The over/under for Chicago Cubs wins in 2010 is 82.5

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,If I Were A Betting Man by chinmusic on Wednesday 31 March 2010 at 8:52 am

The Cubs didn’t do a lot to improve the team over the winter. Adding Marlon Byrd and trading away Milton Bradley will likely give the Cubs a small upgrade offensively. The biggest keys offensively is getting catcher Geovany Soto to rebound and finding a way to keep Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano healthy all year long. Pitching wise I do like the top of the Cubs’ starting rotation with Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells. Ted Lilly is starting the year on the D.L. opening up the #5 spot in the rotation for Carlos Silva and that’s definitely not a good thing. I really like Carlos Marmol who is going to be a downright nasty closer for the Cubs this season but the bullpen really lacks any quality pitchers ahead of him in the pen. I see the Cubs finishing in 4th place in the N.L. Central this season and I would bet the under as I don’t see the Cubs being a .500 team in 2010.

Lou Piniella will be on task for the Chicago Cubs in 2010

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Tuesday 30 March 2010 at 4:30 pm

The Cubs had a lot of injuries last season plus the daily distraction of Milton Bradley which led them to a 83-78 (51.6%) record last season. This year manager Lou Piniella is looking forward to not having to deal with Bradley and focus only on baseball. Piniella has a 265-219 (54.8%) record in his 3 years in Chicago. Piniella has now compiled a 1,784-1,639 (54.8%) record in his 22 years as a manager in the big leagues. He also has 1 N.L. Pennant and a World Series Championship under his belt. Piniella is a winner and I think he will have the troops motivated in 2010.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE MANAGER IN 2010: B+

The Chicago Cubs release Kevin Millar

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page,General by chinmusic on Tuesday 30 March 2010 at 4:18 pm

The Cubs have released veteran 1B/OF Kevin Millar. Millar played in 18 games for the Cubs this spring and he was 8 for 33 (.242 avg, .769 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 1 homer 3 RBIs. It appears as if Chad Tracy has made the team and he has a higher upside than Millar anyway.

The Chicago Cubs trade Andres Blanco to the Rangers

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page,General by chinmusic on Sunday 28 March 2010 at 4:22 pm

The Cubs have traded 25-year old switch hitting 2B/SS Andres Blanco to the Rangers for a player to be named later. Blanco played in 53 games for the Cubs last season and he was 31 of 123 (.252 avg, .644 OPS) with 15 runs scored, 1 homer and 12 RBIs. Blanco is not much of a offensive player so the Cubs shouldn’t miss him too much in 2010.

The Chicago Cubs’ bullpen appears a tad thin heading into 2010

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Sunday 28 March 2010 at 1:03 pm

With righty reliever Angel Guzman out for the season the Cubs’ bullpen is looking a tad thin for 2010. That could mean that they will be players in the trade market next week. 27-year old righty Carlos Marmol will be the full-time stopper for the Cubs heading into this season. Marmol pitched in 79 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last season in which he was 2-4 with 15 saves, a 3.41 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Marmol has great stuff as he only gave up 43 hits in 74 innings last season while whiffing 93 batters showing how nasty his stuff is. But, he walked 65 batters which often got him into trouble last year. If Marmol throws more strikes this season he could be the best closer in all of baseball. In Marmol’s last three years he has been used as a fulltime reliever he has been awesome. Marmol has pitched in 220 games (0 starts) in his last three years with the Cubs and he is 9-9 with 23 saves, a 2.54 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. The smartest thing the Cubs ever did with Marmol was converting him into a reliever.

31-year old lefty John Grabow will be the Cubs’ top lefty out of the pen in 2010. He pitched in 30 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last season in which he was 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. He pitched in 75 games (0 starts) for the Cubs & Pirates overall last season in which he was 3-0 with a 3.36 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. Look for Grabow to do a decent job for the Cubs again in 2010.

28-year old righty Jeff Gray came over to the Cubs over the winter in a trade with the A’s. He could be one of the top set-up men for the Cubs in 2010. Gray pitched in 24 games (0 starts) for the A’s last season and he was 0-1 with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. He also pitched in 37 games (0 starts) in AAA-ball last season and he was 2-2 with 16 saves, a 1.54 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. Gray has the stuff needed to help the Cubs out at the back end of the pen in 2010.

25-year old righty Jeff Samardzija will likely also be pitching at the back end of games for the Cubs in 2010. He pitched in 20 games (2 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 1-3 with a 7.53 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP. But as a rookie in 2008, Samardzija was sharp working in 26 games (0 starts) in which he was 1-0 with 1 save, a 2.28 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. If Samardzija is sharp and focused he will help the Cubs’ pen in 2010.

27-year old lefty Sean Marshall will likely be the long man in the pen for the Cubs in 2010. Marshall pitched in 55 games (9 starts) for the Cubs last season and he is 3-7 with a 4.32 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. Marshall could also make a few starts if the Cubs need him to in 2010.

26-year old righty Mike Parisi will start the season in AAA-ball as the Cardinals did not want him back (he was a Rule 5 Draft Pick). Parisi pitched in 5 games in Rookie+A-ball last season in which he was 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP. Parisi also has pitched in 12 games (2 starts) in his major league career in which he is 0-4 with a 8.22 ERA and a 2.26 WHIP. He could help out the Cubs’ pen at some point in 2010.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE BULLPEN IN 2010: C

The Chicago Cubs starting rotation is very solid at the top

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Monday 15 March 2010 at 6:23 pm

The Cubs have a very solid top of the rotation but they will need a #4 and #5 starter to emerge until Ted Lilly gets healthy. I have a feeling that 28-year old righty Carlos Zambrano is going to have a great bounceback year in 2010 for the Cubs. He started 28 games for the Cubs last season in which he was 9-7 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Look for Zambrano to be really focused as some of the media and fans were getting on him last season despite him pitching o.k. Look for around 15-17 wins with 200+ K’s in 2010 out of Zambrano.

32-year old righty Ryan Dempster will be the #2 starter for the Cubs in 2010. He really pitched pretty well last season but not quite as good as in 2008. Dempster started 31 games for the Cubs last season and he was 11-9 with a 3.64 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. In two years as a full-time starter for the Cubbies, Dempster has started 64 games in which he is 28-15 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. There is absolutely no reason to think that Dempster won’t have another solid year for the Cubs in 2010.

34-year old lefty Ted Lilly would be the #3 starter for the Cubs in 2010 if he were healthy. He will likely start the season on the D.L. with shoulder issues. They need him big time so they hope he isn’t out too long. Lilly started 27 games for the Cubs last season and he was 12-9 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. In his three years with the Cubbies, Lilly has started 95 games in which he is 44-26 with a 3.70 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Lilly is about as dependable as starters come so the Cubs need his recovery to be a quick one.

27-year old righty Randy Wells came out of nowhere last season and he was probably the second best starter on the team (next to Ted Lilly). Wells started 27 games for the Cubs last season in which he was 12-10 with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. There are a lot of “experts” who are thinking that Wells will regress some. After all, he has pitched in 184 games (82 starts) in his minor league career in which he is 43-26 with 6 saves, a 3.75 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP.

27-year old lefty Tom Gorzelanny will likely be the #5 starter for the Cubs this season. Gorzelanny pitched in 22 games (7 starts) for the Cubs and Pirates last season in which he was 7-3 with a 5.55 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Gorzelanny has a nice upside as long as he is throwing strikes for the Cubbies.

30-year old righty Carlos Silva will likely get a chance to start some games for the Cubs this season until Ted Lilly comes back. Silva pitched in 8 games (6 starts) for the Mariners last season and he was 1-3 with a 8.60 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP. In his last two years, Silva has pitched in 36 games (34 starts) for the Mariners in which he was 5-18 with a 6.81 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. The Cubs are hoping that a return to the National League will inspire Silva to pitch decent but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.

25-year old righty Jeff Samardzija is kind of a longshot to win a job in the rotation. He pitched in 20 games (2 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 1-3 with a 7.53 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP. He got hit around pretty good last season with the Cubbies giving up 46 hits and 7 homers in 34 2/3 innings last year. Samardzija also pitched in 18 games (17 starts) in AAA-ball last season and he was 6-6 with a 4.35 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE STARTING ROTATION IN 2010: B

The Chicago Cubs lose Angel Guzman for a while

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Injuries by chinmusic on Monday 8 March 2010 at 10:00 am

28-year old righty reliever Angel Guzman has a significant ligament tear in the front bottom part of his right shoulder. Whether he needs surgery or rehab he is likely going to miss a big chunk of the 2010 season for the Cubs. Guzman pitched in 55 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 3-3 with 1 save, a 2.95 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Guzman only allowed 41 hits in 61 innings last season for the Cubs as it all finally seemed to come together for him in 2009. This is a bad break for both Guzman and the Cubs.

UPDATE: Guzman has had surgery and he is done for the year.

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