Tag Archive | "Jim Hendry"

Tags: , ,

Carlos Zambrano Looking to Keep Good Times Rolling Tonight — Cubs v. Giants – 9/21/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 21 September 2010 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano looks to keep the good times rolling as the Cubs return to Wrigley Field tonight to take on the San Francisco Giants.  Big Z has been at the top of his game since returning to the starting rotation in early August.  He has a chance to win his 7th game in a row as his ability to limit his walks each game has put him (and his team) in a better position to win each game.  Zambrano has a new perspective on the game of baseball during the last few months — “Things happen for a reason.  I learned a lesson when the [tantrum] happened, and sometimes God puts you in situations for you to leanr things.  I just want to keep going and do something to help this team.”  Going 6-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 8 starts since becoming a starter again, has enabled Big Z to get his ERA down to a respectable 3.75.  A win tonight would also give him 10 wins on the season.  It could happen because Big Z has had success against the Giants — in 9 starts, he has a 5-1 record with a 2.92 ERA.

Each and every start makes it that much harder for the Cubs to decide what to do with the troubled righty.  If he really is committed to staying in shape and being a team player, Big Z has shown just what he can do when he is focused.  The problem is, he always seems to be 1 small step away from losing it on the field or in the locker room.  If a good offer for the righty comes along during the off-season, GM Jim Hendry and the Ricketts Family are going to have a tough decision ahead of them.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Should Ricketts Leave Managerial Choice up to Hendry? Cubs to Host Mets in Labor Day Weekend Series – 9/3/10 Wrigley Field

Posted on 03 September 2010 by Lou

Tom Ricketts has made it very clear that GM Jim Hendry is in charge of the managerial search that will ultimately lead to the hiring of a new Cubs Manager for the 2011 MLB schedule.  Now I know that this is typically the General Manager’s job, but in the current situation,  I question whether it is the right move.  You may think this is a dumb question, but my real concerns lie with Hendry as Cubs GM and not Lou Pinella or Mike Quade as manager.  As a new owner, this is the perfect chance for Tom Ricketts to look at everyone’s performance in the organization, and that should include Hendry.  Based on Rickett’s comments though, it is clear that Ricketts has confidence in Hendry’s abilities (despite putting together a 57-win team with the highest payroll in the National League and 3rd highest payroll in all of baseball).  I am worried that Ricketts has simply assumed that Hendry is a capable GM and that there doesn’t need to be a change in that role.  I respectfully beg to differ.  Especially from a financial guy like Ricketts, it boggles my mind why he thinks that mortgaging the future of the team for the next 2-4 years with bad long-term deals constitutes a good job.

For a very long time, I have made the case that the team that Hendry has put together is not capable of being a playoff contender.  I have written numerous posts on why Hendry has not lived up to the high expectations of the Cubs General Manager.  Over the last 3-4 years, Hendry has been responsible for way to many bad deals for me to trust his judgment anymore.  It all started with the Alfonso Soriano deal back at the beginning of 2007.  Inking a “31-year old” to an 8-year deal at roughly $18 million per year over the life of the deal should have been a sign that Hendry was getting desperate.  Sure Soriano was the best free agent out there at the time and sure Hendry wanted to blow Soriano and his agents away with a “huge offer you can’t refuse”, but this was a bit much.  Hendry followed that up with a $48 million deal for a 30-year Japanese outfielder who had never played in the major leagues and then a $30 million deal for Milton Bradley because the Cubs were too “right-handed” in 2008.  The team won an NL-best 97 games in 2008 – do you think they would have won more games if they had a left-handed hitting right fielder instead of Mark DeRosa?  Following the 2009 season, with new ownership in place, Hendry’s hands were tied.  I’ll give him credit for finally moving Milton Bradley although it took a while.  Carlos Silva even turned in a solid season, but then again, when his value was highest around the All-Star Break, Hendry failed to move Silva to a team that needed starting pitching.  Even if it meant eating some one the $10 million to him in 2011, Hendry should have made that move.  He didn’t and Silva had a bad 2nd half and has since been on the disabled list with a heart issue.  During the off-season, Hendry also put a lot of energy into signing Matt Capps as a veteran right-handed reliever in the bullpen.  But when the Nationals told Capps that he would be their closer, he jumped at the chance and left Hendry grasping at straws.  Because of that gaffe (keeping his eggs all in one basket and hoping), Hendry’s Cubs team started the season with 4 rookies in the bullpen.  And with typical injury issues and typical rookie inconsistencies, this was a recipe for disaster.  Hendry always seems to be several steps behind these days, and when you’re trying desperately not to lose 90 games this season, you can’t even afford to be 1 step behind.

So while my concerns clearly don’t seem to be concerns of Tom Ricketts, I really hope he decides to take a closer look at Hendry’s job performance this off-season.  And I really hope that Ricketts plays a large role in the hiring of the new Cubs manager.  And while the new skipper won’t (can’t with the current roster assembled by Hendry) lead the Cubs to a World Series title in 2011, the new skipper will get to lay the groundwork for what kind of team he expects to lead for the next 5-10 years.  So it is a big decision.

Today, Randy Wells will take on R.A. Dickey and the Mets at Wrigley Field.  Wells is just 6-12 on the season with a 4.50 ERA.  He did pitch 6 great innings against the Reds in Cincinnati last Saturday for his 1st win since July 23rd, so he is looking to build off of that good outing and finish strong in 2010.

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

Ted Lilly Shines in Dodgers Debut – Dodgers 2, Padres 1 – 8/3/10 – Dodgers Stadium

Posted on 04 August 2010 by Lou

Congrats to Ted Lilly who tossed a gem in his 1st start with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres.  It was an unbelievable performance by Lilly who has not really had to pitch in any pressure situations in 2010.  The Dodgers trailed the Padres by 9 games heading into the game and they needed a “pick-me-up” from Lilly.  And boy did he deliver.  After a rocky 1st inning in which he gave up a 1-out home run to Miguel Tejada and then a blop single to Adrian Gonzalez, Lilly promptly retired the next 20 batters he faced.  He threw 6 perfect innings in a row from the 2nd through the 7th innings and needed only 87 pitches to do so.  He did not walk anyone and racked up 5 K’s.  Most impressive – during the 20 in a row streak, only 4 balls made it out of the infield – rare for a fly ball pitcher like Lilly.  65 of his 87 pitches were strikes – a whopping 75%.

The funny thing is, Lilly found himself in familiar ground as the Dodgers only scored 2 runs on a Russell Martin double in the 2nd inning.  Lilly suffered from lack of run support from the Cubs all season long, so despite his 3-8 record, he was still a hot commodity because of his 1.12 WHIP, his under 4.00 ERA and his veteran presence.

Good luck Ted – we hope the good times keep rolling for you in L.A. until we re-sign you this off-season.  I really hope Jim Hendry gives your agent a call at some point this winter…

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jim Hendry Continues to Find Ways to Turn Positives into Negatives – Please Trade Carlos Silva Now! – Cubs 5, Astros 11 – 7/19/10

Posted on 20 July 2010 by Lou

Forget about the 11-5 drubbing that the Astros handed the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday night.  The bigger question is this – why is GM Jim Hendry waiting so damn long to deal Carlos Silva and Ted Lilly?  Each Silva start that Hendry waits, the cheaper and cheaper Silva gets because he is coming back down to reality like we all knew he would.  Come on Jim – take action now!

Silva started the season 8-0 in his first 11 starts as a Cub.  His next 5 starts were still good and he looked like a prime candidate to be dealt sooner rather than later.  Even though his record in those 5 starts was only 1-2, he allowed just 2 ER in 4 of the starts and 3 ER in the other start.  Any team would take those numbers from their starter any day.  On July 6th, Silva still had a 9-2 record with an ERA of 2.96.  But take a look at his last 2 starts, and it looks like the “real Carlos Silva” has stood up.  In his final start before the All-Star Break, the Dodgers lit up Silva for 6 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks in 1 1/3 innings pitched (before he got tossed).  In his 1st start after the All-Star Break last night, the Astros lit him up for 5 ER on 7 hits and 2 walks in only 1 inning of work.  Not good at all.  Silva’s value has had to have taken a hit because of his last 2 starts.  When you throw in the fact that he is still owed $12.75 million in 2011 with a $2 million buyout for the 2010 season, the Cubs already expected to have to take a little of that on in order to make a deal work.  Now, dealing Silva could be in jeopardy.  Good job, Jim…

As for Ted Lilly, the guy is consistent and a bulldog out there.  It’s less important to deal Lilly, because he is a free agent at the end of 2010 and team’s might not be willing to part with prospects to rent someone like Lilly for just 11 guaranteed starts this season (with no guarantee of signing him next year).  But it would be great if the Cubs could move Lilly for a mid-level prospect or 2 and then have a handshake agreement with Lilly that the Cubs will make a strong push to sign Lilly back this off-season for another 2-3 year deal.  Lilly should be a hot commodity and I’m surprised Hendry hasn’t agreed to a deal to move Lilly yet.  Not sure what he is waiting for – like I said, the prospects that you can expect to get back for him will not be top-notch because he is a free agent at the end of the season – but you gotta think some team has made a pitch for him at this point.  Come on Jim – let’s do something here…

Aside from Silva’s disastrous start last night, you have to like some of the Cubs hitting of late:

Tyler Colvin – in the leadoff spot for a 3rd straight game, hit a solo home run in the 6th inning and drove in another run with a groundout.

Starlin Castro has been hitting better – batting average up to .288 – but went 0 for 4 hitting in the 2-hole for the 3rd straight game.

Derrek Lee had 3 hits and 2 runs scored.

Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits and 3 RBI’s with a home run.

Geovany Soto had 2 hits with a run scored and has his batting average back up to .291.

Look to see the same lineup for a while now – Colvin, Castro, Lee, Ramirez, Byrd, Soto/Soriano….

Let’s hope Ryan Dempster can get the Cubs back on track tonight against the Astros.  It would be his 9th win of the season…

Comments (1)

Tags: , ,

Cubs Need to Move Ted Lilly & Carlos Silva Fast — Cubs 0, Dodgers 7 — Sunday 7/11/10

Posted on 12 July 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs need to move Ted Lilly and Carlos Silva fast before teams see more outings like the ones they tossed over the weekend against the Dodgers in L.A.

Ted Lilly looked awful –the Dodgers offense lit him up for 7 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and 2 walks in just 3 2/3 innings.  He served up 1 home run and has now given up 16 homers in just 97 innings in 2010.  Not good.  His WHIP looks solid still – 1.15, but his ERA has slowly crept over 4 at 4.08.  In his last 5 starts, he has allowed at least 5 ER in 3 of the games (in the other 2 games he allowed just 1 ER in each start)

Carlos Silva couldn’t even make it through 2 innings before he got tossed for arguing a bang-bang fielding play at 1st base.  He allowed a 3-run home run to James Loney in the 1st inning and ended up giving up 6 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks.  He had 2 K’s.  His WHIP (1.14) and ERA (3.45) still look great, so the time is now to move this “average” “out-of-shape” righty even if we have to agree to take some of his remaining 2011 salary on.

Come on GM Jim Hendry – you have screwed so many other things up in the last 3 years, let’s not screw this up.  There are plenty of teams that would love starting pitching for the 2nd half of the season.  Lilly has pitched for the Yankees before and now that they lost out on Cliff Lee, Lilly makes perfect sense in a Yankees uniform.  Silva could go to a few National League teams – the Mets, Phillies, Dodgers.  Come on big guy – let’s pull the trigger on these guys right now while the oven is hot…

Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

Big Z Explosion Heard Round the World – Bye Bye Carlos – We Wish You Well! 6/25/10 6/26/10 6/27/10

Posted on 27 June 2010 by Lou

WOW – what a great way to kick of the weekend in the Cubs-Sox south side series.  Carlos Zambrano blowing a gasket, getting in Derrek Lee’s face.  D-Lee not backing down.  Manager Lou Pinella and coaches Larry Rothschild and Alan Trammell having to get in the middle of the near-brawl.  It was classic WWE Raw Madness – all right in your face in a baseball park on a beautiful Friday afternoon.  You couldn’t have asked for anything more.

As for the game, it was a typical Cubs loss – 6-0.  Bad pitching.  Even worse hitting – just 3 hits off of Jake Peavy and another number in the “L” column.  Yippee!  Let the sell-off begin…

The Cubs kept up their losing ways on Saturday – 3-2.  Carlos Silva pitched well — 2 ER on 3 hits and 1 walk.  But the Cubs bats didn’t get it done.  They only scored 2 runs off of Fast Freddy Garcia (a Derrek Lee single and an Aramis Ramirez opposite field home run that tied the game at 2 – did you even realize that those 2 guys were still in the Cubs lineup?!).  And Paul Konerko’s solo home run off of Andrew Cashner (who had been pitching so well) proved to be the game-winner in the 8th inning.

The Cubs managed to avoid the sweep with an 8-6 win on Sunday.  Ryan Dempster picked up the win – 3 ER on 9 hits and 1 walk in 7 innings.  Tyler Colvin batted lead-off for the 1st time in his major league career and he came through with 3 hits, 4 RBI’s and 2 runs scored, including a 3-run bomb that gave the Cubs the lead for good at 3-2 in the 3rd inning.  Derrek Lee also had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s.  Geovany Soto had 3 hits, 1 RBI and 1 run scored.  Alfonso Soriano clubbed his 11th homer of the season.  And Starlin Castro got back on track with 2 hits and 2 runs scored.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Marlon Byrd Seeks to Void Contract with Cubs — Didn’t Realize he Had Signed Deal with Minor League Club — Cubs 0, Mariners 2 6/22/10

Posted on 23 June 2010 by Lou

Marlon Byrd is seeking help from the MLB players union to void his contract with the Chicago Cubs.  It looks like the Cubs fooled Byrd into thinking that he would be part of a major league level team during the 2010 MLB schedule when GM Jim Hendry signed him to a 3-year, $15 million this past January.  But as it turns out, the team the Cubs fielded for 2010 was simply a shell of a major league team and their results on the field thus far are proving Byrd’s allegations to a tee.

The Cubs are 8 games under .500 at 31-39.  They are a miserable 10-16 in 1-run games and they have lost 8 more contests in games decided by 2 runs.  They are a pathetic 18-18 at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field and 8 games under .500 on the road.  Against the weak NL Central where only the Cards and Reds have winning records, the Cubs are an embarrassing 13-20.  Ouch – you can’t get much worse than that.

Byrd’s production in 2010 far exceeds several Cubs “stars” who are getting paid anywhere from $10 to $16 MILLION DOLLARS MORE than Byrd is earning in 2010.  Check out these shocking numbers:

Byrd – $3,000,000 ($12,000,000 owed over next 2 years) – leads team with .323 batting average.  Byrd has the 3rd highest on-base percentage (.366), the 2nd most home runs (9), the 2nd most RBI’s (34); the most runs scored (40); and the most doubles (25).  Byrd also has just 1 error in 178 fielding chances, good for a .994 fielding percentage.  Kosuke Fukudome and Koyie Hill are the only position player regulars who have not committed an error during the 2010 MLB schedule.  Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy have also committed just 1 error, but they have combined for only 72 fielding chances compared to Byrd’s 178.  Oh, and by the way, Byrd hustles on every single play and is considered a consummate teammate and leader in the clubhouse.

Now to the other Cubs “stars”:

Alfonso Soriano — $19,000,000 — – surprisingly, the most productive of the group who has stats just below Byrd’s – .279 batting average; .349 on-base percentage; 10 home runs: 36 runs scored; 35 RBI’s; 20 doubles; and 4 errors.

Aramis Ramirez — $16,750,000 — .168 batting average; .232 on-base percentage; 5 home runs: 17 runs scored; 22 RBI’s; 6 doubles; and 6 errors.

Kosuke Fukudome — $14,000,000 —  .281 batting average; .370 on-base percentage; 6 home runs: 24 runs scored; 24 RBI’s; 8 doubles; and 4 errors.0

Derrek Lee — $13,000,000 — .230 batting average; .336 on-base percentage; 10 home runs: 34 runs scored; 33 RBI’s; 10 doubles; and 4 errors.

When you consider that Carlos Zambrano is making just under $19,000,000 this season (and is owed another $37,875,000 over the next 2 years), it is shocking to think how poorly Hendry has concocted this team for the future.  Zambrano has gone just 3-5 with a hefty 5.10 ERA and 1.65 WHIP and has even worked out of the bullpen because of his inconsistency as a starter.

Given these facts, it is clear that Marlon Byrd is right.  The 2010 Cubs really don’t deserve to be considered a major league level team and he should be able to void his contract and join a team that actually has a shot to compete to win a baseball game night in and night out.

Now sure, I am clearly joking when I talk about Byrd’s plight in a Cubs uniform. But after watching another painful close loss last night (2-0 to the Mariners), it is clear to me that it is time for the Cubs to blow this group up and start over under “Year 2″ with the Ricketts Family taking more firm control.  The Cubs need a new manager, a new GM and then maybe, just maybe, they can get back to prominence in the National League in the near future once a few of Hendry’s bad contracts are finally off the books.

Oh yeah – the game – Byrd had 2 of the Cubs 6 hits.  The Cubs had only 4 hits during the game’s 1st 8 innings.  Soriano had 3 hits.  Ryan Dempster tossed another great game, but as it has happened so often, he has made 1 or 2 bad pitches and those bad pitched have come back to haunt him.  Despite giving up only 5 hits in 8 innings, 2 of those came in the 2nd inning and one of those happened to be a home run that plated 2 runs.  That would be the only scoring of the game.  Dempster is now 5-6 with a 1.16 WHIP and a 3.56 ERA – talk about a hard-luck loser in 2010.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

Cubs Fun Fact of the Day — Carlos Zambrano Back to Starting Rotation – Hip Hip Hooray

Posted on 18 May 2010 by Lou

Wow – was I glad to hear about this Cubs Fun Fact of the Day.  OK, I know it’s not really a “fun fact” but I thought it was significant enough to warrant its own post.  As we discussed a few days ago, the Big Z bullpen experiment was not working.  He simply didn’t get it done in the ‘pen – – and when you’re paying someone $18+ million per season to be your ace starting pitcher, he should be in the starting rotation, not in the bullpen pitching in the 7th or 8th innings of ball games.

Manager Lou Pinella just recently made this announcement public — “We’re going to stretch him out to get him back in the rotation.  We’ll see exactly when he’s ready.  I don’t know how long it’s going to be.  Let’s see how long he needs.  We’d like to get him two or three appearances out of the bullpen stretched out…  We’ll look at the situation and make a determination [as to which current starter will get moved to the bullpen]… Let’s hope it’s a real, real tough choice.”

GM Jim Hendry supported the decision — “He gave it a good whirl, but the last couple of times out he said he wasn’t able to throw as hard as he’s used to or wanted to.”

As for Big Z, he is publicly saying all the right things, but I think he will be happy with the switch — “I’m happy.  As long as this team is happy, I’m happy for this team.  Like I said, whatever this team wants me to do, I’ll do.  This is a business. They’re the boss.  If the boss wants me to go close games, I’ll close games.  If the boss wants me to start games, I’ll start games.  It’s their choice.”

Now, don’t get me wrong – Big Z is not going to all of a sudden go out and win 20 games.  He may not even win 12 games this year.  But he gives the club a better chance to win on a regular basis and his comfort zone is as a starting pitcher.  It was a creative idea, and it wasn’t like Carlos Silva or Tom Gorzelanny pitched poorly while the Cubs conducted the Big  Z bullpen experiment.  But it is definitely time to make the switch back for Big Z…

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , ,

Carlos Zambrano to Cubs Bullpen?!?!

Posted on 22 April 2010 by Lou

This crazy Cubs season gets even crazier as the Cubs opt to send ace starter Carlos Zambrano to the Cubs bullpen.  What are GM Jim Hendry and Manager Lou Pinella thinking?!?!

Granted the bullpen has been brutal early in the season – 1-6 record with a 6.15 ERA – costing the club at least 4 or 5 games in which they held the lead in the 7th inning or later.  And granted, Carlos Silva (2-0, 0.95 ERA and 0.63 WHIP in 3 starts) and Tom Gorzelanny (0-1, 1.93 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 3 starts) – the 2 pitchers who earned starting rotation spots until Ted Lilly could return from injury – have pitched well beyond expectations.  But is moving the “ace” of your staff – the highest paid starting pitcher on the team – into the right-handed throwing, 8th inning SET-UP role really the answer?  This astounds me.

Pinella had this to say about the move — “We’ll have a Carlos setup guy and a Carlos closer… I talked to Carlos today and told him we really needed him in the bullpen, and that we felt he could do a nice job for us.  He said he’d do what’s best for the team.  I’m very appreciative.  He talked about maturing.  This proves it to me.”

Big Z for his part said the right things too — “I told Lou I wanted to help this team until you find somebody.  I told him I want to be back for the playoffs.  If we go to the playoffs, I want to go back to the rotation… I don’t like to be a reliever.  I don’t want to be a reliever.  This team needs somebody to step up and help the bullpen.”

WOW – I am still in shock.  I can’t see the club keeping Big Z in the bullpen for long.  How do you justify paying a set-up guy $17 million per year?  It doesn’t make any sense.  I guess this might help stabilize things for a little while until the younger players can get their feet on the ground in the bullpen or until Hendry can make a move to bring in a veteran reliever into the mix for the late innings.  In addition to the money issue, who knows how effective Big Z will be out of the ‘pen.  Being a reliever, you have to get warmed up differently, you come into the game in different situations and you might have to start throwing out of the stretch right away.  Can Big Z really adjust to this new role in 3 days?  Guess we’ll see very very soon.  Zambrano could make a relief appearance as early as this Friday against the Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee…

Comments (1)

Tags: , , ,

Cubs Anemic Offense Leads to 4-0 Shutout Loss to Mets @ CITI Field in New York

Posted on 21 April 2010 by Lou

So much for righting the ship against the lowly New York Mets – Carlos Zambrano took the loss in the Cubs 4-0 loss against the Mets on Tuesday night.  But this wasn’t all Zambrano’s fault.  Sure, he had trouble with his control early on.  And his walk to the pitcher with 2 outs in the bottom of the 2nd inning kept the inning alive for the next batter – Jose Reyes – to stroke a 2-run triple to left center field to give the Mets the early lead.  But Big Z found a way to work 6 strong innings, giving up just those 2 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks.  He racked up 9 K’s.  It was the Cubs 4th quality start in the last 6 games, but the Cubs have a 1-5 record during that stretch. During the team’s current 4-game losing streak, they have scored just 6 total runs.  That is completely unacceptable, especially when you are playing the worst team in the NL Central – the Astros – and the worst team in the NL East – the Mets.

Pretty much every Cubs batter is in a funk, but no one is struggling more than clean-up hitter Aramis Ramirez.  Ramirez is hitting .145 with a .213 on-base percentage.  He leads the team with 19 strikeouts in just 14 games.  Ouch.  Ramirez is frustrated with his effort thus far — “I’m not seeing the ball good right now.  I’m swinging at too many bad pitches… I just have to stay focused and get some better pitches to hit… I'[m trying to do too much and trying to hit a four-run home run with nobody on base… I haven’t gotten the job done.  No excuses.  I’m 100 percent.  I just have to keep working and try to get out of it.”

Manager Lou Pinella is also frustrated as even his tinkering with the batting order each night in New York hasn’t worked — “I don’t think anybody is too pleased… We had chances.  We just don’t seem to get base hits with men on base or men in scoring position.”

I feel like I am writing a bunch of similar posts to the ones I wrote during the Cubs 2009 atrocious season.  See  my thoughts on how good the Cubs starting pitching was in 2009 and how well the pitching staff did down the stretch despite limited run support.  My biggest fear is that the Cubs hitters get on track only to have the starting pitching go down the drain.  Guess we have to be patient – it is only April 21st, but if the Cubs continue to under-perform with the highest payroll in the National League, look for the Ricketts Family to make some changes (hear that Jim Hendry, Lou Pinella?) this off-season.

Comments (0)

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here