Tag Archive | "Koyie Hill"

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Kosuke Fukudome Back to Chicago… on the South Side – Wrigley Field 2/15/12

Posted on 15 February 2012 by Lou

Wow – I was a bit nervous when I heard that Kosuke Fukudome was heading back to Chicago.  Thankfully it’s on the south side with GM Kenny Williams and the White Sox.

Fukudome will make $500,000 in 2012 and the White Sox have a 2013 club option worth $3 million.  Or they can just buy him out for another $500,000 before the start of the season.  And to think that the Cubs actually paid him $48 million for his 4 years on the north side.  Good old GM Jim Hendry – every player’s (and player’s agent) best friend.

After the Cubs outbid everyone to land the Japanese League MVP back in 2008, Fukudome went on to become an average (at best) major league outfielder.  Sure, he made the All-Star team in his 1st year with the Cubs (pretty much every Cub did that season except for back-up catcher Koyie Hill). And if you’re looking for someone with a great on-base percentage (.361 career average) but very little offensive skills, Kosuke is your man.  In 4 seasons in the NL, Fukudome had a .260 batting average, with 42 HR’s, 191 RBI’s, 262 runs scored, 491 hits and 299 walks.  But if you look more closely at his numbers, he had 129 hits and scored 79 runs in each of his 1st 2 seasons with the Cubs, so his numbers have really dropped off the last 2 years.

Fukudome turns 35 years old in April, so he will be nothing more than a back-up/spot starter for Robin Ventura’s White Sox during the 2012 MLB campaign.    Assistant GM Rick Hahn pretty much echoed those sentiments when discussing his role with the White Sox – “We’re not looking for this guy to come in and completely change his approach.  We just want him to be the player he’s proven to be over the last four years.”  Good luck with that one…

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Cubs Rally for 7-5 Win Over Marlins, End 3-game Skid – Wrigley Field 5/19/11

Posted on 19 May 2011 by Lou

The Cubs rallied for a much-needed 7-5 win over the Marlins on Wednesday night in Miami.  After falling behind 5-3 at the end of the 5th inning, the Cubs tied it up in the top of the 6th inning on pinch-hitter Reed Johnson’s 2-run bomb.  The Cubs then took the lead for good in the 8th on Marlon Byrd’s solo shot to left field.  The Cubs tacked on an insurance run on Jeff Baker’s fielder’s choice play later that inning.

Koyie Hill had a nice game at the plate – 3 for 3 with 3 runs scored.  Kosuke Fukudome, Starlin Castro and Aramis Ramirez each had 2 hits on the night.

Ryan Dempster struggled through 5 innings – 5 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks.  Jeff Samardzija earned his 3rd win of the season by pitching 2 scoreless innings.  Sean Marshall notched his 9th hold of the 2011 campaign, and Carlos Marmol picked up his 9th save by pitching an inning and a third of scoreless ball.

Casey Coleman looks to help the Cubs sweep the quick 2-game series over the Marlins tonight in Miami.  Then it’s off to Boston for a 3-game set against the Red Sox at historic Fenway Park.

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Cubs Make Right Move in Sending Wellington Castillo to Triple-A to Continue Maturing as Catcher — Wrigley Field West Mesa Arizona 3/29/11

Posted on 29 March 2011 by Lou

The Cubs made the right move by sending Catcher Wellington Castillo down to Triple-A Iowa to continue getting regular playing time to learn and grow as a catcher.  Sure Castillo hit much better than Koyie Hill who made the opening day roster as Geovany Soto’s back up.  Castillo had 12 hits in 19 at-bats while Hill had only 1 hit in 31 at-bats this spring.  But having Castillo play once a week with the Cubs at the major league level wouldn’t do him any good and it wouldn’t do the Cubs any good when it was time for Castillo to step up and play a more prominent catching role for the Cubs sometime in the near future.

Manager Mike Quade is thrilled with Castillo’s development thus far – “If he’ll keep his nose to the grindstone and do what he’s done the last year, he’s going to get better and better, and he’ll have some kind of future.  The sky’s the limit for this guy.”  Quade indicated that Castillo has work to do in managing pitchers and calling games, but that he is headed in the right direction.  He also confirmed that Hill has a great grasp of the Cubs pitchers strengths and weaknesses and will serve as a quality back up for Soto during the 2011 MLB schedule.

This is definitely the right move.  Hopefully Castillo has a healthy and productive year at the Triple-A level and then he will be ready to step up and claim the back-up catcher’s role in 2012.  By playing every day at Triple-A, Castillo should also be ready to go in case Hill or Soto get hurt at some point during the regular season.

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Cubs Sign Koyie Hill to 1-Year Deal — Wrigley Field 1/12/11

Posted on 12 January 2011 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs and Catcher Koyie Hill have agreed upon a 1-year, $875,000 deal for the 2011 MLB schedule.  The 2 sides avoid salary arbitration with the announcement of the deal.  You gotta love Hills sentiments about having the negotiations over — “In the bottom of my heart, I would probably scrape every penny I have to pay for a chance to do this.  Contract negotiations is something that’s part of the game, but I’m happy it’s over, I’m happy I’m a Cub and I’m happy the Cubs organization thinks enough of me to want to have me back.”  Nice — can we get more guys like this please?!

Hill started 60 games for the Cubs in 2010.  Hill had a .214 batting average with1 home run and 17 RBI’s.  Hill’s best season was the year before when he played in 83 games for the Cubs with Geovany Soto sidelined with numerous injuries during the 2009 campaign.  Hill batted .237 with a .312 on-base percentage that year with 2 HR’s and 24 RBI’s.  But he was praised more for handling the pitching staff with ease, even catching 26 straight games from July through August.

Hill is a great addition to have in the Cubs locker room.  This is a great keep for the Cubs and hopefully they can work something out for the next 2-3 years to keep Hill in the mix…

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Cubs Try to Reach Deals with Arbitration-Eligible Players – Wrigley Field 1/4/11

Posted on 04 January 2011 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs will try to reach deals with 5 arbitration-eligible players this month — Closer Carlos Marmol, Top reliever Sean Marshall, lefty starter Tom Gorzelanny, and Catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill.

The Cubs will likely give Marmol a mammoth raise.  2010 was his first season as the Cubs full-time closer right out of the gates, and he certainly delivered.  Marmol racked up 38 saves with only 5 blown saves.  He struck out 138 batters in 77 2/3 innings pitched – good for a 15.99 strikeouts-per-9-innings ration.  That number set a major league record which was previously held by Eric Gagne who had a 14.98 ratio.  Marmol is 28 years old and he made $575,000 in 2009 and $2,125,000 in 2010.  He has 2 years left of arbitration before he can file for free agency, but will the Cubs try to lock him up with a long-term deal now during his prime?

Sean Marshall had his best year as a pro in 2010.  His 80 appearances and 90 strikeouts were both career-highs.  His 7 wins were also tied for his career-best.  Marshall had a sparkling 2.65 ERA, giving up runs in only 14 of his 80 games pitched.  Marshall also has 2 years left before he becomes a free agent and there is always talk that Marshall could return to work as a starter at some point in his career.

Tom Gorzelanny made 23 starts for the Cubs in 2010, going 7-9 with a 4.09 ERA.  He earned $800,000 in 2010 and has 2 years left before he can become a free agent as well.

Geovany Soto is arbitration-eligible for the 1st time in his career.  He had a solid season despite missing the final 2 weeks of the year after undergoing right shoulder surgery.  Soto clubbed 17 HR’s with 53 RBI’s and made $575,000 in 2010 – his 3rd year as a pro.

Finally, Koyie Hill hit .214 in 77 games during the 2010 campaign.  Hill is 31 years old and has 2 years left before he becomes a free agent.

The Cubs went to arbitration with a player for the 1st time in 17 years in February 2010.  They won their case with former shortstop Ryan Theriot paying him just $2.6 million instead of the $3.4 million that he requested.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as the Cubs announce any deals with any of the above mentioned players…

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Quade Quotes & His Thoughts on Ryne Sandberg – Mike Quade Wrigley Field 10/21/10

Posted on 21 October 2010 by Lou

Just a few days after the Cubs hiring of Mike Quade as their new manager, I’m learning more and more about the guy that I like.  I like that he’s down to earth.  I like that he expects accountability, from himself AND his players.  I like that the players respect him and have come out to support the hire.  I like that he will rely upon the numbers and statistics, but will also manage with his gut and instincts.  An example – he told a story of how they were looking at Sean Marshall’s numbers against a particular batter late in the season.  The overall numbers were bad, but Quade decided to look deeper into the numbers and he found that Marshall had retired the batter each of the last 9 times he faced him and that most of the bad numbers occurred years ago when Marshall was used as a starting pitcher every so often.  So Quade went with his gut, used Marshall in the situation and he got the guy out again.  It’s stories like that that make you think he’s going to lead the 2011 Cubs team in a way that we haven’t seen a manager do since Lou Pinella did back during the 2nd half of 2007 and in all of 2008.  Pinella essentially gave up after that – during the Milton Bradley fiasco of a year in 2009 and when he decided to leave the team in August 2010 after an atrocious 2010 MLB season.  Something tells me that this Mike Quade guy won’t quit on the job like that – he can’t afford to if he expects to make the most of this golden opportunity.

Here are a few other quotes from Quade — “I’d loved the game and wanted to manage at this level, yeah. But when you get done playing and you’re young and you’re fired up and you’re going, ‘OK, three years, four years. I’ll start moving up the ladder and I’ll be there.’ And then, five years go by. You’re still staying after it. You love what you do. You’re teaching, working and then 10 years go by. You change your goals. All of a sudden, you’re going, ‘Wow, this is a tough gig,’ but all the while getting to do what I love to do… I talk so much about the process with the ballclub and it’s probably the same for me. If it ever get to a point where I said, ‘Gosh, am I going to get it?’ I probably would have walked away.”

Asked how he felt about the negative Cubs history — “But I’ve lived here and I was raised here. I get it. You’re totally aware of it. But it’s not going to do us any good at all as a ballclub or me as a manager or me as a person, to have that anywhere near my thoughts on a daily basis.”  That is the perfect response – let’s just hope he means it and can implement it.

As for his feelings about Ryne Sandberg potentially joining his staff at the major league level – “Having Sandberg join the staff is not impossible, that’s for sure… That would be a unique circumstance, but I’m telling you, everybody is on the table.  I would never say anybody is not available…  That would be a unique situation that Ryne and I would have to talk about. And look, by the way, he’s got other opportunities from what I understand. It’s not only what I want, necessarily, he’s got a lot of things to deal with as well. But we’ll have to see.”  That was a polite and professional way of saying, “not a chance in hell and I hope he goes elsewhere”, but what else was he supposed to say given how badly Sandberg campaigned for the job the last 4 season as he toiled and earned his stripes in the minor leagues.

However, you cut it, Quade has his work cut out for him.  The team really isn’t all that good and with payroll concerns in mind, it will be hard for GM Jim Hendry to add more valuable pieces to the puzzle from the outside.  The Cubs should still be able to draw a free agent or too into the mix (Adam Dunn at 1st base, maybe a starting pitcher or maybe a seasoned veteran reliever), but they will primarily place high expectations on some of the young players that will get considerable playing time in 2011 – Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Andrew Cashner, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Blake DeWitt and a few others.  If they put the pieces together, and the players continue to buy into the Quade magic, who knows, maybe we’ll see a team still in contention at the end of the summer.  It’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened…

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Cubs Players Continue to Back Quade Hire – Mike Quade Wrigley Field 10/20/10

Posted on 20 October 2010 by Lou

One thing we know for sure at this point – new Cubs Manager Mike Quade has the respect and backing of all of his players.  Just a day after Ryan Dempster spoke about about what a great manager Quade is, Dempster added a few more praises and Koyie Hill echoed Dempster’s sentiments.

Dempster pointed out that Quade has what it takes to win despite the pressures of managing the Cubs on the North Side of Chicago at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field where expectations are always sky high: “Winning cures everything.  It makes you feel better — it’s more fun to go to the ballpark.  I think he just brought that out in us before we started winning.  He made it fun when his record was 0-0.  There are a lot of pressures that come with playing here and managing here and coaching here, and I know he’s as good as anybody to handle that.”

Catcher Koyie Hill endorsed the Quade hire even though his childhood hero growing up was Ryne Sandberg, who lost out on the manager’s job to Quade – “Let’s get one thing straight — Sandberg was my favorite player growing up.  That’s why I wanted to be a Cub.  We have the same agent.  We’ve gone to dinner together over the last 12 years.  I love the guy.  He’s helped me a great deal, talking to him and being around him in Spring Training.  I’ve never played for Sandberg.  I was a big supporter of Quade.  The players, to a man, were big supporters of Quade.  There were a lot of great candidates, but we were all pulling for ‘Q’… I know Sandberg is an iconic figure in the Cubs organization, and we all understand that.  It’s nothing against him at all.  What you saw the last six weeks was as much a part of Q being in charge as it was us playing together.  I think it goes hand in hand and we’re all real happy for Q.”

While Quade is an unknown, it seems like he has the backing of management and his players heading into the 2011 season.  I know he built some good capital by winning 24 of 37 games down the stretch, but that was a different beast than during the 1st 4 months of the season.  The team had nothing to lose – they were out of playoff contention and they knew there was no chance of making the playoffs.  Without that pressure, sometimes it’s easier to take it one day at a time and put a good streak or 2 together.  I’m holding off judgment until we hit at least the All-Star Break in 2011.  Don’t get me wrong, I hope Quade succeeds.  But with that roster and the inability of the Cubs to do too much to tweak that roster because of so many bad contracts, I have my doubts.

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Runs Tough to Come by in San Diego — Cubs 0, Padres 3 – 9/29/10

Posted on 30 September 2010 by Lou

Runs have been tough to come by for both teams in this week’s series against the Padres in San Diego.  The Padres won 3-0 on Wednesday night after dropping the 1st 2 games of the series to the Cubs by the scores of 1-0 and 5-2.

Randy Wells pitched well in his last start of 2010, but he was denied his 3rd straight win.  Wells gave up 3 ER on 6 hits and 4 walks in 7 innings.  He struck out 2 batters.  Overall, Wells finished with an 8-14 record, with a 1.40 WHIP and 4.26 ERA.

Chris Young and 4 Padres relievers limited the Cubs to just 4 hits and 2 walks on the night.  Kosuke Fukudome and Starlin Castro each reached base to start the 1st inning and even stole 2nd and 3rd to set up an excellent no-out scoring chance right off the bat.  But Marlon Byrd grounded our to 3rd base and Young was able to strike out Aramis Ramirez and Xavier Nady to thwart the scoring threat.  Not good.  After that, Koyie Hill had the only extra base hit for the Cubs – a double in the 2nd inning – and Byrd singled in the 3rd.  But the Cubs never had 2 runners on base the rest of the way as they were shut out in San Diego.

Despite the loss, Ryan Dempster and several other Cubs players keep praising the work of Mike Quade and hope that the interim manager remains the Cubs manager in 2011.

Tom Gorzelanny makes his final start of 2010 in the finale against the Padres this afternoon.

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Another Good Pitcher’s Duel @ Wrigley Field — Cubs 2, Giants 0 — 9/22/10

Posted on 23 September 2010 by Lou

Randy Wells and Jonathan Sanchez engaged in another great pitcher’s duel Wednesday night @ Wrigley Field.  This time the Cubs won 2-0.

Randy Wells worked 7 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering 6 hits and 1 walk in the outing.  He struck out 6 batters and won his 8th game of the season.  Carlos Marmol bailed out Wells in the 8th.  After Wells recorded the 1st 2 outs of the inning, Wells gave up a walk and a double with 2 outs.  Manager Mike Quade called upon Marmol to get the job done over 2 innings.  Marmol struck out F Sanchez to end the threat in the 8th inning and preserve the 2-0 lead.  In the 9th, despite a 2-out walk to Pat Burrell which brought Jose Guillen to the plate as the tying run, Marmol managed to strike out Guillen to end the game.  Marmol faced 5 Giants hitters in his outing and never let the ball be put into play – 4 K’s and 1 walk.  Marmol picked up his 34th save and

The Cubs offense managed just 5 hits, but they did just enough to earn the win.  Kosuke Fukudome’s solo home run gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning.  Koyie Hill doubled in the 5th inning and went to 3rd base on a wild pitch.  When Buster Posey’s errant throw eluded the 3rd baseman, Hill raced home with the 2nd run of the game.  It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.

Now the Cubs have a chance to win the series against the Giants.  Ryan Dempster is looking for his 15th win, but he will have to 21-year old stud Madison Bumgarner who is making just his 17th start of the season.

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Dempster Rocked at Wrigley Field — Cubs 7, Pirates 14 8/31/10

Posted on 01 September 2010 by Lou

Ryan Dempster had been so dominant during the month of August, it came as a complete shock to everyone when Dempster lasted just 3 innings against the Pirates on Tuesday night.  It was his shortest outing of the season, as he gave up 7 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks without even giving up a single home run.  It was just hit after hit as Dempster couldn’t seem to find a way to get out of any of the 1st 3 innings without a run scoring against him and his team.  He didn’t even get to take an at-bat as Carlos Zambrano pinch-hit for Dempster when he was scheduled to hit in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

Marcus Mateo struck out 5 in 2 2/3 innings of relief, but he also gave up 4 ER on 4 hits including 2 2-run homers.

The 3 runs charged to James Russell in the 7th inning were all unearned because of Starlin Catsro’s error with nobody on and 1 out that allowed C Snyder to reach base.  Russell struck out Jeff Karstens in the next at-bat which should have ended the inning, so the 3 runs that scored after that were all unearned.

Koyie Hill was the big offensive star for the Cubs – 2 for 4 with 3 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.  Hill hit a 2-run homer in the 5th inning.

Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano each added 2 hits, 1 RBI and 1 run scored in the loss.

Tom Gorzelanny looks to rebound from a rough outing last weekend against the Reds as he takes on his former team at the Friendly Cofines this afternoon.

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