Posted on 31 January 2012 by Lou
What are the New York Yankees thinking? That’s all I could think of when I heard that the Yankees hired former Cubs GM to be a special assignment scout under GM Brian Cashman. I really thought that Hendry would take the year off after Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts let him go in July/August 2011. But I guess he had the itch to get back into the game as soon as possible. Larry Rothschild, the Cubs former pitching coach under Hendry, is currently the Yankees pitching coach, and Joe Girardi is the Yankees Manager. Girardi caught for the Cubs for several seasons. So I guess there will be some friendly faces in New York for Hendry.
But after the Yankees pulled off the unthinkable – landing 2 top starting pitchers this off-season in a trade for Michael Pineda with the Seattle Mariners and the signing of free agent Hiroki Kuroda – it shocks me that they would need someone like Hendry. Hendry is an “old school” executive and although he probably has some great contacts out there, he just does not seem like the right fit in New York. Maybe he’ll use this as a stepping stone for a year or 2 to jump ship somewhere else, but I just don’t see Hendry providing that much valuable information to one of the top franchises in all of baseball. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have gotta be laughing their asses off right now…
Posted on 22 October 2011 by Lou
It’s official – Tom Ricketts and the Cubs have hired Theo Epstein as their new President of Baseball Operations. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig convinced the teams to make the announcement on Tuesday (a World Series off day) and finalize the compensation to allow Epstein out of his last year as Red Sox GM at a later date. After aiming “high” by asking for Starlin Castro and then Matt Garza, and then asking the Cubs to take on the remaining 3 years of John Lackey’s $82.5 contract, the Red Sox agreed to settle for “minor league prospects” as compensation. The Red Sox and Cubs spent a week haggling over players until they agreed upon a process to select the players to be traded from the Cubs to the Red Sox to complete the deal. What is known is that the Cubs top 3 prospects – Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt and Matt Szczur will not be part of the deal.
The Cubs have scheduled a press conference for Tuesday to make the announcement. After the World Series ends, the Cubs will then announce that San Diego Padres GM Jed Hoyer will come to the Cubs to serve as GM under Epstein. Padres Assistant GM Jason McLeod – a top scout under Epstein and Hoyer with the Red Sox – will also re-unite with the duo in Chicago and serve as Assistant GM to Hoyer.
This is pretty incredible – the Cubs who have had one of the smallest baseball executive offices in all of baseball with GM Jim Hendry and Assistant GM Randy Bush will now become one of the premiere offices in all of baseball. These guys all have a proven track record, so let’s hope that they can get it done on the North Side in the next few years.
Good work Tom – let’s hope we see some immediate improvement over the next few seasons…
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 16 March 2011 by Lou
Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner both made good starts on Tuesday which could mean that the duo will round out the Cubs 2011 starting rotation.
Cashner tossed 3 1/3 innings in a split squad game against the A’s, giving up just 1 ER on 2 hits and 3 walks. He had 2 strikeouts. Manager Mike Quade is impressed with the fact that Cashner seems confident in his ability to be effective as a starter at the major league level even though he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the Cubs in 2010: “That will take him a long way in his development. I think he enjoys starting. He’s put his heart and soul into this, and I don’t think there’s something in the back that says, ‘Really, I’m a reliever.’ I think hes’ bought into this completely.”
As for Wells, he finally gave up his first runs of the spring. He was tagged for 3 runs (2 earned) in 5 innings of a split squad loss against the Rockies. He has now pitched 14 excellent innings this spring and hopes that he will claim a rotation spot soon. “I have a lot to prove. I don’t think you ca ever do enough. If you’re on that plane to Chicago, you still haven’t done enough… We’ll just keep it rolling and hopefully stay in a nice groove, keep the confidence up and stay healthy, and hopefully everything works out.”
Let’s hope Cashner and Wells keep it up. I would love to see the two make the starting rotation and I would love for GM Jim Hendry to find someone to take on Carlos Silva and his crazy salary. Even if the Cubs have to eat half of it in a trade, I think it would be great for Cashner to get some excellent major league experience as a starter during this “up-in-the-air” 2011 Cubs campaign…
Posted on 22 February 2011 by Lou
Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo is confident that Alfonso Soriano has done what it will take to have a positive 2011 MLB season. GM Jim Hendry made a huge splash before the 2007 MLB season by out-bidding (in terms of years and dollars) every other team for the best free agent on the market at the time – Alfonso Soriano. Soriano signed an 8-year, $136 million deal and the Cubs have yet to see the fruits of their labor as Soriano has averaged just 26 HR’s, 70 RBI’s and 127 games played during the 1st 4 years of the contract. In 2010, Soriano played the most games during his tenure with the Cubs — 147 — but the numbers were still a fraction of what the Cubs expected when they signed him. Soriano batted just .258 – ouch! – with 24 HR’s and paltry 79 RBI’s. WOW – what a bad deal for the Cubs AND they still have to deal with the guy for 4 more years.
That being said, Jaramillo is confident that Soriano still has some juice left in the tank. The 2 worked together while Soriano played for the Texas Rangers and he had success under Rudy’s tutelage. With 1 year under their belts together again, Jaramillo feels like Soriano will surprise some people in 2011. “I can help him and Sori is definitely going back in the right direction. I can see that his foundation is better so hopefully he just becomes more consistent. We’ve just got to work on slowing his mind down and trust what he does in the cage. That way he can execute that approach…We’re really trying to stress the mechanical part and the approach that goes with every situation. Sori did well last year. I expect him to do better. I think he has a better understanding of what he and I tried to accomplish so I expect a good year from Sori.”
Great optimism, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m not expecting .320 batting average with 40 HR’s, but if he can somehow manage to hit close to .300 with 30 dingers, I think there will be a lot of happy Cubs fans on the north side of Chicago this summer…
Posted on 14 February 2011 by Lou
Great news Cubs fans – Carlos Marmol & the Cubs agreed upon a 3-year, $20 million deal today. The deal will pay him $3.2 million in 2011, $7 million in 2012 and $9.8 million in 2013. Marmol is 28 years old and he gives up his 1st year of free agency by agreeing to the 3-year deal. Marmol converted 38 of 43 save opportunities in 2010 and he set a major league record for strikeouts per 9 inning averaging 15.99 K’s. Everyone seems to be thrilled with the deal.
GM Jim Hendry had this to say about locking up Marmol long-term: “Carlos is rewarded with well-deserved security… The great ones are hard to find. Obviously, the numbers the kid puts up and the year he had last year were starting to approach the upper echelon of the game. At 28, he’s never had any health issues. Hopefully, he can keep getting better and stay healthy and you have one of the better guys in the business. He’s obviously handled the big market, handled the big stage and he’s a good teammate.”
Marmol himself was thrilled to be able to stay long-term with the team that drafted him back in 1999 as a catcher: “I want to secure my life, my family, my career. It’s not about money, it’s about security. I feel good in Chicago. Hopefully, I can sign a 10-year deal… I grew up in this organization, and Oneri and Jim have been here for me.”
And Manager Mike Quade loves the fact that he has someone he can count on at the end of close games: “To have somebody you can count on to finish a game is huge. It’s been talked about a bunch of times about how devastating late-inning losses can be. ‘Marm’ has been good, he’s going to be better. That’s good stuff for ‘Marm’ and his agent for putting that deal together.”
Now the Cubs can settle in on getting ready this spring and winning games during the 2011 MLB schedule…
Posted on 04 February 2011 by Lou
Following up our Carlos Marmol story from the other day, it looks like a long-term deal is imminent for Carlos Marmol. The Cubs have indicated that a physical exam during spring training will be a prerequisite for the deal to become official. This is not a big surprise. The Cubs want to lock up Marmol long-term, but they also want to make sure there isn’t anything to be concerned with from a health perspective. Let’s hope Marmol complies with the exam request and then we’ll be excited to hear about the terms of the long-term deal. Marmol saved 38 out of 43 chances for the Cubs in 2010. He struck out 138 hitters over just 77+ innings. That 15.99 K’s per 9 innings was a major league record. Give the guy a deal and let him go to work. Just think what he could do if the Cubs actually had an offense one of these years…
Posted on 02 February 2011 by Lou
What will the Cubs and General Manager Jim Hendry do with Closer Carlos Marmol and Starter Matt Garza.
Marmol has emerged as a reliable and dependable closer. He has 2 years of arbitration left. Marmol is seeking $5.6 million for the 2011 MLB season, while the Cubs have offered $4.1 million. Will the 2 sides meet in the middle or will the case go to arbitration? Or could we see the 2 sides agree to a long-term deal that locks in Marmol as the Cubs closer for 3 or 4 years down the line. A 3-year, $20 million deal or a 4-year, $30 million deal could make both sides happy. The Cubs would get a little discount while Marmol would get some added security given the fact that he as averaged almost 80 appearances over the last 3 seasons. That is a lot of mileage on one pitcher’s arm.
The Cubs face a similar dilemma with Garza, although, Garza still has 3 years of arbitration left. Plus, Garza has yet to pitch in a Cubs uniform, so it might be nice to wait a year to make sure both sides are happy before entertaining long-term contract talks. Garza and the Cubs agreed upon a $5.9 million deal for the 2011 MLB schedule. If he keeps winning 15 games and racking up 200 innings pitched, he would likely command $10 million in 2012 and a little more than that in 2013 (his last 2 years of arbitration). Will the sides try to come to terms on a long-term 4-5 year deal? It would be in both sides’ best interests, but again, it will come down to dollars. I have a feeling that the Cubs will hold off on Garza until they see how he handles the pressure in Chicago where fans have long-suffered without a World Series title for way too long.
We’ll keep you posted on either front as soon as anything happens…
Posted on 19 January 2011 by Lou
The Cubs and Closer Carlos Marmol could not reach a deal before the arbitration deadline this week.
Posted on 08 January 2011 by Lou
The annual Cubs Convention is right around the corner – next weekend January 14-16 at the Hilton Chicago on Michigan Avenue. Festivities starts at 5PM on Friday January 14th. The Cubs anticipate that over 50 current and former Cubs players, coaches and prospects will be present at the 3-day weekend event.
Some of the highlights include:
The Ricketts Family Forum will kick off the activities on Saturday, January 15th. The Ricketts will be there to talk about the current team and they will be available to talk about the club’s plans for the future.
General Manager Jim Hendry, Special Assistant Greg Maddux, Assistant GM Randy Bush and Manager Mike Quade will be available for comments and questions in a session called “Meet Cubs Baseball Management”.
Quade will return for another session called the “Q Factor”. Quade and his staff — Mark Riggins, Rudy Jaramillo, Lester Strode, Ivan DeJesus, Bob Dernier and Dave Keller — will discuss how they plan to tackle the 2011 MLB schedule.
And in the “Dominican Way of Life” session, Aramis Ramirez, Starlin Castro, Carlos Pena and Oneri Fleita (the Cubs player development director) will discuss their transition from life in the Dominican Republic to life in the United States. Fleita will also offer some insight into how the Cubs scout and develop international players for the major leagues.
All in all it should be another great Cubs convention weekend. Plus, with all proceeds from the convention benefiting Chicago Cubs Charities, what more can you ask for…