Day Three of Camp ‘Q’ … Pat Hughes Gets a New Partner and Other Cubs Notes

The first three days of Spring Training has been anything but quiet for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs and WGN Radio announced that Keith Moreland will be in the radio booth for the next three seasons. Moreland is extremely excited about being the Cubs’ new color analyst and teaming up with Pat Hughes.

According to multiple reports, the cover of the Cubs’ 2011 Media Guide features a montage tribute to Ron Santo … another nice move by the Cubs to honor #10.

As for the on the field news, Q’s crew was rather quiet with a couple of exceptions. Mike Quade announced the team would likely break camp with a 12-man pitching staff … with Andrew Cashner either in the rotation or in the pen according to a report from Jon Paul Morosi.

Here’s the update a day before position players report to Fitch Park and two days before the first full squad workout of the spring …

Keith Moreland
Keith Moreland was on the Afternoon Saloon (ESPN 1000) Wednesday afternoon. Zonk is excited about his new job and cannot wait to get to Arizona. Moreland is supposed to make the trip to Mesa on February 25. His first broadcast with Pat Hughes will be the Cubs’ Cactus League opener on February 27 (against the A’s at HoHoKam Park).

Moreland had a chance to spend a lot of time with the Cubs and WGN during the process.

Zonk said he will be honest during the broadcasts and call the action on the field the way he see it. Moreland explained that he usually says what is on his mind.

Moreland feels it will be a privilege to go to work at Wrigley 81 times a year.

During multiple interviews on Wednesday, Moreland explained that he would be himself and not try to replace Ron Santo. He feels that he has an advantage in calling game with Pat Hughes and Pat will make things easier for him.

Click here for a link to Keith Moreland’s interview on WGN Radio.

Andrew Cashner
FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi was in Mesa on Wednesday and penned a good report about a familiar name … Andrew Cashner.

Morosi spoke with Mark Riggins about Cashner and the Cubs’ new pitching coach sung his praises. Riggins believes Cashner’s future is in the rotation … and he could get the opportunity this season to prove it.

Riggins told Morosi that Cashner’s ability is among the top 10 pitchers that Riggins has ever seen. Riggins really liked what he saw from Cashner as a starter in the minors and he feels it will transfer to the big leagues.

Riggins said, “He has the ability. It’s a matter of harnessing that ability. You want to give him time to get the most out of himself. Hopefully, it’s this year. That’s what we’re hoping for. Obviously, what he did last year is still huge. We know he can do that. We want to try the other avenue and see what becomes of this.”

According to Morosi’s report, Cashner is a lock to make the roster out of camp … either as a starter or as a reliever.

Welington Castillo
According to a report from the Sun-Times, Welington Castillo finally reported to camp. From the Sun-Times: Catcher Welington Castillo arrived at camp after resolving visa issues — getting a playful smack on the back of the head from Tyler Colvin when they saw each other in the clubhouse for the first time since Castillo’s broken bat head impaled Colvin in Florida last September.

News, Notes and Tweets

Pujols.jpg
Some pictures are worth more than a thousand words … or $300 million.
According to a report from Chicago Now, the Cubs have the resources and the need, and execs feel they will pursue either Prince Fielder or more likely Pujols. “They’ll give him the A-Rod deal,” one exec opined. “They’ll give him $33 million or $34 million for seven years,” guessed another exec.

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Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Quote of the Day

"Change is inevitable, but personal growth is a choice." - Bob Proctor
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  • http://www.givejonadollar.com/ Give Jon a Dollar

    That picture of Pujols is going on my Facebook. And, I look forward to hearing Keith Moreland. Hoping for a great year!

  • Cubsaz

    Neil, always a great Cubs rundown! Thanks for the mention and links, although I’m still going by the name Tim Sheridan. Tom is an alias I seldom use anymore now that I’ve stopped running guns and black market video games in the Yukon.

    • Tony_Hall

      Tim – Love your website and all of the pictures. They help us, stuck in the midwest to feel like we are there, in the sun, watching our favorite team.

      • Cubsaz

        Thanks Tony, much appreciated! Neil, no worries on the blown cover. You can only do that stuff for so long in this day and age without it coming to light…even in the Yukon.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Tim, sorry I blew your cover. Thanks and I corrected the typo.

  • Tony_Hall

    Neil – you are teasing us now. I would love to see Pujols in a Cubs uniform, and now I have and it didn’t cost $300M. This is going to be a huge story for the next 8-10 months and we will be the principal target for a lot of the rumors.

  • fryegye

    It’s really a matter of perspective, isn’t it? $33M a year for one player? Crazy!
    $19M a year for Soriano, $14M a year for Fukudome…Crazier! But even with that said, I just can’t see the Cubbies going deep on this one. The pic does make me snicker, though.

  • cubtex

    Pujols is not going anywhere! He will NEVER leave the Cardinals and the Cardinals could not let that happen! Pujols and his agent are just trying to squeeze as much as they can out of the Cardinals. He will sign during the 5 day period when only the Cardinals can negotiate with him before free agency!

    • Tony_Hall

      He may be back with the Cardinals in 2012, but I just don’t see them getting this close, and not testing the waters, if only to drive up the price.

  • paulcatanese

    Neil,another good post,plenty of fuel for the day.I’ll start off with Pujols. If that is a rumor or a fact about the Cubs after him at the end of the year could and will cause a great disturbance for the team all year. It is insane that they would even consider it. It may well backfire for the Cubs relationship with the fans. Think about it,with todays economy and all of the people out of work,how in the world can they justify that kind of money?, for someones ego? Give me a break.It gets sicker every day.When someone can give a justification for this madness I will gladly listenand recant.

  • Aaron

    I wish people would stop talking about Pujols tot he Cubs. Great, he’d be an awesome addition, but there’s also the allegations of PED’s abuse, specifically HGH….AND he’s also made derogatory comments about the Cubs and more specifically Wrigley Field in the past.

    Other than that, yes, I could see him signing with the Cubs…LOL

    But that’s not the only reasons I think Pujols to the Cubs is a silly idea. Here are a list of prohibiting factors:
    1) He genuinely hates the Cubs and Wrigley Field
    2) He is from the Missouri area, so while he was born outside the country, he’s still a native son of Missouri, and his family supposedly loves St. Louis
    3) He has a strong relationship with LaRussa. If LaRussa retires/resigns at the end of the season, I could see him leaving, but if the Cards win, the chances of him leaving are about the same as Oprah holding a consistent weight
    4) Welcome to LeBron part two…Nobody truly considered the Heat as the frontrunners for his services. Everyone thought it was between Chicago, NY, and the Nets. My guess is that Pujols is either staying with the Cards, or will go to a team not really talked about, such as the Royals, Marlins, and Nationals—teams with solid young cores and plenty of money to spend, especially the Marlins, who are moving to a new stadium.
    5) This is probably the most important factor too…..The Cubs have about $25 million reasons to not sign Pujols, and that’s NOT taking into consideration his salary. That’s the approximate interest payment per season the Ricketts must pay.

    Would Pujols change the face of the franchise? You bet your ass he would. Would he be an excellent addition? Absolutely. He’s been the most consistent hitter that baseball has ever seen dating all the way back to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In fact, he’s put up similar stats to both of them…But it’s simply impossible to believe that an average of a .331/.426/.624 slash line, along with an average of 44 doubles, 42 hr, and 128 RBI isn’t aided by PEDs….I will say this though…..despite those allegations, he’s one of the best fielders and smartest baserunners in all of baseball.

    I guess we’ll see what happens, but the Pujols talk is ridiculous, especially given his comments not only about the Cubs, but about wanting to be a Cardinal for life.

    I think it’s much more likely that we’ll see a Fielder, AGON, or Swisher type of signing, and quite honestly, if it were Fielder, I wouldn’t be all that upset given his age (28 in 2012). His weight is a huge concern, but if you lose out on Pujols, you better get the next best one on the market, and Fielder certainly fits that description.

    • Last_ginger

      Hes not using PEDs. Get proof before you make stupid comments such as this.

      • paulcatanese

        I believe Aaron did not say he WAS using PEDs but that their were alligations of use.Thats not really the same thing as using.You could have said the same thing about Bonds,no one could increase their power as he did and strentgh without thinking about steriod and his use of them. I’m not saying Bonds is guilty or innocent,thats for the courts. It was not a stupid comment just an observation.

      • Aaron

        exactly what Paul said….better read the actual posting before you go off the deep end…

    • cubtex

      Exactly Aaron! Pujols cares about his image in the St.Louis community! He saw the backlash of the LeBron fiasco. The talk about him signing with another team is a waste of time! What we have here is a player who is tired of giving St. Louis a home town discount and wants to cash in and be paid! The Cardinals will sign him before he even hits free agency!

      • studio179

        “What we have here is a player who is tired of giving St. Louis a home town discount and wants to cash in and be paid!”

        Also, he has pressure from the players union to cash in and get paid.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I personally “suspect” Pujols is a roids user.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Pujols? PUJOLS? We don’t need no stinkin’ Pujols. We’ve already got Mr. .196.

      • paulcatanese

        Morning Rip,Its snowing like ==== out here in Sunny Ca. But my point was did you see the blog where Mr.196 has no deadline on talking extension?Boy is that looking ahead or what. He hasn’t even played a game yet. I guess if you sign for 10 mil with a 196 average he thinks its in line for an extension. Ah,the days of high finance are upon us.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I was reading where Mr. .196 fielding last year was sub-standard. He had a negative UZR (which means he was below the MLB average 1B in fielding). Well, at least he’s good for the clubhouse!

          • paulcatanese

            Veddy Veddy interesting Rip,then what was the 10 mil for,Ha ha ha

        • Tony_Hall

          Paul – I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw the tweet about Pena not having a deadline for an extension. Absolutely hilarious, how these guys think.

    • paulcatanese

      I would like to see Swisher,probably more affordable than the other two,and Fielder maybe thats just his body type.Maybe “Slim fast” would work,or put him on an incentive program,so many dollars for pounds lost. Then again he dosen’t seem to slow up when he hits it out of the park, and no need to run fast. Trying to be a bit humerous here,really not poking fun at him.

    • Dorasaga

      Aaron, I agree with the LeBrons thing coming back. But I never heard of ANY “allegations” of PEDs to Pujols. It’s just like Pujols was NOT “an adult playing kids” during his high school and college years, as some scouts and his opponents loved to scam him to cover up their failure being over-matched. (And being a Latino who didn’t speak great English when he was a kid, Pujols was an easy target.)

      I also hope you can tell us what Pujols said that sound like he hated the Cubs and Wrigley Field. I enjoyed your analysis of GM Hendry’s thinking pattern from his past record. But I don’t know if you had done the same for Pujols.

      The achievement of Pujols should not be denied because of any accusations without solid proof.

      As for the money, I defended him before and I will do so now: It’s baseball money. The owners of baseball make a lot more than what players are making. A bigger contract does not equate to a more expensive ticket to your favorite game.

      The owners have a bunch of statisticians and business analysts to formulate a ticket pricing that fans are still willing to pay, increased or not. Having a star player, whether home-grown or bid-won in the free agent market, will factor into that pricing structure only because the star player gives fans hope and attracts them to the ballgame (ah, that’s so Cubbie).

      I’m not going to bore you guys with economics, but let’s think about what’s at stake with the Cubs.

      Will you rather enjoy watching Tyler Colvin play first base? or a Hall of Famer there? Should we “wait until all the prospects played out?” or win that damn World Series as soon as possible?

      As long as there is a plan for winning, then I have no problem outbidding the Cardinals for Pujols, or the Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez.

      The Red Sox signed J.D. Drew at his rightful market price, and GM Epstein was bashed for doing such a “mistake.” Guess what, they had their second World Series championship in three years.

      It’s not about paying more or less for ANY certain player. A responsible franchise should be winning for the fans. If the Ricketts is serious about winning, then they might be able to afford selling part of the Cubs to find a Hall of Famer (2% of the share for Pujols looks good, methinks):

      http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2011/02/cubsnews021511.php#comment-148182313

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

    Isn’t it funny that with all the great information in this article that one thing everyone is talking about is Pujols? I do like pitcher I would rather just discuss current Cubs rather than worry about what will happen next year. Or even the end of this year that has not even started yet.

    Great pic by the way I sent it to all my Cardinal fan friends claiming he was traded for Pena and Samardija and it was from the press conference.

    • paulcatanese

      Richard,don’t blame me, It was all Neil’s idea,he put the picture there. Neil this is supposed to be a joke.

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

        I do not blame anyone. It just amazes me how everyone is already thinking about Pujols and next off season and we haven’t even had a ST game yet.

        • paulcatanese

          Actually Richard,I put that response out there to rub a little joke on
          Neil,I didn’t mean it the way it sounded,I thought Neil would get a laugh
          out of it. And Pujols,its just getting started and I think the comments are
          brought about by some of the ones that are out there,Incl. the Cubs.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I was flooded with Pujols stuff yesterday and thought I should pass on one of the photos that ended up in my Twitter account.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    RT @cst_cubs Pena setting no deadline if cubs want to talk extension: ‘I’m open.’ about an hour ago

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha LOL!
    Pena is a nice guy and all but if he thinks he’s getting an exstension he’s out of his mind HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    • paulcatanese

      Patrick, after some of the contracts that have been handed out lately,he may be thinking he could sneak that one in. I also had to laugh when I read it. By the way snowing like all get out.Only get it once or twice a year. Feel like I’m back in Chi town today.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        I live 2 hours west of Chi town, it’s in the 60’s right now.

        • Ripsnorter1

          What town? I am not far from you . . . .

          • Tony_Hall

            Guys – I have been working in Dixon, are you guys close to there?

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            Yes, I live about 15 minutes away in sterling

          • Tony_Hall

            Would love to meet up sometime, I live just over an hour away in Rockton, IL, but have been working in Dixon and am there most everyday during the week.

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            Sounds, good I don’t drink but maybe we could get a bite to eat or something. Are you on Facebook? If u are I’ll send u a message with my cell number. I don’t want to post it in the comment section.

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            I sent you a friend request on facebook

          • Ripsnorter1

            Orangeville, IL. I am only 40 miles from Tony. I was down in Sterling today at Midas muffler. Love it. And Sandwich isn’t too far away, either. I noticed we have a comment from Sandwich, too.

            Love the CCO!

          • Tony_Hall

            Got it. We need to meet and a have a meal. You too Rip!

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            Sterling, IL in Whiteside County

        • paulcatanese

          Yeah,well I’m watching the Cubs right now beat Houston 8-0 in the 6th and Sori just made a diving catch. DVR’s are great, I have a couple of games taped that I watch over and over(still snowing though).

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            Yeah, I can’t wait for baseball to start I don’t have any games recorded but I watched Bull Durham for the 100th time last weekend. I think I am going to watch ” The Rookie” this weekend.

          • paulcatanese

            Patrick,I always tape the games so I can fast forward through the
            commercials. My favorites are Bull Durham(have been to that park),The
            Rookie,and For love Of the Game,Tin Cup. Costner looks like he was a pretty
            good athlete
            But not old enough for the Cubs yet.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        The only possible way I could see Pena getting an exstension is if Vitters figures things out and he and Lemahieu tear it up this year and the Cubs see them as their corner infielders of the future and want to give Vitters one more year of seasoning in the minors.

        Pujols is a stud, but no player is worth the kind of money he is asking!! I would rather have Fielder at a lower price and for less years while he is in his prime he will be 28 next year.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Patrick, I think Pena was joking … I took it that way and laughed.

      http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/3193/pena-too-early-to-talk-free-agency

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        Thanks Neil, I read it, it’s nice to see Pena has a goog sense of humor, I think I am going to like him.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2M4WLECPTZYYRH2MZH3HW6IDU John G

    I’ve been gone during the off season. Now that Spring Training is back, so am I.

    Nice photoshop, Neil, but I think the Spring Fever has gotten to you.

    As for Keith Moreland … He’s not Ron Santo, but nobody is. And all I can think of is this line from one of my all time favorite songs.

    Have the Cubbies run right out into the middle of the field,
    Have Kieth Moreland drop a routine fly
    Give everybody two bags of peanuts and a frosty malt
    And I’ll be ready to die

    Santo’s in Heaven,
    The Cubs win in eleven.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      John, I cannot take credit for the photoshop job. Gotta love twitter, it is amazing what you can receive.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    I live about 15 minutes away

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    I live about 15 minutes away in sterling

  • Tony_Hall

    An article about some athlete in the St Louis region of Missouri

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2011/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=6131649

    • John G

      Poor guy needs more money to buy a decent pair of shorts.
      And what’s with the lipstick? Is that a way of showing his Cardinal “redness”?

    • paulcatanese

      Tony,excellent top of the line article He really captured the Pujols story. Greed,greed and greed.Don’t these guys realize what they are doing to the game? It may well be the straw that broke,well you know. Maybe a salary cap would not be overlooked in the future,I don’t know, but something needs to happen.

      • Tony_Hall

        I would be in favor of a salary cap, as long as it doesn’t have all of the loopholes of some of the other major sports caps. I would also be in favor a max salary system, somewhat like the NBA.

        But until the rest of the owners and the players union is willing to stand up to the Yankees, it will never happen. The players love having a team that keeps raising the bar for salaries, and the other owners, love cashing the Yankees, “spread the wealth” checks.

        What does it all mean, is we, the fan are expected to pay the bill. I for one don’t want to pay their bill, I have enough of my own.

        • paulcatanese

          I would also be in favor of a cap. I agree it’s the fans that will pay.I
          have one advantage out here,I only have the Giants and the A’s to go to see
          and I’m not into either team. Last time I was there year 2000 to see the
          Cubs and the tickets were comp. So I won’t be paying to the Cubs,but would
          like the opportunity to see them anyway.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil
    • paulcatanese

      Neil,very touching article.