Practice game wrapup
The Cubs knocked the eminently hittable Bronson Arroyo around in the first inning, capped off by an approximately 900 ft Alfonso Soriano HR (HR distance estimated by the sound it made coming off the bat and Len's reaction). Paul Maholm performed about as expected in his Cubs debut, giving up a homer to Reds outfielder Todd Frazier but mostly generating a ton of grounders. Jeff Samardzija started the third inning with a hit batter and gave up two runs before settling down and going three largely positive innings. Aside from that hit batsman, he struck out three and didn't walk anyone. Despite Sveum's gushing he's probably still a longshot for the rotation but it's nice to see him finally pitching well. Carlos Marmol continued his struggles, walking two and giving up two hits on his way to three runs in his inning of work. The Cubs came back on a three run homer by Joe Mather to give Marmol the doubly meaningless win.
Junior Lake fouled a ball off his ankle (a bone-on-bone impact, per Zonk). It's been taped up, there should be some update on it today.
Former Cub Sean Marshall pitched a scoreless inning for the Reds, striking out two batters.
Is there a Cubs game today?
Indeed. The Cubs face Madison Bumgarner and the Giants at 3 CT. Len Kasper and Mick Gillespie have the call on gameday audio. Here's the Cubs lineup
We don't have to worry about Sveum getting annoyed with what we write
Basically all I know how to do is get on the Internet and check scores or on my phone and email a little bit but I”m not searching articles. To me, that doesn’t make sense why you’d read good or bad. Obviously, we know there’s going to be more bad than good so it’s irrelevant to look at articles or seek any kind of media that way. I’ve got better things to do than seek out articles on myself or the team. I’m living the team, the nine innings, every single night. I know what goes on. I don’t have to look to find out what somebody else thinks. I know what’s going on.
Sveum has experience with a large, dagger-drawing media market from his time with Boston, so hopefully he'll be much more savvy than Cuey. So far it looks pretty good. Once the season begins and the Cubs inevitably start losing, Cubs fans and the media could quickly start losing their patience.
Payroll page updated
The OV Payroll page has been updated with the Gerardo Concepcion signing, as well as the Cubs settlements with its prearb players (most notably Jeff Samardzija) and Matt Garza's arb settlement. The Cubs are on the hook for about $114 million for 2012, which is surprisingly third in the division behind the Cardinals and Brewers.
Roster cleanup, roster battles
Casey Weathers was taken off the 40-man roster yesterday. I wouldn't be surprised if this was to re-clear room for Blake DeWitt, who's having a nice spring and seems to be in good regard with the manager. Of course, I don't really get why the Cubs didn't just do this when they DFA'd DeWitt a few weeks ago. DeWitt isn't a star or anything, but I think he's a much better player than his performance reflected last season.
There are basically just two-and-a-half position player roster spots open at this point. Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo are battling for the Koyie Hill Memorial backup catcher spot. I know MB thinks Clevenger will get it but I think it's Castillo's to lose. I think Tony Campana has a tenuous hold on the fifth outfielder spot, due to his speed and the fact that the other two CFs on the roster (Marlon Byrd, Reed Johnson) are right handed. Of course, Brett Jackson is a much better option than any of these guys but he shouldn't be up until May or June. Joe Mather has also played some CF in his time in the Cardinals organization, and could have a shot at a roster spot due to the fact that he can also play some 3B. His hitting numbers stink (Marcel has him at .291 wOBA), but platoon splits could still be enough to push him ahead of Ian Stewart against LHP.
Cubs come in 20th in BP Org rankings
The rebuild his begun, but there is still much work to be done. When your team's fans are obsessed with Matt Szczur and Junior Lake, doesn't speak well of the system.
In case you were wondering, the Texas Rangers came in as #6org in KG's rankings. The original #6org came in seventh.
More farm system discussion
Hardball Times also has a piece up going more in depth about the Cubs organization. Writer Jeff Moore would place the Cubs system in the middle of the pack, and has lots of nice things to say about Brett Jackson. He basically calls him a middle-class man's Matt Kemp/Jacoby Ellsbury.
GIF of the day
Paula Deen hit in the face with a frozen ham.