Subscribe to the Newsletter

March 2011 Archives

Peavy in pain again

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

This news apparently broke too late for the Sunday papers: Jake Peavy has been shut down by the White Sox and probably will open the season on the DL, according to MLB.com. It figures. Just this morning, I was feeling pretty good about Peavy (so was Ozzie), a guy whose health I haven't trusted since the Sox got him in a supposed steal of a trade back in 2009.

Cue Phil Humber.

A day after my assessment of the Cubs, it's good timing to look at what's happening with the White Sox, as we've been greeted with two fairly big pieces of Pale Hose news this morning: Manager Ozzie Guillen has chosen Matt Thornton to open the season as his closer, and The Great and Powerful Oz also said Jake Peavy looks ready to start in April, at least a month ahead of what many of us assumed earlier.

With this news in mind, I'll kick off my spring training likes/unlikes:

Matt Thornton: Like. He actually hasn't done much one way or the other, and if he is going to be the closer, I would like to see him in some save situations soon, but you know what you're getting with Thornton. I have been a big fan of Chris Sale, but Thornton deserves the call right now.

Chris Sale: Unlike. I still actually like his promise, and hope Ozzie's tough love methods don't make him worse before he gets better again (and he will get better). However, spring training has been a big missed opportunity for him. On the plus side, he is striking guys out, and has only issued a couple walks, but he has been way too hittable for further consideration as closer.

Jake Peavy: Like. I have not always been a fan of Peavy, but the guy is showing his toughness coming back ahead of schedule, and has been pretty effective. I'm feeling more confident about him right now than about Mark Buehrle.

Mark Buehrle: Unlike. This is a borderline call, because he looked great in his start this week, and you know he will show up when the season starts. But these off-season regimens he has been engaging in the last two winters seem to do little for him, and I'm also getting tired of reading how baseball is a burden for him.

Ozzie Guillen: Like. He has been behaving well, and has been decisive about things like the closer move. What more can you ask for? Also has been very funny on Twitter--I want to create a Twitter feed built only around Ozzie retweets.

Lastings Milledge: Like. He has been a problem child and a bust elsewhere, and I'm not ready to believe he is a long-term answer for the Sox, but he has shown power, hitting chops and nice defense, and his speed fits the profile for the role previously played by Willie Harris, Dewayne Wise and Pablo Ozuna. It may be him of Brent Lillibridge. Sorry, Brent.

Tyler Flowers: Like. He was practically written off days into spring training, but has been hitting really well. The Cubs (with Wellington Castillo) and Sox both have great young catchers just about ready for the majors. I think the Cubs should turn to their newbie now, but I'm not sure the Sox would consider the same. I have a feeling the Sox' traditionally heavy focus on pitching favors vet Ramon Castro and puts Flowers back in the minors to start the season.

Brent Morel: Unlike. Like Sale, another young guy that was in a position to win a big job, but he just has not delivered, leaving Mark Teahen looking like a possible starter. Why do I have the feeling we will be seeing a lot of Omar Vizquel at third again?

Phil Humber and Jeff Marquez: Like. In a battle for bullpen spots, these guys are really showing their stuff. Humber looked good enough to be a possible fifth starter if Peavy would have need more time. He still looks like a bullpen lock and a successful Don Cooper reclamation project. Marquez has show flashes before, but could never stick with the big club. His 11 strikeouts in 9.1 innings and 1.93 ERA are pretty enticing.

Dayan Viciedo: Like. There was a lot to like before he was injured, and let's hope he can make a quick comeback.

Sox offense: Like. In terms of springs stats, the Sox are among the leaders in HRs and RBIs, which probably was expected. They also have been generally hitting better recently than earlier in the spring. On the down side, there have been fewer stolen bases than you would expect from an Ozzie team, and Adam Dunn has not done much yet. But, other middle of the order guys like Alex Rios, Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin look ready.

Sox defense: Unlike. The defense overall has been creaky (though not as bad as the Cubs'), and Gordon Beckham and Mark Teahen have specifically not been good. Beckham has hit well, but I hope he's not sacrificing growth on defense. Watching Teahen on defense makes me prefer Vizquel with one hand tied behind his back.

Spring training isn't over yet, but I just don't have Mike Quade's patience when it comes to making final roster decisions--or for being level-headed amid disastrous performance. With that in mind, here's my partial assessment of spring training heroes and zeroes thus far for the Cubs, in a language you social media-loving kids will find easy to understand (my White Sox review will follow shortly):

Starlin Castro: Like. Revive the hyperbole that greeted Castro's MLB debut in Cincinnati last season. With 4 HRs and 12 RBIs this spring while keeping his average consistently above .400, Castro is showing signs that he is ready to accept the probably unwanted mantle of being the Cubs' next big star. Is it too early to start planning where we will put his statue? How about at the corner of Aggressive Hitting and Poor Defense?

Carlos Zambrano: Like. Even-tempered? Check. Pitching well? Check. I reserve the right to click "Unlike" if either changes by May 1.

Carlos Silva: Unlike. He really should be gone by now, but the Cubs have a possibly misguided idea that keeping him on the staff will somehow project trade value upon him. Day by day, the out-of-shape, poor-performing, ill-tempered Silva is changing the assesment of the Milton Bradley trade from a clear win to a probable draw.

Blake DeWitt: Unlike. Seemed like a nice acquisition last year, but a pitiful spring has the Cubs rumored to be considering vet Luis Castillo, just released from the Mets.

Cubs starting pitchers: Like. Even though Silva didn't show up for the starting rotation battle, other starters have looked very good, and Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner have given little reason not to pick them as the fourth and fifth starters.

Andrew Cashner: Like. You can unlike the seven walks and 11 hits in 11 innings, but Cashner has been mostly effective. We'll see how we feel about him after he gets a spring training start.

Cubs defense: Unlike. The less said about this the better. Maybe a sign of the team's youth, but Aramis Ramirez in particular seems to be regressing.

Scott Moore: Like. Back in a Cubs during training uniform again after a brief stint in Baltimore, he is looking like a better back-up to Ramirez at third than DeWitt.

Wellington Castillo: Like.11 hits in 15 at-bats, and with the Cubs basically already out of contention, why not give him a longer tryout? Koyie Hill, by the way, is 1-for-24.

Tyler Colvin: Like. Another tentative endorsement. He is not exactly hitting everything in sight and defesne remains questionable, but you can tell the power storke is there.

Carlos Pena: Like. Ask me a week ago, and I would have felt differently, but Pena has slowly raised his average and found his homerun stroke.

Matt Garza: Like. Another slow starter who seems to be picking up the tempo, along with his pitch velocity.

Carlos Marmol: Unlike. Spring is just a tune-up, of course, but his propensity for walks is rearing its ugly head at a time when he should become the top closer in the majors. He's got about 10 days to get his head on straight.

Mike Quade: Like. Totally engaged and level-headed, though I would like to see him challenge his guys Ozzie-style on their defensive play and shoddy bullpen outings.

Jeff Samardzija, John Russell, John Gaub: Unlike.These guys all still look more like Quadruple A pitchers than big leaguers, which doesn't bode well for the future.

 

 

 

Dead men walking

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

Carlos Silva vs. Aramis Ramirez.

It almost seems like a PR stunt to make these Cubs look a bit more lively and passionate than they actually are.

It also conveniently covered the fact that the Cubs made three errors in one inning of what has been a ball-bobbling spring thus far. Sure, the errors may have had something to do with the fight, but the fight is what will be remembered.

My big question is will either Silva or Ramirez be with the Cubs at the end of the coming season? I think the odds are against it on both counts. Silva may not even break spring training with the team if he pitches as he did in the first inning against the Brewers before he and A-Ram scuffled (with A-Ram reportedly defending another teamate against Silva). Whatever value he seemed to possess early last season seems to have disappeared with his health issues that followed.

And unless the Cubs magically--and I do mean magically--end up in first place in July, I think Ramirez could be gone by the trade deadline, possibly to team like the White Sox that may find themselves in need of a third baseman and a bat. Though the Cubs would have to pay his option if they do trade him, I don't see him fitting in for long with Mike Quade-led team.

If it sounds like I'm really down on the new-look Cubs, that is not necessarily true. Starlin Castro is having a great spring--except when the ball is hit to him--and should have an even better second year than his first. In general, I think the Cubs will be the sort of team they look like--scrappy offense, decent starting pitching, excellent bullpen, sad defense. In their division, with the Cardinals falling to pieces, that could very well be a third place team.

Don't look so disappointed.

Peavy's debut

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

So far, so good for Jake Peavy. In his first spring training start and first start of any kind in many months, he blanked the LA Angels for two innings. The effectiveness is appreciated, but I'm simply happy Peavy didn't stumble off the mound writhing in pain at any point.

I've doubted Peavy could be ready for the start of the season, but there suddenly seems to be a glimmer of hope.

Peavy's shutout innings today also extended the impressive streak of shutout innings by White Sox starters to 10. For spring training, that is darn good.

I've got some commentary on the Cubs' latest dugout scuffle I'll be posting a little later on.

Top 5 from the Archive

Triple Header

Categories


Monthly Archives

Breaking Beachwood Sports Feed!