Tag Archive | "Tyler Colvin"

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Cubs Acquire Ian Stewart To Man 3rd Base in 2012 & Beyond – Wrigley Field 12/9/11

Posted on 09 December 2011 by Lou

The Cubs acquired Ian Stewart and minor league reliever Casey Weathers in a trade with the Colorado Rockies last night.  In exchange for getting their 3rd baseman of the “future”, the Cubs sent frustrating right fielder Tyler Colvin and infielder DJ LeMahieu out to Colorado.  Stewart struggled with a wrist injury in 2011, playing in only 48 games.  He did not hit any homers and hit just .156 in only 122 at-bats.  Previous to that, the 26-year old had had productive seasons in 2009 and 2010.  In 147 games in 2009, Stewart racked up 25 HR’s, 70 RBI’s and 74 runs scored despite a .228 batting average.  In 2010, Stewart improved on the average numbers – hitting .256 with a .338 on-base percentage.  Playing 26 less games, Stewart hit just 18 HRs and drove in 61 runs that season.  He has committed just 23 errors in the last 3 seasons, an area in which the Cubs are in serious need of help.

Colvin had become a frustrating project for the Cubs over the last few seasons.  Colvin broke out on the scene in 2010 hitting 20 HR’s in 135 games.  He hit .254 with a .316 on-base percentage and the Cubs were hoping he would continue to improve.  But a rough spring training before the 2011 season proved to be a bad omen for Colvin.

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer is thrilled with the acquisition – “We wouldn’t have given up the talent that we did if we didn’t think he would be the starting 3rd baseman… We are expecting him to come in and he has to bounce back from last year. We are assuming he does… Ian Stewart is a good defensive 3rd baseman. He’s a very good athletic player and a gifted 3rd baseman.”  Let’s hope Stewart shines for the Cubs in 2012…

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Cubs Sign David DeJesus to Slide Into Right Field Opening – Wrigley Field 11/30/11

Posted on 30 November 2011 by Lou

Deal #1 Done – the Cubs sign David DeJesus to a “cheap” 2-year deal for $8.5 million.  The Cubs have a club option for $6.5 million for the 2014 MLB season, but they can also buy out the contract for $1.5 million.  DeJesus is coming off his worst season in the big leagues – struggling to a .240 batting average in 131 games (442 at-bats) with the Oakland A’s.  DeJesus’ best season was in 2008 when he hit .307 with a .366 on-base percentage.  He hit 12 home runs that season and drove in 73 runs.  He hit 13 home runs with 71 RBI’s and a .281 batting average in 2009, but battled through injuries in 2010 – playing in only 91 games.

The Cubs like the qualities that DeJesus brings to the table, even if he has lost some of the “pop” in his bat.  GM Jed Hoyer had this to say about DeJesus: “We’re very excited to sign David.  He’s a player who does a lot of things very well, including runnig the bases and getting on base.  And he doesn’t strike out very much.  These are all areas we wanted to improve on going into next year…It’s early, but we see him playing right field.  He has the ability to play all the positions but he’s playing the corner outfield spots.”

I like this move.  He’s cheap compared to the freaking $12 million we’ve been paying to Kosuke Fukudome each of the last 4 seasons.  And he should provide more output than Tyler Colvin at this point (let’s hope).

Now we just need to get our Christmas/Chanukah present a little early when we hear about the miracle signing of Prince Fielder to a long-term deal…

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Cubs Show Resolve in 4-3 Extra-Innings Win Over Phillies – Wrigley Field 6/10/11

Posted on 10 June 2011 by Lou

Could this be the win that turns the Cubs 2011 season around?  Probably not, but you have to like the resolve that the Cubs showed in erasing a 3-0 2nd inning deficit against one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball.  Little by little, the Cubs chipped away at the Phillies lead.  Starlin Castro drove in the Cubs first run with a single in the 6th inning.  Carlos Pena delivered a nice run-scoring double in the top of the 8th inning that brought the Cubs within 1 run.  And Geovany Soto tied it up off of closer Ryan Madsen with a 1-out solo home run in the 9th inning.  And when Tyler Colvin crushed a ball that appeared to be another home run that put the Cubs ahead 4-3, the Cubs thought they might have their first winning streak in a long, long time.  But reply of the “home run” showed that a fan touched the ball before it went over the wall, so the umpires ruled it a ground rule double.  The Cuibs failed to drive Colvin home, so it was off to extra innings.  And Colvin finally got his chance at redemption when he scored the game winning run from 2nd base after Placido Polanco threw Darwin Barney’s groundball away with 2 outs in the 11th inning.  Just like that, the Cubs finally had it in the bags.

Give some credit to the Cubs bullpen who stepped up to the plate after Manager Mike Quade pulled Randy Wells after a long rain delay after just 2 1/3 innings pitched.  Rodrigo Lopez, James Russell, John Grabow, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol kept the Phillies off the board the rest of the way which enabled the Cubs to make the comeback.  Lopez, Grabow and Marshall each worked at least 2 innings.  Gotta love it.  Marshall got the win – his 3rd of the season – and Marmol picked up his 12th save.

Now I know it’s only 2 wins in a row, but the Cubs need to take it one game at a time.  Now it’s time for Carlos Zambrano to out-pitch Roy Halladay tonight at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark…

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Cubs Continue to Find New Ways to Lose – Wrigley Field 6/1/11

Posted on 01 June 2011 by Lou

The Cubs continue to find new, lower ways to lose – Carlos Marmol gave up 6 runs in the 9th, blowing the win for Carlos Zambrano and helping the Cubs lose 7-3.  Ouch.

The Cubs trailed 1-0 for most of the game.  Then in the 8th inning, the Cubs finally had some good things come their way as the Cubs tied the game at 1-1 on a throwing error by the Astros’ pitcher on Tyler Colvin’s sacrifice bunt.  Then Darwin Barney and Aramis Ramirez gave the Cubs the lead with RBI doubles.  It looked like the Cubs would finally get that elusive win.

But it wasn’t meant to be as Carlos Marmol suffered his 3rd blown save, allowing 6 runs on 5 hits and 1 walk to give the Astros a 7-3 lead.  Marmol only recorded 1 out in the disastrous 9th inning.

Kudos to Carls Zambrano who had one of his best starts of the season and kept his cool after the Marmol debacle.  Big Z worked 8 innings of one-run ball, scattering 7 hits and no walks with 7 strikeouts.  The only run he allowed came on a Brett Wallace solo home run back in the 4th inning.

The Cubs fell to 3-5 on the current home stand and now trail the Cards by a whopping 8.5 games in the NL Central race.

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Carlos, Cashner & Colvin, Oh My!!! Wrigley Field 5/17/11

Posted on 17 May 2011 by Lou

Monday was just not a good day for the Cubs organization as the Reds beat the Cubs 7-4 in Cincinnati.  The night started off so well – Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs had a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th inning and Big Z had only given up 1 hit to that point.  But then the wheels came off.  After striking out lead-off hitter Miguel Cairo, Big Z could not get another player out the rest of the inning, surrendering 4 singles, a walk and a double before being lifted for Marcos Mateo.  By that point the game was still tied at 4 and the Reds had 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out.  A Mateo wild pitch and then a 2-run home run to Johnny Gomes propeled the Reds to the 7-4 win.  What a joke…

The only positives on an all-around bad day – Darwin Barney had 3 hits and is now hitting .345.  Carlos Pena hit his 4th home run of the season – a 2-run shot that gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead.

The Cubs also announced that Tyler Colvin was being sent down to the Triple-A Iowa to “re-find” his swing with some regular at-bats.

Andrew Cashner also took a setback in his rehab from shoulder stiffness when he experienced a twinge in a Mesa, Arizona workout.

Oh yeah, the Cubs sent Mateo down to Triple-A Iowa after another bad outing.

And oh yeah – Manager Mike Quade held a closed-door meeting to talk to his players about accountability after yet another loss.  Yippee – think he’s ready to be done managing this squad?

The Cubs have now fallen a season high 5 games under .500.  Ouch.  They are 17-22 and they trail the 1st place Reds by 6 games…

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Zambrano Dominant as Cubs Win Nail-Biter in Extras – Wrigley Field 4/19/11

Posted on 19 April 2011 by Lou

Carlos Zambrano didn’t get the win, but he put the Cubs in a perfect position to win the game in 10th inning.  Big Z tossed 8 scoreless innings, scattering just 3 hits during his outing while striking out 10.  He allowed just 1 walk.  He lowered his ERA from 6.11 to 4.21 and retired the last 13 batters that he faced.  Sean Marshall retired 2 batters in the 9th inning before handing the ball off to closer Carlos Marmol with 1 on.  Marmol recorded the final 4 outs of the game with 2 K’s and picked up the win when Tyler Colvin’s 2-out pinch-hit double scored Geovany Soto all the way from 1st base in the bottom of the 10th.  After Kosuke Fukudome’s walk with 1 out in the 10th, Soto grounded into a fielder’s choice but kept the inning alive by not being doubled-up.  He showed some speed on Colvin’s hit – one of the few times that you’ll see Soto score in that fashion.

The Cubs got back to .500 with the win at 8-8 and trail the Reds by just 1 game in the NL Central.  The Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates are all 8-8.  James Russell goes for the Cubs tonight as he looks to rebound from a bad start last week in Houston when he didn’t even make it out of the 2nd inning.

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1st Baseman of the Future — Albert Pujols? Wrigley Field 2/17/11

Posted on 17 February 2011 by Lou

Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals failed to agree on a long-term deal before the start of spring training this week.  Pujols gave the Cardinals brass a hard Wednesday deadline, and that came and went without a new agreement for perhaps the best 1st baseman of all time.  Pujols said that he does not want any distractions for his team going-forward, so he and his camp will not entertain further discussions with the Cardinals during the course of the season.  Those in the know speculate that Pujols wants a deal similar to the deal that Alex Rodriguez signed with the New York Yankees a few years ago – 10-years, $275 million.  The Cardinals have all-but-said that they can’t meet that contract, so does it mean that Pujols will become a free agent at the end of the season?

I find it really hard to believe that Pujols will end up leaving St. Louis, but I guess anything is possible.  At 31 years old, this is his final hoorah and his 1st time testing the free agent market, so it would not surprise me to see Pujols entertain offers in November.  But if the Cardinals get somewhat close to the highest offer that Pujols receives, you would think that the guy decides to play it “safe” and finish his career with the Cardinals.

That being said, the Cubs better make an attempt to lure Pujols to Chicago despite the fact that they continue to try to shed payroll.  With the Carlos Silva, Kosuke Fukudome and Aramis Ramirez contracts coming off the books after the season, the Ricketts family will have money to “play with” – about $38 million. They could easily allocate a good chunk of that to Pujols and still have some more money to sign another free agent or two.  That all assumes that young stars like Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin and Blake DeWitt continue to develop and mature during the course of the 2011 MLB season.

We’ll be following the whole Pujols story very closely this year and we’ll keep you posted as soon as anything breaks…

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Bryan LaHair — Cubs Dark Horse Option at 1st Base? – Wrigley Field 11/26/10

Posted on 26 November 2010 by Lou

Could Bryan LaHair be the Cubs dark horse option to take over the starting 1st baseman role for the 2011 MLB schedule?  LaHair racked up some pretty sweet numbers at Triple-A during the 2010 campaign.  He hit .308 with 25 home runs and 81 RBI’s. He also had 30 doubles and he is a left-handed hitter.  At 28 years of age, he has bounced around a little bit, but was the Mariners 39th round pick back in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.  He signed with the Cubs in December 2009 and just signed another minor league contract to stay with the Cubs through 2011.  The Cubs expect LaHair to get plenty of playing time at 1st base this spring and if he continues to rake like he did last year, he could end up on the Cubs major league roster on opening day.  It would be a great story and I would love that left-handed power bat in the middle of the Cubs lineup with Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez…

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1st Baseman Top Priority for GM Jim Hendry, Cubs – Wrigley Field 11/17/10

Posted on 17 November 2010 by Lou

Landing a  new 1st baseman from the free agent pool is GM Jim Hendry’s top assignment this winter.  With the late season trade of Derrek Lee, the Cubs found themselves in the hunt for a 1st baseman option for the 1st time in a very long time (Lee has been the Cubs starting 1st baseman since the start of the 2004 MLB schedule).

The top free agent 1st baseman is Adam Dunn.  But he is expected to get a contract in the neighborhood of 3-years, $40 million which is well out of the Cubs projected budget.  The Cubs have about $105 million already committed to current players.  Taking into account arbitration-eligible players whom the Cubs will likely pay additional money to, the payroll with jump to around $125 million.  Tom Ricketts has indicated that they want the budget down in the $135 million range (down from a National League-high $144 million in 2010), so that leaves somewhere around $10 million for Hendry to play with for new players.  Given Hendry’s propensity to love to shell out tons of money without a care in the world, he is going to feel like he has his hands tied this winter.

Other 1st base options include several left-handed hitters – Lance Berkman, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena and Adam LaRoche.  Hendry had this to say about the search – “We’re obviously going to be adding someone there.  We did a lot of work at our organizational meetings.  There’s a lot of different ways it coudl go.  We’ll just have to see how it flows… We’ve never had a problem sorting out who to prioritize. I think the more out there, the better.  Obviously, somebody that plays 1st base at this level has to be able to swing the bat.  Some of the guys are good hitters and better defenders.  Some of the guys are real good hitters and not as good defensively.  There’s probably enough guys out there available to fill the needs of the teams that need somebody at that position.  It’s supply and demand.  A lot of teams already have good 1st baseman.  And there are 3 or 4 others like us, looking for one.”

I kind of like Berkman as a “safe” option and Pena as the “risky-upside” option.  Berkman hit .248 with 14 HR’s and 58 RBI’s in 2010.  Despite the down numbers, he still walked 77 times with only 85 K’s in 404 at-bats.  He is a patient hitter who will make pitchers throw strikes and could be a valuable asset to young players like Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin in the locker room.

Pena  has a career .241 batting average and .351 on-base percentage. But in 2010, those numbers were way down – .196 and .325.  That being said, he still managed to hit 28 HR’s and rack up 84 RBI’s with 87 walks and 158 K’s.  Pena would probably drive fans nuts with his K’s and all-or-nothing swings, but you have to like the power numbers and you have to think the average numbers can’t get any worse than they were in 2010.

LaRoche has a career .271 batting average and .339 on-base percentage.  He had a decent 2010 – .261 batting average with 25 HR’s and 100 RBI’s and he is the youngest of the bunch at only 31 years old.

Overbay has a career .274 batting average and .358 on-base percentage.  He had a down year in 2010 and he is 33 years old.

One person we know it won’t be is Micah Hoffpauir who had been on the Cubs roster each of the last 4 seasons.  Hoffpauir is headed to Japan to play for the Nippon Ham Fighters during the 2011 baseball season.

It should be interesting what Hendry decides to do.  I have been questioning Hendry’s decision-making for years now, so I have a feeling we’re not going to like who he goes with at 1st base in 2011.  Maybe that will be the final straw for the Ricketts Family to finally realize that they need to cut ties with this out-dated GM…

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Would the Cubs Really Trade Aramis Ramirez? – Wrigley Field 11/13/10

Posted on 13 November 2010 by Lou

I heard ESPN Radio 1000’s Bruce Levine talking about the Cubs potentially moving Aramis Ramirez this winter for some younger players.  Could this really happen?

Gimme a break – this is getting very ugly on the North Side.  Bruce Levine who has some great sources inside the Cubs has already said that the Cubs cannot afford the kind of deal (3-years, $40 million) that free agent 1st baseman Adam Dunn will command on the open market this winter.  Now, Levine has thrown out the idea that the Cubs could move their biggest run-producer – when healthy – to a team looking for a 3rd baseman (like the Boston Red Sox if they don’t re-sign Adrian Beltre) or potentially a Designated Hitter (like the Boston Red Sox when David Ortiz leaves after the 2011 MLB season).  This is truly getting ridiculous.

I know the Cubs want to go young to try and build around Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Blake DeWitt and some of the other young pitchers that have had some share of success at the major league level.  But to throw the season away before it even starts doesn’t make any sense to me.  The NL Central is not the best division, so even with the mediocre team that the Cubs currently have, they could still make a run for the division title if some things fall into place.  The Cardinals are 1-Chris Carpenter injury away from being in the middle of the pack.  The way Dusty Baker works his starting rotation (see Mark Prior and Kerry Wood with the Cubs), we know that some of the talented, young Reds starters – Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Travis Wood – could quickly end up on the DL or have down seasons because Baker overworked them in 2010.  If either the Cards or Reds take a stepback, that opens the door for another team to squeeze to the top.  It might not be the Cubs, but it could be.

Sure Ramirez has played in only a total of 206 games during the last 2 seasons combined, but he is still productive when in there.  He had 25 HR’s and 83 RBI’s on one of the worst Cubs offensive teams in recent years.  Plus, back in 2008 when he played in 149 games, Ramirez smacked 27 HR’s and drove in 111 runs with another 97 runs scored.  Even at 33 years of age, the guy can still play and the Cubs will need him to be in the lineup if they expect to compete in 2011.  If the Cubs do decide to move Ramirez this off-season, that would mean that the Cubs have officially packed it in for 2011 – that without even throwing a single pitch.  And that would be a horrible message for the Ricketts Family to send to the Cubs players and its loyal Cubs fan base…

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