Tag Archive | "Jon Lester"

Tags: ,

Lester “Dead Arm” Has Cubs On Cautious Track With Ace

Posted on 24 March 2015 by Lou

Jon Lester

While there is no long-term concern for Jon Lester’s “dead arm” causing major issues throughout the 2015 MLB season, the Cubs are taking a cautious approach with their well-paid ace.

Lester missed his scheduled start last Saturday, but is still on track to pitch the Cubs home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 5th.  Lester had a good bullpen session yesterday, but the Cubs have already said that he will be limited to only 60 pitches in his next start on Thursday.  He will have one more tune-up start next Tuesday where he will be limited to 80 pitches.  Assuming all goes well during these final 2 spring starts, Lester should be all ready to go against the Cards.  But don’t expect him to throw more than 90-100 pitches in the home opener.

Joe Maddon doesn’t seem concerned: “I’m not concerned who he pitches against.  He just needs somebody standing up there so he gets the requisite number of pitches thrown. If he says he feels good, then I feel good.”  Lester will go against other minor league teams during the final 2 starts so the Cubs can control the environment in which he pitches.  During a minor league game in spring training, the teams can agree to end an inning whenever they want.  So when Lester reaches his 60-pitch limit, the teams will agree to just end the inning at that point in the game.

As for Lester, he acknowledges that he has dealt with similar “dead arm” issues in the past and he is confident he will be ready to go come April 5th.  “Everything is fine.  At the time it felt like the right thing to do. There is no reason to push yourself.”

Let’s hope he is right…

jon-lester-cubs-uniform-spring-training

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

Cubs Lose Again – But Soler, Baez & Bryant Hit Back-To-Back-To-Back HR’s

Posted on 11 March 2015 by Lou

soler-jorge-chicago-cubs

Is it time to panic?  The Cubs are the only major league baseball team that has yet to win a spring training baseball game.  After a 10-6 loss to the Indians on Tuesday, the Cubs fell to 0-6-1 on the season.

But to soften the blow a little bit, Cubs fans saw what they hope to see often at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field in the very near future.  In the 4th inning with the Cubs trailing 4-0, Jorge Soler clubbed a monster HR to left field.  Just 2 pitches later, Javier Baez broke an 0 for 9 slump to start the spring with a monster shot to left field right near Soler’s HR.  And just a few pitches later, Kris Bryant made it 3 in a row with a bomb to right center field.  It was Bryant’s 2nd HR of the spring.

Travis Wood struggled in his 2nd spring start.  Wood allowed 4 runs on 7 hits over 3 innings. His defense didn’t help, as only 2 of the 4 runs were ER. In fact, with 4 errors on the day, only 4 of the 10 runs scored by the Indians were earned runs.  So the team really needs to clean up the defense a lot the next few weeks of spring training is they expect to be in tip-top shape come the regular season.

Jon Lester makes his 2nd spring start against Zach Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.  Let’s hope it’s another gem from the Cubs’ ace.

kris-bryant-chicago-cubs

 

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

Lester Looks Great in Cubs Debut

Posted on 07 March 2015 by Lou

jon-lester-cubs-uniform-spring-training

WOW — what a great start for Jon Lester.  2 shutout innings, 3 strikeouts.  And after allowing a 1-out, broken bat single in the 2nd inning, Lester buckled down and induced an inning-ending double play. We’ll take it.  Lester threw just 24 pitches in his 2 scoreless innings of work.  Lester threw 20 of those 24 pitches for strikes.  Gotta love it!

And just like Travis Wood did in his first spring start on Thursday, Lester worked quickly, pounding the strike zone.  It’s a sign of good things to come for Cubs starters as the spring season continues.  Plus, I love Lester’s attitude.  Especially in your first start of the spring, you would think he would be happy with the effort.  But Lester complained about the placement of some of his pitches, indicating that he still had a lot to work on in the coming weeks before the season starts on April 5th.  “The first one’s always tough. You get that one of out the way and now you build and look forward to the next one. I was happy with how I was able to pitch up in the zone a little bit. They’re still getting their feet wet as far as their swings and timing, so you can get away with that.”

Manager Joe Maddon clearly loves having Lester on his team – both on the mound every 5th day and in the clubhouse – “He’s been Jon Lester. I think he’s a guy who leads by example, although is he were to say something, everybody does listen. He’s been that guy, he’s been exactly what I expected – a consummate pro, quiet in his own way.”

So far so good in Mesa this spring.  And even though the club is 0-2-1, there have been a lot of positives already.  Go Cubs Go!

Joe Maddon Spring Training

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

Lester Set To Make Cubs Spring Training Debut Today

Posted on 06 March 2015 by Lou

jon-lester-cubs-uniform-spring-training

Jon Lester is set to make his Cubs spring training debut today against the Cincinnati Reds at Sloan Park.  Joe Maddon’s lineup looks like this:

Chris Donorfia RF

Arismendy Alcantara 2B

Javier Baez SS

Mike Olt 1B

David Ross C

Junior Lake LF

Chris Valaika 3B

Wellington Castillo DH

Matt Szczur CF

Meanwhile back in chilly Chicago, Cubs tickets for the 2015 MLB season went on sale to the public.  Demand was clearly strong as fans clamored to buy tickets for a team that could make a surprising run at the playoffs in 2015.  Opening Day – Sunday April 5th against the St. Louis Cardinals – where Jon Lester will make his official Cubs major league debut at Wrigley Field is already sold out.  And the Cubs-White Sox Saturday July 11th contest sold old quickly as well.  It’s a great sign that we already have sell outs at Wrigley Field again — haven’t had too many of those during the last 5 years.  so it’s clear that fans have high hopes this year.  Go Cubs Go!!!

cubs-sloan-park-spring-training

 

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

Sold Out Cubs Convention Kicks Off Today

Posted on 16 January 2015 by Lou

Anthony_Rizzo_Cubs_Prediction

The Sold Out Cubs Convention kicks off today at the Chicago Sheraton & Towers.  Wish I was there to get a glimpse at Manager Joe Maddon and ace Lefty Jon Lester — there will probably be a lot of buzz surrounding the team this weekend.

Here’s a good little schedule of what to expect this – the “Friday Night with Ryan Dempster” would probably be pretty entertaining too.  That guys is a riot and now that he’s no longer playing, he can probably be even more candid than he usually is.

Not sure how thrilled I am that Anthony Rizzo predicted that the Cubs would knock off the Cards and Pirates for the NL Central Division title this year.  I’m sure Maddon and Theo & Co. are even less thrilled than me.  But you gotta like the confidence: “It’s what we’re going to do.  We’re going to to play and we’re going to win the NL Central, you can quote me on that. We should be the team, with all due respect to every other team, we’re going to do some things this year. That’s what we’re going to put our sights on and we’re not going to accept anything else.” WOW!

It will be interesting to see if anyone else makes some bold claims like Rizzo during the course of the Cubs convention weekend.  We’ll keep you posted and Go Cubs Go!

Anthony_Rizzo_Cubs_Prediction_2

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Chicago Cubs Sign Catcher David Ross

Posted on 19 December 2014 by Lou

david-ross-chicago-cubs-jon-lester-boston-red-sox

As has been rumored since Jon Lester signed with the Cubs, David Ross has agreed to a 2-year, $5 million deal to catch for the Cubs in 2015.  Ross caught 18 starts for Lester with the Red Sox in 2014 and he has caught 29 Lester starts over the last 2 MLB seasons. Lester’s ERA with Ross as his catcher in 2104 was a nasty 2.02. Ross should also provide some much-needed veteran leadership for a young Cubs squad.  Ross and newly-acquired Miguel Montero should form a nice-duo for the Cubs for the next 2 seasons as they continue to groom 2014 1st-round pick Kyle Schwarber in the minor leagues.  The only negative for Ross is that his offensive production continues to diminish later in his career.  in 50 games in 2014 for he Red Sox, Ross hit just .184 with 7 HR’s and 18 RBI’s.

This must mean that current catcher Wellington Castillo is officially on the trading block.  Before the Ross signing, the Cubs announced that they had claimed former Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway off of waivers.  Theo Epstein drafted Lavarnway in the 2008 draft.  Lavarnway is 27 years old and has a career .210 batting average in 97 major league games.

Theo & Co. continue to remain active this winter.  The continue to tweak the roster at the major league to give Manager Joe Madden as many options as possible throughout the long MLB season.  We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything on the Castillo-trade front…

ct-spt-1216-cubs-lester

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

Cubs Sign Jason Motte to 1-Year, $4.5 Million Deal

Posted on 16 December 2014 by Lou

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals

The Chicago Cubs keep on trucking.  Even as they were announcing the signing of lefty Jon Lester, the Cubs were continuing to re-tool there pitching staff.  The Cubs signed right-handed veteran Jason Motte to a 1-year, $4.5 million deal.  Motte had spent his entire career with the division-rival St. Louis Cardinals, even serving as their closer during their 2011 World Series Championship season.  Motte had his best year in 2012 – racking up 42 saves with a 2.75 ERA while making 67 appearances.  But the wear-and-tear of those 2 seasons caught up with Motte after that.  Motte experienced elbow trouble in 2013, missing the entire season after having Tommy John surgery.  Motte never returned to form in 2014, struggling to a 4.68 ERA in 29 appearances.

Assuming Motte is fully healthy at the start of the 2015 campaign, he should be a nice veteran addition to the back end of the bullpen.  And knowing how new Manager Joe Madden likes to keep everyone involved in the mix, Madden should love a guy like this to have at his disposal.

Joe_Maddon

Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

Chicago Cubs Announce TV Deal With ABC-7/WLS TV Chicago

Posted on 13 December 2014 by Lou

chicago cubs win scoreboard

As if the week wasn’t busy enough for the Chicago Cubs with the franchise-changing free agent signings of starting pitchers Jon Lester and Jason Hammel and the equally important trade for Catcher Miguel Montero.  On Friday, the Chicago Cubs announced a new partial TV deal with ABC7/WLS-TV in Chicago.  ABC7 will broadcast 25 games each season for the next 5 years through the 2019 MLB season.  ABC7 will pay the Cubs $750,000 per game.  There is no online component to the deal, so anyone who doesn’t have Channel 7 won’t be able to see the games that air solely on ABC7 TV.  Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney raved about the new relationship with ABC7-TV — “We are excited to have WLS-TV as our new television broadcast partner. WLS-TV has established itself as a trusted voice in Chicago, and we look forward to a new chapter of Cubs baseball airing on the flagship station of the ABC television network.”

Comcast Sportsnet Chicago will broadcast roughly half of all Cubs games this season.  A select number of games will be televised on national telecasts like ESPN or FOX. So after the ABC7-TV deal, that still leaves approximately 45 games for which the Cubs do not have a television partner to broadcast the games. Kenney has indicated that the Cubs are in discussions will other potential television partners and that news of another deal could be announced soon.

Things are definitely coming together on the north side.  Construction around the ballpark continues to steamroll forward and with the “warmish” weather we’ve been having, hopefully that means the Cubs can get back on target for having the Bleachers open in time for the ESPN Sunday Night Game against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 6th.  With Jon Lester taking the ball for the 1st time in a Cubs uniform, we need all the fans there ready to go.  Go Cubs Go!!!

Wrigley_Field_Bleachers_4

 

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , ,

After Theo & Co. Out-Maneuver Ben Cherington To Get Jon Lester, Red Sox Act Fast To Re-Tool Pitching Staff

Posted on 11 December 2014 by Lou

Jon_Lester_Cubs

Theo & Co. clearly got the better of Ben Cherington and the Boston Red Sox when the Chicago Cubs lured Jon Lester to the north side with their 6-Year, $155 million deal.

But the Red Sox acted quickly to re-tool their starting pitching staff that was left with just oft-injured Clay Buchholz, newly acquired Joe Kelly and a number of prospects who made their major league debuts in 2014.

The Red Sox immediately acquired their lefty to replace Lester in Wade Miley from the Arizona Diamondbacks.  They had to give up Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster to bring the established Miley (8-12 with a 4.34 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 2014) to Boston.

Then the Red Sox cleared some room in its outfield for the newly acquired Hanley Ramirez by dealing Yoenes Cespedes to the Detroit Tigers to acquire the 26-year old Rick Porcello.  Porcello burst onto the scene as a 20-year old starter back in 2009 for the Detroit Tigers and has really come into his own of late.  He went 15-13 in 2014 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.

Finally the Red Sox signed their former top pitching prospect Justin Masterson to a 1-year, $9.5 million free agent deal.  Masterson excelled under current Manager John Farrell’s tutelage as Red Sox pitching coach several years ago and hope he can rebound from a disappointing, injury-laden 2014 MLB season.

Kudos to the Red Sox for having a nice Plan B in place to execute once they knew they were out of the Jon Lester sweepstakes.

The Cubs have stayed the course this off-season after their acquisitions of Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and Miguel Montero.  I know people are calling for Theo & Co. to go “all-in” on 2015 after the Lester signing, but I’m all for staying patient and seeing what we have in 2015.  Let’s add a veteran bat or 2 and call it a day.  Let’s leave room for the young prospects to get some important development time at the major league level during 2015. If Javier Baez improves his plate-discipline, if Jorge Soler doesn’t have any setbacks and if Kris Bryant comes out firing on all cylinders come May 1, then who knows, maybe the Cubs do make a run.  But if not, it will still be a productive year.  A year to build on and a year to catapult the Cubs into World Series contention in 2016…

jason_hammel_mlb_chicago_cubs_welcome_back_2

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Cubs Get Their Man – Sign Jon Lester to 6 Year, $155 Million Deal

Posted on 10 December 2014 by Lou

Jon_Lester_Cubs

Finally, late last night the Cubs got the news they wanted.  Free agent lefty Jon Lester had decided to go with the Cubs.  Theo & Co. set their sights on Lester whom they knew so well from their days in Boston and they did what it took to convince that Lester that is was now his time to help lead a young Cubs squad to the promised land – a World Series Championship.  Lester was a “young pup” in the Red Sox organization when new GM Theo Epstein helped the Red Sox break the curse with an improbable 2004 World Series title over the St. Louis Cardinals.  And just a few short years later, Lester led the Red Sox to a 2nd World Series title in 2007 with a sweep of the Colorado Rockies in the Fall Classic.  And he won a 2nd World Series ring just 2 years ago with the Red Sox.  Now it’s his turn to help the Chicago Cubs break their 100+ year curse.  How sweet it would be to do it with his friends Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer at the helm.

Sure the $155 million had a lot to do with signing with the Cubs.  But Lester is an analytical guy and he wanted to make sure that Theo & Co. had a clear plan for the organization as a whole.  It didn’t hurt that the Cubs hired Joe Maddon just 1 month ago.  It didn’t hurt that he already knew players within the Cubs organization – he and Ryan Dempster bonded during their short time together in Boston and Dempster just joined the Cubs front office; Jason Hammel just signed a 2-year deal with the Cubs and he and Lester were teammates on the A’s during the 2nd half of 2014; and David Ross (his “personal catcher” with the Red Sox) has had talks with Theo & Co. about joining the Cubs as a backup.  Beyond that, the Cubs went out and upgraded their catcher position with a trade for Miguel Montero hours before they learned that Lester had made his decision to come to the north side.  It didn’t hurt that Lester knows that Theo & Co. are straight shooters who have won before.  And it didn’t hurt that Theo & Co. could also sell Lester on how great Chicago is.  They had long ties with the Boston area and it probably wasn’t an easy decision for them to leave 3 years ago.  But they did and they have embraced Cubs fans, the city and all it has to offer.  And they could make that clear to Lester — personally being able to tell him that sure Chicago was different than Boston, but it was just as good, if not better.

It was a perfect match.  The Cubs loved that at 30, Lester just had his best career year — 16-11 overall, 2.45 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP.  Even better than that, the Cubs know he can perform in the post-season.  In 14 appearances, Lester is 6-4 with a crazy good 2.57 ERA.  It gets even better looking at his World Series numbers — 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA.

We will definitely write more about the moves over the next few days.  So much to digest, and all signs point to the Cubs remaining active this off-season tweaking the roster here and there leading up to Spring Training.  After missing out on Russell Martin, this was huge for the Cubs to get their #1 free agent target.  What a day it was – checking twitter every few seconds, debunking false rumors, hoping Lester would pick us… And the he did.

We really wish it was Easter Sunday Night 2015 already — Joe Maddon coming out of the dugout with his 1st regular season Cubs lineup card — Jon Lester standing on the top step of the dugout getting ready to grab the ball for his start in a Cubs uniform at the Friendly Confines — the Cubs beating their hated rival St. Louis Cardinals and the Blue W Flag flying atop the new constructed outfield bleachers…  Can’t help imagining that same scene on a cool fall night in late October — Go Cubs Go!!!

chicago cubs theo epstein tom ricketts general manager gm boston red sox

 

Comments (0)

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here