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Throwing Praise Cubs’ Way

I’m not the only one pleased with the direction the “new” Cubs are taking. Former baseball GM Jim Bowden came out in favor of Theo and Jed’s winter moves on ESPN.

thumbnailWhile I still have cringe-inducing memories of Bowden as GM of my “other” team, the Nationals — namely his man-crush on toolsy, troubled outfielders — I still think he basically knows what he’s talking about. And he makes some good points in the ESPN piece.

Basically, Bowden said the new regime entered Phase 1 of the rebuilding project with the goals of adding more depth to the rotation, making the lineup more left-handed, improving the defense and beefing up the farm system, and the Cubs’ recent moves have accomplished these tasks.

There’s no doubting that the rotation is now over-run with arms, for lack of a more flattering word. Not pitchers, mind you, but arms. A pitcher is someone who is at least somewhat a master of his craft; an arm is a guy who can throw a baseball fairly well. Chris Volstad, Travis Wood and the more recent add-on, Paul Maholm, are arms. What they are today is what they will be tomorrow, next year and probably the rest of their careers. They are guys that expansion teams populate their rotations with.

But I’m not knocking them. I’d rather have experienced arms like this trio than baby arms like Casey Coleman who are more likely to give you 2 innings and 6 earned runs than a quality start, or geezer arms like Rodrigo Lopez who wouldn’t even make an expansion team. Keep in mind, this is a rebuilding project. It will take time to develop and acquire pitchers, so in the meantime, and for the sake of being at least mildly competitive, we need solid arms. And now the Cubs have more arms than Vishnu.

When it comes to restocking the farm system, I love the Anthony Rizzo acquisition. Yes, he flopped horribly with the Padres last year — I think he had like a negative 300 WAR, but he was actually a 0.1 WAHSC (Wins Above Hee-seop Choi) – but he probably wasn’t quite ready for the big stage and San Diego’s Petco Park is so huge it can sap the confidence of any young slugger. All Rizzo might need is to pop a couple of wind-aided taters over the ivy on a hot summer day in order to feel like he belongs in The Show, and from there the sky is the limit. All indications are that he has the maturity and drive to ultimately make it — it’s just a question of how good he will be.

So all in all, a promising start to The New Era. Now if we could only get rid of those damn blue alternate jerseys …

Carlos Silva: Is There Any Chance You Were Expecting This?

99986505_crop_340x234The Chicago Cubs may have made one of the more lopsided trades in recent memory when they shipped troubled player Milton Bradley for supposedly over-paid under-performing Carlos Silva.

Well, he was under-performing.

Coming into this season, a lot of people were expecting nothing out of Silva. He was going to be in the bullpen, possibly the fifth starter until Ted Lilly returned to the rotation. Read the rest of this entry »

MLB Draft Day 2: A Look at the Chicago Cubs’ Picks

101822909_crop_358x243Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs took what, to many, was a big reach when they took Hayden Simpson with their first round pick.

Through two days, the Cubs have taken 18 pitchers, six outfielders, four infielders and two catchers.

So now that Day Two is complete, who has been picked by the Chicago Cubs.

Round 2: Reggie Golden, OF

Golden, hailing from Wetumpka High School, is still deciding whether or not to move to the minor leagues or officially sign with the University of Alabama, where he has a full scholarship.

In 2010, Golden batted .460 with 28 runs, five home runs and 24 RBI. He said he was expecting to go within the first 35 picks. Read the rest of this entry »

Cubbies Finally on A Roll And Zambrano Back to the Rotation

Rockies Cubs BaseballLast night, Carlos Silva got another quality start, pitching six innings and allowing two runs to drop his ERA to 3.35 and improve to 5-0 on the season.

On a night when we learned that Carlos Zambrano will be returning to the starting rotation shortly, a different Carlos was able to steal the show by pitching six scoreless innings before allowing a two-run home run without recording an out in the seventh and being taken out.

After going 2-9 in an 11 game stretch, the Cubs have been able to pull off three strait wins after taking the finale against the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates and sweeping a two game series against the Colorado Rockies. Read the rest of this entry »

Carlos Silva: Comeback Player of the Year?

99055020.jpg.13158_croppedhen the Cubs traded Milton Bradley to the Seattle Mariners, they expected to get nothing more than a really expensive paperweight in return, and as far as they knew, Carlos Silva was just that.

After all, Silva consistently pitches horribly, and hasn’t had a good season since 2005 when he went 9-8 with a 3.44 ERA. That’s not exactly an All Star season, but it’s the best season he’s ever had.

Well, it was the best season he’s ever had, until this season. Read the rest of this entry »

Who Can I Blame For The Season So Far?

97635769JB032_Chicago_Cubs_One week ago the Cubs were 13-13, coming off of a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and looked to be back on track to get the most out of their team this season.

All was well in Wrigleyville.

Fast-forward to present day and the Cubs are 14-20 and coming off of being swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates (14-19) and about to suffer the same fate against the Florida Marlins (16-17) pending tomorrow’s matinee as the Cubs try to stop their four game slide.

So one big question continues to pop up in my mind, as I always love to play the blame game. That question is… Read the rest of this entry »

News and Notes From Spring Training

chi_u_lilly_576Sorry for the three-day delay with posts, there is just very little going on. With that in mind, I will try to squeeze out whatever stories are happening and give you some updates on the Cubs.

Here are a few stories that have happened over the past few days.

Aramis Ramirez returns to the diamond

Ramirez has missed some time this spring because of a sore right tricep, but he returned on Tuesday against the Royals as a DH and went 2-3 with an RBI. He hasn’t played since March 13th, but he looked like he hadn’t missed any time in his three at bats. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Carlos Silva Turning His Career Around in Chicago?

Rangers Cubs Spring BaseballYesterday, Cubs newly acquired pitcher Carlos Silva pitched in his third outing of Spring Training, and he continued his progression as he works on his retooled delivery. After a horrific start in his first Spring Training appearance, Silva has been doing better and better with each outing.

In his first start of the spring, Silva pitched horribly, giving up six runs on seven hits against the rival Chicago White Sox all in just two innings of work. The bad start was expected by those who looked into Silva’s history with the Mariners and Twins.

However, in his two starts since he has pitched seven scoreless innings, got the win on both occasions, and has done a great job with his pitches as he makes up for his bad first start. He’s allowed six hits and one walk over the two appearances, giving him a very low WHIP of 1.00 in those two performances, and he lowered his ERA from 27.00 to 6.00. Read the rest of this entry »

News and Notes From Spring Training

chi_a_castro_576The Cubs have completed 12 games thus far in Spring Training, and through those games they are 8-4, which doesn’t mean much, but it does mean that they have been getting good performances from a lot of people.

Here are the stories that are important so far in Spring Training: Read the rest of this entry »

Position Breakdown: Bullpen

Carlos MarmolAfter breaking down the starters a few days ago, it’s time to look at the guys who will be working off of their performances.

The Cubs’ bullpen has always been an issue of concern, and they have been going from closer to closer pretty much every season.

Most recently, Kerry Wood and Kevin Gregg held down the closer position, but neither of them were closer for more than one season. So what will the bullpen look like this season?

Closer: Carlos Marmol
Rest of bullpen: Complete Mess

I know that doesn’t offer up too much when it comes to telling you who will pitch what innings this season, but at this point, you’re guess is as good as mine. Read the rest of this entry »