Boom. I am a fantasy football legend, having won each of my two leagues for the second consecutive year, despite relatively disparate rosters, which do not feature anyone named Rogers, Brees or Brady.
- In case you missed it in the Andy Sonnanstine post, the Manny Corpas deal is not a guaranteed ML deal, as reported by some outlets last week. It, like Sonnanstine’s, is a split minor league deal, which means he’ll earn one rate on the big league club and another rate on the minor league club (pretty common on minor league/Spring Training invite deals). Because the contract is not guaranteed, Corpas can be cut in Spring Training with no risk to the Cubs. This pleases me, as my only negative reaction to the Corpas signing as originally reported was the guaranteed part. (“A Major League deal and 25-man roster spot for a guy who hasn’t pitched in over a year and hasn’t pitched well in four years? Even if the flashes of talent are still there, it seems like he should have to prove it, rather than be handed a spot that could otherwise go to one of the many young middle relief candidates the Cubs have in the upper minors.”)
- Corpas and Sonnanstine do get 40-man roster spots, though, which leaves the 40-man – for now – at 39 (including recent additions Travis Wood, Dave Sappelt, Lendy Castillo, Jeff Bianchi and Casey Weathers). That does not include Kerry Wood (whom the Cubs will now continue to wait to sign, so that, if they make another addition, they won’t have to deroster anyone quite yet), and still seems poised for a fair bit of turnover between now and Opening Day. It also poses an interesting issue for the Cubs in a possible Matt Garza deal: as much as they might like to target ML-ready players, those tend to be the types that have to go on the 40-man roster. If the Cubs net multiple players like that, they’ll have to dump some guys off of the 40-man.
- In his writeup of the Sonnanstine and Corpas signings, Bruce Levine continues to say that Jeff Samardzija will get a shot to crack the rotation next year. GIven how Samardzija transformed his game in the second half last year, and how frequently he had successful extended outings, I’m fine with letting him try to make the rotation once again. The question is, whose spot would he be taking? At present, the Cubs have Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Travis Wood and Randy Wells all theoretically lined up for a rotation spot, which list doesn’t include Andrew Cashner (who will probably pitch out of the pen). Obviously those names could change dramatically between now and Opening Day, with Matt Garza very much on the trade block, and Carlos Zambrano still “earning his way back on the team.”
- A short interview with new Cubs’ national cross-checker Matt Dorey, whom the Cubs recently hired away from the Red Sox (Theo Epstein was essentially permitted to hire away one guy, and Dorey was the guy). “I was very surprised [at the opportunity],” Dorey said. “I knew they had such limitations about who they could bring over. It was humbling, but at the same time it was a very difficult situation. I have a loyalty to the Red Sox. They’ve given me so many opportunities to go out and see players and help me grow …. It feels great anytime you can associate yourself with a team that has this much tradition. These are two great sports towns. I don’t know if there are two that are better.” As previously noted, Dorey’s role will be to scout amateur players across the country on the recommendation of scouts below him, and he’ll then report to Scouting/Player Development Chief Jason McLeod.
- CBS Sports has some fan voting going on for a variety of “awards,” the most notable of which for Cubs fans is Carlos Zambrano’s appearance on the “Can’t Miss Character” ballot (along with Ozzie Guillen, Milton Bradley (does he still play baseball?), Nyjer Morgan, and Logan Morrison), and on the “Most Bush League Moment” ballot (for his throw-at-Chipper-get-ejected-”retire” escapade in Atlanta in August). Zambrano is “winning” the latter category going away.
- The storylines of 2011, courtesy of Cubs.com. None of the five storylines (Theo/Jed, Carlos Zambrano, Cashner/Colvin/Castro, Mike Quade, and Ron Santo) have anything to do with the Cubs winning any games. Natch. Even the one feel good story – Santo’s long-awaited election to the Hall of Fame – comes with the depressing asterisk of “posthumous.”
- The Cubs Convention is about two and a half weeks away, and I’m hoping to grab a beer or five with those of you in attendance who’d like to meet up. Perhaps we can start discussing in the comments what that meet-up might look like (Friday night? One of the bars in the hotel?).