Archive | November, 2012

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Cubs Sign Scott Feldman to 1-Year, $6 Million Deal – Wrigley Field 11/27/12

Posted on 27 November 2012 by Lou

The Cubs signed Scott Feldman to a 1-year, $6 million deal. Feldman made 21 starts for the Texas Rangers in 2012 and Cubs GM Jed Hoyer expects Feldman to be a starter for the Cubs in 2013.  Hoyer stated: “I know he has bounced around a little bit with the Rangers, but in large part that was due to the amount of starting pitchers they had.  We clearly see him as a starter, and we are excited to add him to the rotation.” He posted a high 5.09 ERA for the Rangers and only went 6-11.  He had a breakout year with the Rangers in 2009, going 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA in 31 starts.  He hopes a change of scenery knowing that he will be a starter will help him return to form.  Feldman stated: “Starting is something I have always wanted to do during my career.  When Cubs executives gave me the go ahead on that and let me know I was in their plans from the get-go it was something that made me very interested in coming to the Cubs.

The Cubs are starting to round out the group of starting pitchers expected to be in the mix in 2013.  Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood appear to be locks.  Feldman is in that mix as well and Scott Baker could compete for a spot as well assuming his continued recovery from surgery stays on track.

We’ll keep you posted as the Cubs make further moves this winter…

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Cubs Ink Dioner Navarro to 1-Year, $1.75 Million Deal – Wrigley Field 11/25/12

Posted on 25 November 2012 by Lou

The signed veteran catcher Dioner Navarro to a 1-year, $1.75 million deal last week.  Navarro is 28 years old and he spent the 2012 MLB season playing for the Cincinnati Reds and their Triple-A club in Louisville.  In his 24 big league games, he hit .290 with 12 RBI’s.  In 2008, Navarro was an American League All-Star and a teammate of Matt Garza with the Rays.   Navarro will back up projected starter Wellington Castillo who made a big impression in 2012 by hitting .265 in 52 major league games – a career high for the youngster.

We’ll keep you posted as things heat up at the winter meetings.

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Cubs Take Shot on Ex-Twins’ Starter Scott Baker – Wrigley Field 11/13/12

Posted on 13 November 2012 by Lou

The Cubs and Scott Baker have agreed on a 1-year deal for the 2013 MLB season.  Baker missed the entire 2012 season once he had Tommy John surgery in April.  He is expected to be able to be in the Cubs starting rotation coming out of spring training.  In 2011, Baker appeared in 23 games, even posting a solid 2.86 ERA through the first 3 months of the season.  But an elbow strain sidelined him for much of the rest of the campaign and although he did pitch at the end of the season, he never was the same.  The elbow soreness lingered all throughout the winter, so he opted for the surgery in April 2012.

Baker had this to say about the signing: “I truly believe if you put the work in and prepare yourself for every start, that’s the best you can do.  Once you go out there and you are fully prepared then it’s about executing pitches…. I’m excited working with the coaching staff and medical staff. It’s a big season for me and the organization. I look forward to giving the team a chance to win.”

President of Baseball Ops Theo Epstein talked about the risk of signing a player coming off of Tommy John surgery: “I think we are very comfortable placing our bet on Scott Baker… Obviously there are no certainties on rehabs, but we spent quite a bit of time on the medical and on the rehab, and it was described by our staff as an ideal Tommy John rehab so far. Knock on wood. Everything has one perfectly so far, and he has really attacked it in an ideal manner.”

Go Cubs Go – Now it looks like we have our 4th starter. I still hope the Theo & Co. add 2 more starters just in case there are a few setbacks with Baker.  Guess we’ll have to see what happens along the way, but I like the Baker move…

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Cubs Lose Bid for South Korean Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu – Wrigley Field 11/11/12

Posted on 11 November 2012 by Lou

The Cubs qualifying bid for South Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu was not good enough as the Los Angeles Dodgers won the right to sign Ryu with a $25.75 million posting bid.  The Dodgers keep taking on more salary under Magic Johnson’s new ownership team now that the nasty McCourt divorce issue is behind the organization.  The Dodgers traded for Josh Beckett Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford this season all of whom have hug contracts down the line.

In Ryu’s 1st professional season back in 2006 the lefty went 18-6 with a 2.23 ERA while racking up 205 strikeouts.  Ryu helped South Korea top Cuba in the championship game of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  And despite a 9-9 record last season Ryu still had a sparkling 2.66 ERA with 210 strikeouts in 27 starts.

The Cubs are still in the free agent market for 2 starting pitchers.  Matt Garza Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood are likely starters back in 2013 for the Cubs.

We’ll keep you posted if anything develops over the next few weeks as baseball meetings heat up pretty quickly this winter…

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So Why Did the Carlos Marmol-Dan Haren Trade Really Fall Apart? – Wrigley Field 11/6/12

Posted on 06 November 2012 by Lou

For the 2nd time in 5 months, a Cubs trade fell apart right at the last minute and left a yearning Cubs fan base begging for answers.  It was reported that the Cubs had dealt Carlos Marmol to the Anaheim Angels for starter Dan Haren early Friday evening by a reporter from the Chicago Sun Times and Bruce Levine of Chicago’s ESPN Radio 1000 (a similar non-trade occurred back in early July when it was erroneously reported that the Cubs had traded Ryan Dempster to the Atlanta Braves for coveted young starter Randall Delgado).  But within an hour or so of those reports, the deal fell apart.  The Angels declined to pick up Haren’s team option for $15.5 million for the 2013 MLB season and essentially bought him out for $3.5 million thereby making him a free agent.  The Cubs are believed to have obtained Marmol’s consent to the trade (he had a full no trade clause), but it is still unclear if the Cubs did not relay that message quickly enough for them to exercise Haren’s option before the Friday night deadline or if there were other issues consummating the trade.

Knowing how thorough Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are, maybe they had concerns with Haren’s lingering back issues during the 2012 campaign.  Haren (32 years old) landed on the DL for the 1st time in his career and appeared in only 30 games tossing less than 200 innings for the 1st time in his career.  Maybe that gave the Cubs pause, especially since they were fully expected to use Haren as a 3-month “rental” in order to deal him prior to the July 2013 trading deadline for prospects.

Or maybe Marmol never really consented to the deal.

Or maybe there was still a hang-up between the Cubs and Angels on money to be paid by either side.  Did the Cubs want the Angels to pay a portion of Haren’s salary since Marmol was only slated to earn $9 million during the 2013 season.

Maybe we’ll never know.  In any event, the Cubs still have Marmol for one more season and will likely deal him this off-season or in the first few months of the season to a team that is struggling with closer/back of the end bullpen issues.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as anything develops…

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