Pujols expected to make decision soon

Tuesday– As constantly changing speculation of where Albert Pujols will “take his talents”, Chicago and Miami fans are reminded of the Lebron James saga that occurred in the summer of 2010. Ultimately, James choose Miami over other possibly destinations such as Chicago or his home town Cleveland Cavaliers.

Pujols has now been faced with an identical situation. Being the prized free agent of this year’s class, Pujols has drawn interest from many teams. However, the possible destinations have been narrowed down to the Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, and a long shot for the Chicago Cubs.

The Miami Marlins, who just added All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes to contract worth more than 100million dollars, are making a strong for push Pujols. With a new ballpark in a new location, Miami are looking to make an appealing team to draw fans in south Florida. The brass of Miami’s organization met with the agent of Pujols Tuesday Night to come up with a deal that would bring Pujols to South Beach. A no trade clause appears to be a key issue that is holding up a deal. Currently, Miami’s offer has been raised to 10 years over 200million.

The St. Louis Cardinals are also making a strong push to keep their MVP slugger. However, it appears that the Cardinals organization will not be willing to “over spend” on Pujols. He has spent all of his career in St. Louis so far and has won two World Series in his tenure there. But it appears that his reign as king of St. Louis might be coming to an abrupt end.

Besides the two front runners, the Angels and Cubs are still in talks to sign to Pujols. But they both appear to be long shots for a possible landing spot of Pujols.

The Clock Should Be Ticking For GM Hendry

It is time for Hendry to prove that he can build the Cubs into a playoff contender, and quickly. Jim Hendry has worked with the Cubs since 1995 and took over as GM in 2002. Under Hendry, the Cubs have made three playoff appearances, all as NL Central Division Champions(’03,’07’,’08). However, the Cubs have just won one playoff series under Hendry.

Jim Hendry has definitely had his shares of ups and downs in his 9 years as Cubs GM. In 2003, the Cubs reached the NLCS and fell one win short of a birth into the World Series. Everything seemed positive for the Cubs at the time and their future. Unfortunately their success did not last long after 2003. Cubs young starters, Wood and Prior, both suffered injuries and could not stay off the DL. Also, Cubs slugger, Sammy Sosa was plagued by injuries and a corked bat scandal.

Between 2003 and 2007, Hendry was responsible for the trades acquiring Derrek Lee and Nomar Garciaparra. Derrek Lee turned out to be a great trade for the Cubs. Lee produced well for the Cubs until being traded to the Braves in 2010. Unfortunately, Superstar Nomar Garciaparra was also plagued by injuries and did not last long as a Cub.

Also Hendry was responsible for acquiring current Cubs third basemen Aramis Ramirez.

In 2007 after naming Lou Piniella manager, Hendry made a huge signing of Alfonso Soriano. The slugger was given an 8 year 136million dollar deal with the Cubbies. Yet again the signing has not lived up to the money, as Soriano has struggled in his 5 year stay in Chicago so far.

Perhaps one of the biggest mistake of Hendry is his willingness to give no-trade clauses. The Cubs could easily trade Aramis Ramirez for a good prospect right now, but he refuses to give up his no trade clause.

After 9 years as GM, Jim Hendry needs to pull of some good trades or signings this month or this off-season or else he should have to find another job.

Cubs, GM Hendry busy as deadline approaches

The trade deadline is quickly approaching as we are now just 10days away. With the Cubs 21 games under .500, they are definitely not buyers this year. Cubs general manager will more than likely looking to add some young prospects to build towards the future.

The first player heard in trade rumors is Cubs right fielder, Kosuke Fukudome. According to sources the Indians are interested in Fukudome. The Indians are looking to add a right fielder after Shin Soo-Choo went down with an injury. The Cubs signed Fukudome in 2008 to a four year, 48million dollar contract. It is high unlikely that the Cubs would re-sign Fukudome if they can’t trade him this season.

The next player discussed in rumors is Cubs left fielder, Alfonso Soriano. The hard part for the Cubs is that Soraino is still owed a lot of money over the next three years. However, the Cubs may be willing to eat some of that money if they can get rid of him. Soriano could possibly fit in as a DH on a few American League teams.

The final player that has drawn a lot of attention is third basemen, Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez has been one of if not the hottest player the past month. He is now batting .302 on the year with 17homeruns. Multiple team would probably be interested in Ramirez if he is willing to waive his no trade clause. Over the past few months, Ramirez keeps telling reporters that he will no waive his no trade clause and he wants to stay with the Cubs.

Also Cubs center-fielder Marlon Byrd and bullpen pitcher Grawbow has received interest from teams.

It will be a long ten days for the Cubs and Cubs fans to see what GM, Jim Hendry will do.

Taking the Easy Way Out.

After an embarrassing 9-1 loss to the Phillies, Quade yet again blames the two young guys on the team. Instead of blaming veterans like Pena, Soriano or Dempster today, Quade rips on the future of the Cubs, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney.

In the top of the first inning, Castro and Barney lost a pop up to second base in the sun. received, Castro made the correct move of calling of second basemen Barney. Castro lost the ball in the sun and it fell on the infield dirt and it was ruled a hit. The phillies went on the score 2 in the inning after yet again another walk issued.

Later in the 4th inning, VETERAN first basemen Carlos Pena mis-played a Jimmy Rollins grounder and then made a bad throwing error on the play. The Phillies continue to add on runs and just flat out beat the Cubs in every category today.

Cubs VETERAN starter, Ryan Dempster did not have his stuff today and gave up most of his runs with 2 outs.
In the 7th inning, Cubs had the bases-loaded with nobody out. Cubs catcher Soto grounded into a fielder’s choice scoring a run. Then with runners on the corners, VETERAN left fielder, Soriano(who makes 17million dollars a year) grounded into an inning ending double play.

In his post game press conference, Quade only focused on the mistake of Castro and Barney in the first inning. The two young guys and the most consistent hitters all year for the Cubs received the blame. Quade failed to lay blame on veteran guys like Pena, Dempster and Soriano who all could’ve played better. And maybe Quade could look at himself. He continues to put Fukudome in the leadoff spot. Fukudome is now batting .269 on the season and just has not been producing. Instead of moving Barney or Castro in the leadoff spot, Quade has just left Fukudome there and keeps giving teams an easy out to start the game.

Its mind boggling how Quade can just sit there and lay the blame on youngsters Castro and Barney. Look at yourself and the veteran leadership on the ballclub, Quade.

Prospect Report

Prospects Report will take place every Tuesday from now on.

It was an exciting week for the Cubs organization as top prospects, Brett Jackson, Ryan Flaherty, and Matthew Szczur all started with their new teams. Brett Jackson and Ryan Flaherty were promoted to Triple A Iowa last week and Matthew Szczur was promoted to A+ Daytona.

Brett Jackson got off to a good start, but has struggled the past two games dropping his average to .217. However, Jackson has three doubles and one triple to go along with an impressive 6 walks. Flaherty had a solid week batting .261 with a homerun. Numbers were pretty good as it was just their first week in Triple A. Both players are expected to be called up to the struggling Cubs later this season.

Matthew Szczur had a very good in his first week with the Daytona Cubs. The Cubs #7 prospect batted an impressive .314 with 1homerun and a double. It appears that choosing baseball over football was a very good decision for the young outfielder.

In other prospect news, Cubs #5 prospect, Josh Vitters, is batting .279 on the year with 8 homeruns and 41 RBIs. The Cubs drafted Vitters 3rd overall in the 2007 draft. Vitters hasn’t developed as the Cubs hoped, but he is still to young to give up on.

After trading high prospects, Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee,to Tampa for Matt Garza it is important for Jackson, Szczur and Vitter to develop into everyday players in the big leagues within the next few years.

-All stats acquired from mlb.com and chicagocubs.com

An All Around Stuggle

With Sunday’s lost to the Florida Marlins, Cubs reached a season low 20 games under .500. Sometimes statistics can be misleading but this year for the Cubs, numbers explain why the Cubs have the second worst record in the majors. All parts of the Cubs team, pitching, defense and offense, are to blame for the struggles.

Pitching– The Cubs got off to a rough start with their starting rotation with the injuries to Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner. With many fill-in starters the Cubs have the second fewest innings pitched by their starting rotation. The whole pitching staff’s ERA is 4.69 which ranks 2nd worst in the Major leagues and the worst in the National League. Perhaps a reason for such a high ERA is the walks. The Cubs lead baseball with 369 walks issued. That is 40 more walks than the second worst team in that category. And the add to embarrassment, opponents hit .270 againist Cubs pitching which also is a league worse for the Cubs.

Defense– The Cubs have 82 errors which leads the Major leagues. But errors don’t tell the whole story. The Cubs have a lot of mental errors on the field which don’t always show up in the box score. Missed cut-off men, over throws, and take bad angles on fly balls. The Cubs defense in no way helps the horrible pitching staff.

Offense– The Cubs are 3rd in the NL with a .261 batting average. However, the Cubs have drawn the fewest amount of walks in the league. They are in the middle of the pack of the NL in runs and home-runs. However, the Cubs have struggled with runners in scoring position, especially with 2outs.

Even though numbers don’t always tell the story, they definitely tell the story for the Cubs this year.
It won’t get easier for the Cubs as the play the best team in baseball the Philadelphia Phillies tonight.

-All stats acquired for MLB.com

Ricketts can find example in Blackhawks owner, Rocky Wirtz

The time for Tom Ricketts to take action is now. Tom Ricketts and his family purchased the Cubs in January 2009 for almost 1 billion dollars. Without a World Series title in over 100 years the Cubs fan are becoming extremely impatient. The Cubs organization and Tom Ricketts can simply look at the local Chicago Blackhawks for the blueprint of how to win.

In Oct.2007, Rocky Wirtz became the owner of the Chicago Blackhawks after his father(original owner) passed away. Wirtz took action immediately and made it his goal to bring a championship to Chicago as soon as he could. A month after taking over, Wirtz hired former Cubs president Jon McDonough to become the president of the Blackhawks. By making this move, Wirtz brought in an experienced guy who knows how to create a successful franchise.

A year later in October 2008, Wirtz made a tough decision to fire head coach and former Blackhawk, Dennis Savard. The Hawks brought in Joel Quenneville to take over the head coaching position. Quenneville had a lot of experience of coaching in the playoffs. This was a tough but necessary decision for Rocky Wirtz. The Blackhawks were fastly improving and reached the Western Conference Finals in 2009 with a very young team.

Wirtz’s final move was the hire Stan Bowman as general manager. Bowman and his father have won mutiple Stanley Cup championships. Stan made an impact right away signing big name free agent, Marian Hossa. With a core of Kane, Toews and Keith already in place, the signing of Hossa added veteran leadership to the young team. Bowman then added more pieces to make the Hawks an elite contender for the title.

After 3 years of being owner, Wirtz accomplsihed his goal. The Blackhawks won in Stanley Cup in 2010.

This is what needs to be done in the Cubs organization. Tom Ricketts needs to make tough decisions and bring in experience guys who know how to get the job done. With lots of young talent in the organization, such as Castro, Barney, Jackson the Cubs have a solid core in place. Ricketts will be faced with the oppurtunity this offeseason to sign Huge name free agents, Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder. Either of these players could quickly make the Cubs a playoff contender. In order to bring in one of these players, The Cubs will need a good manager, NOT Mike Quade.

If Ricketts can follow The Hawks blueprint, the wait for Cubs fan might not be to much longer

Cubs, Dempster win despite Marmol’s struggles

After an embarrassing performance Thursday night, Cubs closer got another opportunity to save today’s game in the 9th inning. Once again, Marmol struggled but this time the Cubs escaped with a victory snapping the Marlins 6 game win streak.

Cubs starter Ryan Dempster pitched a terrific 8 scoreless innings allowing just 4 hits while striking out 9. To start off the second half of the season, Cubs starters(Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster) have combined for 15 scoreless innings allowing just 10hits. Unfortunately the great starting pitching has been over shadowed by the struggles of Carlos Marmol.

After Marmol’s 9th inning meltdown on Thursday night, Quade decided to give him another chance after talking it over with the rest of the coaching staff. Quade stated before the game “We need him,” manager Mike Quade said. “When you talk about the bullpen, he’s a pretty big part.”

Marmol again entered the 9th inning Friday with a 2-0 lead. Quade’s decision to give Marmol the ball in the 9th soon backfired. Marmol started off the inning by walking Omar Infante on just 4 pitches. Then Cubs centerfielder Marylon Byrd came to Marmol’s rescue by throwing out Hanley Ramirez, who was trying to stretch a single into a double. The next hitter for the Marlins, Logan Morrison, lined a basehit to right scoring Infante and making the score 2-1. Quade immediately pulled Marmol out of the game and put in lefty Sean Marshall. Marshall struck out the final batter to end the game and give the Cubs their first win of the second half.

The Cubs only 2 runs on the day were scored when Marlins 2nd baseman, Omar Infante miss played Soriano’s pop fly. Carlos Pena and Byrd scored on the play.

Cubs try to make it 2 in a row against the Marlins satruday afternoon. Carlos Zambrano will be making his first start since being placed on the DL, July 1st.

Marmol blows another one, as Cubs fall to Marlins, 6-3

New half, same result. Marmol blows a 2-0 lead in the 9th and Cubs fall 6-3 to the Marlins.
Everything was looking good for the Cubs Thursday night until the 9th inning. Cubs starter Matt Garza threw 7scoreless innings allow just 6hits while striking out 6. Another outstanding outing without a win for Garza. Byrd got the Cubs on the board with a solo home run in the 2nd inning. It was Byrd’s first long ball since returning from the disabled list. The Cubs then added one run in the 7th when Darwin Barney was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. But the Cubs failed to add more runs leaving the bases loaded. Soto was the best Cubs hitter on the night going 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles.

After failing to add more runs on in the 7th innings. Cubs reliever Shaun Marshall pitched a strong 1-2-3 8th inning. With a 2run lead going into the 9th inning, everything was going well for the Cubs. Until Carlos Marmol entered the game..
Marmol did not have his stuff from the beginning, walking the first 3 batters. On a 3-2 count, Marlins pinch-hitter, Dobbs, lined a doubled into the right field corner. 2runs scored easily on the play and then Wise scored on a throwing error on Darwin Barney. Adding to the terrible night, Marmol failed to backup the throw on which Wise scored. Marlins then added 3 more runs. Marmol stats for the night were 0IP, 1H, 5ER, and 4BB. It was just a brutal outing for the Cubs questionable closer. In Marmol’s last three appearances, he has recorded just 4outs, giving up 7 earned runs on 3hits and 5walks. His ERA in those three games is a unheard of, 47.30

Cubs added on one run in the bottom of the 9th to make the final 6-3.