Archive | December, 2011

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Cubs Acquire Ian Stewart To Man 3rd Base in 2012 & Beyond – Wrigley Field 12/9/11

Posted on 09 December 2011 by Lou

The Cubs acquired Ian Stewart and minor league reliever Casey Weathers in a trade with the Colorado Rockies last night.  In exchange for getting their 3rd baseman of the “future”, the Cubs sent frustrating right fielder Tyler Colvin and infielder DJ LeMahieu out to Colorado.  Stewart struggled with a wrist injury in 2011, playing in only 48 games.  He did not hit any homers and hit just .156 in only 122 at-bats.  Previous to that, the 26-year old had had productive seasons in 2009 and 2010.  In 147 games in 2009, Stewart racked up 25 HR’s, 70 RBI’s and 74 runs scored despite a .228 batting average.  In 2010, Stewart improved on the average numbers – hitting .256 with a .338 on-base percentage.  Playing 26 less games, Stewart hit just 18 HRs and drove in 61 runs that season.  He has committed just 23 errors in the last 3 seasons, an area in which the Cubs are in serious need of help.

Colvin had become a frustrating project for the Cubs over the last few seasons.  Colvin broke out on the scene in 2010 hitting 20 HR’s in 135 games.  He hit .254 with a .316 on-base percentage and the Cubs were hoping he would continue to improve.  But a rough spring training before the 2011 season proved to be a bad omen for Colvin.

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer is thrilled with the acquisition – “We wouldn’t have given up the talent that we did if we didn’t think he would be the starting 3rd baseman… We are expecting him to come in and he has to bounce back from last year. We are assuming he does… Ian Stewart is a good defensive 3rd baseman. He’s a very good athletic player and a gifted 3rd baseman.”  Let’s hope Stewart shines for the Cubs in 2012…

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Hot Stove En Fuego – Will Cubs Make Run at Fielder? They Better! Wrigley Field 12/8/11

Posted on 08 December 2011 by Lou

How does Theo & Co. not go after Prince Fielder with everything that they’ve got?

The St. Louis Cardinals just lost Albert Pujols to the tune of $254 million over 10 years with the Anaheim Angels in the American League.

That weakens the Cardinals tremendously.

Rumors are out there that the Milwaukee Brewers have upped their offer to try to keep Prince Fielder at Miller Park.  Who’s to say that they won\’t up it even more now that they know that the Cards have lost Pujols.

Who knows if the Cards will now try to take a run at signing Fielder away from Milwaukee with a portion of the money that they had allocated towards Pujols?

No one really knows.  That’s why the Cubs need to swoop in and lock up the “next-best” 1st baseman available, thereby hurting both the Cards and the Brewers in the process.  At 27 years of age, Fielder is about to enter his prime years – that’s 6 amazing years out of an 8-year deal (let’s say).  Even in that case, he’s still only 35 years old when the deal ends.  How can you go wrong.  You can build the Cubs lineup around Starlin Castro and Prince Fielder for years and years to come.  And during the next couple of years, you can tweak around the starting rotation a little bit with a focus on signing Matt Garza to a big long-term extension and a “friendly” rate before the end of the 2012 MLB season.  You already know that you have around $35 million coming off the books next year when Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano become free agents.  You try to make trades this year by moving a Marlon Byrd and a Carlos Marmol that might bring some quality pitchers back.  You throw Brett Jackson into the fire by starting him in center field all season and see what he can do.  How does a DeJesus, Barney, Castro, Fielder, Soto, Soriano, Jakcson, lineup sound?  Sure you still need a 3rd baseman, but maybe you also land an Ian Stewart or Chase Headley.  It’s now or never time for Theo and the Ricketts Family.  You made a big splash by bringing in Theo, Jed and Jason, now make an even bigger splash and make Fielder an offer he can’t refuse.

Go Cubs Go!!!

 

 

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Let The Games Begin – Cubs In On Pujols? Yeah Right… – Wrigley Field 12/6/11

Posted on 06 December 2011 by Lou

The games have started – 1st up – leading people to think that the Cubs are “all in” on Albert Pujols in the hopes that that will drive the price up out of the rival St. Louis Cardinals price range.  Guess we’ll see if the ploy works.

The St. Louis Dispatch reported that the Cubs have spoken with Dan Lozano – Pujols’ agent – on Monday and that they made a “qualifying offer” (whatever that means).  I love it.  Let’s try to get people thinking that the Cubs are a player.  Given the fact that the Marlins have made a bold move to land the slugger with a 10-year deal, I don’t see how the Cubs can compete with that.  So let’s just hope that the Marlins “reel in” the big guy so he leaves the NL Central for the 1st time in a decade.

C ubs President Theo Epstein played it coy when asked about any meeting with Lozano.  Epstein said: “He also represents Rodrigo Lopez, so if you see somebody going into someone’s room, it’s not always to talk about the Big Kahuna.”  I love it even more.

Epstein & Co. rarely show their cards during these meetings.  My wish – that they are planting the seeds about the Pujols offer, just to quietly go in and make an offer to Prince Fielder that his a-hole agent Scott Boras can’t refuse…

Go Cubs Go!!!

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At Last – Ron Santo Inducted Into Baseball Hall of Fame – Wrigley Field 12/5/11

Posted on 05 December 2011 by Lou

At last – Ron Santo has finally been elected posthumously to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  It took way to long – 32 years, but he will finally become a member of that elite class in July 2012.  Santo received 15 of 16 votes (93.8%) of the “Golden Era Committee” to get the nod.  Nominees need at least 75% of the vote (12 votes) in order to be elected.  Pitcher Jim Kaat received 12 votes; Minnie Minoso and Gil Hodges each received 9 votes.

We’ll have more on this in the coming days, but we’re so happy for Ron and his family! We miss you Ronnie!

Go Cubs Go!

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Sveum Hires Chris Bosio as New Pitching Coach – Wrigley Field 12/3/11

Posted on 03 December 2011 by Lou

Dale Sveum has hired Chris Bosio as the Cubs new pitching coach.  Slowly but surely Sveum is filling his coaching staff with experienced former players and current coaches.  Bosio and Sveum were teammates on the Milwaukee Brewers in the late 1980’s.  They also were coaches on the same Brewers staff during the 2009 MLB season.  Bosio has served as a coach and scout in the Brewers, Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays baseball organizations.  Most recently, Bosio served as Milwaukee’s Triple-A pitching coach with the Nashville Sounds.  During his big league career, Bosio pitched for the Brewers and Mariners – he retired in 1996 with a career 94-93 record with a nifty 3.63 ERA.

Bosio is thrilled to join his friend Sveum with the Cubs in Chicago: “I just can’t tell you how excited I am, number one, to be working with Dale.  When he offered me the job as pitching coach of the Chicago Cubs, to hear him say that, knowing the confidence he has in me, that’s a great feeling.  We’re going to be prepared, are going to have intensity and a lot of enthusiasm… It’s going to be agonizing at time, and rewarding as well.  That’s the rigors of the season.  But we’re going to try and create some magic at Wrigley.”

These guys are no-nonsense guys as far as I can tell.  Having been players, that helps a ton too.  They can relate to the rigors of a long MLB season, but they can also command respect and demand accountability.  They have a lot of energy and are out to prove that they can build something that will last a long time on the north side.

Go Cubs Go!!!

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Theo’s Plan – A Little Insight – Wrigley Field 12/2/11

Posted on 02 December 2011 by Lou

With the GM Meetings starting in Dallas next week, we’re curious what Theo & Co. will be doing all week.  While Theo is typically pretty tight-lipped, he did identify a few areas where he thought the Cubs needed help.  Here are a few snippets:

“We need starting pitching.  You can’t just take your chances of being looked at seriously as a club with just five guys.  You have to point to six, seven or eight guys… We are going to have to build our starting pitching staff.  We don’t have a ton of depth and that’s a priority.”

When asked about rumors regarding the Cubs possibly dealing Matt Garza – the Cubs best starter – Theo had this to say – “He’s exactly the kind of guy that we would like to build around.”  Another words, he’s not going anywhere…

As for hitting, Theo gave out this little secrets: “Adding a left-handed bat would be nice [David DeJesus partially solves that equation].  But under the right circumstances.  We are not going to force anything. We’ll look for a well-rounded position player to contribute on defense and maybe run the bases.  If that hapens to be a left-handed bat, yes.  David DeJesus is a good example of that.  He does those things well.  And those are things as a club that we don’t do well.  The most obvious ways to improve is to look at your weaknesses and try to turn them into a strength.”

Amen – I’m looking forward to an exciting week in Dallas.  Let’s just hope it ends with a royal signing of Prince Fielder…

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Big Z Back in the Mix? – Wrigley Field 12/1/11

Posted on 01 December 2011 by Lou

In addition to Cubs President Theo Epstein being open to Carlos Zambrano’s return to the Cubs clubhouse, it looks like veteran reliever Kerry Wood would also be open assuming it is done the “right way”.  Wood spoke with ESPN Radio 1000’s Carmen, Jurko and Harry show yesterday and had this to say about Big Z: “I think it’s something that he’s going to have a lot of new teammates that haven’t been through the history with him.  I think Z has got to worry more about the guys he’s done this to a few times.  He can have a better impression on the new teammates. The ultimate result is we need him to be a part of this team and help us win.  He can be a big part of that… It’s going to be something he’s going to have to address when he comes in and talks to guys and obviously we go from there. But if he wants to be a part of this team and help us win, if he can do it the right way, guys will be willing to have him back in there.”

I think Theo & Co. realize that they are going to have to eat a HUGE chunk of his salary just to “get rid of him”.  At this point, even though he’s already had a ton of chances, why not give him another shot and see if he can earn some respect and pitch well at the beginning of the season.  Big Z had some great starts in the first part of the season, but GM Jim Hendry missed the boat in moving him when his stock was high.  Something tells me that that won’t happen on Theo’s watch.  If he has a good April or May, and shows that he can keep his head on straight, then Theo & Co can potentially make a move where you bring in a few young players from a playoff contender that is dealing with a starting pitcher injury issue.  At that point, the “buying” club might even be able to take on a little more of his salary too.

Essentially, it’s a lose-lose situation for the Cubs, but if you give him a little more leash into April/May, it may simply become a less of a “lose-lose” situation. I guess we’ll know more about what Theo & Co. intend to do with Big Z after next week’s GM meetings…

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