Posted on 17 February 2010 by Lou
It looks like the Chicago Cubs and Ryan Theriot will go through with an arbitration hearing at some point this weekend. GM Jim Hendry is headed to St. Petersburg, Florida where it is likely that the 2 sides will have to argue the arbitration case for Theriot’s 2010 salary. It would be the 1st time that Hendry has had to go to arbitration with a player during his tenure as the Cubs GM.
This seems so ridiculous to me. After all the millions of dollars that Hendry was willing to shell out to busts like Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley, why is he now fighting for a measly $800,000 (Theriot wants $3.4 million and the Cubs have offered $2.6 million)? It doesn’t make any sense. The guy plays every day, he hustles everyday and he is actually productive – one of the few position players that you can say that about. This sends a really bad message from the Cubs and Hendry to other players. I can’t believe someone hasn’t stepped in (Tom Ricketts are you there?) and told Hendry to pay Theriot (his shortstop and Manager Lou Pinella’s lead-off hitter) his money.
I really hope Theriot wins the arbitration case – he deserves it! I can’t wait to hear Cubs fans cheer Theriot on Opening Day at Wrigley Field on April 12th against the Milwaukee Brewers…
Posted on 02 February 2010 by Lou
New Cubs outfielder Xavier Nady has had great success at Wrigley Field during his career. He has played 28 games at Wrigley Field and he has a career .304 batting average at the Friendly Confines – including 3 separate 4-hit games. Nady has hit 2 HR’s and 8 doubles with 15 RBI’s in his career against the Cubs at Wrigley. That bodes well for his return to Wrigley Field in 2010 – this time in Cubbie blue.
Nady has also performed well against left-handed pitchers during his career – he has a career .308 batting average against lefties. That means when Manager Lou Pinella picks his spots for Nady to spell either Alfonso Soriano or Kosuke Fukudome, you could see Nady facing lefties early and often in 2010.
Nady is a great veteran presence in the clubhouse as well. Assuming his surgically repaired arm is healthy – a big if at this point – Nady could provide some production both at the plate and in the field for the Cubs during the 2010 MLB season…
Posted on 26 January 2010 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs have agreed to a 1-year deal with outfielder Xavier Nady to be the Cubs 4th outfielder. Nady will be guaranteed $3.3 million under the terms of the deal for the 2010 MLB schedule, but he could make an additional $2.05 million in incentives for games played.
Plain and simple – I don’t like this deal at all for one simple reason – Nady underwent his 2nd Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in July 2009 and he only played 7 games for the New York Yankees in 2009. Given the injury propensity for starting left fielder Alfonso Soriano and the slump propensity for starting right fielder Kosuke Fukudome, the last thing we need is a 4th infielder who might not be ready to step in right away should something negative happen with Soriano or Fukudome. Nady is a career .280 hitter in 679 major league games with the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees and Mets. In his last full season in the majors – 2008 – Nady hit .305 with 25 HR’s and 97 RBI’s for the Pirates and Yankees.
Nady’s agent Scott Boras has said that Nady will be ready to play come the start of Spring Training, but Nady still needs to undergo a physical before the deal is approved. How funny would it be if he failed?! The one positive about Nady is that he a stand-up guy and a good veteran clubhouse presence. If he is really healthy, he’ll be a good addition to the Cubs.
I have a feeling this deal was done because of the limited payroll flexibility that GM Jim Hendry has left the club in because of all of his miserable deals the last 3 years. $3.3 million is a lot easier to swallow than the amounts that the Cubs would have had to pay for a Jermaine Dye or some other 4th outfielder out there on the open market. Good job Jim – this will be another reason for the Ricketts family to fire you after the 2010 MLB schedule…
Posted on 21 January 2010 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs still need to find their 4th outfielder for the 2010 MLB schedule – Jermaine Dye, Xavier Nady and Reed Johnson are all on the list. Three starters are already locked in – Left Fielder Alfonso Soriano, Center Fielder Marlon Byrd & Right Fielder Kosuke Fukudome.
Dye has played for the cross-town rival White Sox the last few seasons. In 2009, however, Dye’s average dipped down to .251 well below his career .274 batting average. Dye had 27 HR’s, 18 doubles and 81 RBI’s during the course of the 2009 MLB schedule.
Nady played only 7 games during the 2009 MLB season. In July, Nady had season-ending elbow ligament replacement surgery. He is a career .280 hitter and he has played for the San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates and both New York baseball teams – the Mets and Yankees.
Reed Johnson could also find himself back on the Cubs roster in 2010. Johnson played only 65 games for the Cubs in 2009 because of injury issues. He fractured his foot on a foul ball in July and never fully recovered. The Cubs told Johnson that he should at least test the free agency market to see if he could find a team that would guarantee him more playing time or a longer-term deal. If he doesn’t find something he likes, the Cubs could always bring him back under a 1-year club-friendly deal. Johnson was a fan favorite at the friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, so it would not be horrible to have him back – as long as the 33-year old is healthy.
The only other Cubs outfielder on the roster is Sam Fuld. Fuld is a scrappy player who excels at defense. He can play all 3 outfield positions. In 65 major league games for the Cubs in 2009, Fuld batted .299. Fuld also hit .284 at Triple-A Iowa during the season (84 games).
I like either Dye or Johnson. Dye is a good veteran presence and a good teammate in the locker room. Not having to play everyday could also prolong his strength during the long MLB season (he will be 36 when the season starts). Johnson seems like a good fit too. Nady seems like more of a long-shot given the surgery – not sure he’ll even be ready by Spring Training…
Come on Jim (Hendry) let’s get something done here…
Posted on 18 January 2010 by Lou
Who will bat leadoff for the Chicago Cubs during the 2010 MLB schedule – that is one of the many questions on Manager Lou Pinella’s mind heading into the 2010 campaign. The 2 front-runners are shortstop Ryan Theriot and right fielder Kosuke Fukudome. The 2 put up fairly similar numbers in 2009 when batting leadoff.
Theriot hit .283 with 18 walks and 49 hits, good for a .354 on-base percentage.
Fukudome hit .269 with 30 walks and 35 hits, good for a .404 on-base percentage.
Theriot was the only Cubs player to record double digits in stolen bases with 21.
The days of Alfonso Soriano are likely over. Soriano hit .241 with a paltry .303 on-base percentage as his numbers continue to decline as his age increases. Dealing with various injuries all season long, he is no longer a threat to steal bases (9 stolen bases in 2009) and he strikes out way too much (118 K’s with only 40 walks in 477 at-bats). Ouch – that is just bad.
I like Theriot in the lead-off spot. He seems to be a more consistent hitter than Fukudome and less likely to go into long hitting droughts. If your leadoff hitter gets into funk, it can set the tone for the whole lineup. With Theriot leading off and Fukudome hitting second, Fukudome can bunt when he is struggling and even if he goes into one of his slumps, you would still have Theriot on base with sluggers Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez coming to bat (assuming Fukudome doesn’t hit into a double play).
Pinella projects his 2010 starting batting order as follows – Theriot, Fukudome, Lee, Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Soriano, Geovany Soto and your 2nd baseman (either Jeff Baker or Mike Fontenot).
Good luck Cubs fans – it could be another long season for Cubs fans at Wrigley Field if Soto and Soriano don’t find their swings quickly in 2010…
Posted on 04 January 2010 by Lou
While most Cubs fans are thrilled to have a solid center fielder for the 2010 MLB schedule, new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo may be the most excited. Having coached Marlon Byrd in each of the last 3 seasons in Texas (his average numbers during that span are .295 batting average, .352 on-base percentage and .468 slugging percentage), Jaramillo knows exactly what Byrd brings to the table each and every day.
Here’s what Jaramillo had to say about GM Jim Hendry’s latest signing: “He made a lot of adjustments. Every year, he got better. I’m real excited about him coming over there. He brings a lot of energy and leadership. He wants to win. Those are things that are going to help me out. I talked to him the other day and I told him we’ve got our work cut out for us… Our park was a big park with big gaps and he was outstanding covering those gaps. He threw the ball well and accurately. It’s what he brings to the club – his energy, he’s always working hard and playing hard. It’s going to be good.”
Byrd set career highs in several categories during the 2009 MLB schedule – 155 hits, 20 HR’s, 89 RBI’s, 43 doubles and 146 games played. Hendry rewarded that output with a 3-year deal worth $15 million. Let’s hope Byrd performs well on the field in 2010 for the Cubs. If Byrd turns out to be another one of those players who Hendry signs at the downward turn of their careers – Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley, etc. – it could mean the end of the Hendry era as we know it following the 2010 campaign. And that might not be a bad thing…
Posted on 31 December 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs signed Marlon Byrd to a 3-year deal worth $15 million. Byrd will play center field at Wrigley Field for the Cubs in 2010 and will likely bat lead-off. Byrd will make $3 million in 2010, $5.5 million in 2011 and $6.5 million in 2012. Byrd had a phenomenal year for the Texas Rangers in 2009 – his 20 HR’s, 89 RBI’s and .479 slugging percentage were all career highs. Byrd is a career .279 hitter with a career .340 on-base percentage. The Cubs hired the Rangers’ hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo this off-season, so he will continue to work with Byrd as a Cub for the next 3 years.
Byrd is excited about the prospects of playing everyday in Chicago: “When I knew I had the opportunity to become a Cub, I was really hoping this would be my landing ground.”
GM Jim Hendry had this to say about Byrd: “We knew he was a good guy. He plays very hard and fans are going to like that. He comes to play every day, doesn’t want days off and gives you 110%. When Rudy told us about the other things he brought to the table, it enhances his reputation even further.” Sense any little digs at Hendry’s big free agent signing last year – Milton Bradley?
I love this deal and I hate it at the same time.
It always seems like the Cubs sign these 32-34 year olds coming off their career years. Then when they get to Chicago, they’ve lost a step or 2 and play mediocre ball for the last 3 years of their baseball careers.
Then again, Byrd played 146 games last year and is durable. Having Byrd as your lead-off hitter would enable Ryan Theriot to hit 2nd in the lineup. Or you could flip-flop the 2. Then you follow that up with Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker/Mike Fontenot, and you have a decent lineup. Assuming a healthy Ramirez and a Soriano and Soto who were not as bad as they were in 2009, and things can only get better.
Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Happy New Years!
Posted on 23 December 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs want to move Kosuke Fukudome back to right field in 2010. That is his natural position and they feel like he will be a better hitter not having to worry about manning the center field position at Wrigley. So, the Cubs must find a center fielder.
The Boston Red Sox signed Mike Cameron. Juan Pierre signed with the Chicago White Sox.
Reed Johnson is still out there, but injuries have been a concern over the last couple of years with Johnson and they don’t want to get into a similar situation again by depending on Johnson.
The same could be said for Scott Podsednik who did a great job for the White Sox in 2009 but who is always an injury away from missing significant time.
Tops on the list right now is Marlon Byrd, but he has several suitors and the Cubs might not have what it takes to land Byrd. Plus, with the late signings before the 2009 for minimal dollar amounts (see Bobby Abreu, Adam Dunn, etc.) maybe GM Jim Hendry is counting on the fact that he might be able to wait it out and sign someone at the end of January/early February for minimal money and years. A player who could hold the position for a year or 2 until Tyler Colvin is ready to play at the major league level each and every day. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything on the transaction front.
Posted on 15 December 2009 by Lou
While other teams are wheeling and dealing this winter, GM Jim Hendry and the Chicago Cubs are stuck in the mud. Hendry is still trying to make a Milton Bradley for Pat Burrell deal happen with the Tampa Bay Rays. Each of Bradley and Burrell are owed $9 million during the 2010 MLB campaign. But Bradley is still owed $11 million in 2011 and the Rays want the Cubs to pick up some of that tab for making a dumb contract with Bradley. The deal still could happen, but it will all depend upon what the Ricketts Family is willing to eat for the disgruntled outfielder. If the deal does go through, then Hendry and the Cubs would likely try to move Burrell somewhere else, and would presumably have to eat a portion of the $9 million owed to Burrell for this season.
Assuming of all this happens, Hendry and the Cubs still need to find a starting center fielder. The New York Yankees already traded for Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers. The Boston Red Sox beat Hendry and the Cubs to the punch on free agent Mike Cameron, signing him to a 2-year $15.5 million deal (seems a bit much for a 37-year old center fielder to play left field). There are still a few options out there. Tops on the list is Marlon Byrd from the Texas Rangers. Byrd is 32 and has flourished under hitting coach Rudy Jarmillo who is now the Cubs hitting coach. Byrd is averaging a .295 batting average in his last 3 seasons in Texas, but has plenty of suitors competing for his services. If it gets into a bidding war, the Cubs will likely lose out on the outfielder. After Byrd, there are less attractive options like Rick Ankiel and Scott Podsednik. If the Cubs don’t get Byrd, I would rather have them try to re-sign Reed Johnson instead of taking a shot on Ankiel or Podsednik.
Guess we’ll see what happens. It is definitely frustrating watching all of these top notch teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies continue to improve while the Cubs sit idly by hoping that someone pecks them on a cheek and gives them a bone. It is pretty pathetic. The Ricketts Family and Manager Lou Pinella must be seething at the position Hendry has left the Cubs in this off-season and the off-season for the next couple of years with the Bad Soriano, Fukudome and Bradley contracts still crushing the books…
Posted on 05 December 2009 by Lou
It boils down to this – if the Cubs can find a taker for disgruntled, troublemaker Milton Bradley, then the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry could have a successful and productive off-season leading up to the 2010 MLB schedule. Hendry has already made moves – dealing the likes of Aaron Heilman to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Aaron Miles and Jake Fox to the Oakland A’s for prospects and to clear some salary cap space to sign new deals for arbitration-eligible players like Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot.
If Hendry can somehow find a team willing to take Bradley (full-well knowing that the Cubs will still have to pay a pretty chunk of the $21 million owed to him over the next 2 seasons), it will be a step in the right direction for Hendry. Hendry has had a series of bad years at the helm and with a new owner in place, Hendry needs to prove his worth to the Ricketts family. That will be easier said than done as Hendry’s bad moves have left the Cubs brass with little flexibility.
Hendry and Manager Lou Pinella plan to move Kosuke Fukudome back to his more comfortable right field position. Then Hendry can concentrate on finding a center fielder and 2nd baseman for the 2010 Cubs. Even though the Cubs did not offer arbitration to Reed Johnson, they have not closed off talks with his handlers. So Johnson could be back to patrol center field at Wrigley Field next season.
Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot are in the running for the starting 2nd base job, so it is unlikely that Hendry will pursure any options outside the organization for that position.
The Cubs could also be in the market for a veteran right-handed reliever to complement John Garbow in the pen. While the Cubs have a lot of up-and-coming young stars in the bullpen – Angel Guzman, Esmailin Caridad, Jeff Stevens and Justin Berg – Hendry and Pinella would love to see a little more experience back there in front of closer Marmol.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything good – Winter Meetings start next week in Indy…