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Oh, man. As a long-time Chicago Cubs fan, I’m not sure I recognize good luck when I see it. So, imagine the repeated slack in my jaw last night as the Wolverines ¬†repeatedly utilized the horsehoe they apparently stored in their collective butt before leaving Ann Arbor. Between you and me, I needed a little something to smile about in my sports fandom world, so I’ll gladly take a Michigan Sugar Bowl win any way I can get it.

  • The Cubs made the Reed Johnson signing official yesterday, and Reed will take home $1.15 million in 2012 (which feels a bit like “paying for past performance,” but whateves). The Cubs have six outfielders that could make the 25-man at this point: Soriano, Byrd, DeJesus, Johnson, Sappelt, and Campana. At most, five will get the call. The Johnson signing also puts the 40-man roster, presently, at 40. That’s without Kerry Wood, mind you. Obviously there are some guys who could be dropped off – Marcos Mateo and Alberto Cabrera stand out – but the Cubs are going to have to make a number of additional moves before this offseason is up.
  • Carlos Zambrano, whose Winter pitching may be at an end, has been rather fortunate in Venezuela (other than, you know, taking a comebacker to the face). Despite a 2.45 ERA, which would place him among the league’s leaders, his FIP of 5.11 suggests that the ERA is more luck than skill. (FIP primer here.)
  • Jim Callis says new Cubs’ prospect Ronald Torreyes would have been the Reds’ number 10 prospect if he hadn’t been traded to the Cubs before Callis’ rankings for the Reds came out.
  • The Red Sox have signed Carlos Silva to a minor league contract. Obligatory compensation joke: when the Red Sox ultimately have to boot him, the Cubs will take him on as an A-ball bullpen catcher as compensation for Theo Epstein.
  • Carrie Muskat answers questions from folks who don’t understand why Sean Marshall was traded and who don’t understand why the Cubs might consider trading Matt Garza. Let me take this one, Carrie: to make the organization better. The end.
  • In case you missed it yesterday, Coco Crisp decided to re-sign with the A’s for $14 million over two years. He made, at best, marginal sense as an addition for the Cubs, so no grousing here.
  • Bruce Miles is interviewed over at View from the Bleachers.
  • The Cubs Convention is a week and a half away. I’ll be there with the Mrs., and I look forward to meeting any of you in attendance who’d like to grab a beer or something Friday or Saturday evening. I remain open to thoughts on a meeting spot.
  • Fishin Phil

    Glad to see they didn’t sign Coco.¬† That made no sense to me at all.

    • hardtop

      Not to mention hes being over paid by about 5 million.

  • Brian Myers

    Well, in DeJesus, Johnson, Sappelt, and Campana they have 4 guys that are really good backups or are marginal players. Unfortunately, one has to be a starting OF. Sooo… that means it likely comes down to Sappelt and Campana battling for that last spot on the roster. Sappelt gets it if he lives up to potential, but if he looks like the guy that got 100+ ABs in the majors last year, he likely goes back to AAA for seasoning and Campana fills in as a great role player on the club.

    I consider it a signing to guarantee at least mediocre performance from a backup.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think we’ll still probably see some movement in the outfield before the offseason is over.

      • Toosh

        I agree. I also believe that the 25 man roster as it projects now will be much different come Opening Day.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Agreed, again.

          • Wilbur

            Agree also …

      • cccubfan

        I really think Soriano and Byrd will be gone before the season starts.

    • RoughRiider

      If I were a manager I would want someone like Campana, with his base stealing ability, on my team. Especially with the lack of power that is likely. Trying to manufacture runs is going to be the norm.

    • dob2812

      I don’t really find anything unfortunate about the prospect of David DeJesus starting. He’s not Matt Kemp, but he’s pretty good. He’s likely to be better than Alfonso Soriano for a start.

      I guess we’ll see what Sappelt can do in Spring Training. We know what Campana is. He might be useful to have around late on in games but unless his defense is suddenly other-worldly, it’s hard to get too excited about him.

  • art

    Dale is not Quade, campana is a pinch runner at best.

    • RoughRiider

      I wasn’t suggesting Capana was a starter put there is nothing wrong with an outfield option that can get be a pinch runner or batter late in a game when you have to manufacture a run.

  • LARRY

    Muck Fichigan

    • ogyu

      Mou r a yoron.

  • dob2812

    I was gonna say Tony’s speed is all well and good but how does he get on base? Just seeing now that Bill James projects a .333 OBP for Campana. That’s almost certainly high, but if he clears .315 he’d be useful.

    .303 last year.

    Hitting 8th, I could live with that everyday. Not for a team that’s going to win, but for a team that just wants to get within shouting distance of 81 wins, no?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Wait. James projects a .333 OBP for Campana? If I knew going into the season that Campana would get on base at a .333 clip, I would strongly consider starting him. That’s not a huge OBP, obviously, but it’s close to league average.

      • Wilbur

        Particularly if he’s a 70% plus successful basestealer over the course of a season …

  • die hard

    Silva handling is why Hendry had to go. Hendry let pitching coach’s temper tantrum cost Cubs 10 million when released him but had to pay him. One day fans will find out what really happened in Spring Training last year leading to Silva’s release and why the situation couldn’t be resolved so as to at least get him in shape enough to trade him.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Can you not say?

      • TWC

        He’s got “sources”.

  • Buzzamus

    On the Cubs convention: me and my friends always get a booth at Kitty O’Shea’s. It isn’t the best of bars and it is really pricey, but it is very convenient, should you feel the need to go back down into the convention and we have been able to get pictures with players, who wander in in the past. Last year was kind of a dud for people coming in, though.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Buzz. For the most part I’m just looking for a place I can get a drink without having to wait 45 minutes, and where there will be a place to stand and talk to folks.

      • Buzzamus

        Then yeah, Kitty O’Shea’s probably isn’t the best place for that….unfortunately it is a tradition that my friends deem unbreakable.

  • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

    Mateo could be dropped from the roster, but I doubt Cabrera will be. He’s got good stuff, and in the later part of the year at Iowa he started to harness it to better effect. He’s also a potential starting pitcher, and I doubt the Cubs are going to let too many of them get away right now. I don’t think there is much of a chance that Cabrera would clear waivers. The odds are better on Mateo.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Cabrera has been all projection for five years now. I’m not saying I’d relish in the Cubs dropping him, but I am saying that if they absolutely had to choose two guys to remove from the roster – meaning no trade is available for anyone else, and their only option is to dump a couple guys – Cabrera is going to be in the conversation. Mateo first, Cabrera probably second.

  • rocky8263

    I look forward to meeting you at the convention, look for me in the mens room , second stall waving bleacher tickets under the divider. Go Cubs!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If I tap your shoe twice…

  • FromFenwayPahk

    Brett, thanks for the update. Your assembling of things Cubs, your insight and the openess you encourage here are helping me learn faster about the team I seem bound to cheer for (in the NL) this year.
    I also am always discovering (or reminding myself of) baseball basics that make the game more fun for me. I think some of your readers might benefit (as I do) from basics like:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/pitching/fip/
    And the movie that goes with it is short, if derivative of homestarrunner’s strongbad.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thank you very much for the link, FFP. I should have included that.

  • die hard

    re-signing Johnson makes no sense…..he won’t be half the player he was last year…this would have been great oppty to open up competition to youngsters from AA and AAA to be 4th or 5th OF…would also send message to minor leagues that if you are willing to work hard there will be a place for you….rather than just same old same old…and I do mean old

    • Toosh

      Back to your cave.

      • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

        I agree Die Hard. I thinner the Johnson sign was a idiotic move by Theo and Comp. If you have to make a decision on Seppalt and Campana after spring training, I would say release Johnson.

        • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

          Thats supposed to be think, not thinner. And Signing, not sign. And I originally maker in journalism.

        • die hard

          yea but then would have to pay him contract unlike NFL if cut him which why re-signing made no sense….looking forward move would have been as i said above…this is looking backwards

      • Caleb

        Toosh FTW!

    • Cerambam

      That’s exactly what everyone wrongly assumed last year too

    • Skinner

      Adding a cheap vet for depth hardly halts the progress of anybody in the minor leagues who tears it up in ST. If anything, seems to me the Johnson re-up is a signal that other vet OFs like Byrd are not long for this team.

  • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

    I hope you have¬† a baby sitter lined up for the convention if you’re both going, Ace. Will this be your first trip away from the baby? The first one’s always tough…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yup. First time. Little girl’s staying with the grandparents, and it’s going to be a bit weird. We’ve only been out, like, to dinner, three times without the little girl. Thank God for Facetime.

      • Packman711

        Where are we meeting up for said beer?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          That’s what I’m trying to determine.

          • TWC

            Y’all want to meet at my place?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Quite a drive.

  • rocky8263

    Room 2120, bring the Zambrano jersey. I’ll wear Barrett.

  • Skinner

    C’mon Brett, complaining that giving Reed Johnson 1.15MM is “paying for past performance” is being awfully, awfully nitpicky don’t you think?

    Clearly Theo was talking about big dollar long-term contracts when he said that.

    Besides, it takes very little from Reed to earn that contract. He was worth 5.6MM last year alone based on fWAR. And If everybody else around him plays better than he does, I’m sure Theo will have no problem letting him go.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It was absolutely nit-picky. That’s why it was relegated to a Bullet, in a parenthetical, followed by “but whateves.” That’s where the nittiest of nits are picked. :)

  • SirCub

    “Obligatory compensation joke”

    Love it.

  • TSB

    FIP; just what we need, another stat for the fantasy baseball bean counters.

    • FromFenwayPahk

      Yes, it is. But actually it helps removes some fantasies. Being disillusioned sucks…at first.

  • bt

    The answer to one of your questions is “in my pants”. I’ll let you figure out which.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I suck at riddles…

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