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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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Sunday MLB Insider Report: Our Views on the Latest Baseball News

 

Sunday September 4, 2011

 

 

MLB reports:  Here is our weekly look at Major League Baseball and the latest news, together with analysis and of course, our opinions:

 

I am about to finish the latest baseball book that I am reading and will be posting a review this week.  “The Fastest Thirty Ballgames”, by Ballpark Chaser extraordinaire, Doug Booth.  I don’t want to give away much of my report, that will be saved for the review.  Needless to say, the book has inspired me to fulfil my goal of seeing all thirty MLB ballparks.  While it takes me ordinarily a couple of days to a week to complete a baseball book, this particular book has taken me much longer.  I have read and re-read this book over and over, going back to read favorite sections.  For any baseball fan who loves baseball road trips or is thinking of taking one, this book is the perfect travel companion.

One of the biggest topics on the lips of Yankees fans is the contract status of C.C. Sabathia.  After Ivan Nova, the Yankees have several question marks as to their rotation going into the playoffs.  Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett are all in the mix.  But if Sabathia were to hypothetically opt out of his deal and test free agency, the Yankees pitching staff could collapse like a house of cards.  It appears that Sabathia has enjoyed his time thus far in New York and plans to continue pitching as a Yankee.  Although Sabathia will likely opt out, both player and team will do everything possible to keep the big guy in pinstripes.  Sabathia will become even richer on a new deal, as Alex Rodriguez was on his decision to opt out and sign a new Yankees deal.  For the team with the highest payroll in baseball, to contend it will re-sign its ace in the offseason.

Rumors are circulating that many MLB General Managers will be wooed to change teams in 2012.  Brian Cashman of the Yankees, Andrew Friedman of the Rays and Theo Epstein of the Red Sox are all apparently in demand, as is Billy Beane in Oakland and Mike Rizzo in Washington.  From all the best GMs that will be considered for the Cubs position, the only one I could see is Cashman.  With his contract up in New York and the Steinbrenner regime exercising control in decision-making (see the Rafael Soriano deal), Cashman may have had enough and makes the move to the Windy City.  All of the other GMs are in great positions, with little or no incentive to make the leap.  Some have called for the Astros to make a strong play for Friedman, but I see him staying put in a great situation with a strong talent base.  Friedman will see his team through to an eventual World Championship.

I had several conversations with baseball people about the World Baseball Classic, with the third edition coming up rapidly in 2013.  As discussed in a previous article, there are some changes to the WBC that have been instituted, including a qualifying tournament in the fall of 2012.  New countries in the mix include Great Britain, France, Israel and Brazil.  In all there will be 12 new countries, together with 4 holdover countries vying for 4 open spots into the tournament.  From the 16 existing WBC countries, 12 were granted automatic berths into the tournament.  The challenge facing MLB and WBC officials is to have eligible players play for their respective countries.  One particular country I discussed was Israel.  Imagine a team lead by Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun and Kevin Youkilis.  Quite the powerhouse offense.  To have this tournament ultimately succeed, star players that are eligible for new and less known baseball countries need to play for these countries and increase the exposure of the sport in those regions.  That is really what the WBC is all about.

For fans in Kansas City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Washington, and San Diego, please be patient.  Your teams will be better.  It might be hard to believe and some of you must be sick of hearing it, but your teams have great young talent and each will be a contender one day.  The only variable against you is time.

With their victory over the Giants last night, the Diamondbacks now hold a six game lead in the NL West.  How Kevin Towers remained on the market so long before being hired in Arizona is beyond me.  Derrick Hall and company have put together a nice young team, with strong management on the field and in the front office.  Towers has put together the team and manager Kirk Gibson has molded them into a contender.  It goes to show that a bleak situation can be transformed almost overnight, if you have the right people in place.  Baseball, as much as any other sport, starts with the people in charge.  A solid management foundation flows through the whole organization and can make or break a major league team.  Arizona is the team of destiny in the NL West in my mind and while they will have a very difficult time passing the Phillies if they make the playoffs, just playing in October this year will be considered a huge victory for the team.

Outside of New York and Boston, many baseball fans are apparently sick of talking about the Red Sox and Yankees.  For as much as fans may despise the teams, as baseball fans they should still respect them.  Baseball, without the history and tradition of the Red Sox and Yankees, would have a large void.  During my recent trip to Cooperstown (with a full report on my experiences coming soon), I was fascinated by the Babe Ruth exhibit and all the features on the two powerhouse squads.   There are no guarantees that either the Red Sox or Yankees will be in the World Series this year.  But having the teams in baseball is a good thing.  Attendance figures on the road when either team in town shows the demand.  You may hate the Red Sox and Yankees.  But you love to hate them.  For those of you that are either Red Sox or Yankees fans (can’t be both), you are some of the most passionate and knowledgable fans in baseball and I salute you.

I have been speculating since spring training that Jonathan Papelbon will leave Boston and join the Phillies this offseason.  I read some speculation this week that the Yankees may look to add him as the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera.  I could only imagine the feeling in Fenway the first time Papelbon would step foot on the mound in Pinstripes.  Unlikely to happen in my opinion, but speculating can be fun sometimes.  Until I hear otherwise, I am predicting Papelbon to the  Phillies.

With the playoff races in baseball almost completed, it is time to turn our attention to October and thinking about the teams that will play in the World Series.  My picks at this point are the Rangers and Phillies.  Call it a hunch.  Call me crazy.  I am seeing a Texas Philadelphia matchup and one of the best fall classics in recent history.

Finally, I made a point on Twitter yesterday that the regular season is almost done.  If you have not made it a live game yet this year or even if you have gone to twenty or more games, try to attend as many September games as you can.  When November hits, the winter can be quite a sad time for baseball fans.  Unless you can make it out to Arizona or Mexico, chances are that you will not be able to watch winter ball.  With the internet, those games can be found to be viewed on your computer.  But as fans can attest, nothing beats a live ball game.  Enjoy as many of those games as you can now. 

 

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

From Riggleman to Johnson: Davey is the New Sheriff in Washington

Saturday, June 25, 2011

MLB reports:   According to several sources, the Nationals are set to announce the hiring of their new manager.  Less than twenty-four hours after the abrupt resignation of Jim Riggleman (see yesterday’s feature), Mike Rizzo has apparently found the man for the job within the Nationals organization.  Ex-Mets skipper, Davey Johnson is set to move from the front office to the dugout.  Nationals fans couldn’t be happier.

Year Tm Lg G W L W-L% Finish
1984 New York Mets NL 162 90 72 .556 2
1985 New York Mets NL 162 98 64 .605 2
1986 New York Mets NL 162 108 54 .667 1
1987 New York Mets NL 162 92 70 .568 2
1988 New York Mets NL 160 100 60 .625 1
1989 New York Mets NL 162 87 75 .537 2
1990 New York Mets NL 42 20 22 .476 2
1993 Cincinnati Reds NL 118 53 65 .449 5
1994 Cincinnati Reds NL 115 66 48 .579 1
1995 Cincinnati Reds NL 144 85 59 .590 1
1996 Baltimore Orioles AL 163 88 74 .543 2
1997 Baltimore Orioles AL 162 98 64 .605 1
1999 Los Angeles Dodgers NL 162 77 85 .475 3
2000 Los Angeles Dodgers NL 162 86 76 .531 2
New York Mets 1012 595 417 .588 1.7
Cincinnati Reds 377 204 172 .543 2.3
Baltimore Orioles 325 186 138 .574 1.5
Los Angeles Dodgers 324 163 161 .503 2.5
2038 1148 888 .564 1.9

Unlike his predecessor, Davey Johnson is a proven winner.  Johnson managed four teams in his career before accepting the Nationals position.  As a big league manager, Johnson has a career record of 1148 wins and 888 losses, good for a .564 winning percentage.  Johnson has finished 11 of his 14 seasons above .500.  He won a World Series title in 1986 with the New York Mets.  Looking further at the numbers, Johnson’s teams have finished first in their division five times and in second place on seven different occasion.  Johnson wins everywhere he goes and the same will be expected as the new face of baseball in the nation’s capital.

With Stephen Strasburg on the mend and Bryce Harper slowly making the climb to the big leagues, the Nationals will have a strong talent base for Johnson to mold.  The Nationals will be looking for its team to play “Daveyball” and try to recreate some of the Mets magic from 1986.  That team was filled with young prospects that gelled together at the same time, sprinkled with key veterans.  As Mike Rizzo continues to tinker with the roster, we could very well be seeing a Nationals playoff run by 2013.  Coincidently, that will also be the year that new manager Davey Johnson’s contract is set to expire.  Provided Johnson’s teams perform to expectations, his run in Washington will be far longer than that of Jim Riggleman.

Davey Johnson is known as a gamer.  A man who played with his heart on his sleeve back in his playing days and as an intense competitor behind the bench.  This is a man who refuses to lose.  For an organization that seemingly refuses to win, Johnson is a breath of fresh air and should turn out to be the voice of a reason for an organization in dire need of direction.  Bobby Valentine would have been a good choice as well (given the rumors surrounding him in the media).  But the Nationals have their man.  A former Manager of the Year (AL 1997) and World Series winner.  Welcome to the new Nationals manager, Davey Johnson.  Get ready to see a lot of W’s in Washington during the next few seasons.

 

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Jim Riggleman Resigns from the Nationals: Treason in Washington

Friday, June 24, 2011

MLB reports:   June has apparently become the month in baseball to fire your coach if you are a MLB General Manager, or to quit your team if you are a manager.  Follow along the coaching carousel:

  • June 8th:  Texas Rangers fire hitting coach Thad Bosley and replace him with Scott Coolbaugh
  • June 9th:  Florida Marlins fire hitting coach John Mallee and replace him with Eduardo Perez
  • June 10th:  Oakland Athletics fire manager Bob Geren and replace him with Bob Melvin
  • June 14th:  Houston Astros fire pitching coach Brad Arnsberg and replace with him Doug Brocail
  • June 17th:  Cleveland Indians fire hitting coach John Nunnally and replace him with Bruce Fields

It looks like where there is smoke, there is fire.  A lot of it apparently in the coaching ranks of baseball.  Teams were getting nervous and to help jump-start their slumping players, several teams decided to change a coach rather than making wholesale roster moves, or let go of the manager and/or General Manager.  On June 19th, the baseball world was stunned as manager Edwin Rodriguez of the Florida Marlins resigned and was replaced with 80-year old ex-Marlins manager Jack McKeon.  Then yesterday, Jim Riggleman, manager of the Washington Nationals, got the same itch from the “quit bug” suffered by Rodriguez and announced that he was resigning his post.  The captain jumped ship in Washington but unlike the Florida situation, Riggleman made his decision for all the wrong reasons.  As a result, he may never coach again in baseball.

The inside story behind Riggleman leaving the Nationals was that he requested some sort of meeting from General Manager Mike Rizzo to discuss his long-term future in Washington.  When Rizzo refused to discuss his contract status, Riggleman departed from the team and resigned his position as manager.  Essentially Riggleman did not like the rules of the game, so in a childlike manner he took his ball and went home, so to speak.

“It’s been brewing for a while,” said Riggleman. “I know I’m not Casey Stengel, but I do feel like I know what  I’m doing. It’s not a situation where I felt like I should continue on such a  short leash.”

No Jim.  You are certainly not Casey Stengel.  Let’s take a look shall we, at Riggleman’s career managerial record:

 

Year Age Tm Lg G W L W-L% Finish
                 
1992 39 San Diego Padres NL 12 4 8 .333 3
1993 40 San Diego Padres NL 162 61 101 .377 7
1994 41 San Diego Padres NL 117 47 70 .402 4
                 
1995 42 Chicago Cubs NL 144 73 71 .507 3
1996 43 Chicago Cubs NL 162 76 86 .469 4
1997 44 Chicago Cubs NL 162 68 94 .420 5
1998 45 Chicago Cubs NL 163 90 73 .552 2
1999 46 Chicago Cubs NL 162 67 95 .414 6
                 
2008 55 Seattle Mariners AL 90 36 54 .400 4
                 
2009 56 Washington Nationals NL 75 33 42 .440 5
2010 57 Washington Nationals NL 162 69 93 .426 5
2011 58 Washington Nationals NL 74 37 37 .500 3
    San Diego Padres   291 112 179 .385  
    Chicago Cubs   793 374 419 .472  
    Seattle Mariners   90 36 54 .400  
    Washington Nationals   311 139 172 .447  
        1485 661 824 .445  
 

Jim Riggleman in his twelve-year managerial career has a record of 661-824, .445 winning percentage.  During his three years in Washington, Riggleman finished with a 139-172 record.  Riggleman’s best year was 1998 with the Cubs, where he had a 90-73 record and his team finished second in their division.  He had a 73-71 record in 1995 with the Cubs and was floating at .500 this year, with a Nationals team sitting at 37-37.  The man is clearly no baseball Houdini.  While some may argue that Riggleman was not given much to work with at each of his stops for the most part, the man clearly was not able to get much out of his teams at most stops.  A great manager should be able to turn out something out of nothing.  But alas, this was not one of Riggleman’s gifts as a manager.

The reality of baseball is that coaches and managers get let go by teams all the time, as evidenced by the amount of activity among teams this month.  Managers and coaches also quit sometimes. Rodriguez left his position in Florida, as did Riggleman in Washington.  But when a coach leaves a team, the intention and circumstances behind the resignation are crucial.  For it is the story behind the announcement that will ultimately dictate if and when said manager receives another crack at a big league post.  Gonzalez left his position for the better of his team.  The Marlins were floundering and in the interests of having his team recover, Gonzalez felt that a change was needed.  While that should have been up to the team to decide, at least Gonzalez acted in what he felt was best for his team.  His compassion and sentiments to the organization means that Gonzalez should continue coaching in baseball.  In the case of Jim Riggleman, that door has been shut close in my opinion.

The Nationals were not happy to say the least with the news.  “I was always taught that one of the cardinal rules of baseball was that no individual can put his interests before those of the team,” was the sentiments expressed by Mike Rizzo.  The GM is right in this case. Many MLB managers are on one-year contracts like Jim Riggleman was in 2011.  Some have a chance at long careers with their teams, while others are seen as more temporary solutions.  In Riggleman’s case, he was likely more of the temporary variety.  But players, coaches and managers are in this position all the time. Many veteran players sign for one-year deals, knowing full well that they will not be with a team beyond the period.  The same goes for managers, who can often be brought in to manage a young team and eventually be replaced with a fresh voice as the team looks to grow and change direction.  That is the rules of the game and Jim Riggleman is not better than the system.  If a player was to leave his team mid-season due to contractual issues, he would be seen as selfish.  Jim Riggleman as manager is no different.  He let his organization, players and fans down, by jumping ship.  He put his own financial and security needs ahead of those of the people around him.  So Riggleman wanted a long-term contract?  The best way to do it was to right the ship and lead the Nationals to their strongest possible record this year.  Instead, Riggleman has likely blacklisted himself from the game and lost the chance to manage again.

The 58-year old Riggleman does not have any excuses in my book.  He was a bench coach for several years, including stints with the Dodgers and Mariners following his departure from the Cubs in 1999.  He did not receive another managerial opportunity until 2008, where he was an interim manager with the Mariners. Again Riggleman received an interim managerial job with the Nationals the following year, but stayed on with the team until yesterday.  Was he a lame-duck manager so to speak?  Probably.  But that had more to do with his managerial skills and overall record than anything else.  Sure many people want job security, especially in baseball. But let’s keep this in perspective.  There are only thirty MLB manager jobs out there. Period.  Jim Riggleman had one but he threw it away.  He wanted to be a long-term manager but yet was not prepared to do what it takes to get there.  Nobody should be above the system.  I would not expect the Nationals to give Riggleman a strong recommendation, or any sort of reference in that regard.  Teams have long memories and will likely be very cautious with Riggleman, who is today seen as having acted as a “jilted lover.”

In looking to the future, it is interesting to read Riggleman’s take.  “I’m not sure if I’ll get another opportunity,” Riggleman said.  “But I’ll promise you I’ll never do a one-year deal again.  I’m 58. I’m too old to be disrespected.” His comments show that he clearly does not get “it”.  This is not a question of respect.  There is no entitlement.  The Nationals did not owe you a thing Jim.  They named you manager by removing the interim label.  You were working year-to-year.  Your lifetime managerial record did not entitle you to more.  You were very lucky to have a MLB manager’s position.  Your actions were selfish and disrespectful.  The truth is that the Nationals team and its fans are better off for this move.  They did not want to have a manager in the dugout who did not want to be there.  That would not benefit anyone and a fresh voice and style could prove to be beneficial in the long-term.  There are rumors that team is looking at Davey Johnson for the position. Personally, I think that Bobby Valentine should be considered for the job. But no matter who the Nationals hire, the team will be heading in a new direction.  Jim Riggleman has committed baseball treason.  For that reason, it is time for him to walk the plank and plunge into the waters of baseball oblivion.

 

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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