Archive | December, 2008

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DeRosa to Play for Team USA in World Baseball Classic

Posted on 22 December 2008 by Lou

Looks like Team USA will have at least one member of the Chicago Cubs on its 2009 roster. Mark DeRosa has agreed to play for the Team USA team. DeRosa is a hot commodity because of his solid bat and his versatility in the field – he can both either corner outfield position as well as any position on the diamond (besides catcher and pitcher) – although he will primarily serve as Dustin Pedroia’s back-up during most games.

DeRosa had a career year for the Cubs in 2008 – .287 batting average, 21 home runs and 87 RBI’s.

Team USA begins its practices on March 2, 2009 in Clearwater, Florida. Team USA will play Team Canada in its first game on March 7th. Italy and Venezuela are the 2 other teams that Team USA has to play in its pool.

Kosuke Fukodome (Japan) and Carlos Zambrano (Venezuela) may also play for their home countries.

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Cubs White Sox Spring Training Match-Ups!

Posted on 21 December 2008 by Lou

The Cubs and White Sox will play 2 spring training games on March 4th and March 5th at Cashman Field in Las Vegas. Both teams will play with split squads during those 2 games. Cashman Field hosts games for the Las Vegas 51s. The March 5th date was scheduled to be an off-day for the Cubs, but they added the game for the fans who have always expressed that an additional Cubs-Sox spring training game would be exciting for both teams.

The Cubs and White Sox will also meet on February 28th and March 27th in Mesa, Arizona and on March 21st in Glendale, Arizona.

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Cubs Promote 2 Scouts

Posted on 20 December 2008 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs named Paul Weaver the director of international scouting. Weaver joined the Cubs organization in October 2006 and had been serving as a special assistant to GM Jim Hendry. Weaver has been an integral part of expanding the Cubs’ reach to the Far East.

The Chicago Cubs named Jose Serra the Latin America coordinator. Serra has been in the Cubs organization for almost 14 years and was serving as the manager of Latin American operations. Serra played as an infielder in the Orioles farm system for years until his playing career came to an end in 1995.

Cheers to Paul Weaver and Jose Serra for their hard work and determination.

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2009 Cubs Caravan Update

Posted on 20 December 2008 by Lou

The Cubs have announced a new addition to the 2009 Cubs Caravan – a luncheon at Harry Caray’s Steakhouse in downtown Chicago on January 14, 2009 (from 11am to 1pm CST). Tickets to the luncheon cost $100.00 and space is limited to only 120 patrons. All proceeds of the luncheon will go to Cubs Care, the Chicago Cubs’ primary charity organization.

In addition to a great buffet lunch, you will get to hear from Jim Hendry regarding the state of the Cubs. Manager Lou Pinella will be in attendance as well as several Cubs players. A member of the Cubs organization will be seated at each table.

Come on – support a great cause and enjoy a special occasion with current Cubs players. Get your tickets today!

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Cubs Caravan 2009 Update

Posted on 19 December 2008 by Lou

Save the dates – January 14th and 15th! The Cubs Caravan hits the road!

The Chicago Cubs are promoting literacy this year – making stops at elementary schools in the Chicago area, a Boys and Girls Club and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The tour will also venture downstate – to the Lincoln Library in Springfield and the annual charity festival hosted by the Peoria Chiefs in Peoria.

No players have been announced yet, but stay tuned for specific player and coach details.

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No News Is Good News?

Posted on 18 December 2008 by Lou

Jim, oh Jim, where are you???

Raul Ibanez is off the table (he signed a 3-year, $30 million deal with the Phillies).

Left-handed hitting outfielders still available? Milton Bradley, Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu. Will Cubs GM Jim Hendry make a deal?

Things have been awfully quiet on the Cubs transaction front since the blow-up of the Peavy trade and the signing of “difference-maker” speedster Joey Gathright.

Jim, are you taking the rest of the year off?

I know everyone keeps saying that the Cubs will trot out the same team in 2009 that won 97 games in 2008. But they are one or two injuries away from dropping right back to the pack, especially if the Cubs don’t make any moves this off-season. The Cubs also got career years from Mark DeRosa, Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot. Can the Cubs rely on those numbers again.

Jim, let’s do something, please. The window is short on this team. Another early playoff exit in 2009, and this unit will officially be a bust in my book.

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Sandberg To Manage At Double-A Tennessee in 2009

Posted on 17 December 2008 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs announced their 2009 minor league coaching staff this week. In the biggest news of all, the Cubs elevated Ryne Sandberg one level to manage the Double-A Tennessee squad. Sandberg managed the Class-A Peoria Chiefs for the last 2 seasons – going 60-78-1 during the 2008 season. Sandberg retired from the Cubs following the 1997 MLB season – playing all 15 years of his MLB career with the Cubs. Sandberg was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2005, and he was also a 10-time All-Star and 9-time Gold Glove winner.

Triple-A Iowa Manager Pat Listach took a position on the Washington Nationals MLB coaching staff, so the Cubs replaced him with Bobby Dickerson. Marty Pevey will take over Sandberg’s coaching duties in Peoria.

Let’s hope the Cubs minor league system continues to develop and nurture such talented stars like Geovany Soto, Ryan Theriot, Carlos Marmol, Jeff Samardzija and Mike Fontenot.

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Come On Jim – – Joey Gathright?!

Posted on 16 December 2008 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs signed Joey Gathright to a 1-year, $800,000 deal. Gathright is a left-handed hitting outfielder who will fit into the bench plans for Manager Lou Pinella and the Cubs in 2009. Gathright is a career .263 hitter and has a career on-base percentage of .328. In 105 games in 2008, Gathright stole 21 bases for the Kansas City Royals.

Gathright will get most of his playing time in late innings during double-switches or when the Cubs need a stolen base. He fills a left-handed hitting void and he is versatile enough to play all 3 outfield positions. Gathright also played for Pinella during his time in Tampa Bay from 2004-6, so Lou knows his strengths and weaknesses from that relationship.

After all the Peavy talk and all the Ibanez or Bradley talk, this signing is somewhat disappointing. If this is the “big move” that Hendry has been waiting for, we’re in for a long 2009.

Come on Jim – let’s get in the action. The way it’s going, I don’t believe for a second that $ isn’t an issue with the Cubs free agent signings. The way the Cubs are taking a back seat this off-season, money must be tight for the new potential buyers. They’re excuse for not making the Peavy trade was that the Padres wanted too many players and that they needed to save some money to sign a left-handed hitting bat for the middle of the lineup. If the Cubs don’t move ahead with the signing of that left-handed hitter, this off-season will be a complete bust for Hendry and the Cubs.

Come on Jim – let’s make a deal already…

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Fukodome Included on Japan’s Prelim Roster for World Baseball Classic

Posted on 15 December 2008 by Lou

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The defending champion Japanese club has released its preliminary roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Several MLB players were included on the initial roster, including Cubs right fielder Kosuke Fukodome. After playing 2 great months for the Cubs in 2008, Fukodome struggled from June through September.

Other MLB players include Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki and Kenjii Johjima; L.A. Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda; Tampa Bay’s Akinori Iwamura; Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka; and Takashi Saito, currently a free agent who had played with the Dodgers.

The Classic is slated to be played from March 5, 2009 through March 23, 2009. The event features 16 teams playing in 4 different pools (each on a different continent). The semifinals and finals of the 2009 Classic will be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

The next Japanese superstar pitcher to potentially play in the U.S., Yu Darvish, is also on the Japanese roster. Darvish is the ace of the Nippon Ham Fighters.

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Cubs Sign Trio of Players

Posted on 14 December 2008 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs came to terms with 2 pitchers and 1 position player – avoiding salary arbitration in all 3 cases.

The Cubs signed a 1-year deal with outfielder Reed Johnson worth $3 million. He will play center field for the Cubs in 2009 – in a potential platoon with Kosuke Fukodome.

The Cubs signed a 1-year deal with pitcher Chad Gaudin worth $2 million. The Cubs acquired Gaudin from the A’s in the Rich Harden deal, and he pitched well for the Cubs before a back injury cut his season short.

The Cubs also signed a 1-year deal with pitcher Neal Cotts worth $1.1 million. He made 50 appearances for the Cubs in 2008 with a 4.39 ERA. He was a solid component of a good Cubs bullpen.

GM Hendry also announced that the Cubs would come to terms with 3-6 years players – Ronny Cedeno, Michael Wuertz and Kevin Gregg. Hendry has never gone to salary arbitration with any player while serving as the Cubs GM.

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