Sunday, July 31, 2011

Counting Down to the Trade Deadline

Update 3:20pm CT: The Major League Baseball trade deadline has come and gone and the Cubs were silent today. There is always an outside chance of a deal taking place that we have not yet found out about, if so we'll let you know about it.

Today is Major League Baseball's trade deadline. After 3pm Central Time this afternoon, non-waiver trades cannot be made again until after the World Series. The Chicago Cubs have already made one move, shipping Kosuke Fukudome to Cleveland for two minor leaguers. Will they make another one prior to the deadline today?

Let's take a look at some of the moves Jim Hendry has made on July 30-31 in his time as GM:

  • A year ago today, Jim Hendry made a last second move, trading Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers for Blake DeWitt and two prospects.

  • In 2009, the Cubs sent Kevin Hart to the Pirates for John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny the day prior to the deadline.

  • On July 31, 2004 the Cubs added Nomar Garciaparra and Matt Murton from the Red Sox in a four team trade. Alex S. Gonzalez was sent to the Expos in the deal.

Most of the time, Hendry has been more active earlier in the month. It does not seem like any deals are close to being completed at this time. However, there is a chance that a move could be made today. Here is that latest!

  • Buster Olney tweets that the Cubs will not trade Carlos Pena today.

  • The Pirates asked about Pena, but sensed that the Cubs didn't want to move him, according to Jon Heyman of SI.

  • Heyman also tweets that the Cubs have told other teams they want to keep both Pena and Byrd. Jon thinks that they could have gotten a good return for Marlon.

  • Ryan Dempster says that staying with the Cubs is more admirable that approving a trade.

  • Update Noon Central: George Ofman reports that the Rangers were interested in Carlos Marmol, but the Cubs turned them down.

  • Derrek Lee is back in the National League. He has been traded to the Pirates, who will play the Cubs in a four game series starting tomorrow!

  • Kevin Goldstein says that front office guys are confused about the lack of moves by the Cubs.

  • CSN Chicago reports that the Cubs look at Matt Garza as a building block.

I will update that bulleted list throughout the day with the latest rumors and notes. Please keep checking back, as I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rumor Roundup on the Day Before the Deadline

The Major League Baseball trade deadline is tomorrow at 3pm Central Time. The next two days we will have all the action covered right here on Everything Cubs Blog. Let's take a look at the latest from the rumor mill!

  • David O'Brien says that Marlon Byrd is on the Braves' radar.

  • Jim Hendry does not think that the Cubs need a complete overhaul, according to Gordon Wittenmyer.

  • Aramis Ramirez still wants to stay with the Cubs the rest of the season. He does not plan to waive his no trade clause. It appears that any deal involving Ramirez is highly unlikely.

  • Bruce Levine reports that a major deadline deal is unlikely for the Cubs.

  • Carlos Pena is drawing interest, but the Cubs are hesitant to deal him because he may be in their plans for next season.

  • In a non-trade related note- Andrew Cashner will throw off a mound in Mesa today. This will be the first time he has done so since May 16. He could return in a month.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted throughout the rest of the week!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Look at Kosuke's Time with the Cubs

Even though Kosuke Fukudome's time with the Cubs was, for the most part, a failure, there is still a part of me that is sad to see him go. Anytime a Cub who has been with the team for several years departs, most die-hard fans miss seeing them play every day.

Let us say goodbye to Kosuke by looking back at his time with the Cubs.

December 11, 2007
The Cubs signed outfielder Kosuke Fukudome to a four year, $48 million contract. The Cubs thought that that Japanes import would help put their team over the top after winning the division title that year.

March 31, 2008: Big League Debut
There is no doubt that the highlight of Fukudome's time in Cubbie blue came very early on, in his big league debut on Opening Day of 2008. The fans at Wrigley Field, many of whom were sporting Fukudome Japanese headbands, went wild when he doubled on the first pitch he saw in the big leagues. Kosuke stepped to the plate with two men on base in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Cubs trailing the Brewers 3-0. He delivered a dramatic home run to tie the game at three and finish his debut 3-for-3. Although the Cubs fell 4-3 in ten innings, Kosuke's game tying homer is a moment that Cubs fans will never forget.

2008 Season: Hot When It's Cold, Cold When It's Hot
Each year Kosuke got off to a solid start in April and May before falling victim to a June swoon when the weather heated up. His number continued to decline each year as the season moved into the fall. That was evident in his first season when he batted .327 in April, .293 in May, .264 in June, .236 in July, .193 in August, .178 in September and .100 in two postseason games.

July 7, 2008: An All-Star
Kosuke told Judd Sirott in an interview for WGN Radio a few weeks ago that the 2008 season was his favorite in a Cub uniform for several reasons. It was the only one in which the Cubs won the division title. His hot start in the big leagues was also fun for him. It led to his lone All-Star appearance as well. Kosuke started in center for the NL and went 0-for-2.

2009: Position Switch
At the start of his second season with the Cubs, Kosuke was moved to center field so that Milton Bradley could play right. In July, he switched to first in the batting order, replacing Alfonso Soriano. For the rest of his Cubs career, Fukudome bounced around the lineup after hitting fifth for most of '08. Kosuke moved back to right field for 2010. In 2009, he actually finished second on the team in OBP at .375.

2010 & 2011 : Platooning
The past two seasons, the story of Kosuke Fukudome not living up to his large contract has faded onto the back burner with all the other headlines surrounding the Cubs. Kosuke's struggles were well documented his first two seasons, but he is actually an asset to a team when he is put into the proper role. Kosuke brings strong defense and draws a lot of walks, plus is one of baseball's good guys. He is not, however, a middle of the order hitter or a $48 million player. In 2010, Kosuke split time with fellow left handed hitter Tyler Colvin in right field. Colvin had a great season, so Fukudome's player time decrease quit a bit but he finished with his best average since signing with the Cubs at .263. Colvin started off slow in 2011 so he was sent back to Triple-A, with Kosuke sitting in favor of Reed Johnson against left handed pitchers.

July 28, 2011: Traded to the Indians
Yesterday, Kosuke's tenure with the Cubs came to an end when he was shipped to Cleveland for two minor leaguers. Click here for more information on the trade.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted as we countdown to Sunday's 3pm CT trade deadline!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Breaking News: Kosuke Traded to the Indians

Update 1:10pm CT: This trade is official. Kosuke sent to Cleveland for minor leaguers P Abner Abreu and OF Carlton Smith. Tyler Colvin added to active roster, in Milwaukee for today's game.

Well, it looks as if the Cubs are about the make their first move prior to the trade deadline.

According to multiple reports, the Cubs and Indians have agreed to a deal that would sent Kosuke Fukudome to Cleveland. Buster Olney tweets that the Cubs will pay more than half of the $4.7 million owed to Kosuke, while Jon Heyman says it will be the vast majority.

Kosuke does have partial no-trade rights and the Tribe are one of the 15 teams that he can block a trade to. Right now, they are trying to figure out minor perks for him in exchange for waiving the no-trade clause. Paul Hoynes reports that the Cubs will receive one upper level and one lower level prospect in the deal.

This deal is not yet official, but it appears that it is going to happen before today's game. Tyler Colvin will likely replace Kosuke on the active roster. I will update soon with more information, stayed tuned!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Remembering Ronnie Roundup: 7-27-11

Here on Everything Cubs Blog we continue to honor the late Ron Santo for his great career with the Cubs as both a player and a broadcaster. Here are the latest news and notes regarding #10.

Ron Santo Golf Outing
The Ron Santo golf outing to benefit JDRF took place Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer, IL on Monday. Many members of the Cubs organization spent their off day golfing for Ronnie. Sean Marshall, Darwin Barney, Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood were among the players who attended. Click here for video from last year's event, or click here for John Williams' interview with Pat Hughes and Vicki Santo on WGN Radio from Monday.

Ron Santo: A Perfect Ten
Remember, there is a great book out about Ron Santo! You can order your copy on Click here for my book review from VFTB.

Countdown to August 10: 14 Days
Two weeks from today the Ron Santo statue will be unveiled at Wrigley Field. That night the Cubs will take on the Nationals at 7:05. Expect lots of Santo coverage the day of the statue unveiling. So far, we know that WGN Radio will honor Ronnie with a special edition of Cubs Corner from Noon to 1:00 Central Time. Tickets for the luncheon are $50 for adults and $25 for children and include a lunch at Wildfire Chicago, the restaurant hosting the event. Dave Eanet and Brian Noonan will chat with Santo's partner Pat Hughes and former teammates Fergie Jenkins and Ernie Banks during the live broadcast.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted as we draw closer to August 10!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Countdown to the Deadline: 5 Days

The Chicago Cubs have less than 5 days to dump players that are not going to be a part of the team in the future. The click is ticking on Jim Hendry, who has yet to make a move. With little activity, there is no shortage of rumors!

  • Jim Hendry told Comcast Sports Net that he expects a turnaround by 2012.

  • The Sun Times and Jon Heyman have contradicting reports on Carlos Pena. Heyman says that Pena is on his way out, but the Sun Times thinks they might hang on to him and could even bring him back next year.

  • Heyman tells us that the Cubs are looking to deal John Grabow, but that will not be easy.

  • The Red Sox and Indians have interest in Kosuke.

  • Sean Marshall, Ryan Dempster, Aramiz Ramirez, Kerry Wood and Matt Garza are all staying with the Cubs the rest of the season.

  • Jim Bowden tells us (via the CCO) that there are a great deal of teams interested in Marlon Byrd.

  • Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that Kosuke Fukudome could be the one Cub dealt at the deadline.

  • Stark believe that Carlos Pena would clear waivers for an August deal.

  • A Pittsburgh newspaper lists Pena as one of three bats that the Buccos are interested in!

Click here for my full deadline update from Sunday.

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

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Latest from the Rumor Mill

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is just a week away. So far, things have been relatively quiet around baseball. The Cubs have been silent. Will they end up making any moves???

Here is a list of players potentially on the chopping block and the latest on each one:

  • Aramis Ramirez: There has been interest, but he does not plan on waiving his no-trade clause. Will likely not be back next year and has a high value right now, but he will now allow the Cubs to trade him. The Angels would love to add Rami.

  • Carlos Pena: Will become a free agent at season's end, does not have no-trade protection and seems like a good candidate to be shopped. However, Patrick Mooney of CSN reported today that Pena my stick with the club through the end of the season and beyond.

  • Kerry Wood: Lot of teams would like him with his low salary, but he does not want to leave. It makes sense for him to stay in Chicago because of his family and Foundation situations. Woody will likely finish his career in a Cub uniform.

  • Sean Marshall: Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs continue to receive calls about the lefty, but he's not going anywhere. They are not taking offers for Marsh, who could fit into the team's bullpen plans for the next few years.

  • Reed Johnson: Buster Olney does not think the Cubs will get very good offers for Reed.

  • Alfonso Soriano: The most overpaid of all the overpaid Cubs. Don't call him untradeable just yet however. The Cubs are willing to pay the majority of the $60M left on his contract and Sori has said that he will be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to a contender.

  • Kosuke: Bruce Levine has reported that the Indians are very interested. The Cubs are looking for pitching in return. Kosuke makes perfect sense to be traded since he is in the final year of his contract.

  • John Grabow: Levine thinks that there might actually be interested in the veteran southpaw. Hopefully the Cubs can find a taker.

  • Marlon Byrd: Judd Sirott said on the Cubs broadcaster earlier this month that the Pirates may be a fit. Byrd still has a year left on his contract, which could increase the interest level from several teams. I believe that the Cubs see him as a part of their team next season.

  • Jeff Baker: Ken Rosenthal wrote a piece last week that said the Cubs do not want to part ways with the utility man. They think that he will help the team next season. The Red Sox are among the teams who have asked about Baker.

  • Matt Garza: Peter Gammons has said that the Cubs have no interest in moving Garza, who is under contract for two more seasons.

  • Ryan Dempster: Gammons also reported that Demp is not going anywhere.

  • Geovany Soto: The Giants and Pirates have taken a look at him, but I don't expect Geo to be leaving town anytime soon.

  • Koyie Hill: The Giants could also have an eye on the Cubs backup backstop in order to rectify their catching situation.

  • Carlos Zambrano: I haven't heard much about trades involving Z as of late. He's always said that he'll waive his no trade clause if need be.

I will keep you posted throughout the week as we get closer to the deadline!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Race for the Bottom

The Cubs and Astros begin a three game weekend series at Wrigley Field tomorrow afternoon. If the Cubs can find a way to be swept, they will inch closer to last place in the NL Central. Not only will the worst two teams in the division meet this weekend, but it is a matchup of the two worst clubs in baseball. At this point in the season, why not try to go for a high draft pick? The 'Stros have a good lead for the number one pick, but it's not unreachable for the Cubbies.

Here is a look at the race for the top draft pick, going into play Thurday night. Games ahead of the 30th place Stros are listed.

1. Houston, 33-65, --
2. Cubs, 39-60, 5.5 GA
3. Kansas City, 40-58, 7 GA
4. Baltimore, 39-56, 7.5 GA
5. Seattle/Oakland/LAD, 43-55, 10 GA

So if the season end like this, the Cubs would be awarded the second pick in next June's draft. The Royals are just 1.5 games ahead of the Cubs and the O's are just 2 games in front, so those two teams are still in the mix for the second pick. If the Astros have a strong second half and the Cubs continue to lose, there is still a shot at the number one pick.

I am still rooting for the Cubs to win every game... but wouldn't it be nice to have that No. 1 guy???

Would you rather see the Cubs finish in dead last and get the top pick or pick up the pace and end up with the fourth of fifth pick? Feel free to chime in by commenting!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Q Calls Out the Kids

Today the Cubs were blown out by the Phillies 9-1 to drop two of three. Mike Quade sparked conversation by throwing Starlin Castro under the buss in his postgame press conference. Here were some of his quotes via Bruce Miles.

“It was disappointing at the start,” said Quade, whose team fell to a season-low 21 games under .500 at 39-60. “I needed to talk to the kids in the middle of the diamond about that. Demp wasn’t as sharp as you wanted, but we set a bad tone. We’ve got to stop.
“Ball’s in the sun. They’re communicating. Cassie thought he had that all the way. I look at this whole game and look at that play. The sun’s been in the same damn spot for however long Wrigley Field’s been here. Those are the kinds of mistakes. There are certain you’ll accept.
“Those are two talented kids in the middle of the diamond. We make enough mistakes, and we need to clean them all up. But it’s so important for those guys to play well in the middle. Everything goes through there.”

How about the veterans Q?

"I think our veterans are doing a pretty damn good job. I see intensity from our center fielder, and Rami's playing really well. It doesn't mean we don't make some mistakes. I just know the value of the middle of the diamond. We've got two talented kids there that need to get better, and they've got 60-some games to prove that and to show that the rest of this season and go from there."

The Comcast Sports Net postgame team of David Kaplan and Todd Hollandswoth blew up after Quade's comments. They made great points, wondering how Q could throw Castro under the bus and claim that a missed fly made a difference in an eight run game.

Another interesting tidbit from Kaplan on WGN Sports Night,
"I think there are going to be a ton of changes coming to the North Side next year. I think they'll be a new general manager and a new field manager."

Carlos Pena made two errors on one play today. The Cubs have now committed an error in 9 straight game for the first time since 1987. They've also lost nine straight series.

Click here for my game recap on VFTB.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Roundup: Rumors & News About the 5th Place Cubs

With the trade deadline on the horizon, rumors are begging to fly. Here is the latest from the rumor mill, plus some other Cub related nuggets.

  • Jeff Baker is not for sale according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal.

  • The Cubs are looking to shop guys like Reed Johnson and Kosuke Fukudome, but hang on to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza.

  • Rosenthal tweets that the Angels are interested in Aramis Ramirez.

  • A-Ram repeated today that he does not plan to waive his no-trade rights.

  • The Cubs signed Dave Bush to a minor league debut. The veteran right hander made his Triple-A Iowa debut yesterday.

  • Ryne Sandberg has not ruled out a return to the Cubs as a manager or coach.

  • Mike Quade called out umpires after his team was hurt by a few blown calls yesterday.

  • Carlos Marmol could be back in action today, but Q has not yet decided whether or not he would be used in a save situation.

  • Bruce Miles pointed out the stark contrast between the Phillies and Cubs.

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

Friday, July 15, 2011

Solving Carlos Marmol's Struggles

Carlos Marmol has failed to get the job done two straight days. Today, Mike Quade pulled his closer with two outs in the ninth to preserve a 2-1 win. Last night, Marmol blew the save allowing four walks and a double without retiring a man. This was Carlos' seventh blown save of the season.

So what should the Cubs do with him?

Option A) Trade Him
With his recent ineffectiveness, I don't think Marmol's value is very high. He will remain under the Cubs control for the next few years. I'd rather take a chance on keeping him than send him away while his stock is low.

Option B) Stick it Out
The Cubs season is pretty much lost anyways. They could just run him out there game after game and hope he eventually pulls it all together. I doubt Quade does this because he's trying to win enough to save his own job, but perhaps this would be the best way for Marmol to get through his problems.

Option C) Demote Him to Setup/Middle Relief
The Cubs could give up on Marmol as a close and put him back in a setup role for the rest of the year, naming either Kerry Wood or Sean Marshall the closer. I am not ready to give up on Marmol despite his struggles. If Marmol can get back on track, he can actually be a strong closer for a winning team. Whenever the Cubs get back on track (2013?) having Marmol around could come in handy. Woody has not been much better of late.

Option D) Break Time
Carlos clearly has something wrong either mentally or mechanically... or both. Giving him a week or two off to work on the side with Mark Riggins and clear his head could be the best idea. I believe he should be given a full week off from pitching at all and then return in middle relief for a week before moving back to the closer's role. However, the week off would put a major strain on the rest of the Cubs pen.

It looks as if the Cubs are sort of going with option D. Carrie Muskat reports that Q does not expect to use Marmol as the closer for the time being. Wood and Marshall will share ninth inning duties.


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

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Looking Ahead to the Second Half

Tonight the second half of the season gets underway as the Cubs host the Marlins at 7:05 to start a four game series and a ten game homestand. Today we have a few links to get you ready for the second half!

My Sweet Spot Second Half Preview
I have been lucky enough to have some of my work included in the Sweet Spot blog on! Click here for the full NL second half preview, I did the part on the Cubs.

Jim Hendry's Trade Deadline Priority List
Jim Hendry needs to make some moves before July 31. I do not think many of the players on the current roster will help this team return to contention. Check out my priority list for Hendry that I put together over on View From the Bleachers. There was a lot of reaction in the comments there so feel free to jump in with your take or post your comments right here on Everything Cubs Blog.

Will Mike Quade be Back Next Season?
I think most of us expect the answer to this question to be yes. Hendry is probably not going to fire "his guy" after just one year. However, whether or not Q should be back is a different story. Check out my take as well as that of the other bloggers over at VFTB.

Midseason Grades
The other day I graded the performance with my annual midterm report cards right here on this site. Jump in with your thoughts!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cubs Midterm Report Cards 2011

Every year, I release report cards grading the performance of the Cubs players at the middle and end of the season. Today, it's time for the players midterm grades!

Carlos Zambrano: B-
Ryan Dempster: C-
Matt Garza: C
Randy Wells: D
Doug Davis: C-
Rodrigo Lopez: C+
Ramon Ortiz: C
James Russell: C (F for starts, A for relief appearances)
Carlos Marmol: D
Sean Marshall: B-
Jeff Samardzija: B
Kerry Wood: B
Chris Carpenter: B
John Grabow: D-

Alfonso Soriano: C
Aramis Ramirez: C+
Starlin Castro: A
Darwin Barney: B+
Carlos Pena: C-
Geovany Soto: C-
Kosuke Fukudome: C
Tony Campana: B
Reed Johnson: A
Marlon Byrd: C-
Jeff Baker: B-
Blake DeWitt: C+
Koyie Hill: D-
DJ LeMahieu: B

Coaches/Front Office
Mike Quade: D+
Jim Hendry: C- (click here for more, also vote on the right sidebar)
Ivan DeJesus: D
Mark Riggins: D
Rudy Jaramillo: C-
Tom Ricketts: C (this season is not his fault, but his recent meeting with the media was confusing)

Len Kasper: B+
Bob Brenly: A-
Pat Hughes: A+
Keith Moreland: C-
Judd Sirott: C-

I did not intentionally avoid giving an F, but I don't think any one player has been so bad that he deserves an F. Who do you think should have gotten a lower grade? Anyone that should have gotten a higher grade? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Grading the 2010-2011 Off Season

We've reached the All-Star Break of the 2011 season. Every year, about midway through and again at the end of the campaign, I like to grade the job that Jim Hendry did the prior offseason. Here is a list of each move and how they look now!

December 8: Cubs Sign Carlos Pena
Spending a good amount of cash on Carlos Pena did not make much sense to me at the time, and it still does not. He hit under .200 a year ago, so nobody should be surprised about his .225 batting average. Although he displays great defense, will hit the long ball and is a great guy, spending money on a first baseman for a one year contract was not smart. The Cubs could have given a guy like Bryan LaHair a look this year. Since they knew it was going to be a rebuilding year, they should have saved the cash and allowed for more playing time for a young guy.
Move Grade: C-

December 17: Cubs Sign Kerry Wood
The one good move made by the Cubs this past offseason was inking Kerry Wood for practically nothing. Woody gave Hendry a huge hometown discount after the two talked at Ron Santo's funeral. He has been a pretty serviceable setup man for the Cubs, posting a 2.48 ERA. Having him back in Chicago has been the feel good story of the year.
Move Grade: A

January 8: Matt Garza traded from Tampa Bay to the Cubs
I am surprised that this deal is not receiving more attention from Cubs fans right about now. I was confused when they pulled the trigger to acquire Garza, because the Cubs were sending mixed signals. Were they going for a division title this year of rebuilding for the future? As it turns out, dumping five farmhands for a middle of the rotation starter was not a good idea. The Cubs sent SS Hak-Ju Lee (.330 average at Class-A Advanced, playing the Futures Game), pitcher Chris Archer (4-4, 4.72 ERA at Double-A), catcher Robinson Chirinos (.268 average at AAA), outfielder Brandon Guyer (.318 average at Triple-A) and Sam Fuld (.238 average for big league team). The Cubs also received outfielder Fernando Perez, who was released last week, and Zach Rosscup, who's pitching well for the Daytona Cubs. Hendry is probably going to regret this move when several of the young stars (Lee, Archer and Guyer) pan out into qualility major league players. By the way- Garza is 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA. This could go down as one of the worst trades in Cubs history.
Move Grade: F

January 12: Cubs Ink Reed Johnson to Minor League Deal w/ S.T. Invite
This turned out to be another solid signing for the Cubs. Although they probably would have been better off giving younger guys (Campana, Snyder, Colvin, etc) his playing time, Reed is still a fan favorite in Chicago and does a great job. He's hitting a robust .328 to go along with his glovework.
Move Grade: B+

January 17: Tom Gorzelanny Traded to Washington
In order to make space in the rotation for Garza, the Cubs shipped Gorzelanny to DC. The Cubs took on money to acquire Garza and didn't get near the quality of prospects in the Gorzo trade that they lost in the Garza trade. In addition, the now Nats' left hander has a 3.94 earned run average, better than Garza's. I realize that this move trimmed salary and netted the Cubs some decent prospects (A.J. Morris, Graham Hicks and Michael Burgess) but the Cubs traded the wrong guy. They have searched for a veteran presents in the back end of the rotation all year, going through guys like Rodrigo Lopez, Doug Davis and Ramon Ortiz. The Cubs thought they had plenty of options for the back of the rotation, but instead they found themselves without a No. 5 guy after a strange turn of events that included an injury to Andrew Cashner.
Move Grade: D

Jim Hendry's Offseason Grade: D+
I'm going with the same grade that I gave Jim during July of 2009 after the Milton Bradley inking, but this one could have an even more detrimental effect on the future of the Chicago Cubs.

All Star coverage and more coming up the next few days!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Post #900- Still Going Strong

Today on Everything Cubs blog we reach another milestone post- the 900th to appear on this site. Just 100 away from four digits! Since 2008, I've been bringing you Cubs coverage. Thank you so much for reading, especially for sticking with me this year when posts have decreased in number and I've had several stretches where I was unable to post. I plan to continue blogging for the foreseeable future!

Be sure to vote on the poll on our right sidebar to grade Mike Quade's tenure with the Cubs! Also, tonight I will be posting a game recap of the Cubs/Pirates game on View From the Bleachers, so be sure to check out that great site. As always, if you have any questions or comments about this blog, email me at

Now, let us jump into the latest in the world of Cubs baseball:

  • Last night the Cubs pulled off an amazing comeback after being down 8-0 as late as the sixth inning to avoid being swept by the Nationals in a four game series. They eventually won the game 10-9 behind homers by Blake DeWitt and Carlos Pena. If you gave up and tuned out, you missed one of the most improbable Cubs victories in recent years.

  • In fact, the last time the Cubs overcame an eight run defficet was one of my favorite Cubs games of all time. In May of 2008, the North Siders topped Colorado after being behind 8-0 and 9-1. Henry Blanco, Mark DeRosa and Jim Edmonds were the heroes of that game.

  • Bob Brenly will be taking off the final series before the All-Star Break. Todd Hollandswoth will fill-in tonight with Len Kasper, while Dave Otto takes Holly's place alongside David Kaplan on the CSN postgame show.

  • The Giants need a catcher, but they are not talking to the Cubs about Koyie Hill or Geovany Soto.

  • Jon Heyman says that Mike Quade's job is safe, but Jim Hendry's is not.

  • Kerry Wood does not plan on waiving his no-trade clause. He's staying in Chicago.

  • Ryan Dempster missed his last start with a back issue, but Carrie Muskat reports that he plans on returning to the mound on Saturday night.

  • Carlos Zambrano, who is disabled with a bad back of his own, will make a rehab start for Class-A Peoria tonight. He is elgible to come off the DL for the third game after the All-Star Break.

  • According to Muskat, MRI results for Marcos Mateo are expected today.

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

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Starlin Castro- The All Star

For the last three years the Cubs have sent just one player, which is the minimum possible, to the All Star Game. Prior to that, eighth Cubs participated in the Mid-Summer Classic in 2008.

On Sunday, Starlin Castro was named to the National League squad as a reserve. Castro is the youngest Cub to ever be named an All-Star. Darwin Barney and Alfonso Soriano were the other two Cubs with an outside chance of making the team, but neither ended up on the roster. With the game in Arizona a week away, it's time to take a look back at the Cubs stars year by year.

2010- Marlon Byrd
2009- Ted Lilly
2008- Kerry Wood, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Marmol, Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Geovany Soto, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano
2007- Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano
2006- Carlos Zambrano
2005- Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez
2004- Sammy Sosa, Carlos Zambrano and Moises Alou
2003- Mark Prior and Kerry Wood
2002- Sammy Sosa
2001- Jon Lieber and Sammy Sosa

The home run derby will take place next Monday. Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonazlez and David Ortiz are all confirmed participants. Three more contestants will be added to the field. I'll post a history of Cubs in the event sometime before the derby.

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

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Do the Cubs Need to Make a Change on Their Coaching Staff?

Many times, when your team has one of the worst records in the league, a change on the coaching staff is considered. Improvements are rarely seen based on a tweak on the staff, but management likes to send the message to the team that losing will not be tolerated. So the question is, should the Cubs fire of their coaches?

Mike Quade is in his first year as the manager of the Cubs, as are many of the assistant coaches. Q has made some questionable decisions, but I don't think many people expected the Cubs to contend this year anyway. At this point, I think it would be best to stick it out with Quade for at least the rest of the season.

The two coaches that most often take the blame for their team's struggles are the pitching coach and the hitting coach. Pitching coach Mark Riggins is in his first year, so it may be too soon to pull the plug on him. However, I doubt that guys like Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Carlos Marmol, Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster truly have that much respect for the longtime minor league coach. Riggins main job is to work with younger hurler such as the currently disabled Andrew Cashner, Chris Carpenter, Marcos Mateo and even Randy Wells or Jeff Samardzija. None of those guys have performed particularly well and I haven't heard anyone rave about Riggins. None the less, I'd stick with him for at least the duration of 2012.

Rudy Jaramillo is supposed to be a hitting guru. However, he has failed to help the Cubs offense. The hitters continue to scuffle in Jaramillo's second year on the job. If you're going to make a move just for the sake of making a move, I'd fire Rudy. The Cubs could bring Jim Riggleman on the staff to take his place or promote Dave Keller to interim hitting coach and then hire someone else at the end of the year.

Pat Listach might have been a mistake as Q's bench coach. Mike could have used an ex-big league manager at his side. If the Cubs hadn't been so rude to Alan Trammell, keeping him on would have been a good move. This is another place that Riggleman could take over. Rarely is a bench coach fired in the middle of the season.

Ivan DeJesus has made some poor decisions in the third base coaching box this season. Coaching third is a very difficult job. For next year, the Cubs may consider swapping DeJesus and Listach. Pat did a solid job coaching third for the Washington Nationals and DeJesus is familiar with a assistant coaching role in the dugout. I do think Ivan is an asset to the staff, but he has struggled a bit as the third base coach.