The Chicago Cubs Caravan began yesterday with players, and manager Mike Quade promoting the up and coming 2011 season for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs Caravan leads up to the Cubs Convention, which kicks off this Friday. However, this year is a bit different from years in the past. Reason being that the interest level in the Chicago Cubs from their fans is on a steady decline. Thus, creating the opportunity for ESPN to label Cubs fans as the most miserable sports fans. But with the recent acquisition of Matt Garza, and plethora of talent in the Cubs farm system, the future certainly looks bright. But lets get back to the present day, and look at what is making headlines from the Cubs Caravan.
- Perhaps the biggest news to come out of the Caravan, was the news that lefty James Russell will be in the mix for one of the two open rotation spots. Russell will join the likes of Andrew Cashner, Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, Jeff Samardzija, and Tom Gorzelanny in vying for either the 4th of 5th spot in the rotation.
- Speaking of Gorzelanny, with the news of James Russell being in the mix for the rotation, this may increase the chances that Gorzelanny will be traded before the season starts. The Cubs had been hesitant to move Gorzelanny, considering he had been the only left handed candidate for the starting rotation. But, now that is not the case with James Russell joining the competition. The Cubs were believed to be aggressively shopping Gorzelanny at the Winter Meetings, specifically to the Tigers, but the Cubs wanted to wait till they acquired another starter. Now, with Matt Garza, the Cubs probably will seriously look at trading Gorzelanny. The Tigers were interested, but their recent signing of Brad Penny may put them out of the market for a starter. The Mets have a strong interest in Gorzelanny, and I would imagine that the Yankees would have some degree of interest.
- When asked about the leadoff situation, Mike Quade said he may be leaning towards doing a leadoff by committee. Meaning the likes of Kosuke Fukudome (Yes, he will be a Cub to start the season), Blake DeWitt, and Jeff Baker may all see time as the leadoff man for the Cubs.
- Quade did not reveal an opening day starter just yet, however, the general consensus seems to be that Ryan Dempster will be the one to get the nod. While, I prefer Garza, I have to admit that Dempster is probably the most deserving of the start.
- The Cincinnatti Reds are the favorites to win the National League Central, or so says Quade. To be honest, I’m not that confident that the Reds will be as good as they were last year. The team I like right now is the Milwaukee Brewers, they have had a phenomenal off-season. The Cubs will be in contention, I just don’t think they have enough to surpass the Brewers or Reds for the division crown.
Make sure to continue reading Cubbies Crib over the weekend, as we will be reporting on the latest news from Cubs Convention.