Tag Archive | "Micah Hoffpauir"

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Cubs, Millar Agree to Minor League Deal

Posted on 05 February 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs and Kevin Millar agreed upon a minor league deal on Thursday as we previously speculated earlier this week.  Millar is a long shot to make the team – he will battling Micah Hoffpauir and Chad Tracy for the back-up role at 1st base behind Derrek Lee.  At 38 years of age, coming off a down year in which he hit just .223 in 78 games with the Blue Jays, he has his work cut out for him.

Millar will certainly be an entertaining presence in Mesa this Spring Training.  Millar is a goofy, affable guy like his former Marlins teammate Ryan Dempster.  Both mouthed off to each during Spring Training 2008 when Millar was with the Baltimore Orioles, so there should be some funny pranks to write about over the next 2 months.

One funny Millar-fact – he hit his 1st major league home run at Wrigley Field – of the inside-the-park-variety – on May 24, 1999.  Maybe we’ll see him hit a home run at Wrigley Field during the 2010 MLB schedule…

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Cubs Sign Chad Tracy to Minor League Deal

Posted on 27 January 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs took a flyer on veteran infielder Chad Tracy, signing him to a minor league contract with a chance to compete for the Cubs Opening Day roster.  If Tracy makes the MLB Cubs roster, he will earn $900,000 during the 2010 MLB season.  He will also earn a $525,000 bonus if he reaches the 450 at-bat plateau.

Tracy has been hampered by injuries each of the last 3 major league baseball seasons.  He has not played more than 100 games since the 2006 MLB schedule.  In 2009, Tracy played in 98 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting .237 with just 8 HR’s and 39 RBI’s.  His best season was the 2005 MLB campaign when he slugged 27 HR’s, scored 73 runs and drove in 72 runs.  Tracy hit .305 with a .359 on-base percentage that season.  Since then, however, he has not lived up to the expectations that he created with that big year.

Tracy does have a few positives – he can play both 1st base and 3rd base, so he could back up both Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez should either of them get hurt or if they need a day off here or there.  Tracy is also a career 2.97 hitter against right-handed pitching, so he will give Micah Hoffpauir a run for his money as the Cubs left-handed hitting option off the bench.  Hoffpauir started off the season as a productive role player for the Cubs in 2009, but his numbers tailed off dramatically as the season progressed – .239 batting average, .300 on-base percentage, 10 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, 28 runs scored in 234 at-bats in 105 games.

Seems like a wise move by GM Jim Hendry – yep, you heard me right – a wise move – for once.  Hoffpauir clearly struggled down the stretch, so the Cubs realize his limitations.  Tracy is a good, cheap player.  Not having to play everyday could save him from the nagging injuries that he suffered as a starter.  Unless he totally craps the bed during Spring Training, I see Tracy beating out Hoffpauir for the Cubs lefty role player heading into the 2010 MLB schedule.  And at $900,000, that is a major bargain for someone of his caliber.

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Outfield Report Card – Milton Bradley – F

Posted on 09 November 2009 by Lou

Cubs Milton Bradley Risk 1

Let’s take a look at our outfield – I wish we didn’t have to.  The trio of Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukodome and Milton Bradley left a LOT to be desired…

Milton Bradley – Right Field

2009 Report Card Grade – F – seriously.  It is hard for me to give someone an F, but because I don’t think Bradley really even tried, Bradley gets the lone F (see Alfonso Soriano from a few days back with his D+).

2009 stats – 124 games; 393 at-bats; .257 batting average; .378 on-base percentage; 12 HR’s, 40 RBI’s; 61 runs scored; 95 K’s; 66 walks.

2008 stats (with Texas Rangers) – 126 games; 414 at-bats; .321 batting average; .436 on-base percentage; 22 HR’s, 77 RBI’s; 61 runs scored; 112 K’s; 80 walks.

We should have known that the Bradley signing was going to be a mistake when he got injured the 1st week of the season.  Next to the Soriano signing, this will go down as GM Jim Hendry’s 2nd worst move of his career.  The 2008 MLB season was only the 3rd season of his 9-year MLB career where Bradley played over 100 games.  He had a history of injury issues and he never showed that he could play a full year in the outfield.  In 2008, Bradley was the Rangers DH, and even then, he only accumulated 414 at-bats.  Throw in his poor fielding (when he was out there) and his hot temper, and it was a recipe for disaster.

Hendry had already hurt the Cubs payroll with the signings of outfielders Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome each of the previous 2 off-seasons, and now he was adding a 3rd 30+ year-old player to the mix with another 3-year deal.  Going into the 2009 season, the Cubs were then stuck in the outfield with long-term deals with Soriano, Fukudome and Bradley for the next 3 seasons.  I’m not sure how Hendry thought this was the right way to go, but somehow he convinced himself that he knew what he was doing.  Further, in order to sign Bradley, he had to dump innings-eater Jason Marquis to the Colorado Rockies for Luis Vizcaino (whom the Cubs released less than a month into the season) and fan and clubhouse- favorite Mark DeRosa for 3 minor league pitching prospects from the Cleveland Indians.  I think Hendry must have been on something when he made these moves last off-season.

In any event, the deal was done, and all that was left to happen was waiting for the shoe to drop.  Bradley’s performance on and off the field made that easy.  Bradley had 4 hits in the month of April – .118 batting average.  By the end of May, Bradley was on fire with his batting average over .224.  After finally reaching the .250 mark on July 29th, Bradley reached his high water mark of .269 on August 30th. Yippee.  12 HR’s & 40 RBI’s?  Jake Fox had 11 HR’s and 44 RBI’s in just 216 at-bats in 82 games.  Even Micah Hoffpauir had 10 HR’s and 35 RBI’s in just 234 at-bats in 105 games.  And like we said about Soriano, Bradley’s fielding was atrocious.  How many balls did he misplay?  How many balls did he lose in the sun?  How many balls hit him in the head?  It was comical out there in right field.

To top it all off, Bradley had the worst attitude.  He took it out on Cubs fans.  He accused people of being racist.  He never took any responsibility for his own actions.  And he always had an excuse for why he was not playing well for the Cubs.  It all reached a head when Bradley went off on the Cubs organization and the Cubs were forced to suspend him for the rest of the baseball season.  Now the Cubs are in a no-win situation.  They cannot bring Bradley back into that Cubs locker room in 2010.  But now, every other MLB team knows that the Cubs have to get rid of him with 2 years and $20 million remaining on his contract.  Any team that takes Bradley will likely make the Cubs eat at least half of the deal in order to take a “chance” on the troubled Bradley.  It goes from bad, to worse, to horrible for Hendry and the Cubs.

So while we’ll still have to live with Soriano and Fukudome struggling in the outfield for the next several years, at least we don’t have to worry about Bradley creating problems both on and off the field.  His 2009 F grade is clearly deserved.

Let’s hope Hendry can get a little creative over the next few seasons, or else Cubs fans will be calling for Hendry’s head louder than they ever did for Bradley’s in 2009…

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Micah Hoffpauir – Where Will He Fit In With 2009 Cubs?

Posted on 29 October 2008 by Lou

Micah Hoffpauir had a productive 2008 season for the Iowa Cubs – now that’s an understatement. The left-handed power hitter hit .362 with 25 home runs, 100 RBI’s and 63 runs scored in only 71 games. He had a .393 on-base percentage to go with a .752 slugging percentage. When called up to play with the Cubs, Hoffpauir hit .342 in 33 games. While his power numbers weren’t there – only 2 home runs and 8 RBI’s – he did maintain a .400 on-base percentage.

During a game for the Iowa Cubs at Round Rock, crushed 4 home runs in his first 4 at-bats, tying several Pacific Coast League records and Iowa team records. The incredible feat also earned him annual awards in Minor League Baseball for best single-game performance and best performance in a game at the Triple-A level. Although he harmlessly flied out to right field in his 5th and final at-bat in the 9th inning of the game, it will be game will he will not forget anytime soon.

The trouble with Hoffpauir is his position. He plays 1st base and the Cubs are pretty well set at 1st with Gold Glove first baseman Derrek Lee. Hoffpauir has payed some outfield, but he still needs to work on his fielding if he expects to get any meaningful time in right field with the major league club in 2009. Hoffpauir is signed through 2010, and he has 2 more options for the Cubs to send him back down to the minors, so the time is now. His patient hitting style will fit in well with Pinella and many of the current Cubs players, so if the Cubs can find a spot for him in the field, look to hear a lot more from Hoffpauir in the near future.

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