Posted on 13 December 2011 by Lou
Former Cubs 3rd baseman is going to sign a 3-year deal with the rival Milwaukee Brewers. Looks like the Cubs will get to see A-Ram a lot at Miller Park and Wrigley Field during the course of the next 3 years. Ramirez was the “top” offensive 3rd baseman in the National League in 2011. He earned the Silver Slugger Award for his .306 batting average, 26 HR’s and 93 RBI’s. Ramirez was excited to sign with the Brewers because he sees them as a playoff contender for the foreseeable future and he likes the idea of playing indoors at Miler Park for good chunks of the season when the weather is inclement.
The Cubs front office played the whole Ramirez departure very smartly. By offering to pick up his $16 million mutual option for 2012 which they knew he would decline, the club saved having to pay Ramirez the $2 million buyout. In addition, by offering Ramirez arbitration, the Cubs will also receive a “sandwich pick” in the 2012 draft since Ramirez is a Type B free agent.
It’s all good on the Cubs front these days. There is still a LOT of work to be done, but if the Cubs become players in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, look for the Chicago’s north side to erupt in elation…
Posted on 28 November 2011 by Lou
Looks like I didn’t miss too much while I was on vacation last week – the Cubs offered Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena arbitration before the required deadline – yippee!
Ramirez is clearly gone, so I guess it is a good move. Ramirez is a Type B Free Agent, so if he signs with a different team this winter, the Cubs will get a sandwich pick in the June amateur draft from the team that signs him. There is little to no chance that Ramirez accepts arbitration before the December 7th deadline since he is the top 3rd baseman free agent on the market, so it looks like the Cubs will get a sandwich pick next year. If for some odd reason he did go to arbitration he would likely get somewhere around $17-18 million for the season.
Pena, on the other hand, is a little bit trickier. The Cubs paid Pena $10 million for his services in 2011. Pena led the team with 28 home runs, and while he is looking for a long-term deal like Ramirez, there may not be too many clubs out there looking to sign the 33-year old long-term. Pena could go to St. Louis or Milwaukee if Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder depart for greener pastures. The Cubs will likely be in the mix for Fielder, especially with about $50 million coming off the books with the departures of Ramirez, Pena, Carlos Silva, Kosuke Fukudome and John Grabow and a potential trade of Carlos Zambrano which will free up cash after the 2012 MLB season ends.
The Cubs did not offer arbitration to Kerry Wood, Reed Johnson, Ramon Ortiz, Rodrigo Lopez or Grabow. I bet Wood comes back on a one-year basis for as long as he wants to pitch. Not so sure about any of the other guys, but I doubt it given the new management in place.
Let’s hope Theo, Jed and Dale are all hunkered down figuring out the next step in the process…
Posted on 31 October 2011 by Lou
The Cubs have exercised the $16 million club option for Aramis Ramirez for the 2012 MLB season. Aramis Ramirez has already notified the Cubs that he plans to entertain free agent offers for the first time in his career, so the move was more of a smart procedural move by Theo & Co. The Cubs either had to pick up the option or buy Ramirez out for $2 million. By exercising the option, the Cubs would have had to offer Ramirez arbitration. But Ramirez has chosen to opt out of the option and seek a long-term deal from another team. The move saves the Cubs $2 million and also brings them a 2nd round pick in the 2012 draft from the team who signs Ramirez in free agency. The wheels to re-build the organization from the ground up are already churning.
Ramirez’s agent Paul Kinzer had this to say about Ramirez’s departure from Chicago: “We are very sorry that this era is coming to the end for Aramis and the Cubs. He loves Chicago and the fans. They’ve been great to him, but at this point it’s better that we check out the market and address free agency… At this point, Aramis is looking for a multiyear deal and looking forward to being a free agent for the first time in his career.”
Ramirez hit only .241 in 2010 due to injuries, but he bounced back with a solid 2011 campaign. He led the Cubs with his 93 RBI’s, .871 OPS and extra-base hits. and he was just one point behind Starlin Castro’s team-leading .307 batting average.
Now it’s up to Theo & Co. to get creative with the Cubs 3rd base hole for next year. Can’t wait to see these guys in action…
Posted on 07 October 2011 by Lou
The Cubs will likely be looking for a new 3rd baseman for the 2012 MLB season and beyond. Aramis Ramirez declined his player option for $16 million for the 2012 MLB season. Ramirez is looking for a long-term deal and at the age of 33, the Cubs will not be a bidder in that war. Ramirez hit .306 with 26 HR’s and 93 RBI’s in one of the worst offenses in all of baseball. His 80 runs scored and .361 on-base percentage make him an attractive player, but if you watch him play everyday, you know that his career is on the decline. His fielding has deteriorated over the years and he’s just not the player that the Cubs want to waste extra money on, especially since they are still strapped with several other “bad” contracts that they can’t wait to get “off the books” (see Alfonso Soriano/Carlos Zambrano).
That leaves the Cubs with a battle between two prospects – DJ LeMahieu and Josh Vitters. LaMahieu played in 37 games for the Cubs this past season, hitting .250 with 4 RBI’s and 2 doubles. He struck out 12 times while walking only once in 60 at-bats (good for a .262 on-base percentage). Not great. Vitters had a good minor league season, but is still considered to be a year or two away because of past injury issues. At Double-A Tennessee, Vitters had a .283 batting average, he hit 14 HR’s and 28 doubles and he drove in 81 runs. Vitters was the 3rd overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player draft and the Cubs would like him to get some time at the major league level before they commit to him as the long-term 3rd baseman of the future. He had 2 HR’s in his 1st game of the AFL this October and looks to use a good fall to get ready for a productive 2012 spring training with the Cubs in Mesa, Arizona.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything new on the 3rd base position front.
Posted on 01 October 2011 by Lou
The speculation starts now as Cubs fans eagerly await Owner Tom Ricketts’ next moves for the Cubs organization. First up will be the hiring of a new General Manager. Then who knows what else? Surprisingly, overpaid outfielder Alfonso Soriano summed it up best when he cleared out his locker room last week – “Two things can happen. It can change, or stay the way it is now. I don’t know what they want to do. We don’t have control of that. We can only play the game and do our job. The owners have the control. We’d like to stay together, but who knows?” Amen to that.
Changes will have to be made obviously, but given the financial situation with a few long-term deals still hampering the ability of any GM to make necessary trades/free agent signings, only so much can be done. With the firing of Red Sox Manager Terry Francona in Boston, there are some rumors floating around that long-time GM Theo Epstein could also be looking for a change of scenery. The Cubs would need to obtain permission from the Red Sox in order to speak with Epstein and they would be foolish not to ask. What’s the worst that Red Sox barss can say, no? Let’s hope Ricketts & Co. have the common sense to explore ALL options, even Epstein.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on the GM front and the rest of the roster. Aramis Ramirez has a $16 million option for the 2012 season, but has already indicated that he will explore the free agent market to see if he can nab one final lucrative long-term deal. Ryan Dempster and the Cubs also have a mutual option that can be exercised for the 2012 MLB season, so we’ll have to see what happens there. Fun, fun, fun…
Posted on 30 September 2011 by Lou
The Cubs have a LOT of work to do this off-season. They finished a whopping 25 games behind the 1st place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. A 71-91 record just doesn’t cut it. Especially after finishing the 2010 MLB season with a 75-87 record – 16 games back of the 1st place Cincinnati Reds.
The lone positive – the NL Central is a very winnable division – each of the last 4 years has brought a new division winner. So who knows – if a few things go their way in 2012, maybe the Cubs can make it a 5th straight different division winner.
The Cubs first need to hire a new GM to replace Jim Hendry. Then the new GM with his staff will have to figure out a way to plug up a TON of holes without a lot of money with which to work. Owner Tom Ricketts has already said that the payroll will not increase much from what it was in 2011. Sure there is a lot of money coming off the books this off-season – no Kosuke Fukudome; no Milton Bradley/Carlos Silva salary; no full Carlos Zambrano salary (assuming they can shovel him off to another team); and maybe no Carlos Pena or Aramis Ramirez salary. Will Ricketts be able to stomach making a run at the Scott Boras-led Prince Fielder? How will the Cubs plug the gaping holes in their starting rotation? Who will play right field on a regular basis? Will Manager Mike Quade keep his job under the new GM?
There are no easy answers, so it will be an interesting off-season to watch and we’ll keep you posted every step of the way here at MyCubsToday.com.
Posted on 23 August 2011 by Lou
The Braves topped Casey Coleman and the Cubs 5-4 on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. It was the Cubs 3rd straight loss.
Coleman worked 5 innings, giving up 5 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks. The Braves scored all 5 of their runs in the 4th inning to take a 5-0 lead. It was Coleman’s 6th loss of the season.
Aramis Ramirez went 5 for 5 on the night with 2 RBI’s and a run scored.
Alfonso Soriano also hit an inside the park solo home run in the Cubs 4-run 5th inning.
Posted on 22 August 2011 by Lou
The Braves shut out the Cubs 3-0 on Monday night at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are now 56-72 and they trail the Brewers by 20 games in the NL Central race.
The Cubs offensive woes hurt tough-luck loser Ryan Dempster. The Cubs stranded 15 runners in the game, including 11 in the 1st 6 innings alone. Despite 9 hits and 7 walks, the Cubs could not push even 1 run across the board. Aramis Ramirez had 3 hits and Carlos Pena had 2 hits in the loss.
Dempster worked 6 solid innings, notching his 16th quality start of the season. He gave up just 3 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 8.
The bullpen continued its solid work – James Russell, Jeff Samardzija and Kerry Wood combined for 3 scoreless innings and 5 K’s to keep the Cubs in the game.
Mike Quade benched Starlin Castro for his lack of effort in Sunday night’s loss to the Cards. Check out more here –
Posted on 22 July 2011 by Lou
They did it! The Cubs beat the worst team in baseball 4-2 on a perfect day at Wrigley Field on Friday. With the heat and humidity finally gone for the most part, Carlos Zambrano labored through 6 innings, but kept the feisty Astros at bay. Despite allowing 9 hits and 1 walk in his outing, Big Z minimized the damage to just 2 ER. He had 3 K’s and he improved to 7-5 on the season.
The Cubs scored in only one inning but they made it count. They plated 4 runs in the 5th inning. Alfonso Soriano hit his 15th HR of the year as he put the Cubs on the board with a leadoff solo home run. Darwin Barney and Zambrano each reached base. After Barney stole 3rd base, he came home on Starlin Castro’s important sac fly which tied the game at 2. And then Aramis Ramirez put the Cubs ahead for good with his 2-run HR, his 18th of the season.
The bullpen even looked good. After James Russell allowed a lead-off single in the 7th inning, Jeff Samardzija, John Grabow, Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall retired the final 9 batters to preserve the Cubs win. Marshall picked up his 3rd save.
Yippee!!! The Cubs are now 40-60 while the Astros are 33-66. Ah some breathing room…
Posted on 20 July 2011 by Lou
Manager Mike Quade was all out of ideas as he watched Sean Marshall blow the save in his 1st chance as the Cubs “new closer”. Yippee. Think Quade is happy that he went ahead and accepted this awful Cubs managerial post?!
Quade called on Marshall to pick up a 2-inning save after Matt Garza gave up a lead off hit in the 8th inning. My question is this – if you were going to pull Garza if he allowed a runner to reach base, and since he had already thrown 113 pitches in 7 innings pitched, why not just pull him for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 7th inning instead of having him lead off and strike out? Sure you might not get an insurance run, but Reed Johnson and Aramis Ramirez each singled later that inning, so you never know. And then maybe you use Kerry Wood or someone else in the 8th inning and bring in Marshall to close the game in the 9th. Forcing Marshall to pick up a 6-out save in his 1st big chance since replacing Carlos Marmol as the club’s closer just did not seem like the smart thing to do. And this is just another example of why the Cubs have to be questioning Quade as the long-term manager of this team…
That being said, Marshall did not perform well. And after allowing the tying runs in the 8th inning, Marshall still could have kept his team in the game. But he allowed 2 more runs in the 9th inning and the Phillies won 4-2. Marshall has now allowed 7 ER in his last 6 appearances. Not good.
Lost in the shuffle was Matt Garza who turned in another good start. Garza pitched 7+ innings, allowing just the 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5. He has clearly emerged as the ace of the staff as he has lowered his WHIP to 1.31 and his ERA to 3.80.
The top of the order was en fuego against Cliff Lee. Johnson had 3 hits and a run scored.
Starlin Castro had 2 hits and knocked in the Cubs only 2 runs in the 1st inning with a line drive 2-run HR.
And Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits in 4 at-bats to raise his batting average up to .302.
The Cubs are now 39-59 and they trail the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers by 13.0 games in the NL Central race.