Thursday, December 31, 2009

Breaking News: Cubs Sign Marlon Byrd (Updated)

On the one year anniversary of the day the Cubs traded Mark DeRosa to the Indians, Jim Hendry makes his biggest move of the offseason (so far) once again. The Cubs have inked Marlon Byrd to a 3 year $15 million dollar deal according to

Byrd will be reunited with Rudy Jaramillo, who was his hitting coach in Texas. The Cubs plan to move Kosuke Fukudome to right field and plug Byrd in center.

Here is the official press release.

According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs are still looking to add a 4th outfielder and a bullpen arm. They are looking at Ryan Spillborghs for that backup outfielder's role, and the Cubs have talked with the Blue Jays about bullpen pitchers. Levine mentioned Jason Frasor as one guy on the Cubs' radar.

Jim Hendry said the Cubs "explored every avenue" as far as center field. Hendry said that this move really helps "our overall defensive situation".

Gordon Wittenmyer tweets that Byrd's contract is backloaded, just $3M on '10 payroll, plus 5.5 in '11 and 6.5 in 2012.

Steve Stone was on 670 the Score to talk about the move:

  • Stoney called this move "former Ranger part 3". Jim is batting .500 with former Rangers (Mark DeRosa work out well, Milton Bradley did not).
  • The Cubs still have a problem when you take a look at their team because they still don't have left handed difference makers.
  • The team still doesn't have a real lead-off hitter. Ryan Theriot could be a decent lead-off man if he goes back to his old solid hitting without trying to drive the ball.
  • Steve is not sure if the lineup fits together particularly well, but it could be enough to win the NL Central if the Cardinals don't bring Matt Holliday back.
  • Stone thinks Jim has done some great things like the trades for Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee. Bringing in Ted Lilly, and bringing in DeRosa were both great moves.
  • Now it's going to be a question of "Can you win without spending much money?"
  • St. Louis is the only team in the division that Steve thinks can compete with the Cubs.
  • The Cubs have not developed position players, and that's why they have to go out and spend so much money on guys like Bradley, Soriano, and Kosuke.
  • Steve thinks Rudy Jaramillo can do wonders, calling him the "unsung Dave Duncan of the hitting world". The things that he cannot bring with him are the temperatures, the lineup, and the hitters ballpark.

More info on Byrd:

  • Outfielder
  • Bats and Throws Right handed
  • Drafted by the Phillies in the 10th round of the 1999 draft
  • MLB Debut for Phillies on Sept. 8, 2002
  • Has played for Phillies ('02-'05), Nationals ('05-'06), and Rangers ('07-'09).
  • Batted .283 with .329 OBP and .808 OBS in 2009 for Texas. He hit 20 homers and had 89 RBIs.
  • Career .279 hitter with .329 OBP in his 8 seasons.
  • Can play all three outfield positions.
  • 32 years old

Updated 3pm CT

Phil Rogers joined the Danny Mac Show on 670 today:

  • Marlon Byrd was described as "middle aged".
  • Rogers thinks this makes sense because the Cubs were very patient with seeing what happened elsewhere.
  • Phil doesn't think the Cubs were that crazy about Marlon Byrd. If they were crazy about him, they'd have had this deal done a few weeks back.
  • 1-2 years would have been better for the Cubs, 3 is "taking a big risk".
  • Jim Hendry is throwing money at a problem once again to try to fix it.
  • He strikes out too much, he doesn't hit for much of an average, but he does play good defense.
  • Dan and Mac think the Cubs are moving to quickly once again.
  • There are lots of similarities between Byrd and Bradley. Both guys are older, the Cubs were the first team to give both of them a multi-year deal, both strike out a lot, both even have the same initials "M.B.". They were both resurrected in Texas under Jaramillo.
  • Rogers thinks Rudy could be a difference maker.
  • Byrd is not a very good base runner, so he will fit in with the Cubs.
  • Phil agrees that Theriot is the best lead-off man spot.
  • The Cubs are increasing the load on Theriot because they spent this money on someone who cannot lead-off.
  • The guys don't understand why Jim hurried to sign Byrd, but Phil thinks the Cubs have been patient, but they weren't excited by any other options.
  • Rogers guesses that there was another team that moved in on Marlon to trigger this.
  • It will be interesting to see how the Cubs operate the next 2-3 years.
  • The last 2-3 years under the Tribune "it was like nobody was watching the cash register."
  • A Cub fan could be disappointing that a new ownership hasn't done much yet.
  • If Rogers could make a few moves to improve this clubs, he would like to rip a few years off the calender to give this team more flexibility. The number 1 thing he would do at any cost is to dump Carlos Zambrano.

More later...

Countdown to the Cubs Convention: 15 Days

Today, as we enter the final day of 2009, we move a step closer to Cubs Convention 2010.
Yesterday, we took a look at the schedule
of sessions from last year's convention, so today let's take a look at the schedule of autograph signings and photograph lines from last year.

Photo from the "Game Day Experience" Session during the 2009 Convention. From left to right: Mike Fontenot, Joey Gathrigh, Kevin Hart, Koyie Hill, Ted Lilly.
Friday Photograph Stage
Ryan Theriot (6-6:45)
Saturday Photos
Mike Fontenot (9am-9:45)
Billy Williams (10-10:45)
Ernie Banks (11-11:45)
Sean Marshall (12-12:45
Carlos Marmol (1-1:45)
Reed Johnson (2-2:45)
Ted Lilly (3-3:45)
Lee Smith (4-4:45)
Sunday Photographs
Geovany Soto (9:30-10:15)- *Since he wasn't there I think Kevin Gregg replaced him
Jeff Samardzija (10:30-11:15)

Friday Autographs
Treasure Hunt Only
Description of Autograph Treasure Hunt-
Cubs autograph treasures await your discovery! Using your treasure map, follow the Cubs logo to hunt for autographs from your favorite Cubs. A Cubs celebrity can be found in every location. Discover who is waiting to be found! Cubs autograph treasure maps will be distributes following Opening Ceremonies and are available at the Cubs Information Area located in the NorthEast Hall, next to registration.
Saturday Autographs
Randy Hundley (9-9:45)
Jose Cardenal (9-9:45)
Billy Williams (9-9:45)
Joey Gathright (9:15-10, for kids only stage)
Ernie Banks (9-10, for lottery winners only)
Bill Buckner (10-10:45)
Jody Davis (10-10:45)
Leon Durham (10-10:45)
Ted Lilly (10:15-11, for kids only stage)
Alfonso Soriano (10:15-11:15, for lottery winners only)
Koyie Hill (11-11:45)
Ryan Dempster (11-11:45)
Bob Dernier (11-11:45)
Carlos Marmol (11:15-noon, for kids only stage)
Ryne Sandberg (11:30-12:30, for lottery winners only)
Neal Cotts (1-1:45)
Alan Tremmell (1-1:45)
Milton Bradley (1-1:45)
Sean Marshall (1:15-2, for kids only stage)
Carlos Zambrano (12:45-1:45, for lottery winners only)
Ted Lilly (2-2:45)
Leon Durham (2-2:45)
Jeff Samardzija (2-2:45)
Mike Fontenot (2:15-3, for kids only stage)
Lou Piniella (1:45-2:45, for lottery winners only)
Geovany Soto (3-4, for lotter winners only)* not sure what they did since he wasn't there
Carlos Marmol (4-4:45)
Randy Wells (4-4:45)
Ivan DeJesus (4-4:45)
Saturday Autographs at Vineline Booth
Glenn Beckert (10-10:45)
Doug Dasenzo (11-11:45)
Tim Stoddard (Noon-12:45)
Scott Sanderson (1-1:45)
Keith Moreland (2-2:45)
Dave Otto (3-3:45)
Sunday Autographs
Darwin Barney & Brandon Guyer (9-9:45)
Micah Hoffpauir (9-9:45)
Alan Trammell (9-9:45)
Lee Smith (9:45-10:15)
Rick Reuschel (9:45-10:15)
Kevine Hart (10-10:45)
Bob Dernier & Doug Glanville (10:45-11:30)
Aaron Miles (10:45-11:30)
Joey Gathright (10:45-11:30)
Doug Dascenzo & Steve Trout (11:30-12:15)
Mike Fontenot (11:30-12:15)
Sean Marshall (11:30-12:15
I didn't go for autographs, but last year I landed Lee Smith, Bill Buckner, Milton Bradley, Reed Johnson, Koyie Hill, Kevin Gregg, Aaron Miles, Steve Trout, Randy Hundley, Doug Dascenzo, Alan Tremmell, Brandon Guyer, Tim Stoddard, Randy Wells, Len Kasper, Pat Hughes, Larry Rothschild, Lester Strode, and more.
More posts to come on this New Year's Eve, and the countdown continues tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Talk, Talk, & More Talk (Updated)

Cubs Looking at Guys Coming Off Injuries
Guys coming off of injuries in 2009 seem to make a lot of sense for the Cubs, who are looking to land some depth without spending too much money. Mitch Williams said on MLB Network Monday that team like the Cubs could be interested in Ben Sheets if he can prove he has the arm speed back in Spring Training. They should start Ben out slow, and then count on him when he's fully ready midseason. Joe MaGrane and Mitch think that Sheets is the guy they would like a chance on who's coming off an injury, while Harold Reynolds likes Chien-Ming Wang. Carlos Delgado, who will play in winter ball, was listed as the hitter that could come back from an injury and help a ball club.

Rogers on MLB Network
Chicago Tribune writer Phil Rogers (who is one of those guys that you hear "take this rumor with a grain of salt" every time someone uses him as a source) is now an MLB Network insider. He joined Greg Amsinger on Hot Stove Monday. The Cubs had Juan Pierre start all 162 games in center field in 2006, but in the 3 seasons since then they've played 16 different guys out there. Rogers thinks the guy who did the best job of those 16 was Jim Edmonds in 2008, and they let him retire without giving him an offer to come back. Phil mentioned the same two names we've being hearing about: Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik. Scott would fill the lead-off hole for the Cubs also. Right now, Ryan Theriot is the best lead-off guy the Cubs have. Rogers also talked about the wild rumor that he reporter earlier this week that the Cubs have the prospects and interest to try to pull of a trade for Jacoby Ellsbury. They are "closely monitoring the situation in Boston".

Levine's Chat
Bruce Levine chatted Chicago Baseball yesterday afternoon on Here's the Cub-related highlights:

  • Bruce doesn't believe that Jacoby Ellsbury will be available, because he is a lead-off man and the Red Sox are not going to trust Mike Cameron in center field everyday.
  • He continues to report that either Byrd, Podsednik, or Ankiel will be the opening day centerfielder for the Cubs. Bruce says all 3 have flaws, but Ankiel "might have the biggest upside".
  • The Cubs "would and have" listened to offers for Zambrano. The Cubs would definitely do it, but the question is would they find and a trade partner and if so would Big Z waive his no trade clause.
  • They have talked about Kiko Calero, but the concern with him is injury.
  • Hendry only has x amount of dollars to spend. He's doing his best to negotiate 2-3 contracts at a time and look at trade options. The important thing isn't how fast the Cubs find a center fielder, it's to get it right.
  • Carlos Silva won't be active if he's not productive.
  • Geovany Soto was embarrassed by last season. Levine expects him to have better work ethic next year.
  • Orlando Hudson is not on the Cubs list because he is a below-average on-base guy who has little speed.
  • They are still in talks with the Mets about Luis Castillo.
  • "Don't be surprised" if Jose Contreras is the 5th start who replaces Lilly to begin the season.
  • Bruce hopes there is someone else besides Mike Fontenot to start at second base next year. Little Babe Ruth proved he is not an everyday player in 2009.
  • Jeff Baker will get some time at second, but his main job is to be a backup for second an third. He will also play some outfield this year.
  • If the season starter today, Bruce thinks the White Sox would have a better year than the Cubs.
  • "What you see is what you get" with Kosuke. For some reason, the Cubs thinks that he might be a more productive player for them in right field.
  • The Cubs plan is to bring Starlin Castro along in a quick fashion. He may start the year at AA and then move quickly to AAA. If he had success at those levels, Levine says he could be in the big leagues by June.
  • If you're going to move Theriot to second base at some point this season, the best bet would be to get it done in Spring Training. If that's the case, a veteran like Orlando Cabrera could be signed by the Cubs so that he can play short until Castro is ready.
  • The Cubs have yet to sign Reed Johnson because "there is no reason to think his back problems won't continue".
  • Andrew Cashner needs "at least another year" in the minors.
  • We should expect a Naples/Mesa decision sometime in January. Bruce is starting to hear more about Arizona fulfilling the Cubs' needs.
  • Josh Vitters will not be in the majors this year unless he is a September call-up. The Cubs know he can hit, but they are still looking for what position he will be most successful at.
  • Brett Gardner (New York outfielder) is not going anywhere.
  • Bruce thinks the window of opportunity is getting close to closing on the Cubs.
  • Soriano's struggles last season were a combination of the knee and a loss of confidence.
  • Lou Piniella could use his bench and rest his vets more.
  • The starting rotation is the biggest question mark going in to next season according to Levine.

Cubs Top 20 Prospects- John Sickels:

  • 1. Starlin Castro: B+
  • 2. Josh Vitters: B+
  • 3. Brett Jackson: B
  • 4. Jay Jackson: B
  • 5. Andrew Cashner: B
  • 6. Hak-Ju Lee: B
  • 7. Chris Carpenter: B-
  • 8. Kyler Burke: B-
  • 9. Ryan Flaherty: B-
  • 10. D.J. LeMahieu: C+
  • 11. Brooks Raley: C+
  • 12. Logan Watkins: C+
  • 13. Esmalin Caridad: C+
  • 14. Blaker Parker: C+
  • 15. John Gaub: C+
  • 16. Matt Spencer: C+
  • 17. Dae-Eun Rhee: C+
  • 18. Casey Coleman: C+
  • 19. Tyler Colvin: C
  • 20. Jeff Beliveau: C

Sickels past Cub top rated prospects: Brian Dopirak (2005), Mark Pawelek ('06), Felix Pie ('07), and Josh Vitters ('08-'09). Hopefully Castro and Vitters turn out better than the first three!!

Other Cubs Notes

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

Countdown to the Cubs Convention: 16 Days

As we move a step closer to this year's convention, let's check out some of the event that were included in last year's!!

Here is the schedule of sessions day by day from Cubs Convention 2009.

Photo from 2009 Opening Ceremonies

5:00-5:30: Opening Ceremonies
6:00-6:30: Autograph Treasure Hunt
6:00-8:00: WGN Radio's "Sports Central Live" with David Kaplan
7:00-8:30 Cubs Bingo with Wayne Messmer

9:00-10:00: Meet Cubs Baseball Management
9-10: Draft Day to the Big Show
9:30-10:30: Cubs Jeopardy!
10-11: Wheelchair Cubs
10:30-11:30: Not for Woment Only
10:30-11:30: Who's the Boss?
11:30-12:30: Piniella & Hist Lou-Tenants
Noon-1:00: Game Day Experience
Noon-1:00: In Touch With the Cubs
1-2: Pitching Clinic
1-2: Welcome to Wrigley
1:30-2:30: The Clubhouse Entertainers
1:30-2:30: In the WGN-TV Booth with Len and Bob
2-3: Hitting Clinic
2:30-3:30: The Magic of '84
3-4: For kids only Press Conference
3-4: Sneak Preview: We Believe
3-4: Baseball Conditioning Clinic
4-5: Making History
8-Midnight: Rock'n Roll Revue

9-10: Meet Cubs Business Management
10:30-11:30: Down on the Farm

Well, that should give you an idea of what types of sessions they have at the Convention. Some will change this year, but many will stay the same. I'll post this year's schedule of events as soon as it comes out. I enjoy the sessions, but in case you're more interested in autographs I will have a post about autos at the Convention tomorrow. The sessions are very entertaining and informative, I highly recommend.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chicago Cubs 2009 in Review: Part 1 of 3

Cubs fans woke up on January 1, 2009 ready to start a new year. The day prior, Cubs GM Jim Hendry had ended 2008 with a boom, trading fan favorite second baseman Mark DeRosa to Cleveland for 3 minor league pitchers, and signing infielder Aaron Miles to a 2 year deal. So the new year started with talk that these moves could be leading up to something big, possibly the Jake Peavy trade that Cubs fans had been hearing about all offseason, or maybe the Brian Roberts deal that had been talked about since 2007. New Years Day also meant a few more things to Cubs fans: the launch of the MLB Network and the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. On January 6 the Cubs made another surprising move trading Jason Marquis to the Rockies in exchange for reliever Luis Vizcaino. Luis didn't seem to be a fit with the Cubs, so we thought once again that Jim had some kind of Peavy trade on the horizon. On January 8 outfielder Milton Bradley signed with the Chicago Cubs. Bradley was coming off a strong season with Texas. Some questioned this signing, because Bradley had a bad reputation and an injury history. The Cubs assured everyone that they had heard nothing but good things about Milton from former teammates and coaches, and that Bradley was injury free. Cubs legend Andre Dawson fell short of the needed 75% to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on January 12. The Hawk received 67%, while Lee Smith also came up short getting just 44.5% of the vote. The Cubs Convention and Cubs Caravan gave fans a little taste of some baseball during the cold winter in Chicago. Coming off a 97 win season, everyone expected 2009 to be a 3rd straight first place finish for the Chicago Cubs. On January 18, the Cubs sent struggling outfielder Felix Pie to the Baltimore Orioles for lefty Garrett Olson, who they ended up trading to Seattle on January 28 along with Ronny Cedeno in return for Aaron Heilman, who was expected to be a big part of the cubs' bullpen. On January 30 the Cubs signed Paul Bako to compete with Koyie Hill for the backup catcher's job in Spring Training.

When the calendar turned to February, Cubs fans began (if they already hadn't) counting the days until pitcher and catchers report. In the mean time, Jim Hendry was still wheeling and dealing as his busy winter continued. On February 2, the Cubs made a pair of deals, sending Rich Hill to Baltimore and Mike Wuertz to Oakland. Minor leaguers Richie Robnett and Justin Sellers came over in the Wuertz trade, and Baltimore sent a Player to Be Named Later. On Friday the 13th (perhaps that's what went wrong for the 2009 Cubs) pitchers and catchers reported to Fitch Park. Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Gregg, Kevin Hart, Rich Harden, Geovany Soto, Koyie Hill, Randy Wells, Jake Fox, and Wellington Castillo all reported to camp a day early. Jobs up for grabs going into camp included the closer, 5th starter, center fielder, the backup catcher, and roles in the bullpen. On Thursday February 19, Cubs fans toasted to Haray Caray on the 11th anniversary of the legendary broadcaster's death. Other early spring headlines include the Cubs inviting President Obama to their camp, lots of talk of Soriano moving from the leadoff spot, Rick Sutcliffe at Cubs camp, and Lee and Ramirez deciding not to play in the WBC. Jeff Samardzija stared the Cactus league opener at Fitch Park on February 25. The Cubs and Dodger met in a rematch of the 2008 NLDS. The Cubs came out on top this time around by a score of 5-3. Carlos Marmol was hesitant to leave the team because he was competing for the closer's job, but he ended up deciding to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. The Cubs ended the month with a 13-0 rout of the White Sox on February 28, to improve their Cactus league record to a perfect 4-0.

The Cubs started the month of March with a thud, losing 8 of the first 9 Cactus League games in the month. Aramis Ramirez had no backup third baseman since DeRosa was traded, so the Cubs signed Corey Koskie and had Fontenot and Miles take ground balls at third base. Later in the spring Hendry inked Esteban German to compete for a roster spot. In the mean time, Ted Lilly, Geovany Soto, Kosuke, and Carlos Marmol all missed a lot of Spring Training due to the World Baseball Classic. Kosuke's team Japan ended up winning the event. On March 12, Lou Piniella made up his mind giving Carlos Zambrano his 5th straight Opening Day assignment. Z had struggled in previous Opening Day starts, so Piniella considered letting Dempster start the opener. The Cubs saw a lot of good things out of the young guys in camp, but of course, roster cuts were made through out the month. On St. Patrick's Day, the Cubs trimmed 9 players off: Jeff Stevens, Mitch Atkins, Justin Berg, Marcos Mateo, Welington Castillo, Darwin Barney, Luis Rivas, Doug Deeds, and Jason Dubois. A day later, Esmalin Caridad and Ken Kadokura were sent to minor league camp. Mark Johnson, Andres Blanco, Esteban German, Brad Snyder, and So Taguchi were cut on March 29. Other March headlines included the announcement that the Cubs would retire the number 31 on May 3 in honor of Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins, Rich Harden catching the flu, Mike Fontenot appearing in an episode of "My Boys", and the deaths of Ernie Banks' mother, Whitey Lockman, and Herman Franks. On March 30, the Cubs finalized the Opening Day roster as far as position players. Koyie Hill was named the backup catcher, Micah Hoffpauir won the final bench spot, while Paul Bako and Mike Stanton were both released. Going in to the final few days of camp in April, Chad Gaudin, Angel Guzman, Jeff Samardzija, and David Patton were all still looking for spots in the bullpen.


Spring Training was extended because of the World Baseball Classic. This year, Opening Day was not until April 6, so the Cubs started the month with 4 more exhibition games. The Cubs finished their Cactus League slate with a win against the Indians in Mesa on April 2 to finish with a record of 18-16. Then the Cubs traveled to New York for two exhibition games to open the New Yankee Stadium. Aaron Miles got his one moment of fame for 2009 getting the first hit and run scored at the new park. The Cubs lost the first game on April 3 7-4, and then they were destroyed 10-1 on Saturday. Sunday, April 5, was an off day for the Chicago Cubs before opening the season on Monday in Houston. The Cubs final bullpen decision came down to the wire, and the Cubs ended up sending Jeff Samardzija to AAA and releasing Chad Gaudin. Rule 5 Pick David Patton, and Angel Guzman, who was out of options, won the final two spots in the pen. April 6 was the day Cub fans had been waiting for all offseason. Opening Day. The Cubs were in Houston, Carlos Zambrano against the Astros for the first time since the no hitter in September of 2008. Big Z did not throw a no hitter this time. This is the Opening Day lineup that the Cubs sent out behind Zambrano:
1. Soriano, LF
2. Kosuke, CF
3. Lee, 1B
4. Bradley, RF
5. Ramirez, 3B
6. Fontenot, 2B
7. Soto, C
8. Theriot, SS

Alfonso Soriano got the Cubs off to a promising start nailing a lead-off solo homer against Houston starter Roy Oswalt on the second pitch of the season. Aramis Ramirez homered in the second and Ryan Theriot and Micah Hoffpauir both drove in runs to lead the Cubs to a 4-2 Opening Day win. Kevin Gregg made things interesting in the 9th allowing 1 run on 2 hits, but he got out of it to get the save. Big Z got his first Opening Day win tossing 6 strong. The Cubs hopes ofa perfect season were shot down in game two, when they suffered the first lost of the year 3-2. They beat the Astros 11-6 on Wednesday to take two out of three. On April 8 Geovany Soto suffered the first injury of the Cubs season. After winning 2 out of 3 at Miller Park (in the one game the Cubs lost Kevin Gregg recorded his first blown save of the year), the Cubs came home for the home opener against Colorado on Monday April 13th. Ted Lilly struck out 8 over 6.2 scoreless frames to get his second win of the season by a final score of 4-0. "The Bulldog" took a no hitter in to the seventh inning, but it was broken up by Garrett Atkins with two out in the 7th. Lee, Hill, and Kosuke all had their 5th RBI of the season in that game. The rest of the month was not too great as the Cubs went 5-9 over the next 14 games. The highlight was on April 17 at Wrigley when Alfonso Soriano launched an 8th inning 2 run blast to lift the Cubs over the rival Cardinals 8-7. A day later, Aramis Ramirez delivered an 11th inning walk off jack. Reed Johnson's April 12 catch was the top defensive play of the entire season for the Cubbies. Milton Bradley left that game with a groin injury by the way. Another moment we all remember from April was the Milton Bradley "ump bump" that ended up getting Milton suspended. Luis Vizcaino became the first bust of Jim Hendry's offseason acquisitions (the Cubs got Luis in a trade that sent Jason Marquis to the Rockies) when he was DFA to make room for Jeff Samardzija on April 22. Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Marmol, Derrek Lee, Bradley, and Soto all spent time out with injuries, but the Cubs thought it was smart to "avoid using the DL". Injuries hindered the team from start to finish in 2009, but by the end of April they thought they were getting healthy. They were wrong.

Up Next- Part 2: May, June, July, and August

Theriot on SC, Hall of Fame Votes, and More

Ryan Theriot was on Sports Central Monday for his weekly visit with David Kaplan:
  • Theriot has been at the batting cage since 3:00.
  • His kids have PCS (post-Christmas syndrome).
  • Houston likes trains, Pirates, guns, and swards so his Christmas was great.
  • Ryan finally got a washer and dryer for his house.
  • Theriot got his wife a painting studio for Christmas.
  • Neither Kaplan or Theriot are very good at art. David Kaplan got an F in art in 7th grade. That was the only class Kap ever failed.
  • Ryan also failed one class, and economics class is college. The teacher he had didn't like athletes at all.
  • The Riot got good grades in college (except the economics class).
  • Ryan thinks Mark DeRosa is worth more than 2 years $12 million, but Kaplan says "not in this economy. Theriot would still like to have DeRo back.
  • He will come up to Chicago a few days before the Cubs Convention.
  • Theriot has been working out with his wife.
  • He got a new riffle for Christmas. Kap doesn't like hunting. David has never fired a gun in his life, and has never gone hunting.
  • Theriot likes to shoot targets and hunt animals. He mainly hunts ducks and deer.
  • He thinks the riffle is a cool gun to have even though he will probably never shoot an animal with it.
  • Ryan likes being among nature and breathing the fresh air. He calls it a stress reliever.
  • Two nights ago was the last craw fish night.
  • Last night was the Theriot's 7 year anniversary. He and his wife dropped the kids' and Grandma's and went out for a nice night.
  • The guys discussed whether or not a grizzly bear could outrun a horse. I'm not sure how that fits on "Sport Central" or on "Everything Cubs blog".
  • Theriot sounded surprised when Kap said Jose Contreras.
  • Paul Sullivan hasen't cut his hair since the Cubs last game. The Riot and Kap want Sully to do an extreme makeover at the Cubs Convention. Theriot is a fan of Sullivan's glasses.

Speaking of Sully, he was on Chicago Tribune Live and briefly discussed the Cubs:

  • The Cubs didn't want DeRosa back. They didn't even look at him.
  • Mark got about what he was worth.
  • If Paul was the GM of the Cubs, he would consider signing DeRo once again.
  • The Cubs are looking to move Theriot to second base eventually, and if you sign DeRosa to a 2 year deal, it means you're keeping Mark at second and keeping Castro in the minors for the next two years.
  • Sullivan said Jeff Baker paid really well as a Cub.
  • Guys like DeRosa and Henry Blanco were "glue guys" for the '08 Cubs (they held everything together).
  • The Cubs didn't want to bring Mark back, because when you bring guys back it's never the same as the first time. They did it with Fergie and Holtzman, and it just wasn't the same.
  • The players the guys got in the DeRosa deal last year were talked about. Mark Carmen (who was also on CTL) wasn't too excited about the 3 minor league pitchers, calling them average. Sullivan says John Gaub looks pretty good, but he's unsure about Jeff Stevens.

Hall of Fame: If You Voted for Dawson, Please Stand Up?

Next Wednesdays is the day we find out whether or not Cub great Andre Dawson is going to be inducted into Cooperstown next July. Dawson need to be in, there's no doubt. Former Cub closer Lee Smith and current Cub bench coach Alan Trammell are also on the ballot. Cubs beat writer (and friend of this blog) Bruce Miles has revealed the 9 guys that he voted for. Miles voted for Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Dawson, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Jack Morris, Tim Raines, Smith, and Trammell. As of December 4, Carrie Muskat had already checked Andre Dawson. White Sox beat Writer Mark Gonzales is voting for "The Hawk" as well as Barry Larkin, Bert Blyleven, and Roberto Alomar. Teddy Greenstein has a check mark next to the names of Dawosn, Alomar, Blyleven, Dawosn, Mattingly, and Smith. Philip Hersh is giving Alomar, Blyleven, Dawson, Larkin, Martinez, Mattingly, Morris, Smith, and Trammell his vote. Fred Mitchell is voting for Alomar, Blyleven, Dawson, Larkin, McGriff, Morris, Raines, and Smith. Phil Rogers checked the following names: Alomar, Baines, Blyleven, Dawson, Morris, Raines, and Trammell. Cub beat writer Paul Sullivan will vote for Alomar, Baines, Dawson, Raines, and Smith. Dave Van Dyck is only voting for 3 guys, but "The Hawk" and Smith are both in that elite group, along with Roberto Alomar. So far we have 9 votes for Andre Dawson, and no writes who left the box next to Dawson's name unchecked. Gordon Wittenmyer for the Sun-Times says Dawson is on his ballot, which brings us up to ten votes. Jon Heyman tweeted that he too voted for Dawson. Ken Rosethal voted for Hawk, Lee, and Alan.

We could go on and on a possible even find out if Dawson made it or not by looking at all of the BBWAA voting member blogs and twitters. However, there's over a hundred. Let's just wait 8 more days to find out. I'll have a numbers breakdown up about Dawson over the weekend. The announcement is made a week from tomorrow (Jan. 6) at 1:00 PM CT on & MLB Network.

Len & Bob Bash

Tickets for this year's Len & Bob Bash are on Sale! Click here for more.

Minor League Update

Cubs prospect Robinson Chirinos was mentioned in the list of best minor league games of the year for his 2 grand slam game on May 31.

Cub Plays of the Year

Check out the videos of the top Cubs plays of 2009, and then vote on your favorite on!! I like Reed's catch and Piniella's craftiness. It's fun to remember that there were some good moments this past season!

Rumor Updates

The acquisition of Jose Contreras is unlikely according to Chicago Breaking, because Carlos Silva will fill the role of spot starter/bullpen man. Contreras should get better offers from teams that are looking for starters. Brining back popular Reed Johnson could be a better option that trading for Ryan Spillborghs. Troy Renck of the Denver Post talked to a major league source who downplayed the Cubs' interest in Spillborghs. Troy's "gut tells him that the Rockies' asking price will be too high to get a deal done."

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted with just 2 days left of 2009...

Countdown to the Cubs Convention: 17 Days

The countdown continues on this Tuesday! Today, let's take a look at the Cubs Convention list of attendees from 2009. The 2010 Convention will have many of the same guys that were there last year. Guys that are expected to be back are in bold. This year's list of attendees will come out some time in the next two weeks.

Photo taken at the 2009 Cubs Convention Opening Ceremonies. The voice of the Cubs Pat Hughes introduced all the past and present Cubs to the faithful.

Here is the list of guys who were at the Convention last year:
  • Ernie Banks
  • Darwin Barney
  • Glenn Beckert
  • Milton Bradley
  • Bob Brenly
  • Bill Buckner
  • Randy Bush
  • Jose Cardenal
  • Neal Cotts
  • Doug Dascenzo
  • Jody Davis
  • Ivan DeJesus
  • Ryan Dempster
  • Bob Dernier
  • Leon Durham
  • Oneri Fleita
  • Mike Fontenot
  • Joey Gathright
  • Doug Glanville
  • Kevin Gregg
  • Brandon Guyer
  • Rich Harden
  • Kevin Hart
  • Jim Hendry
  • Koyie Hill
  • Micah Hoffpauir
  • Pat Hughes
  • Randy Hundley
  • Fergie Jenkins
  • Reed Johnson
  • Len Kasper
  • Crane Kenney
  • Ted Lilly
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Sean Marshall
  • Aaron Miles
  • Keith Moreland
  • Dave Otto
  • Gerald Perry
  • Lou Piniella
  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Ryne Sandberg
  • Scott Sanderson
  • Ron Santo
  • Matt Sinatro
  • Lee Smith
  • Alfonso Soriano
  • Tim Stoddard
  • Lester Strode
  • Ryan Theriot
  • Alan Trammell
  • Steve Trout
  • Randy Wells
  • Tim Wilken
  • Billy Williams
  • Carlos Zambrano

Geovany Soto was expected to be there last year, but he missed his flight. He is expected to be there this year. Other first time guys that could be there this year include new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, the Ricketts family, John Grabow, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Baker, and maybe Jeff Gray, Sam Fuld or Mike Parisi. Not sure if minor leaguers Darwin Barney & Brandon Guyer will be back, most likely the Cubs will invite a few other minor leaguers to get the chance to be there this year. And of course, hopefully the Cubs make a few more additions in the next two weeks.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at the sessions & events schedule from last year as we continue the countdown! More posts to come today!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Rumor Roundup: Cubs Still Have a Lot of Work to Do

The Chicago Cubs have a lot of holes and needs right now. Jim Hendry, who has done nothing except dump Aaron Miles, Aaron Heilman, Jake Fox, and Milton Bradley this offseason, needs to get to work. Maybe Jim learned a lesson when he over-payed for guys early in the winter last year, but he cannot wait too long as he has already lost out on many of his targets. The Chicago Cubs need to have an active next month and a half, because right now there are still many areas that need improvement and added depth. Earlier I updated my projected Cub Opening Day roster. Tonight, let's go through some of the areas the Cubs need help, and take a look at the latest rumors...

Right now, the 40-man roster consists of 5 outfielders: Alfonso Soriano, Sam Fuld, James Adducci, Tyler Colvin, and Kosuke. You can forget Adducci, Colvin showed some promise but will likely start the year at AAA, and Fuld is a 4th outfielder at best. Soriano and Fukudome have shown inconsistency and injuries over the past few seasons, so you cannot count on them to start each and everyday for you. Most likely, both of them will either suffer an injury or go through a slump at some point in 2010. So the point is, the Cubs need to add outfielders (note the plural). Phil Rodgers says that the "Cubs aren't blown away by any of the outfielders on the free agent market." He speculated that Fernando Perez, a speedy Rays outfielder who is recovering from shoulder surgery, "would be an interesting gamble". Perez would cost the Cubs a top prospects according to NBC Sports. Marlon Byrd, Rick Ankiel, and Scott Podsednik remain options according to Rodgers. Reed Johnson could still resign with the Cubs. Carrie Muskat has told us that the Cubs like the way he plays, but are concerned about his ability to stay healthy. Last week I had a numbers breakdown that compared Johnson with other Cub outfield candidates. The other new and interesting Cub outfield rumor comes from Bruce Levine. Mr. Chicago Baseball says the Cubs have had talks with the Rockies about a trade that would bring Ryan Spilborghs to Chicago to replace Reed as the 4th outfielder. Spilborghs has good defense and plays all 3 outfield positions. In an article separate from the one where he wrote about Perez, Phil Rodgers (who is sometimes accused of making up rumors himself) reports that the Cubs would "immediately make an effort to land Jacoby Ellsbury" to fill their center field/leadoff hole if the Red Sox end up with Holliday or Bay. Rodgers goes on to say that this scenario helps explain why the Cubs have been so patient in studying their outfield options. Ellsbury would cost the Cubs a major prospect package. Phil listed Josh Vitters, Hak-Ju Lee, Andrew Cashner, and Jay Jackson as guys that could be included. The Cubs are also rumored to have interest in Johnny Damon. Dave O'Brien reports that Melky Cabrera (who was acquired from the Yankees last week) could be used as a trade chip. Jon Heyman tweets that if the Braves consider trading him, they should contact the Cubs, who'd love him for center field. In addition, David DeJesus could be an option. The Cubs have spoken to the Royals about DeJesus. Levine reiterated that Byrd and Podsednik remain 1-2 on the outfield list.

Pitching Depth
Sure, the Cubs have Carlos Zambrano, Randy Wells, Ted Lilly, and Ryan Dempster all returning, but with Harden gone via free agency and Lilly starting the season on the DL, there are two spots open in the rotation to start the year going into Spring Training. I'd like to see more than one good year out of Wells before you can count on him, and Big Z is never a sure thing. Although overal the rotation is solid, the bullpen is not. Carlos Marmol is the closer, he had good stuff but his control is a question mark. John Grabow and Angel Guzman are the only other guys that you know will be in the pen right now, and after that there's four question marks. So for two rotation spots and four bullpen spots we have Carlos Silva, Mike Parisi, David Patton, Jeff Samardzija, Tom Gorzelanny, John Gaub, Esmalin Caridad, Mitch Atkins, Jeff Stevens, Sean Marshall, Justin Berg, and Arismendy Mota all in the mix in Spring Training. On problem: will hese guys pitch well? The big Cub rumor on the pitching side going around today was that the Cubs have had talks with Jose Contreras' agent about the possibility of the former White Sox hurler to pitch for the Cubbies in 2010. The veteran right hander would "bring a certain amount of protection for the team, considering the unknown status of rehabbing lefty Ted Lilly" according to Contreras could be in the rotation until Lilly returns and then would be moved to the bullpen. Kiko Calero is also still on the Cubs' radar for the bullpen. The Cubs had to move on to other options for the bullpen after they lost out on former Pirates closer Matt Capps who signed with the Washington Nationals just before Christmas. The other Cub pitching rumor is that Carlos Zambrano could be available. Jon Heyman tweeted tonight that the Yankees "definitely had talked to the Cubs about Zambrano, who appears eminently available." Big Z has a no-trade clause, and right now it doesn't seem like it would make sense for the Cubs to trade him unless they get an ace pitcher back. Some rehab guys like Ben Sheets are on the Cubs radar. The Cubs are talking with Ben Sheets. Carlos Silva could also be a major factor in the rotation.

Middle Infield
Not a lot of rumors related to the Cubs middle infield to report. Carrie Muskat told us a few days back that the Cubs are fine with going into the year with Andres Blanco, Jeff Baker, and Mike Fontenot as the second baseman. We've heard a lot about Starlin Castro this winter. Castro could be ready for the big leagues at some point in 2010. At the start of the year, Theriot is expected to be the short stop. Former Cub infielder Mark DeRosa is close to signing a 2 year $12 million deal with San Fransisco. Felipe Lopez, Orlando Hudson, and Kelly Johnson are among the free agent middle infielders that make sense for the Cubs. Orlando Cabrera could be an option if the Cubs are willing to move Theriot to second.

The Cubs are also in need of a solid pinch hitter.

Well that's it for tonight, lots of great stuff to come in the next few days!

Countdown to the Cubs Convention: 18 Days

If you missed it, check out the post that started our countdown yesterday.

As we move one step closer the the big event, check out our posts from last year's convention!:

(Picture from an '09 Convention Session)

You also might like Cubs Luncheon Notes and Notes from the Valpo High Cubs Caravan Event.

More posts to come...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Getting to Know the Cubs: Geovany Soto

Full Name: Geovany Soto

Drafted: By the Chicago Cubs in the 11th round of the 2001 June first year player draft.

Nickname: Geo

Born: January 20, 1983 in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Big League Debut: September 23, 2005

Bats/Throws: R/R

Teams: Cubs (2005-present)

Awards: 2008 Rookie of the Year

Interesting Fact: Geo participated in the Futures Game for the World Team in 2007.
Career Stats: .264 batting average with 37 home runs and 153 RBIs.

We need a good year out of Soto in 2010!

Countdown to the Cubs Convention: 19 days

Let the Countdown begin...
The 2010 Cubs Convention is just 19 days away! Today we begin a series of posts, that will lead up to the start of the Convention on Friday January 15. Posts include good stuff from info to links to pictures from Conventions past. This year, the weekend runs from Friday the 15th to Sunday the 17th.

That week, they'll be Cubs events leading up to the Cubs Convention including the Cubs Caravan and the Len and Bob Bash.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the new and improved Cubs Convention Countdown under our poll on the right sidebar.

Look for a Cubs Convention post almost every morning for the next 19 days, plus 2-3 other posts throughout the day!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Catching Up Quick Hits after the Holiday

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays! Let's catch up:

Cubs TV Announcer Bob Brenly was on the Danny Mac Show on 670 the Score earlier this week:

  • Brenly's daughter got engaged over Thanksgiving and his son did so a week later.
  • Bob's offseason is going good so far.
  • Milton Bradley is a very talented player when he lets his play do the talking and keeps his mouth shut.
  • Brenly thinks that Bradley "had to go" calling him a "huge disruption in the clubhouse."
  • He is not sure what Silva will bring to the team. Carlos' role is still unknown.
  • The Free Agent class this year is not the strongest, but there are some role players out there that could increase the Cubs chances to win next year.
  • Bob says that we need the guys we have on the roster to perform at the level that they are expected to in 2010. Ramirez, Kosuke, Soto, and Soriano all need to stay healthy and bounce back.
  • Brenly thinks Zambrano will be back next year even though he hasn't achieved the kind of success that he should so far in his career with his talent level.
  • The Yankees might not have the prospects the Cubs would need in return for Zambrano. If they were to pull off a trade, it would have to be a 3-way deal so the Cubs can get some solid prospects back.
  • Kosuke is out of his comfort zone in center field. He's much more comfortable in right field.
  • Bob would not like to see Felix Pie back in the Cub uniform. The combination of Reed Johnson and Sam Fuld could be enough.
  • The Cubs would still like to get a guy who could play center every day and lead off, but if that guy is not out there, Reed and Fuld isn't the worse thing that could happen.
  • B.B. thinks Carlos Marmol will be similar to Mitch Williams as Cub closer. The Cubs need a guy like Matt Capps who would be a plan B if Marmol were to stumble.
  • Bob Brenly doesn't step across the line in dealing with Michael. It's a little bit of a balancing act because Bob has to be an employee and a father.
  • The younger Brenly made great strides defensively in 2009.
  • B.B.'s looking forward to the Len and Bob Bash.

That's it for now, I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always as the weekend moves along.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cubs Naughty and Nice List 2009

Merry Christmas Cubs fans! Before we take a break from baseball, it's time for this year's Cubs Naughty and Nice List. Click here for the 2008 list.

  • Jim Hendry- for working out a trade for Milton Bradley
  • Randy Wells- for coming out of no where to have a great rookie season
  • Aramis Ramirez- for getting through his injury and still leading the team in batting average at .317
  • Derrek Lee- for being one of the few Cub players to have a great year
  • Ryan Theriot- for playing in 154 out of 162 games
  • Carlos Marmol- for doing great once he took over for Kevin Gregg as Cubs closer
  • Pat & Ron- for another great season of Cubs baseball on WGN Radio
  • Len Kasper and Bob Brenly- for telling it like it is in the Cub TV booth
  • Ryan Dempster- for putting an OK year together despite his off the field issues
  • Kerry Wood- for blowing two saves when he returned to Chicago as an Indian
  • Bruce Miles, Carrie Muskat, Paul Sullivan, Gordan Wittenmyer, and all the other media members- for dealing with Milton Bradley on a daily basis
  • Jake Fox- for coming up and sparking the Cubs offense, which earned him his ticket to Oakland:(
  • Starlin Castro- for giving us hope for the future
  • Jeff Baker- for being versatile infielder that can swing the bat once he came over from the Rockies
  • Sam Fuld- for being another guy who provides a spark whenever the Cubs call him up
  • Bobby Scales- for making it to the bigs after all that time in the minors
  • Koyie Hill- for returning to baseball after his horrific accident several years back. Great year for Hill.
  • Ryne Sandberg- for being patient in the minor leagues
  • Ted Lilly- for representing the Cubs in the All-Star Game
  • All the loyal Cub fans- for being patient and waiting until next year


  • Jim Hendry- for signing Milton Bradley in the first place, and having a horrible offseason last year
  • Milton Bradley- for... well I think you know
  • Alfonso Soriano- for struggling all season
  • Mike Fontenot- for not producing like he did in '08 once he earned the starting job
  • Geovany Soto- for reporting to camp out of shape, smoking pot in the WBC, and for stinking most of the season
  • Lou Piniella- for lacking the fire we want to see from him
  • Kosuke- for not being worth the money the Cubs are paying him even though he had an OK season
  • Gerald Perry & Von Joshua- for the lack of Cub hitting in 2009
  • Aaron Miles- for hitting .185 in 74 games with the Cubs
  • Kevin Gregg- for blowing 7 saves and having a 4.72 ERA
  • Chad Fox- For having a 135.00 ERA. No that is no a type-o. 135.00!
  • Neal Cotts- for going 0-2 with an ERA over 7 before being sent down to the minors and then placed on the DL
  • Mike Wuertz- for finally doing good once the Cubs dump him
  • Rich Harden- for his injuries and inconsistency
  • Jeff Samardzija- for going 1-3 with a 7.53 ERA
  • Reed Johnson- for being injured so much that the Cubs might not re-sign him (I hope to see ya back Reed!)
  • The National Baseball Hall of Fame- they'll be on this list every year until the Hawk and Ronny are in

Click to check out my Cubs product reviews for the holidays!

My posting will not return until Saturday (December 26) unless some big news breaks.

Thank you so much for reading, and once again have happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Numbers Breakdown: Cubs Outfield Candidates

Who will the Cubs land as their starting center fielder? Today we take a look at the numbers of Marlon Byrd, Rick Ankiel, Scott Podsednik, and Reed Johnson to see who the better hitter is (since hitting is what the Cubs need!)

Career Batting Average:
Ankiel- .251
Podsednik- .277
Byrd- .279
Reed- .282

Point Johnson

2009 Batting Average
Ankiel- .231
Podsednik- .304
Byrd- .283
Johnson- .255

Point Scotty Pods

Career OBS
Ankiel- .763
Podsednik- .720
Byrd- .762
Johnson- .755

Point Ankiel

2009 OBS
Ankiel- .672
Podsednik- .764
Byrd- .808
Johnson- .742

Point Byrd

2009 HR
Ankiel- 11
Podsednik- 7
Byrd- 20
Johnson- 4

Point Byrd

2009 RBIs
Ankiel- 38
Podsednik- 48
Byrd- 89
Johnson- 22

Point Byrd

2009 SB
Ankiel- 4
Podsednik- 30
Byrd- 8
Johnson- 2

Point Pods

So Marlon Byrd wins this numbers breakdown 3-2-1-1. However, it's hard to say who is the best of these players because they are all completely different. It's interesting that the Cubs are looking at all of them, because they are so different. Rick Ankiel has the best career hitting wise, but he had a down year in 2009. Marlon Byrd is a power guy that would go in the middle of the Cubs order, maybe hitting 5th. Podsednik could hit at the top of the order, but he's more of a speed and defense guy. Reed could be brought back in addition to signing one of the other three because the Cubs need bench depth/someone who could platoon with Kosuke in right.

Remember, the numbers don't lie!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cubs Caravan Info, Bruce Levine Chat, and More

The Cubs Caravan tour is coming up! The stops for each tour have been announced!

Tour 1
Day 1 (Wednesday January 13):
  • Hospital Visits- Northwestern Hospital
  • Cubs Care Luncheon (sold out)- Harry Caray's Restaurant
  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- De Duprey/Von Humboldt Schools
  • P.L.A.Y. Program

Day 2 (Thursday January 14):

  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading: Lincoln Library & Museum
  • Peoria Chiefs Fan Fest- O'Brien Field/River Plex

Tour 2

Day 1 (Wednesday January 13):

  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- Alexander Hamilton Elementary
  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- Uplift Community School
  • Cubs Care Luncheon (tickets sold out)- Harry Caray's Restaurant
  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- Crispus Attucks Elementary School
  • P.L.A.Y Program- Northwestern Boys & Girls Club Gary, IN

Day 2 (Thursday January 14):

  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- James Blaine Elementary School
  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading- Hawthorne Scholastic Academy
  • Cubs Spotlight on Reading & P.L.A.Y. Program Waukegan School District
  • Private Event at the Naval Training Center- HUSO Illisnois

The participants in the caravan have not yet been announced for this year, but I'll post them on this site as soon as they are. Last year Tour 1 featured Lou Piniella, Bob Brenly, Jim Hendry, Len Kasper, Dave Otto, Oneri Fleita, Matt Sinatro, Lester Strode, Ivan DeJesus, Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Hart, Neal Cotts, Micah Hoffpauir, Kevin Gregg, Felix Pie and Joey Gathright; while Randy Bush, Pat Hughes, Cory Provus, Oneri Fleita, Larry Rothschild, Alan Trammell, Mike Quade, Gerald Perry, Brandon Guyer, Kevin Hart, Carlos Marmol, Kevin Gregg, Jeff Samardzija, and Sean Marshall were on Tour 2 a year ago.

That week will be a busy one for the Chicago Cubs because Len Kasper and Bob Brenly will be hosting their 4th annual Len and Bob bash, which will be Thursday night. Len and Bob will "reprise their role as honorary rock stars" this year for a few songs, after taking a year of from performing last year. All proceeds benefit Chicago Cubs Charities.

In addition, the Cubs will have the Cubs Convention which starts on Friday (January 15) and runs through Sunday at the Hilton Chicago. The annual gathering of Cubs fans is the highlight of the offseason for any big Cub fan who attends.

Some more Cubs stuff going around tonight:

Carrie Muskat had her Cubs Inbox earlier this week:

  • Reed Johnson could still come back to the Cubs, but it depends on who Jim Hendry is able to acquire.
  • Kosuke is an excellent right fielder and an average center field, so the Cubs are looking to get stronger up the middle by moving him to right.
  • Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik are both option for the Cubs, and it may come down to which player fits better on the payroll.
  • Starlin Castro is not the far away from the big leagues.
  • The Cubs feel that a combination of Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, and Andres Blanco will do the job at second base.
  • The core of the team that won 97 games is still in place. The Cubs are depending on better performances from Soriano, Fontenot, Zambrano, and Soto.
  • Carrie thinks it could be Double-A Tennessee's turn to play at Wrigley Field.

Bruce Levine chatted Chicago Baseball today. Here's what he had to say:

  • Johnny Damon is looking for at least $11-12 million per season on a multi year year deal right now. That isn't going to work for the Cubs, but if his demands become more realistic the Cubs may listen.
  • Jeff Baker probably won't be the Opening Day starter at second base unless to opponent is a strong left handed pitcher.
  • The Cubs rotation is solid. Right now, whether Randy Wells is a 15-game winner or a 9-game winner is the question.
  • Look for Starlin Castro mid to late season, depending on whether or not the Cubs are competing.
  • The Cubs are looking at rehabs like Kelvim Escbar and Ben Sheets.
  • The North Siders may not be able to afford Aroldis Chapman.
  • Levine thinks the Cubs have listened on Kerry Wood trade ideas from Cleveland, but "that ship has sailed".
  • Look for the Cubs to be very active over the next 10 days (don't we always hear that?). They could sign Capps sometime Wednesday.
  • The Cubs feel good about Marlon Byrd, and they are seriously considering signing him. Rudy Jaramillo worked with Byrd in Texas.
  • Carlos Silva will be given every chance with the Cubs, including in the bullpen.
  • First and foremost the Cubs are looking at CF and the bullpen. After that, they may look for bench help. Reed Johnson could be brought back to solidify the bench.
  • Hendry may sign both Capps and Byrd. The organization definitely has enough money for both of them.
  • When asked about Carlos Zambrano trade talk, Levine said two word, "It's over."
  • Jim Hendry has made mistakes, but it's time to move on.
  • The Cubs like Orlando Hudson, but he's not their first priority right now.
  • Jaramillo and Soriano worked very well together with the Rangers.
  • "Look for Jim Hendry to bee extremely aggressive, even during the holidays." Interesting- maybe we'll get a big Christams Present from Hendry.
  • Jim is still looking at some veteran pitchers. A guy like Jose Contreras might be considered.
  • Who knows what Lou Piniella will do in Spring Training. Once he sees Starlin Castro's talent, he may end up being our Opening Day short stop. You never know.
  • The Cubs would love to trade Kosuke, but there's not much of a market for him.
  • Josh Vitters is going to hit. However, he is not a finished product at third base. He may end up at first.
  • The Ricketts family really likes Ryne Sandberg, but ideally the GM names the manager. Piniella's contract expires after 2010.
  • Bruce expects Geovany Soto to return as a better conditioned athlete when he reports to Mesa in mid-February.

Len Kasper joined the Danny Mac show today on WSCR 670 The Score:

  • Len thinks it's possible that Milton Bradley could have a good season in Seattle.
  • The "other stuff" besides Bradley's play on the field is what got him sent packing.
  • Kasper has no idea how Carlos Silva could help this team.
  • Carlos throws strikes, but he gives up a lot of hits.
  • Silva will get a chance because Lilly will start the year on the DL.
  • Milton was baffled as to why writers wanted to talk to him so much. He didn't understand that he would be in the spotlight no matter what. For whatever reason, Bradley doesn't like the spotlight.
  • Len called Bradley an independent guy, a loner, and very smart and sensitive.
  • Milton is not a good fit for a big market like Chicago.
  • Kasper is 99.9% sure that Carlos Zambrano isn't going anywhere. He's the Cubs number 1 starter, Ted Lilly has gone down, and Big Z had a better ERA in 2009 than '07 and '08.
  • Winning the Cy Young may never happen for Zambrano, but if he stays in Chicago his whole career, he could become the greatest Cub starter in terms of longevity and wins since Fergie Jenkins.
  • The NL Central is 100% up for grabs. It doesn't take much to get back to the top of this division for the Cubs.

That's it for now, I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always as the Cubs could be making a move just before the holidays!

Cubs Fun & Games Tuesdays: 12/22/09

Haven't had one of these in awhile between the holidays, the winter meetings, and the Hot Stove heating up. Our last Cubs Fun & Games post was on December 1. The answers from that post:

Trivia:In 2007, who did the Cubs trade for Jason Kendall?
Answer: C, Rob Bowen

Name that Ricketts (in this order from left to right): Todd, Tom, Laura, and Peter

Cubbie Birthdays
Today- Ellie Hendricks
Tomorrow- Alec Distaso, Vic Larose, and Elder White
Christmas Day- Tarrik Brock, Scott Bullett, Greek George, Chris Krug, Dick Manville, and Manny Trillo

Cubs Trivia
Who is the only Cub to ever wear uniform number 99?

Name that Cub

Quote of the Week
"Ronald Reagan has held the two most demeaning jobs in the country; President of the United States and radio broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs.” -George F. Will

Random Cubs Fact
On May 31, 2003, the Cubs beat Houston 1-0 in a 16 innings at Wrigley Field. This was the longest 0-0 contest ever played at The Friendly Confines".

Link of the Week
Since the holidays are almost here, this weeks link would make a great last minute stocking stuffer. Check out the Cubbies Fan Sudoku book!

Site Reminders
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  • I'll be having full posting today and tomorrow before a few light days for Christmas!
  • Keep checking back!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday AM Quick Hits

Let's start this Monday with some rumors:

Last Friday the guys talked about the Milton Bradley trade on MLB Network's Hot Stove:

  • Herold Reynolds thinks this is an interesting move for the Mariners. The talent is there, and Herold, who is a former M, says that if Milton can't get along with the people in Seattle, he's not going to get along with anybody.
  • "This is it for Milton Bradley," Reynolds said.
  • Mitch Williams said that sooner or later Bradley will have to understand that it's his problem, not everybody else in baseball that has the problem.
  • Bradley's batting average is much better in the American League.
  • Tom Verducci says that the reason for his better play in the AL is that he has played for two big market teams in the NL and he doesn't fit there. Also, Bradley needs the DH spot to get more playing time because he can't play in the outfield every day.
  • Jack Zduriencik, the Mariners General Manager, thinks that Seattle is a great place to be. Seattle was looking for a middle of the lineup fielder. Jack says, "This guy once to win."
  • He talked to some of the guys in the M's organization and everyone said that this guy can play, this guy can hit. Just let him do his thing.
  • Ken Griffey has a great personality, he's a leader, and he has great leadership skills. Griffey will lead the whole ball club in the right direction.

That's it for now, there's more to come!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cubs Christmas Gift Ideas

First of all, notice that we have a new poll up on the right sidebar of our blog! Thanks to everyone who voted on the last poll. This week, we will be continuing our All Decade Cubs Series by moving on to the outfield. We will be taking the top 3 outfielders in the voting for our team, but you still can only vote for one. Because of the holidays and the fact that we will be taking the top 3, this poll will be up for two weeks instead of just one. Please vote based on performance in a Cub uniform in the 2000s only!
Now, since Christmas in approaching, let's take a look at some Cubs related gifts that I would recommend. If you still have last minute shopping to do, here are some great ideas:

10. Sweet Lou and the Cubs by George Castle

In this great read, George focuses on the 2008 Cubs season. He tells mostly about Cubs manager Lou Piniella, but also quite a bit of good info recapping the 2008 season describing the type of season each of the key players had under Lou. Right now, going back to relive a 97 win season sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

9. The Pat & Ron Show CD

Join the Cubs radio broadcast team on their humorous adventure of broadcasting the Chicago Cubs on a daily basis. If you enjoy listening to Pat Hughes and Ron Santo during the summer, and you are missing the guys this winter, this is the perfect gift. Anyone who likes to laugh, likes baseball, or both can enjoy this CD. Link

8. Cubs apparel!

We can't leave getting Cubs hats, jerseys, fuzzy dice, mugs, pajama pants, wrist bands, stuffed bears, baseball cards, licence plates, laptops, and coat racks off the list! Lots of it can be found on the shop.

7. Fergie Jenkins: My Life From the Cubs to Cooperstown

From his family tragedies, to his on the field success, to his childhood, to his retired life; Fergie Jenkins tells it all first hand. Fergie talks a lot about how proud he is to be a Canadian in this autobiography written by Jenkins and Lew Freedman. Jenkins describes his time with the Phillies, Boston, Texas, and the Cubs. I just finished reading it, and I would highly recommend it.

6. Billy Williams: My Sweet-Swinging Lifetime with the Cubs

Very similar to Jenkins book, but I rank it even higher on the list. Williams talks a lot about his home state, and how many pro ball players came from Alabama. Written with Fred Mitchell and a forward by Ron Santo. Link

5. Baseball Voices CDs

Pat Hughes, the voice of the Chicago Cubs, has put together some great CDs, that make perfect gifts for any baseball fan. The CDs take a look at the careers of some of the greatest baseball broadcasters ever. The series is call Baseball Voices, the Hall of Fame Series. The Harry Caray CD is great for all Cubs fans. In addition, Pat has two new additions to his series, so if you already have the others, check out the two newest: Milo Hamilton and Dave Niehaus. He has also updated his Harry Kalas CD. Free shipping on all orders is being offered. Other CDs include Red Barber, Jack Buck, Marty Brennaman, and Bob Uecker. Link

4. Hoodoo by Grant DePorter, Elliot Harris, and Mark Vancil.

Great read for any Cub fan! Grant, Elliot, and Mark try to unravel the 100-year mystery of the Chicago Cubs. Find out what the name Murphy has to do with every Cub collapse. DePorter is very dedicated to finding out what has gone wrong for the Cubs. Link.

3. This Old Cub
The inspirational story of Ron Santo. If you don't already think Ron Santo needs to be in the Hall of Fame, this movie will change your mind. Link.
2. The Chicago Cubs Legends Great Games
Are you missing watching baseball this winter? Do you want to have the chance to relive some of your favorite moments from watching the Cubs as a child, or some of the best recent moment. This great set includes 8 DVDs all of classic Cubs games. From Ryne Sandberg, to Andre Dawson, to Greg Maddux, to Derrek Lee; you'll get to check out some Cubs Legends greatest games. Link.
1. Chicago Cubs Vineline
If you want to stay up with all the Cubs news, get to know the Chicago Cubs, look back at past Cubs, read special Q&As with Cubs players, and get plenty of updates on minor league players all year around, Vineline is for you. A subscription to Vineline is the Cubs gift that keeps on giving! Link
More stuff to come on the blog this week! I'll be posting every day Monday through Wednesday as we get ready for the holidays!
Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More Trade Reaction

Other Links and Notes:

David Kaplan, Dave Van Dyck, and Paul Sullivan talked about the Bradley trade on Chicago Tribune Live yesterday with Jim Hendry:

  • Hendry is happy to have the whole Bradley thing behind him.
  • It's no secret that Bradley never really achieved on the field, and had issues off the field that weren't tolerable.
  • Jim takes full responsibility for the Bradley signing.
  • The Cubs had other avenues that they could have taken, but in the long run this is a good deal for them because they got some cash back in the deal.
  • He will look at the trade based on not only Silva's performance, but also based on the performance of the player that the Cubs get with the extra money they receive in the deal.
  • When Paul congratulated him on the deal, Hendry said thanks but it's not something he thinks of as congratulations, but you have to move on and put it behind you.
  • At the meetings, the president of Seattle told Sully that the M's were not looking at Bradley.
  • Jim said that he first heard from the Mariners on Bradley 2 days ago.
  • This week, two clubs that Hendry had not talked to all off season long (one being Seattle) contacted him this week.
  • Van Dyck thinks that the Mariners kept Silva on the DL longer than he needed to be because he wasn't performing well.
  • "He's not hurt, he's 30 years old, and maybe he just needs a change of scenery. This is a very good guy, a good team got, and he helps young pitcher," Hendry said of Carlos Silva.
  • He'll be a candidate for the rotation and for the middle relief job.
  • The Cubs have been keeping track of all their possibilities. They know they would like to move Kosuke back to right field.
  • Jim is also looking to add a bullpen piece to go with Grabow and Marmol.
  • They would also like to add a quality person or two to their bench, and they need a right handed bat who can play with Kosuke in right field.
  • Reed Johnson is a guy that the Cubs will always consider for their baseball guy. Johnson is a great team guy, but he has had a tough time staying healthy.
  • Jim certainly wouldn't rule out Reed coming back.

After Jim was off the phone, the guys talked more about the Cubs:

  • They were surprised that this deal to Seattle got done as suddenly as it did.
  • Van Dyck thinks that when they relized how big of a contract Jason Bay wanted, they decided that Bradley might be a better fit.
  • Kap thinks that he will go out to the West Coast and have a great season.
  • Dave thinks Ken Griffey Jr. will have a good impact on Bradley.

Todd Hollandsworth joined the guys next:

  • The first thing Todd said was, "Christmas came to Chicago early."
  • It was a good time to get Bradley out.
  • Silva has a little up side and potential in the bullpen.
  • Hollandsworth thinks that one person can have a huge impact on the clubhouse. Chicago's relationship with Bradley was not a good one.
  • Todd believes that this could possibly be a very good situation for Carlos Silva, who is an innings eater and a ground ball pitcher.
  • He thinks Carlos could be a fit in the bullpen.
  • Bradley hurt the Cubs in the clubhouse and on the field. He was brought in to be the guy in between Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.
  • When Aramis got hurt, Milton needed to step it up. When the Cubs needed him the most, his game really started to turn south. A lot of things played off of that.
  • Todd says that there's not a lot of pressure in Texas. The pressure in Chicago got to Bradley.
  • Hollandsworth thinks that it was the best situation for both Silva and Bradley to go to a new place.

More CTR Cubs talk:

  • Dave Van Dyck thinks that if Bradley would have signed for 1 year $8 million it might have all ended up differently.
  • Kaplan thinks Lou Piniella has to come in with a little more edge next year. Sullivan says that they just need to hit.
  • Kap thinks the manager has to hold people accountable.
  • Van Dyck and Sullivan agree that the hitters not hitting was the key to the season, not Piniella's lack of fire.
  • Dave pointed out that the Cubs won 97 games under Lou in 2008.
  • Paul says that if you want to blame Piniella for something, blame him for sticking with Kevin Gregg too long and leaving Soriano as the lead-off man for too long.
  • Frankie O. from Harry Caray's restaurant called it an awesome day. He said today the people at Harry Caray's were celebrating the trade of Bradley.
  • Milton never endeared himself to Cub fans. He was the guy that the fans had a lot of resentment towards. Frankie says that this team needs to move towards winning. Cubs fans want to see what will happen next.
  • People want to see if this Cubs team can hit next season.

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