Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’

Cubs Opening Wallet

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Did you believe I was going to remain hibernating for long? The Winter Meetings are coming up next month and now, word on the street is the Cubs have extended an almost open wallet to Jon Lester at an approximate 6/year $145 million dollar offer. This is great on all fronts.

A) It proves the Cubs are spending money on talent.

B) They want quality pitching. A rotation with Hendricks, Arrieta, Wada, Jackson(I’ll give him another chance) and Lester is starting to look pretty darn good if you ask me.

There’s a rumour going around the bases that the Cubs would like to move Starlin Castro, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. They all ready have one of the best infields in the game and moving Castro would tear that down.

So, if Lester signs with the Cubs, this elevates the team to possible playoff contenders to potential NL finalists.

You laugh? I know some of you are out there in Wrigley Land, but just the mere signing of a manager like Maddon and now the possibility of Lester joining the rotation, well folks, this just smells like the Blue Bears are for real and it’s about time.

Theo Epstein is all ready being forgiven for the Edwin Jackson debacle and I predict, yes I predicted last year that Edwin would turn his game around, but this time I mean it.

Oh C’mon, like you guys haven’t said like the rest of us that this is going to be the year? 2015, the Cubs are for real. The National League Central is no more a three team division, this spring, the Cubs are going to maul some Pirates, feast on red birds, get drunk on some Milwaukee Brew and see a lot of Red.

Believe it

Mark

Zimmerman To Cubs?

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Well now, this throws an interesting curveball into the Chicago Cubs off season work. Talks are supposedly under way with Washington National’s standout pitcher Jordan Zimmerman. Now, Zimmerman is due $16+million next year and would want a player of “worth” from the Cubs. What I mean of “worth” exactly would possibly mean the parting of the ways with Arismendy Alcantara, Starlin Castro, Javier Baez or Addison Russell.

How much is Zimmerman worth to the Cubs and would it be a wise move to send those players away? Sure, Baez struggled after being brought up, but c’mon, he’s Javier freakin’ Baez! He’ll bounce back this season and be right up there where he belongs.

After the season that Starlin Castro had, I’m not ready to see him go. Believe me, there are good times ahead for him. Arismendy Alcantara has the potential to become one of the best lead off hitters in the league.

That leaves Addison Russell. If the Cubs are going to take a chance, it should be dealing him. Keep in mind that nothing is written in stone and things are just rumours. That being said, the hiring of Joe Maddon was a rumour as well and we all know how that turned out?

“We’ve had no discussions, and he’s not available,” the source told the Tribune.

If this is true and the Cubs are looking for quality starting pitching, then this just might be the guy to solve their problems.

The Cubs can give up Russell and we know there is cash in the bank and who wouldn’t want to play for Maddon.

There’s a sneaky feeling that this could be going somewhere.

Believe It.

—Mark

If You Were The Cubs, What Would You Do?

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The Cubs have been rumoured of late to having an open wallet ruing this potentially game changing off season for the team. It’s been awhile since the club has made any kind of huge deal sending an all star to the team for a lot of money.

Wait, he just retired this week.

It’s going to be a long winter. I don’t even bother listening to weather reports. I check the Cubs news, baby. Are the Cubs going to land Russell Martin? They could and it would be a great signing for the club. Of course, starting pitching is a gaping hole that needs to get patched up before this club can do any damage in the playoffs.

It’s great to see that Tom Ricketts is on Theo’s side. I’m not entirely convinced that Russell Martin is the guy for the Cubs. Sure, he comes from my hometown, he’s good. Really damn good and would be an amazing asset to the team, but I also think Welington Castillo is doing a fine job behind the plate.

“We do have a lot of dry powder, and (Epstein) has a lot of flexibility this offseason. If there’s a free agent that comes up that makes sense, I’m sure he’ll be aggressive in trying to get there. “But obviously the problem is there are 29 other teams that would like to have new starting pitchers. There’s always that factor, and you have to be rational while you’re being aggressive.’’ Ricketts said.

They need to stick to pitching. If they land the right free agent, it’ll definitely solidify the rotation. Imagine a rotation with Hendricks, Wada, Arrietta, (Yes Edwin, you’re invited too) and a Scherzer, Hamels, Lester or Shields. That’s pretty darn impressive and can compete with the best of them. All right, but where does that leave Travis Wood?

Here’s my dream scenario and I’m just some poor schmuck fan boy freezing his butt off waiting for spring to come around.

Find a team that’ll take Edwin Jackson off the Cubs hands. It’ll be hard yes, but not impossible.

Keep Welington Castillo behind the plate as the starter. He made great leaps and strides last season and might get better.

Go after James Shields. Yes, I know Lester has a history with Epstein, I like you Theo, but until you’re wearing pinstripes and walking to the mound breaking another pitcher’s heart, Joe Maddon’s the boss.

The Cubs need Shields.

Believe it.

—Mark

Joe Maddon Roars

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Well, this is turning out to be an interesting week in the Windy City, doncha think? From new skipper Joe Maddon’s highly charged and optimistic press conference, to rumblings about Cole Hammel, Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, ah hell, pick your free agent pitcher and chances are the Cubs name has been attached to it.

First, let me set the record straight. I’m still a little bitter that Ricky was sent packing, but I fully understand that baseball is a business that requires a general manager to make the necessary decisions for a team to move forward. Or as Theo Epstein so eloquently put it:

“As a person, I didn’t want to do it,” Epstein said of dismissing Renteria. “I don’t want to ever be unfair to someone else. As an executive and someone in charge of winning a World Series here, I had no choice but to do it. It was clearly the right move for the Cubs. I wouldn’t be doing my job if we didn’t do make that decision.”

That’s all I’m going to say about that.

I like Joe Maddon. I like him a lot. He’s personable, engaging, witty,” 60 is the new forty” and thoughtful. C’mon, he bought a round of drinks at the Cubby Bear.

He’s also confident and rightfully so.

“I’m going to be talking playoffs next year,” Maddon said. “I’ll tell you that right now. I can’t go to Spring Training saying any other thing. Why would you report? It’s all about setting your standards, your goals high, because if you don’t, you might actually hit them, and that’s not a good thing. We’re going to set our standards high, absolutely. I’m going to talk playoffs, I’m going to talk World Series this year. I promise you. I am, and I’m going to believe it.”

Sure, he said all the “right” things in the press conference, but I challenge any other arm chair manager to do differently.

The Cubs need to be positive. With a manager like Joe Maddon, is there any other way?

So, who should the Cubs go after during the off season? I wouldn’t mind seeing Max Scherzer in the rotation. He would be a valuable asset to a young pitching squad. I also have a funny feeling that there’s a big year ahead for Kyle Hendricks.

What do you think?

Believe it.

—Mark

Ricky Renteria is Outstanding

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I really thought that this was going to be a quiet off season. You know, get ready for Christmas, enjoying Thanksgiving(to my American friends) but suddenly it’s like the season never ended and the onslaught of Cubs news coming through.

It’s official.

Joe Maddon in. Ricky Renteria out.

There. As those words words spew from my fingertips, I still have mixed emotions. It is true that in Theo Epstein’s statement, “Rick deserved to come back for another season” This is true and yet, there wasn’t any other way to put the series of events down in another way. Theo Epstein and the organization did a great job in handling the awkward situation.

Monday is a new beginning.

In the manager’s circle there are three managers that any club would pursue in a heartbeat. Bruce Bochy, Buck Showalter and of course, Joe Maddon. It’s hard to dispute and I’m sure that people have their favourites, but my pick is definitely Joe Maddon.

There’s no question Rick will find work elsewhere. He’s got a growing reputation around the MLB and way back at the start of the season, I wrote that the Cubs were in good hands with Ricky.  So did the players.

“I believe he did a wonderful job with the circumstances he was presented with this past season,” pitcher Carlos Villanueva said Friday. “It is very hard to be evaluated after only one season managing, especially when your two best starters are traded away midseason.

Let’s face it, as much as Ricky Renteria improved the clubhouse and the record, the Cubs still did have their difficulties and growing pains, but he was well respected in the clubhouse, with the players and us, the fans.

In a way, Ricky did the job. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo turned into the marquee players that the organization wanted them to be. That is very good.

“He helped make them All-Stars along the way and did all that was asked of him and more,” Villanueva said. “There are things that happen that only the people who are in the clubhouse at times know of, but with all the challenges Renteria faced, he did great. Whoever gets him will have an outstanding baseball man.”

Believe it.

—Mark

Happy Joe Madden Day Going Back To The Future

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Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, their fans and all those hard working people within the organization who helped bring another championship to the Bay Area. Well deserved!

To you, the Kansas City Royals for providing Cubs fans like me to join in with the excitement you brought to the 2014 MLB Post Season. You fought hard, you played well, but most of all you believed.  I love baseball!!!

100 to 1 shot I tell ya. I wish I could back to the beginning of the season, and bet some money on the Cubbies.“—Terry to Marty McFly

That was from Back To The Future 2 where the Chicago Cubs defeated Miami on October 21 2015 to win the World Series.

Thank you @MCorcoran15 for giving me the reminder.

Now, as we hold our breath at the inevitable signing of Joe Maddon and the hash tags galore of #HappyJoeMaddonDay litter our twitter feeds, will that prediction come true?

Will the signing of Joe Maddon deliver a World Series championship to the long suffering fans in the Windy City?

Maybe.

As Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer do Damage Control over a potentially ugly situation with Ricky Renteria, I have to say that I’m warming up to the fact of Joe Maddon presiding in the dugout.

Where will Ricky Renteria end up? Is this a mid life crisis for Theo Epstein dumping Renteria for the hot thing down the road?

Is it ethical for Joe Maddon to pursue the Cubs like a homewrecker? Or as some MLB Insiders calling a “Classless Act”

After careful mulling, I’ve decided it’s not as dirty pool as some might think. It’s business. Ricky Renteria is doing a fine job(as of this posting, there’s no word yet) but he should understand that in the best interest with the organization, they should hire the best manager.

I’d bet there’s a photo of Joe beside Ricky’s family at his desk. In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if Tampa Bay hires Renteria.

Not one bit.

So, let us rejoice in #HappyJoeMaddenDay

Believe it,

Mark

Joe Maddon a Cub?

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It’s been just over 24 hours since Joe Maddon walked away from the Tampa Bay Rays and the rumour mills are swirling. Will he go to the Red Sox? He could wind up in New York or Cleveland.

The best one yet. He could be behind the Cubs’ bench next season.

Although an intriguing proposition and would make perfect sense in a perfect world, but folks, last time I checked, our perfect world doesn’t exist and if it did, it sure wouldn’t be all that perfect in Chicago.

What kind of message would it be sending if Maddon landed in the Windy City? Where would Rick Renteria go? Maddon is one of the best in the game, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it would be the best fit for the Cubs.

Renteria did a fantastic job with the team last season. We saw improvements with Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. We’re excited to see the new kids come up through the ranks in Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora and Kris Bryant are all getting to know the club and the system and we should have an exciting season next year. It’s been worth it.

Not that signing Joe Maddon is the wrong decision, I think he’d certainly elevate the club to a whole other level, but maybe keeping Rick Renteria is the wiser decision. The Chicago Cubs have gone through so many managers over the past few years that their credibility would be under fire if they made the switch.

Sure, there’s been reporters like Ken Rosenthal tweeting that Joe Maddon is a leading contender for the Cubs and Theo Epstein is familiar with him but it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

“For me, it’s not my responsibility to think for other organizations,” Maddon told Rosenthal. “I’m controlling what I can. I had this two-week window of opportunity. It’s about myself, my family, my charities. At the end of the day, I would never ask or tell an organization what to do. That’s not my business.”

On the other hand, it could be exactly what the Cubs need to make it over that hurdle of obscurity and mediocrity to World Series Champions. Maybe David Price might land in Chicago next?

The Cubs have a good thing going with Rick Renteria. He’s a player’s coach and although it would be business if they canned Rick for Joe, I’m sure he’d understand, it would also be a disservice to Renteria if they did that.

Now having said that, I would be a little more excited this time next year.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Wish They Were The Kansas City Royals

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Is everyone else just as excited as I am about the MLB playoffs? Yeah, so it’s not the Cubs in it this year but I’ve been cheering on the Kansas City Royals and their historic victory the other night in the Wild Card matchup against the Oakland Athletics. Believe me, I stayed up to watch the entire game and what a beauty it was. So, it’s awesome that their winning ways are continuing against the Angels.

Even though the Cubs season is done, Theo Epstein has been fielding questions in regards to next year’s team.

“There’s a day coming when all of our young talent will be here, and it will have all matured,” Epstein said. “There’s a day coming when we’ll have that impact talent from outside the organization, significant investments made possible in part by the presence of those many good young players. There’s a day coming when we’ll fully have learned how to win. There’s a day coming when we’ll be playing in a newly restored Wrigley Field. There’s a day coming when we’ll have an elite payroll thanks to a new TV deal.

“That day is probably not 2015 — we’re not going to accomplish all those things in 2015. But do we have a chance to take a significant step forward and do we have the talent to compete for an NL Central title if things go our way and we continue to work hard? Absolutely.” said Epstein.

So, that begs the question, “Will the Cubs be joining in the Jon Lester sweepstakes?” then again, James Shields might be in the hunt for a new team and there’s also a possibility that Jeff Samardzija could be back with the club.

I’m picking Lester for a great off season signing.

Whoever the Cubs do decide in picking up, the general feeling amongst all Cubs fans and apparently management, is the Cubs are going to bean aggressive club come springtime and maybe not a favourite to win the championship, but certainly a contender for the post season.

Believe it.

—Mark

Cubs Not Kidding Around

The Chicago Cubs season is just over 24 hours over and I’m all ready missing baseball Northside style. Wrigley Field has started the renovations over a few years but like any great Hollywood script, it’s part of the plot to a much bigger story.

The Cubs fit their namesake. They’re young and they’re hungry. Next season when they come out of hiding, they won’t be looking for berries or Mama Epstein, they’ll be searching for a championship.

“Not all of the prospects work out, but we like these players quite a bit and they have a chance to play together for a long time at Wrigley Field,” Epstein said. “When you put that together with a couple of 24-year-old All-Star caliber performers like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, you can’t be but excited about our future.”

These young prospects haven’t heard about curses, shoot Castro and Rizzo were thirteen when that “incident” happened out in left field.

So let’s wipe the slate clean, start fresh. It seems to be the belief in the organization. Next season, the Cubs will have a lot of depth in the lineup. Of course, they still need pitching because if I were Epstein and Hoyer, I’d dump Edwin Jackson’s salary. I’m not being mean when I say he’s a lame horse. Swallow up that salary because if there were a missing piece to that puzzle, it’s that spot in the locker room with the piece of tape reading,”JACKSON” He has to go.

I was so impressed with Neil Ramirez this season that maybe he could fill that spot, but then again I agree with Bleed Cubbie Blue, Neil Ramirez is best used in the relief spot.

The offence should be bolstered with Kris Bryant coming up next season and the maturation of Jorge Soler and Javier Baez as well.

“One of the hardest things to do in the National League, and what we want to do, is have a good lineup one through eight,” Hoyer said. “When you do that, it’s hard on the pitchers over here. The more we can eliminate the easier outs and the lack of depth lower in the lineup, I think the better our offense will be.”

Believe it.

—Mark

“Let’s Root, Root Root For The Cubbies!”

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It’s a bittersweet moment this time of year. Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs finished the year with a win over the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2. Most importantly though, they won with the fans.

The offseason will be filled with renovations, roster moves and renewed hopes for 2015. Did the Cubs live up to expectations in 2014? Yes. Fans said good-bye to fan favourites Darwin Barney and Jeff Samardzija but ushered in with high expectations Javier Baez and Kyle Hendricks. Suddenly, even the passing Cubs fan is taking notice on how good this team is looking.

First year manager Rick Renteria brought a renewed excitement for the game that wasn’t always there under the tenure of Dale Sveum  or Mike Quade. Admit it, you couldn’t help but smile every time Rick got tossed out. One thing is for sure, next season will be Rick’s team. You can see it all ready taking shape with the return to form Starlin Castro and the “Yes, I just hit 32 home runs” Anthony Rizzo who quietly became the Cubs leader in the locker room.

“It takes a lot of work and we have a very tough division and teams aren’t going anywhere in it, it’s only getting better,” Rizzo said. “That’s our expectation, that’s the message we want to send.”

So there you have it. The Cubs are sending the right message to critics and fans alike. In fact, it’s poignant that the Cubs did win on the last game of the season. Could it be foreshadowing? Could it be a sign of the dismal Brewers and the tough road they have? Or could it be that the 2014 Cubs proved something to us that we take notice.

Today, the Cubs clean out their dressing rooms and say good bye to their teammates and friends. Us fans applaud them on a season well done and wait through what the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting to be another brutal winter. We wait for spring to be eternal again. We wait to hear the Opening Day roster and we wait for the seventh inning stretch when some celebrity sings,”Cause it’s one, two three strikes you’re out—“

Well we know what we’re waiting for.

Believe it.

—Mark

PS: This Canuck Cubbie won’t be hibernating. Stay tuned.

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