Posted on 28 November 2011 by Lou
Looks like I didn’t miss too much while I was on vacation last week – the Cubs offered Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena arbitration before the required deadline – yippee!
Ramirez is clearly gone, so I guess it is a good move. Ramirez is a Type B Free Agent, so if he signs with a different team this winter, the Cubs will get a sandwich pick in the June amateur draft from the team that signs him. There is little to no chance that Ramirez accepts arbitration before the December 7th deadline since he is the top 3rd baseman free agent on the market, so it looks like the Cubs will get a sandwich pick next year. If for some odd reason he did go to arbitration he would likely get somewhere around $17-18 million for the season.
Pena, on the other hand, is a little bit trickier. The Cubs paid Pena $10 million for his services in 2011. Pena led the team with 28 home runs, and while he is looking for a long-term deal like Ramirez, there may not be too many clubs out there looking to sign the 33-year old long-term. Pena could go to St. Louis or Milwaukee if Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder depart for greener pastures. The Cubs will likely be in the mix for Fielder, especially with about $50 million coming off the books with the departures of Ramirez, Pena, Carlos Silva, Kosuke Fukudome and John Grabow and a potential trade of Carlos Zambrano which will free up cash after the 2012 MLB season ends.
The Cubs did not offer arbitration to Kerry Wood, Reed Johnson, Ramon Ortiz, Rodrigo Lopez or Grabow. I bet Wood comes back on a one-year basis for as long as he wants to pitch. Not so sure about any of the other guys, but I doubt it given the new management in place.
Let’s hope Theo, Jed and Dale are all hunkered down figuring out the next step in the process…
Posted on 01 July 2011 by Lou
The Cubs rallied for a 5-2, 13-inning win over the Giants at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon. After Aramis Ramirez’ solo home run tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the 9th inning, the Cubs needed to rally again when the Giants Pablo Sandoval hit a home run off of John Grabow in the top of the 13th inning to give the Giants a 2-1 lead. The Cubs did just that. Darwin Barney singled in Jeff Baker to tie the game at 2. Then after a walk to Starlin Castro, Geovany Soto stroked a game-winning, 3-run walk off home run to give the Cubs the 5-2 win. Hip Hip Hooray!
Posted on 29 June 2011 by Lou
What an awful display of baseball from the Cubs on Tuesday as they dropped a day-night doubleheader by the score of 19-10 to the Giants at Wrigley Field.
In the opener, Doug Davis allowed the worst hitting team in baseball to score 10 earned runs off of him in 4+ innings. Davis surrendered 12 hits and issued 3 walks during his embarrassing outing.
Reliever Chris Carpenter did not fare much better in his 1 2/3 innings of work – 2 ER on 4 hits and 1 walk.
Carlos Pena hit another home run – his 17th of the season – and Koyie Hill also added his 2nd home run of the season in a nice 2nd inning that tied the game at 3. But the Cubs squandered some great chances to score against Ryan Vogelsong as he allowed 10 runners to reach base in his 5 innings of work. Starlin Castro’s hitting streak came to an end with his 0 for 5 effort.
The 2nd game didn’t get much better. Rodrigo Lopez allowed 4 runs (only 1 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks in 4 2/3 innings pitched. Granted 3 of his runs were unearned because of Reed Johnson’s fielding gaffe, but you’ve gotta pick each other up. John Grabow tried to get Lopez out of the 5th inning, but he allowed the 1st 4 batters he faced to reach base with a walk and 3 hits before he recorded the final out of the inning. But by then, it was too little too late as the Giants regained a 6-2 lead over the Cubs.
Luis Montanez hit his 1st career major league home run off of Barry Zito in the 3rd inning. His HR gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Aramis Ramirez also hit a solo home run in the 9th inning. Starlin Castro started another hitting streak by going 1 for 4 in the loss.
Let’s hope Ryan Dempster can bring his “A” game against Tim Lincecum tonight. Lincecum is only 6-6 on the year, but he has a nasty 3/16 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 113 K’s against only 38 walks in 105+ innings pitched… The Cubs are a season-low 16 games under .500 at 32-48.
Posted on 08 June 2011 by Lou
Another day, another loss as the Cubs fell to the Reds 8-2 for a 2nd straight night. The line was eerily similar, as each team racked up 10 hits apiece, but it was the Reds who came through with more clutch hits en route to an easy 8-2 win for a 2nd straight game.
It was all down hill for the Cubs after Blake DeWitt staked the Cubs to a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning on an RBI double. Doug Davis lasted just 4 1/3 innings, allowing 4 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks. He has lost all 5 of his starts for the Cubs in 2011 and his ERA sits at a lofty 6.38. John Grabow took it on the chin in the 7th inning by allowing 4 ER on a grand slam to Miguel Cairo. Nice.
Blake DeWitt and Darwin Barney collected 3 hits apiece in the loss. DeWitt now leads the team with a .316 batting average after starting the season in a miserable slump.
The Cubs are now 23-36 and they trails the Cards by 12.5 games.
Good news, although I don’t want to celebrate prematurely — the Cubs lead the Reds 4-1 through 7 innings today. They have it perfectly set up for a Sean Marshall/Carlos Marmol finish (Ryan Dempster worked 6 innings and Kerry Wood pitched a scoreless 7th inning) to end the losing streak at 8 games. Keep your fingers crossed…
Posted on 13 April 2011 by Lou
Bret Myers was finally rewarded for another good start as the Astros raced out to an early 5-0 lead and never looked back. Michael Bourn and Angel Sanchez each reached on bunt singles to start the game, making starter-turned reliever-turned starter James Russell look like he had never practiced fielding a bunt before. Each player came around to score later that inning. Bourn also had 2 stolen bases, while the top 3 Astros in the lineup – Bourn, Sanchez and Hunter Pence – went a combined 9 for 15, with 7 RBI’s and 7 runs scored. Ouch.
Russell ended up lasting just 1 2/3 innings in his spot start for Andrew Cashner. He gave up 4 ER on 7 hits and given the outing, the Cubs should really try to figure out a way to use just 4 starters for as long as possible when they can with some off days coming up. Jeff Samardzija wasn’t all that much better – 2 ER on 3 hits in 3 innings of work. His season ERA is 7.50 and his season WHIP is 2.17. Since Samardzija doesn’t have any options, he is going to either have to get better in a hurry or the Cubs may be forced to outright release him. And John Grabow continued to pitch poorly as he recovers from a 2010 injury. Grabow gave up 3 ER on 5 hits in the 8th inning and now has a 2.31 WHIP and 8.31 ERA.
The Cubs did manage to have 11 hits, but scored just 2 runs, one on a solo home run by Tyler Colvin. Marlon Byrd is on fire after a slow start. He had 3 more hits and has a .391 batting average. Starlin Castro had 2 more hits and is hitting .367. If only someone else in the lineup besides the first 3 batters would start hitting, maybe the Cubs could put together some sustained rallies.
Carlos Zambrano and Wandy Rodriguez square off in the rubber game of the series tonight in Houston…
Posted on 12 April 2011 by Lou
The Cubs wins never seem to be pretty this year, but with this club, any win is a good win. Ryan Dempster was dominant for 6 innings (1 ER on just 3 hits), but once he got over the 100-pitch count, he seemed to lose a little zip and control on his pitches. The Astros rallied with an inside the park home run by Bill Hall and a 2-run home run by Angel Sanchez in the bottom of the 7th inning off of Dempster to cut the Cubs lead to 5-4. John Grabow made it interesting by allowing the first two batters he faced to reach base with a walk and a hit with 1 out. But Grabow was able to preserve the 1-run lead by inducing a flyout and groundout to end the threat. It didn’t get any easier in the 8th as Sean Marshall allowed 2 runners with 2 outs, but Closer Carlos Marmol ended the threat by striking out Sanchez to end the inning. And Marmol had some issues of his own in the 9th (a 2-out walk and single to put the go-ahead runs on base), but he was able to strike out Joe Inglett to pick up his 4th save of the season and get the Cubs back to .500 at 5-5. It was Dempster’s first win of the season.
Starlin Castro was the Cubs hitting star. As the leadoff hitter, Castro had 3 hits and scored 3 runs to pace the Cubs out to an early 5-0 lead. Darwin Barney also looked good in the 2-hole, going 2 for 3 with 2 walks, 2 runs scored and an RBI. Marlon Byrd had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s, while Alfonso Soriano came through with a clutch — yes I said the word clutch — 2-out, 2-run double in the 1st inning to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
James Russell gets his 1st start of the season replacing Andrew Cashner in the starting lineup. Russell squares off against Bret Myers who has been almost unhittable in his 1st 2 games against the Reds and Phillies. Myers has allowed just 3 ER and 9 hits in those 2 games, although he did not receive a decision in either start. Let’s see if the Cubs can inch back over.500 with a win…
Posted on 14 May 2010 by Lou
Where o’ where is the real John Grabow. After a productive 2nd half of the season after a midseason trade to the Cubs (30 games, 7 holds, 3.24 ERA and 1.24 WHIP), the Cubs made Grabow a priority as the veteran lefty presence in the Cubs bullpen for 2010. Grabow eventually agreed to a 2-year, $7 million deal to remain a Cub and Cubs brass was so thrilled to have the lefty back in the mix as the primary lefty set-up man for Closer Carlos Marmol.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, Grabow’s 2010 has started off on a major down note and he recently underwent an MRI to make sure that nothing was seriously wrong with his sore left knee. Grabow has made 15 appearances for the Cubs in 2010, but he has thrown just 11 2/3 innings. He is 0-2 with just 4 holds and 1 blown save. He has given up a whopping 19 hits and 6 walks (2 home runs) in the 11+ innings, and his ERA and WHIP have ballooned to 9.26 and 2.14, respectively. Ouch. He has given up at least 3 hits and 3 ER in 2 of his last 3 starts and he just can’t seem to find the right mix of pitches. The Cubs have decided to give the lefty a week off to rest his knee and the MRI revealed that there is no structural damage to the knee.
One positive to this “sad” story — Grabow made his 1st appearance this afternoon (since his May 7th appearance in which he gave up 3 ER) and he struck out the side in his 1 inning of work on just 13 pitches. We need some more outings like that from Grabow if the Cubs expect to make a push in 2010.
Posted on 15 April 2010 by Lou
Carlos Zambrano had another sub-par outing as the Cubs couldn’t complete the sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday afternoon. Zambrano needed 123 pitches as he struggled mightily to make it through 5 innings – ouch! He gave up 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 7. The Cubs bats helped him by tying the game up in the bottom of the 4th inning on Marlon Byrd’s 2-run shot to deep center field. Byrd’s 3rd home run of the season has him tied with Aramis Ramirez for the club lead. Tyler Colvin started in place of Alfonso Soriano and had 2 hits for the Cubs.
The Cubs bullpen was not very good. Jeff Samardzija took the loss giving up 2 ER on 2 hits and 2 walks in 2 innings of work. Sean Marshall also gave up his 1st ER on the season in his 1 inning of work. And John Grabow also allowed a run – unearned – in an inning of work. Big Z’s ERA now sits at 9.45, Samardzija at 16.20 and Grabow at 9.82. Something’s gotta give.
The 1-win Houston Astros come into town for the weekend on Friday. Tom Gorzelanny takes the hill in search of his 1st win of the season. Felipe Paulino will pitch for the Astros – he gave up 4 ER on 4 hits and 4 walks in just 5 innings pitched in his only other start this year. Look for the Cubs bats to keep up the hot hitting against Paulino at Wrigley Field…
Posted on 12 April 2010 by Lou
Ryan Dempster takes the hill for his 1st ever home opening start at Wrigley Field for the Cubs. He will square off against Doug Davis of the Milwaukee Brewers. Dempster took a tough no decision on Wednesday against the Braves in Atlanta, tossing 6 innings of 1-run ball. He gave up just 3 total hits and 2 walks, while striking out 9 against an explosive Braves lineup that erupted for 8 runs against Carlos Zambrano in the 1st 2 innings of the season opener just 2 days earlier. Although the Cubs led 2-1 into the 8th inning, John Grabow served up Chipper Jones’ 2-run home run to give the Braves the win. But Dempster has put that behind him — “I’m excited. Any game at Wrigley Field is a lot of fun. The first home opener will be special for me. I’m excited and ready to go and just treat it like any other start… They [the Brewers] have a good team. They always have a good team. I’ve faced them so many times. They know what I throw, they know what I hit. It’s just a matter of going out there and executing pitches.”
Let’s hope that Dempster is on his A game. The Cubs offense has been just downright brutal through the 1st week of the season. After scoring 5 runs in the season opening loss to the Braves, the Cubs have combined for just 13 total runs in the next 5 games – that’s less than 3 runs per game. That is unacceptable from the highest team salary in the National League and it better turn around soon before Manager Lou Pinella lets loose.
One positive – the Cubs have played well at Wrigley Field under Pinella and home field advantage goes a long way in a tough, gritty National League Central Division where every game counts. The Cubs were 12 games over .500 at Wrigley Field in 2009 and they have won 145 games over the last 3 seasons at the Friendly Confines under Pinella – good for a .599 winning percentage. Let’s hope that trend continues in 2010 for the Cubs – they’re going to need it…
Posted on 08 April 2010 by Lou
Cubs fans and Manager Lou Pinella are already frustrated – and it’s only been 2 games. This is not the way the Cubs wanted to start their season – with a close 3-2 loss courtesy of an 8th inning 2-run home run that John Grabow served up to Chipper Jones.
The Cubs wasted a great outing from Ryan Dempster – 6 innings, 1 ER on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 9 K’s. Although the Cubs did manage 7 hits in the loss, the only 2 runs that they scored were unearned, courtesy of an error by Troy Glaus on Ryan Dempster’s weak ground ball with runners on base. Sean Marshall had another solid appearance – 1 perfect inning with 2 K’s, but it was John Grabow who failed to get the job done. Grabow gave up a hit to Martin Prado and then the crushing blow to Chipper Jones. At some point, you just have to do your job, and right now, the Cubs players are not doing their jobs. Ryan Theriot and Derrek Lee are still both hitless, while Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot each just have 1 hit. This is unacceptable.
Granted, it is only 2 games. But when you are losing the same way that you have been losing the last year or so, you have cause to be concerned about a negative pattern developing (and staying) with this Cubs squad. It is essentially the same team (save for Marlon Byrd instead of Milton Bradley), so unless we see some change her early this season, we could be in for another long, frustrating season for the northsiders.
Randy Wells looks to get the Cubs on track with their 1st win. Wells pitched well in a start against the Braves in Atlanta in June. He had a no hitter through 6 innings, and the Cubs bullpen ended up blowing a lead for him late that cost him a win. Pinella has made 3 changes in the bottom of the Cubs lineup for tonight’s game – Tyler Colvin makes his 1st 2010 start in place of Alfonso Soriano; Jeff Baker is batting 7th instead of Mike Fontenot; & Koyie Hill is catching and batting 8th instead of Geovany Soto.
It won’t be any easy task for the Cubs as they face another dominant pitcher – Tommy Hanson. Hanson is only 23 years old, but he won 11 games in 2009 with a 2.89 ERA and 116 strikeouts in just 21 games. Given the fact that the Cubs have only scored 6 runs on 12 hits in the 1st 2 games of the season, it is hard to imagine them breaking out against this tough righty tonight. Look for an 0-3 start for the Cubbies — let’s just hope they manage to win 1 game before they return home to Chicago and the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field on Monday…