Happy Easter from everyone here at the CCO…. The Weekend Update returns for the final Sunday in Arizona. Counting Sunday’s game, Lou Piniella’s crew has only 5 games left in the desert and 7 total in the exhibition season. The Cubs square off later today in Peoria against Greg Maddux and the Padres. Kerry Wood is expected to throw in back-to-back games for the first time and if everything goes as planned, will be named the Cubs’ closer according to Bruce Levine.
The Cubs still have several decisions to make over the next week. Lou Piniella said he would announce his rotation and closer likely by Monday with decisions on the roster expected before the Cubs play in Las Vegas on Friday. Here is the latest from Arizona and more from the rumor mill. News from Arizona
Lou Piniella is concerned the Cubs do not have a backup for centerfield on the current roster according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times. Gordon Wittenmyer stated, “Piniella feels he needs an outfielder such as the Red Sox’ Coco Crisp.” The report also mentioned the Cubs still covet a certain second baseman and the excess pitching Jim Hendry acquired “remains like a logjam as decision time fast approaches.”
The Sun-Times said the Opening Day rotation should be (not in order):
- Carlos Zambrano
- Ted Lilly
- Rich Hill
- Ryan Dempster
- Jon Lieber
Jason Marquis or Sean Marshall should be the long-man out of the pen, depending on what happens over the next week. Tim Lahey could be an option if Marquis is traded, but if not he will be traded to avoid sending him back to the Minnesota Twins.
Alex Cintron is hoping to be back on the field on Sunday according to the Chicago Tribune.
Lou Piniella said both Micah Hoffpauir and Casey McGehee will have “a tough time” making the team out of Spring Training according to a report in the Daily Herald. It looks like Ronny Cedeno and Mike Fontenot could make the team….of course, barring a trade.
Scott Eyre has to do a better job of mixing his pitches according to the Daily Herald. Eyre threw only one breaking ball in his outing on Saturday. On a side note, Carmen Pignatiello has yet to allow an earned run this spring. Maybe the Cubs should buy him a roundtrip ticket from Iowa when they option him down to start the season.
From the Rumor Mill
A report on Saturday morning in the Washington Post indicated the Cubs have had scouts in Florida watching the Nationals. The report speculated the Cubs are interested in Felipe Lopez based on the fact the Cubs scouts have been in attendance. Bruce Levine mentioned a week ago the Nationals had expressed interest in Jason Marquis but did not mention any players on the Nationals’ roster the Cubs might be interested in. Could that be the connection? Not that the Cubs are interested in Lopez, but that the Cubs are trying to find a fit that would allow them to trade Marquis to the Nationals. Purely speculation and wondering out loud….
The Baltimore Sun reported on Sunday morning that Brian Roberts and his agent, Mark Pieper, met with Andy MacPhail on Saturday. The Sun did not mention any details of the meeting and their headline says it all…. Nothing New in Roberts Talks.
Speaking of Mr. Roberts…. The Chicago Tribune reported on Saturday night the names that have been “rumored in a potential deal” are Ronny Cedeno, Sean Gallagher, Sean Marshall, Micah Hoffpauir and Donald Veal. The Tribune stated the Cubs are “getting tired of waiting for Baltimore to make a decision and may have to go to Plan B.”
The Cubs could still send Jason Marquis to the Red Sox for Coco Crisp according to the Denver Post because the Cubs have “clearly soured on Felix Pie.” O.K., when did this happen? Jim Hendry is looking for a right-handed option to be a back up in center, but nothing has been said out of the offices at 1060 West Addison that the Cubs are not happy with Pie. Gotta love the speculation that the mainstream media can make and get away with….
The Detroit News mentioned the Tigers’ interest in Michael Wuertz again on Sunday morning.
A majority of the mainstream media is expecting a lot of moves in the next week throughout Major League Baseball….so stay tuned.
Info from the CCO
A couple of quick site notes to pass along….
Look for the daily return of “Talkin’ Cubs Live” this week. Starting on Wednesday the CCO will have game previews that allow readers to discuss the games as they happen….not after the fact.
I am aware the pitchers predictions post on Friday did not go over all too well. The predications from Bill James and PECOTA were meant as a starting point, not an end all be all. Those same publications (websites) predicted a good season for the offense. It was pointed out early on that Baseball Prospectus was only predicting 85 wins based on pitchers stats….they actually predicted a 91-win season for the Cubs. So if you are still interested, go back and have a little fun and make your own predictions.
Finally…. Bruce Levine said it right on Saturday morning, Lou Piniella’s new catch phrase, “Cubbie Occurrence“, will become a part of the team’s lore.