Off-Day Notebook (4/16/2012)


Today is the Chicago Cubs’ second off-day of the regular season. Though considering the Cubs’ first off day came after Opening Day, it is likely that this off day for the Cubs is more welcomed than their previous one. The Cubs will make their first appearance in Miami on Tuesday as the team will begin a three game series against the Miami Marlins.

The Cubs will enter Marlins’ series with a record of 3-7. Even the Cubs’ record should not come as surprise to most Cubs’ fans it does not mean that it is not disappointing. Mainly because the Cubs should at least have two more wins than they do if were not for Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood. Nonetheless, that is why the team’s play the games. Despite sporting a record that is good for last place in the National League Central division, the Cubs have been more competitive than what I originally anticipated from the North Side baseball team.

But on a day in which no game will be analyzed, lets take a look at some newsworthy notes that are relevant in regards to the Cubs.

  • The Boston Red Sox designated reliever Michael Bowden for assignment over the weekend. Much like the trade for first baseman Anthony Rizzo making too much sense for the Cubs not to pull the trigger, making a play for Bowden makes too much sense for the Cubs not to make an attempt at grabbing the reliever. Remember, that general manager Jed Hoyer has stated in recent weeks that the team is in search of an experienced reliever to plug into the team’s bullpen. That is the first indicator that the Cubs’ will have some degree of interest in Bowden. The second indication is that connection that Bowden has to Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod. The trio drafted Bowden in the first round of the 2009 MLB Amateur draft as a supplemental pick. Bowden was once the #2 prospect in the Red Sox system, though, that was in 2009. Bowden has regressed since then and has a career 5.61 ERA with the Red Sox. The Cubs hyped Ian Stewart and David DeJesus as players with something to prove, and Bowden could fit under the same category.
  • Remember Jorge Soler? The Cuban outfielder that is both younger and believed to have a higher ceiling than Yoenis Cespedes. Well, Soler has yet to be ruled as an official Major League Baseball free agent. Until Soler is declared as a MLB free agent, teams can not negotiate a contract with the outfielder. The Cubs have interest in Soler, and are believed to be the front-runners to sign the international free agent. The Cubs have been reported to have a four year, $27 million contract offer on the table for Soler. Though, until Soler is officially recognized as a MLB player, the Cubs can do nothing but wait.
  • There has been a lot of speculation going on among Cubs’ fans about what the Cubs would do if both Anthony Rizzo and Bryan LaHair were on the Major League roster. The only way this would be possible is if Rizzo proved that he was ready for the Major Leagues with his performance with the Iowa Cubs, and LaHair hit successfully on the Major League team. Rizzo is tearing up the Pacific Coast League with the Iowa Cubs as the first baseman has and average of .391 with 5 home runs and 13 RBIs in the team’s first 11 games. Meanwhile, LaHair is hitting .348/423/.696 with the Cubs to begin the season. The two options for the Cubs would be to trade LaHair, though, that is an option that may not be possible until June or July. The other option would be that the Cubs could have both LaHair and Rizzo in the lineup. Though, for that to work the team would have to move one their current starting outfielders. LaHair has experience as right fielder and left fielder. DeJesus is not going to be trade anytime soon, and Alfonso Soriano‘s contract makes it difficult for the team to find a trading partner.  If Rizzo and LaHair both continue to hit on their respective levels, the Cubs are going to have an interesting decision to make. One thing is clear and that is as Rizzo continues to play with the Iowa Cubs it is looking more and more like the first baseman is ready to make his Major League debut for the Cubs.