Posted on 30 January 2009 by Lou
The Chicago Cubs have made several moves this off-season to bolster their pitching staff. The Cubs acquired Kevin Gregg who is expected to be the set-up man for closer Carlos Marmol. The Cubs also acquired Garrett Olson from the Orioles, and many believed he was the missing piece to the puzzle that could bring San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy to the Cubs for the 2009 MLB season. That all changed this week when Cubs GM Jim Hendry traded Olson, along with utility infielder Ronny Cedeno, to the Seattle Mariners for starter/reliever Aaron Heilman. That may have brought the end to the Jake Peavy rumors once again, but it is also rumored that the Padres have always liked Sean Marshall and Kevin Hart – 2 talented, young pitchers who could turn into super stars in their own rights. With those 2 players, plus a few other pieces be enough to bring Peavy to the Cubs. Probably not, but it will be interesting to see how the Cubs new ownership views the Peavy situation.
The Ricketts family are lifelong Cubs fans, and they may be willing to pull out “all the stops” in order to bring a World Series Championship to the North Side of Chicago. The $60 million owed to Peavy over the next 4 years under his current is a drop in the bucket to the Ricketts family, especially if his presence helps bring that elusive championship to Wrigley Field.
While nothing is definitive, it’s clear the Cubs and Hendry are still willing to tweak the roster that they intend to bring to Spring Training in a few weeks. Stay tuned – while there are sure to be bumps along the way, it should be a fun ride to see how the team gels over the course of spring ball in Arizona in February and March…
Posted on 27 January 2009 by Lou
It’s not so dreary in the bullpen at Wrigley Field these days. After suffering so many years with injury after injury to Cubs pitchers (see Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Jon Lieber), I never thought we’d be writing so much about one of the key assets for the current Chicago Cubs roster – the depth of the pitching – both starters and relievers.
Cubs Manager Lou Pinella has indicated that he would like to keep 12 pitchers on his roster during the 2009 MLB season. With 5 starters needed, and Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg locked in at the back end of the games, that leaves numerous candidates fighting for only 5 spots. Sean Marshall has been a key contributor – both as a starter and a reliever – on the big league level in each of the Cubs last 3 seasons. Youngster Jeff Samardzija emerged on the scene during the middle of the 2008 MLB season and showed that he clearly has the stuff to compete at the highest level. While both will be battling for the 5th spot in the starting rotation, one would have to think that each will make the 2009 roster once Spring Training breaks at the beginning of April.
Neal Cotts, Chad Gaudin and Michael Wuertz all played vital roles for the Cubs in 2008, while Angel Guzman, Kevin Hart and Jose Ascansio will all give it their best to show Cubs management that they deserve a shot over one of those guys for the 2009 MLB season. Are any of them a lock – by all means no. Plus when you throw in recent acquisitions – Luis Vizcaino, Garrett Olson, Jeff Stevens and Dave Patton – you truly are going to see a battle during Spring Training in Arizona.
Who will make it to Wrigley Field in 2009?