeff Samardzija is too proud to jump to football. According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Samardzija is happy that he has a defined role going into Spring Training. Samardzija will compete for a spot in the bullpen … not in the starting rotation.
Last but not least … Just a reminder to check Tim Sheridan’s blog, Boys of Spring. Tim does an excellent job and his blog is a must read during this time of year. If you stop by, tell Tim the CCO sent you.
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Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.