First, I want to let everyone know something. I like to refer to Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod as “Theo & Co.” Theo is the former GM of the Red Sox, Jed Hoyer was his assistant GM in Boston and Jason McLeod was the scouting director of the Red Sox. These guys were working together in 2007 when they originally drafted Anthony Rizzo. Since then Jed & Jason went to San Diego and Theo came to Chicago. Shortly after that, Theo was able to bring Jed & Jason to the NorthSide and begin working on the building a World Series Champion in the Chicago Cubs.
The work has been slow and methodical. There have been plenty of trades, waiver moves and free agent signings. Andrew Cashner was traded in a deal to bring Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs….a move I was initially skeptical of. Theo & Co. made me upset when trading Tyler Colvin for Ian Stewart in a deal with the Colorado Rockies. While the Rizzo trade has been great, the trade for Stewart has been a flop!
There have been several other trades (too many to mention) as well. Overall, I would give Theo & Co. a B- when grading their trades. Yet, when it comes to free agent signings I will give them a B+ grade. Here are just a few signings: Carlos Villanueva, David DeJesus, Scott Feldman and Nate Schierholtz. I can see all of these players and more being traded in the future as the Cubs continue to build a perennial contender.
Finally, Theo & Co. are working on the upcoming draft. With the #2 overall pick I am confident that the they will draft a pitcher with a high ceiling. I cannot wait to see what they come up with.
What a mess that the Cubs have right now. We aren’t going anywhere this year and probably not next year either. We had the chance to deal Carlos Pena to the Yankees, but decided to keep the great fielding, power bat and .225 average. Starlin Castro was railed on by Bobby Valentine on ESPN recently during a game where the young shortstop was lackadaisical on the field. Veterans Ryan Dempster and Aramis Ramirez have options for 2012 for $14 million and $16 million respectively. That’s a lot of money for a couple of guys in their mid 30s. Quade keeps getting ejected from games…6 for season now and it’s obvious that he is frustrated with this team’s performance. The bottom line is that this team is a mess and it’s going to take a while to clean it up.
Now for the good news! Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney seem to be a potentially really good double play combo for the next few years. Andrew Cashner may be be joining the Cubs in September after suffering a rotator cuff injury in April. Brett Jackson, Cashner, Chris Carpenter and Trey McNutt are some of our younger players scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League this year. Tony Campana has had a positive impact on the Cubs this summer and has a strong chance of making the team in 2012. Tyler Colvin has been getting regular playing time and has hit the ball hard despite having a terrible average. Matt Garza is pitching much better than his record would indicate too.
Even with all our troubles we have a lot to look forward to. It’s just going to take a little time. I hope the Cubs are patient and make the right moves with our players and future General Manager.
Well, the Cubs have actually played decent baseball as of late. We’ve won something like 4 consecutive series. We are finally playing as I had hoped back in April. There are still some things that need to be figured out for next season though.
1. What to do with Carlos Zambrano? I say he’s gone, but who’s going to take him???
2. Find out if Tyler Colvin can play everyday? I think he can.
3. Find a way to improve our starting rotation.
4. Are we going to resign Pena again or go after Albert or Prince?
I think our rotation will have Dempster and Garza for certain. Anything after that is up in the air for next season. I really doubt the Cubs take Big Z back and it’s probably for the best. I am hoping that Andrew Cashner will be healthy next season too. I believe he has a high ceiling and the Cubs could use another good arm in the rotation. I think Randy Wells will be a back of the rotation guy next season. I like his competitiveness, but he’s a number 4 starter at best. We could use another quality starter, but I don’t know who that would be as of today.
I think Tyler Colvin needs to play everyday in order to be effective. I think this season proved that he is one of those guys that can’t be a successful as a platoon or bench player. The early season platoon with Fukudome hurt his development. He was sent down to Iowa and is finally hitting the ball since getting called back up and playing more regularly.
While I like Carlos Pena we need someone that can hit over .225. His power is undeniable, but how many times have I seen him called out on a third strike with runners on base??? It’s killing me!!!! Go after Albert or Prince!
Finally, I think Quade should have read my blog back in April. I wanted the Cubs to bat Ramirez third in the lineup and Byrd fifth. Well, he kept batting Byrd third and the Cubs struggled to score runs. Look at the difference now though. ARAM is hitting third and clubbing the ball like we expect from him. Should have been hitting there all season!
The Cubs have had a difficult season so far and I can’t help but wonder….What’s Next?!?! We had a lot of trouble with our defense in spring training and that has continued into the regular season to some extent. We had Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells go on the DL in early April. We’ve lost Marlon Byrd, Matt Garza, Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto (he’s back now) and Jeff Baker to the DL as well. Afonso Soriano injured his quad yesterday and I don’t know if he will be the next to visit the DL, but wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
With all of these injuries, the Cubs have won 23 and lost 29 as of this post. That’s six games under .500 and puts us in second to last in the division. However, we are only 7.5 games out of first.
The frustration for me is that we are signing and trading for Doug Davis and Rodrigo Lopez to help our starting rotation. I know they probably weren’t that expensive, but I would rather us go young. We did with Casey Coleman, but he wasn’t getting the job done. We also tried James Russell, but I believe he’s better a relief pitcher than starter and his stats prove it. I know it may be too early, but I would love to see the Cubs bring up Trey McNutt who is pitching great at AA Tennessee.
Overall, I think we need to get healthy to see what we this club can really do this season. And if we don’t, then I would hope the Cubs bring up more of our younger players and let them get a taste of the big leagues and see what they need to work on. I don’t want to hinder their development, but it would be nice to see some of these young players get a cup of coffee. They are our future, right?
The Cubs have been off to a relatively slow start this season. If you’ve read any of my posts over the last month you probably know that I’ve been frustrated with their play. However, things are beginning to look up. We just finished a road trip with a winning record. Wells and Cashner are getting closer to returning from the DL. Carlos Pena homered in consecutive games against the Dodgers. Ryan Dempster had a great outing last time out. Castro and Barney are exceeding my expectations and look like they could make a great pair up the middle for years to come.
The season is still young and the Cubs haven’t played as well as I had hoped. We’ve also been bitten by the injury bug with Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells going down. Here’s my thoughts on the team at this early point in the season.
Marlon Byrd is hitting the ball really well. I just wish he was in a different spot in the lineup. He’s batting third and that’s where I would want Aramis Ramirez hitting. I would like to see Byrd bat, 1st, 2nd or 5th. I think he would excel hitting in one of those three spots. It would also allow Ramirez to bat third. I think ARAM is a proven run producer and would help us score a few more runs hitting there and Byrd would ignite the offense a little better batting in one of the three spots I mentioned earlier.
Darwin Barney has continued to impress me. He plays solid defense and produces with his bat. I think he could be a good number two hitter or 8th place hitter.
Starlin Castro also continues to impress. He’s maturing before our very eyes. I am very encouraged with this young man and his play.
Alfonso Soriano is hitting with some pop. I know he’s not a stolen base threat anymore, but we could sure use his power if we want to have any success in 2011.
Carlos Pena continues to struggle at the plate while playing superb defense. I wish he would stop looking for walks and start hitting the ball. Myabe that’s my perception, but I think he’s too patient at the plate. I would like to see him be more aggressive early in the count.
Overall, I’m still hopeful that we can compete in the NL Central. Realistically, I think we are a .500 team that will finish around third or fourth in the division unless some things start to change.
Sorry, but I had to chime in on Silva.