Read about Reed?

I don’t normally simply regurgitate news on Prose and Ivy.  I try to keep this simply a place for opinion, analysis and humor with regards to baseball in general and of course the Cubs.  However, this appears to be one of the last huge moves by the club to get our 2008 club to the roster its going to be (the only other move we could possibly expect that’s been discussed up to now is the Roberts move).  So, here is the news off MLB.com about the Cubs acquiring Reed Johnson: the right handed hitter that can play all three outfield positions that Hendry wanted to add before Opening Day.  Again, I’m glad its not Jay Payton:

The Chicago Cubs today announced the club has agreed to terms with
outfielder Reed Johnson on a one-year contract. Johnson, who will wear
uniform number 13, is scheduled to be in the Cubs line-up for this
afternoon’s game against San Francisco in Scottsdale.

Johnson, 31, is a career .281 hitter (585-for-2083) with 114 doubles,
14 triples, 42 home runs, and a .342 on-base percentage in all or part
of five Major League seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays (2003-07)
covering 610 games. He has excelled in his career vs. left-handed
pitching, batting .308 (216-for-701) with a .371 on-base percentage and
a .462 slugging percentage vs. southpaws.

The right-handed batter and thrower has batted in the leadoff
spot in 394 games, batting .290 (443-for-1526) with a .353 on-base
percentage, and batted in the second spot in the order in 104 games,
posting a .273 batting average. He has seen action in 398 games in left
field, 197 games in right and 64 games in center.

In his last full Major League season with the Blue Jays in
2006, Johnson batted .319 (147-for-461) with 86 runs scored, 34
doubles, 12 home runs, a .390 on-base percentage and a .479 slugging
percentage in 134 games, all career bests. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder
missed more than three months last season due to surgery on April 17 to
correct a herniated disc in his lower back. He batted .236 in only 79
contests, though still hit .325 (25-for-77) with a .381 on-base
percentage vs. left-handed pitching.

Looking forward to getting my first look at Mr. Johnson/our fourth outfielder this afternoon against San Fran.  I admire the organizations efforts to try and get all the pieces together before opening day.  I don’t know what’s been holding up the Roberts deal, our side or theirs and only those involved know the answer to that question.  Assuming that deal doesn’t go through, I still feel good about the choices the club has made lately and minus a couple bats I’d like to see more successful at the plate this Spring, I like the way the team looks going into Opening Day.  Less than a week away!  Glad the Cubs’ first game won’t require me to get up at 5:00 in the morning.  I’d do it, but ****…that is EARLY.

If you haven’t already seen the Prose and Ivy spheroid on MLBlogosphere, click on these three pics and check it out.

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Opening Day: 5 days and counting!  Go Cubs Go!

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Two Out of Three

All Spring I’ve been pushing for Marmol to be the Cubs’ closer and for Marquis and Dempster to get the remaining rotation spots over Lieber.

Two out of three sounds good to me.

Considering the setup roles are so important, having Marmol and Howry there will be great come the regular season.  And when a lefty is called upon, if Pignatiello is called on to replace Eyre as the lefty coming out of the bullpen, I feel confident there too.  Also, while I believe Marmol should be the guy over Wood, I feel good about having him there as in insurance in case Wood gets hurt…which history shows, there is a great chance that will happen.  Until then though, hard to argue with Wood getting the go-ahead considering he has had a great Spring, still yet to walk a batter.

So here we have it…our rotation and our closer.  I’m so glad we don’t have to worry, or wonder any longer about how Piniella wants to put this team together.  I like the way the team looks and as soon as a couple more bats can get hot, we’ll be good at the plate as well as on the mound.  Speaking of which, I wonder if Marquis’ words after his first Spring start had anything to do with him getting the fifth spot in the rotation as opposed to the third (which went to Dempster).  I’m glad Marquis will be happy with the situation as I didn’t want to see him be the reason he leaves the team by forcing/requesting a trade.  If the club thinks they can improve themselves by dealing him, so be it.  I wonder if maybe the Orioles were holding off on the Roberts trade to see what the Cubs were going to do about their rotation and then wait to see if they could get the odd man out included instead of taking someone like Marshall in a deal.  I think our bullpen will be plenty strong even if Lieber is sent to Baltimore so it will be interesting to see what happens.  (Listening to the game right now and Derosa just blasted a three run shot, his first HR of the Spring…great to see him back, healthy and crushing fastballs over the wall…4-1 Cubs!)

Before wrapping this post up, just want to thank Mark and MLBlogs for showcasing Prose and Ivy today on the MLBlogosphere in the Spheroids section.  You can read it here.  If you’re here as a result, welcome and I hope you have a good time reading my blog.  To everyone else, thanks for coming back and I look forward to hearing from all of you throughout the season!  Feel free to leave comments or chat live about Cubs baseball.

Speaking of which, I’ll be in the chat room for a bit during the game if anyone feels like talking baseball!  Go Cubs Go!
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Over and Over and Over and Over and Over

This morning I was lying in bed, motivating myself to get up and contribute to society. I had nowhere to be today and its days like today I find are hardest to motivate myself to do anything but lay in bed, blog, or watch reruns of Entourage on demand. Actually, that last one only applied to today, but you understand.

Just as I was about to reach the point where I give in to the guilt and decide which of the three I would do next, something hit my bedroom window. Actually, let me rephrase that. Something flew into and repeatedly hit my bedroom window. Not once. Not twice. Not even only a third time. Many, many times.

Now, after you reach the 20-time mark, you find yourself wondering, “What the **** is that?”

I leaned forward (not quite ready to get up at that point mind you) and I saw what it was. And it was perfect. I kept hearing it over and over and over and over again. Trying to go through and failing each time. After each time I heard it hit, I waited to hear it again. Waited to see if a different result would occur. Wondered if it was a good idea…if I might regret waiting to see what would happen or not. It couldn’t have been good for the bird and it probably wasn’t the best thing for my window. But still, I couldn’t help but enjoy the irony of it all. Over and over and over again…same result: nothng.

“So what Ryan, a bird kept running into your window, big deal”, right? Wrong. It wasn’t just ‘a bird’. It, my friend…was an Oriole.

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Something about…

It would have been great for the Cubs to be must see MLB.TV today, but unfortunately they were only available on their audio service. And it would’ve been great if I had been able to sit and listen to the game all afternoon, but unfortunately I was busy and reduced to refreshing my cell phone box score every 10 minutes throughout the day. And it would’ve been great if the Cubs won, but they didn’t. The things that were great though? A few…

I really like Marquis. Everyone says stupid things and occasionally suffers from bad timing. I think Marquis saying that he should start or he’ll look to leave town after just ONE Spring start was ridiculously bad timing. But I definitely liked WHAT he said more than WHEN he said it. And I love that he’s backing it up with strong performances. Today Marquis went three solid innings giving up four hits and collecting one strike out, keeping his spring ERA at 3.60. I’m glad to see Marquis and these other guys we know we will be counting on (like Wood and Howry today with solid innings and only giving up a hit a piece) doing really well and it really being only the guys the organization wants to ‘get a look at’ that are really blowing these games. Piniella isn’t crazy about losing EVER and I think that’s a great quality to have in a manager. I took an internet still of his bobblehead and added it to a shot of Wrigley Field in photoshop. Wrigley_fieldpiniellatextresizedIt now serves as my computer’s wallpaper. He looks like an absolute giant. Good times.

Seriously, how cool is Lou Piniella? I love the effect that Lou, Soriano, Fukudome, Ramirez, Lee and Zambrano have on this team. Merely their presence brings this electricity to the ballclub that makes them a blast to follow. Some people have it and some people don’t. These guys have it. It’s like Lebron (if I may reference basketball for a moment). I happened to be at the Garden last night when Lebron dropped 50 on the Knicks. The crowd was in an absolute frenzy. You could feel it in the building and you knew it had nothing to do with that sorry Knicks team. It was all about Lebron. Spike was there. He’s almost never there nowadays. Heck, the fact that there were people there at all and the vibe was incredible…all because of one guy. And that’s what I love about some of the guys we have on this baseball team. That energy and excitement and that feeling you get that anything is possible with these guys around. It really makes this team fun to watch and write about. (I wasn’t real sure what I wanted to write about tonight when I first sat down. But yeah, now that I got it out, that’s definitely what I wanted to write about.)

Otherwise, way too many oh-fer’s today with only five hits coming from four players out of 18 that had an at-bat. Looking forward to seeing what tomorrow’s lineup will be with Ramirez slated to make his spring debut against the Mariners.

GO CUBS GO!

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