Posted on 10 December 2012 by Lou
The Cubs opted to re-sign 3B Ian Stewart to a 1-year deal this weekend. Stewart will have a base salary of $2 million and there are incentives in the deal that could net Stewart an additional $500,000. With the free agent market thin at the third base position, and with the lackluster performance from young prospect Josh Vitters in 2012 (.121 batting average in 99 at-bats in 36 games), the Cubs were kind of “forced” to re-sign Stewart despite his paltry 2012 numbers. Stewart racked up only 202 at-bats in 55 games in 2012 due to a wrist injury. He had a surgery on the wrist to fix the nagging problem and is on track to be ready for Spring Training 2013. Let’s hope so. He hit just .201 with 5 HR’s, 17 RBI’s and a pathetic .292 on-base percentage. Looks like GM Jed Hoyer and President Theo Epstein are still looking for their 3rd baseman of the future in the coming seasons…
Posted on 09 December 2012 by Lou
The Cubs and right-handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa officially agreed to a 3-year, $9.5 million deal on Friday. Fujikawa is 32 years old and will likely serve as a set-up man to current Cubs closer Carlos Marmol. GM Jed Hoyer and President Theo Epstein are confident that a more consistent back-end of the rotation will lead to more W’s in 2013. With Marmol, Fujikawa, James Russell and Shawn Camp ready to shoulder a good chunk of the load, that should allow Manager Dale Sveum a few more options during the long season and hopefully keep guys more fresh as the season wears on. It could also give Epstein and Hoyer some flexibility to move Marmol (who is owed $9.8 million in 2013) at some point in order to bring back a few young arms and help deepen the Cubs pitching potential in the minor leagues.
The Cubs signed Fujikawa to a “team-friendly contract” of 2 years and $9.5 million. He gets a $1 million signing bonus plus salaries of $4 million in each of 2013 and 2014. The Cubs can buy him out for $500,000 at the end of 2014 if Fujikawa does not meet a “games-finished” option that vests if he meets a certain level. The dollar value for the 2015 vesting option is either $5.5 million or $6 million.
Hoyer had this to say about the addition – “Our goal is to have the best bullpen possible. Kyuji certainly adds to that. He’s had a great career. If you look at his career, he was a dominant setup guy first and a dominant closer. We know he can do both roles. We look at it as adding a great arm, and we don’t worry about the role.”
Little by little the Cubs are piecing together their 2013 roster. While they are not going to make any splashy moves this off-season, at least it seems like they have a plan to address a few of the areas that really hurt the club in 2012. That could mean a team that is more competitive in 2013 – http://www.ticketchest.com/sports/MLB_Tickets/Chicago_Cubs/ – let’s hope…
Posted on 01 December 2012 by Lou
The Cubs are in hot pursuit of Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa. Fujikawa, 32, has pitched in 12 seasons for the Hanshin Tigers. He has racked up 220 saves during that time with a 1.77 ERA. The deal is supposedly for 2 years and $9.5 million. The Cubs have not confirmed the deal although it is believed that the only remaining hurdle is a Fujikawa physical.
While some scouts believe that Fujikawa can close in the big leagues, other scouts seem to think that he is better suited as a setup man for a more-established closer (especially since he has not pitched70 innings in any season since 2007). We’re not sure if Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein will continue to shop current closer Carlos Marmol once the deal is announced, but it could give the Cubs some flexibility now or before the 2013 trading deadline.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything concrete.
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…
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.
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…
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…
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…
Posted on 09 September 2012 by Lou
Jeff Samardzija tossed his 1st career complete game in Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Pirates in Pittsburgh. It was also the Cubs 1st team complete game of the season as well. On an innings limit in his 1st year as a starter, Samardzija used up 120 pitches to accomplish the important feat. He finished the season 9-13 with a 1.22 WHIP and 3.81 ERA. He racked up 9 more strikeouts in the outing and walked just 1 batter. It was his 17th quality start of the season – not bad for a lifetime reliever who finally earned a chance to compete as a starter out of spring training.
David DeJesus, Wellington Castillo and Tony Campana each had 2 hits in the win. DeJesus’ single drove in Castillo with the winning run in the 8th inning to get Samardzija the win. Alfonso Soriano hit his 27th home run of the season – it was his 92nd RBI in 130 games played.
Darwin Barney played in his 124th consecutive errorless game at 2nd base. His streak surpassed the 1,000th innings mark and he also set a National League record in the process…
GO CUBC GO!!!
Posted on 04 September 2012 by Lou
The Nationals have taken the 1st 2 games of the series against the Cubs with 2-1 and 11-5 victories. The Nats improved their major league best record to 83-52.
Jeff Samardzija pitched well on Labor Day, but suffered the loss as the Cubs could not muster any offense. Samardzija fell to 8-13 on the season despite allowing just 1 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk in 7 innings pitched. He struck out 8 and walked just 1 batter as he lowered his ERA to 3.91 and his WHIP to 1.26. Starlin Castro and Wellington Castillo each had 2 hits in the loss and Castillo knocked in the only Cubs run with a single in the 9th inning that cut the Nats lead in half. But it was too little too late.
Chris Rusin and the Cubs bullpen served up 6 homers to the Nationals in the 11-5 loss on Tuesday night. Rusin lasted just 1 inning (he did not record an out in the 2nd inning) before being pulled by Skipper Dale Sveum. His line was not pretty — 5 ER on 8 hits with a walk and a strikeout. His WHIP ballooned to 2.00 as his ERA skyrocketed to 9.00. It was his 2nd loss in 2 starts this season. Alfonso Soriano did hit his 26th home run and tallied his 2nd triple of the season. Luis Valbuena, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro each had 2 hits in the loss.
The Cubs are a woeful 51-84 on the season and it looks like they could suffer a 100-loss season in 2012. Ouch…
At least they are still finding ways to have fun – check out the picture of Rookie picture Jaye Chapman carrying the “Dora The Explorer Backpack” to the Cubs bullpen before the start of the game!