Day Eight of Camp ‘Q’ … Dempster Gets the Nod and Other Cubs Notes

The first pitch of the Cubs’ Cactus League schedule is five days away …

The Cubs continued making headlines as the second week of Spring Training began Monday. Mike Quade had a meeting with Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza and told the top pitchers in his rotation which one would be getting the ball on Opening Day.

Quade gave Dempster the nod and announced Zambrano and Garza would be slotted behind Dempster to begin the season. The choice of Ryan Dempster as the Cubs Opening Day starter also means Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza will pitch the first two games of the year against the Brewers in Milwaukee (April 8 – April 10)

The Cubs also announced Monday that Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza would pitch in the Cactus League opener Sunday against the A’s.

Here’s the update from Mesa …

Ryan Dempster on WGN Sports Night
Ryan Dempster joined Dave Kaplan, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas Monday evening. Dempster discussed his big day and how Spring Training has been so far.

The interview began with Dempster talking about his relationship with Carlos Zambrano. Dempster and Zambrano have been teammates for a long time. He has a lot of respect for Zambrano and he realizes how much starting on Opening Day means to him. Dempster thought the way Zambrano handled the news Monday showed the strides he’s made in his maturity.

After Mike Quade broke the news to his top three pitchers, Dempster wondered how Zambrano felt. What Z said put Dempster’s mind at ease. Zambrano did not have to say anything but Dempster was glad he did.

Dempster said the beginning of Spring Training is always good … some years are better than others. Everyone in the locker room feels like they have a real good team, they just have to prove it on the field.

Mike Quade has been great with the players but has also been very demanding according to Dempster. The Cubs have to play hard every day, every game.

Dempster mentioned the new guys are very motivated and Kerry Wood is ready to go. The guys from Tampa (Matt Garza, Carlos Pena and Fernando Perez) are looking forward to playing in front of a full house in front of the greatest fans in all of baseball.

Ryan Dempster sounded upbeat and ready to go … plus Dave Kaplan gave him an idea of a prank he could play on Reed Johnson.

News, Notes and Tweets
Dave Kaplan is in Mesa and passed on a few tidbits Monday night. Mike Quade has been great with the media. Kaplan brought up the story about Quade discussing the media when he addressed his team last Saturday. The players were told the local media is a ‘monster’ but something they must embrace on a daily basis.

According to Kaplan, Quade is the ultimate communicator. He is going from field to field, carrying a fungo bat, making sure drills are getting completed.

Greg Maddux is expected in camp on Thursday according to Kaplan.

According to a report from Carrie Muskat, expect to see Tyler Colvin starting games at first base about a week into the Cactus League schedule. Quade said what he’s seen from Colvin at first base has been great, physically, so far.

Todd Wellemeyer will be looked at as a starter and a reliever. If Wellemeyer makes the team out of camp, it would likely be as a reliever.

Mike Quade got to face Scott Rice in batting practice Monday. Rice was one of the last pitchers to throw and the hitters had to leave for a scheduled meeting with Rudy Jaramillo. Quade stepped in the box so the lefty could get his work in.

Tim Sheridan (Boys Of Spring) posted great photos from last weekend at Fitch Park.

According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs will begin the season with a five-man rotation. Quade might “bounce” the fifth starter from time-to-time due to days off, but not early in the season.

Friday, April 1 will be Ryan Dempster’s third Opening Day assignment. Dempster pitched the first game of the year for the Florida Marlins in 2001 and 2002.

Aramis Ramirez feels strong and is hoping for a bounce-back season according to a report from the Tribune. The Tribune also speculated that the Cubs would not pick up the club option on Ramirez for 2012.

Kerry Wood spoke with Bruce Miles about returning to the Cubs, the 2003 NLCS, his time in New York and his 20-strikeout game.

Ken Rosenthal feels the Cubs are being undersold.

Matt Garza is ready to roll according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.

Video from Mesa

View more videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com.

Notes from the CCO
Just because the off-season is over, it doesn’t mean the CCO’s coverage of the Cubs is coming to an end. The CCO will be at the first four games of the Cubs’ Cactus League schedule. There will be tweets, photos and video. Plus, one of the staples of the CCO returns Sunday.

For those new to the site, the CCO provides game previews to every game (even in the spring) that provides info as well as a way to discuss the games as they are happening. The first “Talkin’ Cubs Live” of the spring launches in just five days …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO
The CCO is now on Facebook

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

Quote of the Day

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anais Nin
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  • Patrick_Schaefer

    Is Quade giving Dempster the start over Big Z a sign of things to come? Players earning jobs as opposed to being entitled to them Hopefully!!!

    • Bryan

      Who’s earned what? There hasn’t been a pitch made yet in the spring season, so nobody’s earned anything. Candidly it doesn’t matter who gets the ball on opening day, but it would have been nice to see the guys throw a bit in real games before pronouncing the rotation on February 21st. By weeks end we’ll probably have Quade announcing the opening day lineup as well.

      • paulcatanese

        I agree with you,Quade had said he would play the best or hottest players over anyone. I will wait and see. The first three pitchers in any order was a no brainer for him. And now he plans to give Colvin starts at first base and thinks he can handle it,why didn’t he think that at the end of last season,could have saved the Cubs ten mil. It’s true he responds to the media well,but I have said this before,how much is for the media and how much of it is true? In reality,I hope Patrick is correct with players earning a spot. But also in reality, Bryan there’s a good chance you are also right. Myself, I see vets playing for Quade and youngsters only after prolonged failure by the vets,hope I am wrong.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        Dempster earned it by being a reliable pitcher since he’s been in a cubs uniform. Everytime he starts you feel like we got a good chance to win. He’s not an ace but a very solid pitcher. He works extremely hard during the offseason and comes to camp in shape and ready to compete.

  • Tony_Hall

    Talkin Cubs Live…can’t wait to get some real games, so we can stop talking about what we think, versus, what is happening.

    Quade is running a much more demanding camp, that is good to see. Let them know that someone is paying attention, and the “effort” will be increased where the attention is being focused. At the major league level, you need lots of skills, but even in the majors, the difference is in th effort. We have all seen, the lack of effort by certain players, and the whole team the last few years. If anyone wants to know what effort can get you, look at Marlon Byrd. If all players gave his effort, on every play, this team would be very competitive…this year.

    Let’s hope that Q, is wathcing the effort, on every drill and every play this year.

    • nick_ss

      Tony, I am with you, I cannot wait to see the words “Talkin Cubs Live”!!

      And I am also with you and Patrick, I really like that Quade gave the ball to Demp for Opening Day. From everything I have read and seen, I am really liking the way Quade is running camp this year. I love the fact that he actually stepped into the box during live BP.

      I am really looking forward for this season to get started!! People can call me a “rah rah fan” or “Blue Kool-Aid Drinker”, I don’t give a rat’s ass!! I am ready for some Cubs baseball!!!

  • Tony_Hall

    Knocking Zambrano out of the slot as the Opening Day Starter, also could be the best thing that has happenend to him, well at least since being demoted to the bullpen and going to anger management classes. IF (there’s that word again) he can actually show, just a little, maturity, he could be very good again.

    • Last_ginger

      One of the reasons that Z got bumped was due to the Brewers series. He’s in line to start the first game against the Brewers and Quade said he “couldn’t get over those performances in Milwaukee”.

      • Tony_Hall

        I think his horrendous Opening Day starts, for many years, has alot more to do with it, then the who he matches up on start 2. But it is alot softer to say that is the reason, then to point out the horrendous opening day starts he has had in the past.

        • paulcatanese

          Like your’e style Tony,goe’s for the other posts today also. You have the infinity to put the right words in the right place at the right time.

  • jw

    We’ll see what good communication and a unfied purposeful approach can do. I am very excited about this. The guy is a straight shoooter, makes the decision when he needs to and makes good decsions…the guys respect him and I think will play hard for him. Giving the start to Dempster is the right move…Z has not pitched well on opening games…you can’t give it to the newcomer Garza. The move needed to be done now because the pitching coach needed it to schedule the training in the spring…seeems organized to me. I also listened to Pena on the radio last night…the guy may be full of BS we don’t know him but he sounded very bright and had a great disposition…he talked about how important it was to have a team with a common purpose working together and how that could beat greater talent. He spoke highly of the man he referred to as “Q” as a great communicator with an excellent understanding of the game.

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

    You know we keep having IF’s attached to everything this year it seems like. But what is really sad is most of the If’s have to do with pride and maturity.

    If ARAM can bounce back. He should be so upset about his numbers the first half from last year that there should not be any IF to it if there is still the ability he should have the focus to get it done.

    If Z can finally harness all he has. This one is all maturity. If we are still waiting on Z to grow up this year all other IF’s are irrelevent.

    If Tony Pena hits over .196 um I do not see how he can not hit under .200 again and ever expect to play in the majors. So this one is HAVE A LITTLE PRIDE IN YOURSELF.

    If the bullpen is as good as advertised. I think it is a top 5 Bullpen with Cashner in Woods role and a top 10 with the chances Wood is going to get injured. So health is the major one here but this if is not that much of a stretch especially with the depth that we have chomping at the bit for a chance.

    If the middle infield comes together defensively………….. Yeah I think a year older and an offseason of getting drilled on it all winter long is going to help.

    If Garza becomes the potential ACE everyone thought he should be. Well I think that this one is maturity as well. He has the stuff he just needs a chance.

    If Soto becomes a Run Producer we need. I think this one is just maturity and trust. If Quade and Hendry trust Soto to handle the catching 5 games a week his numbers should explode.

    There is no If’s that can change our opinion of Soriano. He is a decent player for what he is. He just makes a lot more than he is worth. It happens remember Giambi and Yankees. These contracts happen from time to time.

    If Byrd has a full year like the first half of last year. On this one Byrd is ready to prove that he can. Very Motivated.

    See most of our IF’s even though there are a lot of them, are very simple matters of professional pride and maturity. So this these guys last go around if they stumble they will be gone by the AllStar Break.

    • paulcatanese

      Richard,you get three stars on this post,three being the highest. IF has been the most used word in the lat month and I have used it almost daily,two little letters,who would think they would mean so much in the scheme of things to come.

  • cubtex

    Name one team in baseball who doesn’t have IF’s???? I am not saying the Cubs have the same talent as Boston but…….take them for example! IF Josh Beckett can stay healthy and be the Josh Beckett of old! IF Jacoby Ellsbury can stay healthy all year! If Jonathon Papellbon can be more consistent this year! If AGON is fully recovered from shoulder surgery! IF Dustin Pedroia is fully recovered!

    You get my point! Every team has IF’s. Even the favored teams. That is why games are not won on paper…it usually comes down to health, and having your key players having big years!

    • Tony_Hall

      Of course every team has IF’s, it just how many each team has, and how many need to happen to make the team competitive. The Red Sox have their IF’s, but if they don’t happen, the team will still be competitive. If we don’t get most of our IF’s, it could be a long year. That is how a team like San Diego, could be in contention, all the way to the end last year. They had most of their IF’s happen.

      • cubtex

        Isn’t that what I said? I said I am not comparing the Cubs talent to Bostons but they have IF’s just like everyone else! If their IF’s don’t happen, they will still will be competitive BUT they don’t win! I am saying the same thing. You don’t win on paper and that is why San Francisco won the World Series last year!!!

        • Tony_Hall

          Actually they may still win, as NO team has all of their IF’s come through. Boston can have Beckett not be dominate, Ellsbury not stay healthy, Papelbon ditto last year, AGon have a slow 1st year in a new town, Pedroia not be back to being the MVP, and they could still win, IF…

          You don’t win on paper, but you can usually get a good idea of what teams will be competitive, all year, by what you see on paper. There are surprise teams, every year, and I think SF having enough offense was a surprise last year, but no one could have doubted they had a pitching staff, great enough to go to the WS.

  • Dorasaga

    Is it me or Marmol looks out of shape? Well, he still has 37 days to work out and reduce that fatty belly, but… He looked SO MUCH BETTER back when he joined the Winter League the year and before (with WBC 2009, I guess), when he pitched a bellavue with good conditioning of two remarkable seasons as a consequence of working tense his winter longer than most others.

    Reference, Tim Sheridan’s:

    • Dorasaga
      • paulcatanese

        Wow! Your’e right he need to start taking water pills. Maybe thats why he throws in a 3/4 slot.can’t get it over the top. I’m sure he will lose any excess by the time the season starts. By the way,check out Rami,same thing and he said he put on a few extra lbs and feels great.

  • nick_ss

    Neil, I haven’t been able to post as much as I would like, but just wanted to say I try to read the site as much as I can, Thank You guys very much for your continued hard work with the greatest Cubs site around.
    Looking forward to another year of Cubs baseball on the CCO!!

    • paulcatanese

      Nick nice to hear from you,I will be missing a few days myself but will continue to read. Won’t be able to post two days from now until very late.Know how you feel.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Nick, great to hear from you. Thanks and I can’t believe this is the sixth full season of the CCO. Talkin’ is just around the corner … and my wife cannot believe it either.

      Hope the family is doing well.

      • nick_ss

        Six Years already!! Wow, where has the time gone?!?!

        The family is doing great, our daughter just turned one! It has been a Very busy year, but it has been So much fun!! Thanks for asking!

        I hope everything is going well with you guys also!

  • cubs1967

    why was this ownership; the P.K. McCaskeys’ allowed to buy this team??
    raise tix prices; lower payroll.
    can’t afford to rehab wrigley.
    can’t afford to build a new spring training complex to replace HoHoKam Dump.

    read the twitter post about no wrigleyville west until AFTER the stadium is built…….WTF……..Mesa votes just got screwed by them. NO integrity these owners.

    that was a HUGE part of the stadium deal was to have a retail-entertainment area next to the park so fans stop going to Tempe Scottsdale, and the Old Town area.

    Ricketts should be ashamed.

    And to top it off; the new stadium won’t be as “shiny” as the new parks (glendale-sox/LA or the new one for d’backs/rockies) becuz they are gonna focus on training instead……..WTF—No, what you really mean is the cost overruns over $99M are on the PK/Ricketts family and they don’t have the money so they’ll “cheapen” the stadium ……..for the #1fan base in AZ-Cubs fans who have had to attend the Ho Kam Dump all these years. been there; never again till the new one is built………and then again go to Old Town becuz NOTHING retail wil have been built by the pennypinching Ricketts.

    BS!

    how in the world can 1 team have over 100 years of crappy ownership spread amongst 3 owners-wrigley, trib, now the PK McCaskey family!!

    103 yrs and counting, no grace period, no championships

  • BosephHeyden

    Just thought I’d share something that I ran across on my YouTubing. Enjoy?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjbacjBm0jc&feature=player_embedded

  • Aaron

    I just have to say this about the Cubs, who actually have a higher payroll than our cross-town rivals.

    Just do a positional analysis:
    Buehrle, Danks, Peavy, Floyd, Jackson
    vs
    Dempster, Z, Garza, Wells, Silva/Cashner/etc.
    *advantage White Sox

    Pierzynski, Castro
    vs
    Soto, Hill
    *advantage wash and that’s solely because Hill is so bad (and Soto’s injury history means we’d rely more on him), he negates any advantage we otherwise would’ve had

    Konerko
    vs
    Pena
    *advantage White Sox by wide margin

    Beckham
    vs
    Dewitt
    *advantage White Sox

    Ramirez
    vs
    Castro
    *sorry, but they win this too based on offensive AND defensive production

    Teahen/Viciedo
    vs
    ARAM
    *Cubs win this big unless ARAM injures his shoulder again

    Dunn (I’m including him here as they said he’d play 1B, DH and LF)
    vs
    Soriano
    *they win big here as Dunn averages 40 hr, 100 RBI and 100 walks

    Rios
    vs
    Byrd
    *they win big here as well

    Quentin
    vs
    Colvin
    *if Quentin is injured again, Cubs win, but if not, they win big yet again based on run production

    ***I did not include the pen or bench other than back-up catchers, but we win at closer with Marmol. It’s a wash with set-up as they have Thornton and we have Marshall….so overall we probably win there….bench, they win because of DH but most AL teams win there too so I don’t care about that

    But their payroll is about $125 million and we sit over $130 million. Overall, we lose and lose BIG…

    So why is Hendry still at the helm?

    He can only be held accountable, supposedly for decisions the last 2 offseasons.

    Ok….I’ll go with that….now tell me what he did last year and this offseason that will push us over the top? Furthermore, it was ultimately HIS decision to sign Bradley over Dunn, Abreu, and Ibanez…so he should be accountable for that too…..but tell me the moves that will push us over the top?

    I think most Hendry supporters will point to Garza, and to that I ask you: was pitching the reason we were shutout of the postseason the past 2 years?

    If you say it was, you’re being intellectually dishonest…it was all about offense. Which begs the next question. Is spending $10 million on a guy that is coming off a season in which he hit just .196 and had a pathetic 95 hits in a full season of work, a good use of payroll?

    • Bryan

      C’mon Aaron, the .196 hitter with 95 hits is a terrific clubhouse guy, so that’s worth around $5m in JH’s mind.

      And I also wanted to recognize an earlier post (I think by Paul) that commented about Colvin at 1B. Gee, would have been nice to have explored that last season…but not while Quade was managing for the contract. All of a sudden though Quade said Colvin looks good there. That’s our new manager friends!

      • paulcatanese

        Yep, Bryan that was me that said that about Colvin. And to Aaron I truly believe someone could BUNT all year ahd hit .196 This is all a very confusing scenerio being cast upon us this year.I watch the move every day on Quade and become more inclined to see the rope getting shorter. JH will protect himself and the smaller timber will fall before he will.Aaron I’m glad to have you post on the pitchers,you know that phase of the game pretty well ans that helps me comment on the other phase of the game. Don’t know squat about pitchers as a former SS I disliked all of them when I stepped into the box.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        I remember reading that Colvin didn’t want to play 1st. This year when he came to camp they just told him he was going to they didn’t ask him. Ask Neil for sure but I remember reading that, it may have been in Carrie Muskats Blog.

        • paulcatanese

          Patrick I remember posting about Ramirez and that he should move to first and was told that he didn’t want to and would not. I don’t remember that about Colvin at all,but then at my age I don’t remember a lot of things.

        • The Maven

          I’m not sure, but I think Colvin’s only objection was that he didn’t want to hurt the team and wanted to feel more comfortable at first before trying in in a game.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Patrick, Colvin did not reject the idea at the end of last year but did not want to learn during an actual game. There was talk he would go to winter ball to play first in actual games … then the injury happened. I do not have a memory of him saying he did not want to play first base.

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Paul Konerko didn’t get over 90 rbi in 07, 08, or 09. in those 3 years he hit over 30 HR once, in a very HR friendly park. His highest ops was .842 in 09 when he hit .277 his highest BA in those 3 years.
      Konerko hit 114 HR from 07 – 10
      Pena hit 144 HR in those 4 years
      Carlos Pena in 07, 08, and 09 knocked in 100 or more runners every year. His lowest ops was .871 and he hit 116 HR in those 3 years. Playing at a park unfriendly to hitters.
      Pena had a horrible year last year, yes but a rebound is likely.
      Konerko had a phenominal year at 34, can he repeat it, I doubt it he will be 35 in March, I don’t think he will fall off completely but I don’t see him repeating last year either.

      I think Pena will rebound some and Konerko will come back down to earth. It’s a wash or slight advantage Pena due to age, and moving to a more hitter friendly ballpark.

    • Suzy S.

      Aaron & Bryan….
      TO ME, It’s a given that the White Sox, (on paper), are a much better team than the Cubs…this year….But what is the sense of comparison?
      JH is a very worn out subject…and GM.
      If Garza PROVES to be as good as Ted Lilly…we’ll be lucky…and still miss Hak Lee….With Lilly…we did not go very far…soooo….you figure it out….As a fervent Cub fan forever…I hope we win less than 60 games….draw less than a million…Rickett’s panics and figures out
      he finally has to have a GM…But I’m not holding my breath.

      This year….This year….gulp…Go Sox…Both Red & White….until JH is gone and Sandberg is back…though it sticks in my throat…it must be my cry.

      Neil, Thanks for all your wonderful work on the site.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        As a FAN you hope we win less than 60 games?????? Suzy, I know your a big fan, but even if it is to get JH out I don’t win less than 60 games and that isn’t going to happen anyways. I think we are atleast a .500 team and if some things go our way we could be even better.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Hey Suzy! Thanks and great to hear from you!

  • Tom U

    Congratulations are in order for Roland Hemond. The long time baseball executive was awarded the Buck O’Neil Award for his lifetime service to baseball.

  • Aaron

    Oh boy….did I call it or what?

    I believe my “projected” roster (meaning, NOT what I thought should happen, but what I thought could happen) was:

    Z
    Dempster
    Garza
    Wells
    Silva

    Marmol, Marshall, Wood, Grabow, Wellemeyer, Looper, and Samardzija

    C-Soto, Hill
    1B-Pena
    2B-DeWitt, Ojeda
    SS-Castro
    3B-ARAM, Baker
    LF-Soriano
    CF-Byrd, Johnson
    RF-Fukudome, Colvin

    So…..here’s why I think the prediction will come true:
    1) Samardzija has a spot virtually locked up due to salary
    2) Hill has a spot locked up due to Hendry and Quade saying as much already, before Spring Training even started. They both said he was good at calling games and pitchers loved throwing to him. Translation: he’s got a spot locked up barring injury
    3) Quade already came out in support of Wellemeyer either for the rotation or the pen, provided he doesn’t completely implode in Spring Training
    4) Baker has a spot locked up due to his ability to play 2B, 1B, and 3B, as well as corner OF. Plus, he has a guaranteed contract just like Hill.
    5) Silva has a spot locked up due to salary, as there’s absolutely no way the Ricketts will eat $7.5 million
    6) Hendry already spoke glowingly of Ojeda’s versatility. Translation: just like Hill, it’s his spot to lose
    7) Johnson now has a spot locked up due to Quade’s quote today that Miles posted
    8) The only guy nobody has really talked about in terms of management (Hendry or Quade) is Looper, so that’s the only one I’ve really gone out on a limb to say he’s all but locked up a spot
    9) And the final reason for all of these moves is…..Samardzija has no options left, Barney, Cashner, Maine, Russell, W. Castillo, Mateo, Coleman, and Dolis all have options left (and I believe Fernando Perez and Coello both have options left as well)

    Anyway, isn’t that roster one of the most pathetic you’ve ever seen, especially for $130 million+?!?!

    ….and…..still wondering how Hendry still has a job

    • paulcatanese

      Aaron,unfortunatly I think you are right,the over the hill gang will prevail on the roster and unless they self destruct there is no hope for the youngsters we all want to see,but they make good trade bait for Jh to bring in others.

      • Aaron

        You are absolutely right.

        If I were in a position of power, I would….

        Trade/release: Hill, Baker, DeWitt, Fukudome, Soriano, Byrd, Perez, Grabow, Silva, and Wells.

        I’d also release the lesser knowns that are wastes of roster space on the 40-man such as: Berg, Gaub, Smit, and Stevens

        I would replace them with:
        Clevenger, Flaherty, LeMahieu, LaHair/Snyder, B. Jackson, Burgess, Campana, Bibens-Dirkx, Jay Jackson, and Carpenter
        *these are obviously players not on the 40-man that I’d replace them with, not necessarily meaning they’d be everyday players.

        Some might call me crazy, but I’d probably go with a 25-man roster looking like this:

        Z
        Dempster
        Garza
        Cashner
        McNutt

        Marmol, Marshall, Wood, Maine, Russell, Mateo, Guzman (if healthy, otherwise Carpenter)

        C-Soto, Castillo
        1B-Pena, Max Ramirez
        2B-Flaherty, Barney
        SS-Castro
        3B-ARAM, LeMahieu
        LF-Snyder
        CF-B. Jackson
        RF-Colvin

        *I’d then try to swing a trade with the White Sox for Milledge (whom we should’ve signed in the first place for a minor leaguer), or I’d try to trade Byrd for Quentin straight up.

        Snyder isn’t going to produce 26 hr, 70 RBI that Soriano has averaged with us. But I think he’d give us about what Colvin did, which is 20 hr, 56 RBI….so probably between 15-20 hr, 50-55 RBI. Therefore, you’d need to find about 15 RBI somewhere, and that could EASILY be supplied by swapping Koyie Hill for Ramirez or Castillo.

        It’d be shocking if Brett Jackson couldn’t at least duplicate Byrd’s 12 hr, 66 RBI, or at least come close. I also believe Flaherty and LeMahieu would supply good run production to make up for any losses there as well.

        I just don’t think Soriano, Fukudome, DeWitt, Baker, Hill, Silva, Grabow, Wells, etc. supply anything of value to this team, whether it be significant production, or even leadership skills. About the only guy I mentioned that supplies any of that is Byrd with his hustle.

        This friggin’ team and its leadership (the Ricketts) need to get one thing clear when it comes to roster and payroll management, as well as player development.

        Just because a player has significant experience does NOT mean he will produce more than a guy without experience.

        Think about that for a second. Those on this website that might have been, or are currently managers in charge of hiring, like myself…..we all know that based on past interviews and hiring that it’s better to have someone hungry and willing to go above and beyond to prove themselves, than a veteran in the industry that might be going on his 4th or 5th organization in the particular industry you’re in. That person has less to prove than the “green” guy that you interviewed. They’re also not as interested in coaching and development as the “green” guy.

        The EXACT same thing can be applied to baseball.

        What motivation does Carlos Pena really have? He’s already made about $30 million and with this year, it’ll be $40 million in his career.

        What motivation does Soriano have? He’s already cashed in on almost $85 million to date, and has another $76 million owed him.

        What motivation does Silva have? He’s already cashed in on over $43 million with another $12 million owed him this year ($5.5 million from the M’s and $7.5 million paid by the Cubs)

        Now….how about LeMahieu, Jay Jackson, McNutt, Brett Jackson, Flaherty, Max Ramirez, etc.?

        They’re all playing for the MLB minimum….if they even make the team to begin with.

        Give me a young, hungry team every year, and I take it in a heartbeat over a experienced “veteran” dominated team.

        Just think of how much money the Cubs are/will waste by going with the likes of Baker $1.2 million, Hill $850,000, Wellemeyer $800,000 if he makes team, plus $400k in incentives, Looper $1 million just for making team and $3 million if it’s as a starter, and Johnson gets $1.2 million I believe if he makes the team. As for Ojeda, I couldn’t find anything, but seem to recall hearing he gets $800,000 for making the team:

        So, potentially that’s $8.2 million (provided Welly and Looper earn incentives)…if they don’t earn incentives, then it’s about $5 million

        So….you have 6 players “earning” anywhere from $5-8.2 million, whereas, if we’d have just gone with our own homegrown talent, it would be $2.4 million in MLB minimum salaries.

        Now….you can make the case that players like Jackson, LeMahieu, Flaherty, etc. need more seasoning, and it’s all part of the plan to get them more experience before coming up….

        However, you have lesser prospects, and veteran minor leaguers such as: Matt Camp, Snyder, LaHair, Clevenger, Marquez Smith, Wright, Scott Moore, Burgess, etc.—–guys that likely might not ever develop into everyday players, but are cheap, and decent alternatives to veterans such as Ojeda, Johnson, etc.

        It’s absolutely insane that the Cubs would prefer to waste up to $8 million on veterans versus giving their own talent a chance to develop at the MLB level…..or, just simply give them a starter’s role, and stop going after veterans for openings there as well.

        Bottom line is, you can have the absolute best system in the majors, but if you’re not giving those prospects a chance to compete, either in bench roles, or as a full-time starter, you’re doing both them, AND your organization an injustice.

        No, we don’t know what really would’ve happened if guys like Gary Scott, Julio Zuleta, DuBois, Felix Pie, etc. would’ve been given a full-time shot. In the cases of Scott, Zuleta, and DuBois, they didn’t do anything anywhere else (mainly because they weren’t given a chance), but with Pie, he’s thrived with the Orioles in a more prominent role.

        ….but I digress….Hey, you know how the old adage goes, right?

        “If it’s broke….don’t fix it”….LOL…I seriously think that’s how the Cubs view it sometimes. It’s been broken for nearly 70 years (1945 was our last WS appearance, and in the decades just prior to that, the Cubs were actually one of the marquee teams, making several WS appearances.)…So clearly, what they’ve done isn’t working.

        I could be wrong, but someone either on here or some other site recently brought up the 1984 playoff run. In order to make the run they did, the Cubs traded for such pitchers as Sanderson, Eckersley, Trout, and Sutcliffe, either during the season, or the prior season. To do so, they traded away such guys as Joe Carter, Mel Hall, Scott Fletcher, Pat Tabler, Craig Lefferts, etc.

        They mortgaged the future for one good playoff run.

        But don’t take it from me. This article pretty much sums up what I’ve been saying for a VERY long time.

        Of note, please pay close attention to the end of the article where they discuss the Cubs and the draft, particularly the first round. WOW!!! is all I can say….I actually wrote a similar post that was a little more in depth than what they did, but seeing it someplace else really hits home with me.

        What do you guys think?

        http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/columns/story?columnist=schoenfield_david&id=4474793

        • The Maven

          I think it was Tom U that brought up the 1984 trades.

        • paulcatanese

          Aaron,read the article,pretty interesting and a lot of comparisons. I did like and still like Green,certainly a better GM than Hendry. I need to re-read the article to fully absorb the impact of those years. From what I agot quickly was the Cubs did not draft well and when they did traded away what they got. To tell you the truth I understand what you post better than what I just read but will read it again.

        • JedMosley

          Hendry, or Maddux, or any other GM in the league wouldn’t do that, it’s nice to dream but no one would ever make any of those roster moves IMO. I think Dewitt might surprise people this year too. It’s not like he’s an old washed up vet, and I don’t think this team will be that bad, I agree with another poster on here that the Cubs could be a .500 ballclub or better if things go right and some or most of the “IF”‘s happen.

    • JedMosley

      I agree with most of the players you got on there, only the obvious ones though. I don’t believe Looper, Wellemeyer, Ojeda or Johnson are locks just yet. You left out Cashner, I believe he’ll make the team, rotation or not. If Silva did have a good spring and he can show that he can still pitch like he did at the start of last year, I have no problem with him being in the rotation. Should Hendry still have a job after what he’s done and the contracts that have been shelled out, probably not, but I don’t think those large contracts were entirely his fault. I personally think he’s done a great job this offseason, I don’t think they’ll be as bad as you’re saying, but that’s my opinion, the good thing is that we’ll start to find out here in a couple of weeks.

    • Gary J

      Silva is the only one that think Silva has a spot locked up. He’ll either learn to live in the pen or they’ll send him packing. If he blows up publicly upon not making the rotation (highly likely for both the not making the rotation AND the public blowup) they’ll send him packing even if it’s for nothing.

      Odds are though that they can get something for him if they eat a portion of the salary if he doesn’t stink it up this spring. Yes – it’ll be a complete case of them eating the salary and getting a low level prospect in return (if that), but I think they’d live with it if he was going to be a cancer. He’s still not as big a douche as Milton though :-)

      I’d be stunned if Coleman, Cashner, or Russell didn’t beat him out. Stunned.

      Wells… to me that’s a maybe. I don’t think he’s got a spot locked up, but I think one of those two spots is his to lose. If he’s equal to one of the others at the end of the spring, I think experience gets the nod. But he could easily get outpitched and be out of the rotation and staying stretched in AAA in case of injury.

      Shark also – nothing locked up… but I would expect him to start the season in the pen as he’s got talent – just needs some results to go with it. No results by May and they’ll try passing him through waivers and bring up another arm. If he’s not producing, he’ll likely pass through waivers due to his remaining salary.

      Of course Hendry spoke glowingly of Ojeda – he’d just signed him – it was a press conference… it’s Barney’s job to lose.

      Wellemeyer and Looper have to earn spots… just like anyone else. If they were being handed spots they’ve have guaranteed contracts. Wouldn’t be surprised to see one of them show enough to get a job in the pen but not both.

      What quote are you talking about for Johnson? That Quade said he likes what he brings and he has a shot? That’s your guarantee of a lock? Perez will make the team because of higher upside and he’d be the only guy with speed off the bench. I bet there are four dozen positive quotes just like this one about players in the next couple of weeks that mean absolutely nothing – it’s spring. Sheesh.

      As for Hill – yeah. He’s likely the backup with Max in AAA. Max could outhit him for the bench spot, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

      And Baker will stay super sub junior and I’d say that’s the one possible lock above as it stands right now

  • John G

    Has everyone seen this?

    http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2011/02/dusty-still-down-in-dumps-over-time-with-cubs.html

    Poor Dusty. I wonder who left the “gift” for him?

    • The Maven

      Nice piece of revisionist history by Dusty. In 2005, instead of going with Scott McLain, Mike Fontenot, Ronny Cedeno, or Richard Lewis from the minors, he used Jose Macias, Neifi Perez, and Enrique Wilson in place of Aramis Ramirez. In 2006, he could have used Mike Restovich, Micah Hoffpauir, or Casey McGehee at first instead of Todd Walker, John Mabry, and Phil Nevin. But, then again, Dusty doesn’t “hate” rookies.

      Whoever left the present, I’d like to shake his hand (provided he washed, first). However, I can guarantee it wasn’t Jose, Neifi, Todd, or JH!

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        well put and very funny lol.

  • Gramps

    Please please please let’s start playing the games!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Agreed … good to hear from you Gramps

    • Gary J

      Amen!