Tag Archive | "Mike Fontenot"

Tags: , , , ,

Ryan Theriot Possibly Moving to 2nd Base?

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Lou

chicago cubs ryan theriot100

With the emergence of top shortstop prospect Starlin Castro, rumors are swirling that Ryan Theriot could move to 2nd base to make room for Castro at shortstop.  Theriot did play 2nd base at the major league during the 2007 MLB season.  Theriot played 37 games at 2nd base that season.

I find it hard to believe that the 19-year old Castro is ready to make the jump to the big leagues already.  Castro split time at Class-A and Double-A in 2009 and also played in the Arizona Fall League this October/November.  Although he has risen through the Cubs minor league ranks very quickly, I think it would be a good idea to keep this guy in the minors for at least another season.

Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot are both arbitration-eligible and hopefully GM Jim Hendry can figure out a way to keep both players on the roster in 2010.  They can platoon, or one of them can be a consistent bench player, and then we can look to 2011 to bring up the Castro sensation.

On a positive note, at least Theriot seems willing to make the switch to 2nd base if the organization asks him to.  He has already started working on 2nd base drills and seems ready to move over to 2nd base if the Cubs think that Castro is ready to make the jump to the bigs.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything further…

chicago cubs starlin castro 3

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Cubs Trade Aaron Heilman to Arizona Diamondbacks for 2 Prospects

Posted on 19 November 2009 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs traded Aaron Heilman to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 2 prospects today.  The move was done to move an arbitration-eligible player like Heilman – the Cubs still have 7 other players who are arbitration-eligible.  That list includes – Carlos Marmol, Ryan Theriot, Sean Marshall, Jeff Baker, Mike Fontenot, Koyie Hill and Angel Guzman.

Heilman made 70 appearances for the Chicago Cubs during the 2009 MLB schedule – his only season with the Cubs, the team that he rooted for as a kid growing up in Indiana.  Heilman went 4-4 with 1 save and 6 blown saves.  He had a 4.11 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP, striking out 65 while walking 34.

Cubs GM Jim Hendry explained the move this way: “As we move forward in the winter, the way our big league club sets up and the way we have a lot of arb guys, we felt we needed to move some people a little bit before we get to Indianapolis… We feel like we got two solid prospects from the Diamondbacks…  We feel we have some young arms who can take [Heilman’s] place in that part of the bullpen.”  Those arms include Guzman, Esmailin Caridad and Justin Berg.

So just who did the Cubs get for Heilman:

Lefty Scott Maine – 4-5 with a 2.90 ERA and 7 saves in Double A and Triple A during 2009.

2nd baseman Ryan White – .266 batting average with 6 HR’s, 52 RBI’s and a .371 on-base percentage at the Class A level in 2009.

chicago cubs aaron heilman

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Infield Report Card – Jeff Baker – B+

Posted on 14 November 2009 by Lou

Cubs Giants Baseball

Let’s take a look at our infield – at least this was a little more tolerable than the atrocious Cubs outfield.  The trio of Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot and Aramis Ramirez is solid, but when Ramirez went down for 2 months with a dislocated shoulder, the Cubs offensive weaknesses were clearly exposed.  The 2nd base position was a position in flux – Mike Fontenot showed he probably isn’t an everyday player, while newcomer Jeff Baker showed that he could be a viable option for the future…

Jeff Baker – 2nd Base

2009 Report Card Grade – B+.  Baker was a pleasant surprise for the Cubs in 2009.  In a disappointing season, Baker didn’t let the negative outlook/clubhouse affect his play.  He split time with Mike Fontenot at 2nd base, but came into favor with Manager Lou Pinella as Fontenot struggled through the long MLB season.  Baker performed at a high level both at the plate and in the field, and he also showed his versatility by being able to play 3rd base as well, giving the team an extra weapon to give another infielder a little extra rest from time to time (like Aramis Ramirez).  Baker could be a fixture at the Cubs 2nd base position for years to come.

2009 stats – 69 games; 203 at-bats; .305 batting average; .362 on-base percentage; 4 HR’s, 21 RBI’s; 27 runs scored; 46 K’s; 17 walks.

2008 stats (with Colorado Rockies) – 104 games; 299 at-bats; .268 batting average; .322 on-base percentage; 12 HR’s, 48 RBI’s; 55 runs scored; 85 K’s; 26 walks.

Baker came over from the Rockies in early July 2009 and he put forth a solid effort in a Cubs uniform for the rest of the season.  The entire Cubs offense struggled in 2009 (except for Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot, Aramis Ramirez (when he played), but Baker didn’t seem to let that affect him.  You have to like his good on-base percentage number and the fact the he puts the ball in play.  He averaged just about 3 at-bats a game, however, so we would need to see more from Baker to make sure that he can handle the everyday 2nd base job.  I’m definitely a little gun shy with the Cubs 2nd baseman, especially after Mike Fontenot clearly showed that he couldn’t handle playing everyday after succeeding so well in 2008 in a limited role.

The good thing is that Baker also excelled in the field,  even when he played 3rd base to give the injured Aramis Ramirez an extra day off here and there.  In 49 games at 2nd base – his natural position – Baker recorded a solid .995 fielding percentage, committing just 1 error in 220 total chances.  In 17 games at 3rd base – Baker recorded a respectable .960 fielding percentage, committing 1 error in 25 total chances.

Baker is eligible for arbitration in 2010.  GM Jim Hendry does not like to go to arbitration with his players, so if the Cubs want Baker back, we would likely see some deal signed before the arbitration process kicks in.  Mike Fontenot – the Cubs other in-house option at 2nd base – is also arbitration-eligible.  The Cubs could try to sign both Baker and Fontenot to 1-year deals and then let them battle it out in Spring Training.  That way the Cubs wouldn’t have to commit anything long-term to either player, and if neither player excels in 2010 to warrant a longer-term deal, then the Cubs could look elsewhere for the 2011 MLB season.

Things can’t get too much worse than they were for the Cubs offense in 2009, so let’s hope we see a bit of a resurgence during the 2010 MLB schedule that helps take a little heat off the Cubs starting rotation and bullpen.  Baker seemed to endear himself to Cubs fans at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field during his 2009 stint, so if he is back in 2010, I hope he gets off to a great start in 2010 to keep him in good favor with the north side of Chicago…

chicago cubs jeff baker 2

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Infield Report Card – Mike Fontenot – C

Posted on 13 November 2009 by Lou

Brewers Cubs Baseball

Let’s take a look at our infield – at least this was a little more tolerable than the atrocious Cubs outfield.  The trio of Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot and Aramis Ramirez is solid, but when Ramirez went down for 2 months with a dislocated shoulder, the Cubs offensive weaknesses were clearly exposed.  The 2nd base position was a position in flux – Mike Fontenot showed he probably isn’t an everyday player, while newcomer Jeff Baker showed that he could be a viable option for the future…

Mike Fontenot – 2nd Base

2009 Report Card Grade – C.  This is kind of a tough one.  I really like Mike Fontenot and he tries harder than just about everyone on the team.  That being said, he failed to show that he could handle the everyday 2nd baseman job and it is unclear where Fontenot fits into the Cubs organization in the future.

2009 stats – 135 games; 377 at-bats; .236 batting average; .301 on-base percentage; 9 HR’s, 43 RBI’s; 38 runs scored; 83 K’s; 35 walks.

2008 stats – 119 games; 243 at-bats; .305 batting average; .395 on-base percentage; 9 HR’s, 40 RBI’s; 42 runs scored; 51 K’s; 34 walks.

The entire Cubs offense struggled in 2009 (except for Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot and Aramis Ramirez (when he played), so it’s not surprising that Fontenot struggled as well.  The huge rise in strikeouts and the steady walks rate despite more at-bats, led to the corresponding decrease in Fontenot’s on-base percentage (just .301).  That cannot be the case for a contact hitter like Fontenot.  Sure, he may have been facing more adverse hitting situations without runners on base (unlike in 2008), but you have to rise to the occasion, and Fontenot didn’t respond in 2009.  His hitting weaknesses were exposed as an everyday player and that led to some pretty poor numbers for Fontenot.

On the other hand, Fontenot did not let his offensive woes affect his play on the field, even when he played 3rd base to fill in for the injured Aramis Ramirez.  In 70 games at 2nd base – his natural position – Fontenot recorded a solid .989 fielding percentage, committing just 3 errors in 264 total chances..  In 50 games at 3rd base – Fontenot recorded a respectable .963 fielding percentage, committing just 4 errors in 107 total chances.  Given the fact that the team was in shambles for most of the season, you have to give Fontenot credit for staying focused and playing well in the field.

Fontenot is eligible for arbitration in 2010.  Given his poor showing in 2009, one would think that the Cubs and Fontenot could work out a 1-year deal that is acceptable to both sides.  GM Jim Hendry does not like to go to arbitration with his players, so if the Cubs want Fontenot back, we would likely see some deal signed before the arbitration process kicks in.  Jeff Baker – the Cubs other in-house option at 2nd base – is also arbitration-eligible.  The Cubs could try to sign both Fontenot and Baker to 1-year deals and then let them battle it out in Spring Training.  That way the Cubs wouldn’t have to commit anything long-term to either player, and if neither player excels in 2010 to warrant a longer-term deal, then the Cubs could look elsewhere for the 2011 MLB season.

With a healthy Aramis Ramirez back in the middle of the lineup, I hope there will be a trickle down affect that will help guys like Fontenot, Geovany Soto and Alfonso Soriano play better in 2010.  Things can’t get too much worse than they were for the Cubs offense in 2009, so let’s hope we see a bit of a resurgence during the 2010 MLB schedule that helps take a little heat off the Cubs starting rotation and bullpen.  Fontenot is a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, so if he is back in 2010, I hope he gets off to a great start in 2010 to keep him in good favor with the north side of Chicago…

chicago cubs mike fontenot1

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Infield Report Card – Aramis Ramirez – B+

Posted on 12 November 2009 by Lou

Cubs Nationals Baseball

Let’s take a look at our infield – at least this was a little more tolerable than the atrocious Cubs outfield.  The trio of Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot and Aramis Ramirez is solid, but when Ramirez went down for 2 months with a dislocated shoulder and when no 2nd baseman stood out from among the pack, the Cubs offensive weaknesses were clearly exposed…

Aramis Ramirez – 3rd Base

2009 Report Card Grade – B+.  This is kind of a tough one.  His numbers were solid as usual, but with only 3+ months to grade, it is tough to really analyze Ramirez based upon a full season.  Ramirez did not get the surgery he needed during the season, so he probably was not 100% healthy at any point after he dislocated his shoulder back on May 8th.  On the other hand, when he did play, he produced, so he has to be commended for his dedication and commitment, even when it was pretty obvious that the season was a lost cause by the middle of August.

2009 stats – 82 games; 306 at-bats; .317 batting average; .389 on-base percentage; 15 HR’s, 65 RBI’s; 46 runs scored; 43 K’s; 28 walks.

2008 stats – 149 games; 554 at-bats; .289 batting average; .380 on-base percentage; 27 HR’s, 111 RBI’s; 97 runs scored; 94 K’s; 74 walks.

If you process his “half-season” numbers out over a full year, you’d be loving life.  30 HR’s, 120+ RBI’s, 90 runs scored, high batting averages and on-base percentages, plus a strikeout number under 100 which is surprising for a power hitter.  In fact, in Ramirez’s 7 season with the Cubs, he has never struck out more than 94 times.  Pretty damn good.  At the age of 31, Ramirez still has a lot of good years left in him.  When healthy, Ramirez is the Cubs’ best hitter, even better than Derrek Lee.  Ramirez makes opposing pitchers respect everyone else in the lineup – he produces for the club even when he draws a walk or makes pitchers throw a lot of pitches to get his pitch counts up.  The Cubs clearly suffered from Ramirez’s 2-month absence in 2009.  The Cubs led the league in runs scored in 2008 and those numbers severely dwindled in 2009.  Sure, several other key players were either bad (Milton Bradley, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, Mike Fontenot) or had been traded (Mark DeRosa), but I really feel like Ramirez is the pulse of the Cubs offensive unit. So Aramis goes, so the Cubs go.

Ramirez should be healthy and ready to go for the 2010 MLB schedule.  With a healthy Aramis back in the mix, I have a good feeling that the Cubs offense will start to click again.  Theriot is solid at the top of the lineup, Kosuke Fukudome showed a greater comfort level in 2009 than he did in 2008, and if the Cubs can find a good replacement for Milton Bradley (someone that actually tries every day), the lineup should be able to produce at an acceptable level – maybe not as good as 2008, but definitely better than 2009.  Soto and Soriano can’t be any worse than they were in 2009, so there should be a lot to cheer for in 2010 with the Cubs.

Ramirez is a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.  Ramirez has 2 more years left on the 5-year, $75 million deal that he signed back in 2007.  The Cubs and Ramirez also have a mutual option for the 2012 MLB season, so hopefully the 2 sides can figure out a way to keep him in a Cubs uniform for at least another 4 years with some sort of 2-year or 3-year extension.  Health and consistency will be 2 keys for Ramirez in 2010, so let’s hope his off-season regimen gets him strong and ready for 2010.  That will make him a very popular man on the north side of Chicago…

Reds Cubs Baseball

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Infield Report Card – Derrek Lee – A-

Posted on 10 November 2009 by Lou

Brewers Cubs Baseball

Let’s take a look at our infield – at least this was a little more tolerable than the atrocious Cubs outfield.  The trio of Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot and Aramis Ramirez is solid, but when Ramirez went down for 2 months with a dislocated shoulder and when no 2nd baseman stood out from among the pack, the Cubs offensive weaknesses were clearly exposed…

Derrek Lee – 1st Base

2009 Report Card Grade – A-.  One of the few “bright spots” for the Cubs in 2009.  If not for his bad start (.198 batting average as late as May 16th) I may have even given Lee a “Straight A”.  From that point on, Lee was by far the Cubs most consistent hitter in 2009.  Given the fact that he was playing in a mostly “inept” lineup for most of the season, it makes his numbers look even better.  If not for neck spasms that periodically flared up during the season, Lee’s numbers may have been even better.

2009 stats – 141 games; 532 at-bats; .306 batting average; .394 on-base percentage; 35 HR’s, 111 RBI’s; 93 runs scored; 109 K’s; 76 walks.

2008 stats – 155 games; 623 at-bats; .291 batting average; .361 on-base percentage; 20 HR’s, 90 RBI’s; 93 runs scored; 119 K’s; 71 walks.

Lee’s 6th season with the Cubs was his 2nd or 3rd best with the Cubs.  The home run and RBI totals were close to his best with the Cubs as the 111 RBI’s were a career-high.  His batting average and on-base percentage were both the 3rd best of his career with the Cubs.  In addition to his stellar hitting, Lee was the anchor that held the infield together.  Lee is always one of the best defensive infielders in the game and his .995 fielding percentage proved just that.  Lee had 94 assists and just 6 errors in 1,231 innings played.  Not bad.

The 2010 MLB schedule is the final year of Lee’s 5-year, $65 million deal that Lee signed in 2006.  That seems like a bargain right now given some of the awful contracts that GM Jim Hendry has burdened the Cubs with over the last few seasons.  At the age of 35, it is unlikely that the Cubs will offer Lee a long-term deal to stay with the ball club at the end of the season.  It’s a shame.  Lee has been a class act with the Cubs.  He has made Chicago his home and given back so much to the community.  If 2010 ends up being Lee’s last season in a Cubs uniform, it will be a sad day for Cubs fans all across the country.

Lee is a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field and let’s hope that Lee has another solid season left in the tank for 2010…

Cubs Giants Baseball

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , ,

Will Mike Fontenot Rebound in 2010?

Posted on 03 November 2009 by Lou

chicago cubs mike fontenot1

Mike Fontenot struggled mightily in 2009.  The Cubs are hoping that he can regain his 2008 form in the off-season.

In 2008, Fontenot played a solid reserved role mainly at 2nd base.  In 243 at-bats in 119 games, Fontenot hit .305 with a .395 on-base percentage.  He hit 9 home runs, had 40 RBI’s and scored 42 runs.  He struck out only 51 times and walked 34 times.  He was a solid defender (.996 fielding percentage) and he was a key component to the success of the Cubs team.

But in 2009, Fontenot regressed under the pressures of being an everyday player.  He racked up a lot more innings – 377 at-bats in 135 games – and the reduced offensive output really showed.  Fontenot hit the same number of HR’s – 9; drove in 3 more runs – 43 RBI’s; but scored 4 less runs with only 38 runs scored.  His strikeout numbers soared all the way up to 83 while his walks remained basically the same at 35.  Hence the bad batting average – .236 – and poor on-base percentage – .301 – for a contact hitter like he is.

Manager Lou Pinella stayed with Fontenot because of the Aramis Ramirez injury and because Fontenot could play both 2nd base and 3rd base.  He had a .989 fielding percentage in 70 games at 2nd base and a .963 fielding percentage in 50 games at 3rd base.  These are very good numbers for someone who was struggling so much at the plate.

The Cubs hope that the overall lack of production from the Cubs offense also affected the types of situations that Fontenot batted in.  Fontenot is probably not a .300 major league hitter, but he’s also probably better than the .236 he hit in 2009.  Fontenot is arbitration-eligible, as is his biggest rival for the 2nd base job – Jeff Baker whom the Cubs acquired from the Colorado Rockies.  Baker played in 89 games for the Cubs and put forth a solid effort – .305 batting average; .362 on-base percentage; 4 HR’s; 21 RBI’s and 27 runs scored; plus a .995 fielding percentage in 49 games at 2nd base.

It will be interesting to see what the Cubs do with the 2nd base position in 2010.  I don’t really think that Baker or Fontenot are dependable enough to be everyday ballplayers.  But since both players are such good fielders, they could platoon depending upon how much the Cubs would have to shell out to keep both players.  Only time will tell and we’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything here at MyCubsToday

Brewers Cubs Baseball

Comments (2)

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here