The Cubs held a press conference yesterday, and there were reports they were going to announce Carlos Zambrano had been signed to a contract extension (he’s a free agent after the 2007 season). Fortunately (for myself and other Yankee fans), that was not the case (at least not yet). It was only to announce that Notre Dame pitcher (and wide receiver) Jeff Samardzija had committed to baseball, signing a 5-year deal with the Cubbies.
PS: Some prospect news.
Baseball America write-ups -
Claggett spent most of his first two years at UC Riverside as a backup infielder before becoming a pitcher as a junior. He showed enough to get drafted by the Tigers in 11th round in 2005, and he dominated in his first full pro season. Claggett posted a 0.91 ERA to help West Michigan win the low Class A Midwest League championship, opening the year as a setup man before inheriting the closer’s job when Orlando Perdomo got hurt. Claggett converted 16 of 20 save opportunity, including both of his chances in the postseason. Afterward, he went to the Yankees along with Humberto Sanchez and Kevin Whelan in a trade for Gary Sheffield. Claggett relies on two pitches, a 92-94 mph fastball and an effective slider. He’s working on a changeup, too. His stuff isn’t spectacular, but it’s helped by his deceptive delivery. If he continues his success in high Class A this year, he could start to move quickly.
Corona blossomed as a legitimate prospect in 2006, showing the Yankees athleticism, a solid line-drive bat and versatility. His emergence made it easier to part with 2005 first-round pick C.J. Henry–who was a disappointment anyway–in the Bobby Abreu trade. Corona has shown a good two-strike approach and barrel awareness at the plate. When he hits the ball, he hits it with the fat part of the bat. To drive the ball, he’ll have to hit the weight room. Defensively, he took to shortstop, where his savvy and above-average hands helped his fringy range and average arm play up. Corona likely is better suited for second base, and he also played at first base, third base and the outfield. Because he’s not averse to drawing walks, handles the bat and has above-average speed, Corona could be a No. 2 hitter. Otherwise, he’ll have a nice utility-infielder package as a switch-hitter who can play all over, works hard and does it all with a smile. He’ll begin the year in high Class A.
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