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 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 19 July 2012 by Lou
The Cubs took the final 2 games of the series against the Marlins to keep their winning ways rolling. They took 5 of 6 games on the current homestand to open up the 2nd half of the MLB campaign.
In Wednesday night’s rain-shortened 5-1 win, Jeff Samardzija struck out 9 in just 5 innings and limited the marlins to only 1 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks. James Russell picked up the win by pitching a scoreless 7th inning despite allowing 2 runners to reach base. Starlin Castro tied the game at 1 in the 4th inning with his 8th homer of the season. And the Cubs earned the win before the rains came by tallying 4 runs in the 7th. Geovany Soto had an RBI single, Jeff Baker had a 2-run single and David DeJesus plated the final run with a sacrifice fly.
In Thursday’s matinee, Paul Maholm pitched 8 innings of 1-run ball, scattering 5 hits and 1 walk. Maholm improved to 8-6 and lowered his WHIP to 1.29 and his ERA to 4.09. Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th when he walked the lead-off hitter and allowed him to score on a single. But he closed out the game to pick up his 11th save and preserve the 4-2 win. Alfonso Soriano hit his 18th homer to get the Cubs on the board in the 5th inning. And Reed Johnson capped off the 4-run 5th inning with a 2-out, 2-run single to left field. Johnson, Soriano, Jeff Baker and Darwin Barney each had 2 hits in the win.
Now it’s onto St. Louis to take on the Cardinals in what could be Ryan Dempster’s final 2012 start as a Cubs player on Friday night.
Posted on 15 July 2012 by Lou
The Cubs swept the Arizona Diamondbacks to kick off the 2nd half of the season with a bang. The Cubs 12 wins since June 25th is tops in the majors. Granted they are still way out of it with a 36-52 record, but at least they seem to be putting things together on a more consistent basis.
Paul Maholm earned the Cubs win in Friday’s 8-1 romp. Maholm worked 7 innings of 1-run ball to pace the club. He scattered 6 hits and struck out 5 to improve to 7-6 on the season. Alfonso Soriano was the hitting star — 2 home runs, 2 doubles and 5 RBI’s! Anthony Rizzo also had 2 hits and 2 runs scored.
Ryan Dempster continued to help his trade value with 6 shutout innings in Saturday’s 4-1 win. He improved to 5-3 scattering 4 hits and 3 walks in the win. He now has a 1.02 WHIP and 1.86 ERA and his 33 consecutive scoreless innings streak . Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and Luis Valubuena each had 2 hits in the win. Carlos Marmol notched his 9th save of the season.
Matt Garza worked 7 scoreless innings in Sunday’s 3-1 series finale win to improve to 5-7. He struck out 7 and only allowed 5 hits. Rizzo gave the Cubs an early 1-0 lead in the 1st inning with an RBI single. And Darwin Barney added a 2-run homer in the 2nd inning that increased the Cubs lead to 3-0. That would be all that Garza needed in one of his better outings of the season. Marmol recorded the game’s final 2 outs to pick up save #10.
The Cubs open up a 3-game series against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
Posted on 01 July 2012 by Lou
What a way to kick off the month of July as the Cubs swept the Astros in a 3-game weekend set at Wrigley Field.
Travis Wood continued his dominance since being called up to take the place of the struggling Chris Volstad. Wood tossed 7+ scoreless innings, scattering 3 hits and no walks in an almost perfect game. Wood picked up his 3rd win and lowered his WHIP to 1.09 and his ERA to 3.05. Theo & Co. are looking like genies for pulling off the Sean Marshall for Wood trade this past off-season. In his last 3 starts, Wood has yielded just 1 ER in his last 20 2/3 innings pitched – not too shabby…
Anthony Rizzo had another “game-winning hit” as his RBI single in the 6th scored Wood with the 1st run of the game. That lone run would be good enough for the Cubs to roll to a 3-0 victory. Jeff Baker followed that up with a 2-run single that gave Wood and the bullpen a little cushion.
And Carlos Marmol picked up his 8th save and looks to have things back on track since being removed from the closer role. He gave up a single in the 9th, but buckled down to strike out 2 and close out the win.
And what about Danica Patrick throwing out the first pitch?! I think the photos tell it all. Look at that form?! What do ya think James Russell was thinking after catching that strike to the plate?!
GO CUBS GO! The Cubs finished June with a nice 5-1 home stand. Sure they are 29-49 and they still trail the 1st place Reds by 14 games, but it’s been fun to watch this team the last week or so. Let’s hope they can continue playing good baseball on their road trip to Atlanta and New York before the All-Star Break. And then let’s hope they can keep the momentum going as the 2nd half starts up back at Wrigley Field on Friday July 13th!!!
Posted on 15 June 2012 by Lou
The Cubs beat the Red Sox 3-0 in the opener of the much-anticipated series between Theo Epstein’s new team and his old team. And while it is great that the Cubs got the win, barring a herculean pitching effort by Ryan Dempster, it should have been another loss for the north siders. The Cubs managed just 2 hits by a non-pitcher in the win today. Fortunately, both hits drove in the Cubs 3 runs. Steve Clevenger had a timely 2-out bases loaded double that drove in 2 runs in the 1st inning. And the next inning David DeJesus single drove in Ryan Dempster. Dempster had reached base earlier that inning on a “triple” to right field that regular 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez misplayed down the line. So even that 2nd run was a little “lucky”…
Dempster pitched another solid outing – 7 scoreless innings, 4 hits, 2 walks and 3 K’s. Sure the Red Sox lineup is missing a little umph without Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury, but if you can keep David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez off the scoreboard for an entire game, you’ve gotta be doing something right.
Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th. He gave up a hit and a walk and a Luis Valbuena error in between put Marmol in a bases loaded 2-out jam. But Valbuena made a 2nd fabulous play in the inning with a hard line drive grounder by Pedroia to the hot corner that he scooped up and raced to make the game-ending force out just ahead of the racing footsteps by Mike Aviles.
With the win, the Cubs “improved” to 22-42. The Red Sox fell to 31-33. Not exactly the type of match-up that MLB envisioned in the winter.
Go Cubs Go!
Posted on 04 June 2012 by Lou
The Giants beat the Cubs 3-2 on Monday afternoon, extending the Cubs road losing streak to 11 games. It is their longest road losing streak since 1954 – ouch! Jeff Samardzija had a rare bad performance, lasting just 5 innings. He walked 5 batters – a season high – but he kept his team in the game with clutch pitching with runners on base. He allowed just 2 ER even though he permitted 12 runners to reach base in his short outing.
Carlos Marmol took the loss when he gave up 2 walks and a line drive single of his back in the pivotal 7th inning. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Marmol induced a double play, but the winning run still scored.
The Cubs never scored a run in more than 1 inning during the series against the Giants in San Francisco. In Monday’s 3-2 loss, the Cubs scored 2 runs in the 2nd inning on 5 hits – with RBI singles delivered by Steve Clevenger and Samardzija.
In Friday’s 4-3 loss, the Cubs waited until the 9th inning to score all 3 runs on an Alfonso Soriano home run. In Saturday’s 2-1 loss, the lone run came on David DeJesus’ solo HR. And Barry Zito blanked the Cubs 2-0 in Sunday’s loss.
Talk about poor hitting. It is almost shocking how bad a hitting team the Cubs are. The Cubs are 6-14 in 1-run games. That is the worst in the majors…
Posted on 07 May 2012 by Lou
Jeff Samardzija improved to 4-1 with a dominant 5-1 win over the Braves on Monday night at Wrigley Field. The Braves had won 3 in a row scoring 29 runs in a 3-game sweep over the Rockies in Colorado over the weekend, but Samardzija worked his magic and held the Braves to just 1 run on Jason Heyward’s homer in the 2nd inning. Samardzija worked 7 innings and allowed just 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7. He lowered his WHIP to 1.19 and his ERA to 3.03. Samardzija continued to show great command and a mastery of mixing up his pitches to keep the hitters off-guard.
Carlos Marmol made his 1st appearance after being removed from the closer’s role. In the 8th inning, he walked the 1st two batters and threw wild pitch before getting the next 3 batters without allowing a run. It wasn’t pretty, but at least he preserved the lead.
James Russell worked the 9th – he allowed a hit with 2 K’s and closed the door for the Cubs 3rd win in 4 games.
Bryan LaHair hit his 8th home run off the season to tie the game at 1. Ian Stewart followed up with a back-to-back homer right after that and Reed Johnson almost made it 3 in a row, but his shot fell just short of the wall in deep left. Starlin Castro added 2 hits including an RBI single in the 7th inning that increased the Cubs lead to 3-1. Geovany Soto gave the Cubs some much needed insurance runs with a 2-run blast in the 8th inning.
It’s always good to get the 1st win in a series, so let’s hope the Cubs can clinch another series win with a big W on Tuesday night at the Friendly Confines…
Posted on 25 April 2012 by Lou
WOW – 2 nights in a row, the Cubs pull off the walk-off win. It gave the Cubs their 1st winning streak of the season (2 games) and their 1st series win of the season. Even if the Cubs lose to the Cards today (which it looks like they will), they’ll still have won 2 of the 3 games this series en route to their 1st series win. 18 games seems a long way to wait for that elusive win, but we’ll take it. At 6-12, the Cubs trail the 1st place Cards by just 5 games now.
It was a full team effort. Jeff Samardzija was masterful again – it was great to see him bounce back from his poor outing in Miami when he uncharacteristically walked 5 batters and gave up 8 hits and 5 ER in just 3+ innings of work. On Tuesday night, Samardzija was mixing his speeds and pitches, keeping the Cards hitters guessing and off their game. Samardzija tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 9. He did not factor in the decision, but he kept his club in the game.
The bullpen almost blew the lead – Rafael Dolis walked Rafael Furcal in the 8th and then Matt Holiday stroked the go-ahead 2-run homer off of Carlos Marmol to give the Cards a 2-1 lead.
But Bryan LaHair’s lead-off homer in the 9th inning tied the game at 2 and sent the contest into extra innings.
With 1 out in the 10th, Tony Campana singled and stole second base on a controversial play in which it appeared that the Cardinals 2nd baseman – Tyler Greene – blocked the bag before Campana could reach 2nd. Cards Manager Mike Matheny argued the call and was eventually thrown. After a Starlin Castro strikeout (he struck out in each of his last 3 at-bats!!!), the interim bench coach opted to walk the hot-hitting LaHair to face the light-hitting Alfonso Soriano. That move back-fired, as Soriano hit a bad-hop single right at Greene that brought home Campana with the running run.
James Russell pitched a perfect top of the 10th with 2 K’s to pick up his 1st win of 2012. He has not allowed an ER all season. Michael Bowden – who was acquired from the Red Sox for Marlon Byrd over the weekend – made his Cubs debut. He loaded the bases in the top of the 9th by issuing 2 walks and a single, but he got out of the jam to keep the Cubs within 1 run for LaHair’s heroics.
The Cubs have some momentum going. Let’s hope they can come back again today to get the win before they head off on a 7-game tough road trip through Philadelphia and Cincinnati.