The biggest news out of the first day of on field workouts was the three-year, $20 million deal signed by Carlos Marmol. The Cubs backloaded the contract that buys Marmol out of his last two years of arbitration eligibility and his first year of free agency. Marmol received a $1 million signing bonus as a part of his $3.2 million salary for 2011. Marmol will receive $7 million in 2012 and $9.8 million in 2013. Marmol’s contract included a limited no-trade clause.
The Cubs debuted the commemorative patch they will wear this season for Ron Santo. Every uniformed member of the Cubs will wear a #10 patch in honor of the Cubs’ legend.
Here’s the update from Mesa with a couple of videos … and did Mike Quade refer to himself in the third person?
- With Carlos Marmol under contract, the Cubs’ Opening Day payroll will be right around $133 million … $12 million less than Opening Day of 2010.
- According to a report from Bruce Levine, Carlos Marmol received a $1 million signing bonus that will count toward his 2011 salary.
- Carlos Silva was sent home from practice on Monday with 103-degree temperature.
- The Cubs confirmed that Tyler Colvin and Jeff Baker will serve as Carlos Pena’s backups.
- Mark Riggins had the pitchers throw in groups of four on Monday, smaller groups than in previous springs under Larry Rothschild. Riggins also used two cameras to film the throwing sessions … a practice not used under Rothschild and something Bruce Miles has never seen used before at Cubs camp.
- Randy Wells admitted to losing focus at times last year. Wells has not been guaranteed a job and “he’s not approaching things as if he has a job this year.”
- Ryan Dempster likes the Cubs’ chances this year.
- Angel Guzman threw off a mound for the third time. But according to a report from Carrie Muskat, Guzman is a “long shot” to make the team out of camp. Guzman will hopefully throw a simulated game by mid-March.
- Carlos Zambrano wants to start Opening Day … but he’s okay with not starting the first game of the season. Z said it is up to Quade.
- Big Z doesn’t want to talk this year … he wants to “talk with his numbers” and his performance on the field. Z just wants to stay healthy, do his job and get off to a good start this season.
- Kerry Wood received his old locker and told the media, “We have the talent here to raise the expectations. We have a good enough team to surprise some people and win our division, no doubt.” Wood learned a lot during his time with the Yankees according to a report from Carrie Muskat.
Mark Riggins on XM Radio
The Cubs’ new pitching coach spent time with Casey Stern and Mel Antonen during MLB Roundtrip (XM Radio) on Monday night. Mark Riggins said the Cubs have a lot of exciting arms in camp … and it got deeper when they acquired Matt Garza and signed Kerry Wood.
Riggins explained the Cubs have 10 guys fighting for spots in the rotation. Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza, plus Carlos Silva and Randy Wells were in the rotation last year. The Cubs have five other pitchers vying for the last two spots.
Carlos Marmol was extremely excited about having his deal done. Riggins said the biggest thing they have to do with Marmol is cut down all the walks. The Cubs have him for three more years and they want him as fresh as possible.
As for Matt Garza pitching at Wrigley, Riggins admitted it could end up being a problem. Garza throws a lot of fastballs and challenges hitters. They have to get him to keep the ball down and in the park. The Cubs really like his attitude and he’s the type of player they are trying to bring in … one with a winning attitude that will help the team reach its goals.
The Cubs have to keep Carlos Zambrano focused on the game. Z is excited about the season and is in great shape. Riggins explained that Zambrano is very competitive and sometimes he loses control.
Carlos Silva is competing for a job this spring. The Cubs have to see what Silva can bring and he is not guaranteed a job in the starting rotation. The Cubs are not giving anyone a job based on how they played in the past.
Riggins knows all of the young pitchers from being the Cubs’ Minor League pitching coordinator. Riggins also knows many of the veteran pitchers due to being in big league camp the last three springs. Riggins said there are only a few pitchers he needs to get to know.
The Cubs were interested in signing Braden Looper last year. Looper wants to pitch in Chicago for the Cubs and he told Riggins could still get the job done. Riggins knows Looper rather well from their time together in St. Louis. The Cubs were very honest with Looper from the beginning and have not made any promises.
With Randy Wells, it all boils down to confidence. Riggins said Wells can get lost for a hitter or two and allow that to carry over. Plus, Wells has a tendency to carry over a bad start and that is one of the things that happened last year.
Jim Hendry told the group of pitchers on Monday that he feels this is the best group of arms the Cubs have had in camp. Riggins said it takes 16 to 18 pitchers to get through a season and the Cubs really like the depth they have … both at the big league and minor league levels.
Boys Of Spring
Don’t forget to check the latest post from Tim Sheridan … Day One. Sheridan included photos of Kerry Wood, Bobby Dernier, Mike Quade, Tyler Colvin, Darwin Barney, Blake DeWitt, Todd Wellemeyer and Reed Johnson.
Minor League News
On the day Brian Harper was introduced as the new manager of the Tennessee Smokies, the Cubs and Smokies announced a two-year extension to keep the Cubs’ Double-A team in Tennessee.
The Smokies have been the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate since 2007 and their current deal ran through the 2012 season. The two-year extension announced Monday expires after the 2014 season.
Since 2007, the Smokies have reached the post-season three times … and they figure to have a very good roster once again this season.
Tidbits from Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball checked in from Mesa on the Afternoon Saloon (ESPN 1000). Here are the highlights from Monday:
- According to Levine, the Cubs saved around $9 million by signing Carlos Marmol to a three-year deal on Monday.
- Marmol’s contract was agreed upon around five or six days ago but Marmol had some personal stuff to work out before signing the deal (Levine did not elaborate).
- Andrew Cashner will get a chance throughout camp to make the starting rotation.
- James Russell is working on his changeup as part of his preparation to compete for a job in the starting rotation.
- Russell admitted that he and Cashner were star-struck when they saw Kerry Wood. Russell said that Wood is a “God in Texas.”
- Randy Wells was not happy with the way he was depicted in the media last year. Wells is not a partier and did not go out partying with the Blackhawks for example.
- When Jeff Samardzija reported last week he was told that he would be pitching out of the bullpen. Samardzija is not one of the many pitchers competing for the final two spots in the rotation. Samardzija has to prove he can record outs in order to make the team as a reliever.
- Carlos Silva, Todd Wellemeyer and Braden Looper are in the mix for the backend of the rotation.
- Levine thinks that Mike Quade will sit the veterans if they do not perform … no matter the size of their contract.
- The Cubs really want Blake DeWitt to be the starting second baseman. DeWitt has been working with Rudy Jaramillo and they feel he’s made a lot of progress.
Video from Mesa
Quote of the Day … From Mike Quade in the Sun-Times’ report Quade may change Cubs, but not his ways: “I understand the magnitude, believe me, but it doesn’t do Mike Quade any good to get wrapped up in the magnitude. I’m more of a grinding, day-in, day-out guy. If we’re going to be successful here with me in charge, I have to stay in charge of myself and do what I need to do.”
Sounds like Quade spent a little time with Carlos Zambrano before he talked to the media.
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Well, there’s the update … and the CCO is sticking to it!