Weekend Update … Its All Business at Cubs Camp

The first week of camp is officially in the books and reportedly there is a definite difference this spring from the past. The Cubs are focused on baseball and preparation for the upcoming season, even the well-publicized bunting tournament has a purpose.

The bunting tournament resumed Saturday with the first round of position players. Matt Szczur topped Lendy Castillo’s high score from the first day and quickly became the favorite to win the tournament until Steve Clevenger eliminated Tony Campana. Szczur beat Castillo’s score by 70 points (610-540) but Clevenger totaled 660 points to Campana’s 290.

Geovany Soto sat out practice Saturday with a minor groin injury. Soto went through pre-workout exercises but did not participate in practice with the rest of his teammates. Dale Sveum said Soto’s injury was not serious.

The Cubs still have not announced the Gerardo Concepcion signing … and the 40-man roster currently sits at 39 players.

This is the last Sunday without Cubs baseball until October … the exhibition season begins in a week.

Here’s the update …

Theo Epstein Compensation
The Theo Epstein compensation issue resurfaced Saturday when John Henry and Larry Lucchino addressed the Boston media in Fort Myers. The compensation for Epstein is not completely done but the Red Sox received the ‘big’ piece of the compensation earlier in the week … the Sox received right-hander reliever Chris Carpenter and a PTNBL for player to be named later.

John Henry said Saturday that the Cubs and Red Sox had a basic misunderstanding on what Boston would receive for letting Epstein out of the final year of his contract.

According to a report from WEEI, “There was some misunderstanding in his [John Henry] conversations with Cubs owner Tom Ricketts that led to what he viewed as a somewhat unsatisfying outcome.”

John Henry from WEEI: “How satisfied are we? In a negotiation, both sides are never, if it’s a tough negotiation, both sides are generally a little unhappy with the way it works. The Cubs probably aren’t ‘happy’ with it; we probably aren’t ‘happy’ with it. Given the amount of time that was spent on it, it probably was the appropriate result. I think there was a basic misunderstanding between Tom Ricketts and I when we first spoke about it. I really admire Tom Ricketts as an owner. He’s one of the best owners in baseball. It’s a great organization. We had a misunderstanding as far as expectation. There’s was no room for agreement. The best way to explain it is we probably had different expectations based on the first conversation to what was transpiring.

Larry Lucchino acknowledged on WEEI that Chris Carpenter did not represent the type of haul Boston was expecting for Epstein. Lucchino said, “We have a saying at the Red Sox – you’ve heard it before – all’s well that ends, period. Let’s move on, next issue.

The compensation transaction with the Red Sox is expected to be completed by April 15 … and the compensation to the Padres for Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod is expected to be settled by the end of Spring Training.

The Bunting Tournament
The Cubs’ bunting tournament resumed Saturday and after talking trash to his teammates, Tony Campana was eliminated by Steve Clevenger.

Saturday’s match-ups were: Junior Lake vs. Matt Szczur; Josh Vitters vs. Adrian Cardenas; Michael Brenly vs. Jonathan Mota; Blake Lalli vs. James Adduci; Jae-Hoon Ha vs. Brett Jackson; Welington Castillo vs. Dave Sappelt; Steve Clevenger vs. Tony Campana; Bryan LaHair vs. Anthony Rizzo.

The winners in the first round of the position players Saturday were: Matt Szczur, Adrian Cardenas, Jonathan Mota, Blake Lalli, Brett Jackson, Dave Sappelt, Steve Clevenger and Bryan LaHair.

Brett Jackson reportedly beat Jae-Hoon Ha with a walk-off bunt, flipped his bat and raised his arms in victory.

Notes from Cubs Camp

  • Kerry Wood and Matt Garza threw side sessions early Saturday morning.
  • According to Jamie Quirk, Dale Sveum is a perfect fit for the Cubs.
  • According to Doug Padilla (Talkin’ Baseball/ESPN 1000), Dale Sveum pointed out something positive about each player during his pre-workout speech Friday.
  • Dale Sveum said Blake Parker threw the ball really well Saturday.
  • The Cubs are playing for the future according to Doug Padilla (Talkin’ Baseball/ESPN 1000) while putting a decent spin on the upcoming season.
  • Dale Sveum clarified comments he made Friday about the rotation. Sveum listed five starters Friday: Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Paul Maholm, Randy Wells and Travis Wood. Sveum said Wells, Travis Wood, Chris Volstad and Rodrigo Lopez are all in the running for jobs Saturday.
  • The catchers are spending a lot of time working on their defense this spring according to a report from Bruce Miles.
  • The Cubs value the speed Tony Campana brings to the table according to Doug Padilla (Talkin’ Baseball/ESPN 1000). Campana has unique skills and could make the team as a fifth outfielder and a late-inning pinch-runner. When he gets a chance this spring Campana must make the best of all opportunities.
  • Doug Padilla and Bruce Levine (Talkin’ Baseball/ESPN 1000) described Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer as “approachable” but neither one of them are willing to sit in a golf cart and just chat … Epstein and Hoyer are all business and want to keep it that way.

Photos from Fitch Park
John CC attended practice Friday and not only did he email his observations but sent several excellent photos. Below are a few of John’s pics and the others have been posted on the CCO’s Facebook pageclick here to see the entire photo gallery.

John said the young guys looked great and Bryan LaHair, Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters were impressive in batting practice. Anthony Rizzo showed off his strong arm during infield drills.

AZ spring 2012 Barney.jpg AZ spring 2012 Castro in cage 2.jpg AZ spring 2012 Demp 2.jpg AZ spring 2012 Demp 3.jpg AZ spring 2012 IF Drills.jpg AZ spring 2012 Marmol.jpg AZ spring 2012 Sori, Rudy Castro.jpg AZ spring 2012 Soriano.jpg AZ spring 2012 Byrd in cage.jpg AZ spring 2012 Epstein_Bosio.jpg AZ spring 2012 IN Drills 3.jpg AZ spring 2012 LaHair_Stewart.jpg AZ spring 2012 Sveum and team.jpg AZ spring 2012_Sveum.jpg

A huge ‘Thank You‘ goes out to John for taking his time to email the great photos and observations to the CCO so everyone could enjoy.

Tom Ricketts talks about the ‘Cubs Way’

Well, there’s the final weekend update of the winter … and I’m sticking to it.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Scott McMeekan

    Great update Neil.  I’m SO happy that ST is here and we can actually start talking about lineups soon and who’s got a chance to shine this year.  I also like hearing about how Jed and Theo are acting in camp. I think they have a steeliness to them that JH was always missing…not really a ‘chip’ so to speak, but a steely resolve.  

    Of course that’s just attitude, and attitude won’t score runs or win ballgames, but it’s part of what it takes to help players rise to a level that they didn’t think they could on their own.

    That’s leadership. I love it!

  • Ripsnorter1

    I can’t wait until the games begin! Let’s get this show on the road!

    • Brp921


  • Texcubnut

    Thank you for the snapshots, John. Makes me wish I could be there. It has been 2 years since I’ve made it to Cubs ST. I’ll be there next year, and like Rip, I’m ready for the games to begin!

    • SuzyS

       I second that John…Thanks for sharing!!!

      • John_CC

         My pleasure! 

        • Dorasaga

          You are the man.

  • cubs1967

    I see Geo is hurt…….minor as it is…..catchers always are and he has a history.  This offense is reaaaaaaaally bad…….just another reason to get Castillo as the back-up………he’ll play alot and we’ve already seen the Koyie Jamarillo story for a few years.

    Red Sox banned alchol in clubhouse……..year too late.  Anyone know if the Cubs do..???????…..Bobby V said 18 or so other teams do to…..not sure if he was right or just sayin.

    Joe Torre said MLB was considering banning it across the board when he had his MLB commish’s office job.

    • Anthony

      having a couple ice cold beers AFTER a game is OK

    • Cubs 31

      Yes the Red Sox banned alcohol in the clubhouse but I guess fried chicken is still ok.

  • Anonymous47701

    Could Richard Jones or Justin Bour fit as compensation for both Hoyer and McLeod?

    • Tom U

      I don’t like to speculate in such matters, but since the Padres lost Anthony Rizzo, a first baseman would seem logical.

      However, considering the size of Petco Park and a San Diego organization that can use outfielders; Evan Crawford, Michael Burgess, Anthony Giansanti, Ben Klafczynski, Jesus Morelli, and John Andreoli are names you could hear.

      And there is always pitching. Asian players like playing on the west coast, and west coast teams have an easier time marketing them. Therefore, pitchers such as Yao-Lin Wang, Su-Min Jung, and Jin-Young Kim could also be options.

      • Anthony

        Tom, Morelli was released I believe, and any 2011 drafted player would have to be a PTBNL until their one year anniv date, meaning they reside in the Cubs system until at least then.

        Burgess is a low contact power guy and doesn’t fit the park factor in SD. Crawford is a possibility, but moreso PC Chen fits the mold of contact, defense, speed, no power.

        Plus, isn’t this going to be a trade, i.e they send a player also like the Carp deal?

        Giansanti, maybe, but he is rumored to maybe reverting back to being a catcher and has a classic pop-type release.

        If a position player, tough to choose. 

        • Anthony

          also, they said it would dealt with during ST, and the decision could have already been made as most minor leaguers initial ST travel plans have been finalized

        • Tom U

          Thank you Anthony about reminding me about the draftees and Morelli’s release. I wasn’t thinking about that when I posted.

          Burgess may be a better fit than he looks on the surface. He much better defensively than he profiles, with a 1.84 range factor in right field and 9 assists. He has a cannon for an arm and gunned down 26 in Single A in 2008. 

          Offensively, nearly half of his hits last season were for extra bases, and that’s with only 1 stolen base! With the expanses of Petco, he could be a doubles machine there, with some of those balls going over the fence on the road.

          I don’t think Pin-Chieh Chen would be considered, as he has too high of a ceiling for this type of deal.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    I just received an email from Tim Sheridan at Boys of Spring to let us know we have been nominated for a Ryno Award. Tim asked me to make sure our readers knew we are nominated.

    If anyone would like to vote for the CCO … here is the link.


    • SuzyS

       Neil, just voted for the CCO…but it seems another site is far in the lead…No worries, in my opinion…this still the very best site for the Cubs.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree Suzy, also voted for the CCO. As we all know it’s the best site out there. Neil doe’s a fantastic job, with tremdous insight and response to all issues.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Thanks Suzy and Paul. I saw that. I’m honored we were nominated. You guys are very kind.

    • GaryLeeT

      On the B.O.S. web page header, who is the player to the left of Castro? It looks like Cashner.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        It is Cashner, I guess Tim has not had a chance to update his photos.

    • daverj

      You got my vote too … CCO is the ONLY Cubs site that I frequent.

    • Tony_Hall

      You have my vote!  

      Those other sites don’t compare, not even close.  

      • Dorasaga

         I concur.

    • http://www.go-for-it-productions.com JoeS_SanDiego

      Got my vote too!!  May not post as often as I used to….but I still love CCO.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Day three results from the bunt tournament:

    Mather, Barney, Castro, Stewart, T. Wood, Samardzija, Wells and Sonnanstine advanced

    Gonzalez, Scales, Jaramillo, Tolbert, Caridad, Russell, Volstad and Corpas eliminated.

  • paulcatanese

    The bunting tournament. Someone correct me if I am wrong.
    I assume it’s about location of bunts, not actual bunting and running the result out.
    Therefore,those players could have hits that dont stay within the boundaries, and simply those who can lay down sacrifice bunts.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

       Paul, the field is marked with different point values and must stay in bounds. The players are not running them out to the best of my knowledge. Each player has eight chances and the way I understand it, the match-ups are structured as innings. Each match-up is three innings long for 24 total chances.

      Here is a pretty good photo of how the field is marked.


  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Geovany Soto missed practice again Sunday. Sveum
    said not a big deal, will be several days until Soto is in games


    • SuzyS

      I had a huge grin from just a small snippet in that article…

  • Tony_Hall

    Here is an article by Phil Rogers (I know can’t trust much of anything he writes as being factual), but this article is a look at the Garza trade to the Cubs and 1 year later.


    I think I like this one :)

    • SuzyS

      Tony, thanks for the link. It points to the reason the Cubs are in a REBUILDING mode after years of JH’s stewartship.
      I scratched my head when JH made that trade…and still don’t like it….That trade didn’t even fit what JH said he was doing.
      Garza is a nice pitcher…But the Cubs gave up way too much for him. It was JH’s parting to gift to us.

      I’m glad JH is with the Yankees now…since I was born in Boston (my #2 allegiance in baseball), I hope he helps
      the Yankees like he did us.

      • Tony_Hall

        I am glad he is gone as well, and can’t wait for the games to begin.  

    • cubtex

      You are actually going here after you personally rip everthing about what Phil Rogers reports??? Haha. I guess in your words….if you dig deep enough you will find what you want to hear :)

      • Tony_Hall

        I knew you would get a kick out of this :)

        But it does go back to what I and others didn’t like about the trade (and no I don’t want to go over it all again, just thought I would share).

        Of course, this might be the first article Phil Rogers ever wrote that I agreed with, and most likely will be awhile before he writes another one that I agree with.  Of course you know why, he makes up at least half of his info.  

    • cubtex

      What a bunch of cr###. Archer and Lees stock has increased??? What publications show that? They are happy with Fuld making the catch of the year, Chirinos battling for a backup and only throwing out 1 baserunner all year and Guyer hitting. 314 in AAA and struggling big time when called up? And we get the #13 starter in all of baseball according to fangraphs???? No brainer. I would do that trade again so fast your head would spin!

      • Tony_Hall

        All in how you spin it. And I do agree Rogers is spinning it make it fit his article.  And you are spinning it to fit your view.  We all do that :)

        We are still another year or 2 from having a better idea on Archer and Lee, whose stock has risen as the #2 prospect in their system.  

    • Dorasaga

      As much as I agree his p.o.v., I think Rogers was simply trying to appeal to the current management and to fans who take its new philosophy, like he did before when he praised J.Hendry.

      I also see that he brought up a lousy case to support his “new” p.o.v. D. Hudson was not highly regarded, and was barely hanging there as a fifth starter with the White Sox.

      Nice try, but not good enough.

  • cubs1967

    Sean Marshall close to signing an extension with Reds; sure to haunt Cubs fans for years now; watching Cubs batters; especially lefthanders look like clown acts in pinstripes.  Travis Estes I hope not. Forget the 5th OF Theo for no reason got.  Who knows on the kid 2b; not until you hit plus .300 at High A ball should we even wonder about his real potential.

    I see Dusty spinning his toothpick in a large grin for years now when he watches Marshall “goose egg” the Cubs over and over and over again.

    • Last_ginger

      Thats until Dusty abuses his arm……

  • http://www.go-for-it-productions.com JoeS_SanDiego

    “This is this is the last Sunday without Cubs baseball until October”….how about NOVEMBER instead!!  :)

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

       Great to hear from you Joe

  • cubs1967

    hey everybody, I just wanted to apologize about all my negative rants this off season.  I have decided to be more positive about this team and fully support all the moves that Theo and Jed have made.  from now on, I am completely on board with this team and think they will be incredible successful.  I am looking foward to a great season.  Go Cubs!