November 2012

Cubs Sign Scott Baker

Earlier today the Cubs and RHP Scott Baker agreed to a one year contract with a base salary of $5.5 million and incentives that could reach another $1.5 million.  The 31-year starting pitcher did not pitch at all last season due to Tommy-John surgery.  Baker, who has spent his entire seven-year career with the Twins has a 63-48 record with a 4.15 ERA.  In 2011 Baker was having a nice season before suffering elbow problems, posting a 3.14 ERA in only 23 games pitched, 21 of which he started.

This is exactly the type of pitcher and the type of deal the Cubs are looking at right now.  The Cubs are obviously hoping Baker can come back strong from surgery and if he does he could at the very least be flipped come trade deadline.  If he doesn’t come back as strong as hoped it won’t cost the Cubs much money wise or length of contract wise.  The Cubs will still look for at least one more starting pitcher this off-season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they still go after two.  All in all I think this a pretty solid deal for the Cubs.

Thanks for Reading,

Mesa Solar Sox Update/Stats

Not much has gone right for the Mesa Solar Sox as they currently sit at 6-16 which is good for dead last in the AFL East.  Wanted to bring you up to speed on how the Cubs prospects are doing, it’s been a rough go of it.

Matt Szczur 

I’m actually happy with what Szczur has done with the Solar Sox so far.  He’s not driving the ball much, but he is getting on base at a .353 clip, and is stealing bases, something a good lead off hitter does.

Javier Baez

What a weird season for Baez, his average was way down and so was his OBP.  His power numbers were through the roof however, as he blasted four home runs and drove in 16 during his injury shortened AFL season.  Not thrilled with the OBP, but it’s hard not to be impressed with his production.

Rubi Silva

It’s been a tough AFL season for Silva, but I expected that as he is not playing every day and is finding it hard to find a groove.  Silva is not making enough contact, but that’s why these players are here, to learn and develop.

Logan Watkins

Watkins was a late addition to the AFL roster, he was summoned after Javier Baez was injured.  Watkins is showing outstanding plate discipline early, something he has done all year, and what a year it was for the Cubs minor league player of the year.  It’s nice to see the patience, I know the organization is loving that too.

Dae-Eun Rhee

Really like the innings Rhee has been able to throw down in Arizona, the results, not so much.  Command has been spotty for Rhee, and it shows with the 6 walks and 22 hits in just under 17 innings.

Nick Struck

Struck has been able to wiggle off the hook many times already during the AFL season.  Command has gotten him in trouble as he as walked 8 guys in just 12 innings.  However, his ERA hasn’t really taken a hit as it sits at a respectable 3.75 for the season.

Tony Zych

Zych has been really good down in Arizona, he has given up more hits than innings pitched but he doesn’t walk guys.  Zych has only walked one guy in 10 innings of work, and sports a sparkling 2.70 ERA on the season.

Kevin Rhoderick

Rhoderick has been very good for the Solar Sox, his 4.82 ERA might suggest otherwise, but he’s been dominant at times.  In just over nine innings of work Rhoderick has stuck out 14 and only walked two, he’s only given up seven hits.  The long ball has hurt him as he has given up two home runs which have accounted for the majority of the runs he has given up.

Thanks for reading,
– George

BREAKING: Cubs Pull Deal Off The Table

Remember when Carlos Marmol was flat-out awful?  You should, it was this past season, that same Carlos Marmol was just traded to the Angels for three-time All-Star starting pitcher Dan Haren.  THAT is why it was so important to the Cubs for Marmol to succeed, and why Dale Sveum had to keep running him out there.  Today justifies all of that, Carlos Marmol was lights out in the second half, all of those factors led to the Cubs being able to acquire a top of the rotation pitcher.  Haren will be the Cubs property next year, at 32 years old there is a good chance that he can become part of the rotation when the Cubs are contending, that probably won’t be next year.  So the Cubs would have to sign Haren to an extension if they want his services after 2013, if the Cubs don’t sign Haren, and are not contending, they now own a huge piece to trade at next years deadline.  Ton’s of possibilities here, and really a stellar deal for Theo and the Cubs, of course this all hinges on Haren staying healthy, which he didn’t do last year.  I will update as necessary, great news on November 2, this bodes well…

[UPDATE] Gordon Wittenmeyer has confirmed via a source that the deal is official, Paul Sullivan reporting deal done as well.  We’ll see if pieces are added.

[THOUGHT] I suspect that once this deal is announced officially by both teams that more players would be heading to the Angels from the Cubs, Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson could be headed to Anaheim, that’s just a guess. not both, but one or the other..

[UPDATE 2]  As expected, because this involves the Cubs, there are reports now that the deal that so many legit sources confirmed might not exactly be 100% done yet… did someone say Dempster again!?  Stay tuned.

[UPDATE 3] Carrie Muskat and Paul Sullivan are saying that the rumored trade that would send Marmol to the Angels for Dan Haren is “off for now”

[UPDATE 4] Per multiple sources, the REPORTED deal of Haren for Marmol has been pulled off the table by the CUBS, and this is after Marmol said yes to go to the Angels, you can’t make this up, it’s the Cubs!

– George

October 25, 2012 AFL Recap; Baez Continues Power Surge, Solar Sox Continue Losing


Seeing the final score you might not think that this one was a pitching duel, but it was.  Heading to the 8th inning the game was all tied up at one, that’s when Peoria blew it open.  Peoria scored three times in the 8th and four times in the ninth to win this one 8-2.  Matt Szczur had a quiet day at the plate going 0-for-4, he is now hitting .250 on the season.  Rubi Silva also had an 0-for-4 performance at the plate, the 0’fer dropped Silva’s average to .188 on the season.  Javier Baez continued his power urge as he was 1-for-3 with a walk, a home run, an RBI, two stolen bases, and two runs scored.  Baez now has four home runs and 14 RBI’s on the season, however he is only hitting .220, but those power numbers are impressive.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Claim Zach Putnam

The Cubs opened 10 spots on the 40 man roster last week, one of those spots has been taken.  Today the Cubs claim RHP Zach Putnam off waivers from the Colorado Rockies, ESPN Chicago has the lowdown.

The University of Michigan alum, was a former fifth-round draft pick by the Cleveland Indians in 2008 and appeared in 10 major league games for the Indians and the Rockies over the past two seasons. 

The 25-year-old right-hander has been used exclusively in relief at the Triple-A level the past two seasons, posting a 4.15 ERA and 12 saves at Colorado Springs last season. In 2011, he had a 3.65 ERA with nine saves at Columbus.

Just another arm that will compete for a bullpen job out of spring training next season, we will be seeing quite a few of these signings, in fact we already have.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Pursuing Dan Haren?

Let the off-season pitching rumors begin.  According to a report the Cubs and Red Sox have expressed interest in Angles pitcher (for now) Dan Haren.  The Angels have until today to pick up Haren’s option, if they don’t he will be eligible for free agency.  Haren sees the writing on the wall, and he expects to be traded, today, “I’m kind of getting the feeling I’m being traded. I have no specifics on teams, but that’s the vibe I’m getting. It’s a little disappointing that I won’t get to pick up where I want to go, but I’m the one who signed on for the option year.”  As Heyman mentions in the article, the Cubs are an interesting suitor for Haren as they are not expected to compete in 2013.  I’d welcome the addition of Haren to a depleted pitching staff, the 32-year-old right hander would join Samardzija and Garza at the top of an all of  sudden interesting starting five.  Jed Hoyer commented on situations similar to Haren..

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer declined to discuss their interest, but said Thursday that one-year rentals like Haren are a good “alternative option” for teams unwilling to commit to long-term deals for pitchers in a relatively weak marketplace.

The only issue with Haren seems to be health, as he battled back problems for the majority of last season, and that seemed to mess with his results as he finished last year 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA.

Thanks for reading,
– George