Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Talk, Talk, & More Talk (Updated)

Cubs Looking at Guys Coming Off Injuries
Guys coming off of injuries in 2009 seem to make a lot of sense for the Cubs, who are looking to land some depth without spending too much money. Mitch Williams said on MLB Network Monday that team like the Cubs could be interested in Ben Sheets if he can prove he has the arm speed back in Spring Training. They should start Ben out slow, and then count on him when he's fully ready midseason. Joe MaGrane and Mitch think that Sheets is the guy they would like a chance on who's coming off an injury, while Harold Reynolds likes Chien-Ming Wang. Carlos Delgado, who will play in winter ball, was listed as the hitter that could come back from an injury and help a ball club.

Rogers on MLB Network
Chicago Tribune writer Phil Rogers (who is one of those guys that you hear "take this rumor with a grain of salt" every time someone uses him as a source) is now an MLB Network insider. He joined Greg Amsinger on Hot Stove Monday. The Cubs had Juan Pierre start all 162 games in center field in 2006, but in the 3 seasons since then they've played 16 different guys out there. Rogers thinks the guy who did the best job of those 16 was Jim Edmonds in 2008, and they let him retire without giving him an offer to come back. Phil mentioned the same two names we've being hearing about: Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik. Scott would fill the lead-off hole for the Cubs also. Right now, Ryan Theriot is the best lead-off guy the Cubs have. Rogers also talked about the wild rumor that he reporter earlier this week that the Cubs have the prospects and interest to try to pull of a trade for Jacoby Ellsbury. They are "closely monitoring the situation in Boston".

Levine's Chat
Bruce Levine chatted Chicago Baseball yesterday afternoon on Here's the Cub-related highlights:

  • Bruce doesn't believe that Jacoby Ellsbury will be available, because he is a lead-off man and the Red Sox are not going to trust Mike Cameron in center field everyday.
  • He continues to report that either Byrd, Podsednik, or Ankiel will be the opening day centerfielder for the Cubs. Bruce says all 3 have flaws, but Ankiel "might have the biggest upside".
  • The Cubs "would and have" listened to offers for Zambrano. The Cubs would definitely do it, but the question is would they find and a trade partner and if so would Big Z waive his no trade clause.
  • They have talked about Kiko Calero, but the concern with him is injury.
  • Hendry only has x amount of dollars to spend. He's doing his best to negotiate 2-3 contracts at a time and look at trade options. The important thing isn't how fast the Cubs find a center fielder, it's to get it right.
  • Carlos Silva won't be active if he's not productive.
  • Geovany Soto was embarrassed by last season. Levine expects him to have better work ethic next year.
  • Orlando Hudson is not on the Cubs list because he is a below-average on-base guy who has little speed.
  • They are still in talks with the Mets about Luis Castillo.
  • "Don't be surprised" if Jose Contreras is the 5th start who replaces Lilly to begin the season.
  • Bruce hopes there is someone else besides Mike Fontenot to start at second base next year. Little Babe Ruth proved he is not an everyday player in 2009.
  • Jeff Baker will get some time at second, but his main job is to be a backup for second an third. He will also play some outfield this year.
  • If the season starter today, Bruce thinks the White Sox would have a better year than the Cubs.
  • "What you see is what you get" with Kosuke. For some reason, the Cubs thinks that he might be a more productive player for them in right field.
  • The Cubs plan is to bring Starlin Castro along in a quick fashion. He may start the year at AA and then move quickly to AAA. If he had success at those levels, Levine says he could be in the big leagues by June.
  • If you're going to move Theriot to second base at some point this season, the best bet would be to get it done in Spring Training. If that's the case, a veteran like Orlando Cabrera could be signed by the Cubs so that he can play short until Castro is ready.
  • The Cubs have yet to sign Reed Johnson because "there is no reason to think his back problems won't continue".
  • Andrew Cashner needs "at least another year" in the minors.
  • We should expect a Naples/Mesa decision sometime in January. Bruce is starting to hear more about Arizona fulfilling the Cubs' needs.
  • Josh Vitters will not be in the majors this year unless he is a September call-up. The Cubs know he can hit, but they are still looking for what position he will be most successful at.
  • Brett Gardner (New York outfielder) is not going anywhere.
  • Bruce thinks the window of opportunity is getting close to closing on the Cubs.
  • Soriano's struggles last season were a combination of the knee and a loss of confidence.
  • Lou Piniella could use his bench and rest his vets more.
  • The starting rotation is the biggest question mark going in to next season according to Levine.

Cubs Top 20 Prospects- John Sickels:

  • 1. Starlin Castro: B+
  • 2. Josh Vitters: B+
  • 3. Brett Jackson: B
  • 4. Jay Jackson: B
  • 5. Andrew Cashner: B
  • 6. Hak-Ju Lee: B
  • 7. Chris Carpenter: B-
  • 8. Kyler Burke: B-
  • 9. Ryan Flaherty: B-
  • 10. D.J. LeMahieu: C+
  • 11. Brooks Raley: C+
  • 12. Logan Watkins: C+
  • 13. Esmalin Caridad: C+
  • 14. Blaker Parker: C+
  • 15. John Gaub: C+
  • 16. Matt Spencer: C+
  • 17. Dae-Eun Rhee: C+
  • 18. Casey Coleman: C+
  • 19. Tyler Colvin: C
  • 20. Jeff Beliveau: C

Sickels past Cub top rated prospects: Brian Dopirak (2005), Mark Pawelek ('06), Felix Pie ('07), and Josh Vitters ('08-'09). Hopefully Castro and Vitters turn out better than the first three!!

Other Cubs Notes

That's it for now, I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always!

No comments:

Post a Comment