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The Cubs Convention is a bit too fast and furious for me to cover as live as I thought I might (in part, I’ll admit, because I’m a fan, and I’m having a great time – and I’ve already met so many awesome people), so I probably won’t be able to do much in the way of a round-up until after the event. But, I don’t want to shirk my duties entirely, so here is a quick set of Bullets…

  • Starlin Castro, who did appear last night during the Opening Ceremonies of CubsCon, met with police late Thursday night for his long-awaited interview about sexual assault allegations dated back to September. Castro offered a statement on the matter, which is as much as he can do right now: “I personally, and through my attorneys, have fully cooperated with the police in this matter. Unfortunately I cannot address the matter further at this time while the investigation is taking place. I understand that being a member of the Cubs means being a hard worker on the field and a good citizen off the field, and I always want to carry myself in a way that exceeds high expectations.”
  • The Cubs are set to sign utility player Alfredo Amazega to a minor league deal, about which, more later in the weekend/early next week.
  • The Yankees traded Jesus Montero, together with a prospect, to the Mariners for Michael Pineda, which is a bit of a bummer, because: (1) it definitely takes the Yankees out of the Matt Garza market, and (2) that’s not really a huge return for Pineda, who might have more trade value than Garza.
  • Speaking of Garza, he – who last night touched my friend’s shoulder, who then touched my shoulder (transitive swoon!) – he says he’s not too bothered by all of the trade rumors. “I really don’t pay attention,” Garza said Friday. “I’ve got way too many things going on. I work out three to four hours a day, and I’ve got three kids, and two go to school and I’m busy, busy, busy. Most of my focus is on getting ready for February.” And Theo Epstein continued to do the complimentary, but kinda “selling” thing: “He’s a rare, rare commodity — a top of the rotation type starter who has proven it in the [American League] East, he’s proven it last year,” Epstein said. “He’s playoff proven. He’s a guy who, when he has the ball, our team thinks we’ll win that day and that’s important.”
  • Buster Olney keeps attaching the Cubs’ name to Prince Fielder rumors, which I almost don’t even want to mention. It’s very, very hard to see the Cubs having any interest at all in Fielder at this point, but I suppose if he came on a ridiculously team-friendly deal, the Cubs would have to listen. I don’t see that happening, obviously.
  • die hard

    Rumor has it that Marmol was asked to beef up so he could move into starting rotation….same thing happened back in the day with Fergie Jenkins…the rest is history…I think he can do it too….

    • ferrets_bueller

      That might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever read.  You need your starters to be in BETTER shape, not worse.  There is a difference between beefing up and getting fat….

      • Jeff L

        I agree with you but there are exceptions to the rule. David Wells and Bartollo Colon in his “hey” day just to name a couple. But general rule of thumb you want your pitchers to be in great shape.

      • BetterNews

        Yes, it could be the stupidest. No I take that back! Tim Tebow beating the Patriots was the stupidest thing I ever heard in my life!

  • die hard

    Ichiro to Cubs for Dempster and Soriano with Cubs picking up 90% of Soriano salary could work out for both teams

  • Cubsin

    It seems unlikely the Cubs would plan to try Marmol as a starter, then trade Marshall and Cashner, nearly lose Kerry Wood to free agency, and tell Samadzijah to prepare to compete for a spot in the rotation.

  • ferrets_bueller

    Actually, I believe that the Yankees got ripped off.  Pineda is, IMO, never going to be an ace.  He could be a number 2, but I think he lies around a 3 with the possibility of an even further regression.  2 pitch flyball pitcher in NYS, no thanks.  And his mechanics are highly suspect, he’s still leaning towards ‘thrower’ vs ‘pitcher’.  Was his steady, linear decline throughout last year due to fatigue, or hitters realizing he’s….a two pitch flyball pitcher? (albeit, with two great pitches) His splits away from the vast confines of Safeco seem to back up concerns.

    We all know all about what Montero can possibly bring to the table, and its scary.  But the other guy they got, Noesi, is highly underrated.  Highly underrated, to the point that I know a few Yankee guys who actually think higher of him than they do of Banuelos and Betances.

  • Jeff L

    Ferrets the thing is Montero may be a very good hitter, but he is a defensive liability. Who the heck thinks Pineda can’t one day be an ace??? He had a fantastic year last year and is very young. There’s no reason in the future he can’t turn into an ace

    • ferrets_bueller

      ….except for the fact that he’s a two pitch flyball pitcher going to a bandbox stadium, who has a seriously questionable delivery and mechanics, and already has shown signs of regressing.  He could, he couldn’t, I’m inclined to lean towards #2/3 type pitcher or lower.

      David Ortiz or Frank Thomas weren’t much on defense, but they sure had a hell of a lot of value (;

  • BetterNews

    See Garza is not going anywhere!

  • terry

    Ok can someone explain to me how when theo and company first came they said they were going to build the farm up and the major league team up thru trades and free agents. They are doing ok for the farm but not the major team. Someone said they wouldn’t go after fielder because it was a youth movement umm isn’t fielder like 27? Younger than lahair. And Defently more proven than either of their two first basemen. Then you sign reed Johnson. And older players. How is that a rebuild? It seems they want mostly unproven players. Some of these players may become superstars. That is a big maybe.

    • BetterNews

      I’m not sure what your asking? are you saying Reed should not be on the team?

  • terry

    Basically how are they making the mlb team competive by not having a superstar player like a fielder? Rizzo may be one someday. But how can our manager say we have our power at first. When neither is proven? I guess I’m missing something. Or maybe

    • BetterNews

      I’ll try to answer that. I’m not speaking for Theo,Brett or anyone else. Riizzo could be good quickly. Power at first and third is there by considered(theoretcally) very good!

  • terry

    And no I like Johnson. But are they actually wanting the team to finish in last place? A lot of triple a teams could probably beat this team. Reminds me of the movie major league. Is rockets looking to move the team if they finish last.. just joking.

    • BetterNews

      Lot of people joking about that! But I think this team is gonna be a BETTER surprise.

  • terry

    Hope your right. But I don’t see them there. Sure sori comes out and hits 50+ HR and maybe Lahair hits a bunch. Maybe Stewart and soto have great years. A lot of maybe’s

    • BetterNews

      I don’t think it’s gonna be about home runs. I know fans want that, but I think your gonna see runners coming around home plate! What a change!

  • BetterNews

    Brett—I say again! No sail/sale on Garza!

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    i know it wouldnt happen but the rays wanted rizzo real bad also….
    could we sign fielder 6 yr 150…..then trade sori an rizzo and cash to tampa for shields

    sheilds dempster malholm volstad wood..solid rotation imo…..then trade….garza/vitters to det. for .3b-castelenos,rhp-rondon,lhp-smyly,lhp-crosby and ptbnl….

    the staff would be just as strong and the lineup better…….fft….i doubt itll happen but either way if we go w/rizzo im cool with it.

    • Eric

      Would rather have Rizzo. Then spend the big money later, in a few years after Rizzo, Castro, Jackson, and whoever else are in their primes and big time bats.

    • Quintz

      I think you some how formulated a hypothetical trade scenario that would/could never happen and would not only benefit neither team, actually significantly hurt both teams, that’s not easy. If we can all get past the idea of the Cubs competing this year (like management already has) this process will go a whole lot smoother.

  • Old school

    Terry makes a good point on PFs age, unfortunately it is becoming apparent it is not part of the plan. Free agents are the final puzzle pieces – fill-in. We (the Cubs) are two years away from the premier free agents. Personally I don’t mind waiting a couple years based on the effort/activity seen this off season. Add the puzzle pieces when we have the right inexpensive productive assets (Theology). I wish we had Theo/Jed in 2003-2004 when we had a pair of inexpensive assets, I mean aces. Maybe we would still be talking about the bambino curse…

  • 2much2say

    Fielder vs 6/150 mil
    Reyes 6/106 mil and Papelbon 4/44 mil
    Yu Darvish 5/100 mil Rollins 5/40 mil Kuroda 1/10 mil
    Wilson 5/75 Buerhle 4/58 Kuroda 1/10
    Pena, Kelly Johnson, Rollins, Ramirez, Beltran, Cuddyer, Crisp, Ramon Hernandez

    • ferrets_bueller

      Back to spout more gibberish, I see.

    • JR 1908

      What the hell is that 2 much 2 say? Great job on throwing a bunch random b.s. out there. Impressive…

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