Day Eleven of Camp ‘Q’ … Cubs Lining Things Up for the Cactus League

The first pitch of the Cubs’ 2011 Cactus League schedule is two days away … this is the last Friday without Cubs baseball for at least the next seven months.

The grind of the exhibition season is about to begin and Mike Quade has lined up his pitching staff for the first four games.

Matt Garza is expected to make his Cubs’ debut Sunday in the opener against the A’s. Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Marmol are also expected to pitch in the first game of the spring. Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner are among the pitchers slated to face the Brewers at HoHoKam on Monday.

As for the first two road games of the spring, Ryan Dempster and Casey Coleman are on the schedule for the trip to Scottsdale to play the Giants. The Cubs travel to Maryvale to play Milwaukee in the fourth game of the spring. Quade has Carlos Silva and James Russell on the schedule to face the Brewers.

Mike Quade is expected to announce his first Spring Training lineup on Friday. Quade said that Aramis Ramirez will hit cleanup (fourth) and he likes Starlin Castro hitting in the two-hole. Quade is expected to do a lot of mix and matching throughout the Cactus League schedule.

Ron Santo would have turned 71 on Friday and Pat Hughes recently discussed his longtime partner. Hughes said the reality of being without Santo has hit him this week as he prepares to begin his 16th season as the voice of the Cubs. Hughes and Keith Moreland call the first game of the spring Sunday from HoHoKam Park.

On the day Cubs’ individual game tickets for the regular season go on sale, here’s the update …

Spring Pitching Schedule
Mike Quade and Mark Riggins released the first pitching schedule of the spring Thursday. If all goes as planned, look for the starters to get in two innings in their first outing with the relievers being on a pitch count.

Here is a list of the probables for the first five games … with more names to be added.

  • Sunday, Feb. 27 vs. A’s – Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Carlos Marmol
  • Monday, Feb. 28 vs. Brewers – Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner, Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall
  • Tuesday, March 1 at Giants (Scottsdale) – Ryan Dempster, Casey Coleman
  • Wednesday, March 2 at Brewers (Maryvale) – Carlos Silva, James Russell
  • Thursday, March 3 vs. Rangers – Braden Looper

News, Notes and Tweets
According to a report from the Tribune, Starlin Castro will have his own place in Chicago this season. Castro roomed with Alfonso Soriano after his call-up last year.

According to a tweet from Dave Kaplan, energy at Cubs camp from last year to this year is unbelievably different. Kaplan credited Quade with making a big impact on the players.

Randy Wells, who is starting the second game of the spring, told the Tribune that he would not press too hard coming back from a disappointing season. Wells plans on going out and getting outs this spring and hopefully he will be in the Cubs’ rotation when the season begins.

Marlon Byrd is grooming Brett Jackson for his position. According to a report from Cubs.com, Byrd is really helping Jackson by teaching him how to run the bases and play the outfield.

According to a report in the Tribune, Mike Quade will let players know two to three days notice when they’re playing in Cactus League games.

According to a report from the Daily Herald, Len Kasper is excited about developing Cubs’ webcasts. Kasper, along with the Smokies’ play-by-play man Mick Gillespie, will begin calling Cubs games this spring that are solely broadcast on the Internet. Kasper will work 16 of the 19 games to be broadcast on Cubs.com. The games will be broadcast free on Cubs.com with a registered account. The first Cubs.com game of the spring will be on March 1 when the Cubs square off against the Giants in Scottsdale.

Kasper mentioned there could be a variety of guests that end up joining him and Gillespie during the games … from Bob Brenly to Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland to Jim Hendry and Randy Bush.

32 of the Cubs’ 34 exhibition games will be broadcast on TV (WGN, Comcast SportsNet, ESPN 2 and MLB Network), radio (720 WGN, XM Radio) or the Internet.

Carlos Marmol believes the Cubs’ bullpen has the potential to be among the best in baseball this season. Marmol told Bruce Levine, “We are the best. We feel very confident.” And on paper the Cubs’ pen looks strong two days before the start of the exhibition games. The key is for the backend to stay healthy and if they can, Sean Marshall and/or Kerry Wood in the eighth with Marmol in the ninth looks pretty good … at least on February 25.

During the Afternoon Saloon (ESPN 1000) Thursday afternoon, Bruce Levine said Augie Ojeda would probably make the roster out of camp over Darwin Barney.

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his Thursday chat on ESPNChicago.com, here are the highlights …

  • The Cubs might have pitching depth, but no one with any value on the trade market. The Cubs are not going to trade Andrew Cashner or James Russell. Carlos Silva is untradeable and both Braden Looper and Todd Wellemeyer were signed to minor league contracts.
  • If Andrew Cashner does not make the rotation, he will go back to the bullpen.
  • Mike Quade does not know who’s going to leadoff against right-handed pitching. Tyler Colvin strikes out too much. The Cubs are looking for a high on-base percentage guy to hit in front of Starlin Castro.
  • Fernando Perez’s speed is intriguing to the Cubs but he has to hit. The Cubs are going to have to decide between Perez and Reed Johnson. Levine’s gut says Johnson will make the team instead of Perez.
  • There is zero chance the Cubs will be able to trade Alfonso Soriano. According to Levine, Soriano will finish his contract as a Cub.
  • The Cubs would like Blake DeWitt to win the starting second baseman’s job.
  • The Cubs like Ryan Flaherty but view him a little like Darwin Barney. As for D.J. LeMahieu, the Cubs feel he will be a starting second baseman in a year or two.
  • Levine thinks Casey Coleman has a chance to make the team out of spring but will have to pitch lights out to win a job in the rotation. The Cubs like what they’ve seen but Coleman will likely begin the year in Iowa.

Video from Mesa


Ryan Dempster with his best Chris Farley


Tim Kurkjian on Carlos Zambrano


Baseball Tonight at Fitch Park – Cubs

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

Quote of the Day

"There are only two seasons ... winter and baseball." - Bill Veeck

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  • Aaron

    *****************************************************************************************
    “During the Afternoon Saloon (ESPN 1000) Thursday afternoon, Bruce Levine said Augie Ojeda would probably make the roster out of camp over Darwin Barney”
    …………………………..
    “Levine’s gut says Johnson will make the team instead of Perez.”
    *****************************************************************************************

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…..I know it’s just a journalists opinion, but Levine has very good contacts, and understands the pulse of the club and decision-making.

    It sure as hell seems like my predictions are going to come true.

    Might I make another prediction. Should Hill, Johnson, and Ojeda make the roster, I believe all 3 will be hitting under .220…..just call it a hunch, but that’s what I believe will happen.

    I also believe Max Ramirez, Castillo, Perez, Snyder, LaHair, Barney, etc. will out-hit those guys in Spring Training, and yet still lose out to them.

    It sets a REALLY bad precedent in Quade’s first season at the helm, and likely will ruin any good-will that he supposedly garnered from a lot of the players (namely the younger guys) this spring by his energy and leadership by example.

    Problem is, if not one single young player makes this roster (as I STRONGLY suspect), he ruins all of that goodwill for years to come.

    Guys like Byrd, Fukudome, Silva, Ojeda, Johnson, Koyie Hill (though he might be just like Neifi was to Hendry and Baker back in the day and have like 9 lives), Wellemeyer, Grabow, Looper, etc. don’t even have a future with this team…..and I don’t mean in a few years…I mean right NOW.

    And, what troubles me most about all of this is that we already signed Pena and Wood for their leadership, to go along with the leadership already provided by Dempster, Byrd, and Soto, who has supposedly taken on more of a leadership role.

    Great! So why is this a problem to me? Well, it’s one thing to sign a guy like Pena, who has hit 30+hr, and 100+RBI (not saying it’ll actually happen with us, just stating he’s done it a couple times in the recent past), but when you’re filling key spots on the roster with the likes of Ojeda, who never should’ve been an MLB player, (same goes for Koyie Hill who can’t hit his way out of a paper bag), and then you fill the last key spot with a broken down, aging Reed Johnson.

    This ends in disaster for the Cubs. Plain and simple. What good is leadership if you don’t have production?

    This begs the question….Would you rather have a broken down, 34 year old Johnson, or a 26 year old Lastings Milledge…ironically, for less than Johnson would make too if he breaks camp with the team

    Would you rather have a 32 year old Koyie Hill who can barely hit his weight….or, would you rather have a 26 year old Max Ramirez, who is a power hitting catcher with decent receiving skills?

    Would you rather have a 36 year old Augie Ojeda, who like Koyie Hill, can barely hit his weight, or a 25 year old Darwin Barney.

    I’m losing my mind with this team. It’s absolutely ludicrous what we’ve been seeing with decision-making and roster decisions.

    • Gary J

      St. Louis by comparison is also a complete mess as an organization because they were counting on Nick Punto to be their back up at third before he got hurt. What were they thinking? Why does that guy Jocketty still have a job?

      I’m just being absurd of course in that – but it’s NOT just the Cubs that bring in vets as backups.

      Barney, while I’m also thinking he should be the choice, projects as a backup long term in the bigs anyway. He’s not the future at second and never was going to be. He’s the closest thing to ML ready we have in the middle though and he’s competing for the job.

      And the job is backup middle infielder. Not exactly a critical cog in the machine. Its a guy that starts once every couple of weeks and gets some time as a pinch hitter or replacement in an extra inning game.

      Yes – I fully agree. Barney is the better choice. I’d rather see him get a shot – but I’m also not thinking that if he gets that shot he’ll do much with it. But he can hit .250 with no power of the bench just as easily as Ojeda could.

      But I don’t see how them signing a vet to compete in camp is just fuel on the fire of organizational incompetency. Every single team out there has vets signed to minor league deals. And maybe half (if that) will break camp with the big club.

      As for the questions above. A lot of that is the grass is always greener kind of thinking that often comes when talking about prospects.

      Yes I would personally MUCH rather have Max Ramirez as the backup over Hill – I like the potential of the guy. And it’s a good synopsis that he’s a power hitting catcher with decent recieving skills… but it’s also true that he’s had two (limited) shots in the bigs and hit an identical .217 both times… that and he couldn’t throw out my grandma and she’s been dead for a decade.

      He’s a better choice in my eyes too – but he’s most certainly not without flaws.

      Milledge has got all the talent in the world – and a five cent head to go with it. Three years ago he got written off and sent to the minors by the Nats – Pittsburgh took a shot in trade and a year and a half later they released him rather than pay him for $1M this year. And it wasn’t like teams were lining up to sign him. Both are teams that don’t exactly rely heavily on the vets… and yet he wasn’t playing for them.

      So yeah – I agree with you on most points. I’d rather see Ramirez than Hill (as BACKUP catcher) and I’d much much much rather see Barney than Ojeda (as BACKUP middle infielder), and I’d also like to see someone other than Johnson, in my opinion Perez (as the FIFTH outfielder).

      But the Cubs are not the only teams making these same calls. And in all three cases the players are fairly insignificant in the overall make up of the team.

      If there’s an injury that puts someone on the shelf for any significant amount of time for OF, then it becomes a bigger deal – but in that case I’d bet a youngster gets the call. For example, if one of the OF starters goes down, I’d bet Jackson comes up and plays the 4th OF so that he get’s semi-regular playing time with whoever makes the team of Johnson/Perez continuing to be the guy off the bench.

      We’ll see though. Only way to know is if someone gets hurt (knock on wood that doesn’t happen) or there’s an in season trade (pretty likely I’d say for Byrd and maybe Fuku as a half season rental bat for someone off the bench for a stretch drive). But by then Jackson will have had another half season of ABs and coaching under his belt.

      We’ll see though. Barney is my choice but Ojeda wouldn’t shock me. Both would be behind Baker int he pecking order anyway. I simply don’t care much. Personally I’d be stunned if Johnson beat out Perez because they simply need the bench speed too badly – but starting in a couple of days we’ll see how it all plays out.

      • Tony_Hall

        John Mozeliak might take offense to the Jockety comment!

      • Tom U

        Gary, on the surface your point has a lot of merit. On the whole, fans shouldn’t get too worked up about their team signing veterans to compete in camp. Except for the fact that the Cubs seem to do this with alarming frequency with no tangible benefit to the team’s success.

        However, there can be a huge backlash by not trusting in your system. The two major points are the psychological effects and the ripple effects.

        A player like Darwin Barney, who had an outstanding season at Triple A, doesn’t have much to improve on by returning there. Like a child being held back in school even though they successfully completed their coursework, the damage psychologically could be irreparable. The team can end up with a player that is no use to them, or anyone.

        And if a player like Barney goes back to Triple A, where does someone like Marwin Gonzalez end up? And so on down the line. This could be some of the feelings Ryan Theriot alluded to when he was traded to the Cardinals. The Cubs minor leaguers may feel they are in a no-win situation.

        If you look at the rosters of play-off teams, they are dotted not only with players they have developed, but players that either struggle to remain in the majors or are “one year wonders”. You never know exactly which player will develop and which one will stagnate, unless you give them a chance.

        • Gary J

          I’m with you on the trickle down effect and can’t dispute it. I’d rather see Barney play as well instead of Ojeda. I’ve said that several times.

          However, Barney hits for average and not much else. And he did have moments of being overmatched last year during his call up too. Personally I’d like to see him up here, but even if he breaks camp, he’s not going to get much playing time and he doesn’t look to be anything more than a long term back up. Once LeMahieu is ready, Barney will be even farther down the depth chart.

          But the Cubs are playing youngsters that have earned their way in – DeWitt is actually younger than Barney, Castro is a baby, Colvin looks to have a significant role, Soto grabbed the starting role a couple years back and didn’t let go…

          The real Cubs impact though is the arms – there will be several youngsters make a real impact with this team on the hill. I’d say a first year starter (Coleman, Russell, Cashner) is pretty likely to crack the rotation. The pen has some live young arms mixed in with the vets. And if you look at the “top prospects” list for the Cubbies, the list is pitching, pitching, and more pitching.

          The guys that are “ready” are in camp and are getting a shot. Do they get a “fair” shot to win a spot? Who the heck knows??? This is Quade’s first camp – let’s see what happens. If Barney hits .290 and Ojeda .220 and they decide to break camp with Ojeda – I’ll be in line with the rest of you complaining about it :-) I’m not going to pass judgement just yet.

          Quade claimed it’d be an open competition and he hasn’t said anything to the contrary – so until it comes from him directly it’s all just speculation and news guys generating headlines for the sake of buzz. Nobody knows anything yet :-)

          • Tom U

            Gary, if keeping veterans on the roster “works” and the Cubs win a championship, I think we will all be happy.

            I can only speak for myself, but I’m a little concerned about the mixed messages. Tom Ricketts says that he wants to build an organization that develops it’s own players. Mike Quade says that there is going to be a fair competition for roster spaces, and the he hopes someone surprises him. Yet Bruce Levine reports that the roster is set and players like Reed Johnson and Augie Ojeda look like they have their spots sewn up. Someone is not telling the truth. What happens next will determine who is credible.

    • JedMosley

      Aaron just replying to the previous story, i said I was curious why they were so long, I wasn’t attacking you, which you obviously thought I was with the remarks you made back, which is fine. Now I know why your posts are all long. And to answer your question, I can type with both hands Aaron, I just have better things to do than type the same old long opinions on a website everyday.

    • Theboardrider

      It’s going to be so funny if the Cubs overachieve and Quade wins manager of the year. From everything I’ve seen so far in spring training he appears to be pushing all the right buttons. The Sandberg bitterness blows my mind. I’d have liked to see him too but he’s not here and Quade is largely unknown. All we know is he made lemonade from lemons at the end of last year and this year has started spring training with an energy and passion that is exactly what the Cubs need. Go Cubs! Go Quade! If he fails then bring in Sandberg but for now he’s our guy and he’s doing great!

  • Tony_Hall

    Marlon Byrd is a classy guy. How many guys would help groom their replacement? Not many. I posted it awhile back, but when Q has to tell Byrd, that Jackson is the new starting CF (whether this year or next), will be one of the hardest things he will ever have to do, because Marlon will still be smiling. It will be even harder for Marlon, once he realizes it will not make him a starter in RF, but a 4th OF again.

  • Tony_Hall

    “There is zero chance the Cubs will be able to trade Alfonso Soriano. According to Levine, Soriano will finish his contract as a Cub”

    It is nice to see, that it is actually being reported. Soriano’s contract, with 4 years left is untradeable for the next 2 season, do to having to send all of the cash the Cubs would be sending over, needing to be sent within 18-24 months of the deal being done. So, 2 years from now, it will be even harder to find a team willing to take, with 2 more years of age and diminishing skills.

    The Cubs need to realize they have to pay him no matter what, once they decide that he is no better than an internal replacement, who could be getting valuable experience they need to bench him, and the next step would be a buyout, as he will not be a good bench player.

    • cubtex

      Tony, That is why I have been saying that Soriano should be tried at 1st base. The Cubs are pretty much stuck with him for the next several years. He has infield skills since he has played there his whole baseball life until the last couple of years…..so this would be a natural transition. He has enough pop to play there and this would open up one of the outfiled spots to add some speed. IF they do not sign Prince next year….I hope they consider this move!

      • The Maven

        Like Paul once said, nobody would be ever out at first because Soriano would keep hopping off the bag.

        • paulcatanese

          You Betcha

      • Tony_Hall

        I couldn’t disagree more.

        First – Soriano does not have infield skills. Did you ever watch him play 2B, or look at his stats. BAD!!

        Second – Soriano has a very low Baseball IQ. He is not a baseball smart player, he is an athlete who plays baseball.

        Third – Paul said it best (a little sarcasm, but not that much) when he said, ‘If Soriano played first, we would never get an out, as Soriano would have to jump to catch the ball.

        This is a very bad idea. Soriano’s only place on the field is in LF, where he can do the least amount of damage and his arm allows him to make bobbles and team still can’t always take advantage of the miscue. He needs to be a DH, but that won’t happen, unless the Cubs take back a really bad contract, or they release him, so he can sign with an AL team.

        • cubtex

          I like that Maven!!!! Hey, I am not saying he would be a gold glove, but we are talking about 1st base here guys! How much baseball IQ does it take to play 1st base? All I am saying is that is worth taking a look at him over there. If he can’t do it fine…but you are not giving Soriano enough credit. He played second base for a major league team! I am sure he would do just as well as some of the other 1st baseman in the league in due time!

          • Tony_Hall

            He average 20 errors/year at 2B, just think how may he would get at 1B, when you add in the errors, from missing throws and add in all the errors he wouldn’t save.

            I want a smarter team, not finding ways to dumb it down. My 1B, needs to have an above average Baseball IQ.

            I would rather have Zambrano at 1B, than Soriano. Better D, and more power :)

          • cubtex

            You might be right Tony….but if Jeff Kent could make the switch to 1st….I think Soriano could to. Did you ever see Jeff Kent at 2nd?? He had a lower fielding % than Soriano. Soriano averaged 20 errors but he did average close to 750 chances. That is a lot more chances than the average.
            The conversation here is what to do with Soriano for the last couple of years with the Cubs since he is untradeable. Would you rather see Soriano in left field in 2013 and 2014 where his range will decline or try him at 1st base? I would rather see an outfield with Brett Jackson,Colvin and a new addition than seeing Soriano in left for the next 4 years!

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t want him at that point. That was point to start this, when he is longer able to produce more than an internal option, and he is a bigger negative witht the glove, I want him gone. His pay is there, do we really have to keep him, IF, he is not better than an internal replacement. I have hope that Rudy will get him to be productive this year, maybe next, but that is as far as I see him even having a chance of being productive.

            IF Jackson, Colvin, and/or others are better they should play and he should go. IF Vernon Wells got traded, there is a chance that he could go to an AL team to DH, very small, but there is a chance.

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

            I actually think he will be in the AL by 2013. Just because we have too many talented OF that could be available for the spots we have. With Jackson, Sczur, Golden, Colvin and Burgress we are going to be OF rich very soon if these guys start meeting there potential.

            In 2013/2014 I actually see an OF of Jackson in RF, Sczur in CF and Golden in LF with Colvin at 1st. But you never know. We could get someone to take Soriano off our hands before then. But I really doubt it. The only scenerio that I see to get rid of Soriano at that point is to pay someone to take him.

          • Tony_Hall

            The best thing will be for an AL team that has a bad contract, that matches up with Cubs and they could swap. It may take 3 or 4 teams to make it work someday, as the money is big.

            I look forward to having athletic OF soon!

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

            The reason I think it will be 2013 is because of the CBA being up at the end of 2012. We do not know how team payroll rules will change. Between now and then the most we can hope for is an early retirement.

          • The Maven

            I bow to Paul on that one!

          • Tony_Hall

            That one still makes me laugh, just imagining it.

          • paulcatanese

            Ist base isn’t as easy as you make it out to be.Ist is only as good as the second baseman behind him,he must know how far he can go to his right,be able to sense speed of the bunts to know when he can go for the lead runner or not.And then you get to the footwork which I would sense be Soriono’s downfall. There is a lot of instinct to the position,backwards ,forward sideway at a decent speed and find the bag. Double plays are hard enough but when you are right handed twice as hard. Holding runners to the last second and then backup to a decent position. No I don’t think that he is capable at the high level he would be asked to play.To be good at that level you must be great,you cannot hide a poor athlete at one of the glaring positions on the infield. I do not think he would be able to make the transition and I don’t think he will agree to be made a fool of’.

            soriono

          • Dorasaga

            You reminded me of Texeira, who was a second baseman, and Pujols, a former shortstop.

            Though pitching has been overrated the past century or so, fielding has been underrated, methinks. Indeed, it takes more than an average non-sensical brain to play moderately well at first base. The footwork, the instinct, the timing for covering the base, there are a multitude of elements for a conversion to the first base.

            Just because it’s an easier position to cover, due to less coverage of space and thus less to wear down the position player as quickly as, say, a center field does, learning a new position is not as translatable as “anyone can, you’re welcome.”

            I believe Tyler Colvin should try first while his athleticism still shines.

  • Tony_Hall

    If you normally skip the videos, at least check out Ryan Dempster on Baseball Tonight, ESPN. Hilarious!

  • Tony_Hall

    DJ LeMahieu will be the starting 2B in a year or 2. I like that idea. We have had a revolving door at 2B, always keeping it warm, for some future guy. Let’s hope that LeMahieu is the guy and we will finally have some offensive production at 2B.

  • Tony_Hall

    Jason Stark on Wainwright – “10 game dropoff for the Cardinals”

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog?name=stark_jayson&id=6154671

    Now, I never count out the Carindals, but it sure looks like their impressive run with Larussa at the helm, is about to end. This is a team, that has near impossible decisions to make, and one path is rebuilding, the other path is rebuilding with all youth and waiver wire guys, as they will have no cash not already comiited to their “A” players.

  • Tom U

    An important note for Cubs fans. On this day, in 1988, the Chicago City Counsel approved night games at Wrigley Field.

  • cubtex

    James Russell = Untouchable???? Are you kidding me? I don’t like dogging a Texas guy but Russell is not someone who I would label as untouchable. This guy has always given up more hits than innings pitched. To label him as someone who will not be traded is way too premature based on his stuff and track record! IMO

  • Gary J

    Didn’t have a chance to comment yesterday, but wanted to chime in on the concept of the “player’s coach”

    You can’t compare coaching style from baseball to football. You just can’t. A football player (other than QB) generally plays on a fine edge of rage and mayhem. And the personality of a typical football player on gameday is very thug-ish… and it should be. It’s a violent game.

    Plus the head coach (and the other coaches) need to be disciplinarians by nature. One guy out of 11 on any given play isn’t where he’s supposed to be doing precisely what he’s supposed to be results often in disaster.

    In baseball though, while there’s an aspect of team work certainly, that rigid structure isn’t needed. Cutoff guys need to be in the right spot, guys need to back up plays properly, the middle infielders need to coordinate who covers second on a throw down, etc. But for the most part these are things that are second nature. I haven’t played organized baseball for over a decade (and not at the level of Arron certainly) but I still know where I’m supposed to be if there’s a guy on first and the ball is hit in the gap, what’s the rotation on a bunt with guys on the corners, etc etc etc.

    So it doesn’t HAVE to be an atmosphere of “my way or the highway” in baseball. It’s much much more of an individual game.

    As for players managers… anyone think the team in Atlanta is run poorly? Because they replaced Bobby Cox (a notorious player’s manager) with Freddy Gonzalez (same). They’ve had a little bit of success with that approach over the last couple of decades.

    Dusty is a player’s manager and the “how’d that work out for him” argument got tossed around. Well… didn’t his team just win the division?

    Yes – coaching style can play a big role in the make up of a team. The wrong manager can have a big impact. And while I love Lou and always will, he was tired, stressed, and generally burnt out between the baseball and family side of things. I wish him a long and happy retirement and think he’s a stand up guy. But his team played like Lou seemed to feel in everyone of those post game press confidences. Defeated. Resigned. Spent.

    They switched the guy at the helm and the team had a spark. Life. And the second best record in the majors during that stretch.

    Time will tell on Quade. But just being a player’s coach doesn’t mean he’s a poor choice. It could be a matter of the inmates running the asylum (such as Silva’s comments when camp opened) or it could be a relaxed atmosphere where the players step up and make themselves accountable for their peers (such as Pena asking if he could share pointers with the infielders during drills). Time will tell.

    Personally I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen so far with Quade. Everyone is entitled to their opinion though. Let’s see where things stand at the end of April with some games under our belt before we fire the guy shall we? :-)

    • cubtex

      Well said Gary!

    • studio179

      I have been saying pretty much what you said. No one way of ‘player’s coach’ or ‘hard nose’ coaching style is the cure all…the good cop/bad cop coaching mentality. Good and bad results can be shown from both coaching styles. Personally, a coach that is fair, but firm is a good mix. One that can identify with each player and know when they need a kick or a hug seems to work.

      I would like to see more out of Quade than a couple months last year and a few days of spring training this year. If I was willing to give Lou, Dusty, Don, Jim, ec a fair shake before I mentally fired them, I will give Mike a fair chance to show his managing style as well. Everyone deserves a fair chance.

    • paulcatanese

      Gary,have been gone for a while so didn’t even see if anyone posted when I wrote about a coach yesterday. But I may be ignorant of the term “Players Coach” what exactly it the point of that term. When I mentioned that yesterday about not being close to the players I don’t recall not being fair or not listening to them,simply not close.I am the manager they are the players. they follow the lineup I put out there and no matter who it is if they are capable over another then they would play.After all I would be given a roster and expected to win with those players and that would be my job,to win,not play overage vets. Not my job to nursemaid. Gary this not to rebutt you at all, and I hope you don’t take it that way,ust an opinion.

      • Gary J

        Not at all Paul – I get what you’re saying. There was a lot of conversation about it and I just wanted to get my two cents in :-)

        • paulcatanese

          Gary,I know I’m late in replying to you but hope you see it anyway. I guess the bottom line for me was I wouldn’t want to tell a friend that “youre out of here”or youre not playing for me today.I suppose its selfish on my part but it clouds my mind when I thinke of strategy, lineups,pinch-hitters,etc.you get the picture. I think Quade today said a little of what I was saying,no captian,I am the captian of the team,well I think he should be that way,that made an impression on me,I liked that.Now if only the team dosen’t throw him over the fence,he’s got it made.

          • Gary J

            I’m with you – I really liked that comment from Q. It’s my team and if you want to be a leader you don’t need a C on your sleeve.

            And the reason I commented about the players coach thing was brought up again today in the Day 11 thread… but I’d already said my piece :-)

  • cubs1967

    I predict today’s sales of tix will be the worst in the past decade; going along w/ the 1st time ever the convention did not sell out.
    Gotta hand it to the PK McCaskey & family; really doing a great job of asking for $300M in public money while raising tix prices and lowering payroll….time to pay the piper today for their mismanagement.

    But just like Tommy’s twin-Mike McCaskey who gave an underserving extension to Lovie; I’m sure if Quade/JH win 85 games this year; they’ll get 2 more years too!

    103 yrs and counting, no grace period, no championships (and keeping my wallet away from Wrigley today!)

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

      How can you mismanage something you just bought?

      They have set plans in place to get a new spring training facility in Mesa. They have already did some minor repairs to Wrigley. They want to do a lot more. If your problem is public money used for it I will tell you again. NO TEAM BUILDS WITHOUT PUBLIC FINANCING. There is not one team that has built or remodeled in the last 30 years without some public money being involved. If you do not beleve me look it up.

      I was ready to switch teams this off season about just this issue. Guess what there is no club I could have become a fan of that did not use public money. So I stayed.

      • cubs1967

        pleaser pay attention to what i said.
        first, you could mismanage anything you just bought; I did not know there was a timeline rule??……seriously……come on-(hir quade instead of ryno, increase tix prices 2yrs running while lowering payroll 2 yrs running, kept JH and Kenny Crane, took till June to get the Toyota sign put-up becuz they did not understand the politcs around it, did not sell out the convemtion becuz fans have lost interest and they do NOT espouse any, etc). STOP me anytime now about they have not mismanaged yet…….

        second, did i ever say no team does NOT get public money; but of the $99M for mesa and the $200M for wrigley; how much have the PK McCaskey’s stated they will attribute??—ZERO!

        Really–using that knowledge I’ll go buy a new home and ask my neighbors to pay for all the repairs so their property values won’t go down.

        Just stick to comments on the players; obviously the business aspect is beyond ya.

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

          Actually in Mesa they are adding dollar for dollar everything over 99 million and all the infrastructures costs (ie interstate exchanges, stop lights, expanding roads, things like that). So it will equal out to about even. Plus eventually they are building the Wrigleyville West on there dime. But if you just look at the 420 referendum I can see where you are coming from on that one.

          There has not been one public dollar ever spent on Wrigley Field. And yet they have been working on it ever since Ricketts have bought the place. I think they spent over 10 million last off season and almost 25 million this offseason but I do not have exact numbers. Plus the Cubs and their fans had to pay over 75 million dollars in 2010 in “entertainment taxes” to fund and repay the bonds used to remodel Soldier Field and Comiski (i cant even call it by its actual name). So you are saying that the state shouldn’t have to help refurbish the one place that actually paid for the other 2 stadiums in the city? Wow that is rich. Go route for the White Sox for a bit instead of griping about what is only a fair repayment of the money already fleased from the Cubs and there fans. If it was me I would have asked for 3 times that much and told everyone I was relocating in Indiana if they didn’t give me what I wanted…………… oh wait the bears already tried that one. And the Cubs and their fans are still paying the taxes on it.

          • cubs1967

            Pay attention to my words; stop assuming……

            Did I say the public should not pay for the stadium once?—NO!!!

            However, the owners are very brazen in assuming it should be on all of us as taxpayers when they are already fleecing us on the highest tix price in baseball……..and then they lower the payroll; so the improvements that you state we already paid for in a lower payroll and thus a worse team so they could put a Cubs logo on the johns…….please.

            It won’t cost 99M for the roads, WW ,etc in Mesa…..please. Roads maybe 5M and they have not defined WW to how elaborate it will be; even if they spend 20M……….but no one knows when they’ll do it. not by 2014 becuz of the economy they say……..except that’s 3 years from now. it could be a decade?……which was not how the bill was presented when the city said OK.

            the cubs have all the leverage in the world for the city/state to pay for wrigley, but they have done it all wrong. bringing it up when daley(a sox lover ) is still in office and right after quinn barely won re-election.
            they needed to wait to see if the next mayor would be a cubs fan (rahm is) and then begin the proceess………….perhaps after this season.
            2nd, do a study that would present what would happen to wrigleyville (actually lake view) area if the cubs left……..lost of bars, restaurants, stores, jobs, etc plus if they moved outside of cook county the 10 or 11 percent entertainment tax……….by putting monies down on land in lake county (more leverage). the reason mesa said yes was florida had a private investor to fund them so there was the “threat’ to leave.
            BUT, RIcketts did not of this; just arrogantly said we want money to fix wrigley w/o any plan, economic study, or “threat” to leave the city.
            and it could be said why would they leave so it’s not believable; sure for maybe another decade, but by then they could not stay in the Dump any longer and remain competitive w/o it being rehabbed. complete mismanagement of the situation!!!! (plus they should have 50M of the 200M themselves…………they bought it; don’t expect cubs fans and the taxpayers to pay for it; you already receive a premium on tickets from us.

            P.S………..i did not buy tix today; went to the site and w/i 2 hours could get may nite tix on a giveway promo day cubs vs cards tix. normally those are sold wayyyyyyyyyy before anyone can even get them…………HMMMMMMMMMMM………

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

            OK I am beginning to see where you are coming from and I do agree that Ricketts was way out of his depth when the this intially came up. The new owners have serious PR issues. I am just not ready to call it total incompetance yet. Inexperience for sure but I am going to give them time before I say anything worse.

    • Tony_Hall

      Tickets went on sale today…I use to rearrange my week, just to be able to sit in front of the computer all day to buy tickets. Now, I really have no desire to spend money to go to Wrigley. I hope that one day, I will want to be there supporting my favorite team, financially, once again.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        I usually catch 2 or 3 games and plan to do so this year but I not in a rush to get tickets cause I”m sure there are still plenty available.
        I plan on going to watch Matt Sczczur, Hayden Simpson, Reggie Golden, Bour, In Peoria several times it’s about an hour and 20 minute drive for me but its fun.

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

          It’s about an hour for me but that is my plan too Patrick.

      • studio179

        Same thing here, too.

  • daverj

    I headed down to spring training in 2 weeks to see the Cubs/Sox on March 11 and the Rox/Pods on March 12. Any tips on how to spend a few days at the Cactus League?

  • cheryl

    All of you are probaby right about the veterans and older players making the team, but if it is so apparent to you that it will cause problems with the younger players shouldn’t it be apparent to Quade and Ricketts? If it is, then perhaps there will be more of an opportunity for the younger players than is believed. At least, I hope that is the case.

    • Tom U

      Cheryl, you would certainly hope that it would be apparent to Quade and Ricketts, but that is not always true. People have their own agendas, and sometimes they may not be the best to the long term interest of the franchise. That’s why you see turnover in ownership in sports franchises. New owners can get disillusioned if they aren’t getting the return they think they should or their business practices don’t mesh with the way baseball does business. They’ll make decisions that may seem to be sound business decisions for them, but all wrong for running a sports franchise.

      To give you a historical example, Cubs GM ER “Salty” Saltwell traded such players as Don Kessinger and Andre Thornton, and fail to re-sign Steve Stone not for baseball reasons, but because Mr. Wrigley was going through a divorce and needed the money.

  • John_CC

    I love the report that Byrd is “grooming” B Jackson for his position. I wish there were more Marlon Byrd’s around.

  • PleaseStopLosing

    I tried to buy Cubs vs.Yankees tickets off the Cubs Website and they aren’t for sale on there?? Anybody have an explanation as to why that is?

    Since I didn’t those after an hour and half wait in the virtual waiting room Ricketts will not be seeing $1 of my money this season… I called the wife immediately to inform her we will be attending all Cubs games we see at Miller Park. I will not donate to watch ticket prices rise, our budget shrink and Augie Ojeda letting grounders hit off Carlos Silva roll under his legs out to Soriano in left field. Those ticket prices to watch those 3 play baseball are just insane…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lineup for Sunday Cactus League opener:

    Fukudome – RF
    Castro – SS
    Byrd – CF
    Ramirez – 3B
    Pena – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Soto – C
    DeWitt – 2B
    Zambrano – P

    • cubtex

      Neil- Thanks for posting the lineup. I am not crazy about Marlon Byrd in the 3 hole. He only hit 12 HR’s last year and 68 RBI’s. He has only hit 20 HR’s once and his next highest total is 12. I would prefer the Cubs to move ARAM to the 3 hole and bat Pena 4th and Byrd 5th. You want your best hitter batting 3rd and I feel ARAM is that,

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree that ARam should bat 3rd, but I think ARam likes batting 4th. Outside of ARam, this team doesn’t have a 3 hole hitter. Byrd, if he bats 3rd, would most likely be the worst 3 hole hitter in baseball.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The starting lineups for the second and third games of the Spring:

    Monday vs. Brewers

    Johnson – CF
    Barney – SS
    Colvin – RF
    Soriano – LF
    Pena – 1B
    Baker – 2B
    Marquez Smith – 3B
    Hill – C
    Wells – P

    Tuesday vs. Giants in Scottsdale

    Fukudome – RF
    Castro – SS
    Byrd – CF
    Ramirez – 3B
    Soto – C
    DeWitt – 2B
    Johnson – LF
    LaHair – 1B
    Dempster – P

    • Coachdon

      Looks like Quade has Colvin as the 4th outfielder again. Moron………

      • cc002600

        you read my mind