Tagged: Sean Marshall

THE DREADED “L” FLAG

This is a picture that Cub fans are getting used to seeing this year.  It’s not one we want to see either.  Until the Cubs start playing better or until I change my mind, this will be my gravatar picture.

Don’t get me wrong, I want the Cubs to win, but it’s hard to do so with so many injuries and overall poor play.

 

Now some good stuff!  The Cubs have three players that I think are worthy of making the All Star game this year.  Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro and Sean Marshall.  Barney and Castro are both hitting over .300 while Marshall boasts a 1.07 ERA as of this post.

On another bright note, both Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez just homered off Bronson Arroyo in Cincinnati!!!!

That’s all for now.  I’m going to finish watching today’s game!  GO CUBS GO!!!

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.

FINALLY! A WIN!

I was able to stay up late last night and watch the Cubs actually win a game.  It was nice to see.  We had good starting pitching and Quade did not leave Zambrano in too long.  He trusted his setup of Wood, Marshall and Marmol for the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.  We played good defense and had three solo homers.  Soriano was the hitter of the night blasting two bombs!  I liked the fact that Castro batted third again too.  Now, if we can repeat last nights performance I would be really happy.

Matt Garza will be pitching against Ian Kennedy tonight. Hopefully, we can play better for Garza and get him his first win of the season and as a Cub.  Even though he’s striking out a lot of batters he hasn’t had much luck.  He pitched 6 shutout innings in a no-decision against San Diego, lost to Colorado due to 4 errors and 4 unearned runs, has seen the Cubs get shutout twice during his starts and saw the bullpen blow the lead in another.  That’s five starts and little run support, bad defense and a loss to the bullpen.  Hopefully, tonight is the night the guys rally around Garza and get him a win.

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

The Cubs are finally beginning to invest some real money into player development now that the Ricketts family has taken over as owners.  This is exciting news for me as a Cubs fan.  If you don’t think player development matters take a look at the New York Yankees.  Derek Jeter was a 1st round draft pick in 1992.  Mariano Rivera was signed as an amateur free agent in 1990.  Andy Pettitte was drafted by the Yankees in the 22nd round of the 1990 draft.  Bernie Williams was signed as an amateur free agent in 1985.  Jorge Posada was drafted in the 24th round of the 1990 draft.  Those players helped form a dynasty in the mid to late 90s. 
 
The Cincinnati Reds are another example of player development paying off without the luxury of a large payroll for expensive free agents that your big market franchises have.  All Star first basemanJoey Votto, was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft.  Jay Bruce was drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 draft.  Drew Stubbs was a 1st round pick in 2006.  Homer Bailey was a 1st round pick in the 2004 draft.  Johnny Cueto was signed as an amateur free agent in 2004 and Aroldis Chapman was singed as an amateur free agent in 2010.  These players were instrumental in helping the Reds to the playoffs in 2010 and should provide the Reds with a bright future.  The Reds also acquired some quality players through trades in Edinson VolquezBrandon Phillips and Scott Rolen
 
The Cubs have done so-so in the last 10 years in the amateur draft.  In 2001, we drafted Mark Prior in the 1st round, Ryan Theriot in the 3rd round, Sergio Mitre in the 7th round and Geovany Soto in the 11th round.  2002 wasn’t as kind though, but we did manage to draft Randy Wells as a catcher in the 38th round.  In 2003 Ryan Harvey was our 1st round pick and unfortunately he never worked out for us.  We also drafted Jake Fox in the 3rd round, Sean Marshall in the 6th round, Casey McGehee in the 10th round and Tim Lincecum in the 48th round but obviously he didn’t sign with us.  In 2004 our draft didn’t work out too well.  We drafted Mark Pawelek in the 1st round in 2005, but he never panned out.  In 2006 we drafted pretty well.  Tyler Colvin in the 1st, Jeff Samardzija in the 5th, Jeremy Papelbon in the 19th (Jonathan’s brother) and a few others that are still in our system working their way up.  2008 and 2009 seem to be decent drafts for us too, but time will tell.  Most importantly we need to draft well, sign amateur free agents like Carlos Marmol (1999) and develop these players better than we have done in the past.  Combine all of that with the ability to spend a lot of money and the Cubs will hopefully start winning on a regular basis and finally bring home a World Series Championship.

JUST RANDOM THOUGHTS

The Chicago Cubs appear to content with the lineup we currently have.  I was kind of hoping we would trade Fukudome, but that does not seem like it will happen.  I was also a little bit interested in Michael Young to play second over the platoon of Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker, but that is not going to happen either.  Another possible “solution” for second would be Luis Castillo if the Mets were willing to part with him.  Personally, I don’t like this idea at all.  The one move I still think the Cubs could make is acquiring Chris Davis from the Rangers.  I think it would take catcher Wellington Castillo and another high minor league player.  

I keep reading that teams are scouting Carlos Silva and Braden Looper.  I would love to see with us part with Silva no doubt.  However, I am curious to see what Looper could bring to the team this season.  
Matt Garza pitched four solid innings in his last outing which has me excited.  I think our starting five will be Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner.  However, Braden Looper is making a strong case to make the rotation.  The downside of this rotation is that we do not have a lefty in there.  Ted Lilly was a great competitor during his time with the Cubs and he will be missed. Our bullpen is looking good too in my opinion.  Marshall, Wood and Marmol will anchor the pen and hopefully Samardzija and a healthy Grabow will be able to help out as well.
Scott Moore is making a good impression this spring and while I don’t think he will make the team, I believe he would be a great mid-season call up if someone were to get injured.  However, I would rather have Chris Davis as our corner infielder.  No offense to Moore, but I’ve been fixated a bit on Davis this off-season.  
That’s all I have for today.  It’s supposed to be in the 60s tomorrow and in the 70s on Thursday here in southern Illinois.  I hope the weatherman is right!

WHO’S PITCHING?

Going into Spring Training I am confused by the overload of pitchers the Cubs have to choose from.  I know that may sound odd to say, but I do have my own biased reason behind these words.  We’ve invited several pitchers as non-roster invitees that we are trying to catch “lightning in a bottle” with, but I would rather see us let our younger pitchers compete for a spot on the team’s pitching staff over these guys.  Braden Looper, Todd Wellemeyer and Scott Rice are three pitchers that I don’t think will make the team nor should they.  Looper and Wellemeyer are veterans trying to land with a team and Rice is a career minor leauger trying to do the same.  Rice is a lefty and younger than both Looper and Wellemeyer and is the only one of these guys I would like the Cubs to hold on to.  Let him start the year at AA or AAA and see what he can do as a lefty reliever. 

We also have Carlos Silva, Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner, Jeff Samardzija, Casey Coleman, James Russell and Thomas Diamond that will be competing for the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation.  Obviously, Dempster, Garza and Zambrano will be the top three starters for us.  I expect the competition for those two spots in the rotation to be fierce.  And any of these guys that doesn’t make the rotation will be competing for a spot in the bullpen as well.   

Arms out of the bullpen will be Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol for certain.  However, we have several players trying to land a spot in the pen as well such as,  Justin Berg, John Gaub, John Grabow, Scott Maine and Jeff Stevens.  I think our bullpen may be really young in 2011. 

We also have a few of our minor league pitchers that are non-roster invitees this spring as well.  This includes Chris Carpenter, Trey McNutt and Jay Jackson.  I think Jay Jackson is the closest to being ready for the big leauges of these three.  I imagine he will start the season in Iowa though. 

I know there is a handful of pitchers that I have not mentioned.  But the bottom line, is that we have a lot of guys competing for a limited amount of spots.  I know this happens every year, but I wish the Cubs would let the young guys fight it out and not worry about Silva, Looper or Wellemeyer.  I believe the talent is there with some of our minor league pitchers is we would just give them the chance to play in the big leagues. 

 

 

MORE RAMBLINGS FROM A BASEBALL ADDICT GOING THROUGH WITHDRAWALS

I am trying to read as many MLBlogs as possible.  I’m trying to hit the top 100 from 2010, ones that are currently posting a lot and trying to read up on as many NL Central teams as possible right now.  Amazing how many great bloggers there are out there!

I’m also in the process of updating my links list.  My goal is to have at least 2-3 MLBlogs listed for each MLB team.  It’s going to take a while. 

Going through my fantasy baseball mags and highlighting the players I want.  I know I’m a nerd, but I have different colored highlighters that help me rank the players at each position.  It’s worked for me in the past and I enjoy doing it. 

Why haven’t the Cardinals signed Albert yet?  He’s the best player in baseball!  Give him the money and keep your fans happy and continue to win with him. 

I’ve read that a few opinions that the Cubs should move Sean Marshall into the starting rotation.  Sounds good after the season he had last year, but I like him as our main lefty in the bullpen. 

I’ve also been reading that the Cubs want to add a veteran utility infielder.  I’m not sure why we would do this unless someone doesn’t feel Darwin Barney can handle this role.  I like DB and think he should be our starter at second base.  But that’s just me.

Regarding my post on expansion and a salary cap, I know it’s not the most popular idea.  Heck, I don’t know if it would even make a difference.  But I believe it’s capable of working.  I’m not so much worried about a maximum salary cap as I am a minimum one though.  I want more owners to spend money or get out of baseball.  Also, I say if a salary cap ever happens, which I really, really, doubt will, that the luxury tax be done away with.  I don’t like the LT and think it’s not working as it was intended.  As for expansion, I hope that the amount of talent will increase in future years and there will be a need for expansion.  Until then, I’m content with the number of teams we currently have.

Finally, congratulations to my friend George for surpassing his basketball’s team win total from last season.  Keep up the good work!

That’s all I’ve got for today.