Baseball Diamond News

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Phil Nevin: Traded (We hardly knew ya)

The Cubs traded Phil Nevin and cash today to the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later. This trade is a good pickup for the Twins and now gives more opportunities to the players the Cubs call up to PH and get a few more pa's. This also clears a spot on the 40 man roster for the Cubs to activate Wade Miller who will be given a few opportunities to prove if he deserves a spot on the 40-man roster next season.

Now a few words on the Cubs. They had been playing semi respectable ball up after the all-star break until about 12 games ago, now it looks like they just have forgotten to how to play defense. Zambrano made 2 errors the other night that were just basic concentration errors and cost the Cubs the game. He is not the only one, but just the freshest in my mind. Also Dempster is going to be painful to watch over the next few seasons unless he finds his control again. The only pitch he can throw for a strike lately, is a flat fast ball down the middle.

One more month of this awful season and then we can dream of great things for next year.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Cubs make a few transactions

Today the Cubs activated Freddie Bynum from the 60-day DL to take the spot of the recently departed Nefi Perez. Now Freddie might not be any better than Nefi, but at least he is cheaper and doesn't have a 2.5 million dollar contract for 2007. Bynum should see a minimal amount of pa's for the Cubs the rest of the year.

Also Carlos Marmol went on the DL with right shoulder fatigue. Hopefully that is all it is as we know how reliable the Cubs injury reports have been about their pitchers. If it is only fatigue, I think it is the right thing to do and probably would be prudent just to shut him down for the season. The only thing that can happen by him pitching again this year is more strain on the shoulder.

To take Marmol's spot on the roster Glendon Rusch was activated again. This is an unfortunate thing and too bad Hendry can't also trade him away (for anything). Maybe at the end of the year the Cubs will buy out the remaining year of his contract because there are many other pitchers in the minors that would be more helpful to the Cubs than Glendon Rusch is or can be.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Cubs trade Nefi

Jim Hendry did something that I thought couldn't be done, he traded Nefi Perez to the Detroit Tigers. The Cubs got minor league catcher Chris Robinson a player who if he never comes to the MLB, still makes it a good trade for the Cubs (though I think Robinson has some talent). Why? They get a roster spot back (for next year), they don't have to pay his salary, and lastly because Dusty can't be tempted to play him anymore. I do wish Nefi the best of luck in Detroit, but I am just glad he is no longer a Cub.

About Robinson, he went to University of Illinois, and was the Tigers' third-round pick in the 2005 draft. In 2004 he won the Daniel J. Silva Sportsmanship Award by the Cape Cod Baseball League. I have read that he has an above-average arm, and needs to pull the ball more to increase his power. This season for Lakeland he was batting .288/.338/.367 with 1 hr and 22 doubles.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A few things

First I was talking to a Cub fan at the dog park yesterday and he was saying that he still thinks that there is a chance for the Cubs to make the Wild Card. While they are not officially eliminated, let me say they won't finish anywhere near the WC when the season is done. Not only are they injured, I am not sure they could catch up uninjured. Saying that, let me say I am very impressed with the Cubs play since All-Star break. They have played much better baseball and while they have made some mistakes, their record since the break shows their improvement.

Last night's game was awesome. Can't ask for much more, 18 innings and a win, maybe it should count as 2 victories since it was the length of 2 games. I can't believe that the Cubs actually pulled it out, after looking very close to losing it in the bottom of the 10th inning. The bullpen was superb after Wuertz and Ohman lost the lead. I also want to say that I agree with Baker for taking out Mateo, as Clemens is a little bit of a hot head at times and there is no reason getting your pitcher hit by a pitch from Clemens (though I also don't think Theriot deserved to be hit). Maybe this game will have Dusty thinking twice before benching Matt Murton, who has been on a tear since break and should not being platooned with anyone currently.

Ryan O'Malley started today, and I missed him pitch,but he got the 1-0 victory today, thanks to Michael Barrett's homer in the 6th inning. O'Malley threw a 5 hitter while walking 6 guys (don't they teach strikes in the minor leagues?), while going 8 innings for the victory in his first MLB start. Howry came in and got the save in the 9th and it was a very good thing that he didn't give up a run, as I don't think either team wanted to go to extra innings again. Good thing for Barrett's homer as the only other guy to get a hit today for the Cubs was Juan Pierre, who had 3 of them. The Cubs now have some time to rest, so hopefully the will be ready for this weekend's series verse the Cardinals.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Welcome our new Baby Girl

Sorry for the delay in writing, but my wife gave birth to a 8 lb. and 20 inch girl on 8/8/06 (yes the day the lights went on in Wrigley)(yes, I know 8/9/88 was the official date, due to rain). Because of that I have been away from the net and tv. I will get back to writing about the Cubs in a day or so, but still getting situated in the homestead.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Glendon Rusch on DL

Glendon Rusch has been put on the the DL again with “tennis elbow” and the Cubs recalled David Aardsma. This is good for 3 reasons, one it allows the Cubs to see if Aardsma can be productive the rest of the year and further evaluate him for next year. Secondly is that Glendon Rusch won’t be starting any games for a while. Lastly, maybe we now will see less of Roberta Novoa because as a Cub fan I have seen enough of what he can do and none of it is too good, unless you are the opposing hitter.

Cub split Double header

Well I am betting that Dusty Baker was wishing he had kept Juan Cruz after game 1. He would have been a great 5th starter last year and he would have fit perfectly in as a 4th starter for them this season. Instead Carlos Marmol was the starter and as he has most of the year for the Cubs, he had control problems which led to him giving up 6 runs in the first 2 innings. After that, the rest of the game was pretty much cruise control for the Diamondbacks and Juan Cruz. I think it is time to send Marmol back to the minors to help work out his control problems and replace him with Angel Guzman.

In the second game, Juan Mateo looked pretty good for the first few innings and then looked like the batters started catching up with him. He lasted 5 innings while giving up 6 hits, 3 runs 2 earned, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts, which is not bad for a debut from a double-A pitcher. Juan should be very happy, as he also got the win in game 2 as the pen came in for the next 4 innings and shut down the Diamondbacks. I liked what I saw from him in his first game and would say he has earned another start, but I also will say; he probably would benefit from staying in minors a little longer, but not many other choices for Cubs at moment. Jerome Williams has not taken advantage of his time in the minors and looks like his time as a Cub might be up after the end of this season, which is a shame because he has a good arm, just not the motivation to stay in shape.

Another good thing about the second game was that Matt Murton hit 4 doubles tying a major league record and also drove in 5 runs while doing it. Hopefully this will give Dusty some more incentive to play him for the final few months to see what Murton can do. Maybe he can do enough to show that he can be a viable OF for the Cubs in the future.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rained out!

As my father would say to me when I was younger,” At least the Cubs didn't lose today."

Tonight’s game has been rained out and there has been a spectacular display of lightning tonight by the stadium. This gives Marmol an extra day of rest and he hopefully gets to pitch in cooler.
The rumor for the Cubs other starting pitcher tomorrow is Juan Mateo, who had been pitching in AA, going 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA in 18 games and17 starts. Hopefully he does well as last winter people were high on his ability to be a good pitcher.

Take on Cubs trades

By now everyone knows that Greg Maddux was traded to the Dodgers for Cesar Izturis at the trade deadline. Here is my take on the trade. I think that Izturis at SS is an upgrade over Ronny Cedeno at the moment, but putting Cedeno at 2b, gives the Cubs one of the worst hitting middle infields in all of baseball. Unless the Cubs plan to go out and sign both Carlos Lee for LF and Soriano for 2b next season, I don’t see anyway the Cubs can win with these 2 guys both starting. Another problem is we don’t have many pitchers that throw ground balls (we don’t have many that throw strikes either), so the improved defense up the middle isn’t going to help overall much.

I do feel that trading Maddux was the right thing to do for the team and for him. The Dodgers are close to his home and are contending, while the Cubs are not contending and it was the last year of his contract and the Cubs were most likely not going to offer him another contract for the future. I wish him well in LA and hope he has a great last 2 months of the season.

In a minor side note, I am happy the Cubs got Jose Ceda for Todd Walker. I know that Ceda may never make it past AA, but I think getting Todd Walker off the team and out of the clubhouse will benefit the team. He hasn’t been known for his great clubhouse spirit in the past and with the team struggling now he wasn’t going to help it any.

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