heading east


One last time?

01 SS The Riot
02 LF Soriano
03 1B D Lee
04 3B A Ram
05 RF Fukudome
06 2B DeRosa
07 CA Soto
08 CF Pie

09 SP Z!
10 SP Lilly
11 SP Hill
12 SP Dempster
13 SP Marquis

14 CA Blanco
15 PH Ward
16 IF Cedeno
17 2B Fontenot
18 OF Reed Johnson

19 CL Wood
20 RP Marmol
21 RP Howry
22 RP Marshall (unless he blows it)
23 RP Lieber
24 RP Wuertz
25 RP Hart?

22 RP Eyre
— RP Guzman

— OF Murton

Some thoughts here:

– I really like the Reed Johnson signing. He’s not the best of CFs, but I don’t think he’ll hurt the Cubs if he plays seven innings and Pie gets subbed in as late defensive replacement. Johnson hits the lefties great

2007 – 85PA 325/381/531 (all star numbers)
career – 701 AB 308/371/462 (solid numbers)

Moving Theriot out of the leadoff spot against lefties, if they put Johnson there instead as discussed, is really going to help the offense. These kind of situations are made for platoons, and Lou seems pretty comfortable using one.

On the days he doesn’t play, he’s the righty equivalent of Ward, waiting for the situational lefty to get in the game versus our weaker guys. And if he doesn’t pan out, the Cubs can cut him loose for a small price and bring up Sam Fuld in a couple months, and Sam is getting everyday ABs in the meantime.

The problem here is also liked the Craig Monroe trade for the same reasons, and uh, not so good. Johnson was available because of a roster crunch, but also because he spent a lot of last year hurt. Hopefully he’ll be a bit more fortunate in Chicago.

– The Cubs really should’ve never had Matt Murton to begin with. He shouldn’t have left the Red Sox, or he should’ve gone to the Twins or the Expos, that deal got a bit confused when they tried to beat the deadline. I think it’s best to look at Murton’s career as a Cub that way, “something for nothing”, instead of the possibly far more realistic “something instead of something lot more if they just gave him consistent time.” Regardless of Reed Johnson being signed, Murton was done as a Cub a long time ago. At least when Kosuke signed, but probably as far back as Soriano’s signing.

You can’t go back and fix the mistake of not trading Murton a season or two ago now, you’ve got to deal with the situation that now exists. The Cubs are fortunate there’s a good market to move middling corner outfielders; there’s plenty of teams both inside their division and elsewhere, though “solid to plus defender” doesn’t resemble the lost guy I’ve seen out there the last two years. If the Cubs can flip Murton for a non-40-man-roster guy with some promise and no track record, that’d be a fair trade and about what they should’ve ended up in the first place.

The Cubs sound like they’re moving on this, because they like Matt and they want to make it right for him, and I hope they can get this concluded quickly. He should not have to set foot in Des Moines again.

– the Trib’s subheadline on the roster moves “Fontenot’s versatility key to keeping him on roster” was intriguing to me, because the big problem with him has been his lack of utility fielding for what is a utility bench spot. What new things has Mike Fontenot learned that makes him more versatile?

Cedeno will be the back-up shortstop, but Fontenot proved he can play there in a pinch.

That’s versatility? Fontenot learning to play third would be nice, because it’d give a backup to Ram without moving people all around the infield. Though, the Cubs had a guy who was actually versatile, could play 3B, and SS, and 2B, but they just cut Alex Cintron to give Fonentot the spot.

Neither Cintron or Fontenot is going to add all that much at the plate; when they’re at their best, they’re empty batting averages lacking power or enough walks to make it meaningful. Fontenot is a little younger and probably a little cheaper, but not enough of either to make a difference.

I wonder what the real story about this roster decision. Did Cintron’s freak (batted ball to the face) and non-freak (hamstring) injuries concern the Cubs? Did they feel required to keep the Cajun Combo together? Did they want to keep around someone who they could option to AAA easily? The story they’re giving is Cintron was only here as a backup shortstop if Cedeno got traded to the O’s, but it still doesn’t explain why he was limited to that role.

– It would’ve been nice for Eyre to tell people he was hurt more than five seconds before the season started. Marshall was never going to make the rotation, he could’ve been pitching as a one-out guy for weeks. Baseball players, what are you going to do.

I think Pig would’ve be a better fit, but Marshall has earned a shot to take it. Everyone will play before they’re done.

we have a winner


probably not the Cubs, but at least I’m correct

Piniella also said Jason Marquis would be the team’s fifth starter while Jon Lieber would hold down the role of long reliever.

ESPN, ChicagoSports

Lesson learned: publicly complaining about losing your role will give you a better shot of keeping it. Please make a trade already.

In other news we already guessed, The Riot’s leading off, Soriano’s batting second, and on base is completely optional. DeRosa will be critical, because he’ll be getting tons of RBI chances batting sixth.

Scott Eyre hiding an injury during Spring Training means he’s going to be hid on the DL to start the season and one of Marshall or Pignatiello starts the season on the team.

I don’t get Paul Sullivan’s math here, or I’ve totally missed on a story:

The last two bench spots remain open, with Alex Cintron, Mike Fontenot and Ronny Cedeno competing for two jobs.

Unless they’re going to an 11 man rotation – which would be nice but a story in itself – I only see one bench spot for those three guys. Is there a Hart/Wuertz battle for a spot in the bullpen now?

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Game 75: Cubs 10 – Rockies 9


Rockies 38-38, -5.5
Cubs 36-39, -7.5

POTG: 2B Mike Fontenot (5 H, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, CS)
Runner Up: 1B Derek Lee (3 H, R), RF Mark DeRosa (3 H, 3 RBI, R), CF Angel Pagan (HR, 3 RBI, BB), LF Alfonso Soriano (H, 2 RBI), SS Ryan Theriot (2B, SB, 2 H, 2 R)

To be honest, I watched this game (and had earlier gone to see the Cougars game) but I wasn’t much focused on it. It was on my TiVo, I kinda paid attention, I sometimes drifted off into other things and realized I’d been watching 3 minutes of commercials. Early on, I got a “I want to go crazy over what just happened, but I can’t because you’re watching on tape” phone call, so I figured something weird happened at the end. I just couldn’t figure out what it could be, because the Cubs were cruising for most of the game. Every time Marquis got into trouble, I figured that must be it, but he kept squirming out. After Eyre bailed out of Wuertz’s jam in the 7th, I was completely confused and figured it must’ve been a freak play rather than a close finish.

And then the 9th happened, and all heck broke loose. There’s gotta be something wrong with Scott Eyre. Either he’s hurt, or he’s done. It’s late June, he hasn’t come around, it’s time for some sort of action. You can tell Pinella has given up on him, because he’s only been in 4 games of the last 20. It doesn’t make sense to keep him on the active roster at this point.

I’m giving up Howry more of a benefit of the doubt, even though he was more horrible. It was his third day in a row, his fourth in five games, and his fifth in a week. That kind of workload will kill you. The Cubs really needed another arm down in the pen last night. Howry will almost surely get tonight off, and Marmol’s probably the closer for the night.

My guess is Eyre and Dempster go on the DL. This would allow the Cubs to circumvent the “can’t call back up for 10 days” rule to call up at least Gallagher, and whomever else. Bringing in two fresh arms will allow them to push back going to twelve relievers for another couple days. Perhaps that’ll get them enough time to do something with Jacque.

Nice of Soriano take my stats with runners on and stick them back in my face. I’m more than willing to be wrong about those sorts of things, just didn’t expect to be so rapidly wrong.

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