Archive for the ‘Chicago Cubs’ Category

Sunday February 13, 2011 Day in Review

February 13, 2011

Carlos Marmol Contract Extension with Cubs Appears Imminent

Rickie Weeks Arbitration Hearing Scheduled for Thursday the 17th!/Ken_Rosenth

Billy Wagner Confirms Retirement

Erick Aybar Cleared for Spring Training After Arthroscopic Surgery on Left Knee Last October

Jered Weaver Has No Hard Feelings After Losing in Arbitration Case

Chad Durbin May Sign with Mariners

David Aardsma Two Weeks from Throwing


Carlos Marmol and Cubs Reportedly Closing in on Multi-Year Deal

February 12, 2011

Marmol is arbitration eligible this year and is asking for $5.65 million and the Cubs have countered with $4.1 million.

Marmol had a very good season in 2010 posting 38 saves in 43 opportunities. He had an unbelievable 138 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings. He has electric stuff and should become one of the best closers in the league if he can continue where he left off in 2011.

Friday, February 4, 2011 Day in Review

February 4, 2011

Andy Pettitte Announces Retirement

Vladimir Guerrero 1-Year $8 Million Deal with Orioles

Michael Young to Rockies Trade Rumors

Cubs Working on Long-Term Extension with Carlos Marmol

Brewers Not Close on Extension with Rickie Weeks!/Haudricourt/status/3363400

Mariners Sign Gabe Gross to Minor League Deal

Yankees Sign Eric Chavez and Ronnie Belliard to Minor League Deals

Cardinals Sign Jim Edmonds to Minor League Deal

Nationals Sign Three to Minor League Deals

Dodgers Sign Ron Mahay to Minor League Deal

Monday, January 31, 2011, Day in Review

January 31, 2011

Jim Edmonds Expected to Retire.

Andy Pettitte Still Undecided for 2011 Season

Alexei Ramirez Signs 4-Year $32.5 Million Extension with White Sox

Braden Looper to Make up to $3 Million if he Makes Cubs Starting Rotation!/jcrasnick/status

Elmer Dessens Wants to Pitch in 2011, Won’t Return to Mets!/AdamRubinESPN/sta

Marlins Sign Greg Dobbs and Shawn Hill lto Minor League Deals

Orioles Sign Mark Hendrickson to Minor League Deal with Spring Training Invite

Braves Sign Rodrigo Lopez to Minor League Contract with Spring Training Invite

Jason Isringhausen Throws for Reds

Mets Agree to 1-Year $3.5 Millions Deal with Angel Pagan

Giants Sign Josh Banks to Minor League Deal with Spring Training Invitation

Thursday January 27, 2011 Day in Review

January 27, 2011

Baltimore Orioles Interested in Signing Vladimir Guerrero?

Blue Jays Interested in Trading for Micheal Young?

Indians Reportedly Interested in Signing Casey Kotchman.!/jonmorosi/status/30

Chicago Cubs Invite Braden Looper and Augie Ojeda to Spring Training

Byung-Hyun Kim Signs With Japanese Pacific League Team

White Sox May Be Interested in Signing Freddy Garcia

Florida Marlins to Play 3 Home Games in Seattle in 2011

A’s Union Representative Brad Ziegler Says Union is Split 50/50 on Expanded Playioffs!/JeffFletcherAOL/status/30769747809280000

Hank Conger to Compete for Angels Everyday Catching Job in 2011

Cubs Sign Two Cuban Prospects

Tuesday, January 25, 2011. Day in Review

January 25, 2011

Derek Jeter to the Outfield in the Future?

Cubs to sign Todd Wellemeyer

Potential Buyer for the Los Angeles Dodgers?

Tigers may Offer Bonderman Minor league Deal

Rays to Invite Tim Beckham to Spring Training

Mike Napoli Traded to Rangers for Frank Francisco

Milton Bradley will be Given Chance to Compete for Starting Job

Orioles Interested in Vladimir Guerrero?

Kevin Slowey Avoids Arbitration with Minnesota Twins

Orioles Interested in Justin Duchscherer?

Red Sox Explored Trade for Jose Bautista.

Astros Wandy Rodriguez to Contract Extension

Can the Chicago Cubs Compete in 2011?

January 24, 2011

San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said a bunch of castoffs and misfits won the World Series in 2010. After enormously disappointing seasons in 2009 and 2010, the Cubs definitely fall in the category of misfits.

How did a team that seemed to be the odds on favorite to advance to the World Series in 2008 drop so far so fast?

The Cubs won 98 games during the 2008 season but were swept out of the playoffs by the Dodgers. The Dodger sweep brought the Cubs postseason losing streak to nine games, dating all the way back to the infamous Steve Bartman game in the 2003 National League Championship Series.

They entered the 2009 and 2010 seasons with high expectations and proceeded to sleepwalk through the schedule. Now, entering the 2011 season, most fans will probably see the Cubs and their $140 million plus team as a roster full of overpaid underachievers.

Yes, the Cubs have a large collection of vastly overpaid players including Alfonso Soriano ($18 million), Aramis Ramirez ($15.75 million), Carlos Silva ($11.5 million), Kosuke Fukudome ($13.5 million), and Carlos Zambrano ($17.875 million).

Sure, the Cubs and their fans want these contracts off the books, but that does not mean they won’t contend for the National League Central in 2011.

Maybe I am dreaming but I see a lot of potential for the Cubs in 2011.

The hiring of Mike Quade as the new manager provides reason for optimism after he led the Cubs to a 24-13 record in the last 37 games of 2010. Quade was a career minor league manager that is getting his first shot to manage at the big league level. He is sure to be highly motivated to get the Cubs back into postseason contention.

The starting pitching staff should be much improved.

The acquisition of Matt Garza should pay immediate dividends. Garza is battle tested after three years in the American League East. During his tenure with the Rays, he posted a sub 4.00 ERA while helping them to division titles in 2008 and 2010.

Ryan Dempster can generally be counted on to post 200 innings and a sub 4.00 ERA. On his good days, he has the stuff to match up with any pitcher in the league.

Carlos Zambrano went 8-0 in 11 starts with an outstanding 1.40 ERA following his suspension in 2010. The question is whether he can keep his emotions in check and build on the outstanding stretch he had at the end of 2010.

The forth and fifth spots in the rotation are clearly question marks but have potential.

Randy Wells pitched well in his first full season in 2009, posting a 3.05 ERA even though he regressed last season with a 4.26 ERA. Wells recently admitted that, as he put it, “I got too big for my britches”. Wells obviously realizes he lacked the focus and dedication to be successful in 2010. If he can get back to his 2009 form he should be one of the better number four starters in the National League.

The fifth spot should fall to Carlos Silva with the trade of Tom Gorzelanny to the Nationals. Silva pitched well the first half of 2010, winning his first 8 decisions. He fell off dramatically in the second battling elbow and shoulder injuries.

The back end of the bullpen figures to be very good with Kerry Wood likely setting up Carlos Marmol. Marmol was electric, posting 38 saves in 43 chances for a team that only won 75 games last season. Marmol’s 138 strikeouts in only 77 2/3 innings are nearly impossible to comprehend.

The Cubs hitting figures to be a question mark.

Stralin Castro and Tyler Colvin played well as rookies in 2010 and should be able to continue their development in 2011.

Castro hit .300 as the youngest everyday player in the National League, and Colvin hit a respectable 20 Home Runs in only 358 at bats before missing the last two weeks of the season.

Geovany Soto has been inconsistent since his Rookie of the Year season in 2008. He underwent shoulder surgery in September and expects to be 100% for spring training. In 2010, he showed signs of getting back to his 2008 form, posting an OPS of .890 and an OBP of .393 in 105 games

Carlos Pena has been feast or famine the past couple of seasons. Yes, he had 28 homers and 84 RBI in 2010. But, he had a horrible batting average of .199. Even more alarming is his steady drop in OPS from 1.037 in 2007 to .732 in 2010.

Blake DeWitt at second base appears to be a soft spot. The Cubs will likely try to upgrade DeWitt if they are given the chance. Going into the season, he will likely split time with Darwin Barney or Jeff Baker with the hot hand likely earning playing time.

Aramis Ramirez has battled injuries the past two seasons, limiting him to a total of only 206 games. He posted 25 homers and 83 RBI in 124 games in 2010. But like Pena saw an alarming drop in his OBP and OPS. His OBP dropped from .389 to .294, and his OPS dropped from .905 to .745. If Ramirez can get back to his pre-2009 form, he would be a major boost for the Cubs in 2011.

Marlon Byrd was a pleasant surprise in 2010, scoring 84 runs and posting a .775 OPS. If he can come close to duplicating his 2010 numbers, he would provide a major boost.

Alfonso Soriano has been an erratic underachiever during his time with the Cubs. At 35 years of age, he definitely looks to have his best years behind him. At this point in his career, anything beyond 25 homers and 80 RBIs would probably be considered a surprise.

Kosuke Fukedome will likely start the 2011 season as the fourth outfielder. It is no secret the Cubs have been shopping him this offseason. A rumored contract swap with the Giants for the underperforming Aaron Rowand never materialized in December. The Cubs would likely have to eat a large portion of his $13.5 million due for 2011 to make any deal happen.

Like all teams, the Cubs have question marks going into the 2011 season. In a tough National League Central, they are going to have to turn much of their potential into performance if they are going to compete for a postseason berth in 2011.

Cubs and Nationals Out on Brandon Webb.

December 26, 2010

Jayson Stark of is reporting the Cubs and Nationals are out on the Brandon Webb sweepstakes. Both had been rumored along with the Rangers in the past couple of weeks.

That leaves the Rangers and a N.L. Central Mystery team. With the Cubs out and the Brewers almost certainly out after the acquisition of Zack Greinke the list of N.L. Central remaining is the Cardinals, Reds, Pirates and Astros. It would be hard to imagine the Pirates or Astros going after Webb as they are in rebuilding mode.

That would leave the Reds or Cardinals. The Reds would seem more likely as the Cardinals are have avery good rotation with Carpenter, Wainright, Garcia, Westbrook and Lohse.


Latest on Adrian Beltre, Brandon Webb and Jeff Francis

December 22, 2010
It is a slow day so far as Christmas approaches. Only a couple of minor updates this morning. 

The Adrian Beltre situation is getting more interesting every day. His Agent Scott Boras is reportedly asking for around 90 million over 5 years. The only two offers that have been publicized are a 5 year 64 million dollar offer from the Athletics that has reportedly been pulled. And a 5 year 70 million dollar offer from the Angels which has also reportedly been pulled.

Other teams have been mentioned as possible suitors for Beltre including the Rangers. But no other teams appear to have significant interest at the moment.

This appears to be a situation of Boras trying to get the Angels to bid against themselves. Angels owner Arte Moreno is a smart businessman and knows the biggest spending teams including the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are almost assuredly are not interested in signing Beltre.

My guess is the Angels will end up signing Beltre.

Brandon Webb rumors were rampant on Tuesday including a deal with the Rangers was eminent. These rumors were quickly rebuffed and Webb remains unsigned as of this morning. The teams most linked with Webb at this point are the Ranges, Nationals and Cubs. The were also whispers of a “mystery team” The idea of a mystery team sounds funny until you remember a mystery team ended up signing Cliff Lee.

Jeff Francis has been linked with five teams including the Mets, Nationals, Pirates, Rangers and Yankees. Francis has never lived up to his early career hype and battled shoulder problems. At this point in his career he is a low cost pitcher with some upside for a team looking to take a flier on a fifth starter.

Tuesday December 21, 2010 Day In Review

December 21, 2010

Orioles Turn Attention from Adam LaRoche to Derrek Lee

The Yankees Hit with 18 Million Dollars in Luxury Tax Down From 25.7 Million in 2009.

Theo Epstein Reiterates Papelbon is Closer After Finalizing Deal for Bobby Jenks

Angels on Again Off Again Interest in Adrian Beltre.

Brandon Webb is in Texas. Wait Brandon Webb is not in Texas.

Athletics Finalize Deal With Rich Harden. Role as Starter or Bullpen to be Determined