Tagged: Koyie Hill

TRADES??????

Okay, since the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre there’s been a lot of speculation that Michael Young would be on the trade market.  I don’t know if he is, but I think the Cubs should take a look at making a deal for him.  He could play second base next year and provide us with another good bat.  The last time we got an infielder from Texas was when we signed free agent Mark DeRosa.  That worked out okay and I think Young would too.

The Cubs have already discussed a deal with the Rangers for corner infielder Chris Davis and pitcher Darren O’Day.  Why not throw Young into the mix and make it a big deal?  If Hendry has proven anything in his time as GM for the Cubs, it’s his ability to make good trades.  Remember, that’s how we got D. Lee and Ramirez! 

Looking closer at Young, he’s 34 years old and won’t be a free agent until after the 2013 season.  He’s due $16 million each of the next three years.  That’s a lot of money for a guy who hasn’t played second base in several years and who is in his mid 30s.  So, who would we trade in a deal for Young that the Rangers would want?????

My first guess would be Alfonso Soriano.  He could play outfield or more than likely be a DH.  With his fielding abilities I think he’s better suited to be a DH and just focus on hitting.  He’s signed through 2014 at $18 million each year.  If we traded him in a deal for Young we would have to compensate the Rangers some to cover his salary. 

Getting back to the Davis and O’Day deal, I read that the Rangers wanted minor league catcher Robinson Chirinos.  I say let’s trade him!  He’s got Soto, Hill and Castillo in front of him.  No sense wasting his talent in the minors. 

So, adding these two potential deals together means the Rangers trading us Davis, O’Day and Young for Soriano, cash, Chirinos and maybe another player or two.  I don’t think this deal will happen.  Plus, I believe the Cubs are set on having DeWitt at second base for the time being.  My only other guess is that they are waiting for Hak-Ju Lee to take over shortstop and Castro to move to second in the near future.  If this is true, and works out, then I’m okay with having DeWitt at second for now.

I still keep reading that we have an interest in Matt Garza and Fausto Carmona.  Well, I have wanted the Cubs to trade for Garza ever since the winter meetings.  But after second thoughts, I think it’s best we hold on to our young talent.  That goes for Carmona too!  We have a bunch of young players that are close to making it to the big leagues. 

While I like the idea of getting Young, Garza and Carmona, I feel they would cost us too much.  However, I think we can get Davis and O’Day for a fair price.  So, go ahead Jim and make a deal.  It’s been a quiet winter and I know you are not finished dealing yet.      
 

2011

Okay, I know everyone has their own “expert” opinions.  Well, I have mine too!  Here’s my projected position players, bench players, starting rotation and bullpen for the Cubs in 2011.  Feel free to share your ideas and/or thoughts. 

 

Starting Lineup                              Bench players

C-Geovany Soto (R)                       C-Koyie Hill (S)

1B-Carlos Pena  (L)                        IF-Jeff Baker (R)

2B-Blake DeWitt (L)                       IF-Darwin Barney (R)

3B-Aramis Ramirez (R)                  OF-Kosuke Fukudome (L)

SS-Starlin Castro (R)

LF-Alfonso Soriano (R)

CF-Marlon Byrd (R)

RF-Tyler Colvin (L)

Starting Rotation                           Bullpen                        

Carlos Zambrano (R)                     Carlos Marmol (R) Closer

Ryan Dempster (R)                       Kerry Wood (R) Setup

Tom Gorzelanny (L)                      Sean Marshall (L) Setup

Randy Wells (R)                           John Grabow (L)

Carlos Silva (R)                            Andrew Cashner (R)

 

Well, I’ve listed only 22 players so there are three slots still open.  Here’s a list of players that will be on the verge on making the team in spring training or getting called up early in the season.

Justin Berg (RHP), Casey Coleman (RHP), John Gaub (LHP), Scott Maine (LHP), James Russell (LHP), Jeff Samardzija (RHP), Jeff Stevens (RHP), Wellington Castillo-C, Sam Fuld-OF. 

And here’s my sleepers. 

Alberto Carbrera (RHP), Rafael Dolis (RHP), Brian Schlitter (RHP), Jay Jackson (RHP), Chris Archer (RHP), Chris Carpenter (RHP), Kyle Smit (RHP), David Cales (RHP), Robinson Chirinos-C, Brett Jackson-OF, Brandon Guyer-OF, Bryan LaHair-1B. 

I’ve left some players off the list such as SS Hak-Ju Lee and CI Josh Vitters, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get called up later in the season as well as several other minor leaguers. 

Overall, I believe our future is very bright.  We are getting younger and more athletic.  We have some really good arms in our system to be excited about and some position players that can flat out hit the ball.  2011 is almost here and things are looking brighter! 

SHOULD WE EXTEND SOTO?

Geovany Soto 1.jpgThe Cubs have seven players that are arbitration eligible this year according to my count.  One of the guys is our catcher, Geovany Soto.  The last two seasons we’ve paid him $575,000 each year.  In his first full season, 2008, we paid him $401,00.  So, it’s obvious that he’s going to get a pay raise one way or another in 2011.  I would prefer the Cubs avoid any nasty arbitration hearing and go ahead and extend Soto now.

There is no doubt that when healthy and focused Soto is one of the better offensive catchers in the National League.  I think his defensive skills are adequate at this point in his career, but there is always room for improvement.  

Overall, I believe Soto will be the Cubs catcher for the next 5 years and possibly more.  We do have Koyie Hill and Wellington Castillo who are excellent backup catchers, but not everyday players in my opinion. We also have 26 year old Robinson Chirinos working his way up the system.  However, I have read that the Cubs are considering trading him.  If that happens, it only assures that Soto is our catcher of the immediate future.  So, that’s why I say we avoid arbitration and sign Soto to a multiyear deal now.  It makes sense to me, but I’m not a baseball expert……just a fan!   

WHO IS CHRIS DAVIS?

Chris Davis.jpgI keep reading on various websites that the Cubs are still interested in a deal with the Texas Rangers for Chris Davis.  While I am vaguely familiar with him I wanted to know a little more.  So, here’s what I got. 

Davis is a corner infielder capable of playing both firstbase and thirdbase.  That’s interesting, considering Ramirez will be a free agent after 2011 and so will newly acquired Carlos Pena. 

He’s will turn 25 next March so, he’s still relatively young.  That’s another good thing.  When I looked at his minor league stats it’s obvious he has power and he’s capable of hitting for a higher average than he has shown in the big leagues.  Unfortunately, he does stikeout a lot.  Too much if you ask me.  However, if the Cubs were to reunite him with Rudy Jaramillo maybe things would work out in the Cubs favor.  We just signed Pena and there’s talk that Rudy is going to help him so, why not help Davis as well. 

From what I understand, the Rangers are wanting catcher Robinson Chirinos in a deal.  I think that’s fine.  We have Soto, Wellington Castillo and Koyie Hill at the catcher position right now.  I am guessing Castillo will start the season in Triple A Iowa and get called up as soon as Hill or Soto get hurt…..not that I’m wanting that to happen because I don’t.  Anway, I say pull the trigger and get Davis.  We can use his lefthanded power off the bench to backup Pena and Ramirez or let him play at Triple A Iowa until we need him. 

2009—The Year the Cubs Shine?

Ever since the 2003 collapse in the playoffs against the Florida Marlins, I have been waiting for the Cubs to return to the post season and win.  2007 and 2008 were great regular seasons followed by utter disappointment by getting swept out of the playoffs each season.  This year is different for me.  I am not as confident as I was last year.  I look at this current team and still see some holes that need to be filled.  However, I strongly believe that any issues the Cubs have this year will be taken care of once the sale of the team is finalized.  I am putting a lot of faith into Tom Ricketts, Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella and the players and other coaches.   Here’s my quick preview of what I think this year’s team has entering spring training.

The starters should look something like this to start the season:

C-Geovany Soto

1B-Derek Lee

2B-Mike Fontenot

3B-Aramis Ramirez

SS-Ryan Theriot

LF-Milton Bradley

CF-Kosuke Fukudome

RF-Alfonso Soriano

Here’s the bench:

Micah Hoffpauir-1B,LF,RF

Aaron Miles-2B, SS, 3B

Paul Bako-C

Reed Johnson-OF

Joey Gathright-OF

Jake Fox has a chance to make the team as a versatile player capable of playing 1B, 3B, C, LF and RF. 

Koyie Hill has a chance to make the team as a backup Catcher. 

Here’s a quick look at our pitchers:

Starters first.

Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden and Ted Lilly.

Guys that could start or come out of the bullpen.

Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, Chad Gaudin, Angel Guzman and Aaron Heilman

Guys out of the pen.

Carlos Marmol, Kevin Gregg, Luis Vizcaino, Neal Cotts, and Kevin Hart. 

I am sure things will look a little different when the season starts, but I imagine the team will come out of spring training with a roster consisting of most of the players listed above.  A few will start the season at Iowa and hopefully get called up when needed.

Things look bright for 2009.  But we can always improve.  Go Cubs Go!

 

Geovany Soto is the Best All-Around Catcher in the National League!

Geovany Soto.jpgIt’s amazing how much a catcher can mean to a team.  The Cubs used to have a decent hitting catcher in Michael Barrett, but he was definitely not liked by all his pitchers and wasn’t known for his defense.  The Cubs used Barrett, Koyie Hill, Rob Bowen, Henry Blanco and Jason Kendall last season before the emergence of Geovany Soto in September.  Since, then Soto has demonstrated the ability to hit with authority, play solid defense and have the respect of his pitchers.  Those qualities put Soto into the All-Star game and have made him a fan favorite at the friednly confines known as Wrigley Field.  He has played a grueling position this season including a lot of day games at home.  He should immediately be mentioned as one of the top catchers in the National League and in my opinion, all of baseball.  He’s only 25 years old, but acts like a 10 year veteran.  He already has post-season experience, including a homerun, despite being a rookie.  There is no doubt in my mind that he is quickly becoming a cornerstone for the Chicago Cubs.

Now, some of you may say that this is my Cubbie bias.  Well, below I have stats of the every day starting catchers in the National League.  Offense and defense.  Compare the stats for yourself and come to your own conclusion.

 

As of today, 8/18/08, Soto is hitting .286 with 18 homers and 69 RBIs.  Listed below are the guys that catch everyday in the National League.  There are other players that don’t play consistently or play additional positions besides catcher that I decided not to mention.  But here’s how Geo stacks up against other catchers in the National League.

First, I will start with offense.  Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves is probably the best hitting catcher batting .303 with 21 homers and 69 RBIs.  Russell Martin of the L.A. Dodgers is batting .291 with 11 homers, 54 RBIs and 12 stolen basesBengie Molina is hitting .284 with 9 homers and 68 RBIs.  The Cardinals’ Yadier Molina is hitting .301 with 5 homers and 47 RBIs.   Then there is the light hitting Jason Kendall of the Milwaukee Brewers.  He’s only hitting .242 with 1 homer and 35 RBIs.  Soto’s stats are solid and justify him being an All-Star this season. 

Now for defense.  Remember, I am comparing Soto to the everyday catchers from the National League only.  Those guys are Jason Kendall of the Brewers, Bengie Molina of the Giants, Brian McCann of the Braves, Russell Martin of the Dodgers and Yadier Molina of the Cardinals.  Here’s a quick look at their defensive stats as of today. 
Jason Kendall is leading all catchers with just over 1000 innings played.  Russell Maritn is second with 966.1 and Soto is third with 921.2.  McCann is at 892.1, Bengie Molina is at 864 and Yadier Molina is at 860.1 innings played.
Soto has made the fewest errors with 4.  Yadier Molina and Russell Martin each have 9 errors.  Jason Kendall and Bengie  Monia each have 5 errors.  Brian McCann has committed 6 errors. 
Jason Kendall has caught 42.5% of those attempting to steal a base.  It’s by far the best percentage of any of these catchers.  Yadier Molina is the catcher that has the fewest attempts of stolen bases and when players do try to run on him he’s thrown of 35.4% of them.  Bengie Molina is next at 33.3%, followed by Soto at 29.3%, McCann at 21.9% and Martin at 19.4%.  McCann has had the most attempted stolen bases on him with a total of 96. 
The final defensive statistic that I want to take into consideration is CERA(Catcher’s earned-run average). 
Russell Martin is the best with 3.67 followed by Soto at 3.75, Kendall at 3.88, McCann at 4.10, Yadier Molina at 4.14 and Bengie Molina at 4.21.

When looking at the overall offensive and defensive stats, I think Soto is the best catcher in the National League.   He’s not the best hitter or the best defensive catcher, but his overall game makes him the best.  He’s playing for a winning team, handling a veteran pitching staff as a rookie and slugging the crap out of the ball.  This is not an insult to any of the other catchers.  Kendall has never hit for power and now he doesn’t hit for much average.  Brian McCann has a great bat but I look for him to eventually move to another position in the future.  Probably, first or third base.  Russell Martin is not as good defensively as Geo.   Yadier Molina doesn’t slug the ball and drive in runs the way Soto does.  Bengie Molina is almost 10 years older than Soto. 
It should be obvious that Geovany Soto is going to be a perennial All-Star and one of the most important players for the Chicago Cubs over the next 5-10 years.  He has a great relationship with the pitchers and other players on his team.  He is well respected in the clubhouse and is already becoming a team leader.  I look forward to watch his career progress.