Tag Archive | "Adam Dunn"

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Cubs Agree to Terms with Left-Handed Hitting 1st Baseman Carlos Pena – Wrigley Field 12/8/10

Posted on 08 December 2010 by Lou

The Cubs have agreed to a 1-year, $10 million deal with left-handed hitting 1st baseman Carlos Pena.  Pena is a great person in the clubhouse, but at 33 years of age, he could be on the downside of his career.  During the 2010 MLB season, he did hit 28 HR’s with 84 RBI’s, but he also had a career-low .196 batting average and he struck out 158 times in 484 at-bats. These numbers are down from his earlier 3 seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays — in 2009, Pena hit .227 with 39 HR’s and 100 RBI’s and a .356 on-base percentage; in 2008, Pena hit .247 with 31 HR’s and 102 RBI’s and a .377 on-base percentage; and in 2007, Pena hit .282 with 46 HR’s and 121 RBI’s and a .411 on-base percentage.

Out of all the options (or lack of options) for GM Jim Hendry and the Cubs, this was my lead candidate.  Being a great clubhouse guy is important, plus it will be nice for the Cubs to have a power-hitting left-handed hitter in the lineup.  If you can accept the fact that he is going to strike out a lot in big situations, but still put up solid numbers at the end of the season, you will be thrilled with the Pena signing.  Pena will also be reunited with Rudy Jaramillo – his hitting coach when he started in the Texas Rangers organization.

The Cubs clearly couldn’t afford Adam Dunn or lure Paul Konerko away from the South Side White Sox, so Pena was the next best option.  Let’s hope he stays healthy and has a bounce-back year in terms of a better batting average and on-base percentage.

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1st Baseman Top Priority for GM Jim Hendry, Cubs – Wrigley Field 11/17/10

Posted on 17 November 2010 by Lou

Landing a  new 1st baseman from the free agent pool is GM Jim Hendry’s top assignment this winter.  With the late season trade of Derrek Lee, the Cubs found themselves in the hunt for a 1st baseman option for the 1st time in a very long time (Lee has been the Cubs starting 1st baseman since the start of the 2004 MLB schedule).

The top free agent 1st baseman is Adam Dunn.  But he is expected to get a contract in the neighborhood of 3-years, $40 million which is well out of the Cubs projected budget.  The Cubs have about $105 million already committed to current players.  Taking into account arbitration-eligible players whom the Cubs will likely pay additional money to, the payroll with jump to around $125 million.  Tom Ricketts has indicated that they want the budget down in the $135 million range (down from a National League-high $144 million in 2010), so that leaves somewhere around $10 million for Hendry to play with for new players.  Given Hendry’s propensity to love to shell out tons of money without a care in the world, he is going to feel like he has his hands tied this winter.

Other 1st base options include several left-handed hitters – Lance Berkman, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena and Adam LaRoche.  Hendry had this to say about the search – “We’re obviously going to be adding someone there.  We did a lot of work at our organizational meetings.  There’s a lot of different ways it coudl go.  We’ll just have to see how it flows… We’ve never had a problem sorting out who to prioritize. I think the more out there, the better.  Obviously, somebody that plays 1st base at this level has to be able to swing the bat.  Some of the guys are good hitters and better defenders.  Some of the guys are real good hitters and not as good defensively.  There’s probably enough guys out there available to fill the needs of the teams that need somebody at that position.  It’s supply and demand.  A lot of teams already have good 1st baseman.  And there are 3 or 4 others like us, looking for one.”

I kind of like Berkman as a “safe” option and Pena as the “risky-upside” option.  Berkman hit .248 with 14 HR’s and 58 RBI’s in 2010.  Despite the down numbers, he still walked 77 times with only 85 K’s in 404 at-bats.  He is a patient hitter who will make pitchers throw strikes and could be a valuable asset to young players like Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin in the locker room.

Pena  has a career .241 batting average and .351 on-base percentage. But in 2010, those numbers were way down – .196 and .325.  That being said, he still managed to hit 28 HR’s and rack up 84 RBI’s with 87 walks and 158 K’s.  Pena would probably drive fans nuts with his K’s and all-or-nothing swings, but you have to like the power numbers and you have to think the average numbers can’t get any worse than they were in 2010.

LaRoche has a career .271 batting average and .339 on-base percentage.  He had a decent 2010 – .261 batting average with 25 HR’s and 100 RBI’s and he is the youngest of the bunch at only 31 years old.

Overbay has a career .274 batting average and .358 on-base percentage.  He had a down year in 2010 and he is 33 years old.

One person we know it won’t be is Micah Hoffpauir who had been on the Cubs roster each of the last 4 seasons.  Hoffpauir is headed to Japan to play for the Nippon Ham Fighters during the 2011 baseball season.

It should be interesting what Hendry decides to do.  I have been questioning Hendry’s decision-making for years now, so I have a feeling we’re not going to like who he goes with at 1st base in 2011.  Maybe that will be the final straw for the Ricketts Family to finally realize that they need to cut ties with this out-dated GM…

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Would the Cubs Really Trade Aramis Ramirez? – Wrigley Field 11/13/10

Posted on 13 November 2010 by Lou

I heard ESPN Radio 1000’s Bruce Levine talking about the Cubs potentially moving Aramis Ramirez this winter for some younger players.  Could this really happen?

Gimme a break – this is getting very ugly on the North Side.  Bruce Levine who has some great sources inside the Cubs has already said that the Cubs cannot afford the kind of deal (3-years, $40 million) that free agent 1st baseman Adam Dunn will command on the open market this winter.  Now, Levine has thrown out the idea that the Cubs could move their biggest run-producer – when healthy – to a team looking for a 3rd baseman (like the Boston Red Sox if they don’t re-sign Adrian Beltre) or potentially a Designated Hitter (like the Boston Red Sox when David Ortiz leaves after the 2011 MLB season).  This is truly getting ridiculous.

I know the Cubs want to go young to try and build around Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Blake DeWitt and some of the other young pitchers that have had some share of success at the major league level.  But to throw the season away before it even starts doesn’t make any sense to me.  The NL Central is not the best division, so even with the mediocre team that the Cubs currently have, they could still make a run for the division title if some things fall into place.  The Cardinals are 1-Chris Carpenter injury away from being in the middle of the pack.  The way Dusty Baker works his starting rotation (see Mark Prior and Kerry Wood with the Cubs), we know that some of the talented, young Reds starters – Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Travis Wood – could quickly end up on the DL or have down seasons because Baker overworked them in 2010.  If either the Cards or Reds take a stepback, that opens the door for another team to squeeze to the top.  It might not be the Cubs, but it could be.

Sure Ramirez has played in only a total of 206 games during the last 2 seasons combined, but he is still productive when in there.  He had 25 HR’s and 83 RBI’s on one of the worst Cubs offensive teams in recent years.  Plus, back in 2008 when he played in 149 games, Ramirez smacked 27 HR’s and drove in 111 runs with another 97 runs scored.  Even at 33 years of age, the guy can still play and the Cubs will need him to be in the lineup if they expect to compete in 2011.  If the Cubs do decide to move Ramirez this off-season, that would mean that the Cubs have officially packed it in for 2011 – that without even throwing a single pitch.  And that would be a horrible message for the Ricketts Family to send to the Cubs players and its loyal Cubs fan base…

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Barry Zito for Alfonso Soriano – Good Idea that Likely Won’t Happen

Posted on 26 October 2010 by Lou

Start the rumor mill – Alfonso Soriano traded to the San Francisco Giants is the latest rumor to hit the blocks despite the fact that the Giants are in the World Series.  Sure Zito was left off the Giants’ playoff roster and is still owed $64 under his contract (which includes a buyout of $7 million for the 2014 MLB season), but that doesn’t mean that the Giants want to get rid of him.  Overall, Zito went 9-14 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 33 starts. But after a win on July 16th, Zito lost 10 of his last 11 decisions in 15 starts.  Not a good trend at the end of the season as the innings piled up for Zito.

While health has always been an issue for Zito, as of late, the 32-year old has been relatively healthy with 180 innings pitched in 2008; 192 innings pitched in 2009 and 199 1/3 innings pitched in 2010.  Not bad at all.  He has only won 29 games during that span, but a change of scenery could help the lefty.  He has started twice at Wrigley Field, going 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA.  He has a 5.22 ERA in 40 starts against NL Central teams during his career.

Money-wise, it comes out fairly even — Soriano is owed $72 million over the next 4 years.  But the key hold up could be the fact that each player holds a full no-trade clause.  So it would take both players’ consent before any deal could get done.

I’m ready for Soriano to be gone.  It would put to bed the idea of Tyler Colvin moving to 1st base and it would also encourage GM Jim Hendry to make a move to sign Adam Dunn this winter or start working on Tom Ricketts to get ready to open up his checkbook to sign either Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder next off-season.  But this just doesn’t seem like the right fit.  I’m still convinced that Hendry should try his hardest to work the Yankees to take Soriano off the Cubs hands.  The Yankees missed out on the World Series and they could use a designated hitter like Soriano who still has some pop left in his bat.  Throw in $5 million a year for the Yankees to take Soriano without asking for too much back from the Yankees, and the Yankees would likely think a $12 million DH is a bargain.  Soriano used to play for the Yankees too, so it’s clear he can  handle the bright lights of the Big Apple…

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Dunn on North Side in 2011 More of a Reality?!

Posted on 15 October 2010 by Lou

We wrote about Adam Dunn coming to the north side this off-season more because of the quotes from Carlos Zambrano indicating that he would love to have Dunn on the Cubs because of his big left-handed bat.  While it made a lot of sense from several perspectives, I wasn’t sure how likely it would be given the tenuous financial position that the Cubs are in – they had the highest payroll of any National League team in 2010, but only finished with 75 wins.

Now it looks like Dunn has the Cubs on his radar screen and the Cubs have Dunn high on their wish list.  But will it happen.  Dunn has averaged 40 HR’s and 100 RBI’s a season for each of the last 7 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals.  At 31 years of age (by the start of the 2011 MLB season), those numbers will likely dip a little bit, but Dunn should still be a nice fit for the Cubs after the departure of Derrek Lee.  The Cubs need a left-handed bat to take some of the pressure off of Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano in the middle of the lineup.  Dunn is also durable – having missed just a total of 26 games during those 7 years.  Dunn also has good numbers at Wrigley Field – 25 HR’s in 66 games – tied for the most with Albert Pujols by any active player for the most home runs by an opponent at the Friendly Confines.  He has 41 career home runs against the Cubs, 2nd only to Pujols’ 47 for active players.  Sure he strikes out a lot – his 199 strikeouts in 2010 was the 2nd most in the major leagues – and his batting average is never great – .267 in 2009was his career-best – but he would be a major upgrade from Lee at 1st base.  His .358 career on-base percentage would fit nicely in the Cubs lineup as well.  How you would like to a see a projected lineup of – Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Aramis Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Marlon Byrd, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, Blake DeWitt?  If the Cubs can somehow move Soriano, you c ould see another average-type player in his place on a daily base which would be an upgrade as well.

GM Jim Hendry and Dunn do have some sort of personal relationship from over the years.  The Cubs couldn’t sign Dunn back in 2009 (when he signed a 2-year deal with the Nationals), because Derrek Lee was under contract until the end of the 2010 MLB season.  Makes sense that Dunn only signed a 2-year stint with the Nats, making look ahead to 2011 when the Cubs would be in the market for a 1st baseman.  The Nats never pulled the trigger on a trade to move Dunn this past July before the trading deadline, and their attempts to lure Dunn back at the end of the season went nowhere.  Dunn clearly won’t be back in DC – the question is will he end up playing for the Cubs and if so, how long of a deal will he get?

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Could Adam Dunn End Up Manning 1st Base on the North Side in 2011? – Adam Dunn @ Wrigley Field

Posted on 08 October 2010 by Lou

Could Adam Dunn end up on the north side playing 1st base for the Cubs at Wrigley Field?  One Cubs player – starter Carlos Zambrano – clearly thinks that it could happen.  Zambrano had this to say about the Cubs going after Dunn this off-season: “I want that guy.  He wants to play for us, not only this year but two years ago.  He told me he wants to play at Wrigley Field badly.”

Dunn had another good year for the lowly Nationals in 2010.  Dunn  hit 38 home runs with 103 RBI’s, while racking up 145 hits in 558 at-bats.  He had an outstanding .356 on-base percentage despite striking out 199 times and walking only 77 times.  To put it in perspective, in 2010, Aramis Ramirez led the Cubs with 25 HR’s and 83 RBI’s on one of the worst offense in baseball.

Dunn had 2 productive seasons with the Nationals (in 2009, he had a .367 batting average with a .398 on-base percentage; 38 HR’s, 105 RBI’s, 116 walks and 177 strikeouts), but will once again be a free agent this off-season.  He turns 31 in November, so you worry about age a little bit, but his drop off from 2009 to 2010 was more in the number of walks/strikeouts and not his offensive output.  With the departure of Derrek Lee, Dunn would be a solid addition to the Cubs both defensively and offensively.  When Dunn was a free agent back at the start of 2009, the Cubs had long-term deals with Lee at 1st base and Alfonso Soriano in left field and Kosuke Fukudome in right field, so there really wasn’t a position for Dunn with the Cubs.  Things have changed since then.  Lee is no longer with the ball club.  And while there has been some discussion that the Cubs could move Tyler Colvin to 1st base to play everyday, Dunn would make a much better defensive option than Colvin.  If the Cubs did bring in Dunn, then they would have to find a position for Tyler Colvin to play everyday.  That means finding a team to take on the final year of Fukudome’s contract worth about $12 million.  The Cubs would certainly be willing to eat a portion of that in order to make a deal happen.  If they could somehow move Fukudome in the off-season and make a play for Dunn, that would be a significant lineup upgrade for the Cubs.  You would have 2 lefties in there on a daily basis (Dunn and Colvin) and that would provide great protection for the likes of Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano in the middle of the lineup.  I guess it is a bit of a pipe dream, but you have to consider these types of moves if you want to make a bigger splash during the regular season in the National League in 2011.

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