Posted on 04 February 2009 by Lou
It was about time. The Cubs finally dealt frustrating southpaw Rich Hill to the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later. Hendry largely made the move to the Orioles so that Hill could be reunited with Rick Kranitz and Alan Dunn who worked with Hill in the Mets minor league system. Kranitz and Dunn are both on the Orioles’ coaching staff and could try to re-gain Hill’s form that made him so effective during the 2007 MLB season. That year, Hill finished the season with an 11-8 record and a 3.92 ERA. His sweeping curve ball fooled countless hitters throughout the season, and he even led Cubs pitchers in strikeouts. Hill was penciled in as the Cubs 4th starter for the 2008 MLB season, but he struggled with his control during the entire month of April and was sent down to Triple-A Iowa on May 3, 2008. In 19 2/3 innings at the big league level in 2008, Hill walked 18 batters and struggled with a 4.12 ERA in 5 starts. After dealing with some back issues, Hill continued to struggle with his control in the minor leagues and in the Venezuelan Winter League this past off-season, and the Cubs knew it was time for Hill to get a change of scenery.
Hendry and the Cubs wish Hill the best of luck. Hill was a big part of the Cubs 2007 NL Central Division title, and they hope he can make a fairy tale ending after a frustrating 2008.
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.