Cespedes Update, New Numbers, Fitch Park … and Other Cubs News and Notes

10 days until pitchers and catchers officially report to Fitch ParkThe Cubs loaded the equipment truck Tuesday that is bound for Mesa. Several players are already at Fitch Park preparing for the start of Spring Training and the new arrivals include Matt Garza, David DeJesus, Dave Sappelt, Jeff Samardzija, Josh Vitters and Darwin Barney.

The Yoenis Cespedes tour began Tuesday. Cespedes acquired a visitor’s visa and arrived in Miami Tuesday afternoon. Cespedes reportedly met with his agent, Adam Katz, Tuesday night to go over the next step of the process.

Yoenis Cespedes is expected to meet with the Marlins and tour their new park Wednesday. According to Jayson Stark, the Marlins have limits on the contract they are prepared to offer Cespedes. Miami is planning something spectacular but they are not sure it will be enough to sign him. David Samson told Jayson Stark the club could make an offer to Cespedes by the end of the day [Wednesday]. Samson admitted the Marlins want him but do not need him and said signing Cespedes could “put the cherry on top of a feverish off-season.”

Cespedes has not received an OFAC unblocking license, which is required for him to sign a contract.

According to a report from Ken Rosenthal, other teams may visit Cespedes while he is in Miami. There have not been any reports, yet, that the Cubs may be one of the teams. Cespedes is expected to return to the Dominican Republic in a few days.

The Cubs updated their official roster Tuesday and announced several number changes. Among the changes … Matt Garza switched from 17 to 22, Jason Jaramillo was issued no. 38, Joe Mather received no. 16, Tony Campana turned in Piniella’s old number in favor of good ole no. 1 and Jeff Baker will wear no. 3 instead of his familiar no. 28, which went to Paul Maholm.

Here’s the update …

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on ESPNChicago.com. Here are the highlights:

  • The number one goal of the new regime is to have a better defensive team. If Adrian Cardenas can field second base he might be able to push Darwin Barney for a job. Barney might be better off as a back-up at second and short if Cardenas can win the second base job.
  • This season is all about rebuilding even though Ricketts has said numerous times he expects the team to compete.
  • John Gaub could end up more than a one-inning reliever and Scott Maine is more of a lefty specialist.
  • If everyone competing for a spot in the rotation pitches well, the Cubs could trade Randy Wells. According to Levine, he is a viable pitcher and could still be someone’s good fourth or fifth starter.
  • The Marlins will be the Cubs number one competition for Yoenis Cespedes … but don’t count out the White Sox in the Cespedes derby.
  • Levine has not heard any updates on the status of Jorge Soler.
  • The Cubs have not acknowledged signing Gerardo Concepcion yet … which means, according to Levine, that he has not taken a physical. The Cubs have been coy about the signing of Cuban players … and have not announced the two signings from six weeks back. (Note: Levine is referring to the signings of 18-year old outfielder Yasiel Balaguert and 20-year old right handed pitcher Carlos Martinez. The signings were announced by Baseball America on December 30.)
  • As for the compensation for Theo Epstein, Levine does not think a top prospect will be sent to Boston for Epstein but economic compensation will accompany the player that is sent.
  • Levine thinks a team will sign Blake DeWitt to a minor league deal.

Boys of Spring
Tim Sheridan is hard at work at Fitch Park and is already providing his excellent updates. I look forward to catching up with Tim again in a couple of weeks when the Cactus League games begin.

For those unfamiliar with ‘Boys of Spring‘, click here and tell Tim the CCO sent you.

Uniform Numbers
With all of the new players and coaches, here is a rundown of the numbers the new players, non-roster invitees and the coaches will be wearing at the beginning of Spring Training. For a full 40-man roster that includes player’s contracts and minor league options, click here.

40-Man Roster

  • Jeff Beliveau – 68
  • Alberto Cabrera – 76
  • Lendy Castillo – 52
  • Matt Garza – 22
  • John Gaub – 54
  • Paul Maholm – 28
  • Andy Sonnanstine – 21
  • Chris Volstad – 32
  • Casey Weathers – 56
  • Travis Wood – 30
  • Welington Castillo – 53
  • Steve Clevenger – 51
  • Jeff Baker – 3
  • Junior Lake – 73
  • Anthony Rizzo – 44
  • Ian Stewart – 2
  • Josh Vitters – 61
  • Tony Campana – 1
  • David DeJesus – 9
  • Dave Sappelt – 17
  • Matt Szczur – 72

Adrian Cardenas has not been issued a uniform number yet.

Non-Roster Invitees

  • Esmailin Caridad – 50
  • Marco Carrillo – 74
  • Manny Corpas – 60
  • Jay Jackson – 65
  • Rodrigo Lopez – 19
  • Trey McNutt – 71
  • Trever Miller – 43
  • Blake Parker – 67
  • Dae-Eun Rhee – 70
  • Chris Rusin – 88
  • Michael Brenly – 78
  • Jason Jaramillo – 38
  • Blake Lalli – 47
  • Alfredo Amezaga – 48
  • Edgar Gonzalez – 55
  • Jonathan Mota – 75
  • Bobby Scales – 41
  • Matt Tolbert – 20
  • James Adduci – 63
  • Jae-Hoon Ha – 79
  • Brett Jackson – 59
  • Joe Mather – 16

Coaching Staff

  • Dale Sveum – 33
  • Rudy Jaramillo – 7
  • Chris Bosio – 25
  • Dave McKay – 39
  • Pat Listach – 4
  • Jamie Quirk – 8
  • Lester Strode – 35
  • Mike Borzello – 58
  • Franklin Fort – 64

News and Notes

Chasing the Dream recently ran a report on the Cubs’ 18th round pick from last June’s draft, James Pugliese. For those that are not that familiar with the right-hander, the interview is well worth the time.

Babes Love Baseball previewed the Cubs season in Haiku.

Matt Garza talked with Comcast SportsNet on his way from California to Mesa about his future with the Cubs and the recent theft of his ALCS Championship ring.


WGN Radio Contest

WGN Radio has asked the CCO to help promote their latest contest … write the official WGN Radio Cubs Song for the 2012 season. For those baseball fans that are also musicians this could end up being your bring break.

All entries must be submitted by February 29, 2012.

Click here for more information and the official rules from WGN Radio.

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

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver