Now We Know Who the 9th Starter is and Other Bullets

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Now We Know Who the 9th Starter is and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Because Friday is reserved for merriment and absurdity tied to nothing at all, I offer to you the musical stylings of Jan Terri. The Wife and I had a veritable Jan Terri dance party last night. A particular recommendation? Get Down Goblin. You’re welcome for the life-changing introduction.

  • Jeff Samardzija was understandably thrilled to make the rotation, suggesting that it could be one of his greatest professional accomplishments. “You don’t know how many opportunities you’re going to get to start,” Samardzija said. “Once you become a reliever and have success, a lot of times that’s where you end up in your career. I really wanted to give this a full head of steam and a full shot. I think that showed my growth and where I’m at today. Normally, I probably would’ve tried to throw 100 [mph] and try to strike everyone out and I didn’t do that. I came out and threw strikes and continued what I’ve been doing all spring. I think it shows a little maturity on the mound.” Samardzija as a starter remains a high risk, high reward proposition: if he’s really developed the kind of impressive control he’s shown this Spring, as well as good movement down in the zone, he could be a very good starter. If there was any year for the Cubs to throw caution to the wind and give him a shot, this was the year.
  • Casey Coleman says the reason he was sent to AAA Iowa rather than making the bullpen is because the Cubs would prefer to keep him a starter. “I didn’t know what to expect,” Coleman said. “I know I put myself in position to make the team but in the end, they need me more as a starter. I can’t argue with them about that. They’re the ones making the decisions. Wherever they need me, I’ll try my best …. It’s a good thing that we have more pitching, more depth. I hope this spring showed guys I can do both. I can go up there in the bullpen as well. That was the opportunity they gave me and I hope I proved I could do it.” Coleman, right now, is the Cubs’ 7th or 8th starter, behind Randy Wells, and probably behind Rodrigo Lopez, too. If Travis Wood shows quickly that he’s ready to go, Coleman is then probably the 9th starter. Insert Theo-and-Jed-know-who-your-9th-starter-is jokes here.
  • Randy Wells couldn’t have been thrilled to hear Dale Sveum say this: “Welington Castillo was probably the most difficult [decision], and one where you had to make him understand that he’s an everyday catcher and will make a lot of money and probably play in All-Star Games. He just needs to go down and play every single day.” Good on Castillo, but you’d think demoting Wells was a slightly harder decision, given that one of Castillo and Steve Clevenger was going to have to go down no matter what.
  • The Braves have shown interest not only in Marlon Byrd, but also “lesser available Cubs,” according to David O’Brien. Does that mean Cubs who are less available, or available Cubs who are of a lesser quality than Byrd? If it’s the former, pretty everyone is available for the right price. If it’s the latter, could the Braves be interested in super utility player Jeff Baker? If so, that could explain why a guy like Tony Campana is hanging around camp despite everyone knowing he’s not going to make the Opening Day roster (…unless someone like Baker is traded).
  • Jed Hoyer says the Cubs are still looking to add a reliever, preferably a left-handed one. That’s fine with me – right now, James Russell is the only lefty, and the last few options in the pen aren’t overly exciting – but it makes you wonder what the front office/coaching staff saw in Scott Maine that they didn’t like. The lefty  appeared in eight games (7.2 innings) and put up a 1.17 ERA, holding batters to a .192 average. Perhaps it was those seven walks…
  • On the bullpen, we’re pretty sure Rafael Dolis is locked in, together with Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood, and James Russell. ESPN’s Scott Padilla (link above) and Paul Sullivan agree that there is another pitcher locked in, but they disagree on the identity. Padilla says it’s Rodrigo Lopez, while Sullivan says it’s Shawn Camp. I’d lean toward Lopez as closer to a lock if I had to choose, but I don’t know that either is a certainty at this point. Lendy Castillo, Manny Corpas, and Frankie De La Cruz are also trying to grab a spot. Total guess on those last three spots (which changes every day)? Lopez, Castillo, and Corpas, unless the Cubs pick up another lefty (which I think is at least 50/50).
  • When I heard about Chris Carpenter’s elbow surgery, my first inclination was to be nervous about what the Red Sox might do (gee, can’t imagine how that feeling has been fostered in me over the past several months). Fortunately, Jed Hoyer came out and said the Cubs had no idea about any elbow issues for Carpenter (and, indeed, he’d passed a physical with the Cubs and was participating in all activities at the time he was traded), and Nick Cafardo had a source tell him nothing more was going to happen. Exhale. Er … not so fast. Now Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald says “the Sox said yesterday they do not consider the talks officially over. The club is weighing its options about what to do next, said a Red Sox source.” The article goes on to lay out the facts – everything was conducted in the open, Carpenter passed a physical with the Cubs and with the Red Sox, no one thinks the Cubs were trying to pull a fast one, and neither side knew about the bone spurs when the deal went down. So, like, what the hell else is there to talk about? Unless I’m missing something, that falls squarely into the “shit happens” department of baseball trades.
  • Twitterer @GoMirrus has an early look at the new LED board and patio area in right field. To me, as expected, it looks incredibly not intrusive (and not a big deal).
  • SI projects the 2012 Cubs to win just 66 games, fourth worst in baseball (better only than the Astros, Orioles and Mariners). If the Cubs are going to lose that many games, I hope they go big, and finish worst in baseball. I think they’ll lose a lot of games, but probably not quite that many.
  • Jason Jaramillo is no longer with the Cubs, by the way, having been released a while ago (no one noticed), and now has signed with the Brewers.
  • MLBullets over at BCB – Magic Johnson is already telling the world about how much money the Dodgers are going to spend on free agents. Swell.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.