Ryan Dempster said it “felt awesome” to throw 128 pitches last night – the most he’s thrown in 10 years. Manager Mike Quade says he’ll consider shortening Dempster’s next outing to make up for the Herculean total this time around.
- Meanwhile, in the other dugout, Dusty Baker removed a young pitcher, who was pitching a gem, after just 91 pitches. Dusty also agreed that it would be the young pitcher’s last start of the year, so that he could rest up for next season. Clearly I inadvertently slipped into a wormhole before yesterday’s game, and emerged in another universe where Mark Prior is on his way to his sixth straight Cy Young Award, and Carlos Zambrano is ready to take the ball in tonight’s crucial stretch game, looking to take his ERA under 3.00.
- Bruce Levine offers a rundown of the Aramis Ramirez contract situation, and suggests that the Cubs offer him two-years and $25 million (with a $15 million option – which is kind of stupid, as no one is going to want a rapidly-declining, 36-year-old Ramirez for $15 million. If there’s buyout money attached to that option, just include it up front, and stay the pageantry of a big-money option). If Ramirez, today, said he would take two years and $25 million, I think the Cubs might be best served taking him up on that. Obviously it would be better if that number tended toward $20 million, but I doubt he takes that much less than he could get on the open market.
- If the Cubs don’t bring Aramis Ramirez back, sources say the Cincinnati Reds will consider offering him a lucrative deal. Quick! Get the Reds on the schedule for April and May!
- Speaking of the schedule: A source says the Chicago Cubs’ 2012 schedule has recently been revised to feature a visit from the Boston Red Sox. You’ll note that the Cubs played the AL East in Interleague this year (including the Red Sox), so it’s a bit odd that the Sawx would be on the schedule again next year. Before you get too excited about realignment and the related, necessary expansion of interleague play (i.e., if it was in place for the 2012 season, the Cubs might well be playing a bunch of additional AL teams), keep in mind that, because the six-team structure in the NL Central, a couple teams will have to play other AL teams regardless of the realignment question. That’s probably all this is – and it’s a blessing and a curse for the Cubs: the Red Sox are a nice draw, but they’re always good. The Cubs’ full 2012 schedule should be released on Thursday.
- Mike Quade says Bryan LaHair’s emergence is taking starts away from Tyler Colvin, not Carlos Pena or Alfonso Soriano. Keep on trucking, Mike.
- Ryan Dempster is the Cubs’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes contributions on and off the field.