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…
Posted on 18 February 2012 by Lou
Pitchers and catchers report to the Cubs spring training camp in Mesa today. New Manager Dale Sveum and new pitching coach Chris Bosio are thrilled to get things going.
Sveum stated – “We have all the parts. They just have to get it done in the big leagues. We have plenty of guys who can have productive years.”
I like his optimism. With the new regime in place, let’s hope some guys feel a little added pressure and realize that they’re going to have to work hard and bring their “A-game” each and every day if they expect to find playing time for Sveum, Epstein and Hoyer for years to come.
Let’s Go Cubs!
Posted on 17 February 2012 by Lou
The Cubs still owe compensation to the Boston Red Sox for allowing the north siders to hire GM Theo Epstein as the Cubs new President of Baseball Operations. After the sides tried to work out the determination of that compensation on their own, the 2 sides have agreed to let Commissioner Bud Selig make the call. Although both sides remain mum on the situation, each team has presented a written argument to Selig regarding what it believes to be the proper “value” or “consideration for the Epstein departure to the Cubs. Selig has given no indication where he stands on the issue and he has not given a timetable for when his decision will be disclosed to the teams.
Now that it looks like Carl Crawford is going to start the season on the DL, maybe we can send Alfonso Soriano their way for a few extra million?! He could even DH for them once Big Papi leaves after the 2012 campaign.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything…
Posted on 15 February 2012 by Lou
Wow – I was a bit nervous when I heard that Kosuke Fukudome was heading back to Chicago. Thankfully it’s on the south side with GM Kenny Williams and the White Sox.
Fukudome will make $500,000 in 2012 and the White Sox have a 2013 club option worth $3 million. Or they can just buy him out for another $500,000 before the start of the season. And to think that the Cubs actually paid him $48 million for his 4 years on the north side. Good old GM Jim Hendry – every player’s (and player’s agent) best friend.
After the Cubs outbid everyone to land the Japanese League MVP back in 2008, Fukudome went on to become an average (at best) major league outfielder. Sure, he made the All-Star team in his 1st year with the Cubs (pretty much every Cub did that season except for back-up catcher Koyie Hill). And if you’re looking for someone with a great on-base percentage (.361 career average) but very little offensive skills, Kosuke is your man. In 4 seasons in the NL, Fukudome had a .260 batting average, with 42 HR’s, 191 RBI’s, 262 runs scored, 491 hits and 299 walks. But if you look more closely at his numbers, he had 129 hits and scored 79 runs in each of his 1st 2 seasons with the Cubs, so his numbers have really dropped off the last 2 years.
Fukudome turns 35 years old in April, so he will be nothing more than a back-up/spot starter for Robin Ventura’s White Sox during the 2012 MLB campaign. Assistant GM Rick Hahn pretty much echoed those sentiments when discussing his role with the White Sox – “We’re not looking for this guy to come in and completely change his approach. We just want him to be the player he’s proven to be over the last four years.” Good luck with that one…
Posted on 13 February 2012 by Lou
The A’s signed Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes to a 4-year, $36 million deal further proving that the Cubs are the best decoys in baseball today. Cespedes himself said that he felt like the Cubs were the most active team pursuing him for his services. And from the sounds of things, it doesn’t look like the Cubs even made him a competitive offer (the Marlins reportedly offered Cespedes $36 million as well, but for 6 years of his time). Go back to the Albert Pujols saga. Supposedly the Cubs made Pujols a legit offer. Shortly thereafter, he signed a 10-year deal with the Angels. The Cubs were allegedly quietly pursuing Prince Fielder too. But no offer was made and Fielder signed a 9-year deal with the Tigers.
Theo Epstein and his crew have always been known for keeping things close to the vest and for potentially disseminating exaggerated information. And it looks like that trend has already started with the Cubs. Most of the time I like the tactic. You might be able to drive up the price of a player who you know you will never sign. It might also help you sneak in and snag a player out from someone else’s grasp if you really want them that bad. But right now, with the Cubs team in such shambles, it’s hard to hear all of these rumors floating around all the time and then come up empty-handed. Granted with Cespedes, I would have been completely shocked if they made a crazy offer to sign a 26-year old Cuban defector who has never played a single inning at the major league level. It just didn’t fit into the new management’s MO. You’re gonna pass on Pujols and Fielder – 2 proven stars – but then throw a ton of cash at someone in the hopes that he’ll be a star?! No way.
So another day has passed and the Cubs have stayed pat, waiting their time. Sure, more salary comes off the books in 2013. No more Ryan Dempster. No more Marlon Byrd. And maybe with only 2-years and $36 million left on his deal, the Cubs will be willing to move Alfonso Soriano and eat $25-30 million just for a team to take him. If some of these youngsters show some promise (Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, Adrian Cardenas), then maybe Theo and Co. will target a free agent or 2 to try to sign in the off-season to complement the major league roster. But it is sure going to be a slow process on the north side. Based on their moves (or rather lack of moves) this winter, it is clear that they have a plan and that they are going to stick to that plan no matter what…
Posted on 08 February 2012 by Lou
The Cubs released infielder Blake DeWitt in order to pick up Adrian Cardenas off of waivers from the Oakland A’s. This was an interesting move.
DeWitt played in 121 games for the Cubs in 2011 – .265 batting average with 5 HR’s, 11 doubles and 25 RBI’s.
Cardenas, on the other hand, played 127 games with Triple-A Sacramento. His offensive numbers were impressive – .314 batting average, 5 HR’s, 28 doubles, 70 runs scored and 51 RBI’s. He is younger and primarily a 2nd baseman, but he also played multiple games at 3rd base and left field for the A’s minor league squad. He is a left-handed hitter who throws right-handed and could make a spirited run at de-throning Darwin Barney from his starting 2nd base job.
DeWitt is clearly more of a back-up infielder these days, while Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer see Cardenas as an up-and-coming youngster who could surprise some people at the major league level. He was picked up by the Phillies as the 37th overall pick in the 2006 draft and has been in the A’s organization since July 2008. And you gotta love what the A’s can do with raw talent…
Posted on 06 February 2012 by Lou
The Cubs have signed Gerardo Concepcion to a multi-year deal worth around $7 million. Concepcion is a Cuban defector who burst onto the scene in 2010-2011 with a dominant rookie year in the Cuban National Series. Concepcion had a 10-3 record with a nasty 3.36 ERA. He started 16 games and is only 18 years old. Nice. Concepcion defected at the World Port Tourney in Rotterdam, Amsterdam (the same tourney from which Cincinnati Reds’ stud Aroldis Chapman defected a few years back), and recently completed his Mexican residency requirement to become eligible to negotiate with major league teams. Concepcion is training in the Dominican Republic – not surprising that Cubs Owner Tom Ricketts was just there to announce the building of a new baseball academy nearby.
I like this move. Don’t know if he is going to pan out, but for $7 million, if he can give the Cubs something 2-3 years down the line similar to Chapman, that would be a huge step in the right direction. Exposure in the DR should help as well. Maybe we can convince some young talented international players to give a look at the Cubs organization with Theo, Jed and Jason at the helm…
Posted on 03 February 2012 by Lou
The Cubs and Matt Garza avoided a scheduled arbitration hearing today when the 2 sides reached agreement on a $9.5 million deal for the 2012 MLB campaign. Graza had requested a $12.5 million salary (more than double the $5.9 million that he earned in 2011), while the Cubs countered with a $7.95 million figure. Both sides were probably “way off” on their numbers, so it was a good idea for the 2 camps to agree somewhere in the middle. Garza has gotta be happy with a near $4 million-raise, and the Cubs are going to have to decide very soon whether or not they intend to trade Garza before the start of the season or ink him to a long-term deal. Theo & Co. have to be hoping that one of the big teams – NY Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Anaheim Angels or Philadelphia Phillies – get hit with a starting pitching injury during training camp. If that happens, they might get the right package that they’ve been waiting for for the reliable and durable Garza.
In his first full season with the Cubs, Garza went 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA. He had a stellar 8.96 K’s per 9 innings and he also had another 7 games in which he left with the lead but got tagged with a no decision when the Cubs bullpen blew it. At only 28 years old, the Cubs could also consider signing him to a long-term deal (somewhere in the range of 5 years-$65million), but given where his agents requested a $12.5 million salary for 2012, that might not even get it done. Plus, given how Theo & Co. continue to try to get younger and deeper, they may be more inclined to trade Garza, stock-pile some young talent, shed more salary and wait to fight another day when another top-tier free agent pitcher is out there. If some of their young pitchers mature and develop as expected, they could use the extra salary to bring in an ace to complement and tutor the youngsters. Guess we’ll see how it all plays out…