LAS VEGAS -- Doing Double-Duty Radcliffe duties here in Vegas, covering both the Cubs and Sox. Since there’s too much stuff and too little space, let’s wrap up Monday here on the blog. We met with Lou today; Ozzie is tomorrow. Also met with Jim Hendry and Kenny Williams.
Lou is still answering questions about the playoff collapse, especially questions trying to divine some deeper meaning of it.
“Look, we won 97 ballgames, and that's a lot of games and had a lot of success during the course of the year,” Lou said. “It just so happened that postseason didn't go well. I can give you about three different explanations. I think the biggest explanation for postseason, as far as I was concerned, everybody jumped on our bandwagon. Everybody played the underdog role against or were able to sell that.
“Everybody, 100 years, supposed to happen on the 100th year. Well, when things are supposed to happen and it doesn't, I think our guys carried a little burden going into postseason. And then the second thing that happened that wasn't mentioned, we got caught at the end of the year where we were playing teams that were still in contention, and we had clinched. We had to play our lineup for the balance of baseball. We just couldn't just put any lineups out there.
“And then third, DeRosa and our catcher (Soto) didn't go in there exactly healthy. I have to prepare them better as manager. We have lost six in a row (under Lou in the playoffs). I think I'm going to go to a sports psychologist and see what goodies he's got in his bag.”
Lou indicated that for now, he’ll leave Ryan Theriot hitting second and eighth, meaning, again for now, that Alfonso Soriano is still the leadoff hitter. He mentioned that he’d like to get Mike Fontenot additional playing time, throwing him in at second and now and then at short to rest Theriot.
He also said Jeff Samardzija probably would be in the bullpen but that the Cubs would get him “stretched out” to start in spring training. Does that mean Samardzija opens the season at Iowa as a starter or stick with the Cubs? We’ll see.
According to Lou, Micah Hoffpauir will get a lot of at-bats in the spring, playing first base and both outfield corners. Lou seems to like Hoffpauir’s swing but says he needs to be more selective.
Finally, Lou said that Kosuke Fukudome is doing some “core” conditioning work back home in Japan after his miserable second half. ‘You know, the other thing is, this young man didn't play much the year before,” Lou said referring to Fukudome’s elbow injury. “The acclimation to a new country and a new league, it took its toll on him a little bit. He probably lost a little confidence when he started to struggle. We are confident that next year he can bounce back and have a very good year for us.”
Lou called Fukudome the best (defensive) right fielder in the NL.
Over on the Sox beat, Kenny said he’s talked with right fielder Jermaine Dye a couple times in the last few days out of respect to Dye and to dispel the rumors of Dye being traded to the Reds. It’s still possible the Sox will trade Dye, but Kenny was quick to shoot down the Dye-to-the-Reds rumors.
If Dye goes, Kenny seems to think Carlos Quentin possibly could move from left to right. “There’s no doubt that Carlos’ most natural position is right field,” Kenny said. “He plays a good right field. We were not displeased with the way he played left field. He played a good left field.”
On other topics: “We like what we have in Jerry Owens. Jerry Owens was acquired to be Scott Podsednik’s replacement. He’s that type of player. Brian Anderson was signed, was drafted, to be an impact type player. We have to find out about these guys, find out who they are and what they are. If you put yourself in a position of payroll flexibility, contract flexibility, then you can have it both ways. You can find out about them. At the same time, you can maybe correct a situation if it doesn’t go as planned and then go out and make a deal to reinforce yourself if it doesn’t work out.”
Kenny added that Dewayne Wise would be “in the mix” for the outfield.
We'll give you Ozzie in all his glory tomorrow.