Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting to Know the Cubs: Bryan LaHair

There will be many new faces taking the field for the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day 2012. One of those new faces is actually not a new acquisition. Bryan LaHair has been in the organization for several years. He has been given the starting job at first base for the 2012 season. Here's some information on LaHair!
  • Positions: 1B (764 games), LF (131 games), RF (32 games) and DH (6 games)
  • Drafted: By Seattle in the 39th round of the 2002 draft
  • MLB Debut: July 18, 2008
  • Hit .250 in 45 big league games with the Mariners in '08
  • Played in 20 games for the Cubs in 2011, posting a .288 average
  • Career MLB Stats: 65 games, 2 seasons, 5 home runs, 16 RBIs, .262 average
  • 2011 Triple-A Stats: .331 average, 38 HR, 109 RBIs
  • Career Minor League Stats: 970 games, .295 average, 159 HR, 651 RBIs
  • College: Sb. Petersburg College
  • Awards: 2005 California League All-Star
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • Came to the Cubs: By signing a minor league contract with an invite to spring training before the 2010 season.
  • Age: 29
  • According to, LaHair says he's in the best shape of his life
  • Broke Joe Hicks's Iowa Cubs home run record
  • Bill James projects that LaHair will hit .273 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs this season
  • RotoChamp projects LaHair to hit .250 with 12 homers and 60 RBIs

Feel free to comment with your thoughts!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Post #1000

Today I reach four digits here on Everything Cubs Blog. Since December of 2008 I have brought you Cubs rumors, news, features and analysis. It is truly a labor of love and I hope to continue to for thousands and thousand more posts. Over the past year, the number of post has seen a decrease and the consistency of the updates has not been great due to my schedule. However, lately posts have been popping up with more frequency once again. Thank you for sticking with me as always.

Tomorrow we'll feature Bryan LaHair in our Getting to Know the Cubs series. All week coverage continues as we countdown to the Cactus League Opener, which is just one week from today!

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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weekend Quick Hits: Castro Reports, Ricketts in Mesa and More

Yesterday was a busy day as the Cubs had their first full squad workout of 2012. Believe it or not, the first Cactus League game of the season will take place a week from tomorrow!
  • Tom Ricketts met with the team and with the media yesterday. There are no plans for the Cubs to play anywhere else during Wrigley Field renovations.
  • The new Cubs Spring Training facility is still expected to open in 2014.
  • Blake DeWitt is happy to be in Spring Training with the Cubs. He said that his plans are not effected by the fact that he is no longer on the 40-man roster. Regardless, he is trying to win a job.
  • Red Sox owner John Henry said that there was a misunderstanding between the Cubs and Boston on the Theo Epstein compensation package that caused the negotiation to take so long.
  • The bunt tournament is continuing today at Fitch Park. Carrie Muskat reports that Steve Clevenger is set to face Tony Campana today, while Bryan LaHair takes on Anthony Rizzo.
  • Dale Sveum clarified yesterday that Bryan LaHair will be the first baseman on opening day. "It's his job, not his to lose," he said.
  • Starlin Castro arrived in camp and addressed the sexual allegation charges. He seemed ready to focus on baseball, and said that he learned that you have to be careful because there are a lot of bad people in the world.
  • According to the Chicago Cubs twitter, "Szczur, Cardenas, Mota, Lalli, B. Jackson, W. Castillo, Clevenger and LaHair advance" in the bunt tournament today. " Lake, Vitters, Brenly, Adduci, Ha, Sappelt, Campana and Rizzo eliminated."
  • According to Carrie Muskat, Alfonso Soriano said yesterday that the Cubs will not miss Carlos Zambrano.

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mid Week Update From Cubs Camp

The Cubs are settling in in Mesa, Arizona. Here's the latest.
  • The compensation with the Red Sox for Theo Epstein has finally been announced. Minor league reliever Chris Carpenter has been sent to Boston, along with a Player to be Named Later, which will be announced by mid-April.
  • Carrie Muskat reports that Dale Sveum has already penciled in Bryan LaHair as the starting first baseman.
  • John Gaub (back spasms) is the only injured Cub. He is expected to bat and throw tomorrow.
  • The 2012 Cubs bunt tournament starts tomorrow. According to Muskat, there are 64 entries, including manager Dale Sveum and strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss. Bussy took Chris Carpenter's spot when he was sent to Boston. Sveum will meet Kerry Wood in the first round.
  • Here's Paul Sullivan's pic of the entire bracket.
  • Sveum is hoping to have two left handers in the bullpen. He described Kerry Wood as the ideal setup man.
  • The first full squad workout is scheduled for Friday. Tom Ricketts is also expected to speak to the team on Friday.
  • Alfonso Soriano and Starlin Castro are the only position players on the 40-man roster who have not yet appeared in camp.
  • James Russell is expected to play a much more important role this season with John Grabow and Sean Marshall gone.
  • Be sure to check out the latest pictures on Sheridan's Blog.
  • Doug Padilla thinks that Jason Jaramillo has a good chance of beating out Welington Castillo for the backup catcher's job.
  • Bruce Levine predicts that Travis Wood and Paul Maholm will join Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza in the rotation, with Chris Volstad, Randy Wells and Jeff Samardzija battling for the final spot.

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

Monday, February 20, 2012

Paul Sullivan on WGN Sports Night

Cubs beat writer Paul Sullivan joined David Kaplan, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas tonight on WGN Sports Night. Sully is in Arizona covering Cubs camp.
  • It's too soon to tell if there is a different vibe coming from Dale Sveum.
  • The Cubs are doing more video and pitchers fielding drills so far.
  • "Spring Training is what it is, you can't change it too much," Sullivan said.
  • The Cubs Way manuals are only for the staff so far. They will eventually be handed out to the players.
  • Kerry Wood or Ryan Dempster usually hosts a team party during camp.
  • Sullivan thinks that the pitching staff should be noticeably better than 2011. Dempster had a rough first month and Casey Coleman and James Russell both spent time in the rotation.
  • Carlos Marmol is expected to have a much better year.
  • Alfonso Soriano is the guy that most people will be looking at most to see if Dale Sveum holds true to his word about holding players accountable for not hustling.
  • Sveum said today that he is going to try some different lineups in Spring Training and base his Opening Day batting order on how different guys perform during camp.
  • Sullivan guesses that David DeJesus is going to lead-off, Starlin Castro may hit third and Darwin Barney will be down in the eight spot.
  • Theo Epstein does not believe in giving out many no-trade clauses. There is no rush in signing Matt Garza long term right now, but if he does reach a deal Sullivan does not expect it to include a no-trade clause.
Other notes from today-
  • According to Carrie Muskat, Trey McNutt could be sent to Boston to complete the Theo Epstein compensation.
  • Bruce Miles tweeted that the Cubs are having a pitchers bunting tournament this Spring Training. Kerry Wood is the early favorite.
  • Blake DeWitt has accepted his assignment with Triple-A Iowa and will be in camp as a non-roster invite.

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

Sunday, February 19, 2012

News and Notes from Day 2 in Mesa

Today was the first official workout for Cubs pitchers and catchers! Here's the latest-
  • ESPN reports that Matt Garza never had a doubt he would return to the Cubs. Garza is fine with being the staff ace, but he listed Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood as the clubhouse leaders.
  • Carrie Muskat tweets that John Gaub was the only player who didn't take part in practice today. He sat out with back spasms.
  • Dale Sveum said that Jeff Samardzija will be stretched out. "He might wow us, you never know."
  • Carlos Marmol has lost about 15 pounds and tweaked his delivery, according to ESPN Chicago.
  • Sveum told Marmol to dump the cut fastball.
  • According to Carrie Muskat, Dale Sveum mentioned today that three spots in the rotation are set. The first two are obviously Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza and Muskat speculated that the third is most likely Paul Maholm.
  • Bruce Levine tweets that the Cubs have the inside corners of bases painted blue so that runners can hit the inside part of the bag.
  • Matt Garza said today that he thinks Carlos Zambrano will be a Cy Young contender.

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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

News, Notes and Links from Day 1 in Mesa

Pitchers and catchers officially reported to Mesa, Arizona for the start of Spring Training workouts today. Here's the latest as we start the countdown to the Cubs Cactus League opener, two weeks from tomorrow against the A's.
  • ESPN Chicago reports that Blake DeWitt has until Wednesday to decide whether or not he will accept his outright assignment to Triple-A or become a free agent. Jed Hoyer is hopeful that DeWitt will chose to remain in the organization.
  • According to Patrick Mooney of, the Cubs don't expect Starlin Castro's legal situation to be a distraction. Castro is expected to report to camp on time.
  • Mooney tweeted today that Jed Hoyer expects to discuss and extension with Matt Garza, possibly this spring.
  • Bruce Miles tweets that Theo Epstein has not seen "Moneyball" and has no plans to. He is not a fan of "proprietary" info getting out.
  • Reed Johnson likes Dale Sveum's commitment to playing the game hard.
  • Marlon Byrd says he lost 20 pounds during the offseason.
  • It was 70 degrees and sunny today in Mesa.
  • Chicago Cubs Online posted a nice look back at the Cubs offseason.
  • Dale Sveum had individuals meetings with pitchers and catchers this morning and met with the media later in the day.
  • Tomorrow official workouts begin at Fitch Park.
  • Theo Epstein has put together a manual for Cubs staff members explaining The Cubs' Way.

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

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pitchers & Catchers Report Tomorrow

Tomorrow Pitchers and Catcher will officially report to Fitch Park in Mesa, Arizona! Spring Training is right around the corner. Most of the Cubs have reported early to camp. Here are the latest news and notes on the eve of the official start of the 2012 season.
  • Kerry Wood, Travis Wood, Darwin Barney, Geovany Soto, David DeJesus, Matt Garza and Randy Wells have all reported early to Fitch Park.
  • Cubs fan Brian Pasnik is one of the finalists for the MLB Fan Cave Contest.
  • Tim Sheridan's Boys of Spring Blog is a great place for pictures and updates from Mesa. Tim has already posted some great pics from the early birds working out.
  • "I don't talk about that," Matt Garza said this week about the idea of signing a long term deal with the Cubs.
  • Blake DeWitt will have the option of either returning to the Cubs as a non-roster invite or testing free agency if he clears waivers.
  • For those that missed it, Kosuke Fukudome signed with the White Sox this week.
  • The Cubs are STILL waiting to hear Bud Selig's ruling on the Theo Epstein compensation case.
  • Patrick Mooney breaks down ten things to watch for the Cubs this season.
  • According to, Dale Sveum is optimistic about the Cubs pitching staff for this season.
  • Carrie Muskat reports that today Kerry Wood and Rodrigo Lopez threw off the mound, Rudy Jaramillo conducted early sessions in the cages, and Darwin Barney, Bryan LaHair and Josh Vitters were practicing in the field.

That's it for now, but I'll have more tomorrow!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Getting to Know the Cubs: Paul Maholm

There are just two days until pitchers and catchers report! We'll have full coverage of Cubs camp over the next few weeks right here on Everything Cubs Blog. Today, let's continue to get to know some of the newest members of the ball club by turning our attention to Paul Maholm.
  • Age: 29
  • Birthday: June 25, 1982
  • Drafted by: The Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round (8th overall) of the 2003 draft
  • Position: Starting Pitcher
  • B/T: Left
  • MLB Debut: August 30, 2005
  • Spent the first seven years of his career with the Pirates before signing with the Cubs this winter
  • Went 6-14 with a 3.66 ERA in 2011
  • Career record of 53-73 with a 4.36 ERA
  • Contract: 1 year, $4.75 million, team option for 2013
  • Height: 6'2"
  • Weight: 220 pounds
  • College: Mississippi State University
  • Agent: Bo McKinnis
  • Fastball averages between 89-90 mph for career, but is now around 87-88
  • Pirates poor defense and lack of run support hurts his numbers
  • Has been much better at home than on the road
  • Healthy career, no DL stints until 2011
  • Has dominated the Cubs over the years
  • Throws from high 3/4s
  • Also throws change-up, slider, and curve ball

Maholm will compete for a spot in the starting rotation in Spring Training.

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

Monday, February 13, 2012

WGN Radio Cubs Song Contest

Since most other Cubs sites have all the "hard" Cubs news covered as we count down to pitchers and catchers reporting on Saturday, let's have a little fun today.

WGN Radio is hosting a song contest that gives fans a chance to create the 2012 Cubs WGN Radio theme song! Follow the link for more information on the contest. Since a new Cubs song will be used this season, it seems fitting for us to take a look at some of the songs that have been used in recent years.

Click here to hear Jonathon Brandmeier talk about the contest.

Here is a link to some of the Cubs jingles from year's past.

Here are the song titles and summaries from recent years.

"Go, Cubs Go on 7-2-0" (1998-2000 theme)
Everybody listen to the radio, bring on the fun today. There's a ball game on the way. Chicago Cubs, Chicago Cubs. All the good feelings of baseball. On the radio, it's go Cubs go, WGN! That's right, WGN!

"Chicago, Chicago, Chicago Cubs" (2001-2002 theme)
Everybody listen to the radio, bring on the Cubs today. We got a lot of fun coming and we're ready to go, there's a ball game on the way. Chicago, Chicago, Chicago Cubs. Go Cubs go on 7-2-0, WGN.

"Everybody Loves the Cubs" (2003-2004 theme)
Let's play ball, today. The Cubs are on their way. On the radio, tune to 7-2-0. Everybody loves the Cubs, everybody loves the Cubs. It's baseball time again, right here on WGN. Yes, Chicago loves the Cubs, on WGN.

"Cub, Cubby, Cubbies" (2005-2006)
Everybody listen to the radio, goin' to the yard to play. We got a game getting underway, and hey, hey, hey the Cubs are gonna win today. Cub, Cubby, Cubbies. Take me to the game on radio 7-2-0 yea. Night game, day game, even in a light rain, Cubs fans wer packing Wrigley teh same. Can't be there then you better go to radio 7-2-0. We don't stop believing in the Cubbies, pick up them forever always. More fun than there ever was, because hey, hey, hey everybody loves the Cubs.

After that, the songs are not well documented. I recall a song with the lines
"I'm a ready to go, I got all my friends, and I'm headed down to the yard. I'm going to break the rain and rock that train down to Addison and Clark, singing let's go Cubs!"

That was followed with a rock version of Take Me Out to the Ball Game, which they have used for the last few years. Please comment with your thoughts.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Radio Recap: Jed Hoyer on ESPN 1000

Believe it or not, the report date for pitchers and catchers in Mesa, Arizona is just a week away. Baseball and summer time is right around the corner. In the mean time, the Cubs have been fairly quiet as of late. Let's jump into a radio recap from GM Jed Hoyer on ESPN Radio on Friday.
  • The Cubs organizational meetings will take place on Wednesday and Thursday in advance of the start of Spring Training. Physicals will take place on Friday. The first workout on the field will take place on Saturday, a week from today.
  • Jed Hoyer joined Carmen, Jurko and Harry on ESPN 1000 on Friday. Hoyer currently driving to Arizona.
  • Hoyer said that it is unlikely for Alfonso Soriano to start the year with a different club.
  • Jed and Theo learned that they could not keep Carlos Zambrano by talking to people within the organization.
  • Hoyer said that the Cubs need more guys like Matt Garza and will certainly talk to him about being a part of the team's future.
  • Last year "was not Carlos Marmol's best year" but the Cubs are confident that he can get back to what he was before.
  • Hoyer thinks that Anthony Rizzo is close to being ready to be a productive player at the big league level. Jed admits that he rushed Rizzo into the big leagues in San Diego. "Bryan LaHair has earned the right to start the year at first base. Anthony is not far away, but he's not a finished product."
  • It's hard to have a time frame and target date for winning the World Series. Every year you try to put together a good draft and sign the right players. "When exactly that all comes together I'm not quit sure."
  • The Cubs have scouted Yoenis Cespedes, but Hoyer feels that a lot of teams are in on Cespedes.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted all week as we count down to Cubs camp!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Catching Up Quick Hits: Garza, DeWitt and More

Don't look now... with Super Bowl Sunday in the rear-view mirror, the start of Spring Training is right around the corner. Throughout the month of February Everything Cubs Blog will feature Spring Training previews and updates from Cubs camp in Mesa. Pitchers and catcher report on Saturday February 18!

Here are the latest news and notes:
  • Last week the Cubs avoiding arbitration with Matt Garza, agreeing to a one year, $9.5 million contract. The Cubs and Garza narrowly avoided an arbitration hearing. There is still speculation that the Cubs could part ways with their ace in return for a load of prospects before the start of the season. Some speculators say he is more likely to be moved in July than before Opening Day.
  • A somewhat surprising move was made today as Blake DeWitt was Designated for Assignment. This move saves the Cubs a little bit of money on their 2012 payroll and opened up a roster spot. According to a tweet from Bruce Miles, if DeWitt clears waivers he will likely end up outrighted to Iowa and come to Cubs camp as a non-roster invite.
  • The Cubs immediately filled DeWitt's roster spot by picking up utility man Adrian Cardenas off waivers. He spent all of 2011 playing for the A's Triple-A club and hit .314.
  • The Cubs signed Gerardo Conception, a 19 year old Cuban, to $7 million deal. The young lefty will be invited to big league spring training.
  • The Cubs are still in pursuit of Yoenis Cespedes and Jorge Soler.

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Getting to Know the Cubs: Travis Wood

Let's continue our getting to know the Cubs series today with another new starting pitcher- Travis Wood. Information thanks to Baseball Reference &

  • Age: 24

  • Birthday: February 6, 1987

  • Career Record: 11-10 in 39 games, 35 starts

  • Career ERA: 4.18

  • 2011 Stats: 6-6 with 4.84 ERA

  • Drafted: by the Reds in the Second round of the '05 draft

  • Debut: VS Cubs on July 1, 2010, 7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER

  • Arb Elgible: 2014

  • Free Agent: 2017

  • B/T: Right/Left

  • Height: 5'11'

  • Weight: 175 pounds

  • Came to the Cubs: In the Sean Marshall trade

  • Throw a "spiked" curveball

  • Learned his cutter from Cliff Lee

  • Also throws slider, four-seam fastball, change-up

  • Uses fastball frequently

  • Mostly uses just fastballs and cutters against left handed hitter

  • Has a high fly ball rate
To check out the Getting to Know Chris Volstad post, click here.

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