This week will bring a flurry of GM rumors and analysis – I gathered a great deal of material this weekend – so prepare to obsess along with me. In the meantime, bullets…

  • On last night’s broadcast, Bobby Valentine shredded Starlin Castro and Mike Quade for Castro’s apparent lack of focus in the field. And then cameras showed Castro standing with his back to home plate, staring off into the stands, glove in his right hand, while James Russell threw a pitch. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I’m not exactly “old school,” but if I’d have seen that while I was manning the bench, Castro would have been removed from the game *immediately.* It is inexcusable, unacceptable, and frankly, inexplicable. If there weren’t already a whole bunch of Starlin-Castro-is-kind-of-lazy-and-unfocused smoke, I might not be reacting so strongly. But this is a 21-year-old kid who can’t be bothered to pay attention to each pitch. That’s a big, big problem, and portends even bigger ones down the road.
  • Also on the broadcast, Tom Ricketts said something we’ve all been assuming. When asked if he thought Carlos Zambrano would pitch with the Cubs again, Ricketts said he “had a hard time imagining it.”
  • Andrew Cashner is set to start a rehab assignment tomorrow with AA Tennessee. He’ll pitch an inning or so, and then do that a few more times. If all goes well, he could rejoin the Cubs in early September.
  • The only thing that gave me pause in the way the Cubs dismissed Jim Hendry over a one-month period related to the signing of draft picks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the Cubs did it, but I could see a couple of these kids feeling a little tricked when they’ve got Jim Hendry leaning on them to sign, telling them how great the organization is and how “we want you” to be a part of it for a long time… and then Hendry is let go, announcing that he’d actually been let go a month ago. Overslot stud Dillon Maples didn’t sound thrilled about it: “Because I’m new and I’m coming in, I had built kind of a relationship with him because my dad was talking a lot to him throughout the draft and all that. So him being let go, I mean, it made me feel a little less comfortable, I’d say, but you’ve got to move forward.”
  • Interim GM Randy Bush says Tom Ricketts hopes a great deal of the organization stays in place, particularly on the amateur side.
  • Tracy Ringolsby shreds Tom Ricketts for firing Jim Hendry but retaining Crane Kenney. But then Ringolsby goes on to criticize “the Cubs” for giving Carlos Zambrano an eight-year extension, and his credibility on all things Cubs fizzles to zero. Also, he wears a big, black cowboy hat.
  • Ryan Theriot hearts Jim Hendry.


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