Blog Archives

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – August 30, 2014

Al Behrman/AP Images

Al Behrman/AP Images

 

One of my listeners gave me a direct request…

And when I responded, he got more specific.

Today I talk about the Cubs, expectations and I actually sing part of a song from Godspell.

Prepare ye the way of today’s episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Jorge Soler, Edinson Volquez, Jered Weaver, Mike Leake, Marcell Ozuna and Brandon Guyer all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball?

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – July 5, 2014

PHOTO BY BRIAN KERSEY/GETTY IMAGES

PHOTO BY BRIAN KERSEY/GETTY IMAGES

The A’s and the Cubs clearly didn’t treat the 4th of July like a holiday. They pulled off a stunning blockbuster that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland for some of their top young players and Dan Straily, a fan favorite of one of my dear friends.

Does this sound like a day to put on an evergreen podcast?

Hell no! Let’s record an emergency episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.!!!

Chris Sale, Andrew McCutchen, Clayton Kershaw, Brian Roberts, Jayson Werth, Matt Cain, Shin-Soo Choo and Marcus Stroman all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball.

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How All Of The Chicago Cubs Hitters Were Acquired: (2014 Roster Tree)

With Tom Ricketts being a long time fan himself, he wanted to change the organization -- to be rid of the "lovable losers" moniker and become one of the elite powers in all of Major League Baseball. To do this he needed help and in October 2011 he hired on Theo Epstein as Team President. Theo has a knack for building having helped the Boston Red Sox to a World Series Championship as the youngest general manager in all of baseball. Epstein then hired on current Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, and the rebuild began. It's tough to swallow a combined record of 127-197 since the new regime began, and another year or two of enduring will be required. 2014 won't be the Cubs' year.  So the club will continue to trade all veterans and establish a great core of young players.  The offense coming down the pike looks to be electric.

With Tom Ricketts being a long time fan himself, he wanted to change the organization — to be rid of the “lovable losers” moniker and become one of the elite powers in all of Major League Baseball. To do this he needed help and in October 2011 he hired on Theo Epstein as Team President. Theo has a knack for building having helped the Boston Red Sox to a World Series Championship  Epstein then hired on current Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, and the rebuild began. It’s tough to swallow a combined record of 162 – 243 since the new regime began, and another year or two of enduring will be required. 2014 also won’t be the Cubs’ year, so the club will continue to trade all veterans and establish a great core of young players. The offense coming down the pike looks to be electric.

How All Of The Cubs Hitters Were Acquired:

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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The Chicago Cubs have plenty of young talent on the big league roster, and many more in all of their Minor League affiliates.

The Roster Tree of most of the offense are guys that signed as Free Agents – or were drafted  by the organization.

Matt Garza plays prominently in several of the players leaving and coming into the franchise in 2 separate deals with the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers.

The good news is that the team looks to have done well in the mid-season trade with the Rangers last year.

Garza was actually acquired from Tampa with Chris Archer (picked up in a deal for Mark DeRosa from Cleveland). Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – May 27, 2014

Photo: Lettera/FPS.

Photo: Lettera/FPS.

The Cubs have brought Manny Ramirez in to be a player coach in their minor leagues.

How can the Cubs embrace Manny Ramirez but shun Sammy Sosa?

It is a Cubs centric episode of The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast.

Jonathan Schoop, A.J. Pollock, Hyun-jin Ryu, Tommy Milone, Tyler Skaggs, Desmond Jennings, Jacob deGrom and Khris Davis all added to their totals for Who Owns Baseball

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The Chicago Cubs Should Pass On Tanaka

The Chicago Cubs are currently in the running for Masahiro Tanaka, the best pitcher in Japan over the last few years. In fact, near the end of this week he will be visiting Chicago to speak with both the Cubs and White Sox about his future employment, possibly with one of these teams. However the Cubs are currently on a path set for building, and shouldn’t put themselves in a position to throw off those plans by acquiring someone who’s ready for a “win now” type of team.

Chicago Cubs: Just Let Tanaka Go

By Robert Villarreal (MLB Reports Cubs Writer)

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Let me start by saying this: I have never seen Masahiro Tanaka play but from the footage I’ve seen I’d love to see him in Cubbie blue. 

He’s an incredible talent; So good in fact that once Yu Darvish left for America and the Major Leagues, he automatically became the best pitcher currently in Japan.

There are only 17 more days left in Tanaka’s 30-day signing period, with multiple teams anxiously awaiting a shot at the next pitching phenom.

However it would be in the Cubs best interest to pass on Tanaka at this time, no matter how incredible that argument may seem right now.

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Chicago Cubs State Of The Union: Fall 2013

The Chicago Cubs are still reeling from an abysmal 66-96 2013 season. They finished 31 games back in the NL Central, which saw three of it's five teams reach the playoffs. The wheels are churning in Chicago's farm system as it's seeing a meteoric rise in young talent, but even with the influx of fresh faces, success is still a season or two out of reach for the city's Northsiders. With a rebuild in the process the Cubs needed a new manager with a proven track record for player development. Dale Sveum is out. Rick Renteria is in. 2014 may not be the Cubs' year, but they're working on it.

The Chicago Cubs are still reeling from an abysmal 66 – 96 2013 season. They finished 31 games back in the NL Central, which saw three of its five teams reach the playoffs. The wheels are churning in Chicago’s farm system as it’s seeing a meteoric rise in young talent, but even with the influx of fresh faces, success is still a season or two out of reach for the city’s Northsiders. With a rebuild in the process the Cubs needed a new manager with a proven track record for player development. Dale Sveum is out. Rick Renteria is in. 2014 may not be the Cubs’ year, but they’re working on it.

Chicago Cubs State of the Union: Mired in Mediocrity

By Robert Villarreal (MLB Reports Guest Cubs Writer)

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It’s difficult to ask a Cubs fan to be patient.

The Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, and every year we’re reminded of the enormity of a centuries worth of atrocious baseball that we must all endure year in and year out.

But in 2009, a man named Sam Zell purchased the Tribune company and decided to sell off some of its parts, namely the Chicago Cubs.

Tom Ricketts, a Chicago native, stepped up and was able to realize a boyhood dream, to own his favorite team. But owning it wasn’t enough.

Cubs fans are hoping the hometown boy can help deliver a promise of a Title in the near future.

Junior Lake Highlights – Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance is Advised

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The Chicago Cubs Players, Organizational Affiliates, Prospects + Depth Charts (MLB + MiLB)

Rizzo followed up his  short 2012 campaign, in which he hit .285 with 15 HR and 48 RBI with a lower Slash line of .233/.323/.742 - but still clubbed 23 HRs and added 80 RBI. If he maximizes his potential, you are looking at a perennial threat each year to lead the NL in HRs.  Rizzo was traded from the Padres for Andrew Cashner, and it was the 3rd time Jed Hoyer had acquired the guy in his management life.  The team signed him to a 7 YR/$41 MIL extension this year, that will see him in until at least 2019, and potentially til 2021.

Rizzo followed up his short 2012 campaign, in which he hit .285 with 15 HR and 48 RBI with a lower Slash line of .233/.323/.742 – but still clubbed 23 HRs and added 80 RBI. If he maximizes his potential, you are looking at a perennial threat each year to lead the NL in HRs. Rizzo was traded from the Padres for Andrew Cashner, and it was the 3rd time Jed Hoyer had acquired the guy in his management life. The team signed him to a 7 YR/$41 MIL extension this year, that will see him in until at least 2019, and potentially til 2021.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): and Jeff Kleiner (Salary, Roster and Depth Chart Expert for the MLB) – visit his website  here  

Theo Epstein and the Ricketts new the job was going to be a tough one.  Replenishing the young talent in the organization, after much trepidation, will continue to be the focal point of the North Chicago franchise.

The most of the Veterans have left for prospects.  Gone are; Matt Garza, Scott Feldman, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Marmol, David DeJesus, Ryan Dempster, Geovany Soto, Ian Stewart, Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm.

In are a bunch of young players acquired for the services of the old guys.

Players such as Pedro Strop, Jake Arrieta, Mike Olt, Corey Black, Justin Grimm and a host of other youngsters in the Minor League Level.

The Cubs also have traded for lots of International Money limits, where they have brought in further assets to the organization.

For all of the Rosters, Depth Charts, State of the Unions and Salaries Posts that we do, please visit our dedicated page link here.

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Trade Deadline Wrap – Up: Part I – The Winners

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The winners at the trade deadline have something in common.  One team used to call Theo Epstein their general manager and the other currently calls him their President.  Both the Red Sox and the Cubs have done a spectacular job at the deadline to meet the needs of their organizations.

The winners at the trade deadline have something in common. One team used to call Theo Epstein their general manager – and the other currently calls him their President. Both the Red Sox and the Cubs have done a spectacular job at the deadline to meet the needs of their organizations.  Boston fully expects to be in a pennant drive for the AL East, so adding a proven Starter like Peavy – is a great insurance move considering the Clay Buchholz injury situation.  Unlike last year, the Cubs were able to do some deals with their veterans – to help their team in the future.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

July 31, 2013 has come and gone.  The non-waiver trade deadline is always one of the more interesting times of the baseball year.  

Fans become obsessed with the idea of improving their team’s opportunity to win a World Series, whether it be for the upcoming October or in an attempt to rebuild for future seasons.

The question on everyone’s mind now that the deadline is over: how did your team do at the deadline? Did it get better? Did the organization “win” the transaction and will it translate now or later into more wins on the field?

This will end up invariably being a two-part article because of the depth we need to take to look at these moves.  Let’s get right into it with the Winners:

1. Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox are a unique team in that they are concerned both with the current championship window for 2013, but also, a larger window they hope to keep open over the next 3 to 5 years.  

In an effort to stabilize their rotation over the next 1 and 1/2 seasons, the Red Sox acquired Jake Peavy from the White Sox.  Peavy has pitched very well this season.  

His 8.55 K/9 and 1.91 BB/9 are both indicators of an elite level starting pitcher.  Peavy is not the same ace that he was during his prime of 2004 through 2007, but his current numbers speak to an adequate No. 1 starter or a very strong No. 2 starter.

JAKE PEAVY: THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE RED SOX

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MLB Team Power Rankings

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Sunday June.02/2013

Miguel Cabrera is absolutely unconscious this season so far;.  He has a 3 Slash Line of .369 (Leads AL)/.445 (Leads AL/1.121 (2ndi n AL), with 17 HRs (2nd AL) and a mind - blowing 65 RBI through 54 Games Played.  He is on pace for 51 HRs. 195 RBI and about 250 Hits.  He keeps getting better every single year if possible. Despite his prominence - and a lineup full of ALL - Star hitters and Pitchers, the Tigers are limping along at just a few games over .500.  It certainly isn't this 30 Year Olds fault.

Miguel Cabrera is absolutely unconscious this season so far; He has a 3 Slash Line of .369 (Leads AL)/.445 (Leads AL/1.121 (2nd in AL), with 17 HRs (2nd AL) and a mind – blowing 65 RBI through 54 Games Played. He is on pace for 51 HRs, 195 RBI and about 250 Hits. He keeps getting better every single year if possible. Despite his prominence – and a lineup full of ALL – Star hitters and Pitchers, the Tigers are limping along at just a few games over .500. It certainly isn’t this 30 Year Old’s fault.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Featuring the Podcasters the Big ticket Show in the Audio Portion

I will be doing a stat fueled rankings list on this Thursday.  These rankings will have some stats and  random thoughts of what I will be talking about in today’s podcast with the Big Ticket Show (AKA, Triple Play Podcast.)

Games Prior to Sunday June.02/2013

Cardinals 2013 30/30 Preview

Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON to continue… or scroll past the Triple Play Podcast. Read the rest of this entry

Chicago Cubs Payroll In 2013: Team Organizational Rosters + Depth Charts – (MLB + MiLB)

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Wednesday, May.29/2013

Anthony Rizzo entered 2013 with high expectations as the Cubs Opening Day First Baseman. He has come along way since 2008.  The man has battled injuries, 2 team changes and has settled down in Chicago to be one of he most promising young power hitting prospects in the MLB today.  He could end up being a 35 - 40 HR, 100 RBI man in the 'Windy City' - and this would make him an icon at Wrigley Field.  Recently he signed a 7 YR/ $41 MIL extension and will be a vital part in the rebuild of this franchise

Anthony Rizzo entered 2013 with high expectations as the Cubs Opening Day First Baseman. He has come along way since 2008. The man has battled injuries, 2 team changes and has settled down in Chicago to be one of he most promising young power hitting prospects in the MLB today. He could end up being a 35 – 40 HR, 100 RBI man in the ‘Windy City’ – and this would make him an icon at Wrigley Field. Recently he signed a 7 YR/ $41 MIL extension and will be a vital part in the rebuild of this franchise.  He is hitting for a 3 Slash Line of .263/.324/.829 – with 10 HRs and 35 RBI in 50 in 50 Games in the 2013 season.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): and welcome Jeff Kleiner (Salary, Roster and Depth Chart Expert for the MLB) – visit his website  here  

You guys are all in for a treat.  Jeff Kleiner recently contacted me about a partnership merge for the website.  He has developed a site (prosportsrosters.com) that covers all organizational affiliates in the Minors for all of the Major League Baseball Clubs.  We are going to combine efforts to bring you the best look at salaries, current 25 Man Player Rosters and Depth Charts for all 30 teams. 

Jeff is going to provide the documents in form of spreadsheets and I am going to accompany the posts with deep analysis of what the numbers tell us from my perspective.  If you can’t wait for all of my assessments for each club, go and visit Jeff’s website over at http://www.prosportsrosters.com.

In Speaking with Jeff, he is one of the more passionate fans I have come across towards the game of baseball.  He spends enough time in updating his MLB Facts for it to be a Full-Time Job.  So after the usual Video Clip and READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY button, you will find some serious &*!@?!#!

Jeff updates this page below on a daily basis.  After you click on it….Bookmark it.  There is a 3 year salary forecast and stats not listed here on this page.  Jeff updates these pages daily and these changes include any Roster moves!

For a Full 3 year Salary Outlook plus last years Stats for every player in the Cubs Organization click here

Starlin Castro Highlights 2012 – Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance Is advised

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Anthony Rizzo: His Impact On The Chicago Cubs

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Tuesday April 30th, 2013

Rizzo looks in 2013 to improve on his strong short 2012 campaign, in which he hit .285 with 15 HR and 48 RBI.

Rizzo looks in 2013 to improve on his strong short 2012 campaign, in which he hit .285 with 15 HR and 48 RBI.  He has struggled to carry a great Batting Average – but has launched 8 HRs and added 19 RBI in just 90 At-Bats heading into Monday Nights action, We at the ‘Reports,’ are calling him the NL Mendoza Line Masher.  The AL Mendoza Line Masher is definitely Adam Dunn.

By Bernie Olshansky (MLB Reports Writer):

Over the past few years, Chicago Cubs fans have not had a lot to cheer about. Anthony Rizzo is starting to break this trend. Rizzo was acquired by the Cubs from the San Diego Padres in early 2012.

The team sent Andrew Cashner—most notably—to the Padres and got Rizzo in return along with minor league pitcher Zach Cates.

Rizzo is exactly what the Cubs need in a power-hitting first baseman, and should hold down the position in the years to come. Andrew Cashner was a prized prospect at the time of the trade, but the Cubs evidently thought Rizzo was more talented and held more value.

The Padres wound up with Yonder Alonso to man First Base, so they did not lose a significant amount in the trade.

Anthony Rizzo Highlights and the song “Go Cubs Go”

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The Cubs And Jeff Samardzija Belong Together

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Wednesday March.27/2013

Samardzija made seven starts in Class A in 2006 before he was allowed to return to the Fighting Irish in the fall to fulfill a promise to his coach of playing football his senior year. He even helped lead his team to the Sugar Bowl and finished out his illustrious career as the team’s all-time leader in reception yards.  But that’s where his football career ended, as Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry made the projected first-rounder in the 2007 NFL Draft an offer he couldn’t refuse – $10 million over five years, including a $2.5 million signing bonus that Samardzija agreed to return if at any time he pursued a career in another sport.

Samardzija made seven starts in Class A in 2006 before he was allowed to return to the Fighting Irish in the fall to fulfill a promise to his coach of playing football his senior year. He even helped lead his team to the Sugar Bowl -and finished out his illustrious career as the team’s all-time leader in reception yards.
But that’s where his football career ended, as Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry made the projected first-rounder in the 2007 NFL Draft an offer he couldn’t refuse – $10 Million over five years, including a $2.5 million signing bonus that Samardzija agreed to return if at any time he pursued a career in another sport.

By Alex Kantecki (Cubs Correspondent): 

I remember the grumbles and the echoes of “You’ve got to be kidding me” and “Jim Hendry did what now?” from Cubs fans when the team signed a 21-year old football star to a five-year, $10 million contract back in 2007.

I remember because I was one of the grumblers. 

In 2006, the Cubs selected Jeff Samardzija – a wide receiver from Notre Dame – in the fifth round (149th overall) of the Amateur Baseball Draft, not knowing whether the All-American football player with a 97 MPH fastball would forfeit a clear path to the NFL for a hit-or-miss career in baseball.

Jeff Samardzija Tribute: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

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Cubs Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Forward

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Saturday, Mar.02, 2013

The Cubs final payroll from 2012 was just north of $107 Million, and, over the winter, President of Baseball Operations Theo Esptein and GM Jed Hoyer added plenty of pitching depth to the 2013 team.

The Cubs final payroll from 2012 was just north of $107 Million, and, over the winter, President of Baseball Operations Theo Esptein and GM Jed Hoyer added plenty of pitching depth to the 2013 team.

By Alex Kantecki (Cubs Correspondent):

Only the Houston Astros stood between the Chicago Cubs and last place in the NL Central in 2012. The Cubs lost 101 games – their most losses since 1966, when the team went 51-103 — and finished with the second worst record in baseball. Under President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, the Cubs went backwards from the year before, losing 10 more games than in 2011.

Epstein continues to rebuild the Cubs’ farm system, and the organization boasts four top prospects – Shortstop Javier Baez, Outfielder Albert Almora, Outfielder Jorge Soler and Relief Pitcher Arodys Vizcaino — all of whom are represented in the Top 100 Prospects of Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. Over the winter, the Cubs bolstered their Starting Pitching staff, adding Starters Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman, Scott Baker and Carlos Villanueva.

Chicago Cubs 2012 Highlights: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

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Anthony Rizzo’s Time Is Now

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Thursday, February.14, 2013

Rizzo had  a decent rookie campaign - with a 3 Slash Line of .285/.342/.805 with 15 HRs and 48 RBI in just 337 AB during the 2012 season.

Rizzo had a decent rookie campaign – with a 3 Slash Line of .285/.342/.805 with 15 HRs and 48 RBI in just 337 AB during the 2012 season.

By Alex Kantecki (Cubs Correspondent):

One winter ago, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer acquired First Baseman Anthony Rizzo from the San Diego Padres in exchange for hard-throwing Right-Hander Andrew Cashner, one of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects at the time.

But this wasn’t Epstein’s and Hoyer’s first go-around with the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, who – along with Cubs Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod – drafted Rizzo while serving as Boston’s GM and Assistant GM, respectively, in 2007. The threesome reunited four years later and brought the 23-Year Old star-in-the-making over to the North Side:

“We believe Anthony has the potential to be a middle-of-the-order run producer for the Cubs for a very long time,” Hoyer said (link here). “He still has some development left. We feel what he’s done at age 20 at Double-A and Age 21 at Triple-A was remarkable.”

Anthony Rizzo Highlights From 2012: Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

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MLB Player Profile: Chicago Cubs SP Matt Garza

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Friday, January.18, 2013

Matt Garza may only have a Career Record of 57-61 (.483)  - but had a ERA if 3.84 during his 7 year career for the Cubs, Rays and Twins.

Matt Garza may only have a Career Record of 57-61 (.483) – but had a ERA if 3.84 during his 7 year career for the Cubs, Rays and Twins.  He also has carried an ERA of under 4 for 6 straights seasons – including 3 tough years in the AL East.

Alex Kantecki (Guest Baseball Writer and Cubs Correspondent):

Matt Garza was Jim Hendry’s last big addition before the Cubs general manager got the boot in 2011. The Cubs needed a dependable No. 3 to slot in the rotation behind Cubs’ mainstays Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano, and Garza fit the bill. In three years with Tampa Bay, Garza compiled a 34-31 record with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP with 7.10 K/9 and 3.05 BB/9 in 592.1 Innings Pitched — not ace numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but respectable for a No. 2/No. 3 type.

 Garza, 29, was an innings-eater, with two straight seasons of 200-plus innings from 2009-2010. To acquire Garza, the Cubs sent five prospects, including No. 1 prospect Chris Archer and No. 4 prospect Hak-Ju Lee to Tampa Bay. The move, considered by many as a desperation trade by a general manager looking to save his job, is still scrutinized today. But should it be?

Matt Garza Highlight:  Worst Throw Ever to 1st Base?

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MLB Player Profile: The Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano

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Sunday, January.06, 2013

Alfonso Soriano has hit 434 Career HRs in 14 Years and has clubbed 164 of them with Chicago over the last 6 years.  He is on the 7th Year of an 8 YR/136 Million Dollar Contract.  He has made 2 ALL-Star Appearances with the Cubs.

Alfonso Soriano has hit 373 Career HRs in 14 Years and has clubbed 164 of them with Chicago over the last 6 years. He is on the 7th Year of an 8 YR/136 Million Dollar Contract. He has made 2 ALL-Star Appearances with the Cubs.  The Man also has 270 SB and 836 Extra Base Hits.  He should end his Career with over 1000 XBH, which would place him in the top 40 of ALL-Time for that Category.

Alfonso Soriano: Misunderstood, Good, But Never A Fit    

Alex Kantecki (Guest Baseball Writer and Cubs Correspondent):

It’s no secret Alfonso Soriano isn’t the most liked player among Cubs fans. Following the 2006 season when then general manager Jim Hendry signed the Outfielder to the largest contract in team history ($136 Million over eight years), fans dreaming of a World Series title pinned their hopes on the unconventional Leadoff hitter that hit 46 HR and stole 41 bases with the Washington Nationals the year before. Soriano did his part and helped lead the Cubs to two straight National League Central titles in 2007 and 2008, but the Cubs were swept away in the Division Series both years. Like his teammates, Soriano struggled to do much of anything in the postseason, collecting three hits in 29 Plate Appearances and failing to score or drive in a single run in six games.

Alfonso Soriano 2012 Highlights – Parental Guidance Is Advised

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State Of The Union: What’s In Store For The 2013 Chicago Cubs?

Thursday December 13th, 2012

starlin-castro2

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

Needless to say, it has been a dismal last few years for the Chicago Cubs. The last time they made the playoffs, it was 2008 and they were swept in the NLDS. They have not won a World Series since 1908 and do not look like they will be ending that drought anytime soon. The Cubs had a horrible 2012 in which they went 61-101. The record basically tells the story. The Cubs ended up trading Ryan Dempster, a fixture in the Cubs’ pitching staff for the past decade converting from a closer to a starter mid-tenure. In this feature, I will cover what’s ahead for this storied franchise.

For 2013, the Cubs really have not made any improvements. So far, their big offseason signing has been Nate Schierholtz, who was traded from the Giants to the Phillies as part of a package for Hunter Pence. Schierholtz will be joined in the outfield by Brett Jackson, a highly regarded prospect, and Alfonso Soriano. This outfield is not exactly a marquee group, but it will get the job done. Soriano should continue to provide some pop as he has hit 82 HRs in the past three years combined, and Brett Jackson should get on base and drive in runs with his gap-to-gap power. Schierholtz will fit right in with the rest of the lineup. Read the rest of this entry

ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Realignment, Ross to the Red Sox, Izturis to the Jays, Breaking Up the Rays and Remembering Matt Garza

Monday November 12th, 2012



Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@gmail.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Jonathan Hacohen: I will admit that this is a great time of year. I love speculating on free agency signing and the trades that are coming up. But I am getting to the point that there are three words that I no longer feel like speaking: Hamilton, Greinke and Upton. You know exactly who I am talking about. The most popular catches on the market: free agents Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke and B.J. Upton (with his brother Justin Upton apparently available on the trade market). My flavor is lesser lights, like Mike Napoli, Joakim Soria, Hiroki Kuroda, Ryan Madson and so forth. I really think that someone will get a steal in Mike Napoli. I also think that someone will be very frustrated with Edwin Jackson. And if a team gives Anibal Sanchez anything close to the reported $90+ million that he is seeking- get ready for a Vernon Wells contract disaster to appear. 

With all the talk of free agency and hot stove, remember that the WBC qualifiers are still being played. Groups 3 and 4 are set to do battle, starting in 4 short days. Panama and Taiwan are the lucky venues that will be hosting these upcoming classic games. My picks to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic? Panama in Group 3 and Thailand in Group 4. A very balanced group of countries that will be competing and in a short series, anything can happen. I like the addition of Johnny Damon to the Thailand squad, I really think that he will be a difference maker. Those are my two cents at least.

So enough talking- more asking! It’s time for Ask the Reports.

Now let’s get to your top questions of the week: Read the rest of this entry

Top-5 Worst MLB Teams of 2012 plus a Preview of the 2013 Amateur Draft

Wednesday October 3rd, 2012

Sam Evans: With the 2012 season winding down, a lot of MLB teams can’t wait for the season to end. Houston, Chicago, Colorado, Minnesota, and Cleveland have been the five worst teams in baseball this season. While their seasons have all been disappointing and hard to watch, these teams will possess the most valuable picks in the 2013 Amateur draft. Here’s a look at how these teams have struggled and where they are projected to pick in the draft.

5. Cleveland Indians 68-93:

Baseball in Cleveland took a huge step back in 2012. Coming off of an 80-82 season, Cleveland was let down by an underperforming pitching staff. With Detroit and Chicago leading the AL Central, Cleveland was out of the pennant race for the better part of the year. The stretch that did them in was the month of August, in which Cleveland was 5-24.

Ubaldo Jimenez was one of the best starting pitchers in baseball just two years ago. Now, the Indians will be lucky if they can manage to get the performances of a #4 starter out of him. There have been many areas in which he has been less dominant than before but they all trace back to that his previous velocity and nasty stuff just aren’t there anymore.  Perhaps the problems with Ubaldo have to do with his age and the toll that throwing so many innings when he was younger took. Either way, by relying on Ubaldo Jimenez and his 5.40 ERA this season, the Indians weren’t putting themselves in a better place to contend. Read the rest of this entry

Boston Red Sox: Who is to Blame for this Mess?

Friday September 7th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: The Red Sox are in a state of disrepair. They just traded two of the key players who were supposed to carry them to several postseasons in the future, and a pitcher who had the stuff to regain his status as the ace of the staff. Not to mention the team also has a manager who does not relate well to players. The Red Sox went from first to worst in the span of about a year. Why?

It all started going wrong in September of last year. The Red Sox started a skid and then information came out that some of the pitchers were drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games in which they were not pitching during the pennant chase. The Red Sox had a horrible month and ended up falling out of playoff contention as the Orioles walked off on them in game 162 and Evan Longoria subsequently hit a walk off homer versus the Yankees to clinch a playoff spot for the Rays. Terry Francona, the manager who broke the Curse of the Bambino and won two World Series, was fired and general manager Theo Epstein was rumored to be leaving. Owners John Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino promised that a collapse like this would not happen the next year. The good news: Red Sox fans will not have to worry about a collapse like last years’ now. The bad news: the Red Sox have been out of contention for almost the whole year. Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto have been traded, and it looks like Boston will be rebuilding for at least the next couple of years. Chaos in Boston is an understatement.

Read the rest of this entry

Chicago Cubs: Is Extending Starlin Castro Really the Right Move?

Tuesday August 21st, 2012

Jake Dal Porto:  Starlin Castro is one of baseball’s best young shortstops at the ripe age of just 22 years-old. Apparently, the Cubs’ front office feels the same way. While the speculated contract extension is still impending, there’s a good chance that Castro remain a Cub for a good portion of the next decade. A wealthy Cub for that matter. The rumored deal is said to be a seven-year, $60 million contract extension. Should the deal be completed, it will take him through arbitration.

Is general manager Theo Epstein and his staff pulling the right string by signing Castro? Read the rest of this entry

The Boston Red Sox Are Falling Apart

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Tuesday May 8, 2012

Ryan Ritchey: The Boston Red Sox since last September have been a team that has been falling apart. Ever since the report that pitchers were drinking in the clubhouse (and eating fried chicken), the team hasn’t been the same. After the season, Theo Epstein decided not to bring back Terry Francona… and then left the Red Sox himself. With this being said, the Sox had several holes to fill. First the general manager. This hole was filled by none other than Ben Cherington. Cherington had a lot of pressure placed on him to perform and to win. His first big job was to hire a manager to get the job done. He went and got Bobby Valentine. Bobby Valentine in my opinion was not a good hire for the Red Sox and judging by the Red Sox current record, most would agree.

You can put the blame on many people for the Red Sox woes this early in the season. Not only is it the fault of the manager, but it also goes on the players as they are the ones that play the game. Dustin Pedroia is one of the hardest working players in the league and doesn’t take a day off so it can’t fall on his shoulders (or Big Papi’s). But many of the Red Sox hitters need to be accountable. Mostly though, you could blame the pitching. In my opinion it is the pitching that is causing this down fall for Boston.

Josh Beckett has the best ERA from any starter in the rotation and he is 30th in the American League with a 4.45 ERA. With that number alone, you aren’t going to win many games. The Red Sox have a great offense but giving up that many runs per start you aren’t going to get many wins. Even when the starters throw a decent game, the bullpen usually ends up giving up runs on many nights and losing the game. If the Red Sox are going to do anything this season, Cherington better go find some pitching or it is going to be a long season for Red Sox Nation.

Another big reason the Red Sox are playing like they are is Adrian Gonzalez. Epstein went out and got Gonzalez from San Diego thinking he would be the best hitter in the American League. He was that player for one season but that is no longer the case. We are a little over a month into the season and Gonzalez only has 2 home runs and 16 RBI. For a power guy like Gonzalez, those numbers are subpar to say the least. His power numbers are down and he hasn’t been showing up in big games against the Rays and Yankees as he  did last year. Not only are his power numbers down, his average is a “whopping” .270. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – April 1st, 2012

Sunday April 1st, 2012


Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter and post on our Facebook Wall!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Q:  My question this week in about a prospect in the Diamondbacks system. Was reading an article about Trevor Bauer and his 10 different pitches along with his unique training program. What I want to know is how MLB Reports see his future. Will he be a number one starter on their staff one day and where will he end up when he retires?  Larry

MLB reports:  First question this week goes to our #1 fan, Larry! Happy April Fool’s Day by the way! No tricks today from us. Just baseball talk! Watching this kid pitch, it is hard not to get excited about him. Trevor Bauer comes with a lot of hype as a top-3 pick from last year’s MLB draft. He will definitely see time in Arizona this year, with a full rotation spot in 2012 possibly happening. Will Bauer be a #1 starter? Will he retire as a Dback? Very difficult questions, because of the complexity of the circumstances. Injuries. Performance. Financial expectations. So much goes into the equation. But if you are asking me to check the crystal ball (which I think you are), here is what I see: Yes, Bauer will become a #1 starter one day. We love his mechanics too much for him not to develop. As long as he stays healthy, works hard and keeps his nose clean. Which we all hope he does! But I cannot see him retiring as a Dback. In this day and age, it is very rare for a player to stay on the same team for his whole career. The law of baseball probability says that if Bauer becomes a stud, he will go one day to a major contender, like the Yankees or Red Sox. Even if for some reason Bauer does play the majority of his career in Arizona, he will at some point make a team change. Maybe his skills will diminish. Or a conflict with the manager. The bottom line, he will be in Arizona for the next 5+ years likely at least. So let’s enjoy his time there for now. Thanks for writing! Read the rest of this entry

When Will the Chicago Cubs Win the World Series?

Tuesday February 14th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern): I was going to write a long lede, comparing Valentine’s Day and people’s love for baseball in the cheesiest way possible, but seeing as how this isn’t the movie Fever Pitch, I’ll save it. What I am going to do, though, is talk about a city that is in love with a baseball team that hasn’t done much but disappoint for the last hundred years or so. Read the rest of this entry

Is Ryne Sandberg the Next Cubs Manager?

Tuesday October 18, 2011

 

MLB reports – Sam Evans:  Before we even begin to speculate on who will be the next Cubs manager, there is something baseball fans have to realize.  The most important move made by the Cubs this offseason will be naming their General Manager.  It looks like Theo Epstein will be taking over duties as the GM, if everything goes according as planned.  One of Theo’s first moves will be to decide whether to keep Mike Quade and his coaching staff for next year.  I think there is little to no chance that this happens considering the Cubs on-field product from the last year.   My guess is that Epstein would be looking for a very intelligent manager that is behind the recent sabermetrical discoveries but at the same time, has a lot of experience in the game of baseball.  Someone similar to Joe Maddon of the Rays.

One of the top managerial candidates for the Cubs position, and for other open coaching spots around the league, is Hall of Fame Second Basemen Ryne Sandberg.  Sandberg was born in 1959 in Spokane,WA.  He was drafted in the 20th round of the 1978 Rule 4 MLB draft by the Philadelphia Phillies, and he shot through the minors and made his major league debut in 1981.  After the 1981 season, Sandberg was shipped along with Larry Bowa to the Cubs for shortstop Ivan DeJesus.  This turned out to be one of the best trades in the history of the Chicago Cubs organization.  The Phillies made this trade due to a middle infield logjam, and it will forever haunt Phillies fans.

In his career, Ryne Sandberg hit .285 with 282 home runs and 344 stolen bases.  From 1989 to 1992, Sandberg hit 122 home runs.  He was MVP in 1984, he was named to ten all-star teams and was a nine-time gold glove award recipient.  Cubs fans will remember “Ryno” for his amazing defensive plays and his ability to hit home runs.  Sandberg was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.

Once the 2006 season had come to a close, Ryne Sandberg met with Cubs GM Jim Hendry and told him that he was wanted to manage the team.  Smartly, Hendry decided that Sandberg needed experience managing so he gave him a job managing way down the Cubs depth charts.  In 2007, Sandberg began his managing career with the Class-A Peoria Chiefs, and he led the Chiefs to 71-68 finish.  With the Chiefs again in 2008, the Chiefs went 60-78.  In 2009, the Sandberg was promoted to manager of the Cubs AA team, where in one year he went 71-69.  In 2010, he was the Cubs AAA manager and he finished 82-62, and earned the honor of being named Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year.  As you may remember, in 2010 Lou Piniella stepped down from his position as interim Cubs manager.  Mike Quade was the interim manager and he led the team to a 24-13 record for the rest of the season.  However, after the season, the Cubs organization didn’t make it clear that Quade was their man until October 19. Most baseball people thought that Ryne Sandberg would be named manager and that he deserved to be the Cubs manager. The Cubs decided to remove the interim tag from Quade’s position and promote him to the full-time manager. Unfortunately, Quade and the Cubs had a rough year, finishing 2011 with a 71-91 record.

I almost feel sorry for Sandberg. He worked so hard managing in the minors and when his opportunity finally arose when Piniella retired, Jim Hendry turned him down. I definitely think he deserves a chance at managing the Cubs. He not only has playing experience but successful managing experience in the minors.

After an awkward offseason for Sandberg, he took up an offer to manage the Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A team, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. He was also, according to sources, offered by Theo Epstein to be the manager for the Pawtucket Red Sox.  Despite a very minor league baseball-esque name, the Iron Pigs are actually considered to be in the upper echelon of the minors. They average a higher attendance (over 10,000 per game) than any other MiLB team. Ryne Sandberg put together another winning season leading the Iron Pigs to an 80-64 record. His career managerial record is 364-341, which is good for a .556 winning percentage.

Who knows what the Cubs relationship is like with Sandberg? Their relationship appeared to be very stalwart but after the Cubs denied Sandberg the chance to manage at the major league level last year, you have to wonder why they would want him this year. Even if Theo Epstein does end up getting the job, just because he wanted Sandberg to manage the PawSox, there is no guarantee that he would want to work with Sandberg at the major league level.

The X-factor in this situation is Terry Francona. Epstein and Francona got along beautifully in Boston, and maybe Theo wants to keep Terry as his manager. This would not surprise me because the two are so comfortable with each other, and they have proven that their methods work with two World Series rings.  Although their relations were apparently strained at times, the bottom line is that they were able to get the job done together.

There is one thing that I am sure of from this Sandberg debacle.   Ryan Sandberg will have a major-league coaching job come April.  The Phillies might have an assistant coaching position open, or the Red Sox could be interested in Sandberg as their manager.  Options will be available to him.  The most likely option is that Sandberg will return to where he already spent fifteen years of his baesball life: Wrigley Field.

 

Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter.

 

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Theo Epstein Heads to the Windy City to Lead the Cubs

Thursday October 13, 2011

 

Rob Bland (Baseball Writer – MLB reports):  On October 12, 2011, Theo Epstein, former GM of the Boston Red Sox agreed to a 5 year deal worth more than $15M.  With the Chicago Cubs.  This all comes as no real surprise to anyone, as it had been speculated since the Cubs fired GM Jim Hendry in August that Epstein was their top target.  The real surprise is that Epstein and the Boston Red Sox’s falling out happened so swiftly.  Within two weeks of the Red Sox collapse, which has been widely discussed by everyone in baseball circles, manager Terry Francona and the team parted ways, as well as, now, their general manager Theo Epstein.

It has been well-documented that Epstein was able to overcome the “Curse of the Bambino” by employing a bunch of “idiots” in the locker room that went on to win a World Series in 2004.  This mentality has been a similar mantra of the Red Sox throughout his tenure.  Because they won in 2004, and also in 2007, it was completely acceptable for players to do what they pleased in the locker room.  Now that the epic collapse took place, the organization needed a change, and true accountability never took place for the Red Sox.

Epstein is a GM of great stature.  He is trusted and many people believe in his abilities.  He employs a “Moneyball” type strategy, which is also aided by having a large payroll, something he will also have the ability to create in Chicago.  Ownership of the Cubs have not been afraid to spend money, and most of the time have put themselves in unfortunate situations.

Two contracts come to mind when I think of the Cubs.  Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano.  Prior to the 2007 season, Soriano inked a contract worth $136M over 8 years.  In 2007, Zambrano signed an extension for the 2008-2012 seasons, with a vesting option for 2013 worth $91.5M.  Epstein has a lot of work cut out for him with an aging, mediocre core, but finding a suitor for these two players, or finding a way for them to produce and not be distractions in the clubhouse is paramount.

Another major task for him is to figure out what he wants to do with incumbent manager, Mike Quade.  Quade was hired as the Cubs’ interim manager on August 22, 2010, and in October, the interim title was stripped.  Quade led the Cubs to a 71-91 record and a 5th place finish in the NL Central, only ahead of the lowly Houston Astros.  This record was tied for the 5th worst in all of baseball.  When Quade was hired, much to the dismay of Cubs fans, who wanted Ryne Sandberg to take the helm, he was highly regarded as a smart, methodical baseball thinker.  Was the year and month enough of a trial, or will Epstein want to bring in his own talent to manage this struggling franchise?

Epstein will also consider bringing in his own front office, using members from his group with the Red Sox.  With news breaking that Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager Ben Cherington will take over as GM in Boston, Epstein will be fighting to bring his favorite guys over with him.

The last thing holding up this deal is compensation for the Red Sox.  Since Epstein had one year remaining on his contract with Boston, the Cubs had to ask permission to even speak with him.  Epstein had made it known to the organization that he would be leaving after 2012, so the Red Sox allowed talks to run smoothly, as they would have owed him $3M for the season, and a contract bonus of $4M.  Cash and/or prospects will easily get the job done.

The deal has not yet been completed due to some of these complications, but should be done by the beginning of next week.  Epstein will have a major challenge in Chicago, as they are not even close to competing.  Major decisions need to be made, and even with his high level of competency, it will take up to five years for the Cubs to be a major contender in the NL Central.

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Rob Bland.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***

 

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