Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mid Week Roundup: Dawson's Cap, Cubs Spring Training, Adding to the Bench, and More

A lot has been going on this week around the word of the Chicago Cubs, so let's dive right into it!

Dawson to Enter Hall An Expo
As first reported early this morning by Fred Mitchell of the Tribune, Andre Dawson will enter the National Baseball Hall of fame as a Montreal Expo. The Hawk played 11 years in Montreal, but some of the most memorable years of his career were while sporting blue pinstripes. Andre said at the Cubs' Convention that he would prefer to enter as a Cub, but the Hall makes the final decision. While many Cub fans believe that Dawson should have been granted his wishes, Phil Rogers supports the Hall's decision. He will join Gary Carter as the only players to wear Expo hats on their plaques. Andre told Mitchell that he is disappointed by that decision.

Cubs To Stay In Mesa
It's official. The Chicago Cubs, as expected, made the announcement today that they will keep their Spring Training home in Mesa. Ricketts confirmed the deal to stay in the valley of the sun during an announcement at Arizona Capito today. Cub camp has been located in Arizona since 1952. A proposal that includes 100-plus acres called Wrigleyville West is possible. The Cubs decision is to stay, but this is dependent on a November referendum of voters in Mesa.

Nady Signs With Cubs (Pending Physical)
As posted yesterday, the Cubs are close to adding Xavier Nady to their outfield mix. Nady missed most of 2009 due to Tommy John surgery. The phsical that Xavier has to take could be more than a minor obstacle because of his recent health issues.

Cubs Ink Tracy to Minor League Deal
The Cubs have signed former Arizona D'backs' infielder Chad Tracy to the mix for bench spots in Spring Training. Chad has agreed to a minor league deal that includes an invite to big league camp. Here is some info on Tracy:
  • Full Name: Chad Austin Tracy
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • Drafted: in the 7th round of the 2001 amateur draft
  • MLB Debut: April 21, 2004
  • Teams: Arizona (2004-'09)
  • 2009 Stats: In 98 big league games, he hit .237 with a .306 OBP, 8 HR, and 39 RBIs.
  • Career Batting Average: .280 over 6 big league seasons
  • Age: 29
  • Career Games by Position: 3B (654), 1B (260), RF (47), DH (8), LF (7)

Cubs Avoid Arbitration with Marshall

Cubs' left handed hurler Sean Marshall has agreed to a 2010 contract with the club. The two sides will avoid arbitration. However, the Cubs still have two arb elgible guys that need to be locked up or else they will go to a hearing: Ryan Theriot and Carlos Marmol. Gordon Wittenmer tweets that Marshall will get $950,000 this year. Sean will compete for a spot in the starting rotation this spring.

Sheets Signs With Oakland

The Oakland Athletics have signed Ben Sheets to an $8 million deal. Sheets had been on the Cubs' radar, and many fans think the rehabbing righty would have been a nice add to our rotation. Jon Garland has signed a $4.7 million deal with the Padres, so you can scratch him off the Cubs' list as well.

Notes from Bruce Levine's Chat

Here's the link to Bruce's full chat from Tuesday, and I'll fully recap all the Cub info we gained right here:

  • Nady could overtake Kosuke as the starting right fielder, but unless the Cubs get another top of the order hitter it is unlikely that Fukudome will be benched.
  • Levine guesses that Milton Bradley will ask to leave the state of Washington by fall.
  • Prior management were the ones who dictated large, free agent signings to Hendry. Because of this, the Cubs do not have the money to add a starting pitcher.
  • Levine shockingly stated that he'd put his money on Ryan Theriot to be the Opening Day second baseman, with a good shot for Castro to make the team out of Spring Training.
  • Lou Piniella loves offense. If the Cubs' struggle to score runs early in the season, Nady will be given a chance in the starting lineup.
  • Rick Ankiel did not sign with the Cubs because they couldn't promise him regular playing time after adding Marlon Byrd.
  • The Cubs are out of money at this point, and any other deals will most likely be trades.
  • Jim Hendry will now turn his attention to the bullpen. A deal with San Diego for Luke Gregerson seems like a possibility.
  • Anything Carlos Silva does for the Cubs will be a bonus.
  • Even if Castro makes the team, putting him at the top of the order would be too much pressure for a 20 year old rookie.
  • Nady can play first base, so Hoffpauir could be on the bubble. Sam Fuld's status may also be affected by the signing.
  • Chad Tracy could be a plus because he is a left handed bat, and it is only a minor league contract. He may steal Hoffpauir's spot on the roster.
  • Jeff Gray and Esmalin Caridad will be in the mix as right handed set-up men, but Levine thinks Gregerson or Frasor would be better.
  • Strikeouts remain a problem for Hak-Ju Lee, but he is certainly on the fast track to the big leagues right now.
  • The Cubs do not have the money to sign Chan Ho Park.
  • Brett Jackson should be playing in the majors at some point.
  • The Padres have interest in getting Angel Guzman in return for Gregerson.
  • Guzman has a great arm and good stuff, but injuries are an issue.
  • Lou's future with the Cubs depends on the first couple months of this season.
  • Levine likes Randy Wells and his attitude. Wells is still eager to prove he belongs as a starting pitcher in the big leagues.
  • More announcements regarding improvements to Wrigley Field are expected to come in the near future.
  • When/if Lilly, Ramirez, and Lee leave, the Cubs will have $60M to spend on other guys.
  • Luke Gregerson could close if Marmol has a wild spell this season.
  • Josh Vitters is at least a year away.
  • The Ricketts family really love Derrek Lee. It is possible that he will sign an extension during the season.
  • Ryan Dempster will not return to closing in any situation. The Cubs are paying him to be in the rotation.

And lastly, former Cub Rich Hill has signed minor league deal with the division rival St. Louis Cardinals. The deal includes an invite to Spring Training in Florida.

That's it for now, but we'll see if the business of this week continues! I'll keep you posted!

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