44 Days Until Pitchers and Catchers report to Fitch Park in Mesa.... The first Friday of the New Year and most of the Faithful are still discussing the Cubs trading Mark DeRosa and signing Aaron Miles on Wednesday.
Up next for the Cubs appears to be finalizing the Jason Marquis trade and the signings of Milton Bradley and Paul Bako. The hold up on the Marquis' deal appears to be physicals and the MLB front offices opening back up on Monday.
Here's the latest from the mill, a couple of news and notes, the launch of the MLB Network and a possible Opening Day lineup from the Tribune....
According to a report by Tim Brown on Yahoo Sports, Kevin Towers said it is "doubtful" that the recent moves by Jim Hendry to clear payroll and acquire prospects will allow the Padres and Cubs to reopen their talks for Jake Peavy.
The Tribune reported with the Cubs trading Mark DeRosa for three pitching prospects on Wednesday, a "combo platter" of Ronny Cedeno, Jeff Stevens, Felix Pie, Kevin Hart and Josh Vitters "could interest the Padres."
Tim Brown reported the same 3-year, $30 million dollar deal that rumors have suggested it would take to sign Milton Bradley. Brown indicated, "it is believed the Cubs will come close to that."
Jon Heyman reiterated the Cubs next move will be to sign their target for right field, Milton Bradley.
"The parameters of a multiyear deal are in place" for Milton Bradley according to the Sun-Times. Bradley apparently was willing to wait for the Cubs to free up the cash to sign him but the Washington Nationals have made a push to sign Bradley.
According to the Sun-Times, Sean Marshall "is the top in-house candidate" and Jeff Samardzija is "next in line" to replace Jason Marquis in the Cubs' rotation.....that is if they do not trade for Jake Peavy.
As mentioned, it appears to be just a matter of time before Paul Bako signs a 1-year, $500,000 deal to back-up Geovany Soto according to the Tribune.
Opening Day Lineup?
According to Paul Sullivan in the Tribune, Lou Piniella's lineup in Houston for the first game of 2009 could look like this:
- Aaron Miles - 2B
- Joey Gathright - CF
- Derrek Lee - 1B
- Aramis Ramirez - 3B
- Milton Bradley - RF
- Alfonso Soriano - LF
- Geovany Soto - C
- Ryan Theriot - SS
- Carlos Zambrano - P
Cubs Needs and What's Going On
According to NBC Sports, the Cubs need a left-handed-middle-of-the-order hitter, a right fielder, a reliever and a backup catcher. The report indicated the Cubs appear to "be a leading candidate to land Jake Peavy. A possible three-teamer also including Baltimore has been discussed, and Brian Roberts still is the leadoff hitter they need."
Our National Pastime went full time on New Year's Day. The much-anticipated launch of the 24-hour baseball channel did not disappoint. The first show centered on Baseball's Hot Stove Season and will air every night at 6:00pm C.T.
After the Hot Stove show, the network aired a replay of Don Larsen's Perfect Game, the only perfect game in the history of the World Series. Bob Costas hosted and spoke with Mr. Larsen and Yogi Berra as they watched Game 5 of the 1956 World Series from the second inning on.
The replay was very special to watch and to hear the stories from Mr. Berra and Mr. Larsen was priceless. Mr. Larsen admitted at the end that he did not know what a Perfect Game was at the time and did not find out until he was in the locker room after the game.
The MLB Network will air Ken Burns's Baseball every Tuesday at 7:00 C.T. throughout the off-season so for those that follow the history of the game, so Tuesday will become 'Must See TV'.
The new channel stepped up to the proverbial plate on the first night and hit one out.
2009 Baseball Calendar
- 1 - Launch of MLB Network
- 5 - 15 - Salary arbitration filing period
- 6 - Cubs 2009 Spring Training Single Game Tickets Go on Sale
- 12 - 2009 Hall of Fame results announced
- 16 - 18 - 24th Annual Cubs Convention
- 19 - Exchange of salary arbitration figures
- 1 - 21 - Salary arbitration hearings
- 14 - First date pitchers and catchers may report to Spring Training
- 15 - End of Waiver Period
- 16 - Beginning of New Waiver Period
- 17 - First date all players may report to Spring Training
- 22 - Mandatory Spring Training reporting date
- 25 - Cactus League Season Begins
- 25 - Opening Day of Cubs Cactus League Schedule - Cubs versus Dodgers at HoHoKam Park in Mesa
- 5 - Opening of 2009 World Baseball Classic
- 5 - 23 - 2009 World Baseball Classic
- 5 - MLB Opening Night
- 6 - Opening Day for Chicago Cubs in Houston
- 13 - Cubs Home Opener against the Colorado Rockies
Well, that's the latest....and I'm sticking to it!