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 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 26 September 2011 by Lou
As the season winds down, Casey Coleman has made a big statement during his last 2 starts. Coleman worked into the 6th inning before giving up a home run and RBI double that gave the Padres a 2-0 lead. Coleman gave up just those 2 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks. He had 7 strike outs. In his previous start, Coleman picked up the win over the Brewers with a 6-inning gem against one of the better-hitting lineups in the National League. Coleman held the Brew Crew to just 1 ER on 2 hits and 3 walks with 8 K’s.
Coleman also broke up Matt Latos’ no hit bid with a 1-out triple in the top of the 6th inning. The Cubs managed just 1 other hit on the night – Starlin Castro’s single to lead off the 7th inning. Despite stealing 2nd base with nobody out, Carlos Pena, Bryan LaHair and Steve Clevenger could not bring him in.
With their 3rd straight loss, the Cubs fell to 70-90 on the season.
Matt Garza looks to continue his solid end to the 2011 campaign with his last start on Tuesday night. A win would give him double-digit wins in his 1st full season as a Cubs starter. Garza has not allowed more than 3 earned runs in any of his last 10 starts dating back to August 3rd – hello ace!!! Let’s hope he finishes off the great streak with his 10th win on Tuesday…
Posted on 29 August 2011 by Lou
Randy Wells tossed his 1st career complete game shutout in the Cubs 7-0 win over the Giants in San Francisco on Monday night. Wells has turned his season around with some good pitching of late. In his last 4 starts, he has given up just 7 ER on 16 hits in 27 2/3 innings pitched. He is 3-0 in those 4 starts. While his ERA is still over 5.00 at 5.06, he has lowered his WHIP to 1.38 and he has re-gained the confidence that deserted him after he went on the DL after just 1 start to kick off the 2011 campaign.
Wells faced only 4 batters over the minimum in the game – 2 hits and 2 walks allowed. He allowed only 2 runners to reach base 2nd base.
Alfonso Soriano gave the Cubs the 1st lead of the game with a solo HR of Tim Lincecum in the 5th inning. Then the Cubs blew the game open with 2 more HR’s against Lincecum in the 7th inning. Geovany Soto hit a solo shot and Blake DeWitt’s 3-run bomb to right field finally chased Lincecum from the game with the Cubs leading 5-0. Carlos Pena added a solo shot later in the inning and Marlon Byrd singled home DeWitt in the 9th to cap the scoring.
Matt Garza squares off against Ryan Vogelsong in Game 2 of the series Tuesday night.
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 11 July 2011 by Lou
What a joke – after losing 7 of their last 10 games heading into the break, the Cubs finished with the 2nd worst record in all of baseball at 37-55. Ouch…
The Cubs trail the Brewers and Cardinals by 12 games in the race for 1st place in the NL Central. The Cubs trail the Braves by a whopping 17 games for the wild card spot. Only the Houston Astros (30-62) have a worse record than the Cubs in all of baseball.
Starlin Castro has been the Cubs best and most consistent hitter all season – .307 batting average, 49 runs scored and 39 RBI’s. Aramis Ramirez put together a phenomenal close to the 1st half to help his numbers look more like his career average numbers – .298 batting average, 15 HR’s and 51 RBI’s. Carlos Pena leads the team with 19 HR’s after not hitting a single home run in the entire month of April. And despite a stint on the DL, Alfonso Soriano has put up decent numbers – 14 HR’s and 41 RBI’s.
The pitching stats are not pretty. Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are tied for the team lead in wins with 6. Matt garza has the best starter ERA at 4.26. Dempster leads the team with 102 K’s while Garza is right on his heels with 99.
Let’s go Cubs — at least it can’t get much worse than what we’ve seen in the 1st half, right?!?!
Posted on 30 June 2011 by Lou
Ryan Dempster shocked me as he matched 2-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum pitch-for-pitch in a remarkable pitching duel. Dempster worked 8 scoreless innings and had a 1-run lead as he stepped onto the bump in the top of the 9th at 78 pitches. But when he allowed a lead-off double to Pat Burrell, Manager Mike Quade made the shocking move to “pull” Dempster from the 1-0 game after he had just pitched one of the best games of his career. Come on, Quade – you are 11.5 games out of 1st place. It’s not like this win is that important in the grand scheme of things. Dempster earned the right to pitch out the game and try to get out of the 1-on, nobody out jam in the 9th. But Quade made the move to go with closer Carlos Marmol to “save” the all-important game for the Cubs. And the move totally back-fired. After a strikeout, Marmol allowed an RBI single that tied the game at 1. He then gave up a walk and a hit to put the go-ahead run in scoring position with only 1 out and luckily got Cody Ross to hit into an inning-ending double play to preserve the 1-1 tie. But by then, the excitement over a big 1-0 win over Lincecum was long gone.
That being said, the Cubs showed some grit when Tony Campana singled to lead off the 9th inning and and Reed Johnson sacrificed him over to 2nd base to put the speedster in scoring position with only 1 out. Geovany Soto grounded out, but pinch-hitter Aramis Ramirez came through with the clutch game-winning hit to drive in Campana with the winning run.
After 6+ scoreless innings, the Cubs finally broke through off of Lincecum in the 7th inning. Blake DeWitt’s single drove in Carlos Pena who had doubled to lead off the inning. It was nice to see some clutch hitting there.
The Cubs are 33-48 and they trail the Brewers by 10.5 games in the NL Central race.
Posted on 29 June 2011 by Lou
What an awful display of baseball from the Cubs on Tuesday as they dropped a day-night doubleheader by the score of 19-10 to the Giants at Wrigley Field.
In the opener, Doug Davis allowed the worst hitting team in baseball to score 10 earned runs off of him in 4+ innings. Davis surrendered 12 hits and issued 3 walks during his embarrassing outing.
Reliever Chris Carpenter did not fare much better in his 1 2/3 innings of work – 2 ER on 4 hits and 1 walk.
Carlos Pena hit another home run – his 17th of the season – and Koyie Hill also added his 2nd home run of the season in a nice 2nd inning that tied the game at 3. But the Cubs squandered some great chances to score against Ryan Vogelsong as he allowed 10 runners to reach base in his 5 innings of work. Starlin Castro’s hitting streak came to an end with his 0 for 5 effort.
The 2nd game didn’t get much better. Rodrigo Lopez allowed 4 runs (only 1 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks in 4 2/3 innings pitched. Granted 3 of his runs were unearned because of Reed Johnson’s fielding gaffe, but you’ve gotta pick each other up. John Grabow tried to get Lopez out of the 5th inning, but he allowed the 1st 4 batters he faced to reach base with a walk and 3 hits before he recorded the final out of the inning. But by then, it was too little too late as the Giants regained a 6-2 lead over the Cubs.
Luis Montanez hit his 1st career major league home run off of Barry Zito in the 3rd inning. His HR gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Aramis Ramirez also hit a solo home run in the 9th inning. Starlin Castro started another hitting streak by going 1 for 4 in the loss.
Let’s hope Ryan Dempster can bring his “A” game against Tim Lincecum tonight. Lincecum is only 6-6 on the year, but he has a nasty 3/16 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 113 K’s against only 38 walks in 105+ innings pitched… The Cubs are a season-low 16 games under .500 at 32-48.
Posted on 28 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs defeated the Rockies 7-3 in the makeup game of a game rained out back on April 27th.
Matt Garza pitched into the 8th inning, allowing just 3 ER on 5 hits. Most importantly, Garza did not allow a walk and he struck out 6 hitters in his 111-pitch effort.
Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena are both heating up. Ramirez went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI’s and 3 runs scored. He hit a 2-run HR in the 1st inning and a solo home run in the 7th inning. Pena hit 2 home runs – a solo shot in the 4th inning and a 2-run bomb in the 5th inning. Pena now leads the club with his 16 home runs and 42 RBI’s despite a batting average in the low .200’s. Starlin Castro had a single to extend his hitting streak to 11-games.
The Cubs are now 32-46 and they trail the Brewers by 11.5 games in the NL Central race. Not good..
Posted on 23 June 2011 by Lou
The White Sox defeated the Cubs 4-3 to take the opening series of the 2011 Crosstown Classic. Jake Peavy outdueled Doug Davis, although the Cubs did have plenty of opportunities to tack on some runs against a rusty Peavy who was coming off the DL. Peavy allowed 10 hitters to reach base in only 5+ innings, but the Cubs only managed to push across 3 runs against him. Not good at all. Carlos Pena hit a home run for the 3rd straight game, while Starlin Castro continued his hot hitting with 2 more hits. He is now hitting .322 with 36 RBI’s and 42 runs scored. Kosuke Fukudome and Blake DeWitt also each had 2 hits in the loss.
For the 3rd straight night, the White Sox jumped out to an early lead – 3-0 in the 4th on A.J. Pierzynski’s 2-run triple and Brent Lillibridge’s great bunt single that scored Pierzynski. Doug Davis struggled with his command again, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks in just 5 innings. The game-winning run that scored in the 5th inning, however, was unearned because of DeWitt’s fielding error that would have ended the threat. Instead, it allowed the Sox to load the bases and Davis ended up plunking Lillibridge to force in the go-ahead run.
The Cubs can take some solace in playing 3 “OK” games, but the bottom line is wins. And the Cubs just aren’t doing enough of that this season.
The Cubs have a day off before traveling to Kansas City to take on the Royals in more inter-league play this weekend.