Tagged: Reed Johnson

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?

 

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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.

TRADE IDEAS…..AGAIN

Now that the Cubs roster is beginning to take shape I think the Cubs would be wise to make a trade or two before the season starts.  I have 3 players in mind to trade away.  They are Jeff Baker, Kosuke Fukudome and Carlos Silva.  I would like the Cubs to get Chris Davis in return for any of these players.  If you’ve read my blog some this winter then you will know that this is something I have mentioned several times.  

Here’s my thoughts on Baker.  We could trade him and replace him with Chris Davis.  Davis is a true corner infielder.  He could backup Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena.  This would allow Darwin Barney to backup Starlin Castro and Blake DeWitt.  Davis has a lot of power and would be a power threat off the bench.
If the Cubs were to trade Fukudome it would open up an everyday position for Tyler Colvin.  While some Cub fans may not be sold on Colvin, I am.  Also, if we were to trade Fukudome that would allow Reed Johnson and Fernando Perez to both make the team strengthening our outfield defense and give us a lot of speed off the bench.  
Finally, trading Silva would allow one of our younger pitchers or one of our veteran non-roster invitees to make the starting rotation.  I know Silva had the blow up with Ramirez, but that’s not the main reason I would like to trade him.  He hasn’t pitched all that well this spring and I believe he will be on the DL by mid-summer.  
As long as we got Chris Davis in a deal I would be happy.  There are no other players that I have in mind at this point.  Maybe we could get some low level minor leaguers in a deal.  Plus, we could unload Fukudome’s and Silva’s contracts to a team willing to pay them.  I don’t think a trade will happen soon, but these are just a few ideas.  

GO CUBS GO!!!

SPRING BATTLES

Along with about every other baseball fan, I love this time of year.  Spring training is finally here!  And in addition to baseball, March Madness is about to begin for us college basketball fans as well.  Anyway, it’s been a couple days since my last post and I wanted to catch up on a few things.

Kosuke Fukudome is getting a chance this spring to leadoff.  The Cubs desperately need to find someone who can fill the role of being a leadoff man for the team and it appears he’s getting the first shot at it.  If he succeeds at this role then I would be excited.  However, I am not completely confident that this is where he needs to hit.  Personally, I think he makes a good number 2 hitter or someone in the lower lineup.  Plus, if wins the job of starter in rightfield and leadoff man, that means Tyler Colvin will become a bench player.  I would like to see Colvin as our everyday rightfielder.

Leftfielder Alfonso Soriano is looking good in the early going this spring.  If he is able to stay healthy and play better than he has the last couple of years that would be huge for the team. 

Tyler Colvin has been working on playing firstbase this spring and may be our backup in case Carlos Pena gets injured this season or needs a day off.  This is something that I like.  I believe Colvin can be an everyday player at firstbase or rightfield.  I also believe that Colvin will battle Fukudome for the starting job in RF especially if Kosuke cannot handle the job of leadoff man. 

Reed Johnson and Fernando Perez will be battling for a spot on the roster as our 5th outfielder.  In this battle, I prefer Johnson at this point.  He’s a seasoned vet and just happens to be one of my favorite players. 

The battle for the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation have begun.  Carlos Silva, Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner are my three favorites to win those two spots.  It will be interesting to see how they perform this spring.  In this battle, I prefer Cashner and Wells.  While Silva got off to a good start in 2010, I’m not convinced he is going to be that successful again.  I also like Casey Coleman as a darkhorse in this race, but from what I’ve read he will probably start the season in Iowa.

Another battle going on this spring is for utility infielder.  Youngster, Darwin Barney, and veteran Augie Ojeda are the two main guys fighting for this job.  I prefer Barney in this battle. 

Another utility player that I would like the Cubs to give a chance is Bobby Scales.  I don’t think he will make the team out of spring training, but I believe if someone struggles or gets injured he will have a good chance of getting called up.  He’s versatile and I would love to have his energy coming off our bench. 

That’s all I’ve got for now. 

 

WELCOME BACK REED JOHNSON!

Reed Johnson 1.jpgOne of my favorite players is back on the Cubs.  Reed Johnson has agreed to a minor league deal.  I hope that he makes the team because we could use a guy like him as a spark plug off the bench and in the clubhouse.  I think the Cubs will have to trade Fukudome or start the year with 5 outfielders, which is a possibility.  Either way, I look forward to having him back in Cubbie Blue. 

In other news, I read today that the Cubs may trade Gorzelanny.  Now, I’ve heard this before this offseason, but Bruce Levine wrote about it earlier today and explained why.  Here’s the link to the Bruce Levine article.  Trading Gorzelanny should come as no surprise and it would open up a spot in the rotation for one of our younger pitchers.  I’ve also read some other interesting rumors, but none worth mentioning at this point. 

I still see us shopping Gorzelanny, Fukudome and Wells this spring.  I believe the Cubs are in the unique process of rebuilding for this year and for the future.  It’s hard to do, but we seem to be on the right track and like I keep saying, we have a lot of money coming off the books at the end of this season and I look for us to go on a big shopping spree next winter.   

Business of Baseball

With the winter meetings right around the corner I guess it’s a good time to talk some business.  The Chicago Cubs have a lot of work to do….mainly involving Milton Bradley.  It is my opinion, that the Cubs will try to deal Bradley starting next Monday.  I am halfway tempted to make the drive to Indy and tell Jim Hendry what I think.  Then again, I know I wouldn’t even get a chance to say hello to Jim or any other exec so I won’t waste my time. 

So, far the Cubs made a good move trading Heilman.  We need to trade Aaron Miles too while we are at it.  I have read that the Cubs may shop Jake Fox to some American League teams.  While I understand the business side of this I really like Fox and would love to see him playing for the Cubbies in 2010. 

The Cubs decided not to offer arbitration to Kevin Gregg, Chad Fox, Rich Harden and Reed Johnson.  While I love Reed Johnson I understand we have Tyler Colvin and Sam Fuld that could take over Johnson’s role with the team.  I would also like to see Harden back with the Cubs, but I know he will command more money than the Cubs will be willing to pay. 

The Cubs have a lot of work to do.  There are rumors about trading for Curtis Granderson.  I like Granderson a lot.  Yet, I don’t want to trade away too much young talent to get a guy that strikes out a ton and hits for a low average. 

Some of our minor leaguers that may attract interest from other teams are SS Starlin Castro, 3B Josh Vitters, P Andrew Cashner and P Blake Parker.  These are just a few of our young players that other teams may inquire about in any potential trades.  I would prefer not to trade any of them away personally, but if the right deal comes along……who knows?

 

Finally, the Braves and Phillies made some moves this week that I like.  The Braves signed Billy Wagner.  If he stays healthy the Braves will have an elite closer.  Meanwhile the Phils picked up Placido Polanco to play thirdbase.  Polanco will hit for a good average and play great defense while hardly ever striking out.  Good moves by both teams. Hopefully, the Cubs will make some good moves next week!

I’m Back….and Still Can’t Figure Out What The Cubs Were Thinking

It’s been almost 2 months since my last post.  I would like to say it was mainly due to laziness.  I don’t plan on taking any more breaks either.  But I will start back by trying to figure out why the Cubs brass did what they did last off-season. 

I just don’t understand what the Cubs were thinking last off-season.
They had a team that had just won 97 games in the regular season.  I
know there was pressure to “tweak” the roster so they could perform
better in the post-season, but the moves they made have backfired.
Jason Marquis, Mark DeRosa, Henry Blanco and Kerry Wood are all gone.
That may not seem like much, but it’s had a huge impact and I am going
to attempt to explain why. 

Jason Marquis may not put up dazzling numbers, but he gets the job done
every fifth day.  What I mean by that is he is one of those guys who
pitches and gives his team a chance to win almost every time out.  As of
today, he is 14-8 with a 3.47 ERA for the Colorado Rockies, who look
like they have a good chance to win the wild card.  Considering the Cubs
injuries to their starting rotation this season they sure could have
used him.  And it doesn’t hurt that the team he’s played for has made the
playoffs every season during his major league career.  But trading him
away for Luis Vizcaino was a mistake, especially considering the Cubs
don’t even have Vizcaino anymore. 
The Cubs also decided to trade away super-utility man, Mark DeRosa.
Not only was DeRosa capable of playing almost any position, but he did
it without complaining or letting it affect his hitting.  With the
injury to Aramis Ramirez this year, the Cubs really could have used
DeRosa at third base.  Or, DeRosa could be the starting second baseman
and Fox could play third when Aramis is out.  Or, DeRosa could play
leftfield or rightfield when needed.  He’s got a good bat and plays
solid defense wherever the you put him.  To make matters worse, he’s now
on the Cardinals.  I wish DeRosa the best, but I would love to have him
back in a Cubs uniform. 
The loss of Henry Blanco may not seem like much to most fans.  But to
me, it was a huge loss.  The Cubs let him get away via free agency last
off-season.  Here’s a guy that was a mentor to Geovany Soto.  Soto went
on to win the Rookie of the Year award and I would like to think that
Blanco was a factor in that.  Plus, he hit well when he did get to play
last season. 
Finally, the Cubs let go of Kerry Wood allowing him to sign with the
Cleveland Indians.  That made me mad.  I understood that baseball is a
business, but Wood had been with the Cubs since 1998.  As the Cubs first
round pick in the ’95 draft, Wood quickly became one of my favorite
Cubs.  While his career has been plagued with injuries, there is not
doubt that he possessed the talent to be a good starter early in his
career and a solid closer now.  So, the Cubs let him go and then go and
trade minor league Jose Ceda for Kevin Gregg.  As much as I want Gregg
to succeed he hasn’t been consistent as the Cubs closer.  So, the way I
see it, the Cubs gave up Kerry Wood and Jose Ceda (and his 98mph
fastball) for Gregg.  Another move that hasn’t worked too well. 

Equally important is the chemistry the team had last year.  The loss of
these four guys wasn’t just a loss on the field but in the dugout,
bullpen and clubhouse.  There is no doubt that this year’s team does not
have the chemistry of the ’08 Cubs.  I believe that loss combined with
injuries to Soto, Ramirez, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, Reed Johnson and
Carlos Zambrano is the reason why the Cubs are struggling to stay above
.500. 
It will be interesting to see what moves the Cubs make the remainder of
this season and this upcoming off-season.  Will the Ricketts family give
Jim Hendry a blank check book?  Will Lou Piniella stick around for
another year or will Ryne Sandberg be the new Cub manager?  Will the
Cubs even finish this season over .500?   We’ll just have to wait and
see.