Posted on 20 December 2012 by Lou
What — the Cubs are close to signing Edwin Jackson to a 4-year, $52 million deal? This does not make any sense at all. What happened to Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer building from within and building for the future. Jackson is 29 years old. He went 10-11 with a 4.03 in a pitcher-friendly Nationals Park pitching against weak NL East opponents like the New York Mets, Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies. He has a career 4.40 ERA with a 70-71 record. His best season came 5 years ago when he went 14-11 with the Tampa Rays and a “sparkling” 4.42 ERA? All these stats warrant a $13 million dollar deal from the Cubs. It’s not like the Cubs are going to be doing anything in 2013 and maybe not even 2014. So way waste $26 million a guy for 2 lost seasons. Especially given all the other cost-cutting moves that the Cubs have made since Theo & Co. took over back in November 2011, this move really doesn’t make any sense at all to me.
I guess he has started at least 31 games in every season since 2007, so he is durable. And I guess this gives them some flexibility to move a Matt Garza at the trading deadline next season to bring back some more pitching prospects, but Cubs brass is really going to have to work to convince me that this was the right move for the Cubs to make at this juncture…
Posted on 10 December 2012 by Lou
The Cubs opted to re-sign 3B Ian Stewart to a 1-year deal this weekend. Stewart will have a base salary of $2 million and there are incentives in the deal that could net Stewart an additional $500,000. With the free agent market thin at the third base position, and with the lackluster performance from young prospect Josh Vitters in 2012 (.121 batting average in 99 at-bats in 36 games), the Cubs were kind of “forced” to re-sign Stewart despite his paltry 2012 numbers. Stewart racked up only 202 at-bats in 55 games in 2012 due to a wrist injury. He had a surgery on the wrist to fix the nagging problem and is on track to be ready for Spring Training 2013. Let’s hope so. He hit just .201 with 5 HR’s, 17 RBI’s and a pathetic .292 on-base percentage. Looks like GM Jed Hoyer and President Theo Epstein are still looking for their 3rd baseman of the future in the coming seasons…
Posted on 09 December 2012 by Lou
The Cubs and right-handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa officially agreed to a 3-year, $9.5 million deal on Friday. Fujikawa is 32 years old and will likely serve as a set-up man to current Cubs closer Carlos Marmol. GM Jed Hoyer and President Theo Epstein are confident that a more consistent back-end of the rotation will lead to more W’s in 2013. With Marmol, Fujikawa, James Russell and Shawn Camp ready to shoulder a good chunk of the load, that should allow Manager Dale Sveum a few more options during the long season and hopefully keep guys more fresh as the season wears on. It could also give Epstein and Hoyer some flexibility to move Marmol (who is owed $9.8 million in 2013) at some point in order to bring back a few young arms and help deepen the Cubs pitching potential in the minor leagues.
The Cubs signed Fujikawa to a “team-friendly contract” of 2 years and $9.5 million. He gets a $1 million signing bonus plus salaries of $4 million in each of 2013 and 2014. The Cubs can buy him out for $500,000 at the end of 2014 if Fujikawa does not meet a “games-finished” option that vests if he meets a certain level. The dollar value for the 2015 vesting option is either $5.5 million or $6 million.
Hoyer had this to say about the addition – “Our goal is to have the best bullpen possible. Kyuji certainly adds to that. He’s had a great career. If you look at his career, he was a dominant setup guy first and a dominant closer. We know he can do both roles. We look at it as adding a great arm, and we don’t worry about the role.”
Little by little the Cubs are piecing together their 2013 roster. While they are not going to make any splashy moves this off-season, at least it seems like they have a plan to address a few of the areas that really hurt the club in 2012. That could mean a team that is more competitive in 2013 – http://www.ticketchest.com/sports/MLB_Tickets/Chicago_Cubs/ – let’s hope…
Posted on 01 December 2012 by Lou
The Cubs are in hot pursuit of Japanese closer Kyuji Fujikawa. Fujikawa, 32, has pitched in 12 seasons for the Hanshin Tigers. He has racked up 220 saves during that time with a 1.77 ERA. The deal is supposedly for 2 years and $9.5 million. The Cubs have not confirmed the deal although it is believed that the only remaining hurdle is a Fujikawa physical.
While some scouts believe that Fujikawa can close in the big leagues, other scouts seem to think that he is better suited as a setup man for a more-established closer (especially since he has not pitched70 innings in any season since 2007). We’re not sure if Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein will continue to shop current closer Carlos Marmol once the deal is announced, but it could give the Cubs some flexibility now or before the 2013 trading deadline.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything concrete.
Posted on 13 November 2012 by Lou
The Cubs and Scott Baker have agreed on a 1-year deal for the 2013 MLB season. Baker missed the entire 2012 season once he had Tommy John surgery in April. He is expected to be able to be in the Cubs starting rotation coming out of spring training. In 2011, Baker appeared in 23 games, even posting a solid 2.86 ERA through the first 3 months of the season. But an elbow strain sidelined him for much of the rest of the campaign and although he did pitch at the end of the season, he never was the same. The elbow soreness lingered all throughout the winter, so he opted for the surgery in April 2012.
Baker had this to say about the signing: “I truly believe if you put the work in and prepare yourself for every start, that’s the best you can do. Once you go out there and you are fully prepared then it’s about executing pitches…. I’m excited working with the coaching staff and medical staff. It’s a big season for me and the organization. I look forward to giving the team a chance to win.”
President of Baseball Ops Theo Epstein talked about the risk of signing a player coming off of Tommy John surgery: “I think we are very comfortable placing our bet on Scott Baker… Obviously there are no certainties on rehabs, but we spent quite a bit of time on the medical and on the rehab, and it was described by our staff as an ideal Tommy John rehab so far. Knock on wood. Everything has one perfectly so far, and he has really attacked it in an ideal manner.”
Go Cubs Go – Now it looks like we have our 4th starter. I still hope the Theo & Co. add 2 more starters just in case there are a few setbacks with Baker. Guess we’ll have to see what happens along the way, but I like the Baker move…
Posted on 06 November 2012 by Lou
For the 2nd time in 5 months, a Cubs trade fell apart right at the last minute and left a yearning Cubs fan base begging for answers. It was reported that the Cubs had dealt Carlos Marmol to the Anaheim Angels for starter Dan Haren early Friday evening by a reporter from the Chicago Sun Times and Bruce Levine of Chicago’s ESPN Radio 1000 (a similar non-trade occurred back in early July when it was erroneously reported that the Cubs had traded Ryan Dempster to the Atlanta Braves for coveted young starter Randall Delgado). But within an hour or so of those reports, the deal fell apart. The Angels declined to pick up Haren’s team option for $15.5 million for the 2013 MLB season and essentially bought him out for $3.5 million thereby making him a free agent. The Cubs are believed to have obtained Marmol’s consent to the trade (he had a full no trade clause), but it is still unclear if the Cubs did not relay that message quickly enough for them to exercise Haren’s option before the Friday night deadline or if there were other issues consummating the trade.
Knowing how thorough Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer are, maybe they had concerns with Haren’s lingering back issues during the 2012 campaign. Haren (32 years old) landed on the DL for the 1st time in his career and appeared in only 30 games tossing less than 200 innings for the 1st time in his career. Maybe that gave the Cubs pause, especially since they were fully expected to use Haren as a 3-month “rental” in order to deal him prior to the July 2013 trading deadline for prospects.
Or maybe Marmol never really consented to the deal.
Or maybe there was still a hang-up between the Cubs and Angels on money to be paid by either side. Did the Cubs want the Angels to pay a portion of Haren’s salary since Marmol was only slated to earn $9 million during the 2013 season.
Maybe we’ll never know. In any event, the Cubs still have Marmol for one more season and will likely deal him this off-season or in the first few months of the season to a team that is struggling with closer/back of the end bullpen issues. We’ll keep you posted as soon as anything develops…
Posted on 28 May 2012 by Lou
On a hot and humid day at Wrigley Field, the Cubs ended their 12-game skid with a 11-7 slugfest over the San Diego Padres on Memorial Day. Powered by a 14-hit attack including 4 homers, the Cubs finally picked up a win for the 1st time in exactky 2 weeks – the Cubs last won against the Cardinals in St. Louis on May 14th.
Randy Wells picked up the win going 1 2/3 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits. He picked up after Travis Wood labored through his 5 innings – 6 ER on 7 hits and 3 walks. Wood surrendered 4 homers in the hitter-friendly day at the Friendly Confines.
Darwin Barney, Ian Stewart, Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro each hit home runs in the slugfest. Bryan LaHair had 3 hits, 1 RBI and 3 rns scored. Soriano also had 3 hits and 3 RBI’s. David DeJesus, Castro and Stewart added 3 hits apiece.
The Cubs just missed setting the franchise record for most consecutive losses – which was 14.
Let’s hope the Cubs can make it a winning streak when the 2 teams square off again at Wrigley on Tuesday afternoon with Jeff Samardzija going for the Cubs.
Before the game, President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer spoke to the media about the state of the Cubs. It was not all positive – obviously – but the duo feel that they have the organization going in the right direction…
Posted on 20 April 2012 by Lou
The losses keep piling up for skipper Dale Sveum and his mediocre ball club. The Reds handed the Cubs a 9-4 loss today at Wrigley Field in a brutally cold, annoying contest. I’m not sure how I missed this, especially after a lot of positives built up during a “successful” spring training. But this team is bad and it is going to take a LONG time for Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and staff to build it back up.
Chris Volstad dropped to 0-2 after giving up 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and 2 walks in his 5 innings of work. His 1.38 WHIP and 6.19 ERA needs to improve. The Cubs position players didn’t help much – they committed 3 errors in the field and managed just 5 hits. The Reds committed 2 errors themselves leading to 3 unearned runs on the day. Not good when only 1 of your 4 runs scored was a legit run. The star of the day was clean-up hitter Bryan LaHair who had 2 doubles on the day.
The Cubs also got some bad news off the field. They placed Kerry Wood on the 15-day with shoulder tiredness. And Ryan Dempster has a sore right quadriceps muscles which he had examined in Chicago today. If he can’t go on Sunday against the Reds, Randy Wells will make the spot start for the Cubs in the series finale against the Reds.
The Cubs are now on a 6-game losing streak. Their 3-11 record is the worst in baseball and they trail the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals by 6.5 games already…
Posted on 25 February 2012 by Lou
The Cubs and Chairman Tom Ricketts have indicated that there will be Wrigley Field construction scheduled in the near future. As for those rumors swirling around that the Cubs would play a full MLB season at either U.S. Cellular Field on the south side or Miller Park in Milwaukee in order to expedite the construction project? Not likely.
Ricketts quickly shot down those rumors in Mesa – “There’s no plans for us to play anywhere else but Wrigley Field.” That was that. He also talked about his excitement for the upcoming as his new team takes shape for 2012 – “My message is, we talk about let’s use all 40 days as best we can and just communicate with them…. We want to be the best organization in baseball. If there’s feedback, make sure it gets up to us so we can do the best that we can…. I talk to Theo all the time; it’s great.”
Maybe we’ll see a World Series title in the near future?!
Posted on 21 February 2012 by Lou
Finally – the Cubs have to send reliever Chris Carpenter to the Boston Red Sox as compensation for hiring away Theo Epstein as its new President of Baseball Operations. This was a long time coming and although Carpenter has only had 10 mediocre major league appearances, it seems like a “too high” price to pay for someone that doesn’t even take the field. Throw in the fact that the Red Sox chose NOT to keep Epstein (he was under contract as the Red Sox GM for 1 more year and they could have renegotiated an extension with him if they wanted to), and this seems like a bit of a coup for the Red Sox who are in need of pitching help anywhere they can find it.
Epstein had this to say – “I am relieved that this process is over and particularly pleased that the teams were able to reach agreement on their own without intervention from MLB… I truly hope and believe that this resolution will benefit both clubs, as well as Chris, who is an extremely talented reliever joining a great organization at a time when there’s some opportunity in the major league bullpen.”
Carepenter is 26 years old and he appeared in 42 games for the Cubs in 2011 – at the Double-A, Triple-A and major league levels. He appeared in 10 games at the big league level – 2.79 ERA. In 4 minor league season, Carpenter is 21-19 with a 3.62 ERA.
At least this is finally over…