Tag Archive | "Ryan Theriot"

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Cubs Avoid Arbitration with Lefty Sean Marshall

Posted on 29 January 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs and left-handed pitcher Sean Marshall have agreed on a 1-year, $950,000 deal for the 2010 MLB schedule.  Marshall will be given an opportunity to compete for a spot in the Cubs starting rotation on Opening Day 2010.  And if he doesn’t make it there, he will likely be one of Manager Lou Pinella’s go-to guys out of the bullpen during the 2010 MLB schedule.  Marshall submitted 1 $1.175 salary demand, while the Cubs had countered with $800,000 Marshall made $450,000 in 2009, so it is still a pretty hefty raise for the lefty.

Marshall is a bargain at $950,000.  Marshall can be a full-time starter, he can make spot starts or he can be an effective pitcher out of the bullpen.  What more can you ask out of a pitcher. He has gained some valuable experience over the last few years, so he is becoming more and more of a veteran presence on the team.  He is a solid clubhouse guy too, so Marshall is a key pitcher on the Cubs staff.

GM Jim Hendry and the Cubs still have to work out deals with 2 other abritration-eligible players – probably the most important 2! Shortstop Ryan Theriot and Closer Carlos Marmol.  Theriot made $500,000 in 2009 and has submitted a $3.4 salary demand with a $2.6 million counter-offer from the Cubs.  Marmol made $575,000 in 2009 and has submitted a $2.5 salary demand with a $1.75 million counter-offer from the Cubs.  The Cubs will definitely get deals done with these 2 valuable players in the upcoming days…

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Cubs Agree to 1-Year Deals with 5 Players; Theriot, Marmol & Marshall Still to Come

Posted on 19 January 2010 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs have agreed to 1-year deals with 5 players – infielders Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker; catcher Koyie Hill; and pitchers Angel Guzman and Tom Gorzelanny.  Each player was in his first year of being arbitration eligible.

Fontenot signed a $1 million deal for 2010.  After a great 2008 in which he hit over .300, Fontenot came back down to earth in 2009, hitting just .236 in 135 games played.

Baker signed a $975,000 deal for 2010.  The Cubs acquired Baker from the Colorado Rockies in July and he hit over .300 in 69 games for the north siders.  Baker and Fontenot will be competing for the starting 2nd baseman job in Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona.  If neither stands out, Manager Lou Pinella could implement a platoon.

Catcher Koyie Hill signed a $700,000 deal to be the Cubs backup catcher behind Geovany Soto in 2010.  While Soto was injured in 2009, Hill made 26 consecutive starts from July 7th through August 5th.  Hill only batted .237 but he handled the pitching staff very well.

The Cubs acquired Tom Gorzelanny from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a deal that also brought over John Grabow.  The Cubs and Gorzelanny agreed upon an $800,000 deal for 2010.  Gorzelanny appeared in 13 games for the Cubs, going 4-2 with a 5.63 ERA.  Gorzelanny actually fared better in relief, holding opponents to just a .192 batting average during those 6 appearances.

Angel Guzman signed an $825,000 deal after arguably his best season as a Cubs reliever.  Guzman appeared in 55 games posting a 2.95 ERA (2.03 ERA at home at Wrigley Field).  He held opponents scoreless in 40 of his 55 appearances, including 34 of his last 42 games.  Assuming Guzman can stay healthy, he will play a pivotal role in the Cubs bullpen during the 2010 MLB schedule.

The final 3 Cubs players who are arbitration eligible will make a huge impact on the success of the 2010 squad.

Carlos Marmol will be the Cubs opening day closer.  Marmol made $575,000 in 2009 and he will become a free agent in 2013.  Marmol took over the closer’s role from Kevin Gregg at the end of the season and provided a stable force at the back end of the ‘pen.  Marmol ended up saving 15 games, while holding 27 games in 79 appearances.  His 65 walks in 74 innings, however, is still a major concern.

Ryan Theriot will be the Cubs opening day shortstop and will likely lead off for the Cubs.  Theriot made $500,000 in 2009.  Theriot hit .284 with a .343 on-base percentage in 154 games for the Cubs.  His games played, at-bats (602), triples (5), home runs (7) and RBI’s (54) were all career highs.

Sean Marshall will either be in the starting rotation on opening day or serve a vital role in the Cubs bullpen as a lefty reliever.  Marshall made $450,000 in 2009 and will be a free agent in 2013.  Marshall can start and come out of the bullpen, so his versatility is invaluable.

GM Hendry still has his work cut out for him.  Let’s hope he can ink smart deals with Marmol, Theriot and Marshall soon.

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Who Will Bat Leadoff for the Cubs During 2010 MLB Schedule?

Posted on 18 January 2010 by Lou

Who will bat leadoff for the Chicago Cubs during the 2010 MLB schedule – that is one of the many questions on Manager Lou Pinella’s mind heading into the 2010 campaign.  The 2 front-runners are shortstop Ryan Theriot and right fielder Kosuke Fukudome.  The 2 put up fairly similar numbers in 2009 when batting leadoff.

Theriot hit .283 with 18 walks and 49 hits, good for a .354 on-base percentage.

Fukudome hit .269 with 30 walks and 35 hits, good for a .404 on-base percentage.

Theriot was the only Cubs player to record double digits in stolen bases with 21.

The days of Alfonso Soriano are likely over.  Soriano hit .241 with a paltry .303 on-base percentage as his numbers continue to decline as his age increases.  Dealing with various injuries all season long, he is no longer a threat to steal bases (9 stolen bases in 2009) and he strikes out way too much (118 K’s with only 40 walks in 477 at-bats). Ouch – that is just bad.

I like Theriot in the lead-off spot.  He seems to be a more consistent hitter than Fukudome and less likely to go into long hitting droughts.  If your leadoff hitter gets into funk, it can set the tone for the whole lineup.  With Theriot leading off and Fukudome hitting second, Fukudome can bunt when he is struggling and even if he goes into one of his slumps, you would still have Theriot on base with sluggers Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez coming to bat (assuming Fukudome doesn’t hit into a double play).

Pinella projects his 2010 starting batting order as follows – Theriot, Fukudome, Lee, Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Soriano, Geovany Soto and your 2nd baseman (either Jeff Baker or Mike Fontenot).

Good luck Cubs fans – it could be another long season for Cubs fans at Wrigley Field if Soto and Soriano don’t find their swings quickly in 2010…

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Cubs Convention This Weekend!

Posted on 16 January 2010 by Lou

The Cubs Convention is going on this weekend in Chicago at the Hilton Chicago.  Passes for the convention are sold out, but supposedly there is still home hotel room availability for the weekend.  If you have a room, you can buy up to 4 passes per room for the weekend.

The opening ceremonies to the 2010 Cubs Convention kicked off on Friday night from 5-5:30PM.  There were a few other activities on Friday, but the real action begins in earnest today.  You’ll get to meet the Ricketts Family in person and you’ll get to mingle with current Cubs players (Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Marmol, Ryan Theriot, Ryan Dempster) and former Cubs players (Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg, Milt Pappas, Dave Otto), as well as the team’s coaching staff (Lou Pinella, Larry Rothschild) and broadcasting teams (Bob Brenly, Len Kasper, Pat Hughes and Santo).

Gotta love it – what a perfect way to get geared up for the upcoming 2010 Cubs schedule at Wrigley Field…

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Cubs Sign Center Fielder Marlon Byrd

Posted on 31 December 2009 by Lou

chicago cubs marlon byrd texas rangers2

The Chicago Cubs signed Marlon Byrd to a 3-year deal worth $15 million.  Byrd will play center field at Wrigley Field for the Cubs in 2010 and will likely bat lead-off.  Byrd will make $3 million in 2010, $5.5 million in 2011 and $6.5 million in 2012.  Byrd had a phenomenal year for the Texas Rangers in 2009 – his 20 HR’s, 89 RBI’s and .479 slugging percentage were all career highs.  Byrd is a career .279 hitter with a career .340 on-base percentage.  The Cubs hired the Rangers’ hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo this off-season, so he will continue to work with Byrd as a Cub for the next 3 years.

Byrd is excited about the prospects of playing everyday in Chicago: “When I knew I had the opportunity to become a Cub, I was really hoping this would be my landing ground.”

GM Jim Hendry had this to say about Byrd: “We knew he was a good guy.  He plays very hard and fans are going to like that.  He comes to play every day, doesn’t want days off and gives you 110%.  When Rudy told us about the other things he brought to the table, it enhances his reputation even further.”  Sense any little digs at Hendry’s big free agent signing last year – Milton Bradley?

I love this deal and I hate it at the same time.

It always seems like the Cubs sign these 32-34 year olds coming off their career years.  Then when they get to Chicago, they’ve lost a step or 2 and play mediocre ball for the last 3 years of their baseball careers.

Then again, Byrd played 146 games last year and is durable.  Having Byrd as your lead-off hitter would enable Ryan Theriot to hit 2nd in the lineup.  Or you could flip-flop the 2.  Then you follow that up with Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker/Mike Fontenot, and you have a decent lineup.  Assuming a healthy Ramirez and a Soriano and Soto who were not as bad as they were in 2009, and things can only get better.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see.  Happy New Years!

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Cubs Tender Contracts to All But Neal Cotts

Posted on 14 December 2009 by Lou

Brewers Cubs Baseball

The Chicago Cubs tendered contracts to all of their arbitration-eligible players except for Neal Cotts.  As we previously reported, the Cubs expect to bring Cotts back anyway as the 2 sides will work out a deal in the interim.

Carlos Marmol and Ryan Theriot were 2 of the players to be tendered contracts and the 2 players who will likely receive the biggest raises.

GM Jim Hendry will continue to negotiate with each player so as to avoid an arbitration hearing with any player.  The Cubs have not been involved in an arbitration hearing since 1993 when they won a case with Mark Grace.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as the Cubs announce any agreed upon contracts.

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Cubs Plan to Offer Contracts to all Arbitration Eligible Players

Posted on 11 December 2009 by Lou

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The Chicago Cubs are expected to tender contracts to all but one of their arbitration-eligible players.  The lone exception is Neal Cotts whom they plan on re-signing anyway.  Cotts missed a good chunk of the 2009 MLB schedule following Tommy John surgery on his left throwing elbow at the beginning of July.  He and his family moved to Arizona so that he could begin his rehab work in earnest.

The players that the Cubs will offer contracts to include – - 2nd base men Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot; shortstop Ryan Theriot; catcher Koyie Hill; and pitchers Carlos Marmol, Angel Guzman, Tom Gorzelanny and Sean Marshall.

The Cubs have not gone to arbitration with a player since they won a case against Mark Grace back in 1993.

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Moving Bradley Key to Successful Off-Season for Cubs, GM Jim Hendry

Posted on 05 December 2009 by Lou

CHICAGO CUBS JIM HENDRY LOU PINELLA

It boils down to this – if the Cubs can find a taker for disgruntled, troublemaker Milton Bradley, then the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry could have a successful and productive off-season leading up to the 2010 MLB schedule.  Hendry has already made moves – dealing the likes of Aaron Heilman to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Aaron Miles and Jake Fox to the Oakland A’s for prospects and to clear some salary cap space to sign new deals for arbitration-eligible players like Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot.

If Hendry can somehow find a team willing to take Bradley (full-well knowing that the Cubs will still have to pay a pretty chunk of the $21 million owed to him over the next 2 seasons), it will be a step in the right direction for Hendry.  Hendry has had a series of bad years at the helm and with a new owner in place, Hendry needs to prove his worth to the Ricketts family.  That will be easier said than done as Hendry’s bad moves have left the Cubs brass with little flexibility.

Hendry and Manager Lou Pinella plan to move Kosuke Fukudome back to his more comfortable right field position.  Then Hendry can concentrate on finding a center fielder and 2nd baseman for the 2010 Cubs.  Even though the Cubs did not offer arbitration to Reed Johnson, they have not closed off talks with his handlers.  So Johnson could be back to patrol center field at Wrigley Field next season.

Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot are in the running for the starting 2nd base job, so it is unlikely that Hendry will pursure any options outside the organization for that position.

The Cubs could also be in the market for a veteran right-handed reliever to complement John Garbow in the pen.  While the Cubs have a lot of up-and-coming young stars in the bullpen – Angel Guzman, Esmailin Caridad, Jeff Stevens and Justin Berg – Hendry and Pinella would love to see a little more experience back there in front of closer Marmol.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything good – Winter Meetings start next week in Indy…

CHICAGO CUBS JIM HENDRY LOU PINELLA2

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Cubs Don’t Offer Arbitration to Rich Harden, Kevin Gregg, Reed Johnson & Chad Fox

Posted on 01 December 2009 by Lou

Astros Cubs Baseball

The Chicago Cubs decided not to offer arbitration to Rich Harden, Kevin Gregg, Reed Johnson & Chad Fox before today’s deadline.  The move is not surprising for Harden, Gregg and Fox, but I thought that the Cubs might offer arbitration to Johnson.  Looks like the Cubs are really going to try to land a center fielder this off-season so that they can move Kosuke Fukudome back to his regular (and more comfortable) right field position.

While Rich Harden made 26 starts for the Cubs in 2009, his history of arm trouble and his high pitch counts made the starter expendable.  The Cubs already have Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Randy Wells penciled in as 2010 starters and they will pick a 5th starter from within – either Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall or others.

Kevin Gregg lost his closer’s role to Carlos Marmol in the middle of August and the Cubs do not have confidence that Gregg can even be an effective middle reliever, especially given the salary that he would command in arbitration.

The Cubs still have to work out new deals with other arbitration-eligible players – Marmol, Ryan Theriot, Marshall, Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot.  So it is a good move to shed some salary – roughly $15 million or more that would have gone to these 4 players.  Tom Ricketts – the new Cubs Chairman – has indicated that the $134 payroll in 2009 will go up slightly for the 2010 MLB season…

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Ryan Theriot Possibly Moving to 2nd Base?

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Lou

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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…

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