Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reed Johnson is Back and More Cub Talk...

- One of my favorite outfielders the Cubs have ever had, Reed Johnson, has signed a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. Reed has some tough competition in the outfield such has Brad Snyder, Fernando Perez, and James Adduci but if an outfielder gets injured or traded (Fukudome) then I can see Reed staying on the 25 man roster. If anything it will be nice to see Johnson back in Cubbie Blue!

- The Cubs avoided arbitration with Koyie Hill signing him to a $850,000 contract. I honestly do not know why we still have this guy. Here is hoping that Max Ramirez or Wellington Castillo becomes the backup to Soto.

- The Cubs may end up trading Gorzelanny after all because Quade says they have the luxury of having Scott Maine, Sean Marshall, James Russell, and John Grabow. James Russell may even have a shot at the rotation according to Quade. The Cubs are likely to deal Gorzelanny because of the amount he is likely due to his arbitration raise. He has interest from several teams most noteably the Nationals, Mets, and O's.

- Randy Wells says he may have gotten too big of a head and now is battling several players for 2 spots in the rotation. If Wells does not land a rotation spot he could be sent to the pen for long relief, traded, or sent to AAA.

- The Cubs did not make a offer for Grienke because of the amount of cash he is owed over the next several years.

- Levine says he has not heard any talk about a Halos/Cubs trade but thought the idea was interesting and he would look into it.

- Levine sees Samardzija as the 5th starter. Please God No!

- There is no chance Big Z is traded before Opening Day.

- Bruce Levine names Doug Glanville as one of 4 remaining for the spot of Pat Hughes partner. He is currently my favorite to land the job,

- Before we go I just want to say the thought of having a Soriano, Byrd, Colvin, Perez, and Johnson outfield excites me a bit. A nice mixture of young players and vets, speed and power, OK defense and great defense. Lets just hope Johnson and Perez show up this Spring and Fukudome get traded.

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cubs Add Another Ramirez, Minors, and Halos/Cubs Trade Update....

- The Cubs have claimed catcher Max Ramirez off of waivers from the Red Sox. Max Ramirez (who is out of options) provides more competition for Koyie Hill and Wellington Castillo for the backup catcher position. Max Ramirez has ML experience but not to much success; he batted .217 with 4 homeruns and a .343 OBP in 45 career games. He has done very well in the minors though. In 7 minor league seasons he has hit .298 with a .396 OBP with 72 homers and although he has a bad .986 fielding% in the minors as a catcher but Koyie Hill had a .985 fielding% in 9 minor league season. In fact when you compare the two; Ramirez is younger and has a better bat while Hill has more ML experience, a better arm, and is a switch hitter. I think the Cubs should go into ST with an open mind on the backup catcher spot regardless of cost or age.

- The Cubs are still very much interested in signing utility players Nick Punto, Willy Aybar, Bobby Crosby, or Andy LaRoche to minor league deals with invites to ST. The Cubs are also very interested in signing some free agent relievers to minor league deals like Todd Coffey, Jose Veras, Manny Corpas, Alfredo Aceves, or Miguel Batista according to sources.

- I have had a lot of questions regarding the Halos/Cubs trade rumors. Word is the Angels want to spend money along with making their fan base happy which they are not right now. The Angels lost out on Cliff Lee, Adrian Beltre, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, and Adam Dunn. They are not giving up on getting at least an impact bat for this team. They have been linked to DH types like Vlad but they are reluctant to resign him because the declining health and defense. The Angels told baseball execs last year that they would shop Kazmir this off-season. They were even talking about a swap with the Rockies before they signed Jorge. All in all I give both rumors about a 25-30% chance of happening. Soriano and Shark both have no-trade clauses and that could be tricky, not to mention the amount of players and money that would be changing hands. I have seen crazier things happen during the off-season and this one makes more sense than some of those deals that actually went through, so anything can happen.

Of course I will keep you updated on the latest Cubs rumors and news!

Until Next Time…

Monday, January 10, 2011

Halos and Cubbies Talking Trades....

The Chicago Cubs are done with their off-season goals but that does not mean there done wheeling and dealing. Here are two detailed rumors I have come across my rumor inbox both involving the Angels and the Cubs-

The first rumor says the Cubs and Angels have been discussing a trade that would send Kosuke Fukudome, Tom Gorzelanny, and a minor leaguer to the Angels for Scott Kazmir and Reggie Willits. The trade seems logical for both the Angels and Cubs but lets look at it from a Cubs perspective. The Cubs would receive a former top of the rotation pitcher in the AL that has seen his numbers go through peeks and valleys through his career with both the Angels and Rays. He would provide the Cubs with a solid #5 pitcher and is a lefty which makes Tom Gorzelanny going to the Angels kind of a wash. Kazmir saw his best year in 2007 when he pitched 206 innings with 239 SO and a 3.49 ERA in the AL East. Recently his inning has decreased while his ERA has climbed but a change to the weaker NL could boost his numbers some.

The Cubs also get an switch hitting speedy outfielder who would likely battle for the outfield spot on the 25 man roster. Willits had his best season in 2007 as well hitting .293 with a .391 OBP and 27 SB.

The Cubs would be creating an everyday opportunity for Tyler Colvin in RF by trading away Fukudome and Gorzelanny leaving creates the 5th spot in the rotation open for Kazmir.

The Angels have been rumored to be shopping Kazmir because of the amount he is owed. The Angels remove the money he is owed but take on a similar amount for one year with Fukudome. But the Angels also get Gorzelanny who has put up close or better numbers than Kazmir has in the past couple years and Gorzelanny will only cost 2 million in arbitration this year. Not to mention he is still under team control. They also get a minor leaguer but not a prospect in the deal.

The money here is basically a wash and I can see this trade being a win-win for both clubs!


The 2nd rumor also involves the Cubs and Angels but a lot more players. Here is what it looks like-

Cubs receive- Scott Kazmir, Kevin Jepsen, Alberto Callaspo, and a PTBNL

Angels acquire- Alfonso Soriano, Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Samardzija, Jeff Baker, and Marquez Smith.

Cubs- We already broke down what Kazmir can give the Cubs and what he brings. Kevin Jepsen provides a veteran arm to the pen with good numbers. Last season in 68 games he went 2-4 with a 3.97 ERA and 60 SO. Alberto Callaspo would provide the Cubs with a bat from both sides of the plate that can play multiple infield positions at an affordable price (under team control for 3 years). The Cubs also get the great PTBNL.

Angels- The Angels get the impact bat they have been searching for this entire off-season. They have lost out on Adrian Beltre, Jayson Werth, and Carl Crawford. The Angels were offering 5+ years for those players paying them 15+ million a year. Soriano is owed 4 years 72 million but the Cubs would pay about half that contract to get this deal done according to this source so the Angels would only be on the hook for about 4 years 36 million which is a far cry from what they would pay Werth, Crawford, or Beltre. Lets not forget they tried to sign Soriano before he eventually signed with the Cubs. Soriano would provide the Angels with a right-handed bat for the outfield and DH. The Angels also get Gorzelanny which we discussed above. They also get Jeff Samardzija (if he approved the trade) he would provide a young fireball to their pen. Jeff Baker brings a right-handed bench bat who can play all over the infielder and is a better fielder than Callaspo. The Angels also finally get a legitimate young third baseman that put up great numbers in AAA last season. He would likely start at 3rd for the Halos this coming season because he provides more power and a better glove than any third baseman on their 25 man roster.

In this deal the Angels would be taking on 21 million for this upcoming season while taking on at least 9 million for the following 3 years (Soriano’s contract) for 5 players. The Cubs would be removing 7 million (minus the contracts they take on) this season and also removing 9 million each year for three years (Soriano’s contract). The Angels get their power hitter they are looking forward along with affordable replacements for Callaspo, Jepsen, and Kazmir. The Cubs get salary relief, a really good lefty as their 5th starter, a solid switch hitting infielder with speed for their bench, and veteran arm for their pen.

One big reason why I think this is legit rumor is look at the Angels lineup-
1. Bourjos
2. Kendrick
3. Morales
4. Hunter
5. Soriano
6. Abreu
7. M. Smith
8. Aybar
9. Mathis/Napoli

Balanced, Power, and Speed!

I don’t know if anything will come of these rumors but if you are an Angels or Cubs fan you should hope one of them comes true!

What do you; the readers think?

Until Next Time….

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Garza..Starting Rotation..and more....

- Bruce Levine provides some insight on Matt Garza. It is a good read!

- Hendry says this move is not a only a "win now" move but a move for the future of the Cubs. Garza is under team control for 3 years.

- Hendry also says he must evaluate the moves he just made and go over the direction of the club with others in the organization. Hendry completed his objective by acquiring a starter, late inning reliever, and power left-handed bat for first base. But Hendry did say "we’re not opposed to trying to do some other things."

- Fernando Perez said he is excited to join the Cubs even though he does not know much about the team or know many of the players. He is just excited because he is finally healthy and looking forward to competing for a spot in the outfield out of ST. He was told by Hendry he would get every opportunity to land a spot on the 25 man roster. If Perez is healthy he would provide the Cubs with something that they don't have, a with really good speed that can play all three outfield positions.

- A guy lost in the shuffle is Zach Rosscup, a 23 year old lefty with great numbers in the minors. He is 6-5 in 22 starts with a ERA of 2.66 in his career. He has pitched in Single A and Rookie ball and could find himself starting in AA for the Cubs. He is a really good lefty with 68 SO to 15 BB in 84 career innings. Not what I call a toss in.

- According to sources the Cubs are looking to deal some of their starting pitching to either acquire a bench bat, reliever, or prospects to restock the farm system. The Cubs could just release Carlos Silva but he would likely just start the year on the DL for a "injury." The Cubs main trading chips for pitching are Shark, Randy Wells, and Tom Gorzelanny. The Cubs would love to trade Jeff because he is out of options but he has vetoed two trades already so he is likely to stay put. Randy Wells could help a team like the Pirates or O's but his trade value is so low the Cubs are better off holding onto him. Tom Gorzelanny will get the most return but he is the only lefty in the rotation so unless the Cubs get tremendous value he is staying put.

- The Cubs still really like Darren O'Day and Chris Davis but are willing to meet the Rangers asking price which has been Robinson Chirinios (now a Ray) and now they are asking for Josh Vitters or Jay Jackson.

- Wondering what the Cubs rotation will look like. The first four are already decided-
Matt Garza
Carlos Zambrano
Ryan Dempster
Andrew Cashner
and either Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Samardzija, Casey Coleman, or Carlos Silva

- The Cubs will not make a decision on the next radio guy for at least two to three weeks according to sources.

Until Next Time...