Tag Archive | "Alfonso Soriano"

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Ice Rink Back @ Wrigley Field — Gimme a Break!?!? Wrigley Field 11/30/10

Posted on 30 November 2010 by Lou

Driving by Wrigley Field this morning, I saw the ice rink construction already underway.  What went through my mind – disgust, frustration, anger?  Pretty much all of the above.  We continue to hear how the Ricketts Family needs the city and state to help fund the renovation of Wrigley Field to keep baseball on the north side.  We also see the Ricketts family raking in thousands of dollars with the Northwestern-Illinois Allstate Wrigleyville Classic 2 weeks ago.  Now we’re seeing another money-maker grace the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field with the ice skating rink going up.  At the same time, we continue to hear how the Cubs need to slash payroll and keep the total salary more in the $130-135 million range instead of the $140-145 million range.  Gimme a freaking break.  This is turning into the Chicago Tribune all over again in just one year of ownership by the Ricketts Family.  Now I know that GM Jim Hendry has screwed the Ricketts with several bad contracts (Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Milton Bradley-Carlos Silva, Kosuke Fukudome), but at this point, what’s another $10 million?  That extra $10 million could be used to land the likes of an Adam Dunn instead who would man 1st base for the next 3 years and slug around 40 home runs out onto Sheffield or Waveland each season.  Instead we’re going to end up with a Xavier Nady-Tyler Colvin-??? platoon.  This is a complete joke.

The Ricketts Family better right this ship soon, or we’re going to see even more people trying to hawk their tickets on the streets of Clark and Addison for pennies on the dollar in 2011 and beyond.  I wonder how many “Holiday Pax” the Cubs actually sold in the last 2 weeks.  My guess is that I can count the number on one hand…

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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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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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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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Dempster, Soriano Pave Way for 2nd Win over Padres in San Diego – Cubs 5, Padres 2- 9/28/10

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Lou

Ryan Dempster finally picked up win #15 with a solid 7-inning effort in Tuesday night’s 5-2 win over the Padres. Dempster scattered 4 hits and 2 walks over his outing, while striking out 9 batters.  His only mistake was a 2-run home run to Nick Hundley that tied the game at 2 in the 5th inning.  Dempster is now 15-11 with a nifty 1.31 WHIP and a nice 3.83 ERA.

Andrew Cashner pitched a perfect 8th inning with 1 K to pick up his 15th hold of the season.

Carlos Marmol tossed a scoreless 9th inning (1 walk, 1 K) and increased his season-best saves number to 36.  You have to love his 1.22 WHIP and amazing 2.62 ERA.

Alfonso Soriano broke the 2-2 tie with a 2-run blast in the 6th inning.  His solo shot in 8th extended the Cubs lead to 3-2.  Marlon Byrd had 2 hits and walks.  Starlin Castro had 2 hits to get his batting average back up over .300, but he also struck out 3 times.

Randy Wells and the Cubs look to send the Padres to their 4th straight loss and even further out of the NL Wild Card race.  Wells is looking to finish the season strong in his last start of 2010.  Wells has won 2 starts in a row, but is just 8-13 overall.

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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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Coleman Outduels Carpenter?! – Cubs 7, Cards 3 – 9/25/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 26 September 2010 by Lou

Casey Coleman outdueled Chris Carpenter to pick up his 3rd win of the season.  Despite giving up 3 runs in the 1st 3 innings, Coleman stayed focused and ended up pitching 7 solid innings.  He did not allow another run after the the Cards scored 2 runs in the 3rd (one of which was unearned).  Coleman gave up 5 hits and 2 walks and struck out 4 in the process.  Sean Marshall pitched a scoreless 8th inning giving up 1 hit.  And Carlos Marmol struck out the side in the 9th inning.

Blake DeWitt, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano each had 2 hits for the Cubs.  The Cubs scored 5 runs off of Carpenter in only 4 innings as they put together a few good rallies with 7 hits and 4 walks.

Jeff Samardzija looks to get Cubs fans a win in the final home game of the season at Wrigley Field today.  He is going for his 3rd win in 3 starts since being called up from Triple-A…

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Soriano, DeWitt Lead Cubs to Big Win Over Mets @ Wrigley Field — Cubs 7, Mets 6 – 9/3/10

Posted on 04 September 2010 by Lou

Alfonso Soriano and Blake DeWitt each hit 3-run home runs to lead the Cubs to a 7-6 win over the New York Mets on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  Soriano’s homer in the 4th inning gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead.  DeWitt’s homer in the 6th inning broke a 4-4 tie to give the Cubs a 7-4 lead.  They held on as the Mets hit 2 solo home runs in the 7th and 8th innings to cut the Cubs lead to just 1 run.  But Carlos Marmol worked a scoreless 9th inning – despite issuing ANOTHER walk – to pick up his 26th save on the season.

I really like this DeWitt kid.  In addition to the 3-run homer, he had another single.  He has a .327 on-base percentage and has a bit more pop in his bat than Ryan Theriot with his 5 HR’s and 46 RBI’s.  He is also a lot younger as he just turned 25 about 2 weeks ago.  It will be interesting to see how he matures under the tutelage of Rudy Jaramillo (and potentially Ryne Sandberg as the new Cubs skipper in 2011).  But I like the idea of DeWitt and Starlin Castro shining in the middle of the infield in the near future.

Speaking of Castro, he had 2 more hits and his batting average is now .319 which keeps him in 3rd place in the NL just 4 percentage points behind Joey Votto of the Reds.  Catching Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies (.331) might be tough, but anything can happen in the final 4 weeks of the season.

Xavier Nady continues to excel as he gets more playing time as the Cubs regular 1st baseman since Derrek Lee’s departure.  Nady had 3 hits, 1 RBI and 2 runs scored and always seems to be in the middle of Cubs rallies these days.

For the 2nd straight game, a Cubs pitcher picked up his 1st major league win.  Casey Coleman notched the win in the Cubs victory over the Pirates on Wednesday.  And on Friday, James Russell picked up his 1st major league win by recording the final out of the 6th inning.  Russell retired the only batter that he faced to get Randy Wells out of his jam.

Speaking of Wells, it was another so-so outing for Wells who is enduring a sophomore slump of a 2010 MLB schedule.  Wells surrendered 4 ER on 8 hits and 4 walks with 4 K’s.  He did not have a single 1-2-3 inning during his outing and his ERA is now 4.56 and his WHIP is now 1.44.  Not good.

Interesting fun fact — going into yesterday’s game, the Mets had not hit more than 1 home run in a game in 31 games.  Of course, against Cubs pitching, the Mets hit 2 home runs – 1 by David Wright and 1 by Luis Hernandez.

The Cubs and Mets play game 2 on Saturday afternoon – Carlos Zambrano takes the bump against .  Big Z is looking for his 3rd straight win in as many starts and his 4th win since returning to the starting rotation on August 9th.  Not bad, not bad at all.

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Should Ricketts Leave Managerial Choice up to Hendry? Cubs to Host Mets in Labor Day Weekend Series – 9/3/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 03 September 2010 by Lou

Tom Ricketts has made it very clear that GM Jim Hendry is in charge of the managerial search that will ultimately lead to the hiring of a new Cubs Manager for the 2011 MLB schedule.  Now I know that this is typically the General Manager’s job, but in the current situation,  I question whether it is the right move.  You may think this is a dumb question, but my real concerns lie with Hendry as Cubs GM and not Lou Pinella or Mike Quade as manager.  As a new owner, this is the perfect chance for Tom Ricketts to look at everyone’s performance in the organization, and that should include Hendry.  Based on Rickett’s comments though, it is clear that Ricketts has confidence in Hendry’s abilities (despite putting together a 57-win team with the highest payroll in the National League and 3rd highest payroll in all of baseball).  I am worried that Ricketts has simply assumed that Hendry is a capable GM and that there doesn’t need to be a change in that role.  I respectfully beg to differ.  Especially from a financial guy like Ricketts, it boggles my mind why he thinks that mortgaging the future of the team for the next 2-4 years with bad long-term deals constitutes a good job.

For a very long time, I have made the case that the team that Hendry has put together is not capable of being a playoff contender.  I have written numerous posts on why Hendry has not lived up to the high expectations of the Cubs General Manager.  Over the last 3-4 years, Hendry has been responsible for way to many bad deals for me to trust his judgment anymore.  It all started with the Alfonso Soriano deal back at the beginning of 2007.  Inking a “31-year old” to an 8-year deal at roughly $18 million per year over the life of the deal should have been a sign that Hendry was getting desperate.  Sure Soriano was the best free agent out there at the time and sure Hendry wanted to blow Soriano and his agents away with a “huge offer you can’t refuse”, but this was a bit much.  Hendry followed that up with a $48 million deal for a 30-year Japanese outfielder who had never played in the major leagues and then a $30 million deal for Milton Bradley because the Cubs were too “right-handed” in 2008.  The team won an NL-best 97 games in 2008 – do you think they would have won more games if they had a left-handed hitting right fielder instead of Mark DeRosa?  Following the 2009 season, with new ownership in place, Hendry’s hands were tied.  I’ll give him credit for finally moving Milton Bradley although it took a while.  Carlos Silva even turned in a solid season, but then again, when his value was highest around the All-Star Break, Hendry failed to move Silva to a team that needed starting pitching.  Even if it meant eating some one the $10 million to him in 2011, Hendry should have made that move.  He didn’t and Silva had a bad 2nd half and has since been on the disabled list with a heart issue.  During the off-season, Hendry also put a lot of energy into signing Matt Capps as a veteran right-handed reliever in the bullpen.  But when the Nationals told Capps that he would be their closer, he jumped at the chance and left Hendry grasping at straws.  Because of that gaffe (keeping his eggs all in one basket and hoping), Hendry’s Cubs team started the season with 4 rookies in the bullpen.  And with typical injury issues and typical rookie inconsistencies, this was a recipe for disaster.  Hendry always seems to be several steps behind these days, and when you’re trying desperately not to lose 90 games this season, you can’t even afford to be 1 step behind.

So while my concerns clearly don’t seem to be concerns of Tom Ricketts, I really hope he decides to take a closer look at Hendry’s job performance this off-season.  And I really hope that Ricketts plays a large role in the hiring of the new Cubs manager.  And while the new skipper won’t (can’t with the current roster assembled by Hendry) lead the Cubs to a World Series title in 2011, the new skipper will get to lay the groundwork for what kind of team he expects to lead for the next 5-10 years.  So it is a big decision.

Today, Randy Wells will take on R.A. Dickey and the Mets at Wrigley Field.  Wells is just 6-12 on the season with a 4.50 ERA.  He did pitch 6 great innings against the Reds in Cincinnati last Saturday for his 1st win since July 23rd, so he is looking to build off of that good outing and finish strong in 2010.

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Dempster Rocked at Wrigley Field — Cubs 7, Pirates 14 8/31/10

Posted on 01 September 2010 by Lou

Ryan Dempster had been so dominant during the month of August, it came as a complete shock to everyone when Dempster lasted just 3 innings against the Pirates on Tuesday night.  It was his shortest outing of the season, as he gave up 7 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks without even giving up a single home run.  It was just hit after hit as Dempster couldn’t seem to find a way to get out of any of the 1st 3 innings without a run scoring against him and his team.  He didn’t even get to take an at-bat as Carlos Zambrano pinch-hit for Dempster when he was scheduled to hit in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

Marcus Mateo struck out 5 in 2 2/3 innings of relief, but he also gave up 4 ER on 4 hits including 2 2-run homers.

The 3 runs charged to James Russell in the 7th inning were all unearned because of Starlin Catsro’s error with nobody on and 1 out that allowed C Snyder to reach base.  Russell struck out Jeff Karstens in the next at-bat which should have ended the inning, so the 3 runs that scored after that were all unearned.

Koyie Hill was the big offensive star for the Cubs – 2 for 4 with 3 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.  Hill hit a 2-run homer in the 5th inning.

Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano each added 2 hits, 1 RBI and 1 run scored in the loss.

Tom Gorzelanny looks to rebound from a rough outing last weekend against the Reds as he takes on his former team at the Friendly Cofines this afternoon.

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