Sunday, May 30, 2010

Former Cub Updates: May 30, 2010

Let's get an update on how are 2009 Cubbies are fairing in their new towns!
  • Kevin Gregg, Blue Jays: 0-1, 3.22 ERA, 22 Games, 13 Saves
  • Reed Johnson, Dodgers: .304 AVG, 41 Games, 6 RBIs
  • Rich Harden, Rangers: 2-1, 5.14 ERA, 10 starts
  • Milton Bradley, Mariners: .229 AVG, 3 HR, 18 RBIs, 30 Games
  • Jake Fox, Oakland: .229 AVG, HR, 11 RBIs, 32 Games
  • Aaron Heilman, Arizona: 1-1, 3.26 ERA, 21 Games
  • Andres Blanco, Rangers: .211 AVG, 20 Games
  • Aaron Miles, AA-Springfield (Cardinals): .281 AVG, 13 RBIs, 15 Games

We'll keep you posted on these guys about once a month throughout the year. However, for now let's see if the current Cubs can go get a series win!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Roundup: Two Cubs Starters Making Different Kinds of Cub History (& More)

  • Today Cub prospects Brett Jackson, Aaron Shafer and Rafeal Dolis were named to the Florida State League All-Star team today. The guys will represent the Daytona Cubs in the game on June 12 at 6:35 CT.
  • Shafer has an ERA of 1.04 out of the bullpen, Jackson is hitting .300 to lead the D-Cubs, and Dolis has a 2.34 ERA and 3 wins as a starter.
  • This past offseason, Ryan Dempster deferred some of his money to help the Cubs in signing Xavier Nady. Bruce Levine reports that Demp contacted the Cubs and asked what he could do to help the club. Ryan differed a total of $3M and will make it back over the next few seasons.
  • Lou Piniella has finally decided that it's time to get Tyler Colvin some more playing time.
  • Jeff Baker is okay after the ocular migraine that occurred during Thursday game according to Carrie Muskat.
  • Carlos Zambrano is also fine. He came into pitch today, just one day removed from a stint in the hospital.
  • Randy Wells had the worst start by a Cub in almost to decades today. He allowed 5 runs in the first and left before he retired a single batter. Wells tossed only 16 pitchers.
  • The Cubs bullpen had to work 9 innings today so they may be in need of some help tomorrow. Piniella said that Wells will be available out of the pen. The question is, after today's start, do we want him in the game tomorrow?
  • Ken Rosenthal is in town to cover the Cubs/Cardinals series for FOX. Lou Piniella says that he has no intention of going out to dinner with his former co-worker who wrote that he needs to be fired last month.
  • Tomorrow Carlos Silva has a chance to become the first Chicago Cub to start the season 7-0 since Jim Weaver in 1934.

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

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mid Week Roundup: The Rotation, Health Situations, Lilly Cheating?, and More

Zambrano in the Hospital
Carlos Zambrano spent Thursday afternoon in the hospital with appendicitis type symptoms. Tests for appendicitis were negative and Big Z is listed as day-to-day. Zambrano is expected to return to his role in the rotation soon after spending a shot time in the Cubs' bullpen.

Baker Also Has a Scare
Jeff Baker was playing third base today. He had a little scare when he could not see out of his right eye according to Lou Piniella. Jeff was removed in the eight inning after he didn't even make an attempt at fielding a ball hit to his left. He will be examined by an eye doctor.

Rotation Situation
Zambrano will re-enter the rotation on the next road trip, which starts next Monday. Lou Piniella has not announced which starter will exit the starting five to make room for Z. Piniella doesn't think anyone deserves to leave the rotation, but the Cubs will not go with a six man rotation. Tom Gorzelanny could be in jeopardy of a move to the bullpen.

Ramirez to Return
Aramis Ramirez could finally be back in the lineup this weekend against the Cardinals. A-Ram was available to pinch hit today but he was not used. He hit in the cage and on the side with Rudy Jaramillo. Ramirez has been nursing a thumb injury.

Top Pitching Prospects Preparing for Relief Roles
The Cubs could be ready to call-up either Jay Jackson or Andrew Cashner from AAA-Iowa. Both guys, who are usually starters, have been converted to the bullpen so that they can join the Cubs' pen at some point this season. Bruce Levine says that one of them could be in the bullpen as soon as next week.

Lineup Switching
Piniella has continue to move guys around in the order. Ryan Theriot has been moved down in the order because of his recent struggles. Starlin Castro has found a home in the two hole. The Cubs are now 8-0 when Starlin hits second.

The Bulldog a Cheater?
Dodgers' hitter Casey Blake accused Ted Lilly of cheating today. Blake said the Lilly was starting his windup for some pitches in front of the rubber. The umpiring crew did not see any violation.

Power Outage
Last night the lights went out at Wrigley Field as Ryan Dempster delivered ball four to Blake DeWitt. The game was delayed for 18 minutes before power was restored. The last time there was a power outage at Wrigley was in 2003.

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cubs Radio, Howry, Zambrano, and More

  • Carlos Zambrano will return to the rotation against the Pirates next week. Tom Gorzelanny could be the odd starter out.
  • The Cubs have agreed to move their radio broadcasts to accommodate the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Finals games. The Hawks games will be on the the WGN-720 flagship station while Pat and Ron will be moved to 560 WIND on conflicting dates. The days the Cubs will be on 560 will be June 2, 4, and possibly 9th (if Game 6 is needed in Stanley Cup).
  • Speaking of the Hawks, some of their players were at Wrigley tonight to cheer on the Cubbies.
  • Aramis Ramirez got another day off on Tuesday. He sat out with a thumb injury. A-ram is hitless in his last four games and is hitting just .160 this year.
  • Phil Rogers reports that Aramis will most likely avoid the DL and could return to the lineup against the Cardinals this weekend.
  • Bobby Howry believes he still has something to bring to the table. He will be used in middle relief.
  • Jim Hendry wasn't sure how to react when he was told that Milton Bradley is taking his advice at looking in the mirror, according to Bruce Levine.
  • Carlos Zambrano's 73 pitch simulated game went well yesterday. Jeff Baker and Tyler Colvin were among the batters.
  • After a 3-0 win against the Dodgers tonight, the Cubs are 7-0 when Starlin Castro bats second in the lineup.

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

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Getting to Know the Cubs: Carlos Silva

Most of year already know this man. He's been the best pitcher in the starting rotation this season, so let's learn a little more about Carlos Silva!
Full Name: Carlos Silva
B/T: Right
Position: Pitcher
MLB Debut: April 1, 2002
Teams: Phillies (2002-2003), Twins ('04-'07), Mariners ('08-'09), and Cubs (present).
Age: 31
Born: April 23, 1979
Home Country: Venezuela
Career Stats: 65-64, 4.66 ERA, 303 GAmes
2009 Stats: 1-3 with an 8.60 ERA in 8 games
Came to the Cubs: On December 18 in the deal that sent Milton Bradley to the Mariners.
2010 Stats: 5-0, 3.35 ERA, 8 Starts

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weekend Quick Hits: Rami's Struggles, Sori's Fun, Lou's Fire, and More

  • Carlos Zambrano is working his way back into the starting rotation. He is going to throw a simulated game on Monday at Wrigley Field and then see how he feels on Tuesday.
  • The Cubs have not decided who will leave the rotation once Zambrano returns.
  • Tom Gorzelanny is having no problems with his finger after being hit by a line drive in his last start.
  • Greg Maddux is enjoying his role with the organization. He spent a week with the Class-A Daytona club and is now headed to Tennessee to visit the Smokies.
  • Whenever Starlin Castro bats second in the lineup, the Cubs have won. Tonight's win improved the Cubs to 5-0 with Castro in the two hole.
  • Lou Piniella does not feel the need to call a team meeting. Instead, he prefers dealing with players one on one.
  • Aramis Ramirez returned to the Cubs' lineup as the DH tonight and went 0-5. His sore left thumb is now OK, but he's hitting just .160.
  • Carlos Silva and Ryan Dempster are tied for the team lead in quality starts with 6 each. Dempster still only has a 1-3 record to show for his good work.
  • Former Cub (Spring Training only) Kevin Millar has been busy since being released by the Cubs. He's on the St. Paul Saints' DL, he is a studio analyst for MLB Network, and now he has joined FOX Baseball coverage.
  • Phil Rogers reports that the Cubs signing of Bob Howry was seen as a sign of desperation by rival scouts.
  • Alfonso Soriano is still having fun playing the game of baseball, which is good to see.
  • Piniella is finally start to show a little fire. He realizes that the Cubs need to start hitting with men on base.

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

Friday, May 21, 2010

Breaking News: Howry Signs With Cubs

With the struggles of the Cubs bullpen this season, Jim Hendry has finally added a veteran arm. However, Bobby Howry might not be what most Cubs fans were hoping for.

Howry has signed a one year deal with the Cubs and will earn the league minimum of $410,000. Bob will join the team tonight in Texas for the first interleague game of the year. He was released by Arizona earlier this week.

To make room on the active roster, Justin Berg was sent to AAA-Iowa. David Patton has been DFA'd to make room on the 40-man roster. Patton was the Cubs' Rule 5 Draft Pick in December 2008 and was kept on the 25-man roster (or DL) for all of the 2009 season, but the Cubs' are giving up on him. Patton had a 5.23 ERA in 7 games at Class-A Daytona this season.

This was the second adjustment made to the bullpen this week after Jeff Stevens was called up on Wednesday. Esmalin Caridad has returned to the DL. His new injury is a right elbow strain.

Here are some notes on Howry, who will be used in middle relief:
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • Drafted: By the Giants in the 5th round in 1994
  • Has played with the White Sox, Red Sox, Indians, Giants, and D'backs.
  • 10.67 ERA in 14 games before being released by Arizona this season.
  • Went 4-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 2006, his first and best year of his first stint with the Cubs.
  • Remained a Cub until signing with the Giants after the '08 season.
  • 36 years old

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

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quick Hits: Piniella, Zambrano, and More

  • Carlos Zambrano will eventually return to the starting rotation. Lou Piniella is going to use Zambrano in long relief instead of setup duty to start getting his arm stretched out for the time being.
  • Lou is not sure how long it will take to get Z back into the rotation.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports thinks that the Cubs should fire Piniella and replace him with bench coach Allan Trammell. Rosenthal writes, "It could happen. I'm guessing it will happen."
  • Jim Hendry responded to Rosental's article by saying that Lou is safe for the 2010 season. He does not think the manager is at fault for the team's slow start.
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that the Cubs would trade Derrek Lee if they could.
  • Steve Stone said Monday on 670 The Score that the next Cubs' manager should be Joe Girardi.
  • Mark Prior recently started throwing in hopes of making one last comeback, but Prior took a line drive off his pitching shoulder and is injured again.
  • Another injured former Cub is Jim Edmonds, who was recently placed on the DL by the Brewers.
  • Phil Rogers suggests that the Cubs take a chance on bringing Bob Howry back. Howry was released by Arizona.
  • Rogers also reports that bullpen help could be on the way in the form of Jay Jackson.
  • Ryne Sandberg succeeding Lou is not a sure thing according to Paul Sullivan.
  • The chances are slim to none that a team would take Zambrano off the Cubs' hands.

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

Monday, May 17, 2010

Down on the Farm: Who's Hot, Who's Not?

With the struggles of the Chicago Cubs, looking to the future is always fun. Today, let us see how the Cubs' prospects are fairing so far this season.

AAA-Iowa (18-18)

Who's Hot?
  • Chad Tracy: Since being sent down, Tracy is hitting .586 in 7 games. The I-Cubs are 6-0 in games that Chad starts. He has 8 RBIs.
  • Matt Camp: This utility man leads the team among guys with 100 or more ABs with a .322 average. He is a good contact hitter (33 of 39 hits are singles, the rest doubles).
  • Brad Snyder: Brad's an outfielder with 5 homers and 26 RBIs. In addition to his power, Snyder has an OBP of .299 in 33 games.
  • Blake Parker: 1-1 with an ERA of just 1.10 in 12 games out of the Iowa bullpen. He could see time in the Cubs' pen before the end of the year.
  • Andrew Cashner: Went 6 innings and allowed just 1 run in his first AAA start after being called up from Tennessee.
  • Mitch Atkins: 3-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 10 games (2 starts). He has joined the rotation and is pitching very well.

Who's Not?

  • Micah Hoffpauir: Hitting just .195 in 34 games. Hoffpauir has been scuffling at AAA and has really gone steadily downhill in the past 12 months. He may never see the Wrigley Field diamond again.
  • Welington Castillo: With an average of just .239, Castillo is starting to show some signs of improvement. His defense has remained consistent even with his struggles at the plate.
  • J.R. Mathes: 3-4 with a 5.52 ERA in 8 starts. The lefty posted 12 wins for Iowa last season.

AA-Tennessee (22-14)

Who's Hot?

  • Steve Clevenger: The catcher had a great week at the plate. He is now hitting .360 in 21 games, which ranks first among Smokies on the active roster. Clevenger is fighting to earn some playing time in an organization that is filled with young catchers.
  • Josh Vitters: .333 average since being bumped up to AA. Three of his 7 hits are extra base knocks.
  • Austin Bibens-Dirkx: Has been the ace of the Tennessee rotation so far this season. After a great season at Peoria last year, the adjustment period has gone swiftly. Bibens-Dirkx is 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 7 starts.
  • Matt Spencer: Since coming off the DL, Spencer has hit .340 in 16 games. Matt, a product of the Jake Fox/Aaron Miles trade, already has 3 homers and 12 runs batted in.

Who's Not?

  • Ryan Flaherty: Hit just .183 in 23 games before finally being sent down to Daytona.
  • Marwin Gonzalez: Has gotten off to a slow start at the dish since being called up to take Castro's place a short. Gonzalez has a .167 average in 8 games.
  • Jeff Muyco: Muyco, who made a few appearances as a call-up at HoHoKam Park this spring, has an ERA over seven. He has notched 5 saves in 15 games out of the Smokies bullpen, but he will be given less and less save chances because of his beefy ERA.
  • Alex Maestri: The ex-World Baseball Classic player has a 6.20 ERA in 14 relief appearances. The Tennessee bullpen has not been that effective this season.

We'll have a "Who's Hot, Who's Not" for the Class A clubs (Daytona and Peoria) later in the week.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weekend Quick Hits: Minor League Injuries, Colvin Rotting, and More

  • Executives on other teams see Carlos Zambrano as a guy who hasn't pitched like a top of the rotation starter in two years according to MLB Trade Rumors.
  • Teams can make offers on shortstop Martin Steylon Peguero as soon at the international signing period begins on July 2. Blake Bently of MLBTR report that the Cubs, Rangers, Mariners, Padres, Twins, and Reds are all interested.
  • Mike Parisi, the Cubs Rule 5 Draft pick now at AA, had elbow surgery yesterday according to Bruce Miles.
  • Other sidelined prospects include Marcos Mateo (knee) and Brett Jackson (minor foot injury).
  • Matt Forman reports that Carlos Zambrano was not happy about moving to the bullpen, but now he's accepted his new role.
  • Ryan Theriot was back in the lineup yesterday after sitting on the final game against the Marlins with a hamstring injury.
  • Marlon Byrd is enjoying Wrigley Field so far. He's hitting .354 in home games.
  • Starlin Castro moved up to the two hole in the lineup on Wednesday with Theriot out, but he returned to hitting 8th yesterday.
  • Chad Tracy is hitting .556 since being sent down to AAA-Iowa.
  • Lee DeWyze, a finalist on American Idol, threw out the first pitch yesterday. Jeff Garlin led the crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ball Game".
  • Castro has reached safely in each of his first seven games. The last Cub to do that was Bobby Scales a year ago.
  • The Cubs have dropped six straight against the Pirates dating back to last season. They'll look to end that streak with Dempster on the hill today at 12:05 CT.
  • "I'm happy to do whatever situation they want me to," Zambrano said yesterday after a tough 8th inning.
  • Lou plans to flip flop the top two men in the order. He will use Kosuke Fukudome to lead-off against right handed pitchers for now.
  • The Cubs have made 31 errors in just 36 games. That is the second most in all of MLB.
  • Tyler Colvin was in the original starting lineup today, but he was scratched and Xavier Nady was added to play right field. Colvin has been rotting on the bench. He has started just one game since April 30.
  • The Cubs are six games out of first and in fifth place. The Houston Astros are now just 1.5 games behind the Cubs, which means we're in danger of dropping to last in the Central.

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

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Radio Recaps: Brenly and Sullivan on the Score

Bob Brenly on the Danny Mac Show on Tuesday:
  • Bob thinks it's odd for everyone to see Carlos Zambrano in his current role. Brenly thinks Z will end up back in the starting rotation at some point this season.
  • If you do put Zambrano back in the rotation, the Cubs need someone to fill the 8th inning role. They could look to the minors or the trade market.
  • The five guys the Cubs have in the rotation right now are solid. It probably will take an injury to get Carlos back into the starting five
  • Aramis Ramirez did not say "I'm my own hitting coach," out of disrespect to Rudy Jaramillo. Rami was just saying that he understands what he's doing wrong and knows how to work his way out of it. Bob thinks the quote got taken out of context and blown out of proportion.
  • We are seeing signs that Derrek Lee is starting to find his stride. Lee was not in a slump like Ramirez was, he was just not getting hits. Right now, you have to avoid putting Derrek and A-Ram too close together in the lineup.
  • You would think that the Cubs would be having more success because they have 5-6 guys hitting well. The two "big boys" have dragged the entire team down.
  • If you're five games out with six to go, you still have a chance to get into the playoffs. It is way to early to panic for the Chicago Cubs.
  • Some of the Cubs moves are made out of necessity and they are the best option. Brenly commends the Cubs for not waiting until the service date to bring Starlin Castro up.

Paul Sullivan joined Mully & Hanley after yesterday's win over the Marlins:

  • Sully thinks you just have to look at the game against Florida as one win and wait to see what happens this weekend against the Pirates.
  • The Cubs are up in the top 5 or 6 in many statistical categories, but they are having trouble scoring runs.
  • Right now nobody really knows for sure how good (or how bad) the Cubs are.
  • Paul says that the Cardinals are looking pretty solid, so the Cubbies may want to start thinking about the Wild Card at best.
  • Carlos Zambrano has been very low key over the past few weeks. Z does not like being pulled in the middle of an inning and he is not too thrilled with his new role.
  • Sully has seen Rudy and Aramis working together, so the report from David Kaplan that Ramirez is not coached by Jaramillo is not entirely accurate.
  • Derrek Lee also says that he will listen to Jaramillo, but not to everything he says.
  • The thing with Aramis is that we've never seen him in this kind of a slump. He has never struck out so frequently.
  • Carlos Silva thinks the Cubs approached him the right way in Spring Training. Sully says that Larry Rothschild did change Silva's throwing motion a little bit. A lot of it is the confidence.
  • Brining Castro up might eventually cost them more money, but you have to worry about the present. The Cubs say the move was for defensive purposes, but the guy made 5 errors his first week.
  • There are going to be some growing pains involved in a 20-year old adjusting to the bigs.

Don't forget to vote on our poll on the right sidebar!

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

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Quick Hits: Road to Wrigley, Len & Bob in the Bleachers, and More

  • The annual "Road to Wrigley" game will take place the Friendly Confines for the third consecutive year. The Peoria Chiefs, the Cubs' Class-A affiliate, will play there for the second time. They once again meet the Kane County Cougars in a rematch of the 2008 Road to Wrigley game. The Iowa Cubs played in the game last year against the Las Vegas 51s. The Famous Chicken will join the mascots of both clubs for on the field entertainment during the game, which will take place on July 7 at 7:05 CT.
  • Carrie Muskat reports that the Cubs will not be making a trade any time soon.
  • Ryan Theriot sat out today with a hamstring injury. It is not serious and Ryan is expected to be back at second base on Friday when the Cubs open a series against the Pirates.
  • Muskat also reports that the Cubs think Starlin Castro will settle in fine at short stop for the Cubs.
  • Len Kasper and Bob Brenly are going to broadcast from the bleachers on Sunday against the Pirates. The game will be on the WGN-TV at 1:20.
  • Jim Hendry had nothing but good things to say about manager Lou Piniella today according to Bruce Miles.
  • The Chiefs' not only announced that they will be playing at Wrigley, but they also decided that they'll retire Greg Maddux's jersey on June 11. The Cubs legend, Maddux, will attend the event with his family.

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Former Cubs in Independent Leagues

Most Independent Leagues are getting their seasons underway sometime in the next week or so. In honor of the start of the Indy ball season, we take a look at this list of former Cubs who are on Independent League rosters to start 2010:
  • Kevin Millar, 1B: Well there's a name from the not so distant past. Millar, who was with the Cubs in Spring Training this year and lost the final roster battle to Chad Tracy, signed with the St. Paul Saints of the American Association last week. Kevin was going to serve as an MLB Network analyst, but he decided that he still wants to play some baseball.
  • Antonio Alfonseca, RHP: Most known for having six-fingers on one hand, Alfonseca pitched out of the Cubs bullpen in 2002 and 2003. Now he is in the Atlantic Leauge, hurling for the Bridgeport Bluefish.
  • Adam Greenberg, OF: Greenberg is now a teammate of Alfonseca's with the Bluefish. His sadly on had one Major League Baseball at bat. In a 2005 game against the Marlins, he pinch hit and was beaned in the head with a fastball. He suffered a minor concussion and has never seen the MLB field again to date. It's good to see that Adam is playing baseball once again.
  • Ryan Freel, INF: Another name from the recent past, Freel played in 14 games for the Cubs last season. He came over in the trade that sent Joey Gathright to Baltimore, but then was dumped by the Cubs and finished the year with Kansas City. Freel is now playing for the Somerset Patriots.
  • Bobby Hill, 2B: This is the guy you can thank for Aramis Ramirez. Hill was the main guy sent to Pittsburgh in the deal that brought Ramirez and Kenny Lofton to Chicago in 2003. A top prospect that never panned out, Bobby hit .262 in 4 seasons of big league ball split between the Cubs and Pirates. He is now playing for the Newark Bears, another Atlantic League club.
  • Daryle Ward, 1B: Ward was a key part of the Cubs' bench in 2008, but he joined the Newark Bears last year after he finished a short stint in the White Sox organization. Ward is an 11 year big league vet.
  • John Ford-Griffin, OF: Griffin is not a former Chicago Cub, but an interesting name to included non the less. He hit .265 for AAA-Iowa last year in 104 games with the club. He spent just one year in the Cubs' organization and signed with Newark when they did not bring him back this offseason.
  • Jeff Kennard, P: Kennard signed with the Cubs as a minor league free agent this offseason with an invite to big league camp. When he was released from the Cubs after Spring Training didn't pan out too well for him, he was picked up by the Somerset Patriots.
  • Matt Craig, 1B: Played 8 years in the Cubs' system but never made it up to the big league club. Now he's with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.
  • Francis Beltran, P: Beltran pitched 11 games for the Cubs in 2002 then 34 more in '04. He posted a 5.36 ERA in his Cub career. He was apart of the 4-team trade that helped the Cubs net Nomar Garciapara and Matt Murton. Beltran went to Montreal in that deal. Now he's with the York Revolution.
  • Randall Simon, 1B: Simon hit .282 for the Cubs in 2003 then played with the Pirates in 2004 before dissappearing from the big league seen for awhile. In 2006 he resurfaced with the Phillies. He started playing Indy ball in 2008. He is signed with the Rockford Riverhawks of the Northern League for this coming season.
  • Billy Petrick, P: Petrick pitched in 8 games for the Cubs in 2007. His ERA was well over seven. Petrick pitched for Windy City last year and was traded to the Joliet Jackhammers of the Northern League last month.

Best of luck to the former Cubs this season!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Getting to Know the Cubs: Starlin Castro

As the vast majority of you have heard by now, the Chicago Cubs have a new short stop. Let's take some time to get to know a little bit more about Starlin.

Full Name: Starlin DeJesus Castro

B/T: Right

Position: Short Stop

Height/Weight: 6'0"/190 lb

Born: March 24, 1990

Signed: By the Cubs as an amateur free agent in 2006.

Prospect Ratings:
  • Top Prospect in the Organization according to Baseball Prospectus.
  • Rated "Best Competitiveness" in the organization by Vineline.
  • Rated best range and best arm strength by a short stop in the system.
  • Best defensive infielder in the system according to Baseball America.

Minor League Stats: Hit .376 in 26 games at AA-Tennessee before his call-up.

Big League Stats: 4-12, 2B, 3B, HR, and 6 RBIs in 3 games

Notable Accomplishments Already:

  • First Cub born in the 1990s.
  • First player in Major League Baseball history to have 6 RBIs in his big league debut.
  • Sixth player in Cubs' history to hit a home run in his first career at bat. He is the third big leaguer to do so this season (Heyward and Luke Hughes were the others).

He is set to make his Wrigley Field debut tonight. Hopefully Castro will remain a fixture there for years to come.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Morning Quick Hits: Grabow's Injury, Gorzo's Help, and More

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Let's hope the Cubs can go get a win for you against the Reds at 12:10!

Now, let's take a look at all of the latest Cubs news and notes:
  • Esmalin Caridad has been activated from the DL. To make room for him on the roster, Jeff Gray was sent to AAA-Iowa.
  • John Grabow went back to Chicago yesterday to have an MRI on his left knee. No damage was revealed. Piniella thinks the knee injury has contributed to John's recent struggles. Grabow will get a few more days of rest.
  • Starlin Castro is the first player in history to drive in six runs in his MLB debut. Castro also became the sixth player in franchise history to hit a home run in his first career at bat.
  • According to, Carlos Silva's neck was feeling better on Saturday afternoon. He complained of soreness prior to his start on Friday.
  • Lou Piniella thinks that Jim Hendry made a good move by calling Castro up on the road. It is easier adjust to the big leagues when there's not 41,000 fans at Wrigley.
  • Mike Fontenot hit his first career Grand Slam on Friday night. He will still be used as the Cubs' backup short stop, because Lou doesn't want to mess with moving Theriot back and forth between second and short.
  • Mike was frustrated when he heard the news that he had been benched.
  • There were reports that Aramis Ramiez will not listen to hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, but Rudy told Paul Sullivan that the slugger has not resisted help in any way.
  • David Kaplan and Fred Mitchell report that Tom Gorzelanny is having more success this year becuase he has become very close to Greg Maddux. The two talk regularly and text daily. After each start, they break down Gorzo's performance.

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

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Radio Recaps: Stone & Holly on 670 the Score

Steve Stone on Boers & Bernstein to talk Castro
  • In the short term, Castro is a very promising young player.
  • Stone saw him in the Arizona Fall League and noticed his hand-eye coordination.
  • He puts a lot of "pitchers' pitches" in play.
  • The one thing that baffles Steve about this is that Ryan Theriot and Castro did not work together as a double play combo in Spring Training.
  • Ryan had not played second base in some time.
  • The Cubs have 11 stolen bases as a team, while Juan Pierre has 15 by himself. The Cubs have a slow team. When you go to big ballparks or the wind blows in at Wrigley, you cannot win without speed.
  • Barry does not think this timing makes any sense. Steve says that the Cubs didn't want to bring him up this early, but there are some things that are difficult to explain with this team.
  • The Cubs continue to stock their lineup with right handed hitters.
  • A five man rotation in a Major League Baseball outfield does not work.
  • Sitting Colvin on the bench is not doing him a lot of good.
  • With Gorzelanny throwing the ball very well, Carlos Zambrano may not have a chance to move back into the starting five.
  • Randy Wells admits that he was goofing around with Geovany Soto in the bullpen before the game. Steve's question is, "Where was Larry Rothschild?"
  • Losing three games to the Pirates just doesn't look good.
  • Lou Piniella has only one thing in mind for the Cubs, winning games.
  • Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker do not have much value on the trade market.
  • Ryan Theriot is a guy you want to keep.
  • If you could move Aramis Ramirez, Stoney believes you should do so.
  • The Cubs are very limited as to who they can trade and when you can trade them. They will have to eat a lot of money to dump so big players.
  • A guy who can only play second is not very valuable if he is not starting (Fontenot).
  • Carlos Zambrano's bat is not a factor in the decision to move him to the bullpen.

Todd Hollandsworth on the Danny Mac Show to give his take on Castro

  • Todd thinks that Aramis Ramirez's problems are mental. Rami's body language is just awful right now.
  • Ramirez looks defeated and unsure of himself. He is "out and around" everything at the plate, meaning that he's trying to crush the ball.
  • The best action for Lou Piniella might be to sit Ramirez down for awhile.
  • Todd is seeing a guy who's trying to get it all back with one swing. A couple days off to clean his head and refresh his mind might be the right thing for Ramirez.
  • Mike Fontenot has been "solid enough" this season. The starting pitching has been pretty good, Soto is off to a good start, Soriano has gotten his act together, Theriot is hitting well, but they are still losing.
  • Hollandsworth is looking for a "spark plug" or "lighting in a bottle". Starlin Castro could be that guy who shakes things up.
  • They have a veteran team, but something is missing.
  • Moving Zambrano to the 8th inning was a "wow factor".
  • Todd doesn't want to put the word "critical" on any game. As a player, you have to look at everyday as an opportunity to beat the opponent.
  • The Cubs are certainly not out of it, but they need a spark.
  • They do not have much flexibility with their roster because they do not have a lot of guys who can be sent down to AAA.

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

Friday, May 7, 2010

Starlin Castro Called up to the Big Leagues

Starlin Castro is now a Chicago Cub. The story was first reported via twitter this morning, and now it is official. Castro is the Cubs' top prospect in the organization. The 20-year hold short stop was hitting .376 with 20 RBIs at AA-Tennessee this year. He will make the jump from double-A to the big leagues without making a pit stop in Iowa.

Ryan Theriot will shift to second base so that Castro can take over everyday duties at short. Both middle infielders were working on the field in Cincinnati today at 2:00 with coaches Alan Trammell and Ivan DeJesus.

To make room for Castro on the roster, the Cubs sent Chad Tracy to AAA-Iowa. Chad had been struggling in his pinch hitting and backup role. Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot are effected by this move as well, because both will see less playing time.

Starlin will become the youngest Cubs short stop ever and the youngest player to make his Cubs debut since Oscar Game (19 years, 250 days) in 1969. Castro is in the starting lineup for tonight's game. Here's the rest of the starting 9:

1. Ryan Theriot, 2B
2. Kosuke, RF
3. Derrek Lee, 1B
4. Marlon Byrd, CF
5. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
6. Alfonso Soriano, LF
7. Geovany Soto, C
8. Starlin Castro, SS
9. Carlos Silva, P

The Castro callup lead to a string of roster moves in the Cubs' organization:
  • Andrew Cashner promoted to AAA-Iowa.
  • Josh Vitters promoted to AA-Tennessee.
  • Marwin Gonzalez promoted to AA-Tennessee.
  • Mike Parisi optioned to AA-Tennessee.
  • Ryan Flaherty optioned to Class-A Daytona.

Our new short stop will sport jersey number 13. The last Cub to wear that "unlucky" number was Andres Blanco last season. Before that, it was last seen on Nefi Perez's back in 2006.

If nothing else, this gives Cubs' fans a reason to tune in! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Numbers Breakdown: The Cubs Bullpen

Esmalin Caridad is on the road to recovery, which means one Cubs reliever will be sent to AAA. The Cubs have a lot of candidates who have been riddled by inconsistency, but let's take a look at the numbers and see who should be sent down.

2010 ERA
Carlos Marmol: 0.66
Sean Marshall: 2.40
Justin Berg: 3.27
James Russell: 3.86
Jeff Gray: 6.14
Carlos Zambrano: 6.29
John Grabow: 8.38
*Note: Caridad's ERA in 4 games before the injury was 18.90.

So there's no doubt that Grabow should be the one removed from the pen, but since he cannot be sent to AAA, Gray will most likely get sent down. James Russell has been nothing special, so he could be sent down as well if there is someone else to be called up.

Here are a list of candidates based on ERA in Iowa:
Blake Parker: 1.46
Thomas Diamond: 1.65
Jeff Samardzija: 2.08
Jay Jackson: 2.31
Mitch Atkins: 3.00

Either Diamond or Parker should be called up!

Remember, the number's don't lie!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mid Week Quick Hits: Dawson, Colvin, the Bullpen, and More

  • Andre Dawson took a tour of the Hall of Fame the other day. Dawson says he's pretty much done with his HOF speach already.
  • Esmalin Caridad pitched a scoreless rehab inning at AAA Iowa. He will work again tomorrow and then the Cubs will decided whether or not he is ready to come off the DL.
  • Carlos Silva is dealing with a wrist injury but he will still make his scheduled start on Friday. Silva is only in pain when he swings the bat, not when he pitches.
  • The Cubs have reitterated the fact that Carlos Zambrano's bullpen duty is not limited to the 8th inning. We could see him sub for Marmol in the 9th from time to time.
  • Alfonso Soriano has homered in each of his last four games. If he goes deep on Wendesday night in Pittsburgh, Sori will tie a franchise record. Hack Wilson, Ryne Sandberg, and Sammy Sosa are the only men who have 5-game home run streaks in Cubs history.
  • Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano will both be hitting career long ball number 300 sometime soon. With Alfonso's shot tonight both now stand at 297.
  • Carlos Marmol's ERA is 0.71. Wow.
  • Before Sunday's game, Cubs relievers had allowed no runs in 7 of the last 9. A huge turn around for a bullpen that was really struggling before the addition of Big Z.
  • Tyler Colvin has not been getting that much playing time because of the fact that all of the Cubs' outfielders are swinging hot sticks.
  • Now that the Cubs' bats have come around, everyone is jumping on the Jaramillo ban wagon.
  • Cubs GM Jim Hendry says that Starlin Castro will join the Chicago Cubs at some point this season. Hendry is talking with Ryan Theriot about a possible position change according to Bruce Levine.
  • Matt Capps told Gordon Wittenmyer that he was pretty close to becoming a Cub.

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

Monday, May 3, 2010

Getting to Know the Cubs: Marlon Byrd

Here's a guy that plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. Marlon Byrd is a hard worker, a "gamer", and a pretty good hitter.
His glove work in center has also been pretty good. It's time to take a closer look at the Cubs' new center fielder.
Full Name: Marlon Jerrard Byrd
Postion: Centerfield
B/T: Right
Drafted: By the Phillies in the 10th round of the 1999 June Draft
Teams: Phillies (2002-2005), Nationals ('05-'06), Texas ('07-'09) and Cubs (present).
Age: 32
Birthday: August 30
2010 Stats: .354 AVG, .369 OBP, 5 HR, 19 RBIs
Career Stats: .282 AVG, 65 HR, 810 Games
On a side note, Happy Birthday Ryan Dempster! Let's hope the year-older Demp can beat the Pirates tomorrow night!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Night Quick Hits: The Bullpen, The Outfield, Spring Training, and More

  • Aramis Ramirez sat out today's series finale against Arizona. Lou Piniella says that Aramis' bat is coming around so the Cubs want to make sure they rest him properly.
  • The whole team will take the day off tomorrow before opening a road trip in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
  • At some point this season Carlos Zambrano may be used as the closer when Carlos Marmol is unavailable.
  • Esmalin Caridad is coming along well. His next step will be to get into some rehab action with AAA-Iowa. Caridad is expected to join the I-Cubs on Tuesday and be back with Chicago within a week.
  • When Esmalin returns to the Cubs bullpen, someone will have to be sent down. Jeff Gray, James Russell, and Justin Berg are all candidates.
  • Russell and Ryan Dempster were among the Cubs who attended the Hawks game on Saturday night. The Blackhawks lost Game 1 of their series 5-1. James has tossed out the idea of the Cubs taking BP in hockey jerseys if the Hawks win the Stanley Cup.
  • Piniella likes the fact that he has lots of outfield depth. Right now, it's been hard to get Xavier Nady playing time because Kosuke, Colvin, Byrd, and Soriano are all swinging the bat well.
  • Soriano has already matched his April home run total in the month of May. There have only been 2 games so far this month, but Sori went deep a total of 4 times in the series against the D'backs.
  • The All Star Game fan voting is already underway! Be sure to vote for your favorite Cubs over at
  • Marlon Byrd writes on the his blog that he thinks we are finally seeing the impact Rudy Jaramillo has made on this offense. "It takes time," he said.
  • Tom Gorzelanny may have been the best 0-3 pitcher in baseball. He finally got a "W" today.
  • According to the Sun-Times, we shouldn't count Florida out for Cubs' Spring Training just yet.
  • Carlos Silva has a mild wrist injury, so he'll get an extra day of rest before his next outing.
  • Happy birthday to former Cubs front office guy Jay Blunk, now with the Hawks!
  • Don't forget to vote on our poll on the right sidebar!

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

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Former Cub Updates: May 1, 2010

For the first time in 2010, let's take a look at how our ex-Cubbies are fairing! For this post, we will focus only on players that were members of the Cubs in 2009.
  • Kevin Gregg, Blue Jays: 0.82 ERA, 6 SV, 11 IP
  • Reed Johnson, Dodgers: .282 AVG, 3 RBIs, 19 games
  • Rich Harden, Rangers: 1-1, 4.56 ERA, 23.2 IP
  • Milton Bradley, Seattle: .211 AVG, 2 HR, 11 RBIs, 18 Games
  • Jake Fox, Oakland: .182 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 16 Games
  • Aaron Heilman, Arizona: 0-1, 5.59 ERA, 9.2 IP
  • Kevin Hart, Pirates: Has torn labrum, could have season ending surgery.
  • Aaron Miles, Cardinals: The Cubs traded Miles to Oakland, then they shipped him to Cincinnati. Then, he was released on April 14 after being DFA out of Spring Training. This week, he signed a minor league deal to return to St. Louis.
  • Neal Cotts, Pirates: Has not pitched yet this season after signing with Pittsburgh on January 4. He is not listed on the Pirates 40-man roster.
  • Luis Vizcaino: Free agent
  • Chad Fox: Free Agent
  • So Taguchi: Playing for Orix BlueWaves in Japan
  • Ryan Freel: Signed with Somerset Patriots, an independent club
  • Andres Blanco, Texas: .214 AVG, 1 RBI, 14 Games
  • Jason Waddell: Pitching in the Tigers' system

That covers them all!