Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cubs Roundup: The Pitching Staff, Minor Leauge Updates, Radio Recaps, & More

Rotation Decision
Lou Piniella has said that the starting rotation will be set by Friday (tomorrow). Tom Gorzelanny made his final bid for the rotation going six innings against Arizona today. Here is the stats of the four pitchers looking for spots in the starting five:

Tom Gorzelanny: 1-1, 3.07 ERA in 14.2 IP
Sean Marshall: 1-0, 1.64 ERA, 11 IP
Jeff Samardzija: 0-2, 6.75 ERA, 8 IP
Carlos Silva: 2-1, 5.73 ERA, 11 IP

Gorzo and Sean have the far better ERAs, so they're in, right? Wrong. The Cubs want to have one lefty and one right hander of this bunch stay in the rotation, and one of each go to the pen. So then Silva is in the rotation and Marshall is a no brainier, right? Wrong again. Sean Marshall's great pitching may have even hurt his chances at the rotation because he is so valuable to the Cubs as a swing man in the bullpen. With the bullpen really lacking depth, chances are he'll go out there. The two veterans, Silva and Gorzelanny, are the favorites to win rotation jobs. We'll found out tomorrow!

Roster Cuts on the Way
The Cubs are expected to cut the roster from 40 down to 29-30 tomorrow. Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs will keep 12-13 pitchers and 16-17 position players. If Carrie's total number of pitchers is accurate, the Cubs will either have their pen set or just one cut left to make. Right now, James Russell, John Gaub, Marcos Mateo, and Mike Parisi are fighting for the last relief job. Here are the stats for those four this spring:

Parisi: 1-1, 7.45 ERA, 9.2 IP
Russell: 0.00 ERA, 9 IP
Gaub: 1-0, 7.04 ERA, 7.2 IP
Mateo: 8.22 ERA, 7.2 IP

My guess is that Mateo and Gaub will be among the cuts tomorrow. James Russell clearly should have this spot won, but I think the Cubs will keep Parisi in camp until the final weekend because of his Rule 5 status. If they try to send him to the minors, they will have to offer him back to the Cardinals. Personally, I think the Cubs should just give Mike back rather than go through the struggle to keep him on the roster like they did with Patton last year. Jeff Gray is also still in camp, but it appears he will start the year on the DL.

As far as the position players are concerned, there will be 5-6 cuts tomorrow. Two will be catchers Chris Robinson and Robinson Chirinos, who are ticketed for the minor leagues with Hill and Soto at the big league level. Bobby Scales and Darwin Barney will most likely be two more of the cuts. Micah Hoffpauir could also be sent to AAA, or James Adduci could be sent out. The Cubs will likely let the fight for the final bench spots (Fuld v Colvin, Millar v Tracy) go down to the wire. Andres Blanco is still in the mix as well. Lou has said that Colvin will be on the team if there is enough playing time for him, but they will not let him rot on the bench.

Lou & Lee Stay "Back"
Both the Cubs skipper and his first baseman are having some back pain, which caused them to skip the trip to Tuscon today. This was the final trip the Cubs will ever make to Tuscan as both teams that play (the Rockies & D'backs) are leaving next year. Piniella woke up with a sore back, so he didn't feel like taking the long bus ride. Instead, Alan Trammell managed the Cubs team today. Derrek Lee's injury is even weirder. He fell out of a chair while eating in Surprise yesterday. Surprise! D-Lee should be back in the Cub lineup when they host the A's tomorrow.

The Cubs that did make the trip topped Arizona 7-2. James Adduci and Tyler Colvin both had big days as they vie for the final spot in the Cubs' outfield. James had three hits while Colvin smacked two.

Notes from Fitch Park
  • Arizona Phil from TCR posted a nice report from minor league camp on Wednesday.
  • Randy Wells pitched for the Iowa Cubs in Wednesday's game to stay on schedule. He looked sharp going 6 shutout innings.
  • Aramis Ramirez served as the DH to get some at bats in for the I-Cubs. He went 1-6 with a long home run, which helped Iowa to a 2-1 ten inning win over the Oakland A's farm club.
  • Xavier Nady played right field in the AA game on Wednesday. He went 1-3 with a double before leaving in the 4th after being hit by a pitch. His left hand got nailed, but was OK.
  • Starlin Castro is now playing for the AA squad. He made two errors for the Smokies.
  • Brain LaHair went 2-3 for the AAA team.
  • Scott Maine, who came over from Arizona in the Aaron Heilman trade, pitched a scoreless inning for Iowa.

Be sure to check out my Down on the Farm Report posted on Chicago Cubs Online today. This is Part 2 of my three part series on the Cubs' minor league coaches.

Bruce Levine's Report on Waddle & Silvy Today

  • Even though Marshall has pitched well, it looks like he'll go to the bullpen.
  • The Cubs like to use Sean's versatility.
  • Bruce thinks that Gorzelanny and Silva are the 4 and 5 starters.
  • It looks like Jeff Samardzija is heading to the bullpen as well.
  • Jeff Gray is slotted to join the bullpen at some point.
  • Levine reports that upper management wants Tyler Colvin to continue his progress at the minor league level, but Lou would like to have him on the bench. If the Cubs end up needing him, they can always call him up.
  • Bruce thinks that money sometime dictates who plays, and that is the case with the Cubs' outfield.

Former Cub Todd Hollandsworth on the Danny Mac Show:

  • The team's success will depend a great deal on Soriano's performance.
  • There are 6-7 questions that surround this team going into the season.
  • Todd thinks if you can answer 4-5 of those questions with a positive answer, this team has a chance.
  • Soriano has to produce. This team isn't the deepest team, and they will depend on Alfonso.
  • The Cubs are playing "team baseball" down in Arizona.
  • Holly thinks that Soriano needs to get the "meaningful hits" against tough pitching.
  • Geovany Soto is another big question. Geo has lost some weight and has a new hitting coach, but these questions will not be answered until the season starts.
  • Todd calls Jeff Samardzija "a kid with all the potential in the world." The Shark needs a consistent role somewhere so that he can find himself some success.
  • If Samardzija gets some relief innings under his belt, then his confidence will go up.
  • The decision to sign Kevin Millar was affected by the situation with the clubhouse last year. Millar has a great track record, but there's no point in putting him on your roster if the at bats aren't going to be there for him.
  • This team needs all the hitters they can get right now, so Chad Tracy might be the right decision.
  • Hollandsworth loves Carlos Zambrano's passion and loves what he brings to the table. However, there is no defined number 1 in the Cubs rotation. Big Z needs to step up and be that guy.
  • Z has to cut down on the melt downs.
  • Todd is tired of overlooking the same mental problems with Zambrano. He wants to win, but he has to stop losing his focus at times.

New Poll

A big thanks to everyone who voted on our last poll on the right sidebar! Here are the results:

Q: Who would you most like to see on the Cubs bench?

1. Kevin Millar- 13 votes

2. Chad Tracy- 7 Votes

3. Micah Hoffpauir- 2 Votes

Now there is a new poll up on the right sidebar of the blog mainpage!

Q: What is the biggest area of concern for the 2010 Chicago Cubs?

A) Starting Pitching

B) Bullpen Depth

C) Defense

D) Power Bats

E) Speed

F) Scoring Runs

Please vote! Also, feel free to comment with your thoughts or email be at

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

No comments:

Post a Comment