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The End Of The Gathright Era, The Beginning Of The Freel Era (And Hopefully, The Beginning Of The End Of The Chad Fox Era): Cubs vs. Brewers, Friday 5/8, 7:05 CT

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Here is the official press release announcing the Cubs' trade of Joey Gathright to the Orioles for Ryan Freel. The Cubs get "a cash consideration", which according to Gordo, will "cover the difference between what remains on Gathright's salary and what's left on Freel's salary this season". (That means there was no financial risk on the Cubs' part.) Randy Wells, tonight's starter, replaces Gathright on the 25-man roster. Wells will wear #36.

Well (not "wells"). Ryan Freel is known as "hard-nosed", but he really hasn't been very good since 2006, and has had quite a few injuries since then. Frankly, I'd rather have kept Bobby Scales around (I assume Scales is headed back to Iowa when Freel reports tomorrow). Freel, at least, can play multiple positions (2B, 3B, and all three OF positions). Unlike Scales, he hits only righthanded. He used to draw a fair number of walks (he had a .370 OBA in his three best years, 2004-2006), so if he can do that as a part-time player, he'll be somewhat useful.

This is just ... weird. Passed along without comment. (WARNING! Mute your speakers. Annoying audio loop comes with this link, that you can't turn off.)

Other baseball news: the Diamondbacks fired manager Bob Melvin and will announce that former major league catcher A. J. Hinch will replace him. Hinch has no professional coaching or managing experience; this is similar to the Bulls' hiring of Vinny del Negro this year. I think Rob Neyer's take, posted yesterday before the firing, is exactly right:

I suppose the knock against the Diamondbacks is that they're not as good as their young players, a year or two ago, led us to believe they would become. But aside from [Chris] Young, the chief offenders this spring have been the 27-year-old [Conor] Jackson and the (almost) 29-year-old [Chad] Tracy. Pick up decent seasons from those two and get [Brandon ]Webb off the DL, and the Diamondbacks are sitting right around .500.

Finally, tomorrow from 11 am to 1 pm, Kasey Ignarski and I will be at the Book Stall in downtown Winnetka to talk about "Cubs By The Numbers" and sign copies of the book. If you don't have your copy yet, here's an opportunity to get one and meet Kasey and me. Also appearing at the Book Stall with us will be Jim McArdle, who will be signing copies of his book "Living The Dream".

Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
vs. Dave Bush
Dave Bush
making W-L 1-0
his ERA 4.36
2009 SO 25
season BB 9
debut HR 6
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs

2009 - Dave Bush 1-0 6 5 0 0 0 0 33.0 29 17 16 6 9 25 4.36 1.15

Dave Bush is 1-7 lifetime vs. the Cubs with a 4.80 ERA. Despite nearly throwing a no-hitter earlier this year vs. the Phillies, his overall marks of a 4.36 ERA is pretty close to his career average. He was the starting pitcher vs. the Cubs on April 11 in Milwaukee; he left the game with a 3-2 lead, but the Brewers bullpen blew it and the Cubs won 6-5. Kosuke Fukudome homered off Bush that day. Derrek Lee is only 4-for-27 lifetime vs. Bush, so maybe it'd be a good idea to give him another day off even if his neck is OK.

Randy Wells is making his first major league start. He faced Milwaukee twice in relief last September, on the 17th and 18th at Wrigley Field; the only Brewer to reach base against him was J. J. Hardy, who walked with the bases loaded. The run was charged to Jeff Samardzija. As you may remember, the Cubs came back and won that game in 12 innings, thanks in great part to Geovany Soto's two-out, three-run, game-tying HR in the bottom of the 9th. It'd be nice if Geo could channel that energy starting tonight.

Today's game is on WGN, and on EI via FSN Wisconsin (yes, their announcers are awful). For more games today see the Mediacenter. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Overflow comment threads will post today at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.