Archive | January, 2012

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What Are The Yankees Thinking? Bronx Bombers Hire Jim Hendry – Wrigley Field 1/31/12

Posted on 31 January 2012 by Lou

What are the New York Yankees thinking?  That’s all I could think of when I heard that the Yankees hired former Cubs GM to be a special assignment scout under GM Brian Cashman.  I really thought that Hendry would take the year off after Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts let him go in July/August 2011.  But I guess he had the itch to get back into the game as soon as possible.  Larry Rothschild, the Cubs former pitching coach under Hendry, is currently the Yankees pitching coach, and Joe Girardi is the Yankees Manager.  Girardi caught for the Cubs for several seasons.  So I guess there will be some friendly faces in New York for Hendry.

But after the Yankees pulled off the unthinkable – landing 2 top starting pitchers this off-season in a trade for Michael Pineda with the Seattle Mariners and the signing of free agent Hiroki Kuroda – it shocks me that they would need someone like Hendry.  Hendry is an “old school” executive and although he probably has some great contacts out there, he just does not seem like the right fit in New York.  Maybe he’ll use this as a stepping stone for a year or 2 to jump ship somewhere else, but I just don’t see Hendry providing that much valuable information to one of the top franchises in all of baseball.  Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have gotta be laughing their asses off right now…

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Yes! Cubs Sign 39-Year Old Trever Miller to Minor League Deal – Wrigley Field 1/30/12

Posted on 30 January 2012 by Lou

Wow – I’m not sure how Theo, Jed and the Cubs pulled this one off, but they convinced veteran lefty reliever Trever Miller to sign a minor league deal with a much-coveted invite to Spring Training camp in Mesa, Arizona.  This could be a Cubs coup if the 39-year old Miller somehow makes the opening day roster.  The Cubs would be his 9th MLB team and he has held left-handed hitters to a paltry .225 career batting average (overall, he has a 3.80 career ERA and a 1.74 WHIP in parts of 13 big league seasons.  Ouch.

Given this signing, I am keeping my cell phone close to my hip all day long.  I just turned 39 in September, so who knows, maybe I’ll get a spring training invite too.  It’s a free for all on the north side.  If the Cubs do end up trading Matt Garza before the start of the season, the Cubs would arguably have the worst pitching staff in all of baseball…

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Cespedes Free To Negotiate With MLB Teams – Wrigley Field 1/27/12

Posted on 27 January 2012 by Lou

Yoenis Cespedes is now eligible to negotiate with MLB teams.  Cespedes, a Cuban defector, has established legal residency in the Dominican Republic.  Cespedes must still obtain an “unblocking license” from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control since he has established residency in a different country as a Cuban defector.

It is believed that the Cubs and White Sox, as well as the Miami Marlins, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers are all highly interested in Cespedes.  But given the Cubs unwillingness to make an aggressive play for either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder – who both have a proven track record in the major leagues, I find it hard to believe that the Cubs will really make a strong play to sign the free agent.  Guess we’ll have to wait and see…

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Cubs Agree to 1-Year Deals with Soto, Wells, Stewart, DeWitt, Baker & Volstad – Wrigley Field 1/18/12

Posted on 18 January 2012 by Lou

With the arbitration deadline looming, the Cubs agreed to 1-year deals with all but one arbitration eligible player.  The lone “outcast” is Cubs ace Matt Garza.  Garza went 10-10 with a nifty 3.32 ERA in his 1st season with the Cubs during the 2011 MLB season.  He left 7 additional games with the lead, but came away without a victory after the bullpen blew his outings.  Garza has asked for $12.5 million while the Cubs countered with $7.95 million.  Look for Garza to make between $9-10 million for the 2012 MLB campaign.

Geovany Soto will make $4.3 million in 2012.

Jeff Baker will make $1,375,000 million in 2012.

Blake DeWitt will make $1.1 million in 2012.

Ian Stewart will make $2,237,500 million in 2012.

Randy Wells will make $2,705,000 million in 2012.

Chris Volstad will make $2,655,000 million in 2012.

We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything new on the Garza front…

 

 

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Cubs Relieved Wood Remains Top Reliever in 2012 Bullpen – Wrigley Field 1/16/12

Posted on 16 January 2012 by Lou

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day from your friends at MyCubsToday.com!

After a riveting Cubs Convention this past weekend, Cubs Chariman Tom Ricketts indicated that he was very pleased that Theo, Jed and Kerry’s team were able to work out a deal that would keep Wood on the north side for 2012 and hopefully the rest of his career.  After giving the Cubs a “bargain” $1.5 million deal in 2011, Wood decided that he wasn’t ready to retire and that although he wanted to stay with the Cubs, he also wanted to be compensated appropriately.  He left $10 million on the table in 2011 for a deal with the White Sox and he left $5 million on the table from a deal with the Red Sox.  He wasn’t going to do that again in 2012.  While Woods was close to signing with another team (so much so that he almost took a physical for that team), Ricketts stepped in at the end to help get the 1-year, $3 million deal done so that Wood could be a part of the weekend’s convention festivities…

Ricketts had this to say – “I’m not sure why the timing ended up the way it did… Theo’s pretty communicative. We talk about all player decisions and Kerry’s no exception to that.  We definitely talked about it. And we talked about what was the best for the organization and (signing Wood) was it… In the end, it works out great.  This is exactly what everybody wanted.  Every fan and everybody in the organization, and also Kerry.”

Good job guys.  Jeff Samardzija, Wood and Closer Carlos Marmol are going to need to bring their A-games in 2012 if the Cubs want to make a run at the weak NL Central division crown.  They are going to need everything they can milk out of these 3 guys…

 

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Cubs, Wood Find a Way To Get It Done – All Is Good – Wrigley Field 1/14/12

Posted on 14 January 2012 by Lou

All is good on the north side, as Theo & Co. and Kerry Wood figured out a way to keep the veteran reliever with the Cubs in 2012.  The Cubs and Wood signed a 1-year, $3 million deal just before the start of the 2012 Cubs Convention on Friday night.  The deal includes a club option for 2013.  Wood pitched in 55 games for the Cubs in 2011, going 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA.

It was a win-win situation for both sides.  With the departure of Sean Marshall via trade to the Reds, the Cubs needed a veteran presence in the bullpen besides Carlos Marmol.  Wood will help anchor the back-end of the bullpen with Marmol and Jeff Samardzija.

Although it got a little scary at times during negotiations, Wood is thrilled to be back with the Cubs and is glad that he did not have to retire.  “I didn’t want to be forced into that. I still love the game.  I still have plenty left… It all worked out in the end.  I’m back in Chicago and I’m back where I want to be.”

Let’s hope it is a productive season for the both Wood and the Cubbies…

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2012 Cubs Convention Kicks off Tonight – Wrigley Field 1/13/12

Posted on 13 January 2012 by Lou

The 2012 Cubs Convention kicks off tonight at the Hilton Chicago at 720 South Michigan Avenue.  The Convention goes from 3pm-6pm on Friday, 9am-12 midnight on Saturday and 9am-1pm on Sunday.  With each weekend pass, you have access to question and answer sessions, limited player/coach autograph sessions and other vendor booths.

One person we know who won’t be there, however, is Kerry Wood, who has yet to come to terms with the Cubs on another deal for the 2012 MLB season…

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Cubs, Malholm Agree to 1-Year, $4.5 Million Deal – Wrigley Field 1/10/12

Posted on 10 January 2012 by Lou

The Cubs continue to tinker with their starting rotation – inking lefty Paul Maholm to a 1-year, $4.5 million deal.  The Cubs have a $6.5 club option for the 2013 MLB season or the Cubs can buy him out for $500,000.  Maholm has pitched 6+ seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates after being selected in the 1st round by the NL Central foe back in 2003.  He has a career 53-73 record with a 4.36 ERA.  Despite having a “down year” in 2011 – he went 6-14 – it was also the 1st time in his career where he completed a full season with a sub-par 4.00 ERA (3.66).  He is a sinkerball pitcher which could aid him in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field – he has allowed less than 1 HR per 9 innings for his entire career and he has also averaged just 13 HR’s allowed person during his career.

GM Jed Hoyer had this to say about Maholm – “Maholm is a ground ball pitcher and Volstad is a ground ball pitcher so that’s important.  It’s important to have a mixture on your staff.  You don’t want a staff of all ground ball guys or all fly ball guys.  You want to have pretty good diversity.”  Maholm and newly acquired Travis Wood will serve as the 2 two lefty starters on the Cubs 2012 rotation.  Hoyer went on to say – “I think we are very comfortable with the names we have.  You never know what is going to happen over the course of the winter and what is going to be available to us.  But what we said was that a huge priority was building depth.  We feel like we’ve really done that.”

These guys are going to turn the Cubs into World Series contenders, but they are nice innings-eaters and should keep the Cubs in ball games during the 2012 MLB season.  It won’t always be pretty, but it is what it is…

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Happy New Year – Wrigley Field 1/1/12

Posted on 01 January 2012 by Lou

Happy New Years from your friends at MyCubsToday.com!

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