Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Final Post

I've known this post was coming for some time now.  I've been putting off making it official.  Four great years, 82,841 page views and 1,013 posts later, it is time for me to close Everything Cubs Blog.

Maybe it is fitting that I walk away a day after one of my favorite Cubs, Kerry Wood, did the same thing.  I have truly enjoyed spending much of my time blogging about my beloved Cubs over the past four years.  I am still every bit as big of a Cubs fan as I was and I still watch the Cubbies as often as possible.  However, with new opportunities popping up in my life it has been impossible for me to make time to write on the site.  Rather than continue to allow the blog to sit without frequent updates, it is time to call it quits.  The number of posts has dwindled in the last year as my schedule filled up and I've tried taking breaks and returning often enough, this time it is time to wrap it up. 

I want to thank all of you for reading Everything Cubs Blog!  It has certainly been a labor of love.  I also want to thank the fellow bloggers that helped make the site possible.  I have dedicated a great portion of the last year on the blog to coverage of Ron Santo and I hope that other sites continue to honor Ronnie.  He will not be forgotten.  I will be at the Ron Santo Hall of Fame induction in July.

My work will still appear from time to time over on View From the Bleachers, so be sure to check out that site.  I'll have the recap of next Sunday's game against the Pirates on VFTB.  I also recommend Chicago Cubs Online, which I spent a season writing minor league reports for.

Although the Cubs have been unsuccessful during the four baseball seasons that I have written on the site, there has never been a shortage of topics to write about in the always interesting world of the Chicago Cubs.  The people that I will remember most from my time blogging about the team are Lou Piniella, Pat Hughes, Ron Santo, Kerry Wood, Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez. 

Thank you once again for understanding and thanks for reading!  Go Cubs Go.

That's it forever, it was a pleasure to keep you posted on Everything Cubs for four years.

-Brandon aka Cubbiefan07

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Preparing for the Big Day

Tomorrow is Opening Day at Wrigley Field! The Cubs host the Washington Nationals at 1:20. The game will be televised on WGN-TV with Len Kasper and Bob Brenly and broadcast on WGN Radio with Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland. For the second consecutive year, Ryan Dempster will receive the opening day nod for the Chicago Cubs. Young right hander Stephen Strasburg will take the hill for the Nats.

Dale Sveum settled his bullpen today to figure out the final spots on his roster. In addition, infielder Luis Valbuena was claimed off waiver from the Blue Jays in a surprising move. He will fill a spot on the 25-man roster, serving as Starlin Castro's backup at shortstop. The Cubs will go with 14 position players and just 11 pitchers to start the season.

According to Carrie Muskat the six man bullpen will be made up of Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol, James Russell, Rafael Dolis, Shawn Camp and Lendy Castillo. Rodrigo Lopez will not start the season on the roster but is expected to be called up quickly. Frankie De La Cruz was outrighted, while Manny Corpas was also cut from the big league squad.

Tomorrow's lineup is still pending whether or not Bryan LaHair, who stat out the last four Cactus League games with a back issue. Either Blake DeWitt, Joe Mather or Jeff Baker will start in his place if he cannot go. There is a 50-50 chance that LaHair will start. Tony Campana is still with the team in case a disabled list stint is necessary.

Today the Cubs worked out at Wrigley Field for the first time this season. According to multiple reports, the ivy is already green. Bill Murray will throw out the first pitch and sing the 7th inning Stretch on Opening Day. Friday is an off day before the series continues Saturday at 12:05.

The games that count are here! David DeJesus and Ian Stewart will make their Cubs debuts today.

"I don't care who wins as long as it's the Cubs!"

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My 2012 Bold Cubs Predictions

Each season I enjoy making off-the-wall predictions that may or may not come true. Here are my results from my 2011 predictions.

  • Mike Quade will lead the team to the division title and be named the NL Manager of the Year. Way Wrong, Quade was let go after leading the team to a fifth place finish

  • Starlin Castro will win the NL batting title.Wrong, he finished sixth.

  • Aramis Ramirez will have a bounce back season with 30 homers and 100 RBIs.Wrong, barely. He drove in 93 runs and launched 26 homers.

  • Carlos Marmol will only blow two saves all season.Way wrong, he blew ten saves and had many other bad outings.

  • Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster will combine for 55 wins.WRONG, try 29 combined wins.

  • Darwin Barney will join Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin to form a trio of young talented players that carry the offense.Not so much.

  • Reed Johnson's glove work will make several appearances on Sports Center's Top 10 Plays.Not sure if that happened or not, I'll go with no.

  • VCU will win the NCAA tournament... wait- how did that get on this list?Nope.

  • Welington Castillo will take Koyie Hill's job by the end of May.Should have happened but didn't.

  • Marlon Byrd, Ryan Dempster and Starlin Castro will represent the Cubs in the All-Star game.Well, I got one out of three.

  • The NBA champion Bulls will sing the 7th Inning Stretch at Wrigley in July.Wrong again.

  • Jim Hendry will pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade in July to help put the Cubs in position for their playoff run.Playoff run? Wrong

  • The Cubs will wear their #10 patches all the way to a World Series title.Well, half of that came true.

My 2011 score: 0-for-13, let's see if I can make some improvements with my 2012 bold predictions, some of which I hope do not come true.

  • The Cubs will play meaningful games in September because of the extra Wild Card spot.

  • Marlon Byrd will be traded by the deadline.

  • Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo will make their big league debuts by the end of June.

  • Bryan LaHair will be sent to Triple-A or benched by the end of June and never heard from again.

  • Jeff Samardzija will hold onto his rotation spot all year and win at least ten games.

  • Carlos Zambrano will pitch very well and pick up the W against his former team.

  • Carlos Marmol will be removed from the closer's role by season's end.

  • Joe Mather will be a bust after his hot spring, he will be replaced on the Cubs bench by the end of May.

  • The Florida Marlins will reach the World Series.

  • Kerry Wood will have at least two stints on the disabled list.

  • James Russell will have the best ERA on the team.

  • Starlin Castro will be the only Cub in the All-Star game once again.

  • Matt Garza will toss a no-hitter.

Feel free to comment with your thoughts!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Breaking News: Cubs Make Roster Decisions

Today Dale Sveum announced several spots that were available entering Spring Training. Although the roster is not yet finalized, many of his decisions were made clear today.

The 2012 Cubs starting rotation has been announced. Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad have won the final two spots, joining Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Paul Maholm in the starting five.

The Cubs also announced today that Steve Clevenger has made the team as the backup catcher. Sveum said that sending Welington Castillo to Iowa was the toughest decision he had to make, but he envisions Castillo as a starter at the big league level some day. Sveum feels that Castillo will benefit from more time at the minor league level.

Although the bullpen is not yet settled, we do not that Randy Wells will not be a part of it. The Cubs optioned Wells to Triple-A Iowa today. The Cubs feel that it will benefit the team to have a "sixth starter" stretched out so that when someone in the starting five struggles or goes down with an injury, Wells is ready to step in.

As expected, Blake DeWitt and Joe Mather have made the 25 man Opening Day roster. DeWitt will be used as a utility infielder, while Mather claimed the fifth outfield spot. Travis Wood, Dave Seppelt and Scott Maine were all optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Matt Tolbert, Blake Parker, Blake Lalli and Edgar Gonzalez were reassigned to minor league camp.

Casey Coleman was not officially sent back to minor league camp, but according to multiple reports he has been told that he will not make the team. Wood and Coleman will join Wells in the Iowa starting rotation.

With Wells and Coleman out of the mix, it looks as if Rodrigo Lopez may have a spot in the bullpen. Lopez is competing for the final three bullpen spots with Lendy Castillo, Shawn Camp, and Frankie De La Cruz and Manny Corpas. Three of those five will likely make the club along with young right hander Rafael Dolis, who has not officially made the team but is expected to snag the fourth bullpen spot behind Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood and James Russell.

The compensation for Theo Epstein was completed as the Cubs received Jair Bogaerts, a 19 year old first base prospect, as a Player to be Named Later.

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cubs Roster Shaping Up

Dale Sveum and his coaching staff are expected to make the Cubs final roster decisions after today's Cactus League game. Many of the choices are starting to leak and it appears that much of the roster is set. Sveum would like to use his players in the roles that they will be in during the regular season for the final five games of Spring Training. Expect announcements regarding the roster today or tomorrow.

Here is how the roster is expected to break down.

Starting Rotation
1. Ryan Dempster
2. Matt Garza
3. Chris Volstad
4. Jeff Samardzija
5. Paul Maholm

Starting Lineup
1B- Bryan LaHair
2B- Darwin Barney
SS- Starlin Castro
3B- Ian Stewart
C- Geovany Soto
RF- David DeJesus
LF- Alfonso Soriano
CF- Marlon Byrd*
*According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs have been trying to trade Marlon Byrd and still could pull off a last minute deal before Opening Day. The Braves and Nationals are among the teams in the mix. Byrd could be dealt at some point before the deadline even if he is not moved before Opening Day. If Byrd is traded sometime before the season or early in the season, it does not necessarily mean Brett Jackson will take over centerfield duties. Tony Campana or Dave Sappelt could be called up to split time with Reed Johnson and Joe Mather if the Cubs feel that Jackson needs more time to develop. Bruce Levine feels that the Cubs will hold on to Byrd until Jackson is ready.

INF- Jeff Baker, lock to make the team
INF- Blake DeWitt, near lock to make the team
OF- Reed Johnson, lock to make the team
OF- Joe Mather, near lock to make the team
Backup Catcher- Either Welington Castillo or Steve Clevenger will fill the final spot on the Cubs bench and serve as the backup to Soto. Bruce Levine mentioned in his chat that he gives the edge to Clevenger since he is more ready to a call a game at the big league level.

Closer- Carlos Marmol
RH Setup- Kerry Wood
LH Setup- James Russell
The other four bullpen spots are still to be determined, but many people feel that Shawn Camp and Rafael Dolis will take two of them. That leaves a slew of guys in the mix for the other two including Randy Wells, Rodrigo Lopez, Casey Coleman, Manny Corpas, Lendy Castillo and Scott Maine. Wells will likely be traded if he does not make the team, all the rest have minor league options. Marcos Mateo will start the season on the disabled list.

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting to Know the Cubs: Ian Stewart

With Spring Training winding down, we continue our player-by-player breakdowns of Cubs newcomers with Ian Stewart, who was acquired to take the third base position vacated by the departure of Aramis Ramirez.
  • Born: April 5, 1985 in Long Beach, CA
  • Age: 27
  • Drafted: by the Rockies in the first round (10th overall) of the 2003 draft
  • Signed: June 11, 2003
  • Teams: Rockies (2007-2011); Cubs (present)
  • Contract Situation: 2nd year arbitration eligible, free agent in 2015
  • Career Stats: .236 average, 54 home runs, 187 RBIs
  • 2011 Stats: .156 average, 0 HR, 6 RBIs
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • Positions: 3B (354 career games), 2B (33 career games), LF (6 career games) and RF (3 career games)
  • ESPN projects that a change of scenery might be exactly what Stewart needed to jump-start his career.
  • Jersey: #2
  • Acquired by the Cubs: in the trade that sent Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu to Colorado in December. The Cubs also netted minor league pitcher Casey Weathers.
  • According to Fangraphs, Stewart is an above average defensive third baseman

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

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Getting to Know the Cubs: David DeJesus

Today we continue to profile some of the new Cubs players by taking a closer look at the background of right fielder David DeJesus, who signed with the Cubs this offseason.

  • Positions: Center field (527 career games), left field (289 career games) and right field (219 career games)

  • Drafted: by the Royals in the 4th round of the 2000 draft

  • High School: Manalapan (Englishtown, NJ)

  • College: Rutgers

  • Acquired by the Cubs: Signed this winter to a 2 year, $10 million deal with a team option for 2014

  • Teams: Royals (2003-2010), A's (2011) and Cubs (present)

  • B/T: Left

  • Height: 5'11"

  • Weight: 190 pounds

  • MLB Debut: September 2, 2003

  • Career MLB Stats: .284 average, 71 HR, 436 RBIs in 1007 games

  • 2011 Stats: .240 average with 10 HR and 46 RBIs in 131 games

  • The first free agent brought in by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer after they took over the Cubs front office

  • Known as a good defensive outfielder

  • Expected to lead-off for the Cubs

  • Doesn't still a lot of bases, but it still a smart baserunner

  • Has a wife and kids

  • Known to be a good clubhouse guy with a positive attitude

  • 32 years old

  • Bill James projects that he will hit .271 in 2012 with 8 home runs and 46 RBIs

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend Quick Hits: Opening Day Starter, Roster Cuts & More

Here's the latest from Cubs Spring Training!
  • According to a tweet from Patrick Mooney, the Cubs have named Ryan Dempster their Opening Day starter. Matt Garza will be the number two.
  • The Cubs made some additional roster cuts today. Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, Jim Adduci, Andrean Cardenas, Jay Jackson and Bobby Scales were all sent to Fitch Park.
  • Tim Kurkjian of ESPN caught up with Dale Sveum.
  • Sveum's main message this spring has been preparation. In the interview with Kurkjian, Sveum indicated that Chris Volstad will be in the rotation as the number four starter. Sveum said that the last spot it still up for grabs, but Jeff Samardzija has been very impressive.
  • David DeJesus is the one guy on the Cubs who has a track record of leading off.
  • Carrie Muskat tweeted that Sveum said it was tough to send Jackson down because he is ready now.
  • Marcos Mateo left yesterday's Cactus League game against the Rangers with a right arm injury. He was expected to have an MRI/arthogram last night.
  • Ron Villone is taking over as the Peoria Chiefs pitching coach this season. Tom Pratt has left the position after recently being diagnosed with brain cancer.
  • Andy Sonnanstine was assigned outright to Triple-A Iowa yesterday. He was removed from the 40 man roster.
  • Muskat tweets that Paul Maholm will be the fifth starter. Sveum will name the third and fourth spots on March 28. It looks as if Chris Volstad and Jeff Samardzija will take those two spots.
  • Travis Wood has been off track this spring, so his next appearance will be in either a minor league game or a simulated game.
Here is the Cubs lineup for today's game against the Rockies.
1. David DeJesus, RF
2. Ian Stewart, 3B
3. Starlin Castro, SS
4. Bryan LaHair, 1B
5. Geovany Soto, C
6. Marlon Byrd, CF
7. Reed Johnson, LF
8. Darwin Barney, 2B
9. Jeff Samardzija, P

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

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Breaking Down Cubs Position Player Battles

With over two weeks left in Spring Training, there are still many spots on the Cubs roster up for grabs. Early this week we took a look at Dale Sveum's pitching staff decisions, click here for that post.

Today, we take a look at the position player battles that are going on in Cubs camp. The starting lineup is pretty much set, but there is some great competition for the five bench spots.

Backup Catcher
The backup catcher's position is often up for grabs during Spring Training. Seemingly every year the Cubs are trying to decide that spot. Some teams use the backup as a spot for a veteran, while other use it on a younger player who may have a future with the team as a starter. The Cubs will most likely use the latter this season. Jason Jaramillo was invited to camp, but an injury early on appears to have eliminated him from the competition. That leaves Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger battling it out. Castillo appears to have the edge as a guy who has been in the mix for several years and seems to be ready. However, the Cubs may elect to give Castillo everyday playing time at AAA-Iowa instead of having him sit on the big league bench. Clevenger is also a talented player, but I am still giving Castillo the edge to win the job.

Fourth & Fifth Outfield Spots
With David DeJesus, Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano penciled in as the everyday outfielders to start the season, the only spots open in the outfield will come on the bench. Fan favorite Reed Johnson is the type of the player that a team should want on its roster, so he appears to have the fourth outfield spot nailed down. That leaves Dave Sappelt, who was acquired from the Reds this offseason, speedster Tony Campana and non-roster invitee Joe Mather in the mix for the other spot. Campana is a nice weapon as a pitcher runner and defensive replacement, but Mather is making a good case with a .409 average this spring. I'm leaning toward keeping Mather as the team's number one pinch hit, while sending Campana back to Triple-A.

Reserve Infield Spot
Assuming the Cubs carry 12 pitchers, two catchers and five outfielders, there will be six spots left on the roster for infielders. Five of those will, unless there is an injury, be filled by Bryan LaHair, Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Ian Stewart and Jeff Baker. Baker will backup Stewart, Barney and LaHair, while Barney can slide over to shortstop when Castro needs a day off. That leaves a final spot open for an utility infielder. Blake DeWitt, who was released by the team but then brought back as a non-roster player, is one candidate. Adrian Cardenas, who played for the A's last season, is also in the mix even though he is hitting just .150 in Cactus League play. Other non-roster infielders in camp include Alfredo Amezaga, Edgar Gonzalez, Matt Tolbert and Bobby Scales. The last infield spot is very up in the air, but DeWitt receives my vote partly because of his .462 average in eight spring games.

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

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Breaking Down the Cubs Pitching Staff Battles

The Cubs are a team with a lot up in the air entering the 2012 season. Under the direction of a new president, general manager and manager, there is an air of change surrounding Cubs camp. Many younger players are receiving an opportunity in Spring Training as the team builds for the future. Here is a look at a few of the battles going on within the pitching staff right now.

Opening Day Starter
Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza are in the mix for the chance to get the nod against Washington on April 5. There is no question that Garza will be the ace of the staff, but Demp is an experienced veteran and could get the nod as more of a lifetime achievement recognition from Dale Sveum. However, Garza had a better season a year ago and is the clear ace of the staff. Demp took the loss on Opening Day 2011 against the Pirates, so this time I believe it is Garza's turn.

Rest of the Rotation
Dempster and Garza have the top two spots in the pitching rotation nailed down. It looks as if lefty Paul Maholm could secure the third spot if he bounces back from being slowed down early in camp by an illness. Maholm will make his Spring Training debut tomorrow. That will leave Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Volstad and Randy Wells competing for the final two spots. Out of the four, there is no odds of favorite for either spot, nor is there a longshot to make the rotation. Wells pitched well in relief last week and could be ticketed for the bullpen after several years in the starting five. Samardzija has made his desire to start clear. He has pitched well in his first few spring outings. The last few weeks talk has been heating up that Samardzija is a serious candidate that could end up with a spot. Wood and Volstad are both young arms that the Cubs are high on. Many feel that the Cubs would like to toss a second left hander (Wood) in the rotation. The Cubs are also high on Volstad. My guess would be that Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood start the season in the rotation, while Chris Volstad and Randy Wells pitch in relief.

Bullpen Battles
Carlos Marmol will start the season as the Cubs closer and is expected to improve on his 2011 season. James Russell has earned a spot as a primary left handed setup man, while Kerry Wood returns for eighth inning duties. However, Wood cannot pitch every day because of his age and injury history. The Cubs are searching for another arm that can be relied upon in the late innings. The two leftovers from the rotation mix could be penciled into middle relief spots, which would leave at least two other spots on the pitching staff open. Andy Sonnanstine, Casey Coleman, Marcos Mateo, Scott Maine, John Gaub, Casey Weathers, Rodrigo Lopez, Jay Jackon and Trever Miller are all in the mix. I'm leaning toward Lopez, who's pitched well this spring, and Maine to beat out Gaub and Miller for the other left handed slot.

That's it for now, but I'll have position player related battles later in the week.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Reviewing Week 1 of the Cactus League

A week of Cactus League play is in the books. It is great to see and hear baseball action from beautiful Arizona. Regardless of how good the team is expected to be, there is something special about baseball on the North Side of Chicago during the summer. Spring Training is the annual prelude to Opening Day.

The team finished the week with a record of 3-3 through the first six spring games. Two rounds of roster cuts have already been made. Here is a list of the players headed back to minor league camp early.

C Micah Gibbs
RHP Dae-Eun Rhee
RHP Marco Carrillo
RHP Trey McNutt
INF Jonathan Mota
OF Jae-Hoon Ha

The Cubs spring training roster now stands at 57 players.

Yesterday Cubs fans had the chance to see baseball on the television for the first time this season with White Sox broadcasters doing the first Crosstown Showdown game of the year on WGN-TV. Today Len Kasper and Bob Brenly make their 2012 debut on WGN-TV for today's game against the Brewers in Maryvale, which can also be heard on WGN Radio.

Former Cubs star Aramis Ramirez is in the lineup for the Brewers today, hitting cleanup. Dale Sveum is managing against his former team for the first time. Ryan Dempster will pitch for the Cubs, battling ninth in the lineup and becoming the first Cubs pitcher to take some at-bats this spring. Geovany Soto is in the Cubs lineup for the first time today after missing the first six games with a groin injury. Here is the complete starting nine.

David DeJesus, RF
Reed Johnson, LF
Starlin Castro, SS
Bryan LaHair, 1B
Geovany Soto, C
Ian Stewart, 3B
Darwin Barney, 2B
Tony Campana, CF
Ryan Dempster, P

Here is a look at the week ahead.

Sunday @LAD 2:05 CT, WGN-TV, Matt Garza
Monday VS Cin 3:05 CT, WGN Radio, Paul Maholm & Jeff Samardzija
Tuesday @San Francisco 3:05, Chris Volstad
Wednesday VS Milwaukee 3:05, Randy Wells & Travis Wood
Thursday ss VS Arizona 3;05; @Colorado 3:10
Friday VS San Francisco 3:05
Saturday ss @Oakland 3:05; VS Texas 3:05 in Las Vegas
Sunday March 18 ss VS CWS 3:05, VS Texas 3:05 in Las Vegas

Other news and notes from this week-
  • Catcher Jason Jaramillo has been out with sore legs. His chances of making the team have dwindled because of the injury, so the backup catcher's job could come down to Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger.
  • Welington Castillo, Paul Maholm and Casey Coleman have all advanced to the final four in the bunt tournament. The final spot will be determined by a matchup between David DeJesus and Starlin Castro.
  • Carrie Muskat mentioned in her inbox this week that Randy Wells does have one minor league option left. Jeff Samardzija and Marcos Mateo are both out of options, so they would have to clear waivers in order to be sent to Triple-A.

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

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Previewing the Cactus League Opener

Today, the Chicago Cubs return! All winter long, we've waiting for the return of baseball. Spring Training play finally starts today for the Cubs at 2:05 CT against the Oakland A's at HoHoKam Park. Expectations are low for the team this season, but the great thing about baseball is that you never know for sure what is going to happen.

Rodrigo Lopez will be on the mound for the Cubs today. Here is the rest of the Cubs lineup in the order of today's batting order. Geovany Soto is out with a groin injury and could miss the first week of Cactus League play.

1. Alfonso Soriano, LF
2. Ian Stewart, 3B
3. Starlin Castro, SS
4. Bryan LaHair, 1B
5. Marlon Byrd, CF
6. David DeJesus, RF
7. Jeff Baker, DH
8. Darwin Barney, 2B
9. Welington Castillo, C

Pitchers expected to work in today's game
Rodrigo Lopez
Carlos Marmol
Dae-Eun Rhee
Rafael Dolis
Lendy Castillo
Marcos Mateo

Today's game will be broadcast on and for free with Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie. will air most Spring Training games that cannot be heard on WGN-720. Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland will have their first broadcast of the year tomorrow.

Here is the Cubs schedule for the rest of this week along with broadcast information and starting pitchers.
Monday VS Oakland 2:05 WGN Radio, Ryan Dempster
Tuesday VS Colorado 2:05 WGN Radio, Matt Garza
Wednesday @Kansas City 2:05 WGN Radio, Jeff Samardzija
Thursday VS Seattle 2:05, Chris Volstad
Friday @CWS 2:05
Saturday @Milwaukee 2:05 WGN-TV, WGN Radio

Yesterday the Cubs tied in a five-inning intrasquad game 3-3. Brett Jackson hit his second home run in as many scrimmages. Jay Jackson pitched three scoreless frames and did not allow a base runner. Joe Mather took Trey McNutt deep in the fourth inning, while left hander Chris Rusin surrendered the long ball to Jackson. Tony Campana displayed his speed stealing two bags, one after it appeared that he was picked off.

"I don't care who wins as long as it's the Cubs!"

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bruce Levine on ESPN 1000 & More

Bruce Levine was ESPN 1000 with Carmen, Jurko and Harry-
  • Levine explained the new playoff system that was announced today. An extra wildcard spot in each league has been added for this season. The two wildcards will have a one game playoff.
  • For this season only, the team with the worst record in the Division Series will host the first two games with the better record hosting the final three games of the series.
  • Not many people like the idea of hosting the World Series at a neutral site at a warm weather location, but Bruce likes the idea.
  • Travis Wood did not look good in the intrasquad game today. Both Matt Szczur and Brett Jackson took him deep. The Cubs are going to do everything they can to make sure that he is in the rotation.
  • Bruce is looking for Jeff Samardzija to get a good shot because the Cubs have only one power arm in their rotation.
  • Bryan LaHair has a good idea of the strike zone, takes pitches and works hard. He went to winter ball after his banner year at the minor league level. Levine would not bet against LaHair.
  • "Never say never," Bruce said when asked about the Cubs chances of ended up with a playoff spot. "The chance is always there."
  • Josh Vitters is a talented young hitter who finally showed power last year, but has not worked hard enough yet to reach the big leagues.
  • The chances of Brett Jackson being on the roster on Opening Day are pretty slim, but by Opening Day Levine thinks that there is a 75% chance that Jackson will be called up by July. Anthony Rizzo could also be called up by midseason.

Other Cubs notes-

  • The first Cactus League game is Sunday at 2:05 CT against the Oakland A's at HoHoKam Park. Rodrigo Lopez will be on the mound for the Cubs. It will be broadcast on Gameday Audio with Len Kasper and Mic Gillespie.
  • Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza will pitch the second and third Cactus League games, respectively.
  • The blue team beat the white team 10-4 in today's intrasquad game. The blue team was made up of mostly minor leaguers and backups.
There were four matchups today in the Cubs bunt tournament to complete the Sweet Sixteen. Here are the Sweet 16 matchups.

Beliveau vs. McNutt

Rusin vs. Coleman

Samardzija vs. Wells

Maholm vs. Sveum

Cardenas vs. Lalli

W. Castillo vs. Clevenger

Mather vs. Castro

Baker vs. DeJesus

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting to Know the Cubs: Bryan LaHair

There will be many new faces taking the field for the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day 2012. One of those new faces is actually not a new acquisition. Bryan LaHair has been in the organization for several years. He has been given the starting job at first base for the 2012 season. Here's some information on LaHair!
  • Positions: 1B (764 games), LF (131 games), RF (32 games) and DH (6 games)
  • Drafted: By Seattle in the 39th round of the 2002 draft
  • MLB Debut: July 18, 2008
  • Hit .250 in 45 big league games with the Mariners in '08
  • Played in 20 games for the Cubs in 2011, posting a .288 average
  • Career MLB Stats: 65 games, 2 seasons, 5 home runs, 16 RBIs, .262 average
  • 2011 Triple-A Stats: .331 average, 38 HR, 109 RBIs
  • Career Minor League Stats: 970 games, .295 average, 159 HR, 651 RBIs
  • College: Sb. Petersburg College
  • Awards: 2005 California League All-Star
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • Came to the Cubs: By signing a minor league contract with an invite to spring training before the 2010 season.
  • Age: 29
  • According to, LaHair says he's in the best shape of his life
  • Broke Joe Hicks's Iowa Cubs home run record
  • Bill James projects that LaHair will hit .273 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs this season
  • RotoChamp projects LaHair to hit .250 with 12 homers and 60 RBIs

Feel free to comment with your thoughts!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Post #1000

Today I reach four digits here on Everything Cubs Blog. Since December of 2008 I have brought you Cubs rumors, news, features and analysis. It is truly a labor of love and I hope to continue to for thousands and thousand more posts. Over the past year, the number of post has seen a decrease and the consistency of the updates has not been great due to my schedule. However, lately posts have been popping up with more frequency once again. Thank you for sticking with me as always.

Tomorrow we'll feature Bryan LaHair in our Getting to Know the Cubs series. All week coverage continues as we countdown to the Cactus League Opener, which is just one week from today!

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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weekend Quick Hits: Castro Reports, Ricketts in Mesa and More

Yesterday was a busy day as the Cubs had their first full squad workout of 2012. Believe it or not, the first Cactus League game of the season will take place a week from tomorrow!
  • Tom Ricketts met with the team and with the media yesterday. There are no plans for the Cubs to play anywhere else during Wrigley Field renovations.
  • The new Cubs Spring Training facility is still expected to open in 2014.
  • Blake DeWitt is happy to be in Spring Training with the Cubs. He said that his plans are not effected by the fact that he is no longer on the 40-man roster. Regardless, he is trying to win a job.
  • Red Sox owner John Henry said that there was a misunderstanding between the Cubs and Boston on the Theo Epstein compensation package that caused the negotiation to take so long.
  • The bunt tournament is continuing today at Fitch Park. Carrie Muskat reports that Steve Clevenger is set to face Tony Campana today, while Bryan LaHair takes on Anthony Rizzo.
  • Dale Sveum clarified yesterday that Bryan LaHair will be the first baseman on opening day. "It's his job, not his to lose," he said.
  • Starlin Castro arrived in camp and addressed the sexual allegation charges. He seemed ready to focus on baseball, and said that he learned that you have to be careful because there are a lot of bad people in the world.
  • According to the Chicago Cubs twitter, "Szczur, Cardenas, Mota, Lalli, B. Jackson, W. Castillo, Clevenger and LaHair advance" in the bunt tournament today. " Lake, Vitters, Brenly, Adduci, Ha, Sappelt, Campana and Rizzo eliminated."
  • According to Carrie Muskat, Alfonso Soriano said yesterday that the Cubs will not miss Carlos Zambrano.

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mid Week Update From Cubs Camp

The Cubs are settling in in Mesa, Arizona. Here's the latest.
  • The compensation with the Red Sox for Theo Epstein has finally been announced. Minor league reliever Chris Carpenter has been sent to Boston, along with a Player to be Named Later, which will be announced by mid-April.
  • Carrie Muskat reports that Dale Sveum has already penciled in Bryan LaHair as the starting first baseman.
  • John Gaub (back spasms) is the only injured Cub. He is expected to bat and throw tomorrow.
  • The 2012 Cubs bunt tournament starts tomorrow. According to Muskat, there are 64 entries, including manager Dale Sveum and strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss. Bussy took Chris Carpenter's spot when he was sent to Boston. Sveum will meet Kerry Wood in the first round.
  • Here's Paul Sullivan's pic of the entire bracket.
  • Sveum is hoping to have two left handers in the bullpen. He described Kerry Wood as the ideal setup man.
  • The first full squad workout is scheduled for Friday. Tom Ricketts is also expected to speak to the team on Friday.
  • Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro are the only position players on the 40-man roster who have not yet appeared in camp.
  • James Russell is expected to play a much more important role this season with John Grabow and Sean Marshall gone.
  • Be sure to check out the latest pictures on Sheridan's Blog.
  • Doug Padilla thinks that Jason Jaramillo has a good chance of beating out Welington Castillo for the backup catcher's job.
  • Bruce Levine predicts that Travis Wood and Paul Maholm will join Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza in the rotation, with Chris Volstad, Randy Wells and Jeff Samardzija battling for the final spot.

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

Monday, February 20, 2012

Paul Sullivan on WGN Sports Night

Cubs beat writer Paul Sullivan joined David Kaplan, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas tonight on WGN Sports Night. Sully is in Arizona covering Cubs camp.
  • It's too soon to tell if there is a different vibe coming from Dale Sveum.
  • The Cubs are doing more video and pitchers fielding drills so far.
  • "Spring Training is what it is, you can't change it too much," Sullivan said.
  • The Cubs Way manuals are only for the staff so far. They will eventually be handed out to the players.
  • Kerry Wood or Ryan Dempster usually hosts a team party during camp.
  • Sullivan thinks that the pitching staff should be noticeably better than 2011. Dempster had a rough first month and Casey Coleman and James Russell both spent time in the rotation.
  • Carlos Marmol is expected to have a much better year.
  • Alfonso Soriano is the guy that most people will be looking at most to see if Dale Sveum holds true to his word about holding players accountable for not hustling.
  • Sveum said today that he is going to try some different lineups in Spring Training and base his Opening Day batting order on how different guys perform during camp.
  • Sullivan guesses that David DeJesus is going to lead-off, Starlin Castro may hit third and Darwin Barney will be down in the eight spot.
  • Theo Epstein does not believe in giving out many no-trade clauses. There is no rush in signing Matt Garza long term right now, but if he does reach a deal Sullivan does not expect it to include a no-trade clause.
Other notes from today-
  • According to Carrie Muskat, Trey McNutt could be sent to Boston to complete the Theo Epstein compensation.
  • Bruce Miles tweeted that the Cubs are having a pitchers bunting tournament this Spring Training. Kerry Wood is the early favorite.
  • Blake DeWitt has accepted his assignment with Triple-A Iowa and will be in camp as a non-roster invite.

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

Sunday, February 19, 2012

News and Notes from Day 2 in Mesa

Today was the first official workout for Cubs pitchers and catchers! Here's the latest-
  • ESPN reports that Matt Garza never had a doubt he would return to the Cubs. Garza is fine with being the staff ace, but he listed Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood as the clubhouse leaders.
  • Carrie Muskat tweets that John Gaub was the only player who didn't take part in practice today. He sat out with back spasms.
  • Dale Sveum said that Jeff Samardzija will be stretched out. "He might wow us, you never know."
  • Carlos Marmol has lost about 15 pounds and tweaked his delivery, according to ESPN Chicago.
  • Sveum told Marmol to dump the cut fastball.
  • According to Carrie Muskat, Dale Sveum mentioned today that three spots in the rotation are set. The first two are obviously Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza and Muskat speculated that the third is most likely Paul Maholm.
  • Bruce Levine tweets that the Cubs have the inside corners of bases painted blue so that runners can hit the inside part of the bag.
  • Matt Garza said today that he thinks Carlos Zambrano will be a Cy Young contender.

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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

News, Notes and Links from Day 1 in Mesa

Pitchers and catchers officially reported to Mesa, Arizona for the start of Spring Training workouts today. Here's the latest as we start the countdown to the Cubs Cactus League opener, two weeks from tomorrow against the A's.
  • ESPN Chicago reports that Blake DeWitt has until Wednesday to decide whether or not he will accept his outright assignment to Triple-A or become a free agent. Jed Hoyer is hopeful that DeWitt will chose to remain in the organization.
  • According to Patrick Mooney of, the Cubs don't expect Starlin Castro's legal situation to be a distraction. Castro is expected to report to camp on time.
  • Mooney tweeted today that Jed Hoyer expects to discuss and extension with Matt Garza, possibly this spring.
  • Bruce Miles tweets that Theo Epstein has not seen "Moneyball" and has no plans to. He is not a fan of "proprietary" info getting out.
  • Reed Johnson likes Dale Sveum's commitment to playing the game hard.
  • Marlon Byrd says he lost 20 pounds during the offseason.
  • It was 70 degrees and sunny today in Mesa.
  • Chicago Cubs Online posted a nice look back at the Cubs offseason.
  • Dale Sveum had individuals meetings with pitchers and catchers this morning and met with the media later in the day.
  • Tomorrow official workouts begin at Fitch Park.
  • Theo Epstein has put together a manual for Cubs staff members explaining The Cubs' Way.

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

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pitchers & Catchers Report Tomorrow

Tomorrow Pitchers and Catcher will officially report to Fitch Park in Mesa, Arizona! Spring Training is right around the corner. Most of the Cubs have reported early to camp. Here are the latest news and notes on the eve of the official start of the 2012 season.
  • Kerry Wood, Travis Wood, Darwin Barney, Geovany Soto, David DeJesus, Matt Garza and Randy Wells have all reported early to Fitch Park.
  • Cubs fan Brian Pasnik is one of the finalists for the MLB Fan Cave Contest.
  • Tim Sheridan's Boys of Spring Blog is a great place for pictures and updates from Mesa. Tim has already posted some great pics from the early birds working out.
  • "I don't talk about that," Matt Garza said this week about the idea of signing a long term deal with the Cubs.
  • Blake DeWitt will have the option of either returning to the Cubs as a non-roster invite or testing free agency if he clears waivers.
  • For those that missed it, Kosuke Fukudome signed with the White Sox this week.
  • The Cubs are STILL waiting to hear Bud Selig's ruling on the Theo Epstein compensation case.
  • Patrick Mooney breaks down ten things to watch for the Cubs this season.
  • According to, Dale Sveum is optimistic about the Cubs pitching staff for this season.
  • Carrie Muskat reports that today Kerry Wood and Rodrigo Lopez threw off the mound, Rudy Jaramillo conducted early sessions in the cages, and Darwin Barney, Bryan LaHair and Josh Vitters were practicing in the field.

That's it for now, but I'll have more tomorrow!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Getting to Know the Cubs: Paul Maholm

There are just two days until pitchers and catchers report! We'll have full coverage of Cubs camp over the next few weeks right here on Everything Cubs Blog. Today, let's continue to get to know some of the newest members of the ball club by turning our attention to Paul Maholm.
  • Age: 29
  • Birthday: June 25, 1982
  • Drafted by: The Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round (8th overall) of the 2003 draft
  • Position: Starting Pitcher
  • B/T: Left
  • MLB Debut: August 30, 2005
  • Spent the first seven years of his career with the Pirates before signing with the Cubs this winter
  • Went 6-14 with a 3.66 ERA in 2011
  • Career record of 53-73 with a 4.36 ERA
  • Contract: 1 year, $4.75 million, team option for 2013
  • Height: 6'2"
  • Weight: 220 pounds
  • College: Mississippi State University
  • Agent: Bo McKinnis
  • Fastball averages between 89-90 mph for career, but is now around 87-88
  • Pirates poor defense and lack of run support hurts his numbers
  • Has been much better at home than on the road
  • Healthy career, no DL stints until 2011
  • Has dominated the Cubs over the years
  • Throws from high 3/4s
  • Also throws change-up, slider, and curve ball

Maholm will compete for a spot in the starting rotation in Spring Training.

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

Monday, February 13, 2012

WGN Radio Cubs Song Contest

Since most other Cubs sites have all the "hard" Cubs news covered as we count down to pitchers and catchers reporting on Saturday, let's have a little fun today.

WGN Radio is hosting a song contest that gives fans a chance to create the 2012 Cubs WGN Radio theme song! Follow the link for more information on the contest. Since a new Cubs song will be used this season, it seems fitting for us to take a look at some of the songs that have been used in recent years.

Click here to hear Jonathon Brandmeier talk about the contest.

Here is a link to some of the Cubs jingles from year's past.

Here are the song titles and summaries from recent years.

"Go, Cubs Go on 7-2-0" (1998-2000 theme)
Everybody listen to the radio, bring on the fun today. There's a ball game on the way. Chicago Cubs, Chicago Cubs. All the good feelings of baseball. On the radio, it's go Cubs go, WGN! That's right, WGN!

"Chicago, Chicago, Chicago Cubs" (2001-2002 theme)
Everybody listen to the radio, bring on the Cubs today. We got a lot of fun coming and we're ready to go, there's a ball game on the way. Chicago, Chicago, Chicago Cubs. Go Cubs go on 7-2-0, WGN.

"Everybody Loves the Cubs" (2003-2004 theme)
Let's play ball, today. The Cubs are on their way. On the radio, tune to 7-2-0. Everybody loves the Cubs, everybody loves the Cubs. It's baseball time again, right here on WGN. Yes, Chicago loves the Cubs, on WGN.

"Cub, Cubby, Cubbies" (2005-2006)
Everybody listen to the radio, goin' to the yard to play. We got a game getting underway, and hey, hey, hey the Cubs are gonna win today. Cub, Cubby, Cubbies. Take me to the game on radio 7-2-0 yea. Night game, day game, even in a light rain, Cubs fans wer packing Wrigley teh same. Can't be there then you better go to radio 7-2-0. We don't stop believing in the Cubbies, pick up them forever always. More fun than there ever was, because hey, hey, hey everybody loves the Cubs.

After that, the songs are not well documented. I recall a song with the lines
"I'm a ready to go, I got all my friends, and I'm headed down to the yard. I'm going to break the rain and rock that train down to Addison and Clark, singing let's go Cubs!"

That was followed with a rock version of Take Me Out to the Ball Game, which they have used for the last few years. Please comment with your thoughts.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Radio Recap: Jed Hoyer on ESPN 1000

Believe it or not, the report date for pitchers and catchers in Mesa, Arizona is just a week away. Baseball and summer time is right around the corner. In the mean time, the Cubs have been fairly quiet as of late. Let's jump into a radio recap from GM Jed Hoyer on ESPN Radio on Friday.
  • The Cubs organizational meetings will take place on Wednesday and Thursday in advance of the start of Spring Training. Physicals will take place on Friday. The first workout on the field will take place on Saturday, a week from today.
  • Jed Hoyer joined Carmen, Jurko and Harry on ESPN 1000 on Friday. Hoyer currently driving to Arizona.
  • Hoyer said that it is unlikely for Alfonso Soriano to start the year with a different club.
  • Jed and Theo learned that they could not keep Carlos Zambrano by talking to people within the organization.
  • Hoyer said that the Cubs need more guys like Matt Garza and will certainly talk to him about being a part of the team's future.
  • Last year "was not Carlos Marmol's best year" but the Cubs are confident that he can get back to what he was before.
  • Hoyer thinks that Anthony Rizzo is close to being ready to be a productive player at the big league level. Jed admits that he rushed Rizzo into the big leagues in San Diego. "Bryan LaHair has earned the right to start the year at first base. Anthony is not far away, but he's not a finished product."
  • It's hard to have a time frame and target date for winning the World Series. Every year you try to put together a good draft and sign the right players. "When exactly that all comes together I'm not quit sure."
  • The Cubs have scouted Yoenis Cespedes, but Hoyer feels that a lot of teams are in on Cespedes.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted all week as we count down to Cubs camp!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Catching Up Quick Hits: Garza, DeWitt and More

Don't look now... with Super Bowl Sunday in the rear-view mirror, the start of Spring Training is right around the corner. Throughout the month of February Everything Cubs Blog will feature Spring Training previews and updates from Cubs camp in Mesa. Pitchers and catcher report on Saturday February 18!

Here are the latest news and notes:
  • Last week the Cubs avoiding arbitration with Matt Garza, agreeing to a one year, $9.5 million contract. The Cubs and Garza narrowly avoided an arbitration hearing. There is still speculation that the Cubs could part ways with their ace in return for a load of prospects before the start of the season. Some speculators say he is more likely to be moved in July than before Opening Day.
  • A somewhat surprising move was made today as Blake DeWitt was Designated for Assignment. This move saves the Cubs a little bit of money on their 2012 payroll and opened up a roster spot. According to a tweet from Bruce Miles, if DeWitt clears waivers he will likely end up outrighted to Iowa and come to Cubs camp as a non-roster invite.
  • The Cubs immediately filled DeWitt's roster spot by picking up utility man Adrian Cardenas off waivers. He spent all of 2011 playing for the A's Triple-A club and hit .314.
  • The Cubs signed Gerardo Conception, a 19 year old Cuban, to $7 million deal. The young lefty will be invited to big league spring training.
  • The Cubs are still in pursuit of Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler.

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Getting to Know the Cubs: Travis Wood

Let's continue our getting to know the Cubs series today with another new starting pitcher- Travis Wood. Information thanks to Baseball Reference &

  • Age: 24

  • Birthday: February 6, 1987

  • Career Record: 11-10 in 39 games, 35 starts

  • Career ERA: 4.18

  • 2011 Stats: 6-6 with 4.84 ERA

  • Drafted: by the Reds in the Second round of the '05 draft

  • Debut: VS Cubs on July 1, 2010, 7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER

  • Arb Elgible: 2014

  • Free Agent: 2017

  • B/T: Right/Left

  • Height: 5'11'

  • Weight: 175 pounds

  • Came to the Cubs: In the Sean Marshall trade

  • Throw a "spiked" curveball

  • Learned his cutter from Cliff Lee

  • Also throws slider, four-seam fastball, change-up

  • Uses fastball frequently

  • Mostly uses just fastballs and cutters against left handed hitter

  • Has a high fly ball rate
To check out the Getting to Know Chris Volstad post, click here.

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

Monday, January 30, 2012

Spring Training Non Roster Invitees Set

As we draw closer to Spring Training, the Cubs have announced the full list of non-roster players who will be invited to big league camp in Mesa. These 21 players will be in Dale Sveum's camp, along with the entire 40-man roster.

  • Marco Carillo, RHP
  • Manny Corpas, RHP
  • Jay Jackson, RHP
  • Rodrigo Lopez, RHP
  • Trey McNutt, RHP
  • Trever Miller, LHP
  • Blake Parker, RHP
  • Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP
  • Chris Rusin, LHP
  • Michael Brenly, C
  • Jason Jaramillo, C
  • Blake Lalli, C
  • Alfredo Amezaga, INF
  • Edgar Gonzalez, INF
  • Jonathan Mota, INF
  • Bobby Scales, UTL
  • Matt Tolbert, INF
  • James Adduci, OF
  • Jae-Hoon Ha, OF
  • Brett Jackson, OF
  • Joe Mather, OF

This year's set of invitees includes a good balance of veteran signings and up-and-coming prospects. Brett Jackson will receive the most attention among hitting prospects, while a lot of hype surrounds Trey McNutt on the pitching side. Jae-Hoon Ha, Dae-Eun Rhee and Jay Jackson are all players to keep an eye on as well.

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

Friday, January 27, 2012

Starting Rotation Breakdown: 2011 vs 2012

The Cubs starting pitching depth was one obvious area of weakness for the squad throughout the year. Although Matt Garza put together a good year and Ryan Dempster was a solid middle of the rotation starter, after that the rotation was a mess.

Entering Spring Training, the Cubs felt that they had plenty of starting pitching. However after Carlos Silva was traded before injuries to Andrew Cashner and Randy the first week of the season, the lack of depth became apparent. Carlos Zambrano ended up disqualified for the final few months of the season after an up and down year.

Casey Coleman, who probably should have been developing in Triple-A, made 17 starts and posted a 3-9 record with an ERA of 6.40. Rodrigo Lopez was picked up and made 16 starts, Doug Davis (1-7, 6.50 ERA) made nine starts and Ramos Ortiz was picked up for two starts. Out of desperation the Cubs stuck left handed reliever James Russell in a starting role, who clearly was not cut out to start. If the Cubs had started the season with more starting pitching depth, they would not have resorted to the likes of Russell, Coleman and Davis.

The 2012 season will start with a much larger quantity of starters on the squad. While last year's team started with just six players with starting experience (excluding Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol who were not starting options), this year's will have, at this point, 13. Matt Garza is penciled in as the number one baring a trade, while Ryan Dempster will be the number two. Young starters Randy Wells, Chris Volstad and Travis Wood will compete for spots in the middle and back of the rotation along with veteran lefty Paul Maholm. All six of these players are legitimate starting options, while Jeff Samardzija, Manny Corpas, Andy Sonnanstine and Rodrigo Lopez could be serviceable, along with the possibility of a more developed Casey Coleman bouncing back or a prospect like Chris Carpenter stepping up.

If the season started tomorrow, who would follow Dempster and Garza in the rotation? Do the Cubs have quality starting options? Feel free to comment with your thoughts!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Getting to Know the Cubs: Chris Volstad

There will be plenty of new faces in the mix when Spring Training gets underway in February. Right handed pitcher Chris Volstad is one of those faces. Here is some biographical information on Volstad that will help you know what to expect when you see him on the Wrigley Field mound this summer. Information courtesy of
  • Born: September 23, 1986
  • Age: 25
  • High School: Palm Beach Gardens
  • Drafted: by the Marlins in the first round (16th overall) in the 2005 draft
  • MLB Debut: July 6, 2008, earned the win in relief VS Rockies
  • Teams: Marlins (2008-2011)
  • Arbitration Eligible: 2013
  • Free Agent: 2015
  • Acquired: In the trade that sent Carlos Zambrano to Miami
  • 2011 Stats: 5-13 with 4.89 ERA
  • Career Stats: 32-39 with 4.59 ERA
  • B/T: Right
  • Height: 6'8"
  • 103 Career Games, 102 starts
  • Incidents: Suspended six games in 2010 for involvement in bench clearing brawl
  • Style: Finesse Pitcher, ground ball pitcher
  • Pitches: Sinking fastball (90-93 mph), tight curve, sinking change-up and slider
  • Does not strike out many or allow many home runs
We'll continue to profile each of the new Cubs over the next weeks.

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

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Opening Day Roster Predictions: 1-22-12

Throughout the offseason, I project what the Cubs Opening Day roster would look like without any additions transactions at very checkpoints. Click here for more last predictions on Dec. 26. A lot has changed in the last month. Here are my updated predictions, with new players to the roster listed in italics and *= a switch in role.

Starting Rotation
1. Matt Garza
2. Ryan Dempster
3. Chris Volstad
4. Travis Wood
5. Randy Wells*
Odd Man Out- Paul Maholm will probably end up in the rotation. At this point, he's the number six starter but the Cubs will most likely move Matt Garza or maybe Randy Wells before the start of Spring Training. However, I don't see a reason to insert him into the rotation in place of younger guys like Wood and Volstad.

Closer- Carlos Marmol
RH Setup Man- Kerry Wood
LH Setup Man- James Russell
RH Middle Relief- Jeff Samardzija*
LH Middle Relief- Scott Maine
Long Relief- Rodrigo Lopez
Long Relief- Chris Carpenter*
Also in the mix- Sonnanstine, Corpes, Beliveau, Mateo, Coleman, Gaub, Weathers

Starting Lineup
C- Geovany Soto
1B- Bryan LaHair
2B- Darwin Barney
SS- Starlin Castro
3B- Ian Stewart
LF- Alfonso Soriano
RF- David DeJesus
CF- Marlon Byrd

Welington Castillo
Dave Sappelt
Blake DeWitt
Reed Johnson
Jeff Baker
Also in the mix: Jason Jaramillo, Matt Tolbert, Alfredo Amezaga, Joe Mather, Edgar Gonzalez, Matt Szczur, Tony Campana, Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Steve Clevenger and Junior Lake

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

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cubs Spring Training Broadcast Schedule Released

The full Cubs Spring Training broadcast schedule can be released! This could only mean one thing... baseball is right around the corner. For the second consecutive year, nearly all Cubs Cactus League games will be carried on either or WGN Radio. Mick Gillispie of the Tennessee Smokies and Len Kasper of Cubs TV will handle the broadcasts. Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland will be on the air for the first time on March 5, while the first televised game with Len Kasper and Bob Brenly is on WGN-TV on March 10.

Here is the full Spring Training broadcast schedule.

Sunday March 4 VS Oakland 2:05 on
Monday March 5 VS Oakland 2:05 on WGN Radio
Tuesday March 6 VS Colorado 2:05 on WGN Radio
Wednesday March 7 @Kansas City 2:05 on WGN Radio
Thursday March 8 VS Seattle 2:05 on
Friday March 9 @CWS on
Saturday March 10 @Milwaukee 2:05 on WGN-TV & WGN Radio
Sunday March 11 @LAD 3:05 on WGN-TV and
Monday March 12 VS Cincinnati 3:05 on WGN Radio
Tuesday March 13 @San Francisco 3:05 on
Wednesday March 14 VS Milwaukee 3:05 on
Thursday March 15 VS Arizona 3:05
Friday March 16 VS San Francisco 3:05
Sunday March 18 VS CWS 3:05
Monday March 19 @Seattle 3:05
Tuesday March 20 VS Texas 3:05
Thursday March 22 @Texas CSN &
Friday March 23 @Colorado 3:10
Saturday March 24 VS San Diego 3:05 WGN-TV and WGN Radio
Sunday March 25 @Cleveland 3:05 WGN-TV & WGN Radio
Monday March 26 VS San Diego 3:05 on
Tuesday March 27 @Cincinnati 3:05 on
Wednesday March 28 VS Cleveland 3:05 on
Thursday March 29 @San Diego 3:05 on
Friday March 30 vs LAD 3:05 on
Saturday March 31 VS LAA 3:05 on CSN & WGN Radio
Sunday April 1 @LAA 3:05 on
Monday April 2 @Arizona 3:10 on
Tuesday April 3 VS Milwaukee 2:05 on WGN Radio

A few other notes-
  • The Cubs have re-signed Rodrigo Lopez to a minor league contract.
  • Alfredo Amezaga and Jason Jaramillo have also officially been inked to minor league contracts. All three men are invited to big league camp.
  • Carlos Pena has agreed to terms with the A's.
  • Matt Garza field for $12.5 million in arbitration, while the Cubs offered just $7.95 million.

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Slight Changes to Everything Cubs Blog

Today I've made a few tweaks to the layout of Everything Cubs Blog! The color scheme is slightly different to incorporate more of the Cubs colors into the site. The list of Cubs links on the right sidebar has been updated, be sure to check it out. In addition, the five most popular Everything Cubs blog posts of all time are now displayed on the right sidebar. Please be sure to check out some of our most read articles! We are also looking to add a few new features, if you have any ideas of what you what like to see on the site in the coming weeks please feel free to put them in the comments of this post.

A new poll is up on the right sidebar! Which are you more excited about?
a) Carlos Zambrano being traded
b) Kerry Wood returning
Be sure to cast your vote!

A big thanks to everyone who voted on the last poll regarding the Sean Marshall trade. Thanks for reading as always, look for more Cubs coverage later this week.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 3 at the 2012 Cubs Convention

A great weekend rounded out on Sunday with the final few hours of the 27th annual Cubs Convention. I had a great time as always. Although the big name players from years past were absent because the Cubs no longer have many star players (Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot, Lou Piniella, Sammy Sosa, etc), there were still many reasons that the weekend was worth attending.

In case you missed them... click here for my recap of Friday night or here for Saturday's post.

Saturday there were just two sessions on the docket, begging with Down on the Farm at 9am in the Grand Ballroom. In recent years Vineline has hosted this session and handed out their top fifty Cubs prospect list. However, Vineline is under a new managing editor and for whatever reason did not host the session this year. Instead, Dave Otto served as the emcee. Although I missed Mike Huang's knowledge and information packets, I still think that Otto was interesting and well-prepared. Two of the only holdovers from the Jim Hendry era, VP of Player Personnel Oneri Fleita and Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Wilken, were once again featured during this session. This year they were joined by newcomer Jason McLeod, the Cubs Senior VP of Scouting and Player Development. Minor leaguers Jeff Beliveau, Brett Jackson, Junior Lake, Matt Szczur, Josh Vitters and Anthony Rizzo, who was just acquired in the Andrew Cashner trade with San Diego, were all members of the panel. All of the guys seemed very likeable. It was also clear to me that Oneri and Tim know exactly what they are doing. Jason answered only a few questions but I was impressed with him as well. This session was held in the Grand Ballroom this year and was pretty much full... indicating to me that fans are aware of the importance of developing the minor league system.

The final session of the Convention was "The Father-Son Connection," hosted by Wayne Messmer. Bob Brenly, Michael Brenly, Shawon Dunston, Shawon Dunston Jr, Cubs scout Keith Lockhart and Keith's son Daniel all participated in the session. The sons talked about what it was like having a dad play in the big leagues while they were growing up. The dads talked about the challenges of watching their sons play and what kind of advice they give them. Dunston Jr. and Lockhart were both just drafted by the Cubs out of high school. Shawon Sr. said the Cubs were one of only two teams, the other being the Giants, that he would have wanted his son to forgo school to play for. Brenly said that it would be difficult to remain objective while broadcasting his sons games if Michael ever reaches the big leagues. Bob said he hopes that he will have to worry about that sooner rather than later. One fan joked that the Shawon-O-Meter may be dusted off soon for Shawon Jr, who is a centerfielder not a shortstop. Dunston told the crowd that he stresses the importance of playing the game the right way. He also required his son to maintain a 3.5 GPA in the classroom during high school.

Next up... Spring Training.

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

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 2 of the 2012 Cubs Convention

Saturday was a full day at the 27th annual as I attended session after session from 9am to 6pm.

The day started in the Grand Ballroom with "Behind the Scenes with Theo Epstein" hosted by Len Kasper. Cubs fans got their chance to address the new President. One thing that I took away from this session is the fact that Epstein is one smart guy. His intelligence and baseball knowledge were evident throughout the session. Epstein was impressed by the outpouring of support by the Cubs fans. He said that it is nice to put together a team that people care about. His biggest challenge with switching organizations is getting to know every player throughout the minor league system. Epstein said that he will remember the Kerry Wood moment the rest of his life. He also mentioned the he is a little embarrassed by all the attention he has received.

I took in the first half of the "Player Development: From the DR to Mesa" session. Oneri Fleita and Crane Kenney explained their future plans for the Cubs facilities in the Dominican Republic and Mesa and showed a power point with neat pictures of both. Welington Castillo also shared some interesting stories about growing up playing baseball in the Dominican.

After that I headed down to the "From the Field to the Booth" session. Bob Brenly, Keith Moreland, Rick Sutcliffe, Gary Matthews, Rick Monday and host Dave Otto talked about the challenges of going from the playing field to the broadcast booth. All of them shared their most embarrassing moments on air and shared some funny stories. Monday has a great radio voice and was a good storyteller. Sutcliffe, Matthews and Moreland also stuck in a few stories about the 1984 Cubs. They also shared their favorite Haray Caray stories.

Next up was my favorite session of the day "Ron Santo: Beyond the Game." Pat Hughes, Randy Hundley, Glenn Beckert, Billy Williams, Vicki Santo and Ron Santo Jr. shared their thoughts on Santo's election to Cooperstown. Hundley was hilarious throughout the panel, poking fun at his ex-teammates, especially Beckert. Williams described his involvement in the Golden Era Committee. Hughes reiterated the fact that Ronnie's numbers were HOF worthy event without the character and likability that he brought with him. Vicki Santo will have the honor of delivering Ron's acceptance speech in Cooperstown in July.

After that, I headed to the "Coaches' Den" session. Host Bob Brenly introduced Cubs fans to manager Dale Sveum, pitching coach Chris Bosio, bench coach Jamie Quirk and first base coach Dave McKay. Bullpen coach Lester Strode and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo were both welcomed back. Sveum was asked several times about how he will handle lackadaisical play. He stressed the fact that he expects his players to play hard and will hold them accountable if they do not. Sveum tossed out David DeJesus and Darwin Barney as lead-off options.

The annual "Ricketts Family Forum" took place next in the Grand Ballroom. Len Kasper talked with the owners of the Cubs and fielded a large number of questions from the audience. Most fans seemed please with the direction that the family has the organization going in. However, many also offered their suggestions. Among them were eliminating the guest conductors of the 7th Inning Stretch and playing a recording of Haray Caray instead, asking fans to contribute to the renovations of Wrigley Field, removing the "Cubbies" moniker, banning the wave at Wrigley and putting Ronnie Fund donation boxes around the ballpark with proceeds going to JDRF.

I caught the last half hour of the "When Super Fans Unite" segment recalling 1984 with Gary Matthews, Keith Moreland, Rick Sutcliffe and Lee Smith. The guys from '84 had a good time sharing their stories and talking about their favorite games from that season. Matthews mentioned that he believes that it is a shame that Ryne Sandberg has not receive a chance to manage in the big leagues. Sarge believes that Ryno will make a great manager.

The day of Cubs talk concluded with WGN Radio's Sports Central with Glen Kozlowski and Jim Memolo. New Cubs Ian Stewart, David DeJesus, Chris Volstad and Travis Wood all seemed excited about the change to pitch in Chicago. Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger are looking forward for the chance to win a roster spot in Spring Training. Chris Carpenter, Casey Coleman and James Russell talked about various pitching topics. Russell is feeling good and ready to go for the season. Mike Bielecki, Vance Law and Dwight Smith of the 1989 team were on the final half hour of Sports Central. All three feel that the team should have been able to beat the Giants. Law mentioned that he thought that the Cubs would have won the World Series had they gotten there. Smith stressed to the younger members of the audience that steroids are not the rout to take and not worth the risk.

Tomorrow the convention will round out with two final sessions. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cubs Convention Day 1: Woody Returns

The 2012 Cubs Convention kicked off early this evening at the Hilton Chicago! It is my fourth year attending the Convention and with each one comes new story lines a lots of entertainment. The Convention officially started with the Opening Ceremonies in the Grand Ballroom at 5:00 today.

Pat Hughes once again served as the master of ceremonies. He introduced Tom Ricketts, who spoke on behalf of his family and the entire organization. Then Wayne Messmer performed the National Anthem.

After that, Pat introduced Cubs players of yesteryear, minor leaguers, front office personal, coaches, broadcasters and current players one-by-one. There was a warm reception for most. Crane Kenney received the loudest boos. Tom Ricketts and Starlin Castro both received mostly cheers with some boos mixed in, while Alfonso Soriano received about half and half.

After Hughes introduced Randy Wells he waited a moment and then said the words, "We have some breaking news." At that instant 90% of the fans in the room new what was about to happen. They erupted into loud applause and started chanting "Kerry! Kerry!"

"I'd like to introduce the Cubs newest acquisition... and the name does sound familiar. Welcome back Kerry Wood!" Pat finished. The fan favorite signed a one year deal to remain with the North Siders today. Woody's introduction was a very special moment.

This year's ceremonial first pitches of the Convention were tossed out by new Cubs skipper Dale Sveum and president Theo Epstein. After the Convention wrapped up, Cubs fans went on the Autograph Treasure Hunt. Among the people signing autographs were Milt Pappas, Randy Hundley, Eric Young, Milt Pappas, Rick Monday and Jose Cardenal.

WGN Sports Night live from the Convention started at 7:00 and ran until about 9:15. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Tom Ricketts spent the first hour of the show chatting with David Kaplan, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas. The trio was very informative and all three will appear during various sessions tomorrow. Dale Sveum, Chris Bosio and Rudy Jaramillo joined the guys for a half an hour, followed by Bob Brenly and Todd Hollandswoth. The remote was rounded out by Bill Buckner from 9-9:15.

Theo Epstein supporters were all over the place today. The Cubs fans are rallying behind their new leader and are excited about his approach. Various t-shirts and signs with Theo slogans were on display today.

This year's Convention is a sell out. The event has been sold out 26 of its 27 years... the only year it did not sell out was last year.

Tomorrow will be a full day of sessions! I'll have a recap tomorrow night!

The Unofficial Opening Day

As Harry Caray used to say, the Cubs Convention is the unofficial opening day! Today, despite the snow in Chicago, the first sign of spring is here! It will be all Cubs all weekend long at the 27th annual Cubs Convention at the Chicago Hilton. Even though the team is expected to suffer its third straight losing season in 2012, there are plenty of reasons to attend this great event. The atmosphere at the annual fest is truly amazing.

Everything Cubs Blog will once again have updates from the Convention all weekend long. In case you're heading off the the Convention, or if you're just curious, let's run down the up-to-date full slate for the weekend one more time. Plus, if you're not attending, WGN Radio & CSN Chicago will have live coverage.

3:00 Convention exhibit halls open at the Hilton
3-7 Garry Meier Show broadcasted live from the Cubs Convention on WGN Radio

5:00-5:30 The Opening Ceremonies (on CSN)
The kick-off the the Convention is one of my favorite parts of the weekend each year. I'll have full details on this year's Opening Ceremony tonight, but it is very cool to see all of the Cubs players, former players, legends, broadcasters, coaches and staff be introduced to the fans. Pat Hughes will serve as the master of ceremonies once again this year. The ceremonies will be broadcasted live on Comcast Sports Net Chicago for the first time ever. David Kaplan will host and special guests include new Cubs outfielder David DeJesus.

6-6:45 Autograph Treasure Hunt
As fans exit the Opening Ceremonies, they receive a map that hints at the locations of various anonymous Cubs celebrities. Usually most of the big names do not partcipate in the treasure hunt, but it is still kind of fun to get a few random Cubs autographs.

7-8:30 Cubs Bingo
Each year Wayne Messmer hosts Cubs Bingo, a popular game in which fans can win some pretty cool prizes.

7-9 WGN Sports Night Live, also live on 720-AM
Fans receive their first chance to hear from Cubs staff directly during WGN Radio's annual broadcast from the Convention. The show will be hosted by David Kaplan, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will be interviewed for the first 45 minutes, followed by Dale Sveum, Chris Bosio and Rudy Jaramillo from 8:00 to 8:30. Bob Brenly, Todd Holladsworth and Bill Madlock will round out the show from 8:30 to 9.


9-10am Behind the Scenes with Theo Epstein
New Cubs president Theo Epstein will spend a full hour being questioned by the fans during this session, which opens up a full day's worth. Len Kasper will serve as the host of the panel. Epstein is expected to talk about many of the decisions he is facing regarding the roster of the Chicago Cubs.

10-11 Meet Cubs Baseball Management
Dave Eanet of WGN Radio will be joined by general manager Jed Hoyer, assistant GM Randy Bush and manager Dale Sveum for this hour.

10:30-11:30 Player Development: From the Dominican Republic
Hear directly from the Cubs players as they talk about the organization's facilities. Jeff Samardzija, Welington Castillo and Starlin Castro will talk about winter ball, the Arizona Fall League, the minor leagues and Spring Training.

11-12 From the Field to the Booth
Color commentators and analysts who at one time played for the Cubs will share their experiences of make the transition from being a player to being a broadcaster. Bob Brenly of Cubs TV, Gary Matthews of Phillies TV, Todd Hollandsworth of CSN, Keith Moreland of Cubs Radio and Rick Sutcliffe of ESPN join host Dave Otto.

11:30-12:30 For Kids Only Press Conference
The youth of the Cubs faithful have the chance to talk to Cubs players. Believe it or not, kids come up with some entertaining questions. People of any age are welcome to attend. Darwin Barny, Tony Campana, David DeJesus, Todd Walker and Reed Johnson will all be on the panel.

Noon-1 Ron Santo: Beyond the Game
Ron Santo's election to Cooperstown during this hour long session. Santo's longtime partner Pat Hughes, wife Vicki, sons Ron Jr. and Jeff and teammates Randy Hundley, Glenn Beckert and Billy Williams will share their memories.

1-2 Coaches Den
The new Cubs coaching staff will be welcomed and heard from during this session. Hear how manager Dale Sveum, bench coach Jamie Quirk, pitching coach Chris Bosio, first base coach Dave McKay, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and bullpen coach Lester Strode feel about this year's team. Bob Brenly will host the segment.

1-2 Outside the Foul Lines
It's your chance to get personal with Cubs players. Garry Meier of WGN Radio will talk about a variety of topics with fan favorites Tony Campana, Ryan Dempster, Geovany Soto and Randy Wells.

2-3 Ricketts Family Forum
The Cubs owners host their annual Convention session. Tom, Todd, Lauren and Pete will all be on hand to discus the state of the organization.

2:30-3:30 When Super Fans Unite
WGN's Jonathan Brandmeier remembers 1984 with Bobby Dernier, Gary Mathews, Lee Smith and Keith Moreland.

2:30-3:30 The Scouting Formula
The new direction of the Cubs scouting department will be unveiled during this session. Jason McLeod, Oneri Fleita, Tim Wilken and Joe Bohringer will all partake.

3:30-4:30 Meet Cubs Business Management
Hear the front offices' plans away from the playing field. This session features Crane Kenney, Wally Hayward, Mike Lufrano, Carl Rice, Colin Faulkner, Alex Sugarman and Jahaan Blake.

4-6 Sports Central Live
Join another live WGN Radio broadcast and Jim Memolo and Glen Kozlowski bring you Sports Central. Here is the schedule of guests for the show.
4-4:30 David DeJesus, Ian Stewart, Travis Wood and Chris Volstad
4:30-5 Welington Castillo and Steve Clevenger
5-5:30 Casey Coleman and James Russell
5:30-6 Mike Bielecki, Vance Law, Scott Sanderson and Dwight Smith

8-Midnight Rock'n Roll Revue


9-10 Down on the Farm
Fans will enjoy an inside look at the minor league system and the future of the Chicago Cubs. Oneri Fleita and Tim Wilken will update the progress of the system. Prospects Jeff Beliveau, Brett Jackson, Junior Lake, Matt Szczur and Josh Vitters will all be on hand.

10:30-11:30 The Father-Son Connection
The Cubs Convention will close out with an interesting Sunday morning session as fans hear what it is like to be part of a father-son baseball playing combo. Shawon Dunston, Shawon Dunston Jr., Bob Brenly, Michael Brenly, Keith Lockhart and Daniel Lockhart will all participate.

In case you missed our coverage leading up to this weekend...
Updated attendees/Caravan preview
Original list of attendees and schedule
Cubs Caravan Week Events
Early Cubs Convention Preview

"And away we go!"

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Quick Hits: Rumors, HOF Results, Convention News and More

A lot of Cubs news has been circulating as of late! Here's the latest.
  • Carrie Muskat reports that Kerry Wood is expected to announce his future plans on Friday. Since that is the first day of the Cubs Convention and the day of Wood's charity event, most expect him to announce that he is returning to the Cubs. However, Bruce Levine wrote today that the Cubs and Wood are not yet close.
  • Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Cubs a close to signing former Pirate pitcher Paul Maholm.
  • David Kaplan heard today that the Cubs and Tigers and "down the road" on a trade that would send Matt Garza to Detroit.
  • Lee Smith received just over 50% of the vote in this year's Hall of Fame tally, well shy of the 75% needed for induction. Barry Larkin was the only player inducted by the writers, joining Ron Santo as the Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
  • WGN Radio has announced its full schedule for the Cubs Convention. Garry Meier will broadcast live on Friday afternoon. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Dale Sveum, Chris Bosio, Rudy Jaramillo, Bob Brenly, Todd Hollasworth and Bill Madlock will join WGN Sports Night on Friday. The show lasts from 7-9. On Saturday's Sports Central from 4-6, Koz and Memolo will be joined by David DeJesus, Ian Stewart, Travis Wood, Chris Volstad, Welington Castillo, Steve Clevenger, Casey Coleman, James Russell, Mike Bielecki, Vance Law, Scott Sanderson and Dwight Smith.

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

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Countdown to the Cubs Convention: 5 days

The 27th annual Cubs Convention is this week! Today we continue our coverage leading up to the big weekend with a few additional details on the convention.

Click here for the list of attendees and sessions that we posted last week. As of now, there are a few updates to that list to pass along. Obviously Andrew Cashner, who was traded San Diego on Friday, can be scratched. First base prospect Anthony Rizzo, who came to the Cubs in that deal, has tweeted that he will be attending to Convention. Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins and Ernie Banks were left off our original list, but both are expected to make their annual appearance.

Three players whose Cubs Convention status is up in the air are Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano and Kerry Wood. Garza's absence from the list of attendees is especially surprising. It may indicate that he may no longer be with the Cubs come Friday. There are many rumors that Wood returning to the Cubs is no sure thing. If he re-signs by the end of the week, he is expected to attend.

Paul Sullivan has written two interesting articles previewing this Convention. To check them out click here and here. In part that to Sullivan, we now know the times of several of the sessions for Saturday, but I will post the full schedule with times at some point this week.

The full Cubs Caravan slate is now available on Jeff Beliveau, Joe Bohringer, Chris Bosio, Randy Bush, Tony Campana, Chris Carpenter, Casey Coleman, Jed Hoyer, Brett Jackson, Dave McKay, Jason McLeod, Keith Moreland, Dave Otto, Jamie Quirk, Shiraz Rehman, James Russell, Dale Sveum, Matt Szczur, Josh Vitters, Randy Wells, Darwin Barney, David DeJesus, Theo Epstein, Rudy Jaramillo, Len Kasper and Leter Strode are all schedule to participate in one or both days of the Caravan.

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

Friday, January 6, 2012

Breaking News: Cubs Send Cashner to San Diego

The Cubs made another trade today, sending Andrew Cashner to San Diego in an unexpected move that netted the team first base prospect Anthony Rizzo and minor league pitcher Zach Cates. Double-A outfielder Kyung-Min Na was also sent to the Padres.

Jed Hoyer said today that he saw Cashner as a solid relief pitcher, but a future everyday first baseman was more important to the team at this time. Rizzo is expected to start 2012 at Triple-A with Bryan LaHair set to man first base at the big league level. Hoyer also said today that the Cubs are willing to go through an adjustment period with a young team. The team is still having conversations with Kerry Wood and Hoyer is hopeful that the veteran right hander will return to the Cubs.

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

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cubs Convention Details Released

Some of the details about the 2012 Cubs Convention, which will take place next weekend, were released today on Here's the current list of attendees for the Convention, subject to change.
  • Theo Epstein
  • Jed Hoyer
  • Jason McLeod
  • Dale Sveum
  • Shawon Dunston
  • Shawon Dunston Jr.
  • Starlin Castro
  • Ian Stewart
  • Chris Volstad
  • Travis Wood
  • David DeJesus
  • Marlin Byrd
  • Darwin Barney
  • Tony Campana
  • Andrew Cashner
  • Brett Jackson
  • Matt Szczur
  • Josh Vitters
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Ryan Dempster
  • Starlin Castro
  • Todd Walker
  • Reed Johnson
  • Bob Brenly
  • Len Kasper
  • Pat Hughes
  • Todd Hollandsworth
  • Gary Matthews
  • Keith Moreland
  • Michael Brenly
  • Rick Sutcliffe
  • Dave Otto
  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Welington Castillo
  • Glenn Beckert
  • Randy Hundley
  • Billy Williams
  • Ron Santo Junior
  • Vicki Santo
  • Jamie Quirk
  • Chris Bosio
  • Dave McKay
  • Rudy Jaramillo
  • Lester Strode
  • The Ricketts Family
  • Tim Wilken
  • Lee Smith
  • Bob Dernier
  • Oneri Fleita
  • Joe Bohringer
  • Crane Kenney
  • Wally Hayward
  • Mike Lufrano
  • Jeff Beliveau
  • Junior Lake
  • Randy Wells

List of sessions/events:

  • Opening Ceremonies, 5pm Friday
  • Autograph Treasure Hunt, Friday
  • WGN Sports Night Live, 2 hour broadcast, Friday
  • Behind the Scenes with Theo Epstein, 9am in Grand Ballroom, Saturday
  • Meet Cubs Baseball Management, 10am in Continental Ballroom, Saturday
  • Player Development: From the Dominican Republic to Mesa, Saturday
  • From the Field to the Booth, Saturday
  • For Kids Only Press Conference, Saturday
  • Ron Santo: Beyond the Game, Saturday
  • Coaches' Den, Saturday
  • Outside the Foul Lines, Saturday
  • Ricketts' Family Forum, Saturday
  • When Super Fans Unite, Saturday
  • The Scouting Formula, Saturday
  • Meet Cubs Business Management, Saturday
  • WGN Radio Sports Central Live from 4-6, Saturday
  • Rock'n Roll Revue, Saturday
  • Down on the Farm, Sunday
  • The Father-Son Connection, Sunday

The Cubs Convention is only a week away... I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Breaking News: Cubs Trade Carlos Zambrano to Miami

Updated 9pm CT with all the details
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted today that the Miami Marlins are close to acquiring Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano would probably be interested in waiving his no-trade clause to join his good friend Ozzie Guillen in Miami. Many media sources have confirmed that the Cubs have agreed in principal to send Zambrano to Miami for RHP Chris Volstad. The 25-year old had a down year in 2011, going 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 29 starts. Between $15 and $17 million are expected to be sent to the Marlins to help pay for the remainder of Z's contract.

Cubs Caravan Week Events

Yesterday we took our first look at the 2012 Cubs Convention here on Everything Cubs Blog. We will continue to have full coverage as we lead up to next weekend. We can start to piece together the list of attendees for the Convention based on those that will be attending the Cubs Caravan next week.

On a side note, be sure to vote on our new poll up on the right sidebar. We ask what the biggest need is for the 2012 Chicago Cubs. Feel free to add your thoughts to our comments section as well.

The Cubs Caravan is set for next weekend. Cubs players, front offices members, broadcasters and coaches will visit schools in the Chicagoland area once again this season. The full list of schools that the Caravan, which takes place on Wednesday and Thursday of next week, will be stopping at has not yet been announced.

However, we do know that the Caravan will include the fifth annual luncheon on Wednesday (Jan. 11) from 11am to 1pm at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse. Tickets for the event are available for $150. Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod will all be a part of the luncheon, which will be hosted by Cubs TV broadcaster Len Kasper.

On Thursday night (Jan. 12), The Ryan and Jenny Dempster FAmily Foundation is hosting an event at D'Agostino's Pizza and Pub. The event will last from 6:00 to 10:00 with the price of adult tickets set at $100. Dempster continues his efforts to strike out 22q. Kerry Wood, Ted Lilly, Koyie Hill, Andrew Cashner and Justin Berg all attended last year.

Friday of next week will feature the Wood Family Foundation Winter Warm-up at Harry Caray's Tavern in Navy Pier. This event will last from 8:30 to 11:30, so many players will head there after the opening ceremonies of the Cubs Convention that evening. Theo Epstein, Ryan Dempster, Marlon Byrd, Matt Garza, Andrew Cashner, Geovany Soto, Starlin Castro, Randy Wells, Welington Castillo, Darwin Barney, James Russell, Ernie Banks and Rick Sutcliffe are all expected to attend Wood's charity event. I'd expect that full list to take part in the Convention as well.

The Cubs Caravan will also make its annual stop in Peoria, where Tony Campana, Chris Carpenter, Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Matt Szczur and Casey Colemen will all be featured. Again, expect all of those young players at the Convention next week. Chris Bosio (pitching coach), Dave McKay (first base coach) and Jamie Quirk will be at the Peoria Chiefs fan fest event as well. Tickets, which include autographs, photos and food, are $15 with doors opening at 3:30 next Thursday.

Brian Noonan and David Kaplan indicated at the end of their Cubs Corner broadcast today that they will be hosting their annual Friday night WGN Sports Night show from the Convention.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted as we countdown to Cubs Convention Weekend!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Early Cubs Convention Preview

Don't look now... we're less than two weeks away from the 27th annual Cubs Convention! As longtime readers, Everything Cubs Blog brings you full coverage leading up to, during and after the Convention.

The 2012 Convention runs from Jan. 13-15. None of the lists of attendees or schedules of events for the weekend have yet been released, but we should be able to put together at least a partial list and schedule by the end of this week, so check back for that.

Each year there are several story lines to keep on eye on during Convention weekend. Here are some of the highlights of Conventions in recent years, followed by a list of things to look out for at this year's event.

2011: Honoring Ronnie
By far the biggest story of the 2011 Cubs Convention was honoring Cubs Legend Ron Santo, who passed away the month before the event. A video featuring #10 was displayed at the Opening Ceremonies. During one of the Saturday morning sessions, Tom Ricketts announced that the Cubs would wear #10 patches in 2011 and that Ron Santo would be honored with a statue, to be unveiled on August 10. Later Saturday, two different sessions were held for fans to hear stories about Santo, one with his former booth-mates Pat Hughes, Cory Provus, Andy Masur and Judd Sirott. The other featured Santo's teammates- Randy Hundley, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Milt Pappas, Jose Cardenal and Glen Beckert. Another big story of the weekend was the return of fan-favorite Kerry Wood to Chicago.
Click here for last year's coverage: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

2010: Welcoming the Ricketts
The biggest story of the 2010 Convention was the welcoming of the new owners of the Chicago Cubs. Saturday morning there was a packed audience for the "Meet the Ricketts" session as Tom, Pete, Todd and Laura took questions from fans about their plans for the team. One unexpected bit of news was Geovany Soto showing up 40 pounds lighter than he was at the end of the '09 season.
Click here for 2010 coverage: Opening Night, Weekend Recap

2009: Remembering the Past
The 2009 Cubs Convention, the first one covered here on Everything Cubs Blog, was extremely interesting. The weekend was filled with Cubs history as the 25th anniversary of the 1984 team and the 40th anniversary of the 1969 team were celebrated. Carlos Zambrano also talking about making Cubs history tossing a no-hitter in September of 2008. The Convention was packed as the Cubs were coming off a division title.
Click here for 2009 coverage: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted as we continue to countdown to the "Unofficial Opening Day!"