It doesn’t “matter,” and .500 isn’t “good,” but today the Chicago Cubs climbed back to .500 on the Spring. Now they will enter tomorrow’s final game with a chance to finish the Cactus League with a winning record. I can’t help it: I like that.

The bits…

  • All three of Arizona’s runs came off of starter Jay Jackson, who is ticketed for AAA, and perhaps his last chance to show he’s going to be worth a look in the bigs eventually. A former top pitching prospect, Jackson has had back-to-back disappointing seasons as his stuff regressed and he couldn’t dominate tougher competition.
  • Most of the regulars were looking good – Geovany Soto went deep, Darwin Barney had another couple hits (including a double), and so did Starlin Castro (both of his were doubles). Marlon Byrd also had a double.
  • Joe Mather had a hit in four at bats (a double, imagine that), and played a little third base and center field.
  • Alfonso Soriano went hitless again, though, and his Spring numbers have dropped precipitously since his early league dominance. That’s right: one of the streakiest hitters in baseball is getting cold just in time for the regular season. Neat.
  • Kerry Wood actually threw an entire inning today, and it was perfect.
  • Two of the remaining bullpen competitors got an inning of work, and kept things scoreless. But Manny Corpas was perfect with two strikeouts, and Lendy Castillo gave up two hits. Dale Sveum has spoken highly of each at different points this Spring, but it’s going to be hard for the Cubs to keep both. To do so would require dumping one of Rodrigo Lopez (almost certainly the long man) or Shawn Camp (a quality vet who’s looked good). Castillo’s upside is huge, but if he’s not ready to really contribute in the bigs (and, I kind of want to say: how could he be? He’s a 22-year-old kid who’s only been pitching for a couple years, both in the very low minors), can the Cubs afford to go with an essentially six-man pen?
  • BeyondFukudome

    The Reds have extended Votto through 2023, so Cub fans and Joey can continue to dislike each other for the foreseeable future…

    • MichiganGoat

      I know its been reported that they have reached agreement but I haven’t heard any details. Yahoo did say it will be over 200M so I guess the Pujols and Fielder signing really set the market.

      • Ryan

        10 years 225 million

        • MichiganGoat

          Wow, it’s going to get interesting if this is what players will demand. Say Castro, Rizzo, and BJax all become MVP caliber player (or even two of them) teams may be looking at having 350-400M tied up to two players.

          • Ryan

            That is why the Cubs and a lot of other teams need to follow the Tampa Bay model and get the young players under contract extensions to buy out arb years plus a year or 2 of free agency

            • DocWimsey

              The Rays can do that only with willing players, and not all of their players have been willing to do this. It is a gamble on both ends: if Moore blows out his arm this year, then the Rays are on the hook for a lot of $$$$; if he is Cy Young caliber, then he looses a bit of $$$$.

              • Ryan

                yeah its a gamble but isn’t it better to take a chance on a contract that won’t hamstrung an orginazation and have cost certainty for a few years

                • drew

                  I just depends on the player i think. Id be much more inclined to take that gamble on a position player (ie Castro) without a doubt.

                  With pitchers (like the Matt Moore deal), theres just so much uncertainty. I think I would generally stay away from it.

                  Even though Prior had red flags and a bad manager from the beginning, he would be in the back of my head every time the situation came up!

        • MichiganGoat

          After today’s contract extensions and the ones that will follow these, Soriano’s contract becomes more and more tolerable.

          • Kyle

            It’s true. After a period of stagnation, it appears we’re back into a stretch of escalating contract values again. What seems awful one year will seem reasonable the next.

  • Ivy Walls

    quote: “Now they will enter tomorrow’s final game with a chance to finish the Cactus League with a winning record. I can’t help it: I like that.”

    A friend and HOF college BB coach told me once: “I don’t buy the idea that a team learns anything from a loss, the only thing they learn is how to lose games.”

    This is true. Now it is said that ST games don’t mean “$#it, and records will show many anecdotes either way. The question is how are teams actually playing.

    This year I see so many changes from base running, hitting, fielding and even pitching.

  • Chris

    I say they keep Lendy Castillo and go with a 6-man bullpen, because the focus is not on 2012. Castillo has more upside than Camp and Lopez and possibly Corpas, as well.

  • MaxM1908

    Two days left without baseball…Not very optimistic for the coming season, but can’t wait for it to start.

  • ArturoGuez

    How it all works is confusing and strange this pro system of baseball. Used to be talent ruled. Instead, guesswork backed by sunk dollars and forced opportunities to delay the failures. You just don’t release D1 college All Americans with .350 career BA, plus/plus throwing arms, high-level athletics after 1/2 season and 200 plate appearances of A ball, especially when they perform solidly in Spring Training. WTF did the Cubs do?

    • Ferrets bueller

      The heck are you mumbling about?