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Wednesday Morning Cubs/MLB Notes

With still more than 24 hours to go before the league championship series begin, mainly thanks to three sweeps and one four-game division series, here are a few Cub and baseball-related notes for you to pick over today.
  • Starlin Castro went 3-for-5 in his first Arizona Fall League game yesterday. Castro, who won't turn 20 until late March, is an exciting SS prospect who might get himself a spring training invitation with a strong showing in the AFL.
  • Here are some further details about the Cubs' one-day stay in bankruptcy yesterday.
  • Texas Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, acknowledged as one of the best in the game, may be available; his contract is up at the end of October:
    Can the Cubs get Jaramillo? Not if he decides he's too comfortable in Texas. If he decides to leave, the primitive work conditions at Wrigley could become an issue. So, too, could the question of what happens if Piniella leaves after 2010 and the next manager wants to bring in his own guy.

    But Hendry should do everything he can to answer any questions Jaramillo has. He would be the best thing to happen to the Cubs since the Derrek Lee trade.
  • Rob Neyer says forget about more replay in baseball as long as Bud is in charge:
    Bud Selig has been described as a revolutionary, but of course today's revolutionary is tomorrow's reactionary. Realignment and wild cards; interleague play; expansion; franchise movement; "this time it counts"; video review ... what do all these things have in common? All have happened on commissioner Selig's watch, and nearly all have not been revisited since, even in the face of obvious deficiencies. Do we really want to see the Royals playing the Pirates in June? Are all 30 franchises perfectly placed? Is 30 the perfect number of franchises? Is the All-Star Game the best way to determine the home team in the World Series.

    Perhaps. Perhaps not. My point is that these discussions are essentially irrelevant as long as Bud Selig is commissioner. I promise you that the moment a new commissioner is in place, the offices at Major League Baseball and within the 30 franchises around the nation (plus Toronto) will be buzzing with talk about addressing these and other core issues.
  • Think baseball always plays second fiddle to the NFL? Not this time: the Philadelphia Eagles have had a game time changed due to a possible Phillies World Series home game.

Finally, there has been quite a bit of discussion elsewhere regarding Rockies manager Jim Tracy sticking with Huston Street against Ryan Howard in game four on Monday, rather than bringing in lefty Joe Beimel. (Kind of reminds me of this Cubs/Phillies game, where Lou refused to warm up John Grabow to face the Phillies' lefties until it was too late.) Baseball Prospectus' Joe Sheehan has the details. ($ -- and I take Sheehan with a grain of salt after his completely wrongheaded take on the Milton Bradley suspension last month.) However, this might not be as cut-and-dry as it appears. While Ryan Howard is a much poorer hitter against LHP than RHP, a comment on this post at the Dodgers/Angels blog 6-4-2 shows that the three-year LHB splits for Street and Beimel aren't that different. And, Street had never faced Howard before, which is usually advantage: pitcher... and Howard was 3-for-10 vs. Beimel, the three hits being a double, triple and home run.

The choice didn't work out for the Rockies, and they lost the series as a result. But the choice for Jim Tracy wasn't as obvious as some say.