Archive | January, 2010

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Chicago Cubs Hire Greg Maddux as Assistant to GM Jim Hendry

Posted on 11 January 2010 by Lou

Greg Maddux is a Cubs once again – GM Jim Hendry has hired him as one of his assistants to help develop the future of the Cubs.  Officially, Maddux will help with the coaching staffs during Spring Training, he will be involved in the development of minor league players at the minor league level and he will participate in talent evaluation within the baseball operations department.

Maddux had his No. 31 retired in May 2009 along side Fergie Jenkins.  He pitched 10 seasons for the Cubs, with 133 of his 355 victories coming in a Cubs uniform.  Maddux was the 8th winningest pitcher all-time when he retired in 2008 and he won his 1st Cy Young Award as a member of the Cubs in 1992 – 20-11 with a sparkling 2.18 ERA.

Maddux had this to say about the endeavor: “I’m looking forward to learning things about the game that I never thought I had to learn, and at the same time, trying to pass down what I’ve learned the last 20 years to the players who will play hopefully for the next 20 years… I’m looking forward to working my way back into the game and am happy that the Cubs have given me the opportunity to do that.  I started my career with the Cubs, and Chicago has always been the best place in the league to play. I’m eager to do whatever I can to help the organization and am looking forward to getting started at Spring Training.”

GM Hendry echoed Maddux’s sentiments: “We’re thrilled to have Greg back with the Chicago Cubs.  He has such a vast knowledge of all phases of the game and the ultimate respect of everyone from players to the front office.  The addition of Greg Madduz makes us a better organization.”

Let’s hope Maddux learns quickly.  I believe that Hendry is under contract for the next 2 years.  Maybe when the Ricketts family realizes what a crappy position that Hendry has left the Cubs in player personnel-wise (with all the bad long-term contracts that have the Cubs hands tied for the next 2-3 seasons), they’ll see a potential replacement with Maddux.  How about Maddux and Sandberg running the major league club in a few years?  We can only hope…

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Will Andre Dawson Go to Hall of Fame Wearing a “Cubs” or “Expos” Hat?

Posted on 09 January 2010 by Lou

Whether Andre Dawson goes into the Hall of Fame wearing a Cubs hat or an Expos hat is still up in the air.  An announcement is expected to be made sometime next week.  Dawson played the 1st 11 years of his career with the Montreal Expos.  In 1987, Dawson joined the Chicago Cubs organization and he played the next 6 years of his career at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.  Dawson also said that playing in front of the Wrigley faithful “rejuvenated” his MLB career.  Inside sources say that Dawson would prefer to go into the Hall of Fame as a Cub, but that “higher powers that be” would prefer Dawson to enter the Hall of Fame wearing an Expos hat.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as anything develops…

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Will Carlos Zambrano Step Up to the Plate (on the Mound) in 2010?

Posted on 08 January 2010 by Lou

Coming off a miserable 9-win season in which he spent 2 stints on the disabled list, Carlos Zambrano needs to step up and show that he is the Cubs ace in 2010.

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Can Carlos Marmol Handle Closer Role Right From Get-Go

Posted on 07 January 2010 by Lou

Will Carlos Marmol be able to handle the closer’s role right from the start and for the long haul of an MLB season?  Gotta love these questions.

No one questions Marmol’s stuff when he is on.  But the 65 walks in 74 innings is downright scary.  Walks for a closer are usually the kiss of death…

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At Last – Andrew Dawson Elected to Hall of Fame

Posted on 06 January 2010 by Lou

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It was well worth the wait for Andre Dawson, as 77.9 of eligible Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted the “Hawk” into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday.  I guess the 9th time was a charm for Dawson, as he waited 8 long years in order to get elected.  Dawson appeared on 420 of 539 ballots.  He was the only player elected into the Hall of Fame this time around in one of the tightest races in Hall of Fame voting history.  Bert Blyleven finished just 5 votes short – receiving 74.2% of the vote.  1st year eligible player Roberto Alomar fell just 8 votes short with 73.7% of the vote.  Alomar received the most votes ever for a 1st time candidate without actually getting elected to the Hall of Fame.

Dawson will be inducted in Cooperstown, New York on July 25th.  Manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey – both of whom were elected into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee – will also be inducted that day.

Dawson said it was an emotional journey over the past 9 years – “If you’re a Hall of Famer you’re eventually going to get in.  It was well worth the wait.  I can’t really describe the elation when my family and I got the call… Well, I shed some tears today.  I was nervous today and I was happy before the announcement.  I was optimistic.  For some reason I slept better last night than I have in the last 8 years.  I probably won’t feel the magnitude of it for a couple of days.  I’m still kind of light in the stomach.  My daughter and my wife showed a lot of emotion when I got the phone call.  Of course, I treid to keep myself contained.”

Dawson played 11 seasons with the Montreal Expos and then 6 seasons with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.  Dawson hit 438 career home runs and had 1,591 career RBI’s.

Congrats Hawk – you deserved it!

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2010 Questions – Which Geovany Soto Will Appear @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 05 January 2010 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs have major question marks going into the 2010 MLB schedule.  One of the biggest is which Geovany Soto will Cubs fans see day in and day out in 2010?

Look at the drastic differences in numbers between 2008 and 2009:

2008 – 141 games, 494 at-bats, .285 batting average, .364 on-base percentage, 23 HR’s, 86 RBI’s 66 runs scored.  Soto was the starting Catcher for the National League in the 2008 All-Star Game and he was named the National League Rookie of the Year.

2009 – 102 games, 331 at-bats, .218 batting average, .321 on-base percentage, 11 HR’s, 47 RBI’s 27 runs scored.

The positive drug testing at the World Baseball Classic in March 2009 and being out-of-shape in spring training supposedly led to injuries that he could not overcome during the season.  Soto did lower his strike out numbers from 121 in 2008 to only 77 in 2009, but he has to show that he will be durable in 2009 if the Cubs can consider him a long-term solution behind the plate.

Word out of Puerto Rico is that Soto’s workouts are going great.  Hopefully Soto realized what a complete failure he was in 2009 and he will dedicate this off-season to returning to the upper echelon of catchers in the National League in 2010.  It will be nice to see Soto show up in solid shape in February in Arizona and have him be better prepared to lead this Cubs pitching staff through the long MLB season.  We’ll keep you posted if we hear anymore updates on Soto over the next few weeks…

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Jaramillo Excited to Have Byrd on Cubs in 2010

Posted on 04 January 2010 by Lou

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While most Cubs fans are thrilled to have a solid center fielder for the 2010 MLB schedule, new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo may be the most excited.  Having coached Marlon Byrd in each of the last 3 seasons in Texas (his average numbers during that span are .295 batting average, .352 on-base percentage and .468 slugging percentage), Jaramillo knows exactly what Byrd brings to the table each and every day.

Here’s what Jaramillo had to say about GM Jim Hendry’s latest signing: “He made a lot of adjustments.  Every year, he got better. I’m real excited about him coming over there.  He brings a lot of energy and leadership.  He wants to win. Those are things that are going to help me out.  I talked to him the other day and I told him we’ve got our work cut out for us…  Our park was a big park with big gaps and he was outstanding covering those gaps.  He threw the ball well and accurately.  It’s what he brings to the club – his energy, he’s always working hard and playing hard.  It’s going to be good.”

Byrd set career highs in several categories during the 2009 MLB schedule – 155 hits, 20 HR’s, 89 RBI’s, 43 doubles and 146 games played.  Hendry rewarded that output with a 3-year deal worth $15 million.  Let’s hope Byrd performs well on the field in 2010 for the Cubs.  If Byrd turns out to be another one of those players who Hendry signs at the downward turn of their careers – Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley, etc. – it could mean the end of the Hendry era as we know it following the 2010 campaign.  And that might not be a bad thing…

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