Tag Archive | "Starlin Castro"

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This Silence is Torture…

Posted on 24 November 2014 by Lou

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While other teams keep getting better, the Cubs still just keep waiting around for something good to happen.

Sure we traded reliever Arodys Vizcaino to acquire Tommy La Stella 8 days ago, but since then, all that’s happened is a non-occurrence — we didn’t get Russell Martin, our #1 free agent target. The Cubs next set their sights on free agent pitcher on Jon Lester and from most accounts, Theo & Co. could swing and miss on that one too.  Lester will likely resign with the team that traded him to the Oakland A’s this past summer – the Boston Red Sox, unless the Cubs blow him out of the water with a contract that he just can’t turn down.  And if that’s what it takes to get him, is it really worth it to overpay a 31-year old starter by $20-30 million just so you can appease your fan base with a move?

The Competition

Speaking of the Red Sox, they announced 2 big free agent signings today (maybe desperate ones at that) to land Pablo Sandoval (5 years, close to $100 million) and Hanley Ramirez (4 years, $88 million, with a 5th vesting year).  The Red Sox hitting was inconsistent and bad in 2014, thus leading to a last place finish, so the Red Sox addressed their hitting needs with 2 big signings.  Maybe they’ll work or maybe they won’t.  But they focused on a need and they did something about it.  Assuming they sign Lester and trade away a few position players for another high level starter, the Red Sox could have the best winter of any team in baseball.  The Cards traded for Jason Hey ward. The Marlins locked up their mega star Giancarlo Stanton with a mega $300+ million deal.  And even the Cubs’ cross-town rivals have quietly added 2 important pieces — lefty Zach Duke to give some stability to bullpen and Adam LaRoche to give some protection for Current Rookie of The Year Jose Abreu.  Everyone seems to be in on the action except for the Cubs.

Preaching Patience

I understand that there is still plenty of time this winter to get things done.  And I keep reminding myself that ever though the team is improving and should be better under the guidance of Joe Maddon, in all likelihood 2015 really isn’t the year that everything will click.  But I hate sitting back waiting for things to happen like this.  It reminds me of another Chicago sports franchise hoarding their assets telling fans to be patient while it all comes together.  The Chicago Bulls had a healthy MVP Derrick Rose and the “Bench Mob” leading them up against the hated Lebron James and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Other teams were courting our bench-mob “assets”, but John Paxson and Gar Forman and Co. kept telling everyone “Sorry — they’re untouchable”.  Well look what happened there – Lebron James single-handedly stopped Rose in that finals. And after 2 Rose knee injuries, the Bulls haven’t been back to the Eastern Conference Finals and all those “assets” are long gone with nothing received in return.  If we can’t seem to lure a free agent here, then maybe Theo & Co. need to get creative.  Sure Starlin Castro is a 3-time all-star, but maybe he could land us a Jordan Zimmerman or Doug Fister in return.  Sure Javier Baez might go on to be a stud, but if he can be part of a package for a high level starter, let’s do it.  If we truly have the deepest farm system in all of baseball, then using 2 or 3 of those chips this off-season to get better in 2015 should not really make that big of a difference in the long run.  I’m not saying that Theo & Co. should just trade away chips on a whim, but if the right deal is there, they shouldn’t be afraid to make a move like that.  I just don’t want to be sitting here in 2016 watching Javier Baez still striking out 200+ times while hitting .225 while his trade value plummets, when we could have used him to acquire a key asset in winter 2014.  Do you?

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Not the Way Theo & Co. Drew It Up…

Posted on 17 November 2014 by Lou

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Theo & Co. and the Cubs thought that maybe they had caught the rest of the league by surprise with a “big trade” late Sunday afternoon.  The Cubs dealt Arodys Vizcaino back to the Atlanta Braves (they had acquired him just a few months after Tommy John surgery during the 2012 trade deadline for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson) for 2nd baseman Tommy La Stella.  I have my issues with this trade for a few reasons (see below), but was glad that they were being proactive before the “big moves” this winter.

I was still licking my chops for the big signings of Russell Martin and Jon Lester sometime this week and maybe even a bigger splash with a blockbuster trade for a Cole Hamels, Giancarlo Stanton or a Jason Heyward.

But then all hell broke loose on Monday.  The Braves announced that they had traded Heyward to our hated rivals — the St. Louis Cardinals.  The Cards had had to give up Shelby Miller for Heyward, but it was still like getting stabbed in the back.

Then the Toronto Blue Jays announced that they had enticed “our” catcher, Canadian Russell Martin up across the border with the promise of a 5th guaranteed year and a whopping $82 million. Ouch.  Guess that was too rich for our blood.

Now our big trade for uber-on-base guy La Stella isn’t even one of the Top 20 ESPN MLB stories anymore…

That leads me back to my issues with the La Stella trade.  Don’t we have enough middle infielders already — Starlin Castro, Javier Baez, Addison Russell and Arismendy Alcantara?  Why do we need another guy there?  Sure I love his on-base percentage numbers, but his numbers dipped big time after teams had time to really scout him.  In his 1st 46 games in the majors last season, La Stella hit .297 with a .747 OPS.  But check out what happened in his final 47 games of the season — .201 batting average with a .534 OPS.  Not good.

Couple that with giving up one of our “power arms” who really helped solidify our bullpen in 2014, this trade concerns me.  Theo & Co. have raved up Vizcaino and how good he looked in Triple-A in 2014 and how close he was to really contributing at the big league level.  You’re gonna give that up for a utility infielder who isn’t gonna play everyday?  No way.

This wreaks of a trade which leads to another trade.  Maybe Baez or Alcantara or both are going to be moved in order to acquire a Cole Hamels, a Jordan Zimmerman or a Zach Wheeler.  Having La Stella step in as your everyday 2nd baseman is a conservative, stable move, full well knowing that you’ll have Kris Bryant up pretty soon in April to bolster your offense.

Guess we’ll have to be patient and see what happens.  We’ll keep you posted as soon as anything breaks…

 

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Cubs Drop 1st Two Games in DC, Look to Rebound with Volstad on the Hill – Wrigley Field 9/4/12

Posted on 04 September 2012 by Lou

The Nationals have taken the 1st 2 games of the series against the Cubs with 2-1 and 11-5 victories.  The Nats improved their major league best record to 83-52.

Jeff Samardzija pitched well on Labor Day, but suffered the loss as the Cubs could not muster any offense. Samardzija fell to 8-13 on the season despite allowing just 1 ER on 7 hits and 1 walk in 7 innings pitched.  He struck out 8 and walked just 1 batter as he lowered his ERA to 3.91 and his WHIP to 1.26.  Starlin Castro and Wellington Castillo each had 2 hits in the loss and Castillo knocked in the only Cubs run with a single in the 9th inning that cut the Nats lead in half.  But it was too little too late.

Chris Rusin and the Cubs bullpen served up 6 homers to the Nationals in the 11-5 loss on Tuesday night.  Rusin lasted just 1 inning (he did not record an out in the 2nd inning) before being pulled by Skipper Dale Sveum.  His line was not pretty — 5 ER on 8 hits with a walk and a strikeout.  His WHIP ballooned to 2.00 as his ERA skyrocketed to 9.00.  It was his 2nd loss in 2 starts this season.  Alfonso Soriano did hit his 26th home run and tallied his 2nd triple of the season.  Luis Valbuena, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro each had 2 hits in the loss.

The Cubs are a woeful 51-84 on the season and it looks like they could suffer a 100-loss season in 2012.  Ouch…

At least they are still finding ways to have fun – check out the picture of Rookie picture Jaye Chapman carrying the “Dora The Explorer Backpack” to the Cubs bullpen before the start of the game!

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Volstad Wins Again; Barney Streaking Along, Castro Big Money-Big Numbers – Wrigley Field 8/31/12

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Lou

Chris Volstad picked up his 2nd win in a row after going winless in 24 straight starts.  Volstad pitched 5 2/3 effective innings, allowing just 2 ER on 5 hits and 3 walks.  He is now 2-9 on the season.

In the Cubs 6-4 win, Anthony Rizzo, Alfonso Soriano and Wellington Castillo each had 2 hits.  Soriano hit his 24th homer of the season and drove in 3 runs.  Rizzo hit his 10th long ball of the season.

Darwin Barney played in his 116th straight errorless game at 2nd base, extending the National League single-season record that he set on Wednesday night.

And just 2 days after signing a monster 7-year, $60 million contract extension, Starlin Castro had 2 hits, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI’s in the Cubs dramatic, come-from-behind 12-11 win over the Brewers on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.  Castro is hitting .277 on the season with 12 home runs, 65 runs scored and 65 RBI’s.  Castro received a $6 million signing bonus and the rest of the deal breaks down like this — $5 million in 2013 and 2014; $6 million in 2015; $7 million in 2016; $9 million in 2017; $10 million in 2018 and $11 million in 2019.  Castro will be a fixture in the Cubs lineup for years to come…

Cubs continue the weekend series against the Giants on Saturday afternoon at 12 noon.

 

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Finally – Chris Volstad Picks Up 1st Win in 25 Starts! – Wrigley Field 8/26/12

Posted on 27 August 2012 by Lou

Chris Volstad finally ended the streak – picking up his 1st win in 25 starts.  Volstad had to endure 2 rain delays (1 for over 2 hours that delayed the start of the game and then 1 more after 8 innings that lasted a half hour before the umpires made the game official).  Volstad was glad to get the “monkey” off his back: “I got a pretty big welcome, reception whatever you want to call it when they called the game.  Everyone was prety happy. I was pretty happy, as well… There is a little sense of relief to get it over with.”

Volstad worked 6 2/3 scoreless innings to endure the win.  He scattered 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3.

On the offensive side, David DeJesus, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro each had 3 hits in the win.  Castro scored 3 runs.

The Cubs are now 49-77 and they host the Milwaukee Brewers for a 4-game set at Wrigley Field starting tonight.

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Cubs Take 2 of 3 From Marlins as Samardzija & Maholm Shine – Wrigley Field 7/19/12

Posted on 19 July 2012 by Lou

The Cubs took the final 2 games of the series against the Marlins to keep their winning ways rolling.  They took 5 of 6 games on the current homestand to open up the 2nd half of the MLB campaign.

In Wednesday night’s rain-shortened 5-1 win, Jeff Samardzija struck out 9 in just 5 innings and limited the marlins to only 1 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks. James Russell picked up the win by pitching a scoreless 7th inning despite allowing 2 runners to reach base.  Starlin Castro tied the game at 1 in the 4th inning with his 8th homer of the season.  And the Cubs earned the win before the rains came by tallying 4 runs in the 7th.  Geovany Soto had an RBI single, Jeff Baker had a 2-run single and David DeJesus plated the final run with a sacrifice fly.

In Thursday’s matinee, Paul Maholm pitched 8 innings of 1-run ball, scattering 5 hits and 1 walk.  Maholm improved to 8-6 and lowered his WHIP to 1.29 and his ERA to 4.09.  Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th when he walked the lead-off hitter and allowed him to score on a single.  But he closed out the game to pick up his 11th save and preserve the 4-2 win.  Alfonso Soriano hit his 18th homer to get the Cubs on the board in the 5th inning.  And Reed Johnson capped off the 4-run 5th inning with a 2-out, 2-run single to left field.  Johnson, Soriano, Jeff Baker and Darwin Barney each had 2 hits in the win.

Now it’s onto St. Louis to take on the Cardinals in what could be Ryan Dempster’s final 2012 start as a Cubs player on Friday night.

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Ozzie, Lee, Marlins Crush Wood, Cubs 9-5 @ Friendly Confines – Wrigley Field 07/17/12

Posted on 17 July 2012 by Lou

Travis Wood was due for a bad outing.  The lefty surrendered 8 ER on 8 hits and 2 walks before Manager Dale Sveum mercifully pulled the starter with 2 outs in the top of the 5th inning.  Wood did strike out 6 batters, but Carlos Lee’s 2 hits and grand slam were just too much for Wood to handle.  Lee continued his penchant for crushing the ball at Wrigley Field.

David DeJesus, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Luis Valbuena each had 2 hits for the Cubs in the loss.

The game marked the return of former White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen and former Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano.  Zambrano was apologetic to the media and Cubs fans before the game: “I still love these fans… I apologize for any inconvenience and anything that I did.  The only thing that I wanted to do in Chicago is win, and I really apologize to the Cubs fans and the people here who treated me good.”  Ozzie, on the other hand, was less diplomatic.  Before the game, he issued a listed of Chicago media who were NOT ALLOWED to attend any of his media press conferences pre- or post-game.  One of those included on the list is long-time ESPN Radio 1000 sage Bruce Levine.  Bruce Levine has been in the baseball business for over a century and he has know Ozzie for almost 30 years.  But Ozzie took offense that Levine did not support Ozzie more when the Marlins suspended Ozzie for 5 games early in the season for statements he made about Cuba’s President Fidel Castro which angered the Miami Latina community.  Levine suggested that Ozzie should be suspended indefinitely until Ozzie, the Marlins baseball organization and the community could patch things up.  That did not sit well with Ozzie who immediately issued an apologetic statement after he made the Castro comments.  This is just another example of Ozzie being Ozzie – what do you expect?

In any event, Jeff Samardzija looks to kick off the 2nd half of the MLB season on a positive note.  He’ll square off against Josh JOhnson in Game 2 of the series tonight.

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Happy All-Star Game – Kansas City – Wrigley Field 7/10/12

Posted on 10 July 2012 by Lou

Happy All-Star Game from your friends at MyCubsToday.com!

Matt Cain gets the start for the National League while Justin Verlander goes for the American League.

Cubs fans get to root for Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair.

Go National League Go!!!

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Cubs Top Mets 7-0; Take 2 out of 3 @ CITI Field – Wrigley Field 7/9/12

Posted on 09 July 2012 by Lou

The Chicago Cubs beat the NY Mets 7-0 on Sunday to take 2 of 3 from the Mets on the weekend right before the All-Star Break.  Ryan Dempster earned his 4th win of the season, pitching 5 scoreless innings in his 1st start since being on the DL with a strained muscle.  He struck out 4 batters and more importantly did not walk a batter.  And he looks primed and ready to go for the 2nd half of the season once he gets traded to a contender.  Dempster will be in high demand.

Reed Johnson, Starlin Castro and Jeff Baker each had 2 hits to power the Cubs offense.  Castro hit a 3-run homer off of Jon Niese to break the game open in the 7th inning.

The Cubs finished the 1st half with a miserable 33-52 record.  They have a 1/2 game better record than the Houston Astros to avoid having the worst record in baseball at the break.  They trail the Cincinnati Reds by 15 games in the NL Central race.  Ha ha ha!

At least we have Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair to root for in the All-Star Game and Anthony Rizzo to root for in the 2nd half of what is shaping up to be another frustrating season on the north side of Chicago.

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Cubs Belt 5 Home Runs en Route to 12-3 Laugher Over White Sox – Wrigley Field 6/19/12

Posted on 19 June 2012 by Lou

It’s also nice to get an easy win – especially for the Cubs who still have the worst record in all of baseball at 23-44.  The Cubs belted 5 home runs and cruised to an easy 12-3 win over the White Sox on the south side.  It was the 1st time the Cubs beat the White Sox in 4 tries this year.  Matt Garza pitched 6 innings on a 90+-degree night and won just his 3rd game of the season. He gave up 3 ER on 2 home runs, but limited the damage while striking out 6.  He lowered his WHIP to 1.11, but his ERA is still over 4 at 4.07.

The Cubs clobbered 15 hits and scored 12 runs.  Starlin Castro had 3 hits (1 home run), 2 RBI’s and 3 runs scored.  Bryan LaHair added 2 hits, 2 RBI’s and 1 run scored on his 13th homer of the year.  Alfonso Soriano (1 home run) had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.  But the real star was Luis Valbuena who added 3 hits including a 3-run homer in the 7th inning.  He has raised his batting average to .294 while getting extended playing time while Ian Stewart is injured.

Jake Peavy and Travis Wood get to face the 90+degree elements tonight in what should be another high-scoring affair.  Look for lots more long balls – this time probably a few more from the south siders who “only” hit 2 on Monday night.

Go Cubs Go!!!

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