4 for 1


– Kosuke Fukodome’s physical is supposed to be happening today, with the press conference tomorrow. He’s supposed to wear #1 and will have KOSUKE on the back of his jersey, but I guess we know all that for sure tomorrow.

I said it before – this signing fits the needs of the team very well. It’d be nice if Soriano was dropped to 4 or 5 in the lineup, but as long as they have Fukudome batting before Lee and Ram, they should be driving in a few more runs. Last season, the Cubs were very reliant on power hits for wins, and Fukudome’s presence should make them a bit more balanced.

Four years is just the right length. Kosukue will be 31 in April, and you’ll probably not want to pay him big money for his 35 year old season. $12 mil a year is a lot, but he’s so much better than the suggested alternatives.

I would not put much stock into any positional promise the Cubs have or will make to Fukudome before April 1st. Last off season, Soriano was told he’d be in one position for the whole season and DeRosa was told he’d be the everyday second baseman, and both promises were quickly broken. If the Cubs end up in a situation where Fukudome in CF makes more sense, that’s where he’ll be.

– Mark Prior being non-tendered was no surprise. Reading the coverage the next day, it was probably something both sides quietly knew for months, because of Prior’s reaction to the 1y with team option deal the Cubs offered (the only offer they could make.)

I know that if Mark Prior blossoms somewhere else, the Cubs will be mocked for letting go of such a player, but he’d clearly hit a dead end in Wrigley. Too many scars from ’04, ’05, ’06 and ’07 that’ll never heal right. I hope for him the same that’s happened with Tyson Chandler. Chandler had peaked out with the Bulls, and I think needed to go some place out to become the near-All Star level guy basketball player he’s become – and he’s doing in the other conference, so the Bulls don’t have to see him and regret what might have been (but never could be) more than two times a year. I hope Prior makes a (unlikely) return to form, but I hope he does it in place which doesn’t play the Cubs often.

– I was regretting being out of the loop for most of last Thursday, because I desperately was interested in hearing the leaks and rumors from the Mitchell report (more than reading the actual report itself, which I know is odd.) It had occurred to me that Thursday was quite possibly the day when Sammy Sosa would be confirmed as to have used unauthorized PEDs. Instead of just rumors and guesses, there was going to be an actual investigation to back up assumptions. I actually saw The List just before leaving that morning, scrolled to Sammy’s name, shrugged, (saw Wood and Prior and Neifi as well) and got going.

You can only imagine my delight when I downloaded a copy of the actual report, hit control-f, and only found Sosa in a section of “people who won’t talk to me [the abridged version]”. They got many other people, but they didn’t get Sosa. (Or most of the other people on that fake list.)

Does this prove Sammy Sosa has never used steroids or HGH or anything else stronger than Flintstones Vitamins? Nah, of course not. I’d like to think he didn’t, because it makes my memories better and all, and I’m more than willing to believe the stories about how he picked pitches to swinging at much better (because I’m sure I saw that.) If I could separate myself from my feelings and you asked me if I thought he used something, I’m sure I’d say yes, and he’ll never be found out in the way those in the Mitchell report were – the purchases would’ve been done outside of the US, and only those extremely close to him would know and have no motivation to ever tell. But as long as Sammy’s name doesn’t come up on an lists or returned checks, here’s still a glimmer of disbelief I can hold onto.

Objectively, I think not being on the list, and the list including enough names to push the “so many people were using, you should punish no one” viewpoint (which is crap to me, but I don’t count) means 5% – 7% more votes when it comes to HOF time. And perhaps that’s enough to push him from a high 30% – mid 40% guy to mid 40% – low 50% guy who gets a lot of attention forever and gets in on a veterans ballot (when all those in the same situation as he get to vote.) Everything helps a little bit.

– If the Cubs can make their team better by trading for Brian Roberts, I’m all for it. I just won’t believe it has a chance until Erik Bedard gets moved.

03/11 Spring Training Thoughts


I was watching Saturday’s game – Cubs/Royals, a world series preview if I’ve ever seen one – and I was utterly confused by the uniforms.

– why have both teams wear their blue uniform tops? That’s amazingly confusing.
– And they’re not even their actual road uniforms – they’ve got a weird white/red (or blue) stripe under the arm down the side. Is that some new heat vent?

I guess I could google it, but…the moment’s passed.

The one answer I got out of that game is Prior’s renting an apartment in Des Moines this year. Not an extended stay hotel, but something where he can camp out till All Star Break. Maybe by then, he won’t still be throwing 86 and maybe he’ll be able to control his fastball. No one’s saying he’s cut from the major league roster yet, but if he’s pitching in minor league games and he has minor league stuff, then he’s probably a duck. Or a Iowa Cub. Or whatever they AA team is called this year.

It looks like we’ve got 3 spots up for grabs, since Theroit’s made the team (and playing a bit of everywhere – he’s Neifi now, and I hope that’s a good thing)

SP5: Miller, Cotts, and Guzman’s the one they’re talking up. Unless Miller falls on his face, I think they’ll give him the chance to start the season, since that puts of the permanent decision. I’m still believing Miller’s done, but I’m not totally on the Guzman bandwagon yet.

Backup OF: It seemed to be Pagan almost by default, but he’s not coming off a good year and didn’t seem to be a good defender – BProspectus’ numbers argue the other way, but I think you could do better and need to do with what’s starting out there. Buck Coats isn’t much better, he’s a below average SS who got pushed to CF, but he’s hitting well enough to get a chance, and he’s still on the 40 man roster for some reason. Pie’s not here unless there’s an injury.

25th Man: Pinella talked about going with 11 pitchers, which would make this a reserve infielder (Cedeno? NO! Scott Moore?), but today he seems to have floated back to 12. Which would probably means Cotts or Wuertz, and both guys really should be making the team. You can’t do that with 12 unless Miller or someone else doesn’t, so 12 it is.

No feel for the batting order. No feel for the rotation – Z’s one, but the next four could be a jumble. I don’t think they’ll start setting it down till next week.