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The Caleb Hanie Experience starts today. Feel the rush.

  • Carlos Zambrano, who is currently pitching in the Venezuelan Winter Leagues in the hopes that he can get his arm in shape for 2012 (and show the Cubs/other teams he’s capable of pitching well again), was supposed to start yesterday, in his first appearance after taking a liner off the face last week. Instead, Zambrano sat, and is expected to keep sitting for a few more days still. His facial injury required at least 10 stitches, so a little extra rest is understandable. The league runs through December, so there is still plenty of time for him to get a few more starts, even if he sat out a couple weeks.
  • New York Yankees manager, and former Cub, Joe Girardi approves of the Cubs’ managerial hire, Dale Sveum. “I had a chance to know Dale a little bit, not a lot,” Girardi said. “And obviously, he’s had a number of jobs, whether it’s been a third-base coach in Boston or hitting coach in Milwaukee, and he’s been around the game a long time and he’s a guy that has prepared himself for this opportunity and I’m happy for him …. I think he understands the Cubs’ culture as much as he can as being a visiting player, or visiting coach, because he’s been part of it in a sense that Milwaukee plays the Cubs 15 times a year, so he has a chance to see it. There’s things that I had to learn as a manager that you go through, but it’s a pretty quick learning curve and you get thrown into it really quickly and you do the best that you can.”
  • Girardi also had kind words for the Cubs’ new front office, particularly Theo Epstein. “He’s put together good clubs,” Girardi said of Epstein. “That’s what he’s done in Boston – a perennial power. And I’m sure that’s what he’s going to try and do here. And they’ve done it through a number of different avenues, whether it’s guys that have come through the system or free agents they’ve went out and signed or people that they’ve traded for, and that’s any general manager’s hope is to become a perennial power.”
  • Small market and rebuilding teams are trying to soldier on in the face of the new CBA’s burdensome changes, not revealing their discontent. Privately, however, they’re pissed. And that includes the Cubs, who are going to have to rethink their rebuilding strategy. Some things will remain the same – heavily invest in scouting, focus on players in their prime, etc. But the draft and international prospecting side of things will have to be tweaked. At least the Cubs have some smart guys in place to do the tweaking. As I’ve said, I tend to think these changes will force the Cubs to put some more dollars to work in free agency.
  • A nice bio/column on new Padres’ GM Josh Byrnes, which touches on his time with the Red Sox, and relationship with the current Cubs’ brass. No real surprises – they’re all super smart, super hard working, and super successful. And Byrnes keeps MLBTradeRumors open on his desktop.
  • Cubs’ infield prospect Marwin Gonzalez has stopped playing in the Venezuelan Winter League in order to return to the States and train at the Cubs’ facility in Mesa. Gonzalez, 22, is solid defensively in the middle infield, but can play all over. He’s a candidate to get a shot to make the Cubs out of Spring Training, depending on how the rest of the roster looks, and it’s possible the new Cubs wanted to get him working on specific things as soon as possible, rather than playing Winter Ball. The 2011 season was Gonzalez’s first average to decent offensive season, for what it’s worth.
  • Another Cubs’ infield prospect, Junior Lake, fresh off of a great performance in the Arizona Fall League, is playing Winter Ball in his native Dominican Republic. It’ll make for a long season for Lake, but the Cubs may be trying to get as long a look at him as they can before 2012. Lake, 21, still isn’t expected to be ready for the bigs until 2013 or later. So far, Lake has three hits, a homer, a walk, and three steals in two DWL games.
  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    I know I’m not the first to say this but It would be kind of neat to see a Darwin to Marwin double play at least once at the major league level.

     

    • kubphan82

      Unfortunately I think that will bring back the same fandom that we found difficult to rid ourselves of with Fontenot/Theriot… Haha

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        I’m already preparing for Barney to get traded to next years WS champion

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Is there anything new about teams interested in Marmol or Soto? Angel’s maybe?

    Also whats this I read a few days ago about the Red’s shopping Yonder Alonso?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nothing new on Marmol/Soto. Will have a Lukewarm Stove roundup, probably early tomorrow. The Holiday weekend slows things down considerably.

  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

    I had a great conversation with friends concerning the new CBA and one point that kept coming up was how the new CBA helps free agents. The arguement is basically this: If teams can’t spend infinite amounts on the draft and build talent internally, then they will be more willing to spend more money on free agents. Since there will be more money to spend on free agents and a greater need for teams to have free agents, players are more likely to recieve a big payday. I still don’t see how this benefits baseball, but I can see how it benefits players in free agency. Curious if anyone else has come up with a benefit for the new draft limits, so far this is the best I’ve heard.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      I was thinking the same thing, not a big fan of it.

      Right when the Cubs are willing to spend big on the draft they put a cap on it.

  • LouCub

    @ Brett, it’s the calm before the storm!!! I’ve got a feeling this years trade and free agent movement may rival Dallas Green’s overhaul in the winter of 1981/82..I was like 11 then but excited by it all..This is gonna be good because personal sentiment won’t hold up deals these guys really seem objective and willing to deal.

    • die hard

      Hope you are wrong as the Ricketts’ well of wealth is running dry. Need to tighten belts for a few years and make do with dealt hand until bad contracts expire. Otherwise will make bad team worse.

      • Eric

        I think you are totally misreading his post. He is just excited because unlike Hendry, Theo and Hoyer aren’t going to be affraid to trade a guy. Hendry seemed to be loyal to an end, as soon as you were a Cub he’d treasure you and never trade guys even in times when he could have netted a good gain. And what bad Contracts do the Cubs have after next year anyway? Where both Z and Demp will be off the books. Only Sori will remain. I hope Theo and Hoyer do make some major changes this offseason. I look forward to them. Hoping they move guys like Soto, Marmol, Marshal, etc as long as they get a “net gain” in talent. There is no reason to “tighten” the belt with the large market the Cubs are in. As long as the Cubs go after GOOD talent.

  • Alex

    Brett,

    Is it true that if a team doesn’t spend it’s entire allotment from their draft pool money that the remaining amount rolls over into the next year’s draft?

    Maybe I read that wrong.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’d not heard that, and I don’t see it in the official press release. The full text of the CBA has not yet (to my knowledge) been released, so it’s possible that’s in there.

      • CubFan Paul

        i read something along those same lines about money rolling over to the next year too.. either way i don’t like the new rules (defeats the purpose of “building from within”)

      • hansman1982

        this may have been covered and I am just too lazy on a Sunday night to do much research…what if they are signed to major league contracts? After the first year couldn’t you then resign them to a minor league deal and get them off the 40 man roster? Possible work around if you are getting close to the lost draft pick.

        It will end up being like the luxury tax. The big teams will just factor in the draft tax as a part of doing business and in the years where they feel they might be getting compensatory picks they may splurge or if they feel the next years draft might have little to no difference between their 1st round and 2nd round picks in terms of talent.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          One of the changes: no more major league deals for draft signees. Also, when you take someone off the 40-man, he has to pass through waivers first.

  • Barney S

    New CBA=Not awesome

  • curt

    why on earth would baseball intentionally harm itself this way these new rules have got to kill competitive balance, the owners had 2 have seen this, and the players and agents didnt object to these new hinderances just wondering

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      See my comment above

  • Eric

    The new CBA matches up perfectly with America today. Screw the little guy, let’s reward old has beens with larger contracts. Make the rich underproducing guys richer, and screw the young up and comers out of their deserved rewards.

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