Saturday, June 9, 2007

Cubs notes: Vitters, Floyd

Looks like no one will be headed to the minors or the DL just yet. With the injury to third baseman Aramis Ramirez, the Cubs were left with just four infielders on the team: Lee at first, Theriot at second, DeRosa at third, and Izturis at short. If one of those infielders were to get injured, the Cubs would've had to rely on Matt Murton, Alfonso Soriano, or Koyie Hill to play one of the infield positions. Sure, the flexibility of all four starting infielders (yes, even Lee has played some third base before) makes it possible to place any of the emergency infielders in whatever position they prefered, but it was still a less than ideal situation.

The two main options for the Cubs were to either place Ramirez on the disabled list or send Angel Pagan to Iowa (AAA), so that Mike Fontenot, another infielder could be called up. Now, Fontenot will be called up without either of those happening, as Cliff Floyd was placed on the bereavement list after he flew back to Chicago to care for his sick father.

Floyd must stay on the bereavement list until at least after Sunday's game in Atlanta, but can remain on the bereavement list an additional four days if necessary. With Ward and Floyd now off of the team, the left-handed options off of the bench would be Pagan (switch), Hill (switch) and Jones, if Murton starts in right.

When Floyd does return, I don't aniticipate Mike Fontenot to be sent back down. That wouldn't solve the problem. Instead, Angel Pagan, who would be the club's sixth outfielder, should be moved to the minor leagues so he can see some more consistent playing time.

Bigger news surrounding the team, however, deals with the newest additions to the organization, 17-year-old Josh Vitters and forty-nine other players drafted in this year's amateur draft. The rather surprising pick of Mike Moustakas by the Kansas City Royals left the door open for the Cubs to take virtually anyone in the draft, but the club was locked in on Vitters.

Vitters, a senior at Cypress HS in California, is a defensive liability at third base and would most likely be moved to a corner outfield position. While Vitters is believed to be able to contribute decent average and power numbers at some point, taking a guy that you HOPE turns into a .280 average, 20 homerun left fielder is not someone you should take third overall.

I know that Matt Wieters wanted a large bonus and the Cubs weren't necessarily in a position to need more pitching, but left handers Daniel Moskos and Ross Detwiler could've been left-handed pitchers that bring help to the major league club potentially as soon as late next year.

Taking a high school player with an above average ceiling doesn't appear like a good decision.

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