Tag Archive | "Sean Marshall"

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Carlos Zambrano Sharp Again; But Cubs Bats Quiet in 4-0 Loss to Colorado Rockies – Wrigley Field West Mesa Arizona 3/8/11

Posted on 08 March 2011 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano continues to impress with a solid spring thus far.  Zambrano pitched 3 innings against the Colorado Rockies, giving up just 1 ER on 5 hits and no walks.  He struck out 1, but you have to love the fact that his control has been outstanding this spring.  In 3 starts, Zambrano has put together an exciting 1.13 ERA.

Sean Marshall tossed a scoreless inning in relief and lowered his spring ERA to 2.70.

In a bid to make the opening day roster, Braden Looper was roughed up for 3 runs on a 3-run home run in the 7th inning.  Looper now has a 7.20 spring ERA.

The Cubs bats were extremely quiet in the loss.  The Cubs managed just 5 hits and no runs against 5 Rockies pitchers.  Blake DeWitt, Starlin Castro and Geovany Soto each had hits.

 

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Wells, Marshall Sharp; Wood, Cashner Not So Much – Cubs 3, Brewers 5 Wrigley Field West, Mesa Arizona 3/1/11

Posted on 01 March 2011 by Lou

Some ups and downs for the Cubs pitching in the Cubs 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday afternoon in Mesa.

Randy Wells looked very sharp in his spring training debut.  Wells worked 2 scoreless innings giving up just 2 hits and striking out 1.

Andrew Cashner, on the other hand, struggled in his 1st appearance.  Cashner is competing for a slot in the starting rotation but didn’t do too much to help his cause.  Cashner made it through 2 innings, but he gave up 2 ER on 3 hits and 1 walk.  He did not strike anybody out.

Sean Marshall picked up right where he left off in 2010.  Marshall worked a perfect 9th inning striking out 1 in the process.

Kerry Wood returned to the Cubs pitching mound but had an inauspicious inning of work.  Wood gave up 2 ER on 3 hits, but he did have 2 K’s.

Not bad, but not great.  The Cubs also committed 3 errors for the 2nd straight cactus league start.  This can’t sit well with Mike Quade, but I’m sure he’ll take it in stride this early in spring training.  If the Cubs keep making errors like this, however, look for Quade to make some noise next week…

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Cubs, Sean Marshall Avoid Arbitration with 2-Year, $4.7 Million Deal — Wrigley Field 1/20/11

Posted on 20 January 2011 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs and Sean Marshall have agreed upon a 2-year deal worth $4.7 million.  The deal means that the 2 sides will avoid arbitration.

Marshall had a stellar 2010 campaign as the Cubs most reliable reliever next to Carlos Marmol.  Marshall won 7 games and had a 2.65 ERA.  Opponents scored in only 14 of the 80 games that Marshall pitched during the 2010 MLB schedule.  Marshall’s 80 games pitched and 90 K’s were both career highs.  Marshall earned $950,000 in 2010 and the new deal buys out the last 2 arbitration years that he had.  Marshall will be a free agent for the 1st time after the 2012 MLB season.

This is great news for Cubs fans.  Marshall is a quality pitcher and the 2-year deal takes a little bit of the guess work out of next year.  If he continues to excel, who knows, maybe the Cubs will try to lock him up for a few more years after that during the middle of the 2012 season…

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Cubs, Geovany Soto Agree Upon 1-Year Deal — Wrigley Field 1/17/11

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Lou

The Cubs and Geovany Soto avoided salary arbitration as the big catcher signed a 1-year, $3 million deal.  Soto turns 28 later this month and had a nice “bounce-back” year in 2010 with a .280 batting average and .393 on-base percentage (62 walks and only 82 K’s), 17 home runs and 53 RBI’s in 105 games.  His season was cut short when he had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in September.  Soto is expected to be fully healthy for 2011 Spring Training in February.

Soto was the National League Rookie of the Year back in 2008 when the Cubs had the most prolific offense in the NL.  That year, Soto hit .285 with 23 dingers and 86 RBI’s.  But injuries hampered Soto in 2009 as he struggled with a .218 batting average.  He played in just 103 games in 2009 and had a career-low .321 on-base percentage. Let’s hope the positive trend continues for Soto in 2011.  The Cubs need the catcher to be a consistent offensive threat in the middle of the lineup to provide a little extra protection for Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Carlos Pena and Tyler Colvin.

The Cubs now have just 3 other players who are arbitration-eligible — Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol and Matt Garza.  It looks like the Cubs have traded Tom Gorzelanny to the Washington Nationals, so they will not have to come to terms with the lefty before the deadline.  More on the Gorzelanny trade as details are confirmed.

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Cubs Try to Reach Deals with Arbitration-Eligible Players – Wrigley Field 1/4/11

Posted on 04 January 2011 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs will try to reach deals with 5 arbitration-eligible players this month — Closer Carlos Marmol, Top reliever Sean Marshall, lefty starter Tom Gorzelanny, and Catchers Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill.

The Cubs will likely give Marmol a mammoth raise.  2010 was his first season as the Cubs full-time closer right out of the gates, and he certainly delivered.  Marmol racked up 38 saves with only 5 blown saves.  He struck out 138 batters in 77 2/3 innings pitched – good for a 15.99 strikeouts-per-9-innings ration.  That number set a major league record which was previously held by Eric Gagne who had a 14.98 ratio.  Marmol is 28 years old and he made $575,000 in 2009 and $2,125,000 in 2010.  He has 2 years left of arbitration before he can file for free agency, but will the Cubs try to lock him up with a long-term deal now during his prime?

Sean Marshall had his best year as a pro in 2010.  His 80 appearances and 90 strikeouts were both career-highs.  His 7 wins were also tied for his career-best.  Marshall had a sparkling 2.65 ERA, giving up runs in only 14 of his 80 games pitched.  Marshall also has 2 years left before he becomes a free agent and there is always talk that Marshall could return to work as a starter at some point in his career.

Tom Gorzelanny made 23 starts for the Cubs in 2010, going 7-9 with a 4.09 ERA.  He earned $800,000 in 2010 and has 2 years left before he can become a free agent as well.

Geovany Soto is arbitration-eligible for the 1st time in his career.  He had a solid season despite missing the final 2 weeks of the year after undergoing right shoulder surgery.  Soto clubbed 17 HR’s with 53 RBI’s and made $575,000 in 2010 – his 3rd year as a pro.

Finally, Koyie Hill hit .214 in 77 games during the 2010 campaign.  Hill is 31 years old and has 2 years left before he becomes a free agent.

The Cubs went to arbitration with a player for the 1st time in 17 years in February 2010.  They won their case with former shortstop Ryan Theriot paying him just $2.6 million instead of the $3.4 million that he requested.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as the Cubs announce any deals with any of the above mentioned players…

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Cubs to Acquire Matt Garza from Rays via Trade?!?! — Wrigley Field 12/9/10

Posted on 09 December 2010 by Lou

The Cubs and Rays are in talks to trade pitcher Matt Garza for prospects in the next couple of days.  The 2 sides have met twice to discuss the terms of the deal, so this could happen any hour now.  The Rays are in “dump” mode, as they have parted ways with Carl Crawford who signed with the Red Sox and Carlos Pena who signed with the Cubs.  They are also looking to trade a few pieces to acquire prospects who are right at the edge of being able to perform at the major league level (for a fraction of the cost).  The Cubs have some nice prospects that they are willing to part with in order to acquire a starting pitcher like Garza who would slide into the rotation next to Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster.  That would also allow the Cubs to move another starter (say Tom Gorzelanny, Randy Wells or Carlos Silva) to acquire a veteran reliever to go along side lefty set-up man Sean Marshall and closer Carlos Marmol.

Garza is only 27 years old – he went 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 32 starts in 2010 pitching in the tough AL East.  He has playoff experience is a fierce competitor.  Garza is also durable – he has made at least 30 starts for the Rays in each of the last 3 seasons.

Pena had this to say about his former Rays teammate — “Matt Garza is one of those pitchers that wherever he goes is going to be an incredible asset.  It’s no secret that he is extremely talented and the sky is the limit for a guy like him.  I think he’s got Cy Young potential, to be honest with you.  His stuff is electrifying.  I think anybody would like to have a guy like that.”

WOW – I’m actually excited about something that GM Jim Hendry might do this winter.  The Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers are also mix on this, so the Cubs are going to have to give up 2-3 good prospects to land Garza, but it would be worth it for an established pitcher like him…

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Quade Quotes & His Thoughts on Ryne Sandberg – Mike Quade Wrigley Field 10/21/10

Posted on 21 October 2010 by Lou

Just a few days after the Cubs hiring of Mike Quade as their new manager, I’m learning more and more about the guy that I like.  I like that he’s down to earth.  I like that he expects accountability, from himself AND his players.  I like that the players respect him and have come out to support the hire.  I like that he will rely upon the numbers and statistics, but will also manage with his gut and instincts.  An example – he told a story of how they were looking at Sean Marshall’s numbers against a particular batter late in the season.  The overall numbers were bad, but Quade decided to look deeper into the numbers and he found that Marshall had retired the batter each of the last 9 times he faced him and that most of the bad numbers occurred years ago when Marshall was used as a starting pitcher every so often.  So Quade went with his gut, used Marshall in the situation and he got the guy out again.  It’s stories like that that make you think he’s going to lead the 2011 Cubs team in a way that we haven’t seen a manager do since Lou Pinella did back during the 2nd half of 2007 and in all of 2008.  Pinella essentially gave up after that – during the Milton Bradley fiasco of a year in 2009 and when he decided to leave the team in August 2010 after an atrocious 2010 MLB season.  Something tells me that this Mike Quade guy won’t quit on the job like that – he can’t afford to if he expects to make the most of this golden opportunity.

Here are a few other quotes from Quade — “I’d loved the game and wanted to manage at this level, yeah. But when you get done playing and you’re young and you’re fired up and you’re going, ‘OK, three years, four years. I’ll start moving up the ladder and I’ll be there.’ And then, five years go by. You’re still staying after it. You love what you do. You’re teaching, working and then 10 years go by. You change your goals. All of a sudden, you’re going, ‘Wow, this is a tough gig,’ but all the while getting to do what I love to do… I talk so much about the process with the ballclub and it’s probably the same for me. If it ever get to a point where I said, ‘Gosh, am I going to get it?’ I probably would have walked away.”

Asked how he felt about the negative Cubs history — “But I’ve lived here and I was raised here. I get it. You’re totally aware of it. But it’s not going to do us any good at all as a ballclub or me as a manager or me as a person, to have that anywhere near my thoughts on a daily basis.”  That is the perfect response – let’s just hope he means it and can implement it.

As for his feelings about Ryne Sandberg potentially joining his staff at the major league level – “Having Sandberg join the staff is not impossible, that’s for sure… That would be a unique circumstance, but I’m telling you, everybody is on the table.  I would never say anybody is not available…  That would be a unique situation that Ryne and I would have to talk about. And look, by the way, he’s got other opportunities from what I understand. It’s not only what I want, necessarily, he’s got a lot of things to deal with as well. But we’ll have to see.”  That was a polite and professional way of saying, “not a chance in hell and I hope he goes elsewhere”, but what else was he supposed to say given how badly Sandberg campaigned for the job the last 4 season as he toiled and earned his stripes in the minor leagues.

However, you cut it, Quade has his work cut out for him.  The team really isn’t all that good and with payroll concerns in mind, it will be hard for GM Jim Hendry to add more valuable pieces to the puzzle from the outside.  The Cubs should still be able to draw a free agent or too into the mix (Adam Dunn at 1st base, maybe a starting pitcher or maybe a seasoned veteran reliever), but they will primarily place high expectations on some of the young players that will get considerable playing time in 2011 – Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Andrew Cashner, James Russell, Jeff Samardzija, Blake DeWitt and a few others.  If they put the pieces together, and the players continue to buy into the Quade magic, who knows, maybe we’ll see a team still in contention at the end of the summer.  It’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened…

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Does Anyone Really Want to Manage the 2011 Cubs?

Posted on 05 October 2010 by Lou

Does anyone really want to manage the 2011 version of the Cubs?  Most of the players that put together a 75-87 record in 2010 will be back on the squad for the 2011 MLB season.  That really doesn’t bode well for the next manager of the Chicago Cubs.  Tom Ricketts has already indicated that the 2011 payroll will be less than the $140+ million payroll that the Cubs had in 2010 (the highest in the National League).  With $103 million already on the books for 2011 and with arbitration-eligible players like Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill who are likely to earn raises this off-season, there clearly isn’t a lot of room for GM Jim Hendry to add from outside of the organization.  Maybe a new skipper could help the team manage a handful more wins, but that really doesn’t equate to being in contention in the National League – 80 wins just doesn’t cut it these days…

So who will the Cubs try to hire this off-season?  The last 3 Cubs managerial hires have been high profile managers — Don Baylor, Dusty Baker and Lou Pinella.  Does that mean a relatively unknown like Mike Quade has a leg up on the competition?

The Cubs could also pull from within.  Ryne Sandberg – while clearly not an unknown – has never managed at the Major League level.  Would he be the right fit for the Cubs?

Or will the Cubs go with a man with major league experience but who has not reached the level of the previous 3 managers – an Eric Wedge-type manager?

Lastly, could the Cubs go with another high profile guy – Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Girardi – are all free agent managers potentially looking for work in 2011.  If the Cubs want to try to land Girardi, they will have to wait until the Yankees are eliminated from the playoffs this October.  Odds are that he stays in the Big Apple.  But you never know and a call has to be made to cover all bases.

All this being sad, Mike Quade has indicated that he would love to continue to be the Cubs manager for the foreseeable future.  “I’m an optimist.  You see this club play well the at the end, and if they continue to play well and they play this thing out in the nest two weeks in good fashion, I’d go home, and whoever gets the job next year should be excited about this job.  That’s the way I feel.  It has no bearing on what happens this winter with Jim and what moves he makes.  A lot of guys have finished up well…  I’ve always believed in myself.  You can believe all you want, but you have to get here and do it and then self-evaluate the whole thing.  Things went well.  I’m proud of all the work I did in 30 years to have me ready to do something like this.  I don’t like to talk about it much, but yeah, it’s been fun and I’m proud of all the work we’ve done.”

Kudos to Quade.  He managed to get control of the team after Lou departed mid-season and he showed that he does have the ability to manage well at the major league level.  More importantly, the players responded well to Quade and he seemed to earn their respect.  While I don’t see the Ricketts Family and Hendry sticking with Quade as the manager long-term, I really hope they find a way to keep Quade within the Cubs organization.  He is that good at what he does…

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At Last — 2010 MLB Season Finally Over – Cubs 0, Astros 4 – 10/3/10

Posted on 04 October 2010 by Lou

The disappointing 2010 MLB season is finally over for the Cubs.  They closed out the season with a 4-0 loss to the Astros in Houston.  They finished the season with an embarrassing 75-87 record, for a team with the highest payroll in the National League.  And for as bad as everything went down during the season, there were definitely some bright spots as the season wrapped up.

You have to like the following:

Starlin Castro will be a legitimate star at shortstop for years to come.

Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall formed one of the nastiest late game duos in the National League.

Carlos Zambrano pitched like the ace that he is paid to be for the final 2 months of the season.

Tyler Colvin showed that he can play every day in the outfield.

And while the young Cubs pitchers had their share of awful outings in 2010, they also got a ton of experience, which should help the organization at some point in the next few years (hopefully 1 or 2 can even stand out with a dominant campaign in 2011).

So despite the 75-87 record, finishing 16 games behind the 1st place Cincinnati Reds, all is not bad on the North Side of Chicago…

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Gorzelanny, Cubs Finish off West Coast Road Trip Strong — Cubs 1, Padres 0 – 9/30/10

Posted on 01 October 2010 by Lou

The Cubs took 3 of 4 from the playoff-contending San Diego Padres this week, as they continue their strong play under interim skipper Mike Quade.

Tom Gorzelanny tossed 6 scoreless innings in his final start of 2010.  Gorzelanny scattered 3 hits and 4 walks during his outing and he struck out 3 Padres batters.  He didn’t get a decision, but it was a great way to end the season for Gorzelanny as he had an up-and-down season while bouncing between the bullpen and starting rotation.

The bullpen shined in the win once again.  Andrew Cashner has really finished the season strong – he retired all 4 batters that he faced with 2 strike outs.  From August 12th through the 21st, Cashner got roughed up giving up 7 ER in 5 appearances.  But since then – a stretch of 17 outings – Cashner has given up just a total of 3 earned runs.  During the positive stretch, he has a 1-1 record and he has racked up 9 holds.  The Cubs are going to need Cashner to play a prominent role in the Cubs bullpen in 2011 if they expect to have more consistency late in close games during the season.

Sean Marshall pitched 2/3 of an inning to keep the score tied at 0 at the end of 8 innings.  He earned the win – his 7th of the season – when the Cubs scored in the top of the 9th inning.  Carlos Marmol notched his 39th save by pitching a perfect 9th inning with 2 K’s.  He has now lowered his ERA to 2.58 and his WHIP to 1.20.  Marshall and Marmol should both expect to get big paydays – whether through a contract extension or arbitration – this offseason.

The Cubs offense was not great, but it managed to scrape across a run against Padres closer Heath Bell in the 9th inning.  Aramis Ramirez singled to lead-off the inning.  Darwin Barney pinch-ran for Ramirez and advanced to 2nd base on Xavier Nady’s sacrifice bunt.  Then Brad Snyder delivered the game winning hit with a single to shallow left field.  Blake DeWitt was the only Cubs player with more than 1 hit in the game – he had a single and a double off of Jon Garland.

The Cubs finish their season with a weekend series against the Astros in Houston.  Casey Coleman, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are scheduled to make the final 3 Cubs starts.

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