Posted on 09 December 2010 by Lou
The Cubs and Rays are in talks to trade pitcher Matt Garza for prospects in the next couple of days. The 2 sides have met twice to discuss the terms of the deal, so this could happen any hour now. The Rays are in “dump” mode, as they have parted ways with Carl Crawford who signed with the Red Sox and Carlos Pena who signed with the Cubs. They are also looking to trade a few pieces to acquire prospects who are right at the edge of being able to perform at the major league level (for a fraction of the cost). The Cubs have some nice prospects that they are willing to part with in order to acquire a starting pitcher like Garza who would slide into the rotation next to Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster. That would also allow the Cubs to move another starter (say Tom Gorzelanny, Randy Wells or Carlos Silva) to acquire a veteran reliever to go along side lefty set-up man Sean Marshall and closer Carlos Marmol.
Garza is only 27 years old – he went 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 32 starts in 2010 pitching in the tough AL East. He has playoff experience is a fierce competitor. Garza is also durable – he has made at least 30 starts for the Rays in each of the last 3 seasons.
Pena had this to say about his former Rays teammate — “Matt Garza is one of those pitchers that wherever he goes is going to be an incredible asset. It’s no secret that he is extremely talented and the sky is the limit for a guy like him. I think he’s got Cy Young potential, to be honest with you. His stuff is electrifying. I think anybody would like to have a guy like that.”
WOW – I’m actually excited about something that GM Jim Hendry might do this winter. The Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers are also mix on this, so the Cubs are going to have to give up 2-3 good prospects to land Garza, but it would be worth it for an established pitcher like him…
Posted on 19 November 2010 by Lou
In a surprise move, Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild left to become the pitching coach for Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees. This is a huge surprise as Rothschild just exercised his option to remain the Cubs pitching coach through the 2011 MLB season about a month ago, and he seemed excited to be back for another year on the North Side (it would have been his 10th season as Cubs pitching coach). Now new Manager Mike Quade will be under the gun to find a new pitching coach for the Cubs in short order.
Yankees Manager Joe Girardi had this to say about luring Rothschild to New York – “Larry brings a wealth of invaluable experience to our team and to our pitching staff. He’s a championship pitching coach, and I’m excited to add larry’s abilities to our staff. He is above all else an excellent teacher, who brings a professional attitude and a keen sense of preparation to his craft. I’m very much looking forward to working with him moving forward.”
Rothschild had plenty of praise for the Cubs organization – “I’d like to thank Jim Hendry, the Ricketts family, Crane Kenney and the entire Cubs organization for their outstanding support and allowing me to pursue this opportunity with the Yankees. My reasons for pursuing and accepting the opportunity are personal and family-based, as the Yankees hold spring training in, and travel several times a year to, my hometown of Tampa. The chance to spend increased time with my family was something I wanted to explore and I am grateful for the opportunity to have done so… My nine years with the Cubs were tremendous and I’m proud of the pitching staff I leave behind. I wish Mike Quade, the Cubs and their great fans the best and look forward to returning to Wrigley Field in June.”
Crazy stuff continues to happen on the North Side. While some may see this as a negative, I am happy with the move. This staff has not done enough to bring a championship to the Cubs organization. Rothschild has had plenty of great arms under his tutelage – Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano – and he never was able to make them consistently dominant for several years at a clip. After 9 years relying upon Rothschild, I think it is a good things that the Cubs will have a new pitching coach who will give a fresh perspective on the Cubs arms on a going-forward basis. Especially with some young guys who have a lot of talent – Andrew Cashner, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell – you would hate to see Rothschild not take advantage of their full potential.
Posted on 16 November 2010 by Lou
Ryne Sandberg was recently named the Manager of the Phillies Triple-A affiliate in Lehigh Valley of the International League. When asked about the Cubs managerial interview process, he seemed to indicate that he didn’t thnk that the Cubs took his candidacy that seriously. Here are a few of his quotes:
“Well, you know what, obviously there was disappointment at the end. As I look back and see everybody involved in the interview process, I think the most games anybody saw me manage was 4-5 games, by everybody that I talked to. Based on that, I don’t know how I would hired for a job if nobody saw me doing my job elsewhere. That was kind of a disappointing part of the whole thing. But now that I see it, it’s very obvious with the process and the final choice… I did what I had to do. I had a good season. I progressed through the farm system. I’m not saying I totally paid my dues, I don’t want to go there, because I don’t know what paying the dues is, how many years that means. Becasue there are guys who do it a lot more. Deep down I felt I did what I had to do, and had fun at it, and was good at it. I had some confidence right down to the end, but looking back at it, I see things a little differently… I just enjoyed my interview with the Phillies… They talked about organization. They talked about team. And they used the word ‘we’ a lot. They also said I would be working hand in hand with the big club, whatever is needed. There will be phone calls quite often, maybe even every other day from the major-league club. That connection, and that confidence in me in helping them and be a part of it is something I’m excited about.”
WOW – Sandberg seems pretty bitter right now, but I think he is in a much better situation than if he WAS hired as the Cubs major league manager. With the Ricketts continuing to slash payroll, things are going to be pretty ugly for a little while on the North Side…
Posted on 15 November 2010 by Lou
It’s official – Ryne Sandberg is the new Triple-A Manager of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs of the International League. The Cubs passed over Sandberg for the Cubs major league managerial job and decided to hire Mike Quade to take over the job on a full-time basis after he guided the Cubs to an impressive 24-13 record during the final 37 games of the season. Sandberg did everything the Cubs asked him to do by managing for the last 4 seasons in the Cubs minor league system, but when the Cubs went with Quade instead of him a month ago, that was the final straw. Sandberg returns to the organization that drafted him back in 1982.
I’m glad that Ryno found a place to land after the Cubs debacle. It was definitely the right move for Sandberg and the Cubs once the Cubs opted to go with Quade. To have Sandberg still in the Cubs organization would have been more trouble than it was worth. Guess we’ll see how it all plays out over the next few years, but it would not surprise me to hear Sandberg’s name in the mix the next time the Cubs are looking for a major league manager (which could be as early as years) depending on how bad things get with the Ricketts slashing payroll and the Cubs trying to rebuild…
Posted on 08 November 2010 by Lou
The Cubs top outfield prospect – Brett Jackson – will not participate in the Arizona Fall League as expected. Jackson was diagnosed with a calf infection and doctors feel that shutting him down is in his best interests. Jackson was the Cubs top pick in the 2009 Draft. He had dealt with a heel injury for Team USA earlier this year, but GM Jim Hendry has said that the calf injury is unrelated. Jackson is expected to make a full recovery and Hendry is not worried that this will set him back in his development in the least. Hendry confirmed that Jackson has played plenty of ball the last 18 months and that he will be ready for Spring Training 2011. It is unlikely that Jackson will make the major league roster coming out of spring training, but look for Jackson to have an impact soon a la Tyler Colvin…
Posted on 04 November 2010 by Lou
When the Cubs chose Mike Quade instead of Ryne Sandberg to fill the Cubs managerial opening, the writing was on the wall that Sandberg would leave the Cubs organization. That reality became official on Wednesday afternoon when the Cubs announced that Sandberg declined the opportunity to manage the Triple-A Iowa Cubs for a 2nd straight season. GM Jim Hendry had this to say about the announcement: “The Iowa decision was totally his. We gave him as much time on his decision as he needed to. He’ll always be a beloved Cub… I don’t think it was ever in his plans to be in the minor leagues after this year. Whatever opportunities he looks to is up to him. He’ll always be welcome here. He knows that for the future, if he chooses he wants to come to spring training, that would be great. If he wants to pursue opportunities with someone else that would be up to him..
Owner Tom Ricketts echoed those sentiments on ESPN Radio 1000’s “Afternoon Saloon” show later that afternoon: “There’s no good-bye. He’s a Cubs. He’ll be a Cub for life… If he would like to explore some options with other teams to pursue some other opportunities that doesn’t really change anything with respect to what he has accomplished for the team or what he means to the team. If that’s his decision then I wish him all the best, and he’s a Cub forever.”
Sandberg managed in the Cubs minor league system for the past 4 seasons. He led Double-A Tennessee to the playoffs in 2009 and he was named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year as he led the Iowa Cubs to and 82-62 record during the 2010 baseball season. Sandberg was a 10-time All-Star during his Cubs career. He won the 1984 National League MVP Award as the Cubs won the NL East title for the 1st time since 1945. Sandberg also won 9 Gold Glove Awards for his solid play at 2nd base.
It is a sad day, but not an unexpected one. Let’s hope the Ricketts’ family has a plan here on the North Side. With all the trades last year, a whole new coaching staff and a brand new ownership team still learning the ins and outs of running a major league baseball team, Tom Ricketts clearly has his work cut out for him. I’m not expecting a major turnaround in a year, but we need to see things move in a positive direction in the very near future so that we can start to get excited about rooting for a good Cubs team again.
Posted on 29 October 2010 by Lou
It’s official – or at least as official as we can make it – Ryne Sandberg will not be a part of new Cubs Manager Mike Quade’s coaching staff. While neither Quade nor Sandberg have come out and said it, sources close to the situation have indicated that Sandberg will not be a coach on Quade’s staff.
This “official rumor” comes as no surprise at all. Sandberg was devastated that Tom Ricketts and Jim Hendry did not name him the new Cubs manager. To be subjected to the inferior bench coach job underneath Quade would be way too much to swallow for the Cubs legend and Hall of Famer. Further, if the team did get off to a rough start for the 1st half of the season, there would be way too much chatter about Sandberg taking over the reigns as the manager. Throw in the fact that you’d hate to have factions with some guys supporting Quade and some guys supporting Sandberg, this makes all the sense in the world.
We’ll support Quade while he is in charge for 2 years. If he doesn’t get the job done, Quade and most likely, Hendry will both be gone after the 2012 MLB season. And then maybe the Cubs can revisit bringing Sandberg back as the manager.
I wish 2011 would get here soon – can’t wait to see if things get worse on the north side or if they just stay the same under Quade.
Posted on 28 October 2010 by Lou
Could Kerry Wood be back with the Chicago Cubs in 2011 and beyond? It’s unclear, but that option became available when the New York Yankees officially declined the club’s $11 million option to sign Wood for the 2011 MLB schedule. No big surprise there, and while Wood could potentially re-sign with the Yankees at a lower dollar amount, this does open the door for a potential return to Chicago after spending seasons with the Cleveland Indians and Yankees.
Wood was lights-out for the Yankees during the 2nd half of the 2010 baseball season and it appears that he can pitch on a consistent basis despite the tear in his right shoulder. In 24 games with the evil Yankees, Wood posted a 0.69 ERA and became one of Manager Joe Girardi’s most trusted relievers down the stretch. Wood still has residences in both Chicago and Arizona and he has already confirmed that his primary residence is Chicago. With his oldest child starting school in the Chicago area, could we see Wood being willing to come back to the north side of Chicago as the veteran presence the bullpen so desperately needs. With the plethora of young arms in the bullpen, Wood would be a perfect role model for a lot of these players. I’m getting a little giddy about having Wood back on the Cubs. Assuming that they don’t have to spend more than a few million dollars on the 34-year old reliever, this seems like a no-brainer to me. Let’s just hope the Ricketts Family and GM Jim Hendry see it that way too…
Posted on 26 October 2010 by Lou
Start the rumor mill – Alfonso Soriano traded to the San Francisco Giants is the latest rumor to hit the blocks despite the fact that the Giants are in the World Series. Sure Zito was left off the Giants’ playoff roster and is still owed $64 under his contract (which includes a buyout of $7 million for the 2014 MLB season), but that doesn’t mean that the Giants want to get rid of him. Overall, Zito went 9-14 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 33 starts. But after a win on July 16th, Zito lost 10 of his last 11 decisions in 15 starts. Not a good trend at the end of the season as the innings piled up for Zito.
While health has always been an issue for Zito, as of late, the 32-year old has been relatively healthy with 180 innings pitched in 2008; 192 innings pitched in 2009 and 199 1/3 innings pitched in 2010. Not bad at all. He has only won 29 games during that span, but a change of scenery could help the lefty. He has started twice at Wrigley Field, going 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA. He has a 5.22 ERA in 40 starts against NL Central teams during his career.
Money-wise, it comes out fairly even — Soriano is owed $72 million over the next 4 years. But the key hold up could be the fact that each player holds a full no-trade clause. So it would take both players’ consent before any deal could get done.
I’m ready for Soriano to be gone. It would put to bed the idea of Tyler Colvin moving to 1st base and it would also encourage GM Jim Hendry to make a move to sign Adam Dunn this winter or start working on Tom Ricketts to get ready to open up his checkbook to sign either Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder next off-season. But this just doesn’t seem like the right fit. I’m still convinced that Hendry should try his hardest to work the Yankees to take Soriano off the Cubs hands. The Yankees missed out on the World Series and they could use a designated hitter like Soriano who still has some pop left in his bat. Throw in $5 million a year for the Yankees to take Soriano without asking for too much back from the Yankees, and the Yankees would likely think a $12 million DH is a bargain. Soriano used to play for the Yankees too, so it’s clear he can handle the bright lights of the Big Apple…
Posted on 22 October 2010 by Lou
ESPN Radio 1000’s Waddle & Silvy show has had some great guests this week. Mike Quade – the new Cubs Manager; Ryne Sandberg – the Hall of Famer Cubs legend who Quade beat out; and on Thursday, Cubs GM Jim Hendry. When asked the most exciting question about why Hendry didn’t go after another big name manager or wait for Joe Girardi to finish up his managerial duties with the New York Yankees who are still battling te Texas Rangers in the ALCS, Hendry had a simple and boring answer. Hendry simply said — “At the end of the day, it wouldn’t have mattered. Mike Quade was our guy. Mike Quade was the guy we felt deserved the job… The respect he’s earned over the years, even though he wasn’t a household name, and the things he did in that clubhouse behind the scenes that translated into a great effort on the field and the respect our players have given him, I thought was quite admirable.”
WOW – you would rather have Quade than a major league manager that has been successful with 2 different organizations and is coming off of a World Series Championship on the game’s biggest stage with the Yankees in New York?
Unbelievable. That answer just confirms my belief that Hendry has done his time here in Chicago and should be let go as soon as possible so that this organization can get back to its winning ways.
Now I know that Hendry couldn’t say that “we didn’t think we had a shot in hell of landing Girardi” or “the Ricketts Family was too cheap to go after a big name manager when they still owe me, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Kosuke Fukudome a boat load of money to be sub-par employees of the Cubs organization”, but I would have liked something more than he gave us. Oh well. It’s clear Hendry knows he is on his way out. He has 2 years left on his deal and Quade’s deal was a 2-year gig. My bet is still on Hendry and Quade both being replaced by the end of the 2012 MLB season. Then maybe we’ll see Ryne Sandberg or Girardi managing the Cubs with a clean slate and plenty of payroll to bring in some quality players with fair and realistic contracts – something we haven’t seen in 4 years under the Hendry regime…