Archive | December, 2009

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Cubs Sign Center Fielder Marlon Byrd

Posted on 31 December 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs signed Marlon Byrd to a 3-year deal worth $15 million.  Byrd will play center field at Wrigley Field for the Cubs in 2010 and will likely bat lead-off.  Byrd will make $3 million in 2010, $5.5 million in 2011 and $6.5 million in 2012.  Byrd had a phenomenal year for the Texas Rangers in 2009 – his 20 HR’s, 89 RBI’s and .479 slugging percentage were all career highs.  Byrd is a career .279 hitter with a career .340 on-base percentage.  The Cubs hired the Rangers’ hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo this off-season, so he will continue to work with Byrd as a Cub for the next 3 years.

Byrd is excited about the prospects of playing everyday in Chicago: “When I knew I had the opportunity to become a Cub, I was really hoping this would be my landing ground.”

GM Jim Hendry had this to say about Byrd: “We knew he was a good guy.  He plays very hard and fans are going to like that.  He comes to play every day, doesn’t want days off and gives you 110%.  When Rudy told us about the other things he brought to the table, it enhances his reputation even further.”  Sense any little digs at Hendry’s big free agent signing last year – Milton Bradley?

I love this deal and I hate it at the same time.

It always seems like the Cubs sign these 32-34 year olds coming off their career years.  Then when they get to Chicago, they’ve lost a step or 2 and play mediocre ball for the last 3 years of their baseball careers.

Then again, Byrd played 146 games last year and is durable.  Having Byrd as your lead-off hitter would enable Ryan Theriot to hit 2nd in the lineup.  Or you could flip-flop the 2.  Then you follow that up with Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker/Mike Fontenot, and you have a decent lineup.  Assuming a healthy Ramirez and a Soriano and Soto who were not as bad as they were in 2009, and things can only get better.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see.  Happy New Years!

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David Cales – Class A Advanced Reliever of the Year

Posted on 30 December 2009 by Lou

With not much else going on these days, might as well shed some light on some great Cubs minor leaguers.  David Cales was named the Class A Advanced Reliever of the Year.  In 37 games for the Daytona Cubs, Cales saved 14 games with a  sparkling 0.78 ERA.  He also had a 3-0 record.  Although he grew up on the South Side and is an admitted White Sox fan, he knows how to say the right things: “As I became older, I loved Chicago sports all together.  It’s an honor to play for the city of Chicago, even in the minors.  I couldn’t be happier playing for the Cubs.  I’m just a Chicago fan.  It’s an absolute privilege playing for a Chicago team.”

Well said – let’s hope both Chicago MLB baseball teams have better 2010′s than their 2009′s…

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Cubs Minor Leaguer Wins Single Game Performance Award

Posted on 29 December 2009 by Lou

Daytona Cubs minor leaguer Robinson Chirinos won the Class A Advanced Minor League Single Game Performance of the Year Award in 2009.  During the Daytona Cubs 11-3 victory over Sarasota in May, Chirinos clubbed 2 Grand Slams to pace the Cubs.  That feat has occurred one other time in the Florida State League – way back in 1959.

For the season, the catcher Chirinos had a .300 batting average in 69 games for the Cubs.  The 25-year old also had 11 HR’s and 47 RBI’s.

Chirinos had this to say about the award: “This is the biggest moment in my career.  I’m just going to enjoy it right now.”

Maybe we’ll see Chirinos at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field someday soon…

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Will 2010 be the Hawk’s Year?

Posted on 28 December 2009 by Lou

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Will Andre Dawson get the call he has been waiting for for so long on January 6, 2010?  Will the Baseball Writers’ Association of America place enough votes for Dawson to get elected to the Hall of Fame?  If it isn’t this year, it may never happen, as all the previous players who have received more votes than Dawson in the past are already enshrined as members of the Hall of Fame.  His stiffest competition will come from Bert Blyleven and Lee Smith.  Newcomers Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin and Edgar Martinez could also siphon a few votes away from Dawson.  But given the numbers, this should be Dawson’s year.

Dawson had this to say about the 2010 announcement: “I’ve talked to a lot of Hall of Famers and they’ve echoed the same sentiments… You’ve just got to be patient.  It’s eventually going to happen.”

Let’s hope this January 6th brings some solace for Dawson – you deserve it Hawk!

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Matt Capps Signs With Washington Nationals

Posted on 26 December 2009 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs pursuit of a potential veteran set-up man for Closer Carlos Marmol ended this week as Matt Capps inked a 1-year deal with the Nationals.  The desire to be a closer and Nationals GM Mike Rizzo’s promise to Capps that he would be considered for the Nats’ closer job selaed the deal for Capps.  Another failed attempt for GM Jim Hendry.  His days continue to dwindle…

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Merry Christmas from Your Friends at MyCubsToday!

Posted on 25 December 2009 by Lou

Merry Christmas from your friends at MyCubsToday!  We hope you have a happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous 2010!

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Aramis Ramirez Looking Forward to Healthy 2010

Posted on 24 December 2009 by Lou

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Aramis Ramirez is such a key factor to the success of the Cubs offensive production.  With him in the lineup every day, the Cubs have one of the best lineups in the league.  Without him, pitchers can be selective and the lineup tends to push harder to make the big play.  Ramirez missed 2 months of the 2009 MLB season and the Cubs sorely missed him.  Even in limited time (82 games), Ramirez put up great numbers – .317 batting average; .389 on-base percentage, 15 HR’s, 65 RBI’s and only 43 K’s in 306 at-bats.

Here’s what Ramirez had to say about his off-season conditioning program: “I’m going to do the same leg program.  Thank God, I didn’t have any leg problems like the last two, three years. I’m going to have to keep doing that.  I’ll stay on top of that.  I also have to strengthen my shoulder.  I have to get my shoulder back to what it was at the beginning of the year.”

Let’s hope Ramirez can stay healthy in during the 2010 MLB schedule for the Cubs.  Ramirez is the best Cubs hitter and their most dependable run producer – a healthy Ramirez makes the rest of the Cubs lineup that much better…

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Cubs Still Mulling Center Field Options

Posted on 23 December 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs want to move Kosuke Fukudome back to right field in 2010.  That is his natural position and they feel like he will be a better hitter not having to worry about manning the center field position at Wrigley.  So, the Cubs must find a center fielder.

The Boston Red Sox signed Mike Cameron.  Juan Pierre signed with the Chicago White Sox.

Reed Johnson is still out there, but injuries have been a concern over the last couple of years with Johnson and they don’t want to get into a similar situation again by depending on Johnson.

The same could be said for Scott Podsednik who did a great job for the White Sox in 2009 but who is always an injury away from missing significant time.

Tops on the list right now is Marlon Byrd, but he has several suitors and the Cubs might not have what it takes to land Byrd.  Plus, with the late signings before the 2009 for minimal dollar amounts (see Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn, etc.) maybe GM Jim Hendry is counting on the fact that he might be able to wait it out and sign someone at the end of January/early February for minimal money and years.  A player who could hold the position for a year or 2 until Tyler Colvin is ready to play at the major league level each and every day.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on the transaction front.

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Cubs Still Pursuing Matt Capps

Posted on 22 December 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs are still pursuing Matt Capps to be the go-to right-handed set-up man for Closer Carlos Marmol in 2010.  The catch – Capps wants to be a closer and the Washington Nationals have offered him a chance to be the front-runner for the Nationals closer job.

Current Cubs reliever John Grabow who recently signed a 2-year deal with the Cubs and was a teammate of Capps with the Pittsburgh Pirates has personally petitioned Capps to sign with the team.  “I basically told him about the organization and how the guys are in the clubhouse.  If he comes to the Cubs, he’s coming to a contender.”

Capps had a down year in 2009 – 57 games, 4-8 record, 27 saves, 5 blown saves with a 5.80 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP.    In 2008, those numbers were drastically better – 49 games, 2-3 record, 21 saves, 5 blown saves with a 3.02 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP.  If the Cubs do sign Capps, they hope he can return to 2008 form very quickly…

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“The Rink at Wrigley” Officially Open

Posted on 21 December 2009 by Lou

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After a brief delay, “The Rink at Wrigley” is officially open.  In attendance – Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, Starting Pitcher Ryan Dempster, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita & 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney.  Dempster “threw out the 1st pitch” to Mikita and later skated on the ice with plenty of Cubs fans and skating enthusiasts.

The Rink at Wrigley is open 7 days a week.  Admissions is $10 for adults and just $6 for children.  Skate rentals are available and there is even a Zamboni to help clear the ice after each session.  But with the recent trade of Milton Bradley to Seattle, it doesn’t look like the Cubs will be asking Bradley to drive the Zamboni anytime soon.  Boo-hoo…

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