Tagged: Marlon Byrd

WISH LIST STUFF

Here is my old list.

1.  Bring Sandberg back to the Cubs organization.

2.  Hire a quality manager.  We hired Dale Sveum.

3. Keep Greg Maddux in the front office.

4.  Go after Prince Fielder.  Sounds like it may happen. We may even go after Pujols.

5.  Make offer to Aramis Ramirez (this one goes hand-in-hand with number 4 and I’ll explain later)  Does not appear likely.

6.  Trade Carlos Zambrano.  (Even is he says it won’t happen again I know it will)

7.  Trade Alfonso Soriano.  Sounds like this could happen.

8.  Sign Kerry Wood again or find him a job with the Cubs.  Might happen.

9.  Strengthen the pitching staff

And here is my new and improved wish list.

1.  Sign Prince Fielder.  He could be the center piece to build around.

2.  Trade Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins.

3.  Trade Alfonso Soriano to any AL team that will take him!

4.  Sign Kerry Wood.

5.  Sign either Paul Maholm or Edwin Jackson.  We need pitching depth.

6.  Wipe the slate clean, don’t sign Prince, trade Soriano & Zambrano.  Then trade Matt Garza to the Reds or Rangers in a huge deal.  Follow that up by trading away Marlon Byrd, Geovany Soto and Randy Wells too.

Whatever direction the Cubs decide to go I hope they start making moves soon.  I just want to know what to expect for the next couple of seasons under Theo and Co..

DOWN ON QUADE

Well, I must admit that I am embarrassed by the Cubs performance this season and especially over the last week or so.  We’ve lost 7 in a row including being swept at home by the Astros and on the road against our Arch rivals.   Two of those losses were extra inning games ended by walk off home runs by Albert Pujols.  Anyway, we aren’t playing very good baseball as a whole and it’s obvious.

I still don’t understand Mike Quade and his lineup.  I believe that Aramis Ramirez needs to bat third.  That gives us our best chance to drive in runs in my opinion.  I know he’s not producing all the well this season, but part of that is due to having little protection in the lineup.

Quade baffled me early in the season when he platooned Fukudome and Colvin in right field.  Both are left handed batters and he let Fukudome play against right handed pitchers and Colvin against left handed pitchers.

Quade frustrated me when he kept batting Marlon Byrd in the three hole.  I think Byrd is better suited to hit 1st, 2nd or 5th in the lineup.  He’s never been known to be a great run producer.  That’s usually who you want batting third…..a run producer!

Quade has also aggravated me with the handling of our starting rotation early in the season.  There was a stretch where he kept leaving starters in too long and not trusting the bullpen setup of Wood, Marshall and Marmol.

I guess I am taking out a bit of my frustrations on our new manager and I know it’s the players who play the games.  But he’s setting the lineups, making the pitching changes and is in charge of this team.  I know that he’s competitive, but I think he’s going to have a long summer.

WHAT’S NEXT?

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?

 

BYRD, ALL STAR VOTING & COLORADO

Well, I wasn’t very pleased with the three game series the Cubs just played against the Red Sox.  We were fortunate to win one game, but the Red Sox were simply the better team.  There were some things that happened in the series that I thought I would talk about though.  The first being Marlon Byrd getting beaned in the face.  If you haven’t seen it then I suggest you look it up.  It was terrible. I was surprised that Marlon was able to maintain consciousness after getting hit.  It was obvious he was in an extreme amount of pain.  I wish him a quick and full recovery.  The pitcher who beaned Byrd, Alfredo Aceves, did not appear to hit him on purpose.  I believe it was a pitch that just got away from Aceves and unfortunately Byrd was unable to get out of the way.  Also, several Red Sox players were concerned about Byrd throughout the game and were asking Cub players for updates.  With Byrd being out for a while I imagine that Reed Johnson will get the majority of the playing time in center field.  I also look for Tony Campana to get some more playing time as well.  I also wonder who the Cubs will call up when Byrd is placed on the DL.

Well, I’ve voted for the All Star teams a few times now and I believe that there are only two Cubs deserving  of my vote at this time.  Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney.  Unfortunately, I have to write-in Barney’s name since he isn’t listed on the ballot.  If you look at these two player’s stats and compare them to all of the other players at their respective positions I think it’s obvious that they deserve your vote.

Finally, it appears I will have to go to Denver in July for something work related.  While I’m out there I plan on going to see the Brewers and Rockies do battle.  I’ve never been to a game at Coors Field, but I’ve hear great things about it.

CONTINGENCY PLAN

With the way the Cubs are playing this season, I think it’s okay to talk about a contingency plan.  Let me explain.  I am not saying that we are throwing in the towel by any means.  However, if another 6-8 weeks go by and we continue to lose more than we win, it may be necessary to start trading players and their contracts.

I think the list of guys that we could put on the trade market is a big one with some good players.  Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Dempster being among the biggest names.  I would love for us to be able to move Alfonso Soriano and his huge salary as well, but that would be really difficult.  By potentially moving Byrd and Fukudome we would be opening up spots in our outfield for younger players such as Tyler Colvin, Tony Campana and Brett Jackson.

I would hate to trade Ryan Dempster, but I could see him help a team win a pennant and possibly the World Series.  He just turned 34 a couple of weeks ago and is a great competitor and leader.  I could also see the Cubs trading Randy Wells too.  I don’t think Carlos Zambrano will be traded.  I see him as one of the cornerstone players that the Cubs hope to build a championship caliber team around.

Our bullpen is relatively young with the exception of Kerry Wood and John Grabow.  I want to keep Wood for multiple reasons.  It’s already evident, that he will give the Cubs a home town discount and it’s good to have a veteran leader in the bullpen.

The Cubs are going to have a chance to sign a big name or two this upcoming off season.  Whether it’s Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder or someone else, the Cubs have a ton of money that they will be able to spend after this season is over.  I look for them to go on a spending spree!

Finally, we have Aramis Ramirez who could also be traded.  I don’t want to lose him, but he’s being pitched around a lot this season with little protection in the lineup.  His power numbers are suffering due to this.  In the right lineup, I think he would return to form and help any team win.

When it’s all said and done, I don’t want the Cubs to be sellers.  I won’t us to be buyers!  I want us competing for the division title and a spot in the post season in 2011.  I still think if our team is able to start winning.  I still believe we can win the NL Central.  A lot must go right, but it’s not impossible!

MEDIOCRE PLAY WON’T WIN THE CENTRAL

The Cubs have started this season by playing mediocre baseball in April.  When we’ve had decent pitching, our defense or offense has let us down.  Other times we’ve hit the ball, but our pitching let us down.  Sometimes it’s the starters and other times it’s the bullpen.  When we get guys on base and in scoring position we are not driving them in.  Our defense was terrible in spring training and it hasn’t been that good to start the season either.  Our manager has also made a few mistakes as well.  Combine all of this together and we get mediocre baseball!

First, let me start with something positive.  Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney are hitting great at the top of the lineup.  Both players have really impressed me.  It’s encouraging when your younger players come to play everyday and put up numbers like they are.  Castro is capable of hitting anywhere in the lineup in my opinion while DB has shown that he’s a capable number two hitter.  As of this morning, Castro is hitting .357 and DB is hitting .320.  They are also rank number two and three on the team in RBIs.  Soriano leads the team with 15.  That’s where the bad news starts to come in to play.  Marlon Byrd has only 5 RBIs.  Not what you want from your number three hitter.  Even though he’s hitting .293, he’s not driving in runs when he has the opportunity.  He’s hitting .185 with runners in scoring position and he’s unfortunately killed several rallies.  I hate saying this because Byrd is one of the players I really like on this team.  He plays the game the right way and never gives up.  I think he’s better suited batting somewhere else in the lineup.  I hope Quade realizes this soon.  Anyway, these failed opportunities are also hurting Aramis Ramirez, our cleanup hitter.  He has a good average, .329, but only 1 homer and 9 RBIs.  With runners in scoring position he’s hitting .286 with 6 RBIs.  Those are respectable numbers, but Byrd has limited his chances of driving in runs.  
Next we have issues with our starting pitching.  It doesn’t help when two of your starters go on the DL right after their first start of the season.  There is also something that is bothering me that is probably not that big of deal.  Our manager seems to trust our veteran starters, which is a good thing, but in my opinion, there’s been several times when he’s left the starter in too long.  This happened on Dempster’s first start of the season against Pittsburgh (a loss), also against Houston on the 11th (a win….barely) and again against the Dodgers on the 23rd(a win).  I think Quade needs to trust his bullpen more and not leave our starters in there too long.  I may be way off on this, but it’s frustrating when your team is winning and you can tell the starter is about out of gas and Quade tries getting another inning out of him.  It’s April for crying out loud!   There’s no need to push the starters to the limit this early in the season.
I guess the bottom line for me is that we aren’t scoring enough runs and I believe changing our lineup would help tremendously and that we need to trust our bullpen more.  We also need to play better defense.  I know the homers for Ramirez will come.  I also hope Pena starts hitting bombs into the bleachers in right field.  That would help a lot too.  Until then, we are just playing mediocre ball.

EARLY SEASON STUFF AND DECIDING A NAME

This season is still very early, but as of today, we are tied for first place!  We just took two of three from the Padres and even batted Starlin Castro third in the second game of a double header yesterday.  He is our best hitter so far this season and I can him him excelling in this role, but I think Byrd will be our primary hitter in the three hole.  

I am disappointed in the performance of Carlos Pena to start this season.  His defense has been great!  However, his bat hasn’t been there for us like I hoped it would.  I have said it before, but I wish he would be more aggressive at the plate.  It’s obvious that he has tremendous power.  Hopefully, we’ll get to see some of that power soon.
Well, I haven’t posted anything the last few days due to another storm moving through our area and knocking out my internet once again.  So, I am at McDonald’s today using their free WiFi and trying to catch up on things.  
As some of you may know, my wife and I are expecting a baby boy later this summer.  We are still debating what to name him.  The names we like the best so far are Chance, Maddux, Logan and Luke.  One of these names will be his first name and the middle name will be a family name still yet to be decided.  I would love to hear from anyone on which of these four names you like the best.  Thanks!