A Trip Around the Minors...

Iowa
Kevin Hart-Hart pitched 4 innings in one start over the past week, yielding 1 run while K'ing 6. His 0.90 WHIP from last week has actually decreased to 0.84.

Rich Hill-Hill will toe the bump tonight for the third time since being demoted. While he has logged an impressive 1.69 ERA, he has still walked 5 guys in just 10 2/3 innings. Lou was quoted earlier in the week as saying he needed to continue to work on his control, so it may be a while before he is back in the Bigs.

Bonus-Sean Marshall also made his first start since being returned to AAA. In 4 innings, he gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. With Hill and Hart, the I-Cubs have 60% of their starting staff as guys who have been sent down from the Bigs.

Tennessee
Tyler Colvin-Colvin was recognized by BA this week as having one of the best games of any minor leaguer this year. Colvin went 4-4 with 2 HR's, 2 doubles, and 5 RBI's. He maintains his over a K per game, as he has fanned 45 times in just 41 games.

Jeff ND-Following up from an earlier post on Jeff ND this week, he followed up his worst performance of the year with another bad performance. Jeff ND gave up 6 runs in 4 innings. He gave up 10 safeties and walked 5 dudes in the process. Jeff ND started the current 6 game losing streak the Smokies are in.

Donnie Veal-Veal made one start this week, giving up 2 runs in 4 2/3 innings. The positive news was that after loading the bases with no outs, Veal struck out the next two. The Smokies then pulled Veal and Tanner Watson got the third out, so Veal saved himself and Watson saved Veal from having worse numbers.

Bonus-Kyle Reynolds (6th Round, 2005) and Joe Simokaitis (10th Round, 2005) have combined for 15 errors in 34 games, playing third and short, respectively.

Daytona
Tony Thomas-Thomas continues to struggle, as his BA is now down to .257 (it was near .300 jsut two weeks ago). He is striking out once per game, but does have 6 steals in 8 attempts to tie for the team lead.

Jose Ceda-Ceda is following the top prospect theme in struggling. His ERA is now a robust 5.52 in 8 starts, walking 18 batters in 31 innings.

Bonus-Billy Petrick is now in his second week with the club as he continues his rehab. He has 4 runs, 3 earned in just 5 1/3 innings.

Peoria
Josh Donaldson-Just when Donaldson appeared to be coming out of his funk, his BA dropped back down to .198. He continues to lead the team in RBI's (14 in just 26 hits).

Bonus-Looking for a silver lining in an otherwise downer of ATAtM, I found a pitcher who is throwing well. Billy Muldowney (8th Round, 2006) has made three starts for the Chiefs, and despite his 0-0 record, he has a 2.31 ERA, including a 4 inning performance where he yielded no hits. Even in his worst outing (3 runs in 3 2/3), he K'd 7 of the 8 outs he recorded.

Josh Vitters-still at Extended Spring Training.

Micah Hoffpauir joins the Cubs


OK, so maybe I'm jumping the gun a bit, but it appears that Micah Hoffpauir will be added to the 40 man and join the club sometime in the next couple of days. The resulting move is going to be to put D-Ward on the DL with back problems. When Lou was discussing the situation, he said that they would put D-Ward on the DL over the weekend. When questioned why wait, Lou responded that they were waiting on the kid from AAA to get some game experience in the outfield. As reported on TD's Minor League Short Hop just yesteray, the Cubs wanted to get Hoffpauir some PT in right. Hoffpauir started yesterday's game in right, his first start and only second game logged in right field. Maybe he's heard the rumors' as well, he has 9 ribbies in his last two games.

Jim Edmonds is a Cub

It's officially official...Jim Edmonds is a member of the Chicago National League Ballclub. Even though Jumbo would like to hide in the Far East and pretend that this didn't happen, I wanted to bring the rest of TD Nation up to speed on the best and the worst of this signing.

The best thing so far? Sweet Lou's answer to where he was going to bat Edmonds. His answer? Ninth. Obviously he was joking, but I love the backhanded shot he was taking at Tony LaRussa and Ned Yost.

The worst thing so far (not previously discussed)? While JH reportedly talked to the "team leaders " before making this acquisition, no one talked to the Big Z. And Big Z isn't happy. When asked about the acquisition, the Big Z curtly said "No comment." So, not only does this acquisition do everything that we've already discussed, it's now dividing the locker room. Awesome. The dislike stems from a Cubs-Cards game a few years ago when Jim Edmonds "posed" after a huge HR. Z yelled at Edmonds as he rounded the bases, then hit him in his next AB. That's the guy we're bringing in.

Lee Hak-ju (That's What She Said)

Keeping with our theme of keeping our minds off the Jim Edmonds eminent signing, here's something new that I saw today. Apparently sometime within the last couple of weeks the Cubs' Far East scouting department (assuming the existence thereof) was hard at work. The Cubs recently signed the above pictured Lee Hak-ju, a 17 year old South Korean high school shortstop.

East Prospect Watch brings us the story, and the details, on the newest "can't miss" Cubs prospect. Here's a bit of what the article has to say about Hak-ju:
"They believe he’d be a first round pick in the states, and one of the people who scouted him also scouted Derek Jeter in high school and says Lee has better tools at his age than Jeter did back in the early 90s."
Umm...yeah. Let's chill out a bit here. Anyone remember the last big time Korean Cubs prospect Hee Sop Choi? How'd that work out? Hopefully the Cubs did steal a first rounder here out of the Korean netherlands for free, but Towel Drills will hold off on the Jeter comparisons for now.

Jeff Samardzija Update

With news that the likely newest Cub, Jim Edmonds, is on his way to Chicago and will be signed as soon as they rush him through a physical, I'm feeling a bit upset. To get my mind off this horrible signing (or, more accurately, the horrible decision to send Pie back to AAA and replace him with a washed up Cardinal), I thought I'd throw up...something, anything, else. Here's an update on Jeff ND, courtesy of Baseball Prospectus' prospect guru Kevin Goldstein:
"Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Double-A Tennessee (Cubs)
Samardzija had a pretty impressive spring training, leaving the more optimistic types among the Cubs media predicting a breakthrough season and a chance that he could be in the big leagues by the end of the year-–thus fully justifying the absolutely ridiculous amount of money the Cubs threw his way. With seven shutout innings in his second start of the year, the hype train rolled on, but it’s come to a screeching halt since. On Saturday night, Samardzija had his worst start of the year, giving up seven runs before getting pulled in the third inning, an outing which raised his ERA to 4.81. A quick look at his peripherals shows that there’s still plenty of work to be done. Despite pure power stuff, Samardzija has struck out three or less in five of his eight starts, and on the season has issued more walks (24) than strikeouts (23) in 39 1/3 innings, while showing a disturbing fly-ball tendency. Scouts remain utterly baffled as to what to make of him."

Minor League Short Hop

  • The Cubs have made to decision to give Micah Hoffpauir some time as a RF for the Iowa Cubs in an effort to actually sniff the Bigs. Hoffpauir is a 28 year old 1-sack who has been in the Cubs organization since being drafted in 2002, never reaching the 40 man roster, in large part because he is stuck behind D-Lee. Even when D-Lee got hurt in '06, Hoffpauir was on the DL, preventing him from making the jump. The Cubs love his stick...he hit .319 in '07 with 16 HR's in just over 300 AB's, then followed it up by hitting .419 with 4 HR's this spring, and now in his first week off the DL, he's hitting .333 and has 2 HR's in just 27 AB's.

Jim Edmonds: This Guy's a Cub?

Well, shit. I've searched the interweb looking for something, anything, that would tell me the douche bag pictured above (the dude in the middle-no offense ladies) will not become a Cub at some point tomorrow or Thursday...and I came up entirely empty. Sorry fellas, looks like this idiot will be (slowly, awfully, washed up-edly) roaming CF at Wrigley by the end of the week.

Deadspin.com's recent post pretty much sums up the negative sentiment on this likely signing. We're on record here at TD as being wholly against this move-and I'm not finding anything to change my mind whatsoever. The guy is a 38 year old CF. 38 years old. Playing CF. Not DH, not 1B, not bench player-but a center fielder. We have a good CF with amazing defensive range in Felix Pie on the roster already and we're going to place him with some old ass guy who is only "Jim Edmonds" because of his Sportscenter highlight catches from 6 years ago? But we all know Jimmy H isn't going to sign Jimmy E for his defense. No-we're going to sign him simply because the guy writes with his wrong damn hand. I don't care if he's right handed, left handed, or a switch hitter-the guy is done as a valuable Major League baseball player.

Edmonds hasn't had a really productive season since 2004 when he went .301/.418/.643 with 42 bombs, 111 ribs, and 102 runs scored in 498 ABs and finished 5th in the MVP voting. 2005 saw a bit of a decline in numbers but he was still useful. 2006 and 2007, though, seemed to be the end of the slide down a very steep hill (until this BS with the Padres trading for him and now the Cubs, anyway). In '06 Edmonds put up a VORP of 20 in 350 ABs while going .257/.350/.471 with 19 HRs-not dreadful numbers but well below his perceived value. In '07, the wheels really fell off as Edmond's VORP dropped to 4.9 (meaning he's basically no better than any other bum you can pull off the street to be an utterly average MLB CF) and his slash stats to .252/.325/.421 over 365 ABs. Edmonds was then unceremoniously dumped on the Padres (who needed a stopgap replacement for Mike Cameron while some of their younger players matured) by the Cardinals after the '07 season for a single A 3B. Yeah.

For 2008 BP predicts that over the course of 411 PAs Edmonds would put up a staggeringly horrible VORP of 15.9 while going .239!!!/.326/.414 and hitting 14 taters. So far, Edmonds hasn't even lived up to that low bar-thru 90 ABs he's at .178/.265/.233 with a single HR. Horrible. And on top of that, by all accounts he's lost a step, or two, defensively.

But, hey, he's left handed.

At least that's something...I guess. Baseball Toaster has a great breakdown of what seems to be going through Hendry's mind with this acquisition. The main benefit, to me, is moving Fukudome to #2 in the batting order. But that drops TheRiot down to 8th, in all likelihood. For all his doubters, TheRiot currently has the highest BA of any of the regulars and the fourth best OBP. And moving Dome to 2nd means you have to bat Edmonds 5th. That's great since he provides another lefty bat-but how much protection will this guy offer Aramis Ramirez? Answer: none-no pitcher is going to be scared of Edmonds and will pitch around ARam to have the fun of facing him.

So the net result here seems to be that we take a massive downgrade at CF defensively, we send one of our best young players back to the cornfields, and we take away any protection that ARam. At least we don't have to alter our 40 man roster or trade away any prospects to get this guy (the latter of which makes this deal both cheaper and better than the rumored deals for Coco Crisp). I don't like this one bit. This move is a mistake, a waste, and will serve only to jack up this team's focus and chemistry.

Oh, and did I mention-THE GUY'S A FRIGGIN' CARDINAL!

Dikta Gives Woo Woo Award For #1 Fan

I am not sure when this happened, why this happened or who said it was okay for this to happen...

BUT I LOVE IT!

Anytime you can get Da Coach and WOO WOO on stage together you got the makings of an Emmy performance.

what are your thougths TD fans? who is your #1 Chicago fan?

Playing Catch Up

The Mother's Day weekend has TD a bit behind on the Cubs action. After getting choked with pink bats on Sunday, let's play a bit of catch up:
  • Congratulations to Alfonso "The Glass Ego"/"The $136 Million Dollar Man" Soriano. It only took until May 10th, but kid finally made it over the Mendoza Line. Making that kind of scratch to hit .20o is great work if you can get it. In all seriousness, though, let's cut him some slack here-dude's been on a roll the last few days. Since coming off the DL on May 1 (and counting tonight's game), Sori is 13 for 41 (.317 BA) with 2 HRs and 9 Ribs. But he really broke out on Saturday, going 4-5 with a dub, and following it up by going 2-5 with a dong.
  • But as much as I want to hope he keeps this up...I'm thinking Sori is in line for another trip to the DL soon. Despite that fact that his bat seems to be heating up, Soriano is still not healthy. Actually, I think it's more accurate to say that he doesn't think he's healthy. Check out his comments about being "a little scared" about his legs here. It's obvious watching him run the bases that his calf and/or quad are still bothering him, possibly physically, but definitely mentally. On Saturday Soriano made two separate plays at home plate (both times sliding in head first like a jackass) a hell of a lot closer than they should have by not running full speed from second base. Whether it's a physical problem or simply him not trusting his legs really doesn't matter-if he doesn't play like he's 100% healthy, he's hurting this team. And per Baseball Prospectus' injury expert Will Carroll on May 2nd, Sori is "under orders not to stress the leg too much." Something still isn't right w/ Sori. But let's hope the growing whispers of Soriano morphing into Ken Griffey Jr. with all his injury problems don't prove to be true. We owe this dude a lot of cash and are stuck with him for several more years. This team needs Sori.
  • After dropping 4-9 and losing 3 straight series, the Cubs have bounced back in a big way. The Cubs swept the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend, which is no small feat. The DBacks were the best team in baseball coming in (you'll never guess who the current "best team" in baseball is-the flippin' Florida Marlins) and were leading the majors in runs scored (guess who is now-the Cubs). And now we start off the week with a 12-3 blasting of the MLB's worst-the San Diego Fathers.
  • I really don't even want to get started on how indescribably stupid the idea of sending Felix Pie back to the minors and replacing him with freaking 30 year old nobody Andres Torres is. I'm at a loss for words-thinking about this makes my face want to explode.
  • How about the job done by the kid Sean Gallahger on Sunday? Absolutely amazing performance. The 22 year old kid gets word 45 minutes before a game against one of the best teams in baseball that he's going to be unexpectedly making his first career MLB start. Rather than piss his pants and spend the bottom half of the innings sucking his thumb in the corner of the dugout, kid goes out and is lights out thru the first 3 innings, striking out 6, before giving up 3 Ernies in Top 4 (2 of which were walked in by Chad Fox and then charged to Gallagher). Extremely impressive from the young guy. And now it looks like for his efforts Gallagher will be rewarded as being named the club's 5th starter, replacing Jon Lieber after his one very, very ugly start a few days ago. Good for Sean. Let's hope he can hold it down until Rich Hill is ready to go again.
  • Gallagher's start made JH look really smart on Sunday for opting to keep him as the long man out of the pen while allowing Sean Marshall and Kevin Hart to get stretched back out in Iowa. By sheer numbers, if not quality, the Cubs are shaping up to be fairly deep at SP this year. Alongside Z, Lilly, and Dempster, the Cubs are able to choose 2 of Gallagher, Marshall, Hart, Lieber, and Hill. Not bad.
  • And finally, some news out of A Whale's Vagina on Towel Drills' namesake, Mark Prior. This sounds familiar. Have we heard this before? Good riddance, Mark:
"Former Cub Mark Prior returned to San Diego to have his shoulder examined after having more problems in extended spring training. The Padres had hoped he would be pitching in minor-league games by now, but he has not appeared in any."

NOOOOO!

According to the Tribune, the Cubs are exploring the possibility of trading for/signing the recently DFA'd Jim Edmonds. Bruce Levine of ESPN1000 stated that the Cubs interest in Edmonds was lukewarm. I think it should be cold.

In an ideal world, the Cubs would have a left-handed bat to protect Aramis Ramirez who wasn't named Kosuke. Kosuke isn't a #6 hitter, he's a #2 hitter. But, let's not jump to hiring somone else's trash just to get a left-handed bat in the lineup. The last time the Cubs signed a guy because of his handedness, they ended up with Shawn Estes.

This is the kind of crap that bugs me about JH. After he's caught lightning in a bottle once (ReJo), he thinks that he can do it again with the same results. Look, no one hits well in Petco Park, so Edmonds is likely going to hit higher than .178 if he makes another squad. But let's ignore that for a minute. Edmonds is 106 years old (OK, so he's actually going to be 38 come June). He had 5 errors in 110 games for the Cards last year. He's broken down.

If the Cubs wanted to sign him to a minor league deal to see if he has anything left and as an insurance policy, I'd say OK. But let's not jump on his .178 BA and his 37 year old body somehow being better than Felix Pie and the answer to finding a hitter behind ARam. I am tired of hearing that Pie would be better served in AAA. Yes, playing everyday would be nice to see, but Pie certainly doesn't need to face AAA pitching, because he crushes AAA pitching. I would rather see him getting a lot of instruction from Lou and Co. in the cages before games and letting him work his issues out against big league pitching. He's a #8 hitter for now; the Cubs need his defense and speed more than they need him to hit .300.
March 13th Update It appears imminent that Jim Edmonds will be the newest member of the Chicago Cubs, as soon as he clears waivers tomorrow. Sources across the board say that he will be a Cub. One rumor is that Edmonds has told his agent not to talk to any other teams until he has had a chance to talk to the Cubs. Another rumor has him signing a minor league deal (which would get a big thumbs up from this writer, instead of throwing him into the platoon right away). The only other team reportedly interested is the Toronto Blue Jays (who are ironically desparate for OF help after DFA'ing ReJO...good move, Jays), and I can't foresee Jim Edmonds wanting to finish out his career in Toronto, playing on Astroturf. The only way I can even fathom Edmonds heading to Toronto is if he is especially close with former teammate Scott Rolen.

Sandberg fighting?




Ryne Sandberg, manager of the Peoria Chiefs, will serve the final game of a 3 game suspension tonight, following an incident on Thursday night. The incident started when a member of the Clinton LumberKings dropped down a bunt in the sixth inning to help pad the LumberKings 6-0 lead. After the inning, Sandberg confronted LumberKings manager, upset at the bunt with a 6 run lead. Benches emptied, but the confrontation remained verbal.
There had been a lot of jawing between the teams throughout the night, so I don't know if Sandberg was really upset with the playor he was just trying to protect his players from doing anything stupid that would get them tossed and/or suspended.

Blauser rounds out the infield


Jeff Blauser is the loyal TD fans choice for backup Shortstop of the 90's. Miguel Cairo received a little love, but overall it was a down week for voting. Not a lot of love for any Cubs SS not named Dunston, I guess. This week, Left Field.