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Cubs Visit Denver to Take on Rockies at Coors Field – Wrigley Field 4/15/11

Posted on 15 April 2011 by Lou

The Cubs take on the Rockies at Coors Field tonight.  Matt Garza looks to pick up his 1st win of 2011 and his 1st win as a Cub.  So far, Garza has been less than consistent – he has a 5.68 ERA with a 1.82 WHIP.  He is 0-1.  The Cubs hope that Starlin Castro,  Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd keep up their hot hitting against the Rockies.

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Fernando Perez & Zachary Rosscup Part of Garza Deal Too — Wrigley Field 1/10/11

Posted on 10 January 2011 by Lou

Outfielder Fernando Perez and Pitcher Zachary Rosscup were also part of the Matt Garza deal.  What can we come to expect from Perez and Rosscup?  Here’s a little insight.

Perez’ best attribute is his speed. In his 1st season in the minor leagues – in the Midwest League back in 2005 – Perez stole 57 bases.  He moved up a level each season and stole 43 bases in 2008 for the Rays’ Triple-A team in Durham, North Carolina.  Perez was called up to the major league team in September and was even added to the Rays’ post-season roster that year (he had 9 at-bats in the World Series that October).  Since then, however, Perez has struggled with injuries.  He missed most of 2009 with a dislocated wrist and he played in only 116 games for Durham in 2010.  He had a .223 batting average in 2010, but he did steal 24 bases in 31 tries.  The Cubs hope that Perez will come into 2011 Spring Training rested and healthy.  He could serve as a 4th or 5th outfielder and be a late-innings option to steal a base when the Cubs are down a run.

Rosscup is only 22 years.  He pitched in the Rookie League in 2009 – 2.68 ERA in 40+ innings pitched.  He did not pitch during the 2010 season until early July because of injuries.  He posted a 3.03 in 9 games in the Gulf Coast League in 2010.  He struck out almost 1 batter per game and pitched well down the stretch in 2010 – he limited players to a .205 batting average against.  Rosscup will likely pitch out of the bullpen for the Cubs in the minor leagues in 2011.

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Cubs Try to Reach Deals with Arbitration-Eligible Players – Wrigley Field 1/4/11

Posted on 04 January 2011 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs will try to reach deals with 5 arbitration-eligible players this month — Closer Carlos Marmol, Top reliever Sean Marshall, lefty starter Tom Gorzelanny, and Catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill.

The Cubs will likely give Marmol a mammoth raise.  2010 was his first season as the Cubs full-time closer right out of the gates, and he certainly delivered.  Marmol racked up 38 saves with only 5 blown saves.  He struck out 138 batters in 77 2/3 innings pitched – good for a 15.99 strikeouts-per-9-innings ration.  That number set a major league record which was previously held by Eric Gagne who had a 14.98 ratio.  Marmol is 28 years old and he made $575,000 in 2009 and $2,125,000 in 2010.  He has 2 years left of arbitration before he can file for free agency, but will the Cubs try to lock him up with a long-term deal now during his prime?

Sean Marshall had his best year as a pro in 2010.  His 80 appearances and 90 strikeouts were both career-highs.  His 7 wins were also tied for his career-best.  Marshall had a sparkling 2.65 ERA, giving up runs in only 14 of his 80 games pitched.  Marshall also has 2 years left before he becomes a free agent and there is always talk that Marshall could return to work as a starter at some point in his career.

Tom Gorzelanny made 23 starts for the Cubs in 2010, going 7-9 with a 4.09 ERA.  He earned $800,000 in 2010 and has 2 years left before he can become a free agent as well.

Geovany Soto is arbitration-eligible for the 1st time in his career.  He had a solid season despite missing the final 2 weeks of the year after undergoing right shoulder surgery.  Soto clubbed 17 HR’s with 53 RBI’s and made $575,000 in 2010 – his 3rd year as a pro.

Finally, Koyie Hill hit .214 in 77 games during the 2010 campaign.  Hill is 31 years old and has 2 years left before he becomes a free agent.

The Cubs went to arbitration with a player for the 1st time in 17 years in February 2010.  They won their case with former shortstop Ryan Theriot paying him just $2.6 million instead of the $3.4 million that he requested.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as the Cubs announce any deals with any of the above mentioned players…

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Tyler Colvin Update — Recovery from Collapsed Lung

Posted on 18 October 2010 by Lou

Tyler Colvin’s stellar 2010 campaign abruptly ended when he suffered a chest laceration and collapsed lung courtesy of a splintered bat at the end of September.  Colvin’s recovery has been smooth and he is getting ready for his wedding and honeymoon in November.  He does not expect any setbacks when he begins “Colvin Camp” after his return from his honeymoon – strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss will lead the camp in Mesa, Arizona once again.  The Cubs have no plans to make Colvin play winter ball given his productive season and the need for him to continue building strength after his freak injury.

When Manager Lou Pinella finally gave Tyler Colvin the opportunity to play just about every day, he truly blossomed as a player.  A late season slump hurt his overall numbers, but you can’t complain with the rookie’s final 2010 numbers — 135 games, 358 at-bats, .254 batting average, .316 on-base percentage, 20 HR’s, 5 triples, 56 RBI’s and 60 runs scored.  He’ll have to work on his eye during the winter and in Spring Training 2011 so that he can improve that on-base percentage which is a little low – 3.16 because of 30 walks and a hefty 100 K’s.  Colvin just turned 25 in September, however, so he still has plenty of time to continue to mature and grow and get more and more comfortable at the plate each and every season. You also have to love the 6 steals in 7 attempts – it gives a glimpse of what is possible once he irons out the art of hitting.

Let’s hope GM Jim Hendry can find a way to move either Kosuke Fukudome or Alfonso Soriano at some point during the off-season.  Fukudome will be the easier one to move because he only has 1 year left on his contract, but the Cubs will likely have to eat a good chunk of either player’s salary in any trade.  The Cubs will need Colvin to get at least 500 at-bats playing the outfield everyday if they expect for him to continue his development at the major league level at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.

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The Carlos Zambrano Train Keeps on Chugging Along – Cubs 1, Padres 0 – 9/27/10

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Lou

The Carlos Zambrano train keeps on chugging along.  Big Z tossed 7 scoreless innings giving up just 3 hits and 4 walks along the way.  He also had 5 K’s.  It was his 7th win in 10 starts since returning to the starting rotation back in early August and it was his 10th win overall in 2010.  At this point, it would be a huge shock if the Cubs try to move Zambrano this off-season.  Without a clear #1 starter, Zambrano has started to convince people that he is still worthy of the 5-year, $80+ million deal he signed a little over 2 years ago.

Sean Marshall pitched a perfect 8th inning with 2 K’s to preserve the 1-0 lead.

Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th inning but picked up his 35th save of the season.  After recording 2 strikeouts to start the inning, he loaded the bases with a single, hit batsman and walk.  But he got out of the jam by getting Nick Hundley to fly out to right field.

Blake DeWitt had 3 hits in the win and he drove in the lone Cubs run with a single in the 7th inning after Alfonso Soriano doubled with 2 outs.  Marlon Byrd also had 3 hits for the Cubs.

The Cubs continue to play spoiler as the win knocked the Padres out of the NL Wild Card lead.

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Spring Training is Right Around the Corner

Posted on 13 February 2010 by Lou

Spring Training is right around the corner as pitchers and catchers report to the Cubs Mesa, Arizona facility next week.  Despite a 3rd straight winning season for Manager Lou Pinella and his Cubs, the team did not qualify for post-season play in 2009.  That left a bitter taste in their mouths, especially since the team was swept out of the 1st round of the playoffs the previous 2 seasons.

But a new season brings new hopes.  And Cubs fans all across the country believe that this could be the year!  Ha ha ha!  Well I guess anything is possible, but it is going to take a lot for this team to rebound and play at a high level all season long to keep pace with the Central Division favorites – the hated St. Louis Cardinals.  The Cardinals have 2 elite pitchers – Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright – to go with 2 of the game’s best sluggers – Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday – so the Cards are not going to lose a lot of games.

That means the Cubs are going to need to stay healthy and play together as a team if they are going to regain that 2008 winning form, which saw the team win 95 games and finish with the best record in the National League.

We’ll be touching on a lot of these subjects over the next few weeks of Spring Training and will keep you posted with any injury updates, etc.  To wet your appetite a little bit, feast your eyes on the Cubs projected opening day lineup for MLB baseball at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.  Although they will start the season away from Wrigley, I can’t wait for opening day to get here – it can’t come soon enough…

SS Ryan Theriot; RF Kosuke Fukudome; 1B Derrek Lee; 3B Aramis Ramirez; CF Marlon Byrd; LF Alfonso Soriano; C Geovany Soto; and 2B Mike Fontenot/Jeff Baker.

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Cubs Avoid Arbitration with Closer Carlos Marmol

Posted on 04 February 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs and Closer Carlos Marmol have agreed upon a 1-year, $2.125 million deal for the 2010 MLB schedule.  The signing keeps intact GM Jim Hendry’s record of never going to arbitration with a player during his tenure as the club’s general manager.  Marmol made $575,000 in 2009 and had asked for $2.5 million (the Cubs had countered with $1.75).

The move makes sense – why prolong it any longer?  Marmol has been the closer-in-waiting after competing for the job in each of the 2008 and 2009 MLB seasons.  He finally got promoted at the end of the 2009 campaign when it became clear that Kevin Gregg could not get the job done on a regular basis.  After Marmol took over in August, he was 11-for11 in save opportunities the rest of the season and he led the team with 27 holds.  Not bad.

The major concern with Marmol is his increasing walk statistics.  In 59 appearances in 2007, Marmol had a 1.43 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP, with 96 strikeouts and just 35 walks in 69 1/3 innings. In 82 appearances in 2008, Marmol had a 2.68 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP, with 114 strikeouts and just 41 walks in 87 1/3 innings.  Those were phenomenal numbers for a young player like Marmol.  But everything changed in 2009 as Marmol struggled with his control right from the start.  In 79 appearances in 2009, Marmol had a 3.41 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP, with 93 strikeouts and a whopping 65 walks in just 74 innings.  The fact that Marmol has the talent to work his way out of 2 even 3-walk jams, helped keep his numbers respectable, but it has to be a little concerning for Manager Lou Pinella and the Cubs.  When you have a 1-run lead heading into the 9th inning, the last thing you want to do is walk a batter.

Let’s hope the staff can work with Marmol this Spring to get him back on track and ready for being the Cubs closer during the 2010 MLB schedule.

On a side note, Ryan Theriot is the final Cubs aribitration-eligible player that Hendry has to deal with before Spring Training.  Look for a deal to get hammered out very soon.  Can’t wait to see Marmol and Theriot lighting it up at Wrigley Field in a couple of months.

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“The Rink at Wrigley” Officially Open

Posted on 21 December 2009 by Lou

chicago cubs rink at wrigley ryan dempster tom ricketts

After a brief delay, “The Rink at Wrigley” is officially open.  In attendance – Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, Starting Pitcher Ryan Dempster, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita & 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney.  Dempster “threw out the 1st pitch” to Mikita and later skated on the ice with plenty of Cubs fans and skating enthusiasts.

The Rink at Wrigley is open 7 days a week.  Admissions is $10 for adults and just $6 for children.  Skate rentals are available and there is even a Zamboni to help clear the ice after each session.  But with the recent trade of Milton Bradley to Seattle, it doesn’t look like the Cubs will be asking Bradley to drive the Zamboni anytime soon.  Boo-hoo…

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Cubs Trade Aaron Heilman to Arizona Diamondbacks for 2 Prospects

Posted on 19 November 2009 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs traded Aaron Heilman to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 2 prospects today.  The move was done to move an arbitration-eligible player like Heilman – the Cubs still have 7 other players who are arbitration-eligible.  That list includes – Carlos Marmol, Ryan Theriot, Sean Marshall, Jeff Baker, Mike Fontenot, Koyie Hill and Angel Guzman.

Heilman made 70 appearances for the Chicago Cubs during the 2009 MLB schedule – his only season with the Cubs, the team that he rooted for as a kid growing up in Indiana.  Heilman went 4-4 with 1 save and 6 blown saves.  He had a 4.11 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP, striking out 65 while walking 34.

Cubs GM Jim Hendry explained the move this way: “As we move forward in the winter, the way our big league club sets up and the way we have a lot of arb guys, we felt we needed to move some people a little bit before we get to Indianapolis… We feel like we got two solid prospects from the Diamondbacks…  We feel we have some young arms who can take [Heilman’s] place in that part of the bullpen.”  Those arms include Guzman, Esmailin Caridad and Justin Berg.

So just who did the Cubs get for Heilman:

Lefty Scott Maine – 4-5 with a 2.90 ERA and 7 saves in Double A and Triple A during 2009.

2nd baseman Ryan White – .266 batting average with 6 HR’s, 52 RBI’s and a .371 on-base percentage at the Class A level in 2009.

chicago cubs aaron heilman

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Cubs Ownership Timeline – Pretty Cool Information

Posted on 29 October 2009 by Lou

Check out this cool ownership timeline courtesy of the Chicago Cubs.  1905 – $105,000?  Unbelievable.  Now the Ricketts Family just paid $845 for the franchise, well more than the $660 million sale price for the Boston Red Sox franchise back in 2002… Enjoy!

1876: The Chicago White Stockings, owned by William A. Hulbert, become one of eight charter members of the National League. Hulbert is one of the founding fathers of the National League and its first president. The team would not be known as the Cubs until 1902.

April 1882: Former player, sporting goods tycoon and team president Albert Spalding takes over as owner of the Chicago team after Hulbert dies.

1902: James Hart was the club president since 1892, but takes over as majority owner in 1902 when Spalding steps down.

July 1905: Cincinnati Times-Star owner Charles Taft finances Charles Murphy’s purchase of the Cubs with a loan of $105,000. Murphy becomes team president.

February 1914: Taft buys the Cubs from Murphy. Murphy had invested $15,000 in the Cubs in 1905, and sells his share of stock for $503,500.

December 1915: Charles Weeghman, a team owner in the defunct Federal League, and nine others purchase a controlling interest in the Cubs from Taft for $500,000, and moves them to Weeghman Park (future site of Wrigley Field) at the corner of Clark and Addison. William Wrigley Jr. becomes a minority stockholder, purchasing a share for $50,000.

1919: Wrigley purchases enough shares to have complete control of the Cubs. He re-names Weeghman Park to Cubs Park. In 1926, Cubs Park becomes Wrigley Field. In 1932, Phillip K. Wrigley assumes control after his father’s death. In 1977, William Wrigley takes over the club after the death of his father.

June 16, 1981: The Wrigley Family ends its 65-year relationship with the team, selling the Cubs to Tribune Co. for $20.5 million.

December 2007: Real estate entrepreneur Sam Zell completes purchase of the Cubs’ parent organization, the Tribune Co.

April 2, 2007: Tribune Co. announces it has accepted a buyout offer from Zell in a deal valued at $8.2 billion, and plans to sell the Cubs. “I told the ballclub it’ll be business as usual,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said when the announcement was made prior to the season opener in Cincinnati. “It will not be a distraction.”

“It doesn’t make a difference to me,” Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee said of the news. “With the Tribune, I didn’t really know who the owner was. He wasn’t around. … As long as they’re committed to winning, that’s all we are concerned about.”

March 7, 2008: In a “state of the team” chat with beat writers in Mesa, Ariz., Cubs chairman Crane Kenney said the team was close to getting the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority to buy Wrigley Field and operate it. Kenney also said the team had been approached by at least three companies interested in purchasing naming rights. “We’re not going to leave resources that would go into the payroll and go into our restoration plans on the table to appease people who say, ‘I don’t think you should do it,'” Kenney said.

May 13, 2008: Zell rejects the ISFA plan to acquire Wrigley Field and says he will package the ballpark and Cubs together.

June 13, 2008: Nine potential buyers who were preapproved by MLB receive financial books on the Cubs. Interested buyers are believed to include a group headed by John Canning, chairman of private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC; Internet billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban; and the family of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. founder Joe Ricketts.

July 19, 2008: Tribune Co. receives at least seven bids to buy the Cubs. On Aug. 26, Zell says the company has narrowed the list to five. “We hope to have a deal to MLB by the end of the year,” Zell said.

Dec. 1, 2008: At least three groups submit offers to the Tribune Co. in the latest round of bidding. The three finalists include the Ricketts family; a partnership of private equity investors Marc Utay and Leo Hindery Jr.; and Chicago real estate executive Hersh Klaff.

Dec. 8, 2008: Tribune Co. files for bankruptcy protection to deal with $13 billion in debt. The Cubs are not included in the filing.

Jan. 14, 2009: At the owners meetings in Paradise Valley, Ariz., Kenney says he hopes to have the sale completed by Opening Day 2009. “We’re anxious to get the season started and have a new owner in place,” Kenney said.

Jan. 22, 2009: The Tribune Co. selects the Ricketts family as the winning bidder to purchase the Cubs, with the price reported to be $900 million. That includes the team, Wrigley Field, and a 25 percent share in Comcast SportsNet Chicago. “My family and I are Cubs fans,” Tom Ricketts said in a statement. “We share the goal of Cubs fans everywhere to win a World Series and build the consistent championship tradition that the fans deserve.”

Feb. 23, 2009: Tom Ricketts resigns from TD Ameritrade’s board after his family sells $403 million of its stock in the online brokerage to help finance its bid to buy the Cubs.

March 7, 2009: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig says he is not certain the sale can be completed by Opening Day 2009. “It’s moving forward,” Selig said.

June 18, 2009: The Tribune Co. reopens talks with another bidding group led by New York investor Marc Utay because of the slow pace of negotiations with the Ricketts family. Talks stalled when the two sides could not agree on some issues, including how to value the team’s broadcast rights.

July 6, 2009: Reports surface that the Tribune Co. has reportedly reached a deal with the Ricketts family. The news is premature, but Cubs players have some suggestions for the new owner. “What about an indoor swimming pool in here?” shortstop Ryan Theriot said.

Aug. 21, 2009: Tribune Co. signs a definitive agreement to sell 95 percent of the team, plus Wrigley Field and a share of Comcast SportsNet Chicago to the Ricketts family for $845 million. Tribune Co. will retain a 5 percent ownership interest.

Aug. 31, 2009: The judge presiding over Tribune Co.’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case approves an expedited process for court action surrounding the company’s sale of the team.

Sept. 24, 2009: A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware approves the Tribune Co.’s sale of the Cubs, securing the first of a two-step approval process in bankruptcy court.

Oct. 6, 2009: Major League Baseball announces it unanimously approved the transfer of the Cubs to the Ricketts family following a conference call vote by the teams. “We’re extremely pleased that the sales process is drawing to a close,” Selig said, “and we are confident that the Ricketts family will be great owners and custodians of the Chicago Cubs. All of us at Major League Baseball are grateful to the Tribune Co. for their years of stewardship of this proud and historic franchise.”

Oct. 12, 2009: Cubs file for bankruptcy to ensure that the team won’t be hit by claims from Tribune creditors.

Oct. 13, 2009: A U.S. bankruptcy judge rules Tribune Co. can proceed with the sale of the team. The Cubs’ bankruptcy filing was not the first for a Major League team. The Baltimore Orioles were sold in a bankruptcy auction in 1993 after owner Eli Jacobs filed for Chapter 11. The same happened to the Seattle Pilots after the 1969 season. The new owners moved the team to Milwaukee, and changed the name to the Brewers.

Oct. 27, 2009: The Ricketts family announces the sale is official, and they have taken a 95 percent controlling interest in the Cubs, Wrigley Field and 25 percent of Comcast SportsNet after a financial closing

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