Cubs notebook: Colvin and Soto are all in

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Cubs notebook: Colvin and Soto are all in

Friday, Jan. 14, 2011
10:50 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

If you saw that broken maple bat stabbing Tyler Colvin just above his heart, its almost impossible to forget the image. It left him in a Miami hospital bed with a tube in his chest.

It took more than a month before the 25-year-old outfielder felt comfortable enough to go jogging. But Colvin says that he feels strong again and has regained weight from last September. His 6-foot-3-inch frame has filled out to around 210 pounds.

Colvin also insists that hes pushed that freak accident out of his mind.

Im not going to go out there and play scared if thats what youre implying, he said Friday at a Cubs Convention that is clearly marketing youth.

Colvin is featured on the programs cover alongside Starlin Castro and Andrew Cashner, two other impact rookies from 2010. Colvin no longer has to answer serious questions about playing first base, but everyone is curious to get a better read on a player who hit 20 homers and struck out 100 times in only 358 at-bats.

Staying is the hard part. You cant get complacent. You just always have to get better, Colvin said. I havent had any setbacks with anything. Im cleared 100 percent to do whatever I want.

Soto gets a huge raise

Geovany Soto avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal worth 3 million, a source confirmed Friday. It is a reward for his production in 2010 his .890 OPS was highest among regular major-league catchers, at a cost of only 575,000 and another sign that he is progressing after shoulder surgery.

Four Cubs filed for arbitration on Friday: Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza, Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny. Marmol who dominated in his first full season as closer (38 saves, 138 strikeouts in 77.2 innings) would be open to a multi-year extension.

Part of the logic behind the Garza trade was that he would be under team control for the next three seasons, but the 27-year-old pitcher hasnt heard much about a long-term arrangement yet.

I have no clue, Garza said. I stay out of that and I wait until I get a call from my agent. I just let him handle that and I take care of everything between the lines.

Radio silence from Wood

Kerry Wood has been promised a role within the organization whenever hes done pitching, and plans to raise his children in Chicago and be a Cub for the rest of his life.

But theres no agreement in place for a future media job Ron Santos eventual replacement on WGN? as one radio station speculated this week.

Wood joked that hes been practicing his calls and he is comfortable in front of the cameras but right now he doesnt even see himself working in radio or television once his playing career ends.

Not at all, Wood said. I dont think that would ever be an interest to me, getting behind the mic on a regular basis and broadcasting anything, much less baseball.

Etc.

Chairman Tom Ricketts said that the Cubs will unveil their 2011 plans to honor Santo on Saturday. A statue outside Wrigley Field and a No. 10 uniform patch would be good places to start. Greg Maddux, who has become a trusted voice in the front office, has to attend to a family emergency and will not be a part of Saturdays baseball management panel at the Hilton Chicago.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

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AP

Cubs, White Sox react to tragic deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

The sports world woke up to some tragic news on Sunday morning.

Former major leaguer Andy Marte and Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura were both killed in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic within an hour of each other, according to multiple reports. A Royals representative confirmed the death of 25-year-old Ventura.

The Cubs and White Sox took to Twitter to give their condolences:

Ventura was a member of the Royals from 2013-16 and won a World Series title in 2015 with Ben Zobrist and Wade Davis, who the Cubs acquired this offseason for Jorge Soler. Ventura also played with White Sox pitcher James Shields in 2013-14.

Marte, 33, played a majority of his seven-year career with the Cleveland Indians. He was teammates with Todd Hollandsworth (Atlanta 2005), Kerry Wood (Cleveland 2009-10), and Miguel Montero (Arizona 2014).

Why Cubs are excited for pitching prospect Dylan Cease: He's 'throwing lightning bolts'

Why Cubs are excited for pitching prospect Dylan Cease: He's 'throwing lightning bolts'

Theo Epstein's front office is heading into Year 6 with the Cubs and they're finally talking about a pitcher as one of the organization's most exciting prospects.

That's how senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod framed his Dylan Cease report to fans at the Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand Chicago last weekend.

It was a tongue-in-cheek summation from McLeod after he spent the previous few minutes fawning over Cease, the Cubs' sixth round pick in 2014.

Of course, McLeod and the Cubs can poke fun at the lack of impact pitching the farm system has developed when the homegrown position players like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber just helped lead the franchise to its first World Series championship in over a century.

Cease, however, has been one of the more intriguing Cubs prospects for years — a right-handed pitcher capable of touching 101 mph on the radar gun.

"This guy is throwing lightning bolts out of his arm," McLeod said. "It's really exciting. But we also understaned he's only in Low-A this year, so he's far away."

The Cubs expect Cease to pitch for Class-A South Bend in 2017 after spending last season pitching for short-season Eugene and the 2015 campaign working in the rookie league in Arizona.

Cease — who just turned 21 in late December — put up some impressive numbers at both stops in the Cubs system, posting a 2.36 ERA and 1.165 WHIP to go along with a whopping 91 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. He also only surrendered one homer and walked more batters (41) than reached via a basehit (39).

Control is obviously an issue for Cease, but the upside is evident.

"He's so far away," McLeod said. "He's gonna go into 2017 as a starter. As with a lot of young guys, it's gonna come down to command and depend on that third pitch and the ability to land them for strikes.

"It's a special arm. He can pitch 95-100 mph with a big power curveball. He's unlike anyone else we have in our system since we've been here in terms of pure stuff."

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One fan compared Cease to Carl Edwards Jr. in terms of their lanky build and high velocity, setting McLeod up for a layup joke.

"Well, Dylan is much stronger physically than CJ is...as is everybody in this room," McLeod said as the ballroom filled with laugher. "Don't tell [CJ] I said that. 

"They have different body types, obviously. Carl is long and lanky and Dylan has probably put on 20 pounds since we drafted him, so he's more like 6-foot-2, 190."

By comparison, Edwards — who goes by "The String Bean Slinger" for his slight build — is listed at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds.

Edwards was drafted in the 48th round in 2011 and spent his whole minor-league career as a starting pitcher until the Cubs converted him to a reliever in 2015.

Cease may eventually go down the same path, but the Cubs are going to give him every opportunity to make it as a starter first.

Cease was one of the top pitchers available in the 2014 draft, but his stock took a hit when he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow while at Milton High School in Georgia.

That scared off a lot of teams — as did the potential signability issues with college offers looming — but the Cubs took a chance and have now watched Cease soar to a top prospect in the system (No. 4 by Baseball America; No. 7 by FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus) despite the cautious approach and lack of innings in professional ball.

"We have to thank Kyle Schwarber, actually, as one of the main reasons we got to sign Dylan Cease," McLeod said. "Because we took Kyle fourth overall, we were able to save money on the selection with him, which gave us the resources to go get Dylan Cease.

"He was a Top 10 pick in the draft — a high school arm that got hurt, fell down to the fifth round and he had a commitment to Vanderbilt, I think it was, and we were able to use the money we saved from Kyle.

"Just another reason to love Kyle Schwarber."