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!"

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year: 2012 Important Dates

Happy New Year Cubs fans! Thanks to everyone for continuing to follow the posts I produce here on Everything Cubs Blog. May 2012 bring you health, happiness and many Cubs victories! The last few days we looked back at 2011 in the world of the Chicago Cubs. Click here for #6 through #10 in our top ten stories series, or click here for the top five.

Now let's take a peak ahead at some of the important dates on the 2012 Cubs calender.

4: Cubs Corner Luncheon featuring Theo Epstein at 11:30, WGN Radio broadcast start at noon
9: Hall of Fame inductee Class of 2012 will be announced. Could Lee Smith join Ron Santo?
11: Cubs Caravan Luncheon at Harry Caray's featuring Estpein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod along with several players. Len Kasper will emcee the event.
13-15: The 27th annual Cubs Convention will take place at the Hilton

18-21: Spring Training Report Dates- the Cubs have yet to announce their report dates, but most teams have Pitchers and Catcher reporting between Feb. 18 and Feb. 21

4: First Spring Training game as the Cubs host the A's at HoHoKam
17 & 18: Half of the Cubs split squad heads to Las Vegas to play the Rangers
9 & 18: Cubs vs White Sox Spring Training games

3: Final Spring Training game at HoHoKam Park
5: Opening Day at Wrigley Field as the Cubs host the Nationals in a Thursday afternoon game
13: First road series of the year as the Cubs travel to Busch Stadium to play the defending champion Cardinals
23-25: The Cubs host the defending champs for the first time this season

18-20: First interleague series of the year, Cubs vs White Sox at Wrigley

8-10: Cubs first ever visit to Target Field to play the Twins
12-20: Interleague play continues as the Cubs host the Tigers and Red Sox before going to the South Side to play the White Sox

10: The MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City
22: Ron Santo will be enshrined in Cooperstown with the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The Cubs are scheduled to play a day game in St. Louis.

That's a look at the first half of 2012! Go Cubs!