Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cubs Caravan Info, Bruce Levine Chat, and More

The Cubs Caravan tour is coming up! The stops for each tour have been announced!

Tour 1
Day 1 (Wednesday January 13):
  • Hospital Visits- Northwestern Hospital
  • Cubs Care Luncheon (sold out)- Harry Caray's Restaurant
  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- De Duprey/Von Humboldt Schools
  • P.L.A.Y. Program

Day 2 (Thursday January 14):

  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading: Lincoln Library & Museum
  • Peoria Chiefs Fan Fest- O'Brien Field/River Plex

Tour 2

Day 1 (Wednesday January 13):

  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- Alexander Hamilton Elementary
  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- Uplift Community School
  • Cubs Care Luncheon (tickets sold out)- Harry Caray's Restaurant
  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- Crispus Attucks Elementary School
  • P.L.A.Y Program- Northwestern Boys & Girls Club Gary, IN

Day 2 (Thursday January 14):

  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- James Blaine Elementary School
  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- Hawthorne Scholastic Academy
  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading & P.L.A.Y. Program Waukegan School District
  • Private Event at the Naval Training Center- HUSO Illisnois

The participants in the caravan have not yet been announced for this year, but I'll post them on this site as soon as they are. Last year Tour 1 featured Lou Piniella, Bob Brenly, Jim Hendry, Len Kasper, Dave Otto, Oneri Fleita, Matt Sinatro, Lester Strode, Ivan DeJesus, Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Hart, Neal Cotts, Micah Hoffpauir, Kevin Gregg, Felix Pie and Joey Gathright; while Randy Bush, Pat Hughes, Cory Provus, Oneri Fleita, Larry Rothschild, Alan Trammell, Mike Quade, Gerald Perry, Brandon Guyer, Kevin Hart, Carlos Marmol, Kevin Gregg, Jeff Samardzija, and Sean Marshall were on Tour 2 a year ago.

That week will be a busy one for the Chicago Cubs because Len Kasper and Bob Brenly will be hosting their 4th annual Len and Bob bash, which will be Thursday night. Len and Bob will "reprise their role as honorary rock stars" this year for a few songs, after taking a year of from performing last year. All proceeds benefit Chicago Cubs Charities.

In addition, the Cubs will have the Cubs Convention which starts on Friday (January 15) and runs through Sunday at the Hilton Chicago. The annual gathering of Cubs fans is the highlight of the offseason for any big Cub fan who attends.

Some more Cubs stuff going around tonight:

Carrie Muskat had her Cubs Inbox earlier this week:

  • Reed Johnson could still come back to the Cubs, but it depends on who Jim Hendry is able to acquire.
  • Kosuke is an excellent right fielder and an average center field, so the Cubs are looking to get stronger up the middle by moving him to right.
  • Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik are both option for the Cubs, and it may come down to which player fits better on the payroll.
  • Starlin Castro is not the far away from the big leagues.
  • The Cubs feel that a combination of Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, and Andres Blanco will do the job at second base.
  • The core of the team that won 97 games is still in place. The Cubs are depending on better performances from Soriano, Fontenot, Zambrano, and Soto.
  • Carrie thinks it could be Double-A Tennessee's turn to play at Wrigley Field.

Bruce Levine chatted Chicago Baseball today. Here's what he had to say:

  • Johnny Damon is looking for at least $11-12 million per season on a multi year year deal right now. That isn't going to work for the Cubs, but if his demands become more realistic the Cubs may listen.
  • Jeff Baker probably won't be the Opening Day starter at second base unless to opponent is a strong left handed pitcher.
  • The Cubs rotation is solid. Right now, whether Randy Wells is a 15-game winner or a 9-game winner is the question.
  • Look for Starlin Castro mid to late season, depending on whether or not the Cubs are competing.
  • The Cubs are looking at rehabs like Kelvim Escbar and Ben Sheets.
  • The North Siders may not be able to afford Aroldis Chapman.
  • Levine thinks the Cubs have listened on Kerry Wood trade ideas from Cleveland, but "that ship has sailed".
  • Look for the Cubs to be very active over the next 10 days (don't we always hear that?). They could sign Capps sometime Wednesday.
  • The Cubs feel good about Marlon Byrd, and they are seriously considering signing him. Rudy Jaramillo worked with Byrd in Texas.
  • Carlos Silva will be given every chance with the Cubs, including in the bullpen.
  • First and foremost the Cubs are looking at CF and the bullpen. After that, they may look for bench help. Reed Johnson could be brought back to solidify the bench.
  • Hendry may sign both Capps and Byrd. The organization definitely has enough money for both of them.
  • When asked about Carlos Zambrano trade talk, Levine said two word, "It's over."
  • Jim Hendry has made mistakes, but it's time to move on.
  • The Cubs like Orlando Hudson, but he's not their first priority right now.
  • Jaramillo and Soriano worked very well together with the Rangers.
  • "Look for Jim Hendry to bee extremely aggressive, even during the holidays." Interesting- maybe we'll get a big Christams Present from Hendry.
  • Jim is still looking at some veteran pitchers. A guy like Jose Contreras might be considered.
  • Who knows what Lou Piniella will do in Spring Training. Once he sees Starlin Castro's talent, he may end up being our Opening Day short stop. You never know.
  • The Cubs would love to trade Kosuke, but there's not much of a market for him.
  • Josh Vitters is going to hit. However, he is not a finished product at third base. He may end up at first.
  • The Ricketts family really likes Ryne Sandberg, but ideally the GM names the manager. Piniella's contract expires after 2010.
  • Bruce expects Geovany Soto to return as a better conditioned athlete when he reports to Mesa in mid-February.

Len Kasper joined the Danny Mac show today on WSCR 670 The Score:

  • Len thinks it's possible that Milton Bradley could have a good season in Seattle.
  • The "other stuff" besides Bradley's play on the field is what got him sent packing.
  • Kasper has no idea how Carlos Silva could help this team.
  • Carlos throws strikes, but he gives up a lot of hits.
  • Silva will get a chance because Lilly will start the year on the DL.
  • Milton was baffled as to why writers wanted to talk to him so much. He didn't understand that he would be in the spotlight no matter what. For whatever reason, Bradley doesn't like the spotlight.
  • Len called Bradley an independent guy, a loner, and very smart and sensitive.
  • Milton is not a good fit for a big market like Chicago.
  • Kasper is 99.9% sure that Carlos Zambrano isn't going anywhere. He's the Cubs number 1 starter, Ted Lilly has gone down, and Big Z had a better ERA in 2009 than '07 and '08.
  • Winning the Cy Young may never happen for Zambrano, but if he stays in Chicago his whole career, he could become the greatest Cub starter in terms of longevity and wins since Fergie Jenkins.
  • The NL Central is 100% up for grabs. It doesn't take much to get back to the top of this division for the Cubs.

That's it for now, I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always as the Cubs could be making a move just before the holidays!

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