Saturday, January 29, 2011

WGN Radio Spring Training Schedule Released

WGN Radio has announced their broadcast schedule for Cubs Spring Training! The first game is just four weeks from tomorrow! Pat Hughes will have the call, and according to a report from the Tribune, the field has been narrowed down to two for Ron Santo's replacement. Unless things change, either Dave Otto or Keith Moreland will join Pat. The announcement will be made before the first broadcast.

Here is the broadcast schedule. Pregame with Judd Sirott starts 35 minutes before game time. All game are in Mesa unless otherwise noted. All times CT.
  • Sun Feb. 27 VS Oakland 2:05
  • Mon Feb. 28 VS Milwaukee 2:05
  • Sat March 5 VS San Diego 2:05
  • Sat March 6 VS LAD (ss) 2:05
  • Sat March 12 VS Cincinnati 2:05
  • Sat March 19 VS San Diego 3:05
  • Sun March 20 VS San Francisco 3:05
  • Mon March 21 VS Cincinnati 3:05
  • Sat March 26 VS Texas 3:05
  • Sun March 27 VS Colorado 3:05
  • Tues March 29 VS Arizona 3:05

The TV schedule for Spring Training should be out in the next week or two.

It will be bitter sweet when Pat says "Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air!" on Feb. 28, because his partner will not be with him. It will never be the same again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Non Roster Invites Released

With Spring Training report dates and Cactus League games approaching, the Cubs have released their list of 21 non-roster players that will be in big league camp.

They have announced the signing of Braden Looper and Augie Ojeda to minor league deals that include invites to camp. The pattern of ex-Cubs returning continues as Ojeda joins a group that also includes Johnson, Wood, Montanez and Wellemyer.

Looper did not pitch in 2010, but it was not injury related. He last put on a big league uniform in 2009 with the Brewers. Augie Ojeda is a switching hitting infielder that played for the Cubs from 2000-2003 and most recently with the D'backs from 2007 to 2010.

Here are the other 19 NRIs:
  • Chris Carpenter
  • Angel Guzman
  • Jay Jackson
  • Trey McNutt
  • Todd Wellemyer
  • Scott Rice
  • Steve Clevenger
  • Chris Robinson
  • Matt Camp
  • Brian LaHair
  • Scott Moore
  • Bobby Scales
  • Marquez Smith
  • Jim Aducci
  • Josh Vitters
  • Brett Jackson
  • Reed Johnson
  • Lou Montanez
  • Brad Snyder

17 days until pitchers and catcher report to Mesa, AZ!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Breaking News: Todd Wellemyer Signs with the Cubs

Another ex-Cub will return to the team in Spring Training. Add Todd Wellemyer to the list that already included Kerry Wood, Reed Johnson and Lou Montanez.

Wellemyer is getting a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, where he will try to earn a spot in the rotation or middle relief. The one year deal is worth $800,000 and he could earn another $400,000 with incentives.

Todd was selected by the Cubs in the fourth round of the 2000 draft. He made his big league debut in May of 2003 and stayed with the team until being traded to Florida in March 2006. He appeared in 57 games during his first stint with the team, all in relief. Since then Wellemyer has played with the Marlins, Royals, Cardinals and most recently the Giants.

The right hander has been used mostly as a starter since 2008. He went 3-5 with a 5.68 ERA in 13 games (11 starts) for the World Champs last season.

I will update this post if I get any more information.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Former Cub Updates: Where are they landing?

It is a slow day for Cubs news, so let us catch you up on where some former Cubs have landed this offseason. The following ex-Cubs will have new homes in Spring Training. Some of the names are from seasons as recent as 2010, while others will test your memory.
  • Xavier Nady, Arizona Diamond Backs
  • Jeff Gray, Chicago White Sox
  • Will Ohman, Chicago White Sox
  • Kyle Farnsworth, Tampa Bay Rays
  • Jerry Hairston Jr., Washington Nationals
  • Reed Johnson, Welcome Back to Chicago!
  • Kerry Wood, Welcome Back to Chicago!
  • Derrek Lee, Baltimore Orioles
  • Corey Paterson, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Matt Stairs, Washington Nationals
  • Tom Gorzelanny, Washington Nationals
  • Kevin Gregg, Baltimore Orioles
  • Mark Prior, New York Yankees
  • Henry Blanco, Arizona Diamond Backs
  • Chad Gaudin, Washington Nationals
  • Eric Patterson, San Diego Padres
  • Rich Hill, Boston Red Sox
  • Neal Cotts, New York Yankees
  • Brendan Harris, Baltimore Orioles
  • Sergio Mitre, New York Yankees
  • Russ Canzler, Tampa Bay Rays
  • Ryan Theriot, St. Louis Cardinals

It will be interesting to see some of these ex-Cubs, especially Prior and Theriot, play for their new teams in 2011.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cubbie Quick Hits While the City Waits for the Kick-off

The Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers will meet today in a NFC Championship matchup for the ages. The Fanfest of another Chicago baseball team is taking place this weekend. The defending Stanley Cup Champions are red-hot in January, while the city's NBA team is in first place.

But soon the Cubbies will take center stage once again. Pitchers and catchers report three weeks from tomorrow! The first game of Spring Training is exactly five weeks from today. Let's catch up on the latest news and notes on the North Side Ballclub:
  • The ESPN family of networks has set its Spring Training schedule. The Cubs games on March 24 (against Texas) and March 26 (against the Sox) will both be on ESPN2.
  • The big news of the week was the minor league outfielder and Villanova wide receiver Matt Szczur has committed to playing baseball. He will skip the NFL Draft and instead sign a deal that has a signing bonus of $1.4 million.
  • Justin Havens of wonders if the Cubs should have traded Tom Gorzelanny. His 2010 stats were pretty close to Matt Garza's.
  • According to Bruce Miles, Andrea Soriano passed away this week. Andrea is the mother of Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano. I would like sent my condolences to the family.
  • The Cubs signed outfielder Lou Montanez to a minor league deal with an invite to big league Spring Training. Montanez was originally drafted by the Cubs in the first round of the 2000 draft and never panned out. He hit .223 in 26 games for Baltimore last season.
  • The Chicago White Sox have invited former Cub Jeff Gray to Spring Training. He spent one year with the Cubs (2010) after coming over in the Fox/Miles trade with the A's. Gray's season was derailed by a groin injury.
  • Check out the new poll on our right sidebar!

Here is the list of non-roster invitees so far for Spring Training-

  • Angel Guzman, RHP
  • Scott Rice, LHP
  • Scott Moore, INF
  • Bobby Scales, UTL
  • Jim Adduci, OF
  • Reed Johnson, OF
  • Bryan LaHair, 1B/OF
  • Lou Montanez, OF

A lot of names will be added to this list over the next three weeks.

I know, many of my readers will hate me for this. However...

"I don't care who wins as long as it's THE PACK!"

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cubs Convention Recap: Off the Field, Off the Cuff

This year, John Williams and Nick Digillio hosted the popular session that gets personal with Cubs players. The victims were former Cubs Mike Bielecki and Todd Walker as well as current relievers Sean Marshall and John Grabow.
  • Bielecki missed the Convention a couple of years because he had booked cruises. The Cubs were mad that he missed the '89 reunion, but he is back in the good graces.
  • Sean Marshall said that you try not to pay attention to stats during the season.
  • Todd Walker remembers seeing his batting average at .180 on the huge Yankee Stadium scoreboard.
  • It is hard to hide from your stats when they are posted at the stadium in large print.
  • A lot of times guys trying to pitch through injuries lead to poor stats.
  • Marshall said that it is frustrating for a pitcher when your arm is sore and you are trying to battle through it, but people watching the game do not know that you are hurt.
  • Mike says that the bullpen is a lot harder for a lot less glory. He talked about how warming up on days when you do not end up pitching can be taxing for a pitcher's arm.
  • John has a set routine that he sticks with when he is pitching well.
  • Walker had some silly things that he would do before he went up to the plate when thing were going well. One of his superstitions was putting one sunflower seed in his mouth.
  • All of the guys agree that stepping on the chalk lines on the way on/off the field is a no-no.
  • Walker said that if someone was pitching a no-hitter, players really do not talk to them.
  • Starting pitchers do not want to be messed with on the days they are pitching.
  • Players like to go to different cities to see the stadiums and try the restaurants.
  • The guys talked about the game played after dinner where everyone tosses their credit card in the hat and the one pulled out had to pay for the huge meal.
  • Bielecki said that when he played rookies never paid for dinner.
  • Guys with huge paychecks usually pick up the meal.
  • The team gives each player envelopes with spending money for each trip.
  • Walker loves New York, but he hated travelling there to play baseball. It was a "tough deal" for him.
  • Todd loved coming to Chicago even when he was not a Cub. "Chicago is the greatest city in the world. The fans here, they love you as they could tell last night (during the opening ceremonies," he said.
  • Mike's favorite place to pitch was LA because the weather was always great, the field was always great and the mound was always perfect.
  • He did not like pitching in Colorado because he could not escape without giving up 5-6 runs.
  • Marshall's favorite place is San Diego because he has family out there and because the wind usually blows in. In addition, it is a great city with good people. Sean's last favorite is Colorado as well.
  • Last year, the Rockies got 13 hits in a row against Marshall, Cashner and Schlitter. The next day, he gave up the walk-off cycle-completing home run.
  • Grabow does not like going to New York either.
  • Players usually cab themselves over to the ballpark. Guys usually get to the park at about 2:00 for a night game on the road. They get some work in before batting practice at 5:00.
  • For day games at Wrigley, the players have to get up early to get to the park.
  • A lot of guys will bring their PS3s or X-boxs on the road. Marshall likes to play NHL '11.
  • Sean is a "gamer", he likes to play video games.
  • When Mike was playing, most of the guys arrived at the ballpark early. The better the team is doing, the earlier the guys get there. The only people on the 5 o'clock bus were the starting pitcher and guys that went out the night before.
  • Marshall does not see anyone tweeting or texting during the game.
  • When Todd played, he would take a mental break during October, November and December. He would run and hit the streets, but he was not in the cage and throwing everyday until January.
  • Mike signed 14 one year contracts, so he spent the entire offseason working to try to stay in shape.
  • Usually Grabow would take about eight weeks off from throwing and then start throwing and hitting the weights in December.
  • Sean usually takes about a month to get away from baseball and relax. Mid-November or so, he starts running and throwing again. Right now, Marshall is getting back into shape at throwing again.
  • A lot of the Cubs played catch at Northwestern University on Thursday.
  • Walker does not think that the day baseball is a massive deal, but it does make a little bit of a difference.
  • When you play 81 games like that, it starts to take its toll. You have to be extremely disciplined to be a Chicago Cub. You have to be able to go "cut yourself off" and get to bed early on the nights before day games.
  • "The best thing they got going this year is that baseball is all about pitching," Todd said.
  • The pay is great, but the lifestyle of a big leaguer (being away from the family) is not easy.
  • Last year was a big adjustment for John, who had his first child. Grabow has a boy named Nolan.
  • Marshall got married about a month ago and has a little boy on the way. He is due at the end of April, so they will figure out how to adjust this season.
  • Sean thinks the Cubs have a great group of Latin players. There is no barrier between the Spanish speakers and English speakers.
  • Marshall thinks that this team really came together when Quade took over last August.
  • Grabow thinks that guys were a little more prepared when Mike took over. Guys knew when they were going to pitch and when they were going to play.
  • When Lou Piniella stepped down, it came as a huge surprise for the entire team.
  • The guys were "pretty stoked" when Quade was named the interim manager. Marshall described Lou as "tough and stern", but he thinks that Q is more approachable.
  • Marshall thinks that Lou was pretty rough on Andrew Cashner because he had so much good stuff but he walked too many guys.
  • Mike remembers older Twins players making him wear bright red Reebok that looked like clown shoes for two weeks.
  • A few rookies in the bullpen have to carry the Barbie backpack to the pen that is filled with snacks.
  • Alcohol in the clubhouse has been cut out on travel days, but there are still beers there on some days but everybody knows to "be cool about it."
  • Marshall has his mind set on throwing the pitch that he wants to throw no matter what the catcher calls for. He will shake off Soto or Hill until he gets what he wants.
  • Most of last season, the catchers were on the same page with Sean. He did not have to shake them off as often because they knew what he wanted to throw.
  • It is tough for players to face guys who they are friends with, especially ex-teammates.
  • Mike hated facing Mark Grace.
  • Sean Marshall loves when fans are on their feet screaming.
  • Grabow doesn't think you can take anything away from what the Cubs did in September. They were still playing against big league clubs and it is something to build on.
  • The Cubs had a tough September and they were able to ruin the seasons of a couple of teams.
  • John Williams wants the Cubs to play the Pirates tough this year.
  • Nick D. thinks that the hot end of the season will carry over into 2011.

That's it for now!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cubs Convention Recap: Meet Cubs Baseball Management

David Kaplan was joined by Mike Quade, Jim Hendry and Randy Bush for the Meet Cubs Baseball Management session last Saturday at the Cubs Convention. It was an interesting one, so here's the recap:
  • The Matt Garza trade actually started during the Winter Meetings in Orlando. The Cubs were hopeful at the time that they could come to a conclusion within a week.
  • Fortunately, the Cubs were the lucky recipient of Garza. Hendry said that there was an A.L. team with a better offer, but the Rays didn't want Matt to stay in the American League.
  • Randy Bush looks at stats and a lot of other factors when he goes scouting. Bush spends a lot of time reading reports from scouts and statistical analysts.
  • Bush visits each minor league club in the system twice a year. He does most of his scouting within the organization.
  • Who needs to be protected from the Rule V Draft is a big decision at the end of each season.
  • Mike Quade gave credit to Zambrano for his job down the stretch. The entire group in the clubhouse was familiar with Quade, so it made it easier for him once he took over.
  • He was fairly demanding once he took over. Q told the young guys that they "aren't young anymore."
  • The veterans have to carry a team late in the season. The kids played better once Mike took over, and the veterans did their job.
  • When Kap asked if this was Hendry's most challenging offseason, Jim said that you don't look at one being more challenging than another.
  • Matt Garza was "kind of a dream" for the Cubs going into the winter.
  • The situation with Kerry Wood is not only a great feel good story, but it helps the team.
  • Hendry said that it makes it easier to make a deal with a team if he has a good relationship with that club's GM.
  • The Cubs plan on mixing and matching at the top of the order since they don't have a prototypical lead-off man.
  • Jeff Baker did a great job against left handed pitching, but he doesn't have great speed. If there is a lefty on the hill, there is a chance Baker will hit first.
  • Bush said that Oneri Fleita stresses the importance of playing the game the right way at the minor league level.
  • A lot of time when people don't think Soriano is giving a full effort, he is actually trying to play through injuries.
  • Jim Hendry still thinks Sori is capable of hitting 30 home runs, plus he is a great guy in the clubhouse. Jim still sees him as a productive player.
  • Quade and Larry Rothschild are very good friends. The Cubs will miss him and wish him well.
  • Hendry also thinks the world of Larry. He was wanted by the Yankees and the move was the right move for him.
  • He has stayed with the Cubs in the past when he could have made money elsewhere. Jim wanted Larry to be able to do what he wanted to do.
  • It remains to be seen whether the Cubs will be able to fill the holes at first, second and third from within the system. Josh Vitters is a corner infielder very high on the radar who figured some things out offensively last season.
  • Hendry was thrilled that Greg Maddux wanted to return to the Cubs. He doesn't want to be a full time guy yet. He enjoyed his first year and was involved in a few more things with Randy and Jim this winter.
  • Garza throws seven days a week from January first on.
  • Quade is concerned by high pitch counts, especially early in the season.
  • Kap called the concern with pitch count "nonsense."
  • Mike "has no idea" whether or not Garza will be his number one starter. As far as Q is concerned, whoever is pitching for him on a given day is the ace.
  • He is not a fan of having his middle of the order guys lay down bunts.
  • Quade is going to look at it as if Zambrano's problems never happened. That is his philosophy with everyone. The things that go south you deal with along the way.
  • Jose Cera gets credit for signing Starlin Castro out of the Dominican Republic.
  • Castro has done a great job handling all of the challenges along the way. He has a lot of work left to do and he has to improve defensively, but the Cubs are very proud of him.
  • The fans are going to get a quality effort from the Cubs everyday and he is not going to be happy if there are players not hustling.
  • The Cubs are going to find ways to score runs and win close games.
  • There are discussions that the commissioners office is having about realignment. The Cubs have thought about the fact that there is one division in baseball with six teams and there is another division with only four teams.
  • The mentality of football is a lot different from baseball. Each manager handles things in different ways, Quade is not interested in calling guys out publicly.
  • There is a very good likelihood that Andrew Cashner will end up in the rotation.
  • Mike also mentioned Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, Casey Coleman and the now traded Tom Gorzelanny as guys competing for spots in the rotation.
  • The guys competing for the rotation could end up helping the bullpen depth.
  • Hendry thinks that Koyie Hill is well worth $850,000. He does a great job with the pitching staff and defensively. Hill is very good with some of the younger pitchers.
  • Especially in the National League, the bench is very important. Quade thinks that having an experienced guy like Hill coming off the bench will be very helpful over the 162 game season.
  • Quade expects Carlos to handle himself well. If he explodes once in a while, that will be okay. The Cubs do not plan on having Greg Maddux be an emotional coach for Z.
  • When asked how they deal with players not taking days off when they are injured, Jim said that the Cubs have a great trainer in Mark O'Neal who is on top of the medical situation.
  • Hendry likes having guys on the team who wanted to play through little injuries, such and Derrek Lee.
  • If there is a guy who goes into a tailspin, Quade will certainly try to get them out of the lineup.
  • When asked about Pujols, Jim said that he cannot comment on other team's players. The Cubs are very happy to have Pena.
  • Mike loves Theriot to death, but he takes what he says with a grain of salt. The Cubs do not need any extra motivation to beat the St. Louis Cardinals. Quade might have some things that Ryan said in the back of his mind, and hopefully they can "make him pay."
  • Jim is not bothered by the development of rumors through facebook, twitter, radio and blogs. He does not like the fact that his players names get tossed around for trade rumors that are untrue.
  • He thinks that blogs hurt the quality of good journalists sometimes.
  • The goal for the Chicago Cubs is to win the division and then go from there. That is what they expect to do. "It's that simple," Q said.
  • The day games are part of what makes the organization special, the Cubs need to make sure that they use it as an advantage instead of a disadvantage.
  • The Cubs won more home games in the three year period from 2007-2009 than any other team in the league. They played great at home all summer during 2008.

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January Cubs Updated Roster Predictions

Everyone winter, I predict who will make the Cubs Opening Day roster and update it about once a month as the offseason moves along. With the Cubs latest moves, here is the third update this winter. Changes from the last post, which was in mid-December, are in italics.

Starting Rotation
1. Ryan Dempster
2. Carlos Zambrano
3. Matt Garza
4. Andrew Cashner
5. Randy Wells

Others in the Rotation Mix in Spring Training
Casey Coleman
Jeff Samardzija
Andrew Cashner
Carlos Silva (moved out of rotation with recent moves)

Closer- Carlos Marmol
LH Setup Man- Sean Marshall
RH Setup Man- Kerry Wood (Move Cashner to rotation)
LH Middle Relief- John Grabow
RH Middle Relief- Jeff Samardzija
Long Relief- Casey Coleman
Long Relief-James Russell (with Gorzo being traded, he has a better shot)

Others in the Bullpen Mix in Spring Training
Justing Berg
Thomas Diamond
Scott Maine
John Gaub
Esmalin Caridad
Angel Guzman

Starting Position Players
Catcher- Geovany Soto
1B- Carlos Pena
2B- Blake DeWitt
SS- Starlin Castro
3B- Aramis Ramirez
LF- Alfonso Soriano
CF- Marlon Byrd
RF- Tyler Colvin

Koyie Hill
Jeff Baker
Darwin Barney
Reed Johnson (Replacing Sam Fuld, will have to compete with Perez)

Others in the Mix
Welington Castillo
Scott Moore
Bryan LaHair
Fernando Perez


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Breaking Down the Gorzelanny Trade

Before we talk about the trade, the Cubs avoided arbitration with Sean Marshall and Matt Garza today. Marshall received a two year worth $4.7 million, while Garza got $5.95 million for one year. Last week the Cubs avoided arbitration with Geovany Soto by inking him to a one year, $3 million deal. With Gorzelanny traded and the other three locked up, the only arbitration eligible player left in Carlos Marmol. The two sides are working on a multiyear contract and it is not expected to go to a hearing.

The Cubs acquired three prospects yesterday in a deal that sent left handed starter Tom Gorzelanny to Washington D.C. Here is some information about each of the players that will join the Cubs' farm system.

Michael Burgress
  • Position: Outfielder
  • B/T: Left
  • Height/Weight: 5'1'', 195 lbs
  • Age: 22
  • Birthday: Oct. 20
  • Drafted: by the Nationals in the first round (49th overall) in 2007
  • 2010 Teams: 101 games at Class-A Advanced Potomac, 21 games at AA-Harrisburg
  • 2010 Stats: Combined .265 AVG, .357 OBP, 18 HR and 85 RBIs in 122 games
  • Career Stats: .257 batting average over four seasons

A.J. Morris

  • Position: Pitcher
  • B/T: Right
  • Height/Weight: 6'2'', 185 lbs
  • Age: 24
  • Birthday: Dec. 1
  • Drafted: by the Nationals in the 4th round in 2009
  • 2010 teams: 23 games at Class-A Advanced Potomac, 4 games with Rookie Bal
  • 2010 Stats: 5-3 with a 3.77 ERA in 27 games (16 starts)
  • Career Stats: 5-7 with a 3.64 ERA in 37 games (26 starts) over 2 seasons

Graham Hicks

  • Position: Pitcher
  • B/T: Left
  • Height/Weight: 6'5'', 170 lbs
  • Age: 20
  • Birthday: Feb. 9
  • Drafted: by the Nationals in the 4th round in 2008
  • 2010 teams: 1 game at low-A Vermont, 15 games at Class-A Hagerstown
  • 2010 stats: 2-6 with a 5.02 ERA in 16 starts
  • Career Stats: 7-12 with a 5.33 ERA in 31 starts

Let's hope this deal turns out to be a good one for the Chicago Cubs.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ryan Theriot on WGN Sports Night

Ryan Theriot spent about a year as a weekly guest on the weeknight show on WGN-720 when he was a Cub. Tonight, the St. Louis shortstop was back on the air with Kap & Noonan. The former Cubs fan favorite has made some negative comments about the organization since his move to the other side of the Cubs/Cards rivalry. Here are the highlights:

  • Kaplan introduced the interview by saying that he decided to get Theriot on when Koyie Hill and Mike Quade took shots at him this weekend.
  • Ryan said the he talked to Koyie last night and today. He said that you take all that with a grain of salt.
  • "It was more like a 'Do you feel like your on the right side of the rivalry?' question."
  • Since he is a Cardinal now, there was only one answer he could give.
  • Ryan said that it wasn't his choice. He wanted to spend the rest of his career in Chicago, but there are things that he cannot control.
  • During the 162 game grind, a player sometimes loses focus on winning a World Series.
  • "A blind man can see the success that the Cardinals have had in the past."
  • Theriot is extremely excited about the rivalry. When he was in Chicago, he was on the right side of the rivalry. Now that he is in St. Louis, he is on the right side of the rivalry.
  • St. Louis is not as big of a city as Theriot thought it was.
  • Ryan has talked to Tony LaRussa quite a bit. They've had lot of talks about baseball and life. Theriot has been fortunate to play under some great managers like Lou, Dusty, Torre and Tony.
  • The Cardinals had their Fan Fest this past weekend as well.
  • HoHoKam Stadium was like a second home for him. It will be a different experience going down to Florida, but there are a lot more places to catch a fish down there.
  • Kaplan went on a random rant about how fishing is not really a sport.
  • The thing that Theriot will look forward to about coming back to the city of Chicago is the food.

That's it for now!

Breaking News: Gorzelanny Traded to Washington

Cubs left handed pitcher Tom Gorezelanny has been traded to the Washington Nationals. The Cubs will receive two pitchers and an outfielder in the deal, which is pending a physical. According to one report the outfielder is Michael Burgess.

Update 6:10 CT: Bruce Miles reports that the two pitchers are right hander A.J. Morris and southpaw Graham Hicks. I will post details about the prospects at some point.

I will update this post with more information soon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cubs Convention Day 3

Throughout the weekend at the Hilton it was noticeably less packed. For the first time, the convention was not a sell out. However, it was still packed.

On Sunday there were just two sessions. Many people are always cleared out by the final day, and when you top that off with the lower attendance to begin with this year and the Bears game- the two sessions were not all that crowded.

The first session was called "The 25 Club". Wayne Messmer chatted three of the Cubs 25-year-olds about life in the bigs. Tyler Colvin, Scott Maine and Darwin Barney were on the panel. James Russell was also scheduled to attend, but he did not show up.

Colvin told a story about an elementary school teacher who gave him a low grade on an essay about his career goal. She told him that becoming a Major League Baseball player was not a realistic goal. He showed her. Tyler also said that he was never a standout player growing up.

Darwin Barney hit over .600 in high school but still did not get drafted until after he went to college. When asked about a avoiding the temptation to go out and party in the city of Chicago, Barney said that it is pretty easy since he has a wife and a two-year old to go home to. Colvin said the same, but instead of a child he has his beloved dog.

Scott Maine said that Greg Maddux gave his season a huge boost by the instruction he gave him this season. Colvin credited Billy Williams and Derrek Lee as guys who have given him hitting advice.

Next up was the annual Down on the Farm session hosted by Vineline editor Mike Huang. Before the session, a handout describing Cubs prospects that will appear in the February issue of Vineline was passed out. Albert Cabrera and Rob Whitenack are the two guys who Vineline editors think will make a big splash in 2011.

In the past, they have listed 50 names from the farm, but this year they cut it down to 20. Here is the list:
  • Tony Campana, OF
  • Brett Jackson, OF
  • Chris Carpenter, RHP
  • Jay Jackson, RHP
  • Welington Castillo, C
  • Aaron Kurcz, RHP
  • Rafael Dolis, RHP
  • Junior Lake, INF
  • Ryan Flaherty, INF
  • DJ LeMahieu, INF
  • Micah Gibbs, C
  • Marcos Mateo, RHP
  • Reggie Golden, OF
  • Trey McNutt, RHP
  • Brooks Raley, LHP
  • Chris Rusin, LHP
  • Hayden Simpson, RHP
  • Kyle Smit, RHP
  • Josh Vitters, 3B
  • Logan Watkins, UTL

DJ LeMahieu, Jay Jackson and Chris Carpenter were all at the minor league session. The guys enjoyed their first Cubs Convention experience and the thrill of getting their names announced at the Opening Ceremonies.

All three guys had different draft day stories to share. Carpenter followed the whole thing with his family. DJ watched from his room at LSU with some teammates since the Tigers were still in the College World Series at the time. Jackson did not even watch his draft. He was outside shooting baskets when he got the text that he was a Cub.

Oneri Fleita (farm director) and Tim Wilken (scouting director) were both at the session. Fleita talked about how much he hates making the phone call to tell someone that they are traded or released. Wilken mentioned that a player's "make up" on and off the field is taken into consideration.

Tim talked about the Matt Garza,mentioning the fact that the Cubs have a lot of depth in their organization at positions like shortstop and catcher. Jim Hendry worked on the deal for three to four months. Wilken actually spent time at the end of the 2010 season watching Carlos Pena and Fernando Perez play in person. Both were already on the Cubs' radar.

Even though the Cubs are coming off a down year, the Cubs Convention was just as much fun as it always is. There is a lot of hope for the future in this organization. Welcoming Kerry Wood back, honoring Ron Santo and introducing the two ex-Rays to Chicago were the highlights of the weekend.

Click if you missed my recaps of Day 1 or Day 2. I'll have some more Convention wrap-up thoughout the week.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 2 at the Hilton

Day two of the 26th annual Cubs Convention was a total blast. There are many tales to tell, but I will try to briefly hit on most of highlights from the day in this first hand account.

The day opened up with the Ricketts Family Forum in the grand ballroom. Tom Ricketts started things with his opening statement, which included an annoucement about the teams plans to honor Ron Santo. A #10 patch will be worn on the jerseys of all the Cubs players all season long, and a statue will be unvailed on August 10th before the game against the Nationals.

The other highlight of the Ricketts' session was when a vocal fan voiced his displeasure with the fact that the family allowed Ryne Sandberg to leave the organization. Tom said that Ryno was given a chance to return but he felt that he would have better shot at managing in the bigs by going elsewhere.

Todd Ricketts talked about his experience on Undercover Boss. He enjoyed his hour of fame on national TV.

When one fan asked how Jim Hendry has a job, the family handed the question well by citing some of the reasons they trust Hendry. However, it was host Len Kasper who actually came up with the best example of a plus of having Jim. Len mentioned the fact that Kerry Wood's relationship with the Cubs GM helped lure him to the team.

The next session in the Grand Ballroom was filled with Cubs pitchers. Wood, Wells, Cashner, Samardzija and Marshall were all there. They talked at length about the challenges of moving from the rotation to the bullpen and vice versa. Dave Otto gave Cash a hard time about his casiual shirt.

Next I went to the "On the Road with #10" session in the Contenintial Ballroom. Pat Hughes, Judd Sirott, Andy Masur and Cory Provus shared stories of working with the legendary third baseman in the radio booth.

Pat Hughes shared his favorite Santo story about the time Ronnie burned his hair piece on the heater in the booth at Shea Stadium during the National Anthem. He also told about the Yogart Machine in Arizona, the eggs spilled on the proclamation and more.

Cory Provus shared about the time that he "lost it" laughing when Santo told him that live on the air during the pregame show that you cannot eat too many bannanas or you will get "plugged up". Andy Masur remembered helping Ronnie search a hotel room for his lost hair piece and eventually finding it stuck to the bottom of a Fed Ex box. Sirott talked about the experience of trying to host the Cubs Central Pregame show with Ron on a daily basis.

All four guys are great story tellers (especially Pat). This session will be available on If you were not there and have not heard it yet, this is a must listen.

I made it to "Meet Cubs Bussiness Management" just in time to hear Jim in Tinley Park, who frequently comments on Chicago Cubs Online (a site that I visit often and used to write for) get booed for suggesting that the Cubs should abandom tradition to try to increase their chance of winning.

After that it was Santo's teammates from the '60s on the Remembering Ronnie session. Randy Hundley, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Milt Pappas, Jose Cardenal and Glen Beckert shared their memories and stories. They had a lot of great things to say about the inperational legend and also had a lot of laughs.

Randy Hundley was simply hillarous. The Rebel told one story about how he always liked to "slap Ron's fanny". He also poked fun at Cardenal's accent. Every time Jose spoke, Hundley asked, "What did he just say?" The Rebel ended up making the best point of the night- Isn't it great that we can sit here and talk about a friend that is gone like this (with a smile on our faces)?

Go Cubs Go!!! I'll keep you posted from the Convention.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cubs Convention Day 1

The 26th annual Cubs Convention is underway!

As always, the weekend opened with a bang during the ceremonies on Friday evening. Pat Hughes introduced all of the people from the organization attending the weekend, including new Cubs Carlos Pena, Fernando Perez and Matt Garza. The loudest ovation of the night was for the finally man introduced- Kerry Wood. In his welcome back to Chicago, Woody tossed out the first pitch.

Wayne Messmer performed another fine rendition of the National Anthem, Tom Ricketts spoke about the organization and the current and former Cubs tossed their hats into the audience.

Jim Hendry received mostly cheers but a few boos as well when he was introduced. Mike Quade got a positive reaction from the fan base. Besides Hendry, the only other guys to receive a mixed reaction were Crane Kenney and John Grabow.

After the boom ceremonies it was time for the autograph treasure hunt. Guys signing this year included Steve Trout, Dave Otto, Tim Stoddard, Mike Bielecki, Todd Walker, Bill Buckner, Glen Beckert, Lee Smith, Jose Cardenal and Milt Pappas. I got signatures from Becker and Cardenal and later I ran into Milt in the hall.

The first night concluded with WGN Sports Night Live, hosted by Brian Noonan and Judd Sirott. Quade, Hendry and Ricketts joined the guys first. All three are optimistic about the Cubs chances and Tom said that his family is doing everything they can to bring the fanbase a he World Series.

For the next third minutes Noonan and Judd chatted with Randy Wells, James Russell and Andrew Cashner. Russell and Cash are excited about competing for a spot in the rotation in Spring Training. Wells told a funny story about a seven year old girl asking him, "How come my brother says you suck?"

Pat Hughes, Len Kasper and Bob Brenly were up next. Len and Bob did not have their annual January bash, but they are planning on having it during the summer in 2011. Pat and Judd shared a few Ronnie memories.

The focus was then turned to the farm system. Jay Jackson and Chris Carpenter both like how the Cubs organization is starting to feel like a family. The young players are familiar with coaches on the big league staff like Mark Riggins who have worked with them at the minor league level. Oneri Fleita was also on the panel. He talked about the importance of a player's attitude and personality when he is working with Tim Wilken to decide who the Cubs should draft.

It's a full day of sessions tomorrow!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"The Unofficial Opening Day" is a Day Away!

For the third straight year, Everything Cubs blog will have the Cubs Convention covered with posts live from the event all weekend long. It's by far the best weekend of the winter! Get ready Cubs fans, Cubs Convention 2011 is on the way!

For those of you not going to the Convention, in addition to checking back for updates each day right here on this site, you can get your Cubs fix on WGN Radio. Sports Night with Judd Sirott and Brian Noonan will be broadcasting live on Friday night. Sports Central with David Kaplan and Jim Memelo starts at at 4:00.

Here are some notes from day two of the Cubs Caravan and more:
  • Today tour 1 of the Cubs Caravan stopped at Lincoln Library in Springfield and O'Brien Field for the Peoria Chiefs fanfest.
  • Tour 2 went to Augustus H. Burley High School, St. Luke Academy, Harriet Beecher Stowe School and USO of Illinois.
  • Carrie Muskat wrote about the Cubs lead-off situation. She expexts to see Blake DeWitt, Jeff Baker and Kosuke all get ABs there.
  • Mike Quade said yesterday that he always views the previous year's division champs as the favorites going into the season. In this case, Mike thinks the Reds are the team to beat.
  • Dave Otto, Gary Matthews, Keith Moreland and Doug Glanville are the four guys in the mix for the open spot in the Cubs' radio booth.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer provided another update on the opening day starter's race. It is still between Garza, Zambrano and Dempster.
  • Kerry Wood is still thinking about 2003. He also mentioned in his chat with Fred Mitchell that he is glad to be home.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted from the Convention all weekend long!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Midweek Quick Hits as the Cubs Caravan Gets Underway

There's a lot going on in the world of the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs Convention is just two days away! Let's catchup on the latest notes:

  • The Cubs Caravan started today. Tour one stopped at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse (Cubs Caravan Luncheon) and Cleveland Elementary School. Tour two also went to the luncheon as well as Lake View High School, Mt. Carmel Academy, Prospect High School and the Boys & Girls Club of Rockford.
  • Mike Quade made his return to his Prospect High School, where he attended.
  • Bruce Miles reports that Andrew Cashner wants to start. Add another name to the rotation mix, as James Russell is expected to get a shot to stretch out in the spring.
  • Quade said that Matt Garza is in the mix for the opening day assignment along with Dempster and Zambrano.
  • Miles also reports that the Cubs are not counting on Angel Guzman at all. They will see how he progresses in Spring Training but will not rush it.
  • If you missed it earlier, the Cubs have signed Reed Johnson to a minor league contract and avoided arbitration with Koyie Hill.
  • Johnson is expected to compete with Fernando Perez for the fifth outfield spot.
  • Paul Sullivan writes that Quade hasn't committed to a lead-off man, but he has said that Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker are in the mix.
  • The report date for pitchers and catchers is set for February 13 with the first workout taking place the following day. The first full squad workout is set for February 19.
  • There was a report from 670 the score today that Kerry Wood's contract has a clause to become the team's radio broadcaster after his retirement in it. The Cubs have denied the report and Wood told David Kaplan that he has no interest in broadcasting.
  • According to multiple reports, the Cubs new radio broadcaster will not be named this weekend. The station and the team will wait to make the announcement until close to the first broadcast of the spring.
  • The full schedule for the Cubs Convention has been released.
  • Be sure to vote on our new poll up on the right sidebar!

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

Breaking News: Cubs Sign Johnson, Avoid Arbitration with Hill

The Cubs have signed outfielder Reed Johnson to return to the organization on a minor league deal. The contract includes an invite to big league Spring Training.

Johnson previously played for the Cubs from 2008 to 2009 before spending last season with the Dodgers. He hit .262 in 102 games in 2010. Reed made a few spectacular catches during his previous stint with the team that will never be forgetten. He played five years with the Blue Jays before inking his first deal with the Cubs in late March of 2008.

Earlier, the Cubs avoided arbitration with backup catcher Koyie Hill. The two sides settled on a one year deal worth about $850,000.

Stayed tuned, I'll have more later.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cubs Convention: Full Schedule & List of Attending Players Released

Only three more days until the greatest weekend of the winter! It is the unofficial opening day... and the 2011 Cubs Convention is loaded with great sessions and attending players. Five diffent current Cubs make their first trip to the mid-winter gathering, while one more returns to the Windy City after a few years away.

List of Attending Current Players (First timers in italics):
  • Jeff Baker
  • Darwin Barney
  • Justin Berg
  • Marlon Byrd
  • Andrew Cashner
  • Starlin Castro
  • Casey Coleman
  • Tyler Colvin
  • Blake DeWitt
  • Matt Garza
  • Tom Gorzelanny
  • John Grabow
  • Koyie Hill
  • Scott Maine
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Sean Marshall
  • Carlos Pena
  • Fernando Perez
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • James Russell
  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Carlos Silva
  • Geovany Soto
  • Randy Wells
  • Kerry Wood
  • Carlos Zambrano

Former Players

  • Ernie Bankes
  • Glenn Beckert
  • Mike Bielecki
  • Bill Buckner
  • Jose Cardenal
  • Doug Glanville
  • Randy Hundley
  • Fergie Jenkins
  • Greg Maddux
  • Gary Matthrews
  • Keith Moreland
  • Dave Otto
  • Milt Pappas
  • Lee Smith
  • Tim Stoddard
  • Steve Trout
  • Todd Walker
  • Billy Williams

Minor League Players:

  • Chris Carpenter
  • Jay Jackson
  • DJ LeMahieu

Baseball Staff/Broadcasters:

  • Jim Hendry
  • Randy Bush
  • Oneri Fleita
  • Tim Wilken
  • Pat Hughes
  • Len Kasper
  • Bob Brenly

Team Executives:

  • Tom Ricketts
  • Pete Ricketts
  • Laura Ricketts
  • Todd Ricketts
  • Crane Kenney

Coaching Staff:

  • Mike Quade
  • Mark Riggins
  • Rudy Jaramillo
  • Lester Strode
  • Bob Dernier
  • Ivan DeJesus
  • Dave Keller

Now for the full Cubs Convention schedule of events!


  • 5:00-5:30 Opening Ceremonies
  • 6:00-6:45 Autograph Treasure Hunt
  • 7:00-8:30 Cubs Bingo
  • 7:00-9:00 WGN Sports Night Live with Judd and Noonan


  • 9:00-10:00 The Ricketts' Family Forum (hosted by Len Kasper)
  • 10:00-11:00 Meet Cubs Baseball Management (hosted by David Kaplan)
  • 10:30-11:30 The Pitching Evolution (hosted by Dave Otto)
  • 11:00-Noon The Future of the Cubs' Facilities (hosted by Crane Kenney)
  • 11:30-12:30 For Kids Only Press Conference (hosted by Peter Chase)
  • Noon-1:00 The Q Factor (hosted by Bob Brenly)
  • 12:30-1:30 Battery Talk (hosted by Dave Otto)
  • 1:00-2:00 On the Road with #10 (hosted by Pat Hughes)
  • 1:30-2:30 Meet Cubs Business Management (hosted by David Kaplan)
  • 2:00-3:00 TV Baseball 101 (hosted by Bob Vorwald)
  • 2:20-3:30 Off the Field and Off the Cuff (hosted by John Williams & Nick Digilio)
  • 3:00-4:00 Remembering Ronnie (hosted by Wayne Messmer)
  • 3:30-4:30 The Dominican Way of Life (hosted by Oneri Fleita)
  • 4:00-6:00 Sports Central Live with Kap & Memolo


  • 9:15-10:15 The 25 Club (hosted by Wayne Messmer)
  • 10:45-11:45 Down on the Farm (hosted by Mike Huang)

Our Convention coverage continues as the Cubs Caravan kicks off tomorrow!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Matt Garza on WGN Sports Night

The newest member of the Chicago Cubs joined Kap and Koz on WGN Radio earlier tonight:
  • Matt Garza was really excited when he found out he would become to be a Cub.
  • Wrigley Field is a historical ballpark where he's always wanted to pitch.
  • Garza hopes to be a "productive out" at the plate.
  • Matt doesn't think he will be a savior of any sort for the Cubs. He is just going to come in and follow the lead of Dempster and Zambrano.
  • He prides himself on throwing strikes.
  • Garza thinks that the pressure of the 102 years thing comes with the territory. He sees it as a big advantage. The game is still the same wherever you go.
  • He has been in the gym since the last week of October and he started throwing this week.
  • He throws six days a week from January 1 on.
  • Garza describes his workouts as "intense" and shows up for Spring Training ready to go.
  • Matt thinks that his confidence in himself is his greatest attribute as a pitcher.
  • "If you care about something as much as I do, yeah you're going to get emotional. I don't think about it as emotion I think about it as passion. I love what I do."
  • Garza loves this game "so much". It is what he thinks about night and day.
  • Koz thinks this emotion will help this team. "You have to be to be great," he said.
  • Matt has a lot of respect for guys who are as cold as ice. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are examples.
  • He loves going to the ballpark everyday. It is a wonderful way to make a living.
  • Garza likes to have a good time doing what he loves doing.
  • Pitching in front of these great fans and packed houses will give him a whole lot of energy. Fans are like the 26th man on the roster. They make the players want to play harder.
  • In Tampa Bay, the Rays had to win to get people in the seats.
  • "The Cubs are very good and very deep. We added a Gold Glove first baseman in Carlos Pena," he said. "We have a great club."
  • Another year of Big Z's second half will be tremendous.
  • Matt is open to anything contract ways, but his job is to take care of things inside the white lines.
  • According to Kaplan, Garza will be at the Cubs Convention.

Kevin Goldstein was also on the show:

  • He said that the Cubs gave up quantity but not quality.
  • They did not part with a top tier minor league, but there are a lot of guys with potential that they sent packing.
  • If you asked 20 scouts who they like better out of Chris Archer and Trey McNutt, ten guys would go each way.
  • Goldstein went back and forth and eventually decided to rank McNutt ahead of Archer.
  • Matt Garza is a solid number three starter who looks like a number two some games, but a number four during others.
  • An overlooked aspect of this deal is the fact that the Cubs get Garza for three years.

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the post from earlier about the Cubs picking up a new catcher. That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Breaking News: Cubs Claim Max Ramirez

John Paul Morosi tweets that the Cubs have claimed catcher Max Ramirez off waivers from the Boston Red Sox. Ramirez was only in the Red Sox organization for a week after being claimed from Texas.

Max will be added to the 40-man roster, which now stands at 39. He is expected to compete with Koyie Hill and Welington Castillo in Spring Training for a spot on the team.

Here are some notes on Max Ramirez:

  • Positions: First Base and Catcher
  • B/T: Right
  • Height/Weight: 5'11'', 175 lbs
  • Age: 26
  • Birthday: Oct. 11
  • Signed: by the Braves as an undrafted free agent in 2002
  • Organizations: Atlanta (2002-2006), Cleveland (2006-2007) and Texas (2007-2010).
  • Traded: From the Braves to the Indians in July of '06 for Bob Wickman; again in July of '07 from the Indians to the Rangers for Kenny Lofton
  • MLB Debut: June 22, 2008
  • Career Big League Stats: 2 seasons, 45 games, .217 AVG, 4 HR, 17 RBIs and a .343 OBP
  • 2010 Big League Stats: 28 games, 2 HR, 8 RBI, .217 AVG
  • 2010 Minor League Stats: .286 AVG, 3 HR and 29 RBIs in 56 games for AAA-Oklahoma City.

The Cubs made another minor roster move that took place last week. Most of you have read this elsewhere by now because it slipped though the cracks and was never posted on this site. Brian Schlitter was claimed by the New York Yankees, leaving the Cubs organization. The right handed pitcher originally came to the Cubs in the Scott Eyre trade with the Phillies in 2008. He had a 12.38 ERA in 7 appearances for the big league team in 2010.

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

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Radio/TV Recaps: Matt Garza Trade Reaction

Bruce Levine jumped on Afternoon Saloon on Friday to talk about the deal:
  • Levine thinks it is definitely a good deal at this point to get a known quantity.
  • Most people will tell you that this guy is in the top fifteen pitchers in the American League.
  • When asked if Garza would get the ball on Opening Day, Levine said "I wouldn't go that deep, but he'll certainly be the most important pitcher for the Cubs outside of Zambrano."
  • There wasn't a more urgent need other than pitching.
  • Zambrano, Dempster, Garza, and Andrew Cashner will probably make up the top four of the Cubs rotation.
  • The Cubs are hoping that John Grabow will come back from an injury and pitch like he did before last season. They have the makings of a very good bullpen, possibly with three left handers.
  • Garza eats Popeyes Chicken before every start.
  • The two guys that the Cubs certainly didn't want to part with were Hak-Ju Lee and Chris Archer.
  • Archer is probably a year away from being in the Tampa Bay rotation. The Rays were not going to make the deal without the Cubs including either Archer or Trey McNutt.
  • A lot of people around the league think that Garza is tremendously underrated. Levine feels that this guy will be a 17-20 game winner at some point.
  • The fifth starter will be a situation where there is a competition in Spring Training.
  • Bruce says that Rick Suttcliffe and Dan Plesac are not involved in the discussion to be Pat Hughes' new partner. Plesac is under contract until mid-August with the MLB Network.
  • The three finalist for the job are going to be Dave Otto, Keith Moreland and Gary Mathews. The announcement probably will not happen before the Cubs Convention, but it should take place within the next 2-3 weeks.

The guys talked about the deal on Chicago Tribune Live on Friday night:

  • Phil Rogers thinks the Cubs gave up a ton.
  • This is a guy they look to have for three years that won 15 games and tossed a no-hitter last year.
  • Rogers talked to someone who says, "This isn't the type of player who you go shopping for at Walmart. You know you're going to pay a lot."
  • Phil doesn't see the Cubs being competitive in 2011 with or without Matt Garza, but this sets them up to get competitive again after this season.
  • The Cubs are giving up some really good parts in this trade.
  • David Schuster thinks the Cubs are giving off mixed signals. They were going to go young with the names that were involved in the trade.
  • The Cubs gave up their No. 1, No. 3 and No. 10 prospects.
  • Rogers doesn't think that they trade Hak-Ju Lee if they don't have Starlin Castro. They have a number of other good pitching prospects.
  • Scouts like Trey McNutt just as well or better than Chris Archer. They also have Chris Carpenter, Casey Coleman and Andrew Cashner.
  • The Cubs can afford to give up Brandon Guyer because they have Brett Jackson in front of him in the minors and Colvin already in Chicago.
  • Converted catcher Robinson Chirinos could end up playing a lot for Tampa Bay, but the Cubs are still sold on Geovany Soto.
  • All of the prospects traded have a younger part in front of them.
  • The Cubs projected rotation according to CSN is Garza, Zambrano, Dempster, Wells, Gorzelanny.
  • They are counting on Garza to be a little better than he's been. Rogers wants to see Cashner in there, plus Coleman was very good at the end of last season.
  • Phil doesn't think there is a market for Kosuke. Rogers thinks Kosuke is still a productive player.

The MLB Network team talked about the deal on Friday as well:

  • Larry Bowa said on MLB Network that the Cubs have a lot better rotation with Garza.
  • Mitch Williams, Harold Reynolds and Bowa all think this may be a bad deal for the Cubs down the road.
  • Jonathan Mayo says that Hak-Ju Lee is a pure shortstop glove wise.
  • Brandon Guyer could be a very good fourth outfielder in the future at the very least.
  • Mitch thinks that the Cubs won at this point right now, but in the next 2-3 years Tampa wins handily.
  • Reynolds is intreguied by Sam Fuld and Fernando Perez. Bowa wants to know what Carlos Zambrano will show up in 2011.
  • The guys talked about the possibility of the Cubs turning around and sending Carlos Zambrano away, but they do not think it is likely.
  • They think Jim Hendry made this move because he feels the pressure to win now.

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

The Cubs Convention is just 5 days away...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

More on the Garza Trade

The Cubs and Rays have finalized their eight player swap centered around starting pitcher Matt Garza. In addition to Garza, the Cubs have acquired Fernando Perez and Zachary Rosscup. The third player was originally thought to be a PTBNL, but Rosscup's inclusion in the deal surfaced today.

The Cubs send away five talented young players in Robinson Chirinos, Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Sam Fuld and Hak-Ju Lee. Here is more information on each of the three players the Cubs received in the deal. I'll write more about what they gave up in the next day or two.

Matt Garza
  • Position: Pitcher
  • B/T: Right
  • Height/Weight: 6'4'', 215 lbs
  • Age: 27
  • Birthday: Nov. 11
  • Teams: Twins ('06-'07) and Rays ('08-'10)
  • 2010 Stats: 15-10, 3.91 ERA, 32 starts, 1 save, 204.2 IP, 150 K
  • Career Stats: 42-44, 3.97 ERA
  • Awards: 2008 ALCS MVP
  • MLB Debut: August 11, 2006
  • Drafted: by the Twins in the first round (25th overall) in 2005
  • Postseason: 2-1, 3.48 ERA, 5 games

Fernando Perez

  • Position: Outfield
  • B/T: Switch/Right
  • Height/Weight: 6'1'', 195 lbs
  • Age: 27
  • Birthday: April 23
  • Big League Career Stats: .234 AVG, 3 HR, 10 RBI in 41 games during the '08 and '09 seasons
  • Injuries: Missed most of 2009 with a dislocated left wrist. Bothered by wrist during 2010, playing just 116 Triple-A games.
  • 2010 stats at AAA-Durham: .223 AVG, .280 OBP, 4 HR, 32 RBIs in 116 games
  • Drafted: by the Rays in the 7th round of the '04 draft
  • MLB Debut: Sept. 5, 2008

Zachary Rosscup

  • Position: Pitcher
  • B/T: Right/Left
  • Height/Weight: 6'2'', 205 lbs
  • Age: 22
  • Birthday: June 9
  • Highest Level: Class-A
  • 2010 Stats: 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA in 12 games (8 starts) at Rookie Ball and Class A.
  • Career Stats: 6-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 22 games (17 starts)
  • Drafted: By the Rays in the 28th round of the 2009 draft
  • Carrie Muskat of says that Rosscup could pitch in the bullpen for the Peoria Chiefs in 2011.

That's it for now, expect a post with radio/TV reaction tomorrow and another one early next week with information on the player whom the Cubs gave up!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Breaking News: Cubs Acquire Matt Garza from Tampa Bay

Update 6:00 CT: The Cubs will also get a PTBNL in the deal.

According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, the Cubs and Rays have gotten together for an eight player trade! The Cubs received starting pitcher Matt Garza, who is expected to lead the rotation. They will send Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos and Sam Fuld to Tampa Bay. The Cubs will also add two minor leaguers.

Bruce Miles reports that switching hitting outfielder Fernando Perez is in the deal. If this is true, Perez will be added to the 40-man roster.

This deal is not official yet and it is still pending physicals.

I will update this post with more information this afternoon!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Updated Cubs Convention Information

Well, we'll have to hold off our quick hits covering the rumors and news for this week until tomorrow. Lots of Cubs Convention news from today to pass along. The full schedule of sessions has not yet been released, but here is what we can gather so far thanks to and The schedule of sessions looks great this year!

5:00-5:30 Opening Ceremonies: All of the former and current Cubs will be introduced by Pat Hughes. This is my favorite part of the convention each year.
6:00-6:45 Autograph Treasure Hunt: You will be handed a map and search the hotel for locations where you will find current or former Cubs signing. Always a good time.
7:00-9:30 WGN Sports Night Live: Join Brian Noonan and Judd Sirott as they host the annual live remote from the convention. If cannot make it to the Hilton, tune in live on 720-AM.
Guest Schedule for Sports Night:
7:00-7:30 Tom Ricketts, Jim Hendry and Mike Quade
7:30-8:00 James Russell, Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells
8:00-8:30 Len Kasper, Bob Brenly and Pat Hughes
8:30-9:00 Chris Archer, Chris Carpenter, Jay Jackson and DJ LeMahieu
7:00-8:30 Cubs Bingo: If you're not interested in attending radio shows all night, join Wayne Messmer for some bingo, which has great baseball related prizes.

9:00-10:00 Ricketts Family Forum: A Q&A with all the members of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs. This one won't be excited as the Meet the Ricketts session for last year, but it will still be fun as fans have a chance to hammer the owners with questions.
10:00-11:00 Meet Cubs Baseball Management: Guests include Mike Quade, Randy Bush, and Jim Hendry plus a surprise appearance from from office member Greg Maddux. David Kaplan will host this session.
10:30-11:30 Pitching Evolution: A full hour all about the hurlers! Kerry Wood will be welcomed back with a panel that also includes Andrew Cashner, Randy Wells, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall and new pitching coach Mark Riggins.
Noon-1:00 The Q Factor: Talk to Mike Quade for the first time he's taken over as the skipper! Lester Strode, Mark Riggins, Bobby Dernier, Ivan DeJesus and Dave Keller will also be on this session.
1:00-2:00 On the Road with #10: Expect this one to be a popular session. Ron Santo's partner Pat Hughes will share memories of his 15-year co-worker as will Judd Sirott, Andy Masur and Cory Provus.
1:30-2:30 Meet Cubs Business Management
2:30-3:30 Off the Field and Off the Cuff: Join WGN Radio's John Williams and Nick Digillio as they find out what things are like from a player's perspective off the field. Sean Marshall, John Grabow, Mike Bielecki and Todd Walker will all be on the panel.
3:00-4:00 Remembering Ronnie: Seven of the Cubs' legends former teammates will share their memeries of their time with the Ron Santo. The group is made up of three Hall of Famers- Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins and Billy Williams plus Randy Hundley, Ron's roommate Glen Beckert, Jose Cardinal and Milt Pappas.
3:30-4:30 The Dominican Way of Life: Some of the Cubs biggest stars, including Aramis Ramirez, Starlin Castro and Carlos Pena, talk about what life is like in the Dominican Republic and what it is like to come play baseball in the states. Oneri Fleita also joines the panel to talk about the Cubs develop international talent.
4:00-6:50 Sports Central Live: David Kaplan and Jim Memolo broadcast live from the Convention. For the first time ever, the show will air on Friday and Saturday nights from the Hilton. Several other sessions will be posted on, but only Sports Central and Sports Night air live on the station. Here is the list of guests that will join Kap & Memolo:
4:00-4:30: Keith Moreland, Lee Smith and Tim Stoddard
4:30-5:00: Koyie Hill and Sean Marshall
5:00-5:30: Oneri Fleita and Tim Wilken
5:30-6:00: Chris Archer and Chris Carpenter
8:00-Midnight Rock'n Roll Revue

9:15-10:15 Transition to the Big Leagues: Several of the Cubs youngest stars will chat about what it is like to get the call to the show for the first time. Tyler Colvin, James Russell, Darwin Barney and Scott Maine will all be featured.
10:45-11:45 Down on the Farm: The Vineline team will do their annual minor league showcase as they host a Q&A with Oneri Fleita and Tim Wilken on the system. Prospects expected to attend the session this year include Chris Archer, Jay Jackson and D.J. LeMahieu.

Look like a great schedule of events... it is only a week away! More sessions should be added on Saturday, I will update you when they come out.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Everything Cubs Site Notes

I want to once again wish everyone a happy New Year and thank you for reading the over 800 posts on Everything Cubs blog over the last two years. I will continue to provide you with the latest on everything Cubs! Today, let's reset to remind you about some of the features on the site and provide you with links to articles over the holiday break in case you are just retuning to the office and starting to check in on the site again.

Comments and Emails
We love when you contact us here on Everything Cubs Blog! Remember that it is easy to comment on any posts. No log-in is required and the option to comment anonymously is available. Click on where it says comments at the bottom of each post or click on the post heading and then scroll down to comment. Also, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions regarding the site or the Cubs, pop me an email at

Thanks to everyone that voted on our last poll. Here are the results:
Question: Who should join Pat Hughes in the WGN Radio Booth in 2011?
1. Dave Otto- 26 votes
2. Rick Suttcliffe- 9 votes
3. Mark Grace- 3 votes
4. Dan Plesac- 2 votes
5. Other, Todd Hollandsworth, Keith Moreland- 1 vote each.

A new poll has been posted for a few days on the right sidebar. It askes what you are most looking forward to about the 2011 season. Please vote if you have not already!

RIP Ron Santo
Some of you have probably noticed the picture and writing to honor Ron Santo on the right sidebar. That will remain there for as long as I write on this site. Ronnie should not be forgotten and will not be forgotten by true fans.

2011 Schedule Previews
I recently wrapped up a six part series previewing the Cubs 2011 schedule. Links to the start of the month-by-month breakdown can be accessed by clicking here. I wrapped it up this past weekend with August and September.

Other Recent Posts
The Cubs Convention is just over a week away! Click here for an early preview. Today the Hall of Fame voting results were posted, and my final post of 2010 reviewed the top ten Cubs news stories of the year.

Upcoming Posts
Next week we will countdown to the Cubs Convention and then provide full coverage all weekend long. We will finish out this week with coverage of all the latest rumors and news, including the Cubs pursuit of Matt Garza. Also, a Down on the Farm Report should be in the works this weekend or sometime next week.

Thank you once again for reading!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

HOF Voting Results Preview

Update 1/5: Robert Alomar and Bert Blyleven will make up the 2011 Hall of Fame Class. Lee Smith got just 45.3%, a decline from last year.

Tomorrow at noon CT, the 2011 Hall of Fame Class will be announced during a live special on the MLB Network. The most notable ex-Cubs who's up for election is closer Lee Smith. He received nearly half of the votes last year but was still a ways away from the 75% needed for induction into the Hall. This will be Smith's ninth time on the ballot.

Let's take a look at how he fared the first eight times:
  • 2003: 42.3%
  • 2004: 36.6%
  • 2005: 38.8%
  • 2006: 45%
  • 2007: 39.8%
  • 2008: 43.3%
  • 2009: 44.5%
  • 2010: 47.3%

Other former Cubs on the ballot include Fred McGriff, first timer Rafael Palmeiro and Benito Santiago. Another guy with a Cubs connection who has a shot at being elected is ex-coach Alan Trammell.

All of the Chicago Tribune writers votes were released in the paper. Some other guys have posted their ballots on blogs or sites. Here is a list of who each writer voted for.

  • Dave van Dyck: Roberto Alomar, Jack Morris, Lee Smith
  • Mark Gonzales: Alomar, Burt Blyleven, Barry Larkin
  • Teddy Greenstein: Alomar, Blyleven, Don Mattingly, Tim Raines, Smith
  • Philip Hersh: Alomar, Blyleven, Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Mattingly, Jack Morris, Dave Parker, Raines, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker
  • Fred Mitchell: Alomar, Blyleven, Larkin, Morris, Raines, Smith
  • Paul Sullivan: Alomar, Harold Baines, Lee Smith, Raines
  • Bruce Miles: Alomar, Jeff Bagwell, Blyleven, Larkin, Martinez, Morris, Raines, Smith, Trammell
  • ESPN team: Alomar (94.4%) and Blyleven (77.8%)

Smith got the vote of just 9 of the 18 ESPN writers that were polled.

I will update this post tomorrow afternoon with the results of the BBWAA 2011 Hall of Fame voting!

Monday, January 3, 2011

An Early Look at the Cubs Convention

The 26th annual Cubs Convention is only ten days away! A full list of attendees will probably be announced next weekend with a schedule for sessions released next week. Plans include honoring Ron Santo and welcoming back Kerry Wood. For now, here is the partial list of attendees from and Vineline!

  • Kerry Wood
  • Carlos Pena
  • Greg Maddux
  • Carlos Zambrano
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Marlon Byrd
  • Mike Quade
  • Starlin Castro
  • Tyler Colvin
  • Chris Archer
  • Jay Jackson
  • DJ LeMahieu
  • Chris Carpenter

As always, the annual Cubs Caravan will tour the Chicagoland area the week leading up to the Convention. Members of the Cubs organization will tour schools, hospitals and make other stops January 12 and 13. Here is the full list of attendees for the Caravan. Usually most of these guys are also at the Convention.

  • Justin Berg
  • Bob Brenly
  • Randy Bush
  • Andrew Cashner
  • Ivan DeJesus
  • Bob Dernier
  • Blake DeWitt
  • Pat Hughes
  • Len Kasper
  • Dave Keller
  • Sean Marshall
  • Dave Otto
  • Mike Quade
  • Mark Riggins
  • James Russell
  • Lester Strode
  • Randy Wells
  • Carlos Zambrano

The annual Cubs Caravan Luncheon will take place at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse next Wednesday and will feature Mike Quade among other players and coaches.

More on the Convention and the Caravan next week!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Schedule Breakdown: September

September 2-4 VS Pittsburgh Pirates
With expanded rosters after September call-ups, the Cubs and Pirates will start the final month with a three game series. In 2010, the Cubs dropped 10 of the 15 meetings against the Bucs to lose the season series for the first time since 2006. The Cubs will look to secure a season series win by taking the final three meetings of the year between the two '10 bottom dwellers..

September 5-7 VS Cincinnati Reds
This series could be a huge September matchup between two clubs battling for the division. Or it could be a meaningless battle between two teams out of the hunt. Time will tell.

September 9-11 @New York Mets
The Cubs will visit Ron Santo's least favorite city for a three game weekend matchup at Citi Field. There will be a 9/11 game in New York on the 10th anniversary of the horrific bombings in 2001. Expect a special ceremony on the field before the game to remember those that we lost.

September 12-15 @Cincinnati Reds
Seven games in the final month against the defending division champs always has potential for some excitement. Even if the Cubbies find themselves out of the race, they could be playing the role of spoilers during this four game series. The Cubs will seek a season series win after dropping 12 of the 16 meetings in 2010.

September 16-18 VS Houston Astros
The final homestand of the season kicks off as the 'Stros come to town. Fans will soak up the final weekend games of the year at Wrigley in the sun as the series features three straight day games. The Cubs will hope they can improve on their 313-362 all time head-to-head record against Houston in 2011.

September 19-21 VS Milwaukee Brewers
The final games at Wrigley this season take place with a Monday though Wednesday series against the 'Crew. Perhaps the Cubs will have punched their ticket into the postseason, but otherwise fans will get a final look at their favorite Cubs players before another long winter. Wednesday's Wrigley finale will take place at 1:20 after 7:05 starts on Monday and Tuesday.

September 23-25 @St. Louis Cardinals
The Cubs and Cards have one more big series for the 2011 season. Maybe the division title will be on the line for one or both of these clubs. Friday will feature a night game before two day games round out the weekend and the season set.

September 26-28 @San Diego Padres
The Cubs went to San Diego to start the final road trip in 2010 and this time around the journey ends out on the West Coast. The start times for all three games are still TBD. For the first time in a long time, the final game of the season will be in the middle of the week instead of on a Sunday. With the new schedule structure, the season starts on a Friday and ends on a Wednesday.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Schedule Breakdown: August

August 1-4 @Pittsburgh Pirates
The Cubs will start the final two months at PNC Park to play the Pirates. The two teams will play four straight night games, all of which start at 6:05. The Cubbies must get this month start with a series win against the lowly Bucs.

August 5-7 VS Cincinnati Reds
A stretch of six straight home games starts with a weekend set with the defending NL Central champions. All three games against the Reds are afternoon games, with 1:20 starts on Friday and Sunday and a TBD start on Saturday.

August 8-10 VS Washington Nationals
The Nationals, who continue to try to build a solid franchise, will come to Wrigley for three straight night games. All of the games start at 7:05. The Nats are expected to make improvement again this season with the addition of Jayson Werth this winter.

August 12-14 @Atlanta Braves
This could be a big series with teams that are looking to improve on their 2010 marks. Both clubs will be under new managers after their legendary skippers retired last season. The last time the Cubs and Braves met Piniella announced that it would be the last game of his career. The Cubbies struggled against the Braves a year ago including blowout losses on Opening Day and in Lou's last game.

August 15-17 @Houston Astros
The Cubs will go back to Houston for a mid-August set agains the 'Stos. The first two games of the series will be under the lights with a 1:05 start on Wednesday. This set concludes a six game trip.

August 19-21 VS St. Louis Cardinals
The Cubs and Cardinals start a three game series at Wrigley Field Friday through Saturday. Quade's squad has an off day on Thursday to rest up for the series. Friday's game starts at 1:20, Saturday is a 3:10 FOX contest and Sunday's game could end up on ESPN Sunday night game.

August 22-25 VS Atlanta Braves
The Braves and Cubs play all seven games against one another during the month of August. Atlanta will visit Chicago for the first time during Mike Quade's tenure with the team. Thursday's series finale will start at 1:20 after three night games start the set.

August 26-28 @Milwaukee Brewers
The Cubs and Crew meet once again in a battle of two teams under new management. The Brewers hired former Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke as their manager this winter. There is potential for a division contending team this season.

August 29-31 @San Francisco Giants
The Cubs go to the Bay Area for a three game date with the Giants to conclude the month. The first two games start at 9:15 locally, and then Wednesday's game starts at 2:45. The Boys in Blue will look to come out 2-1 during this brief West Coast visit.

Happy New Year!

May the new year bring health, happiness and many Cubs victories! Happy 2011 Cubs fans!

Hopefully this is the start of a magical year for the Chicago Cubs. Will this be the year we go all the way??

Click for the schedule breakdowns from: April, May, June and July. The final two previews are still to come.

Click here to view my breakdown of the top ten Cubs news stories of 2010, which was posted Friday.

Go Cubs Go and once again have a safe and happy New Year's!