The Cubs Convention wraps up today with a couple sessions, and I plan to write up my experience soon. I’ll also soon have more on the announced changes at Wrigley Field (electronic scoreboard/patio seating area in right field), but, until then, Bullets…
- At a panel of the coaching staff yesterday, Dale Sveum was asked about his planned leadoff hitter. While Sveum said he couldn’t answer that quite yet, he said there are a number of options. Everyone is talking about Tony Campana, whom Sveum mentioned as kind of an afterthought (essentially saying if there was a way for Campana to get himself on base more, he could be a devastating player, which is correct). Instead, the first two names Sveum mentioned – the ones he’s clearly been thinking about – were David DeJesus (makes sense) and Darwin Barney. Um. What? Barney’s OBP last year was .313. He took a whopping 22 walks (five fewer than Alfonso Soriano). In no universe is that the guy who should be getting the most at bats on your team.
- Theo Epstein has been the star of the Cubs Convention, but he’d rather the focus was on the players.
- Tom Ricketts, who was brought into the discussion about re-signing Kerry Wood (probably to confirm that, if tossing Wood a couple extra million to get the deal done put the team “over budget,” Ricketts was ok with that), says he’s happy Wood is returning. “We talked about what was best for the organization and this is it,” Ricketts said. “In the end, it works out great, and this is what everybody wanted, every fan, everybody in the organization and also Kerry. He had a lot of offers. He could be in another city if that was his decision. From our standpoint, we’re happy that he wants to stay with the Cubs.”
- Ron Santo has been remembered fondly at the Convention. They showed a video tribute to Number 10 during the Opening Ceremonies. It was hard not to get a little misty-eyed.
- Friday was the deadline for players who are eligible for arbitration for “file” for arbitration, a procedural step that all such eligible players take. Now the exchange of salary requests will start on Tuesday, and hearings for players and teams who can’t settle on a contract will begin on February 1, and continue for much of that month. The Cubs’ arbitration-eligible players are Matt Garza, Geovany Soto, Jeff Baker, Randy Wells, Blake DeWitt, Ian Stewart, and Chris Volstad.
- Fluff on new first base prospect, Anthony Rizzo, who got one of the biggest cheers at the Convention. As Epstein and Jed Hoyer keep saying, he sounds like a great kid.