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The Cubs Convention is one week away, and, despite the lack of banner-name acquisitions, I’m pretty excited. My wife, who’s coming with me, is going to get a taste of just how nuts Cubs fans can be – at least I hope.

  • Speaking of the Convention, the Cubs have finally released the (mostly) full schedule of events and the players expected to be in attendance (together with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Dale Sveum). Among the players expected to appear: Starlin Castro, Marlon Byrd, Ian Stewart, David DeJesus, Travis Wood, Chris Volstad Ryan Dempster, Carlos Marmol, Geovany Soto, Jeff Samardzija, Randy Wells, Darwin Barney, Tony Campana, Andrew Cashner, and others. A number of prospects will also be in attendance, including Brett Jackson, Welington Castillo, Matt Szczur and Josh Vitters.
  • Now, would it be totally ridiculous of me to point out two names missing from the list of players, thus implying that there is a reason for their absence beyond maybe “they didn’t want to come” or “the PR department forgot to include their names”? The names, of course, are Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano. I choose to imply nothing.
  • Weekend passes for the Convention are still available, which is probably indicative of a slight drop in enthusiasm among the fan base. But, whateves, that just means you still have a chance to go. Where you can meet ME!
  • The Cubs also released the full Cubs Caravan itinerary. Just about everyone is participating at the various school stops on at least one of the days, which is pretty cool.
  • New Cubs pitcher, Chris Volstad, is excited about his future in Chicago. He’s even got some very specific plans about how he’s going to succeed at Wrigley Field. “I love it,” Volstad said of the Cubs’ home park. “The fan base is outstanding. You know the area and the atmosphere is the best in baseball, and I’m excited for that. A ground-ball pitcher, [with] the infield grass, it’s going to be great. I’m really excited to start the year.” Get that sinker working, and we’ll all be excited, too, Chris.
  • St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan is stepping aside for now to tend to his wife, who has been battling cancer. Obviously this could have an impact on the Cardinals, but thinking of such things now is indelicate, at best. Here’s hoping things turn out as well as they can for the Duncans.
  • Paul Sullivan looks at how the Cubs’ rotation stands right now, and it’s just as you’d expect – Garza, Dempster, Wells, Wood, Volstad, with Samardzija, Cashner, and Sonnanstine as possibilities. I’d throw in Casey Coleman and Jay Jackson as theoreticaly possibilities, as well. Chris Rusin has an outside chance. Trey McNutt and Ryan Searle are even more outside-y chance-y. The depth story this year looks slightly better than last year, and I doubt the Cubs are done accumulating depth.
  • BN’er Oswego Chris puts together his All-Galaxy Team (‘Star Wars’-themed, but with actual MLB players). It’s a one-of-a-kind thing, that, if you’re even moderately into ‘Star Wars,’ you should check out.
  • I keep reading about Joe Torre’s gutsy/risky/gamblin’ move to leave behind a well-paying job with MLB for a chance to buy the Dodgers. Folks, the guy is 71 years old and has made tens and tens of millions of dollars in his career. He’s trying to buy a freaking baseball team, for crying out loud. Leaving your job in that scenario is gutsy?
  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    And, yes, I’ve read the CBS report of sexual assault allegations against Starlin Castro. I think we should all be very careful about what we say about this for now. On the one hand, the reported allegations are very serious. On the other hand, there isn’t much information available.

    I’m not putting my head in the sand, but I just think we, as fans, should be very careful. That’s all. And, for that reason, I don’t think it’s the right time to have a full post on the subject.

    I’d ask you to all think very, very carefully before you type something for the world to see about the reported allegations.

    • jt

      I’m sure we’ll find out more if he shows up to the cubs convention. I’d have to say that the fact that charges haven’t been filed yet, and it’s taken this long to come out leads me to believe that (hopefully) it’s something that can be worked out without jail time. But who knows until we find out more. Would really be a shame to see him throw away one of the more promising baseball careers we’ve seen come through chicago in a long time. I really hope he didn’t do anything that will get him jail time.

      • Boog

        Starlin isn’t going to jail. She told police that she blacked out, not passed out… If she had blacked out, she couldn’t credibly tell a jury whether she consented to the act or not, because she would have no recollection of the events leading up to when she came out of it with Castro on top of her.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackout_%28alcohol-related_amnesia%29

        • CubFan Paul

          thats probably the Main reason why charges havent been filed yet

    • ferrets_bueller

      If Roethlisburger can get off….

      • Wilbur

        Have read nothing of the event so I have no opinion and I’m not casting dispersions on you FB as I certainly understand the legal aspect your pointing out.

        However, as a father of two girls if a Cub player ever sexually assaults a woman I will be cheering like they just hit a Joe Carter home run to win the Series for the Cubs when they go to jail and find out what sexual assault is like from the other side.

        • Hrubes20

          Father of 1 daughter here, and a civil sexual assault attorney. I am a huge fan of Castro’s, but if this is true, he’s dead to me.

    • CubFan Paul

      i thought Castro came to town (milwaukee) to meet Epstein during the GM Meetings

  • A_Mazz_Ing

    Well all I’m going to say about the Castro situation is that we will find out a bit more in a week’s time. If he is still attending the convention, there will be police at the airport waiting to question him. I am wondering if he will still attend just because you know there will be Cubs fans that won’t bite their tongue and start making Roethlisberger/Bryant comments before all the facts are out.

    On another note… I find it VERY strange Garza won’t be attending… Soriano I can care less, but Garza is normally very involved with the team functions…

  • ferrets_bueller

    Personally, I like that projected rotation a heck of a lot more with Wells gone and replaced with Shark or Cashner…

    • CubFan Paul

      dempster will definitely traded before the deadline in july (turn short term assets into long term assets) so we’re still another front of the rotation starter or two away from being done this offseason

      • Toosh

        Gotta agree. The Cubs are not done yet this off-season. I believe more starting pitching is on the way, plus another first baseman besides LaHair, and they have too many outfielders.

      • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

        I think he is dealt before the season starts…then again I may be getting too hopeful in thinking Soriano and Dempster will be moved.

    • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

      Wha? Wells has been a good back-of-the-rotation type.  A guy that can go out and usually eat at least 4 innings on a bad day but also possibly give you 7…Having Randy Wells in the 2012 rotation will not be the thing that dooms us to a losing record.

      • CubFan Paul

        i’d rather see Wells traded because of his rising salary (and not being worth it) and Samardjiza and Cashner get a real opportunity to win the 5th spot or at least get the spot after Dempster is traded mid season: as in, maybe Samardjiza starts the season in the rotation then Cashner joins him mid season to get 10-15 starts going into the offseason

    • The Simpleton

      Dempster has 10 & 5 rights and unless something spectacular comes up I don’t see him accepting a trade at any point this year. He is a lot like Woody in the fact that he and his family are very happy and active in the community and I don’t think they want to go anywhere. So very little chance he accepts a trade this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him give a deep home town discount (ala Woody) next year to stay in Chicago…and if that happens at a good price, no reason for the Cubs not to keep him around as your #3 starter for the next 2-3 years. Again, just my opinion but he almost certainly won’t be getting traded this year.

  • Bren

    How exactly does one pronounce “Szczur” is it like ‘Caesar’?

    • ferrets_bueller

      Yep.

      • JulioZuleta

        Its closer to scissor.

        • Toosh

          It might be Sic-zic-ur.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      It is Caesar. I think the accent is even in the same place.

      • JulioZuleta

        It’s a testament to Jerry Angelo that between Szczur and Samardzija, the best Wide Receivers in Chicago are on the Cubs.

        • Toosh

          Good point! Hopefully the new guy can draft better. That’s where it all starts.

  • gblan014

    I don’t know if this is the right place for that, but I have two tickets to the Convention that I, sadly, can’t use anymore. If anyone is interested in them, you can contact me at gblan014@gmail.com.

  • http://cubbiekingdom.wordpress.com hansman1982

    I am excited about Volstad coming to the Cubs.  His xFIP was ridiculous last year compared to his ERA and he induced 16% more ground balls than the league average.  The odd thing, though, is that he gave up .3 more HR/9 than average.  Very interesting team Epstein is putting together.

  • Deez
  • JulioZuleta

    The price of a Cubs Convention ticket is easssily worth a Brett Taylor autograph (assuming he won’t charge for them).

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I accept compliments as payment.

  • Levo

    I can’t wait. I go every year. But I promise if I get asked if I am a player in the minors again…….

  • Hawkeye
    • “Now, would it be totally ridiculous of me to point out two names missing from the list of players, thus implying that there is a reason for their absence beyond maybe “they didn’t want to come” or “the PR department forgot to include their names”? The names, of course, are Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano. I choose to imply nothing.”

    I am guessing that though it was not mentioned, Cashner’s name wasn’t on the list either.   The new FO really is like a bunch of Ninjas.   Color me impressed.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    garza for two top pitching prospects and a low level position player or two still sound like a good idea in the process that seems to be taking place.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    abunch of hungry kids in chicago… kinda like the bulls.

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