Tag Archive | "Joe Girardi"

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Kerry Wood Getting Job Done for Yankees in 2010

Posted on 23 October 2010 by Lou

Former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood is making the most of his chance with the New York Yankees in 2010.  After a so-so 1st season with the Cleveland Indians in 2009 (3-3, 20 saves, 6 blown saves, 4.25 ERA and 1.38 WHIP), Wood’s performance with the Indians in 2010 was downright awful.  Wood appeared in just 23 games for the Tribe, going 1-4 with 8 saves but 3 blown saves.  He walked 11 hitters and struck out 18 in 20 innings pitched, paving the way for his hefty 6.30 ERA and 1.60 WHIP.

Because of their own bullpen issues, the New York Yankees made the surprise move to take a shot on Wood at the July 31st trading deadline.  And boy has it paid off.  Wood made 24 appearances for the Yankees from August 1st on, tossing 26 innings with a 0.69 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.  He struck out 31 batters while walking only 18.  After his 2nd Yankees appearance in which he gave up 1 earned run, he made 21 straight appearances without allowing a single run (earned or unearned) before he finally gave up a run on the final game of the season against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.  He has been just as good in the post-season.  He has pitched 6 innings in 6 appearances, giving up just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 3 walks with 7 K’s.  In the ALCS against the Rangers, Wood has pitched 4 scoreless innings.

Manager Joe Girardi – who played 2 seasons with Wood with the Chicago Cubs – has been thrilled with having the veteran on his club – “I had caught him so I remember when he had outstanding stuff. But I don’t think anyone ever thinks you’re going to get a reliever that for two months has an ERA under 1.00.  Some of the best relievers of all time don’t do that.  I mean, I thought he would help us, but I never would have thought he could help us this much.”

Wood has cherished his opportunity, and even with his team down 3-1 in the ALCS against the Rangers, Wood knows better than anyone that anything can happen in a 7-game series (as we all painfully remember when the Cubs blew that 3-1 NLCS lead to the Florida Marlins back in 2004) – “There weren’t any expectations when I came over here.  I just came with the attitude that if I was ready and put up enough zeroes, maybe something would happen for me here… You just keep grinding, keep grinding, in the hopes that eventually, something good happens…  I was on a team that was up 3-1 and we didn’t get it done, so I know it can happen.  And we had a much better team.  Obviously, the deeper a series goes, anything can happen.”

Congrats Kerry – we wish you the best of luck and hope you get that World Series Ring — even if it’s with the New York Yankees.

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Mike Quade Jim Hendry’s Guy All Along – No Need to Wait for Joe Girardi

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…

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Cubs Trying to Upset Reds while Managerial Search Heats Up – Cubs, Reds – 8/27/10 Great American Ballpark

Posted on 27 August 2010 by Lou

While the Cubs are riding high after a 3-game sweep of the Nationals, the Cubs managerial search has heated up for a number of reasons. The Cubs invade Cincinnati this weekend to take on the Reds who are led by former Cubs Manager Dusty Baker.  Baker has a bright, young pitching staff and a high octane offensive unit that have the Reds leading the NL Central.  After an up-and-down tenure with the Cubs – he had 1 NL Central division crown and playoff appearance that ended with the disastrous collapse against the Florida Marlins in Game 7 of the NLCS – a series that the Cubs led 3 games to 1 – the Cubs replaced Baker with another older, experienced manager – Lou Pinella.  Pinella was more fiery than Baker ever was, and he was definitely NOT a “player’s manager – but he was an old school guy like Baker.  Although Pinella led the team to 2 straight NL Central Division titles and 2 playoff appearances, but when the Cubs exited each October with a 3-game sweep at the hands of an NL-West ballclub, those losses really seemed to take a toll on Pinella.  He never achieved that success in his final 2 seasons and he finally retired this past Sunday to take care of personal matters.

Now the question looming is – what kind of manager do the Cubs and the Ricketts Family want to lead the Cubs into the future?  Do they want an older manager in the mold of Baker or Pinella or do they want to find that young diamond in the rough who will be innovative and creative in leading the Cubs back from the disastrous 2010 MLB schedule?  There are choices on either side of the fence.

Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre are all at the end of their contracts with their respective teams.  The Cubs just interviewed former Indians Manager Eric Wedge and have indicated that Bob Brenly (currently in the Cubs broadcast booth) will also be a candidate at some point down the line.  These former managers all have experience and they have all experiences success with World Series titles (save for Wedge), but is this what the Cubs really need to invigorate the system and a frustrated fan base.

On the other side of the fence, you have Cubs great – Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg.  Sandberg has done everything that the Cubs have asked him to do and is in his 4th year managing in the Cubs minor league system.  Sandberg wet his feet in his 1st 2 seasons managing, but really blossomed the last 2 seasons, leading the Double-A Tennessee team to the playoffs in 2009 and currently managing the Triple-A Iowa team to the best record in their league.  He knows the Cubs minor league talent better than anyone, so does it make the most sense to move Sandberg up to the major league level even though he had never managed at that level?  And then you also have a former Cubs catcher – Joe Girardi – who has managed 2 different teams at the major league level with great success.  He even won a World Series with the Yankees just a year ago.  The focus on Girardi has grown even bigger because the Yankees are in town to take on the White Sox on the south side this weekend. He has said all the right things:  “My focus is here…  I have a responsibility to the organization and to the guys in that clubhouse and that’s where my focus is. I’m very happy here. This organization has been great to me.”  But what else can he say.  He never specifically said that he would definitely be back in NY in 2010 and he has always indicated that the Cubs managerial job would be a dream job for him.  So who knows.  It seems unlikely that the Yankees would let him go or that the Cubs would be willing to pay him enough money, but if the stars align, we could see Girardi in charge of the Cubs in 2010.

My gut tells me that Girardi will turn down the Cubs and then it will be Sandberg’s job to lose.  Bringing in an older, “set-in-his-ways” Manager like a Cox, Torre or LaRussa doesn’t seem like the best long-term move to make because the Cubs have so much rebuilding to do (even though they won’t come out and say it).  Plus, unless the Ricketts Family is really willing to jack up the 2011 payroll, the Cubs are not in a position to be a player in free agency for at least another 2 seasons because of the exorbitant contracts still on the books for Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Kosukue Fukudome, Carlos Silva (via Milton Bradley) and Aramis Ramirez.  That leaves little ability for the Cubs GM to add veteran free-agent talent to complement the growth movement that the Cubs are trying to do with Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Geovany Soto and some of their young pitchers.

As for the weekend series against the Reds, Tom Gorzelanny will make the start tonight against Johnny Cueto.  He has 7 wins on the season with a nice 3.70 ERA.  He is still out to show Cubs brass that he can be a durable starter in the Cubs rotation in 2010, so Gorzelanny has a lot to prove over the final month.  Starlin Castro has continued his hot hitting, taking a modest 5-game hitting streak into the Reds series.  He is hitting .315 on the season, and once he gets the requisite number of at-bats, he should find himself in the top 5 for National League hitters in batting average.  Tyler Colvin started 2 of the 3 games against the Nationals under Mike Quade, so look for Colvin to see more action the rest of the way.  After the weekend series in Cincinnati, the Cubs will return home for a nice 9-game homestand at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field from August 30th through September 8th.

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Manager Lou Pinella Anounces Retirement from Cubs after 2010 MLB Schedule – 7/20/10

Posted on 20 July 2010 by Lou

Manager Lou Pinella made it official today – he will retire from being a MLB manager after the 2010 MLB schedule.  This is Pinella’s 4th and final year as the Cubs manager.  Pinella led the Cubs to 2 straight NL Central division wins in 2007 and 2008, but each year the squad was swept out of the playoffs without winning a single game.  The team finished with a winning record in 2009 too – the 1st time that the Cubs had 3 consecutive winning seasons in over 50 years.  The 97 wins in 2008 were also the most franchise wins in a single season since 1945.

Pinella is 66 years old.  He has appeared in 5 World Series battles as a player and a coach and he has 3 rings to show for it (2 as a player and 1 as a coach).

Look for some prominent names to top the list of prospective candidates for the new Cubs Manager’s position.  Ryne Sandberg, Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, Joe Girardi, Tony LaRussa and current bench coach Alan Trammell will all be mentioned at one point or another.

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