Monday, April 23, 2007

Cubs Odds & Ends

It’s April 23 and the Cubs (7-11)are in last place in the NL Central, 4 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers (11-7). The Brewers are in town to take on the Cubs in a 3 game series. The Cubs “ace” Carlos Zambrano will be pitching for the good guys against the Brewers #5 starter, Claudio Vargas. It’s still early in the season, but the Cubs need to start making a run just to stay in contention. They can’t win the division this early in the year, but they certainly can lose it.

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BREAKING NEWS: The Cubs announced today that Mark Prior will be undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder tomorrow in Birmingham, AL. Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery. The Cubs did not give a timeline for Prior's return and would not speculate on his prognosis.

This will be the first time Prior has had surgery, even though he has been on the DL nine times during the past six years.

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MORE BREAKING NEWS: Wade Miller has been placed on the 15-day DL and Rocky Cherry has been called up to take his place. The official report is that Miller is suffering from back spasms, but the speculation is that the Cubs are going to release Miller and they are putting him on the DL simply to give him time to work out a deal with another team. So far this year, Miller is 0-1 with a 10.54 ERA.

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You know how I love trade rumors. Here are five proposed trades from Nate Silver at Baseball Prospectus:

1. Jacque Jones to White Sox for RHP Mike MacDougal
2. Jacque Jones to Phillies for RHP Jon Lieber
3. Jacque Jones to Angels for SS Erick Aybar
4. Cliff Floyd to Yankees for either RHP Kyle Farnsworth or RHP Scott Proctor
5. Matt Murton to A’s for RHP Joe Blanton

I wouldn’t call any of these trades likely, but I love the speculation. If I had to choose my favorite, I’d go with the Jones for Lieber trade. The Cubs need a reliable #5 starter and they could do worse than Jon Lieber. Of course, in recent days, the Phillies have decided to demote Brett Myers to the bullpen and insert Lieber into the starting rotation, so Lieber may not be available.

I hate to trade away Matt Murton, but Joe Blanton would certainly be a welcome addition to the Cubs starting rotation. If Matt has to go to break up the OF logjam, Joe Blanton would be a great guy to get in return.

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According to the Cubs depth chart on their site, Alfonso Soriano is the backup in CF behind Felix Pie. However, if tonight’s lineup is any indication, Soriano is now in the #1 position in LF. Soriano will be starting in LF over incumbents Matt Murton and Cliff Floyd. Is the CF experiment over for Soriano? Who knows? What is certain is that Soriano needs to start hitting. If moving him to LF will help in that process, I’m all for it.

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One of our favorites, Ron Santo, has been hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat. Ronnie has had several health issues over the past several years including amputation of both legs due to Type 1 diabetes, heart bypass surgery in 2000 and he was diagnosed with bladder tumors in 2003.

Get Well, Ron!


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