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Chicago Cubs MLB News - Cubs Baseball Blog » 2011 » March

The Chicago Cubs put their faith in Mike Quade

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 6:09 pm

The Cubs rewarded 54-year old manager Mike Quade for a job well done after he replaced Lou Piniella after he retired. Quade led the Cubs to a 24-13 (64.9%) record last season, as the team really responded for him. The Cubs hope that Quade can rally the troops all year long as some veteran high profile managers wanted the Cubs’ gig. The expectations are high in Chicago due to some key additions to the roster, so Quade will be judged on wins and losses in 2011.

The Chicago Cubs are hoping for improvement out of the bullpen in 2011

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 6:02 pm

The Cubs have not made many changes to the bullpen (they signed Kerry Wood), so they are hoping for improvement from within. It all starts with 28-year old righty closer Carlos Marmol. Marmol pitched in 77 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 2-3 with 38 saves, a 2.55 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He only gave up 40 hits in 77 2/3 innings while whiffing 138 batters which shows how downright nasty his stuff really is. But, he also walked 52 batters last year as nothing seems easy for Marmol. Marmol has now pitched in 316 games (13 starts) in his first five years with the Cubs and he is 16-19 with 61 saves, a 3.25 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. As long as Marmol is whiffing more than 1.5 batters per inning, his control won’t likely cost the Cubs too many games.

33-year old righty Kerry Wood took a hometown discount ($1.5 million bucks) to return to Wrigley Field and the Cubs’ bullpen. Wood pitched in 47 games (0 starts) for the Yankees & Indians last year and he was 3-4 with 8 saves, a 3.13 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. Wood has pitched in 276 games (178 starts) in his first 10 years with the Cubs and he is 77-61 with 34 saves, a 3.65 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. He was outstanding as the Yankees’ set-up man in the second half of last year, so the Cubs are confident that he has a lot left in the gas tank.

28-year old lefty Sean Marshall was outstanding last year for the Cubs in his first season as a full-time reliever. Marshall pitched in 80 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 7-5 with 1 save, a 2.65 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. He only gave up 58 hits in 74 2/3 innings for the Cubs last year while whiffing 90 batters, which shows just how well he pitched. Marshall has now pitched in 214 games (59 starts) in his first five years with the Cubs and he is 26-34 wth 2 saves, a 4.24 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. Marshall will share the set-up duties with Kerry Wood for the Cubs in 2011.

32-year old lefty John Grabow will likely help the Cubs a tad if he’s healthy in 2011. Grabow pitched in 28 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP. He has now pitched in 58 games (0 starts) in his first two years with the Cubs and he is 1-3 with a 5.33 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. Grabow is a much better pitcher than he has shown so far in his career with the Cubs, so expect him to pitch better in 2011 if he can just stay healthy.

26-year old righty Scott Maine comes into this season as the Cubs’ #14 prospect according to Baseball America. Maine pitched in 13 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. He also pitched in 45 games (0 starts) in AA+AAA-ball last year and he was 4-2 with 10 saves, a 3.14 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Maine’s time is now and the Cubs are expected big things out of him starting in 2011.

27-year old righty Esmailin Caridad comes into this year as the Cubs’ #29 prospect according to Baseball America. Caridad pitched in 8 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 0-1 with a 11.25 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP. He has now pitched in 22 games (0 starts) in his first two years with the Cubs and he is 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Like Maine, it appears that Caridad’s time to sink or swim with the Cubs has arrived.

25-year old lefty James Russell had a rough time last year with the Cubs as he gave up an amazing 11 homers in only 49 innings last year. On the bright side, he did whiff 42 batters so he has decent stuff….he just needs to learn how to pitch. Russell pitched in 57 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 1-1 with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.

26-year old righty Justin Berg pitched in 41 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 0-1 with a 5.18 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP. Berg has now pitched in 52 games (0 starts) in his first two years with the Cubs and he is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Berg will have to pitch better than he did last year if he wants to stay in the major leagues.

27-year old righty Jeff Stevens is also trying to win a job in the pen. He pitched in 18 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 0-0 with a 6.11 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP. He has now pitched in 29 games (0 starts) in his first two years with the Cubs and he is 1-0 with a 6.53 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP. Stevens needs to start pitching better soon or he’s going to finish his career making minor league money.

29-year old righty reliever missed Angel Guzman missed all of last season due to shoulder issues. He will start the year in the minors and he will have to work his way back to Chicago. Guzman pitched in 55 games (0 starts) for the Cubs in 2009 and he was 3-3 with 1 save, a 2.95 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. He has now pitched in 88 games (14 starts) in his first four years with the Cubs and he is 3-10 with 1 save, a 4.82 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CUBS BULLPEN IN 2011: C

The Chicago Cubs place Max Ramirez on waivers

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures, Bloglockers, Front Page, General by chinmusic on Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 9:41 am

The Cubs have placed righty swinging catcher Max Ramirez on waivers. Ramirez played in 15 games for the Cubs this spring and he was 5 of 17 (.294 avg, .938 OPS) with 4 runs scored, 1 homer and 9 RBIs. The Cubs would like to keep Ramirez if he clears waivers (which is doubtful). The Cubs should have let Ramirez really compete with Koyie Hill for the back-up job because he is only 1 for 32 (.031 avg.) so far this spring.

The Chicago Cubs have released Carlos Silva

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures, Bloglockers, Front Page, General by chinmusic on Monday 28 March 2011 at 7:55 am

The Cubs have released 31-year old righty starting pitcher Carlos Silva. Silva was awful this spring for the Cubs as he pitched in 5 games (4 starts) in which he was 1-2 with a 10.90 ERA and a 1.96 WHIP. Silva gave up 32 hits (4 homers) in his 17 1/3 innings this spring which was pathetic. Silva pitched in 21 games (21 starts) for the Cubs last year and he was 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. The Cubs will go with Andrew Cashner as the Cubs’ #5 starter in 2011. The Cubs are on the hook to play Silva $8 million bucks in 2011.

The Chicago Cubs have a very talented starting rotation set up for 2011

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Thursday 17 March 2011 at 3:07 pm

33-year old righty Ryan Dempster is going to head up the Chicago Cubs’ impressive starting rotation in 2011. Dempster started 34 games for the Cubs last season and he was 15-12 with a 3.85 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. He served as the Cubs’ closer for three years before converting back to starting and he has responded well as he is 43-27 for the Cubs the last three seasons. Dempster has now pitched in 324 games (104 starts) in his first seven years with the Cubs and he is 52-47 with 87 saves, a 3.67 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Expect Dempster to have another solid year for the Cubs in 2011.

29-year old righty Carlos Zambrano started off last season poorly, but after he returned from anger management classes, he closed the year on fire for the Cubs. Zambrano pitched in 36 games (20 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 11-6 with a 3.33 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. He has now pitched in 295 games (258 starts) in his first 10 years with the Cubs and he is 116-74 with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. Zambrano might have a huge season for the Cubs in 2011 both on the mound and at the plate as he has 21 career homers so far in his major league career.

27-year old righty Matt Garza came over to the Cubs in a deal with the Rays over the winter. He should fit right in. Garza pitched in 33 games (32 starts) for the Rays last year and he was 15-10 with 1 save, a 3.91 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Garza has now pitched in 121 games (118 starts) in his first five years in the majors and he is 42-44 with 1 save, a 3.97 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Garza has great stuff and a move to the N.L. likely means that he will be a darkhorse to lead the N.L. in ERA in 2011.

28-year old righty Randy Wells didn’t pitch too well for the Cubs last season. He started 32 games for the Cubs last season and he was 8-14 with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Wells has now pitched in 62 games (59 starts) in his first three years with the Cubs and he is 20-24 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. He probably isn’t as good as he was in 2009 for the Cubs but he’s likely better than he was in 2010 as well. Look for his ERA to be under 4.00 in 2011.

31-year old righty Carlos Silva got his career back on the right path with the Cubs last season. He started 21 games for the Cubs last season and he was 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Silva has now pitched in 316 games (180 starts) in his first 9 years in the majors and he is 70-70 with 2 saves, a 4.68 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. He is likely on the trading block due to the fight he got in with Aramis Ramirez earlier this spring.

24-year old righty Andrew Cashner would likely replace Carlos Silva in the rotation if he is dealt. Cashner pitched in 53 games (0 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 2-6 with a 4.80 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. He walked 30 batters last season but whiffed 50 in 54 1/3 innings which shows that he has a lack of control but good stuff. I think Cashner would likely be an improvement over Silva in 2011.

23-year old righty Casey Coleman pitched in 12 games (8 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 4-2 with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. He walked 25 batters while whiffing 27 in 57 innings last season, so he needs to work on his control. Coleman also pitched in 20 games (all starts) in AAA-ball last year and he was 10-7 with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Coleman has a nice upside like Cashner, so he will likely get some starts at some point in 2011 for the Cubs.

36-year old righty Braden Looper was semi-retired last season but he’s trying to win a job this spring with the Cubs. Looper last pitched in the majors in 2009 with the Brewers. Looper has pitched in 670 games (97 starts) in his major league career and he is 72-65 with 103 saves, a 4.15 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. He’s likely a better bet to win a job out of the pen.

32-year old righty Todd Wellemeyer is also trying to win a job in the rotation. Wellemeyer pitched in 13 games (11 starts) for the Giants last season and he was 3-5 with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP. He pitched for the Cubs from 2003-05 and it didn’t go too well. Wellemeyer pitched in 57 games (0 starts) in his three years with the Cubs and he was 5-3 with 2 saves, a 6.19 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP. He better be better this time around for the Cubbies or he won’t last too long.

26-year old righty Jeff Samardzija is also in camp trying to win a job in the rotation. Samardzija pitched in 7 games (3 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 2-2 with a 8.38 ERA and a 2.12 WHIP. He has now pitched in 53 games (5 starts) for the Cubs in parts of three years and he is 4-5 with 1 save, a 5.95 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP. Samardzija might have a better shot winning a job in the pen.

27-year old righty Thomas Diamond pitched in 16 games (3 starts) for the Cubs last season and he was 1-3 with a 6.83 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP. He also pitched in 21 games (all starts) in AAA-ball for the Cubs last year and he was 5-4 with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Diamond is a longshot to win a job in the Cubs’ rotation, but he was once one of the best prospects in all of baseball.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CUBS STARTING ROTATION IN 2011: A-

Kosuke Fukudome is going to have to earn his P.T. in 2011 with the Chicago Cubs

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Wednesday 9 March 2011 at 8:30 pm

33-year old lefty swinging Kosuke Fukudome will likely face a stiff challenge from 25-year old lefty swinging Tyler Colvin for the starting job in RF in 2011 for the Cubbies. Fukudome played in 130 games for the Cubs last season and he was 94 of 358 (.263 avg, .809 OPS) with 45 runs scored, 13 homers, 44 RBIs and 7 stolen bases. He has averaged 67.7 runs scored, 11.3 homers, 52.0 RBIs and 8.3 steals per year in his first three seasons with the Cubs. Fukudome had only 1 error in 110 games in RF for the Cubs last season while showing good range. He also had 4 assists last year. Fukudome has been a huge disappointment for the Cubs with the bat since coming to America and that’s why his job is now on the line.

Tyler Colvin burst onto the scene last season for the Cubs. He played in 135 games in which he was 91 of 358 (.254 avg, .816 OPS) with 60 runs scored, 20 homers, 56 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. Colvin had 5 errors in 59 games in RF for the Cubs last season and he showed excellent range there. He also had 3 assists while playing RF as he showed a strong arm there. Colvin will likely be the Cubs’ #4 outfielder in 2011 but a starter in 2012.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CUBS RF IN 2011: C

Marlon Byrd will be solid for the Chicago Cubs once again in 2011

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Wednesday 9 March 2011 at 8:22 pm

33-year old righty swinging Marlon Byrd will be the Cubs’ starting CF once again in 2011. Byrd played in 152 games for the Cubs last season and he was 170 of 580 (.293 avg, .775 OPS) with 84 runs scored, 12 homers, 66 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. Byrd is very consistent offensively as he has averaged 70 runs scored, 13 homers, 69.5 RBIs and 6.3 steals per year over his last four seasons. Byrd on had 2 errors in 151 games in CF last season while showing slightly above average range. He also showed a good throwing arm out of CF as he had 6 assists last year. Byrd is a guy the Cubs can count on in 2011.

Tyler Colvin & Reed Johnson will back up Byrd in 2011. Colvin played in 18 games in CF last season for the Cubs and he had 1 assist and 1 error while showing awful range. Johnson played in 7 error-free games in CF last season for the Dodgers and he also showed awful range. The Cubs’ defense would suffer if Marlon Byrd gets hurt.

27-year old switch htting Fernando Perez came over in the Matt Garza trade with the Rays. Perez played in 116 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 86 of 385 (.223 avg, .579 OPS) with 46 runs scored, 4 homers, 32 RBIs and 24 stolen bases. Perez has played in 41 games in the majors in parts of two years and he has a .234 career batting average with a .652 OPS. Perez is a very solid defensive CF.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CUBS CF IN 2011: B

The Chicago Cubs hope that Alfonso Soriano isn’t running out of gas

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Wednesday 9 March 2011 at 6:48 pm

35-year old righty swinging Alfonso Soriano is back as the starting LF for the Cubs. Soriano played in 147 games for the Cubs last season and he was 128 of 496 (.258 avg, .818 OPS) with 67 runs scored, 24 homers, 79 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. In his first four years with the Cubs, Soriano has averaged 76 runs scored, 26.5 homers, 69.8 RBIs and 13 stolen bases per year. The Cubs need Soriano to hit well to help make up for his sub par defense. Soriano played in 134 games in LF last season for the Cubs and he had 7 errors there while showing slightly below average range. Soriano does still have a strong arm as he had 6 assists while playing in LF last year. Soriano’s days of being a 30/30 man are in the past, but the Cubs are still hoping for a big offensive year out of him in 2011.

25-year old lefty swinging Tyler Colvin is the Cubs’ starting LF of the future, but he’s likely to get more P.T. in RF in 2011. Colvin didn’t make any errors in 55 games in CF for the Cubs last season, but he didn’t have any assists either and he showed pretty poor range there.

34-year old righty swinging Reed Johnson will likely see most of his P.T. in 2011 in LF. Johnson played in 102 games for the Dodgers last season and he was 53 of 202 (.262 avg, .657 OPS) with 24 runs scored, 2 homers, 15 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Johnson played for the Cubs in 2008+2009, appearing in 174 games in which he was 143 of 498 (.287 avg, .766 OPS) with 75 runs scored, 10 homers, 72 RBIs and 7 stolen bases. So the Cubs hope a return to Chicago will revive Johnson’s bat in 2011. Johnson didn’t make any errors in 62 games in LF last season while showing off excellent range. His arm appears shot now though as he didn’t have any assists in LF last year.

29-year old righty swinging Lou Montanez is a big time longshot to win a job with the Cubs this spring. He played in 26 games for the Orioles last year and he was 8 of 57 (.140 avg, .296 OPS) with 2 runs scored, 3 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He has now played in 93 games in parts of three years in the majors and he is a .223 hitter with a .579 OPS. He played in 17 games in LF last season and he had 1 error and 1 assist while showing off excellent range.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CUBS LF IN 2011: B-

The Chicago Cubs need a healthy Aramis Ramirez in 2011

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Preview for Season by chinmusic on Thursday 3 March 2011 at 8:01 pm

The Chicago Cubs really need 32-year old righty swinging 3B Aramis Ramirez to stay healthy in 2011 because he’s the best all-around hitter on the team. Ramirez played in 124 games for the Cubs last season and he was 112 of 465 (.241 avg, .745 OPS) with 61 runs scored, 25 homers and 83 RBIs. Ramirez is a .282 career hitter with a .839 OPS, so I look for him to rebound with the bat in 2011 for the Cubs. In the six years that Ramirez has played in 123 or more games with the Cubs, he has averaged 82.3 runs scored, 30.5 homers and 101.5 RBIs per year. That is the kind of production that the Cubs are hoping for out of Ramirez in 2011. Ramirez has to hit to make up for his iron glove in the field. He had 16 errors in 118 games for the Cubs last season while showing pretty awful range.

29-year old righty swinging Jeff Baker will likely be Ramirez’ backup in 2011. Baker played in 33 games for the Cubs at 3B last season and he had 7 errors while showing outstanding range.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE CUBS 3B IN 2011: B+

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