Tag Archive | "Tom Gorzelanny"

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Could Cubs Make Play for Starter Ben Sheets?

Posted on 12 January 2010 by Lou

Ben Sheets is still on the market and the longer this drags on his asking price could continue to come down.  So far, it doesn’t appear that anyone is in a bidding war for the often-injured starting pitcher, so who knows – maybe he could find himself pitching on the North Side at Wrigley Field after spending most of his career pitching just north of the Illinois border in Milwaukee.

Sheets’ “handlers” have indicated that the pitcher is looking for a 2-year deal worth about $10-12 million per year.  Given where the Cubs are right now payroll-wise, that seems like way too much money to take a flyer on an injury risk like Sheets.  Sheets did not pitch at all in 2009 because he ended up testing the free agency market after the 2008 MLB season and then discovered he needed surgery in January to repair torn flexor tendon in his right throwing elbow.  Sheets could have come back for a contender at the end of the 2009 MLB season, but he decided to take a full year off to fully heal the injury.  In 2008, Sheets pitched 198 1/3 innings in 31 starts, going 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA.

The Cubs expect their 2010 MLB payroll to hit $140 million.  They have $125 currently committed and still have 8 arbitration-eligible players who will get raises in 2010.  The Cubs have 3 starters inked in for the start of the 2010 MLB schedule – Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells.  Ted Lilly had surgery in early November to repair his left throwing shoulder and will be evaluated this weekend in Chicago to set a timetable for his 2010 start – hopefully by early-to-mid May.  Four Cubs players will compete for the final 2 starting spots – Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Samardzija and Sean Marshall.  As for the bullpen, the Cubs are set with closer Carlos Marmol and lefty-set-up man John Grabow.  The Cubs still need a veteran right-handed set-up man to complement Grabow, as the rest of the bullpen is very young – Angel Guzman, David Patton, Esmailin Caridad and Justin Berg.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything new out of Cubs camp…

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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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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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Starting Pitcher Report Card – Randy Wells – A-

Posted on 29 November 2009 by Lou

Diamondbacks Cubs Baseball

Let’s take a look at the Cubs starting rotation – despite the awful, disappointing season, the Cubs pitching staff actually performed very well.  The quartet of Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Rich Harden pitched well despite injuries and rookie Randy Wells rounded out the rotation once he was called up to replace Zambrano after his 1st injury problem.

Randy Wells – 2009 Report Card Grade – A-.

Randy Wells was the Cubs most biggest surprise during the 2009 MLB schedule.

2009 stats – 165 1/3 innings in 27 starts; 12-10 record with a 3.05 ERA and 1.28 WHIP; 104 K’s; 46 walks; .261 opponents’ batting average.

2008 stats – NA

We’ve talked about Wells so many times, he pitched so well for the Cubs in 2009.

Wells has already proved to be a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. With another year under his belt, let’s hope that Wells can put together another quality effort during the 2010 MLB schedule…

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Starting Pitcher Report Card – Ryan Dempster – B

Posted on 28 November 2009 by Lou

chicago cubs ryan dempster

Let’s take a look at the Cubs starting rotation – despite the awful, disappointing season, the Cubs pitching staff actually performed very well.  The quartet of Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Rich Harden pitched well despite injuries and rookie Randy Wells rounded out the rotation once he was called up to replace Zambrano after his 1st injury problem.

Ryan Dempster – 2009 Report Card Grade – B.

Ryan Dempster was the Cubs 3rd best starting pitcher during the 2009 MLB schedule.

2009 stats – 200 innings in 31 starts; 11-9 record with a 3.65 ERA and 1.30 WHIP; 172 K’s; 65 walks; .260 opponents’ batting average.

2008 stats – 206 2/3 innings in 33 starts; 17-6 record with a 2.96 ERA and 1.21 WHIP; 187 K’s; 76 walks; .227 opponents’ batting average.

After a sub-par start to the season and a frustrating toe injury in July (he injury occurred after a Cubs win when Dempster jumped over the fence guarding the Cubs dugout), Dempster actually finished strong to make his numbers look good.   He was 6-3 in August and September and pitched at least 6 innings in each of those 12 starts.  In 8 of those starts, Dempster allowed just 2 runs or less.  Dempster’s 2008 numbers show that he still has what it takes at the age of 32.  He definitely has 3 solid years left in the tank – he just needs to regain that form in 2010.

Dempster just finished the 1st year of a 4-year, $52 million deal that he signed before the off-season.  That seems like a lot given the 11 wins, but if he can be a little more consistent early on, and stay healthy, he should be worth the payment over the long run.   Dempster has been a class act with the Cubs.  He has made Chicago his home and given back so much to the community.  Dempster is a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field and he will surely go down as one of the most popular Cubs players during the 2000’s.  He is a great locker room presence and a good mentor for some of the Cubs younger players, so let’s hope he can help the team win a World Series during one of the next 3 years – we all deserve it…

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Starting Pitcher Report Card – Carlos Zambrano – C

Posted on 27 November 2009 by Lou

carlos cubs

Let’s take a look at the Cubs starting rotation – despite the awful, disappointing season, the Cubs pitching staff actually performed very well.  The quartet of Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Rich Harden pitched well despite injuries and rookie Randy Wells rounded out the rotation once he was called up to replace Zambrano after his 1st injury problem.

Carlos Zambrano – 2009 Report Card Grade – C.

Carlos Zambrano was a major disappointment for the Cubs during the 2009 MLB schedule.

2009 stats – 169 1/3 innings in 28 starts; 9-7 record with a 3.77 ERA and 1.38 WHIP; 152 K’s; 78 walks; .246 opponents’ batting average.

2008 stats – 188 2/3 innings in 30 starts; 14-6 record with a 3.91 ERA and 1.29 WHIP; 130 K’s; 72 walks; .241 opponents’ batting average.

Big Z’s numbers do not justify his status as the ace of the Cubs starting pitching staff or the money he will be paid during the next 3 seasons.  He is scheduled to make $18.875 million in 2010 and 2011 and then $19 million in 2012.  When your ace can’t even get double-digit wins, you have a problem.  Zambrano suffered 2 injuries during 2009 – a hamstring injury while trying to beat out a bunt that cost him 3 weeks in May and then a back injury triggered from over-aggressive swinging that cost him another 3 weeks in August.  This cannot happen.  Zambrano needs to takle better care of himself and he needs to report in better shape at the start of spring training in 2010.  He will be 29 in June 2010 and he can’t rely on the excuse that he is still growing and maturing.  Big Z is a veteran major league pitcher with 8 years of starting major league experience.  He needs to show that on the field.  While he has cut down on his walks in each of the last 2 seasons (he was over 100 walks in both 2006 and 2007), he needs to work on cutting down on the number of hits he is allowing.  The .241 and .246 batting averages against in each of the last 2 seasons are the highest of his career.

Let’s hope that Big Z can right the ship in 2010.  2009 should be in the rear view mirror for all Cubs players at this point.  It just wasn’t meant to be, and now it’s time to focus on getting back in shape and ready for the grind in 2010.  Zambrano had his moments in 2009 and if he can channel that confidence and pitch more consistently (like a Ted Lilly), he will be a better pitcher, and he will make the rest of the staff that much more effective.  He has the ability to do it, not it’s just up to the coaching staff and Big Z to translate that ability into game day action.

Despite his hot-head reputation, Big Z is still a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.  If Zambrano can put together a 15-20 win season in 2010, he will be that much more loved on the north side of Chicago for years to come…

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Starting Pitcher Report Card – Ted Lilly – A-

Posted on 26 November 2009 by Lou

chicago cubs ted lilly injury 2

Let’s take a look at the Cubs starting rotation – despite the awful, disappointing season, the Cubs pitching staff actually performed very well.  The quartet of Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly and Rich Harden pitched well despite injuries and rookie Randy Wells rounded out the rotation once he was called up to replace Zambrano after his 1st injury problem.

Ted Lilly – 2009 Report Card Grade – A-.

Ted Lilly was the Cubs most consistent pitcher during the 2009 MLB schedule.

2009 stats – 177 innings in 27 starts; 12-9 record with a 3.10 ERA and 1.06 WHIP; 151 K’s; 36 walks; .230 opponents’ batting average.

2008 stats – 204.2 innings in 34 starts; 17-9 record with a 4.09 ERA and 1.23 WHIP; 184 K’s; 64 walks; .239 opponents’ batting average.

Lilly has been one of the Cubs most consistent pitchers since he joined the organization back in 2007.  He has thrived pitching in the “lighter-hitting” National League and looks to have some solid years left in the tank.  Lilly has a solid walk-strikeout ratio and really stepped up to the plate in a down 2009 season for the Cubs.

The 2010 MLB schedule is the final year of Lilly’s 4-year, $40 million deal that Lilly signed in 2007.  That seems like a bargain right now given some of the awful contracts that GM Jim Hendry has burdened the Cubs with over the last few seasons.  Lilly is coming off of 2 surgical procedures in 2009 and at the age of 34, it will be interesting to see how the Cubs address his pending free agency after the 2010 MLB schedule. During the last 3 seasons, Lilly has won 44 games (the most of any Cubs starter during that same span) and made 95 starts.

Lilly has been a class act with the Cubs.  He has made Chicago his home and given back so much to the community.  If 2010 ends up being Lilly last season in a Cubs uniform, it will be a sad day for Cubs fans all across the country.

Lilly is a fan favorite at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field and let’s hope that Lilly has another solid season left in the tank for 2010…

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