Posted on 09 February 2009 by Lou
I’ve been asking myself this question and it appears like it’s on other people’s minds too. Why didn’t the Cubs try to re-sign Henry Blanco to a 1-year deal? Blanco is one of the best defensive catchers in the game still, and he has been an invaluable mentor to Geovany Soto over the course of the last 2 years. The intangible with Blanco as a reserve catcher are almost irreplaceable.
It appears that the answer is a similar answer to the one we’ve received on other moves made by Cubs GM Jim Hendry this off-season. Bako is a left-handed hitter and Blanco is not. Money could not have been the reason – the San Diego Padres signed Blanco for $750,000 for the 2009 MLB season, while the Cubs are paying Bako $725,000 for the year.
I think Bako is a huge step down from Blanco. Let’s just hope it doesn’t stunt Soto’s continued growth or the growth of some of the young, talented pitchers that the Cubs have at their disposal.
For more details on the Bako/Blanco story and other potential moves, check the following link for the latest Cubs news.
Posted on 01 February 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs finally found their back-up to starting catcher Geovany Soto. Paul Bako, who played for the Cubs during the 2003 and 2004 MLB season, will return to the north side of Chicago and make his presence known in the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field for a 2nd go-round. Bako signed a one-year deal that will pay him approximately $500,000. At the age of 36, Bako is more a defensive-minded catcher with a career fielding percentage of .990. The left-handed hitter hit only .217 for the Reds in 99 games during the 2008 MLB season.
Rich Hill, the frustrating 29-year old left-handed starter, may also be dealt soon. After a successful 2007 MLB season which saw him rack up 11 wins and a respectable 3.92 ERA in 32 starts, the wheels came off in 2008. Hill only started 5 games in 2008, walking 18 batters in 19 2/3 innings and was demoted to the minor leagues with a poor 4.12 ERA. After battling some back issues, Hill made 13 starts for the Cubs rookie-league team in Arizona, but was largely ineffective – 44 walks in 47 2/3 innings with a 5.85 ERA. Hill is now out of options and is not likely to make the Cubs roster coming out of spring training, so they will need to find something to do with him. The Orioles have expressed some interest in Hill, so there could be a deal on the horizon that will send Hill to the Orioles in the upcoming weeks.