Posted on 05 December 2009 by Lou
It boils down to this – if the Cubs can find a taker for disgruntled, troublemaker Milton Bradley, then the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry could have a successful and productive off-season leading up to the 2010 MLB schedule. Hendry has already made moves – dealing the likes of Aaron Heilman to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Aaron Miles and Jake Fox to the Oakland A’s for prospects and to clear some salary cap space to sign new deals for arbitration-eligible players like Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot.
If Hendry can somehow find a team willing to take Bradley (full-well knowing that the Cubs will still have to pay a pretty chunk of the $21 million owed to him over the next 2 seasons), it will be a step in the right direction for Hendry. Hendry has had a series of bad years at the helm and with a new owner in place, Hendry needs to prove his worth to the Ricketts family. That will be easier said than done as Hendry’s bad moves have left the Cubs brass with little flexibility.
Hendry and Manager Lou Pinella plan to move Kosuke Fukudome back to his more comfortable right field position. Then Hendry can concentrate on finding a center fielder and 2nd baseman for the 2010 Cubs. Even though the Cubs did not offer arbitration to Reed Johnson, they have not closed off talks with his handlers. So Johnson could be back to patrol center field at Wrigley Field next season.
Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot are in the running for the starting 2nd base job, so it is unlikely that Hendry will pursure any options outside the organization for that position.
The Cubs could also be in the market for a veteran right-handed reliever to complement John Garbow in the pen. While the Cubs have a lot of up-and-coming young stars in the bullpen – Angel Guzman, Esmailin Caridad, Jeff Stevens and Justin Berg – Hendry and Pinella would love to see a little more experience back there in front of closer Marmol.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything good – Winter Meetings start next week in Indy…
Posted on 20 November 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs and John Grabow have agreed to terms on a 2-year, $7.5 million deal that will keep the veteran reliever on the north side of Chicago. The Cubs acquired Grabow in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the trading deadline and became one of the Cubs most consistent relievers the rest of the season. He made 30 appearances for the Cubs during the latter half of the season and did not allow a single run in his 1st 12 outings. In 25 innings pitched, Grabow finished with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP and had 7 holds. His 75 appearances (45 with the Pirates) were a career high. He will provide a veteran presence for an otherwise young bullpen in 2010 and will likely serve as Closer Carlos Marmol’s primary set-up man in the 8th inning or against tough lefties. The other top candidates for the bullpen – Marmol, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Jeff Stevens, Justin Berg and Esmailin Caridad – are all under 27 years old.
Grabow said it was a “no-brainer” for him to want to pitch for the Cubs for the next few years. He lives with In Arizona with his family so he won’t have to go too far for spring training. Plus he loved the atmosphere playing in Chicago – “I pretty much let everyone know before I left that I wanted to come back. It’s a good situation for me and my family and for the Cubs. They brought me in there, they made a trade to bring me there and I fit in right away… The atmosphere that’s inside the clubhouse, everyone gets along pretty good and it’s kind of a veteran team, and everybody goes about their business. I figured that’s a pretty good situation for me.”
Posted on 19 November 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs traded Aaron Heilman to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 2 prospects today. The move was done to move an arbitration-eligible player like Heilman – the Cubs still have 7 other players who are arbitration-eligible. That list includes – Carlos Marmol, Ryan Theriot, Sean Marshall, Jeff Baker, Mike Fontenot, Koyie Hill and Angel Guzman.
Heilman made 70 appearances for the Chicago Cubs during the 2009 MLB schedule – his only season with the Cubs, the team that he rooted for as a kid growing up in Indiana. Heilman went 4-4 with 1 save and 6 blown saves. He had a 4.11 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP, striking out 65 while walking 34.
Cubs GM Jim Hendry explained the move this way: “As we move forward in the winter, the way our big league club sets up and the way we have a lot of arb guys, we felt we needed to move some people a little bit before we get to Indianapolis… We feel like we got two solid prospects from the Diamondbacks… We feel we have some young arms who can take [Heilman's] place in that part of the bullpen.” Those arms include Guzman, Esmailin Caridad and Justin Berg.
So just who did the Cubs get for Heilman:
Lefty Scott Maine – 4-5 with a 2.90 ERA and 7 saves in Double A and Triple A during 2009.
2nd baseman Ryan White – .266 batting average with 6 HR’s, 52 RBI’s and a .371 on-base percentage at the Class A level in 2009.
Posted on 02 November 2009 by Lou
I am thrilled with the prospect of having Carlos Marmol as the Cubs’ closer for the entire 2010 MLB schedule. Marmol was a rock in save situations at the end of the 2009 season – racking up 11 straight saves (in saves situations) from August 23rd on. Marmol did have 3 hiccups in non-save situations, suffering 2 losses and giving up 5 ER on 5 hits and 5 walks in the process. But if you ignore those situations, Marmol was as reliable as it gets for a closer. Barring any off-season setbacks, Marmol should be good to go to shoulder the load for the Cubs in 2010.
Esmailin Caridad pitched very well for the Cubs at the end of the season, but his experience is a factor (he is only 26 years old). In 14 appearances, Caridad went 1-0 with a 1.40 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 17 strikeouts and just 3 walks. John Grabow also pitched well – 30 appearances, 3.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 16 strikeouts and 12 walks. Grabow is also left-handed, but he is a free agent and the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry still have a little work to do in order to sign him. The Cubs also have Angel Guzman, Aaron Heilman, Justin Berg, John Gaub, David Patton, Jeff Samardzija and Jeff Stevens.
Spring Training 2010 will give each of these players a chance to prove their worth as a reliable and dependable reliever out of the pen. Manager Lou Pinella and his staff will have to be at the top of their game to make sure they select the right combination of players that gives the Cubs the best chance to be successful in 2010.