Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Final Post

I've known this post was coming for some time now.  I've been putting off making it official.  Four great years, 82,841 page views and 1,013 posts later, it is time for me to close Everything Cubs Blog.

Maybe it is fitting that I walk away a day after one of my favorite Cubs, Kerry Wood, did the same thing.  I have truly enjoyed spending much of my time blogging about my beloved Cubs over the past four years.  I am still every bit as big of a Cubs fan as I was and I still watch the Cubbies as often as possible.  However, with new opportunities popping up in my life it has been impossible for me to make time to write on the site.  Rather than continue to allow the blog to sit without frequent updates, it is time to call it quits.  The number of posts has dwindled in the last year as my schedule filled up and I've tried taking breaks and returning often enough, this time it is time to wrap it up. 

I want to thank all of you for reading Everything Cubs Blog!  It has certainly been a labor of love.  I also want to thank the fellow bloggers that helped make the site possible.  I have dedicated a great portion of the last year on the blog to coverage of Ron Santo and I hope that other sites continue to honor Ronnie.  He will not be forgotten.  I will be at the Ron Santo Hall of Fame induction in July.

My work will still appear from time to time over on View From the Bleachers, so be sure to check out that site.  I'll have the recap of next Sunday's game against the Pirates on VFTB.  I also recommend Chicago Cubs Online, which I spent a season writing minor league reports for.

Although the Cubs have been unsuccessful during the four baseball seasons that I have written on the site, there has never been a shortage of topics to write about in the always interesting world of the Chicago Cubs.  The people that I will remember most from my time blogging about the team are Lou Piniella, Pat Hughes, Ron Santo, Kerry Wood, Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez. 

Thank you once again for understanding and thanks for reading!  Go Cubs Go.

That's it forever, it was a pleasure to keep you posted on Everything Cubs for four years.

-Brandon aka Cubbiefan07

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Preparing for the Big Day

Tomorrow is Opening Day at Wrigley Field! The Cubs host the Washington Nationals at 1:20. The game will be televised on WGN-TV with Len Kasper and Bob Brenly and broadcast on WGN Radio with Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland. For the second consecutive year, Ryan Dempster will receive the opening day nod for the Chicago Cubs. Young right hander Stephen Strasburg will take the hill for the Nats.

Dale Sveum settled his bullpen today to figure out the final spots on his roster. In addition, infielder Luis Valbuena was claimed off waiver from the Blue Jays in a surprising move. He will fill a spot on the 25-man roster, serving as Starlin Castro's backup at shortstop. The Cubs will go with 14 position players and just 11 pitchers to start the season.

According to Carrie Muskat the six man bullpen will be made up of Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol, James Russell, Rafael Dolis, Shawn Camp and Lendy Castillo. Rodrigo Lopez will not start the season on the roster but is expected to be called up quickly. Frankie De La Cruz was outrighted, while Manny Corpas was also cut from the big league squad.

Tomorrow's lineup is still pending whether or not Bryan LaHair, who stat out the last four Cactus League games with a back issue. Either Blake DeWitt, Joe Mather or Jeff Baker will start in his place if he cannot go. There is a 50-50 chance that LaHair will start. Tony Campana is still with the team in case a disabled list stint is necessary.

Today the Cubs worked out at Wrigley Field for the first time this season. According to multiple reports, the ivy is already green. Bill Murray will throw out the first pitch and sing the 7th inning Stretch on Opening Day. Friday is an off day before the series continues Saturday at 12:05.

The games that count are here! David DeJesus and Ian Stewart will make their Cubs debuts today.

"I don't care who wins as long as it's the Cubs!"

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My 2012 Bold Cubs Predictions

Each season I enjoy making off-the-wall predictions that may or may not come true. Here are my results from my 2011 predictions.

  • Mike Quade will lead the team to the division title and be named the NL Manager of the Year. Way Wrong, Quade was let go after leading the team to a fifth place finish

  • Starlin Castro will win the NL batting title.Wrong, he finished sixth.

  • Aramis Ramirez will have a bounce back season with 30 homers and 100 RBIs.Wrong, barely. He drove in 93 runs and launched 26 homers.

  • Carlos Marmol will only blow two saves all season.Way wrong, he blew ten saves and had many other bad outings.

  • Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster will combine for 55 wins.WRONG, try 29 combined wins.

  • Darwin Barney will join Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin to form a trio of young talented players that carry the offense.Not so much.

  • Reed Johnson's glove work will make several appearances on Sports Center's Top 10 Plays.Not sure if that happened or not, I'll go with no.

  • VCU will win the NCAA tournament... wait- how did that get on this list?Nope.

  • Welington Castillo will take Koyie Hill's job by the end of May.Should have happened but didn't.

  • Marlon Byrd, Ryan Dempster and Starlin Castro will represent the Cubs in the All-Star game.Well, I got one out of three.

  • The NBA champion Bulls will sing the 7th Inning Stretch at Wrigley in July.Wrong again.

  • Jim Hendry will pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade in July to help put the Cubs in position for their playoff run.Playoff run? Wrong

  • The Cubs will wear their #10 patches all the way to a World Series title.Well, half of that came true.

My 2011 score: 0-for-13, let's see if I can make some improvements with my 2012 bold predictions, some of which I hope do not come true.

  • The Cubs will play meaningful games in September because of the extra Wild Card spot.

  • Marlon Byrd will be traded by the deadline.

  • Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo will make their big league debuts by the end of June.

  • Bryan LaHair will be sent to Triple-A or benched by the end of June and never heard from again.

  • Jeff Samardzija will hold onto his rotation spot all year and win at least ten games.

  • Carlos Zambrano will pitch very well and pick up the W against his former team.

  • Carlos Marmol will be removed from the closer's role by season's end.

  • Joe Mather will be a bust after his hot spring, he will be replaced on the Cubs bench by the end of May.

  • The Florida Marlins will reach the World Series.

  • Kerry Wood will have at least two stints on the disabled list.

  • James Russell will have the best ERA on the team.

  • Starlin Castro will be the only Cub in the All-Star game once again.

  • Matt Garza will toss a no-hitter.

Feel free to comment with your thoughts!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Breaking News: Cubs Make Roster Decisions

Today Dale Sveum announced several spots that were available entering Spring Training. Although the roster is not yet finalized, many of his decisions were made clear today.

The 2012 Cubs starting rotation has been announced. Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad have won the final two spots, joining Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Paul Maholm in the starting five.

The Cubs also announced today that Steve Clevenger has made the team as the backup catcher. Sveum said that sending Welington Castillo to Iowa was the toughest decision he had to make, but he envisions Castillo as a starter at the big league level some day. Sveum feels that Castillo will benefit from more time at the minor league level.

Although the bullpen is not yet settled, we do not that Randy Wells will not be a part of it. The Cubs optioned Wells to Triple-A Iowa today. The Cubs feel that it will benefit the team to have a "sixth starter" stretched out so that when someone in the starting five struggles or goes down with an injury, Wells is ready to step in.

As expected, Blake DeWitt and Joe Mather have made the 25 man Opening Day roster. DeWitt will be used as a utility infielder, while Mather claimed the fifth outfield spot. Travis Wood, Dave Seppelt and Scott Maine were all optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Matt Tolbert, Blake Parker, Blake Lalli and Edgar Gonzalez were reassigned to minor league camp.

Casey Coleman was not officially sent back to minor league camp, but according to multiple reports he has been told that he will not make the team. Wood and Coleman will join Wells in the Iowa starting rotation.

With Wells and Coleman out of the mix, it looks as if Rodrigo Lopez may have a spot in the bullpen. Lopez is competing for the final three bullpen spots with Lendy Castillo, Shawn Camp, and Frankie De La Cruz and Manny Corpas. Three of those five will likely make the club along with young right hander Rafael Dolis, who has not officially made the team but is expected to snag the fourth bullpen spot behind Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood and James Russell.

The compensation for Theo Epstein was completed as the Cubs received Jair Bogaerts, a 19 year old first base prospect, as a Player to be Named Later.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cubs Roster Shaping Up

Dale Sveum and his coaching staff are expected to make the Cubs final roster decisions after today's Cactus League game. Many of the choices are starting to leak and it appears that much of the roster is set. Sveum would like to use his players in the roles that they will be in during the regular season for the final five games of Spring Training. Expect announcements regarding the roster today or tomorrow.

Here is how the roster is expected to break down.

Starting Rotation
1. Ryan Dempster
2. Matt Garza
3. Chris Volstad
4. Jeff Samardzija
5. Paul Maholm

Starting Lineup
1B- Bryan LaHair
2B- Darwin Barney
SS- Starlin Castro
3B- Ian Stewart
C- Geovany Soto
RF- David DeJesus
LF- Alfonso Soriano
CF- Marlon Byrd*
*According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs have been trying to trade Marlon Byrd and still could pull off a last minute deal before Opening Day. The Braves and Nationals are among the teams in the mix. Byrd could be dealt at some point before the deadline even if he is not moved before Opening Day. If Byrd is traded sometime before the season or early in the season, it does not necessarily mean Brett Jackson will take over centerfield duties. Tony Campana or Dave Sappelt could be called up to split time with Reed Johnson and Joe Mather if the Cubs feel that Jackson needs more time to develop. Bruce Levine feels that the Cubs will hold on to Byrd until Jackson is ready.

INF- Jeff Baker, lock to make the team
INF- Blake DeWitt, near lock to make the team
OF- Reed Johnson, lock to make the team
OF- Joe Mather, near lock to make the team
Backup Catcher- Either Welington Castillo or Steve Clevenger will fill the final spot on the Cubs bench and serve as the backup to Soto. Bruce Levine mentioned in his chat that he gives the edge to Clevenger since he is more ready to a call a game at the big league level.

Closer- Carlos Marmol
RH Setup- Kerry Wood
LH Setup- James Russell
The other four bullpen spots are still to be determined, but many people feel that Shawn Camp and Rafael Dolis will take two of them. That leaves a slew of guys in the mix for the other two including Randy Wells, Rodrigo Lopez, Casey Coleman, Manny Corpas, Lendy Castillo and Scott Maine. Wells will likely be traded if he does not make the team, all the rest have minor league options. Marcos Mateo will start the season on the disabled list.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting to Know the Cubs: Ian Stewart

With Spring Training winding down, we continue our player-by-player breakdowns of Cubs newcomers with Ian Stewart, who was acquired to take the third base position vacated by the departure of Aramis Ramirez.
  • Born: April 5, 1985 in Long Beach, CA
  • Age: 27
  • Drafted: by the Rockies in the first round (10th overall) of the 2003 draft
  • Signed: June 11, 2003
  • Teams: Rockies (2007-2011); Cubs (present)
  • Contract Situation: 2nd year arbitration eligible, free agent in 2015
  • Career Stats: .236 average, 54 home runs, 187 RBIs
  • 2011 Stats: .156 average, 0 HR, 6 RBIs
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • Positions: 3B (354 career games), 2B (33 career games), LF (6 career games) and RF (3 career games)
  • ESPN projects that a change of scenery might be exactly what Stewart needed to jump-start his career.
  • Jersey: #2
  • Acquired by the Cubs: in the trade that sent Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu to Colorado in December. The Cubs also netted minor league pitcher Casey Weathers.
  • According to Fangraphs, Stewart is an above average defensive third baseman

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Getting to Know the Cubs: David DeJesus

Today we continue to profile some of the new Cubs players by taking a closer look at the background of right fielder David DeJesus, who signed with the Cubs this offseason.

  • Positions: Center field (527 career games), left field (289 career games) and right field (219 career games)

  • Drafted: by the Royals in the 4th round of the 2000 draft

  • High School: Manalapan (Englishtown, NJ)

  • College: Rutgers

  • Acquired by the Cubs: Signed this winter to a 2 year, $10 million deal with a team option for 2014

  • Teams: Royals (2003-2010), A's (2011) and Cubs (present)

  • B/T: Left

  • Height: 5'11"

  • Weight: 190 pounds

  • MLB Debut: September 2, 2003

  • Career MLB Stats: .284 average, 71 HR, 436 RBIs in 1007 games

  • 2011 Stats: .240 average with 10 HR and 46 RBIs in 131 games

  • The first free agent brought in by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer after they took over the Cubs front office

  • Known as a good defensive outfielder

  • Expected to lead-off for the Cubs

  • Doesn't still a lot of bases, but it still a smart baserunner

  • Has a wife and kids

  • Known to be a good clubhouse guy with a positive attitude

  • 32 years old

  • Bill James projects that he will hit .271 in 2012 with 8 home runs and 46 RBIs

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!