Another Cubs convention is history, and we've got a few leftovers here. Since we like to post the lineups before games during the season, how about if we post one now, courtesy of what Lou had to say over the weekend:
Theriot, SS/Fukudome, RF
Fukudome, RF/Theriot, SS
As you can see, Lou will have options at the top spot, with Fukudome hitting first when Lou feels it best serves the Cubs. Theriot's OBP fell from .387 to .343 from 2008 to '09. He'll have to remedy that, plus getting the walks and strikeouts going in the right direction again. I asked him about his 2009 season at the convention.
“Score runs, get on base,” he said. “Kind of set the table. I think last year, I kind of got into a little rut of trying to do too much. I think every year, it’s good to set goals, lofty goals, goals that are important. From a personal standpoint, you want to score runs. I think that equates to winning ballgames. So really, if I do what I’m supposed to do, the Cubs will win.”
We’ll have more in Monday’s paper in a column I’ve got going:
The writers had a chance to talk with Lou in a hallway Saturday, when he was between sessions. As always, Lou provided some good info. On who the backups would be in the infield and outfield, Lou said: “(Andres) Blanco will probably be out backup infielder. Good defensive player. In the outfield, I think Sammy (Fuld), because he plays real well defensively, has a leg up as one of the extra outfielders.”
Everybody knows the Cubs are looking for a veteran outfielder who bats right handed and an experienced right-handed reliever. Lou also talked about the bullpen.
“Pitching wise, some young kids are going to be in our bullpen, no question,” he said. “And we like the kids. I’m really interested in looking at the left-hander we got from Cleveland, (John) Gaub. And also (Andrew) Cashner.”
Gaub, of course, came over in the Mark DeRosa trade. Cashner was the Cubs’ No. 1 draft pick in 2008.
There were no foot-in-mouth moments at this year’s convention, compared with last year, when then-chairman and now-president Crane Kenney got caught in a truth test with the famous Greek priest and then took a cheap shot at former Cubs manager Dusty Baker. As close as things came this year happened when new marketing chief Wally Hayward asked, “Who are the White Sox?” It seemed good natured. Later in the same session, Crane said that the Cubs would leave things like mascots and fireworks to the South Side. No doubt someone will return fire this coming weekend at SoxFest.
GM Jim Hendry was asked what the Cubs would do from the “top down” to increase the scouting staff.
“We started this year ago,” Jim said. “Our scouting department, the last few years, since the arrival of Tim Wilken, who led the Toronto Blue Jays scouting department for years, is on tremendous upswing. He’s considered among the elite in the game in that job. And Oneri Fleita, our minor-league director and vice president of player personnel in charge of Latin America, we’ve made tremendous strides. We’ve added so many scouts around the world, quality guys that were successful with other clubs, in the last three years. When Tom Ricketts was talking about continuing building an organization, he’s already aware of how many good things we have going in our player development and scouting. We’re considered in the industry at the very high end right now in our scouting and player development. We’re very pleased with it. We’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes the last three or four years, and our future is very bright. And that’s why we are in a situation where people like Greg Maddux want to return here, a lot of players want to come here, a lot of coaches and scouts want to work here.”
Hendry pointed to Ryan Theriot and Geovany Soto as position-player prospects the Cubs have developed and said the Cubs haven’t been the ones touting their own prospects.
“The modern-day situation with Baseball America and the blogs and the Internet, a lot of other people do the anointing for you,” Jim said. “So it’s not like we’re writing press releases promoting our prospects. But I am here to tell you that we’ve got a really solid group of young players and pitchers coming…The (Starlin) Castros of the world and Andrew Cashner and the (Brett) Jackson kid we took last year, these are legitimate high-level prospects that we hope are going to blend in the next few years.”
Lots more to come this week with arbitration filings and the like.