After getting an extensive scouting report from Bob Brenly, the Diamondbacks pulled the trigger and acquired Tony Campana today, I’m kidding….I think. Today, one week after designating Tony Campana, the Cubs managed to trade him to the Diamondbacks for two 17-year-old pitching prospects. I use the term prospects loosely as these kids have not pitched above rookie ball. Erick Leal, and Jesus Castillo are the players the Cubs will receive in the deal, and considering the Cubs have no use for Campana it seems like a worthwhile return for him. Best of luck to Tony Campana who now has an opportunity to battle for a position off the D-Backs bench, something that was not available to him this year with the Cubs. I like Tony, the guy has had the odds against him his whole life, his size, and he also overcame Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He required surgery at age 7 to remove a tumor, followed by eight months of chemotherapy — then 10 more years of checkups and tests until he was in remission long enough for doctors to declare him cured. So battling for a position off the bench during spring training is nothing he can’t handle, best of luck Campy.
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I’m not going to say that Scott Feldman making the Cubs rotation is surprise, I just expected to be writing about it at the end of a very competitive camp, not before it even starts. Patrick Mooney reported today that Dale Sveum has penciled Scott Feldman into the rotation behind “the big three” of Garza, Samardzija, and Edwin Jackson. Yes, barring a step back from Samardzija, a blown apart Garza elbow, and an Edwin Jackson disaster, the Cubs can actually be considered as a team that has a big three at the top of the rotation. At this point, if you look at the top three for the other teams in the Central Division, I like the Cubs. They have three power arms at the top, and now, according to Sveum they have Scott Feldman following them. “Feldman’s going to be one of the starters,” Sveum said Thursday. “There’s an above-average chance Baker’s going to probably start a little bit late, just because you don’t want to really rush him. There’s no need for anything like that.” The words from Sveum today caught me a little off guard because the one word that I think describes this Cubs camp the best is competition, not saying there still won’t be plenty of it, I just expected more of it before naming Feldman to the rotation. As Mooney says in his article, both Feldman and Baker were promised a chance to redeem themselves this year as starters, so one would think that gives them the inside track. Not so fast, if we have learned anything from this Cubs organization since Theo took over is that they are calculated, everything they do has a reason or four behind it. Sveum continued with the comment of “there are no guarantees” in the rotation behind Garza, Samardzija, and Jackson, so what Sveum is saying in my opinion is that Feldman, and Baker for that matter, will be slotted in the rotation but if they give the coaching staff any reason to doubt that they belong there they will be bumped for someone who deserves it. So my final thought on this is expect there to be plenty of competition all Spring long, and don’t be surprised if Feldman doesn’t start the season as a starter, for my money, I think he will, but don’t count out Carlos Villanueva, or Travis Wood quite yet.
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Every year around this time there is a name or two that shows up on the spring training roster that send the interwebs into a delirious state of being because THAT guy might make the team. This year I think it’s safe to say that guy is Javier Baez. Baez was highly touted last year, but after a stellar 2012 he is now considered a legit top twenty guy, not just in the Cubs system, but in all of baseball. Jonathan Mayo put that notion to paper, or internet web page, when he came out with his 2013 MLB prospect watch list, which has Baez sitting nicely at sixteen. That is seven full spots up from last year when he was at twenty-three, sure, seven spots might not seem like a major jump but when you crack the top twenty more people pay attention.
Before we get too far into what is expected of Baez in 2013, let’s recap what solicited that seven spot jump by remembering what he did last year. Baez destroyed Midwest League pitching, he hit .333 with 12 home runs, and 33 RBI’s in just 57 games, he also stole 20 bases. He made the jump to Daytona late in the season and struggled, part of that was due to the increase in talent on the mound, and part of it might have been playing once a week because apparently August and September is monsoon season in Florida. Baez capped off his 2012 season with a stint in the Arizona Fall League for the Mesa Solar Sox and he destroyed the ball when he made contact. A thumb injury ended his AFL season too soon, but Baez still managed to hit the second most home runs (4) in the league, and had 40 less at bats than the leaders (5). There was a lot of talk about his bat, and rightfully so, but the knock on Baez was his ability, or inability to stick at short-stop as he progresses through the Cubs system. A lot of people, including myself, think that a move to third base would make the most sense, but another thing Baez did during the 2012 season was show everyone that he can stick at short-stop if he has to, as evidenced by this Jonathan Mayo quote, “Many were ready to move Baez to third right away, but he showed some ability at shortstop, with a very good arm and good hands. His instincts allow his average speed to play up on both sides of the ball. Even if he has to move to third, his bat should profile just fine there.”
We made a few trips to see the Cubs farm system in action, obviously the guy who impressed us the most was Jorge Soler, but a close second was Javier Baez. Why you ask? I’ll tell you my inquisitive friend, he exudes confidence, some might call it cockiness, well most everyone will call it cockiness, because that’s what it is. Baez knows he belongs, and knows he is good (the tattoo on the MLB logo on the back of his neck should tell you everything you need to know), he is twenty years old, I really don’t expect much more from him, but that’s where this whole experience thing comes into play.
This camp isn’t about can Baez make the team, it’s about seeing how guys who will make the team go about their business, and for him to work on things at a different level. Jed Hoyer spoke to that, “He’s here to get a feel for what big league camp is all about, see how these guys go about their business,” general manager Jed Hoyer said of Baez. “It’s nice for fans to be able to see him, nice for us to be able to see him. But it’s not about making the major league team. This is about (getting) experience.” That’s exactly what I was hoping to hear out of Hoyer, there shouldn’t be unnecessary expectations for Baez, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get excited about seeing him in a spring game. Theo Epstein expanded on Hoyer’s comments by giving Cubs nation the following quote, he said that Baez “has a lot of work to do” before he gets called up. Most of that work will be learning how to work counts, because after all there is a Cubs way now, regardless, Baez needs to see more pitches to have his game translate to the big leagues successfully. So if you want to get excited about seeing Baez in a Spring game this year go for it, but don’t get excited because you think he will make the team, get excited because you are watching him take the next step towards making the team when he is ready, maybe that will be this year, you never know.
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It seems to come earlier and earlier every year, but today Cubs’ pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report, you know what that means…BASEBALL!! Well, soon enough there will be baseball, but today marks the beginning of the 2013 baseball season, and players actually on the field to report on. Over the next few days we will hear about minor muscle strains, a hamstring issue here and there, and maybe a groin problem, if we’re lucky. But it’s baseball news, and that is glorious. What else is glorious is daily blog posts, which will begin again, hooray for all of us. Here are a few notes from the first day of the 2013 baseball season.
Carrie Muskat gives us updated uniform numbers, of course we need this.
32 – Scott Baker
46 – Scott Feldman
71 – Trey McNutt
56 – Hector Rondon
57 – Carlos Villanueva
41 – Arodys Vizcaino
67 – Robert Whitenack
4 – Dioner Navarro
61 – Christian Villanueva
74 – Logan Watkins
19 – Nate Schierholtz
68 – Jorge Soler
76 – Drew Carpenter
77 – Dayan Diaz
60 – Jensen Lewis
85 – Barret Loux
50 – Blake Parker
63 – Zach Putnam
81 – Nick Struck
47 – Hisanori Takahashi
59 – Cory Wade
79 – J.C. Boscan
78 – Michael Brenly
82 – Rafael Lopez
70 – Javier Baez
6 – Alberto Gonzalez
20 – Brent Lillibridge
65 – Edwin Maysonet
75 – Brad Nelson
66 – Brian Bogusevic
80 – Johermyn Chavez
16 – Darnell McDonald
Sorry, but I can’t help but get excited to see Javier Baez, and Jorge Soler’s name on this list.
The other “big” news (you’ll get it in a second), is Tony Campana has been DFA’s by the Cubs today to make room for Scott Hairston who was signed by the Cubs in the off-season. The Cubs now have 10 days to trade, release, or waive Campana. I have no problem with this, as Campana has not been able to fully utilize his number one asset, his speed. He has game changing speed, that is a real thing, and I think he has a place on the 25 man roster here or somewhere else, but improvement in his all around game needs to be there before that can happen, the whole “can’t steal first base” thing applies here. I hope that all the Campana lovers can get over this quickly as I think this makes the most sense for the Cubs at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cubs work out a deal with a team, and no Campana is not really going to fetch anything that is going to knock your socks off, it’s just a numbers game right now.
Make sure to visit the blog daily as our Spring Training coverage is unmatched, from spring stories to box scores and recaps for every game. Hope you are as excited as I am.
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It’s good to finally have some substantial news about the Cubs on the field, as today the Cubs announced their 2013 Spring Training Broadcast schedule. Overall the Cubs will televise six games this spring, and a majority of the games can be listened to on WGN Radio or at Cubs.com, full details below..
Majority of these games begin at 3:05 PM CST
via BleacherNation.com, Brett supplied the notes, thanks Brett!
Feb. 23: at Angels on WGN Radio
Feb. 24: vs. Giants on Cubs.com
Feb. 25: at Dodgers on Cubs.com
Feb. 26: vs. Rockies on Cubs.com
Feb. 27: vs. Dodgers on Cubs.com
Feb. 28: vs. Athletics on Cubs.com
March 1: vs. Diamondbacks on Cubs.com
March 2: at Giants on WGN Radio
March 3 (ss): vs. Brewers on Cubs.com; and vs. Angels (no broadcast)
March 4: vs. Indians on Cubs.com
March 5: at Rockies on Cubs.com
March 6: at Rangers on Cubs.com
March 7: vs. White Sox on Cubs.com
March 8: at Reds on Cubs.com
March 9: vs. Indians onWGN Radio
March 10: vs. Padres on Cubs.com
March 11: at Diamondbacks on Cubs.com
March 13: vs. Rockies onCubs.com
March 14: at Dodgers on Cubs.com
March 15 (ss): at White Sox on Cubs.com; and vs. World Baseball Classic team (no broadcast info or team yet, sadly)
March 16 (ss): vs. Royals on WGN-TV; and vs. Rangers on WGN Radio (game is in Las Vegas)
March 17 (ss): at Athletics on WGN-TV; and vs. Rangers on WGN Radio (game is in Las Vegas)
March 18: at Padres on Cubs.com
March 19: vs. Rangers on Cubs.com
March 21 (ss): at Mariners on WGN Radio; and vs. Dodgers (game is in Tuscon and is a benefit for benefit the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation)
March 22: at Brewers on WGN-TV and Cubs.com
March 23: vs. Angels on WGN-TV and WGN Radio
March 24: at Indians on WGN Radio
March 25: vs. Giants on CSN and Cubs.com
March 26: vs. Reds on Cubs.com
March 27: at Royals on WGN Radio
March 28: vs. Mariners on CSN and Cubs.com
March 29: at Astros on Cubs.com (game is in Houston)
March 30: at Astros on Cubs.com (game is in Houston)
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Hey everyone, sorry for the delay between posts, spinal fusion really taking up all of my time. Enough about me, just wanted to post to let you know that Cubs Spring Training tickets go on sale tomorrow on Cubs.com. I know it doesn’t feel like it in Chicago today with the temperature but Cubs baseball is rapidly approaching, and it all starts with the party that is Spring Training in Mesa. Tickets go on sale at 10AM CST, here is a direct link right to the page to purchase tickets.
Here is the home schedule for the Cubs this year in Mesa…
Sun, February 24 – San Francisco Giants – 1:05 p.m.
Tue, February 26 – Colorado Rockies – 1:05 p.m.
Wed, February 27 – Los Angeles Dodgers – 1:05 p.m.
Thu, February 28 – Oakland Athletics – 1:05 p.m.
Fri, March 1 – Arizona Diamondbacks – 1:05 p.m.
Sun, March 3 – Milwaukee Brewers (ss) – 1:05 p.m.
Mon, March 4 – Cleveland Indians – 1:05 p.m.
Thu, March 7 – Chicago White Sox – 1:05 p.m.
Sat, March 9 – Cleveland Indians – 1:05 p.m.
Sun, March 10 – San Diego Padres – 1:05 p.m.
Wed, March 13 – Colorado Rockies – 1:05 p.m.
Sat, March 16 – Kansas City Royals (ss) – 1:05 p.m.
Tue, March 19 – Texas Rangers – 1:05 p.m.
Sat, March 23 – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 1:05 p.m.
Mon, March 25 – San Francisco Giants – 1:05 p.m.
Tue, March 26 – Cincinnati Reds – 7:05 p.m.
Thu, March 28 – Seattle Mariners – 12:05 p.m.
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