Baseball Diamond News

Friday, July 27, 2007

Cubs win 2 of 3: Also make some moves.

The Cubs did a good job in St. Louis winning 2 of the 3 games. The first 2 games the Cubs did everything right, but in game three it was just one of those games you forget about and go and play the next evening. The next series is verse the Cincinnati Reds and the Cubs should win 2 of three in this series. The Reds have been very disappointing this year and with the way the Cubs have been playing since mid-June things are looking good for that result.

The Cubs called up Matt Murton and Rocky Cherry today and sent down Jake Fox and Billy Petrick. This move helps the Cubs bench out and brings them a very reliable righty bat to come off the bench and start in RF when Floyd needs time off and in LF if Soriano should need a day off. Billy fate was sealed after that debacle of an appearance last night in St. Louis and Rocky gives the Cubs that unnecessary reliever that they want.

There aren't many days until the trade deadline, but the Cubs so far have stood pat after getting Jason Kendall. I think if the Cubs are going to want to be series post seaosn contenders they need to go out and get a veteran bat for off the bench. These young guys have all done well, but when it comes time in the playoffs, will they be able to do it with the spotlight on?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cedeno called up

Scott Moore's time was brief as the Cubs sent him down today and recalled Ronny Cedeno. Moore was not needed now that Derek Lee is back and Cliff Floyd is feeling better. This now gives them a backup SS and maybe even split some starting time with Theriot there. I think Ronny deserved his recall after the way he hit in the minors, but I also think that if the Cubs are just going to let him sit on the bench they might as well send him back down. I say that because he is swinging a good bat right now and to let him sit on the bench and not play would most likely cool him off. Jake Fox is currently still up on the team, but I am not sure that will last much longer. He is not getting any PT and he needs that to improve as he was just coming up from AA.

Tonight is a key game for the Cubs because it is against St. Louis and while they are 5 behind the Cubs currently, the last thing the Cubs or their fans want to see is them getting hot. And a way to do that is beat the Cubs up this series. So the Cubs need to go down there thinking of this as a playoff series and needing to take at least 2 of 3. Anything less should not be acceptable. I know all season I have said the Cubs suck and they have no chance, but some how the team has put themselves 3.0 games out of first place and they actually do have a shot. I think that the next thing they need to do is trade and acquire a GOOD veteran for the bench, not in the caliber of Jose Macias, Nefi Perez, John Mabry or Todd Hollandsworth. This will only solidify their chances and also get Jake Fox back to the minors where he belongs.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cubs make some minor moves

Today Daryle Ward went on the 15-day DL with a strained right calf and I don't really know how he got hurt on that play, but I guess he did. To replace him the Cubs brought up Scott Moore who will probably stay as long as Derek Lee is serving his suspension. I suspect after that is over that the Cubs will swap him and Ronny Cedeno. Since Izturis is gone the Cubs need a backup SS and Cedeno makes the most logical sense. Though in the past Scott Moore did play SS, so maybe if he shows in 4 games that he can him MLB pitching, they will keep him up.
The Cubs then sent Sean Gallagher back to Iowa and activated Ryan Dempster. Gallagher got the save the other day by going 4 innings in relief for Carlos Zambrano. This move strengths the pen (yeah I know I said it) and not because of getting Dempster back as closer, but it keeps Scott Eyre further down in on the bench. With 2 inexperienced minor league pitchers on the team there was a chance of Scott getting in a useful game. Now he is further down behind, Dempster, Marmol, Wuertz, Howry and even Ohman (Oh-Man). And even better news is that Kerry Wood is pitching well in the minors while getting the ball up to 95 mph. If he can come up and provide some relief that would make Scott the last guy on the bench and maybe the team will even see fit then to just eat the rest of his contract.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Izturis Traded

Today the Cubs traded Cesar Izturis and cash considerations to the Pirates for a player to be named later. To take his spot Jake Fox has been brought up instead of Matt Murton who still is failing to impress management. I still think Matt Murton is more ready than Jake Fox, but the Cubs feel that Jake has shown more. In the minors Murton who got off to a slow start has been hitting the ball well enough to get his batting line up to .311/.394./.538 which to me is pretty good and as anyone that reads this knows I think he has a great swing.
While I am happy in dumping Izturis, I have to say, bringing up Fox doesn't really improve the roster and I am still not sure what Jim Hendry plan is for the stretch run for the Cubs. They seem to need more power and another righty bat off the bench because while Ward has been hitting for average, he has not been hitting any homers. This then leaves it up to Fontenot, Pagan, and Hill to provide power, which none really provide. I also understand Fox has some power and I like his potential, I just don't think he is ready to help the Cubs who have been showing some life since June.

Funny fact about the trade, Izturis was actually in the starting lineup and on the field for batting practice today.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cubs trade for Kendall

The other day the Cubs acquired Jason Kendall from the Oakland A's. The Cubs traded Rob Bowen and Jerry Blevins to them and received some cash to pay for the 13 million that Kendall is due this season.
My thoughts on the trade are that while Jason Kendall is washed up and probably not worth 3 million a year, he is still better then the combination of players the Cubs were throwing behind the plate. Kendall is known to be a good pitch caller and is a better 2nd half player. Taking this into consideration it was no brainer for the Cubs. You are probably thinking, didn't you say he was washed up? Well yes I did, but a washed up Kendall is still better than what the Cubs were putting behind the plate. The only problem I really have with this trade right now is that Jerry Blevins got traded. Why you ask? Well it is not that I think he will be a great pitcher, though I hope he becomes one, it is because he went to the University of Dayton, my alma mater. I had been following his progress in the minors and was hoping he would get a chance to play in Wrigley one day, he still may, just probably not in a Cub's uniform. This deal also allows the Cubs to send down Geovany Soto when Ryan Dempster is available to come off DL.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Cubs Update: What is needed in 2nd half

Well since the last time I wrote, the Cubs trade for Jacque Jones fell through. I don't know the exact reason, but I assume it has to do with money. I have read many rumors on why it fell apart, but they are all so different I don't know which one to believe. All I know is he is still a Cub.
The Cubs had been on a roll until they went to Pittsburgh and lost 2 of 3, but they have managed to creep back into the division race and are currently 4.5 games out of 1st.

What should the team do to get into first after break?

1) First thing they need to due is replace Cesar Izturis. I'd say bring up Ronnie Cedeno who is tearing up AAA, but with Theriot and Fontenot up, that would just be repetitive and not too helpful. To replace him they need to go out and trade for a utility guy that has some consistent pop and won't need to play everyday (unless they go out and acquire a FT Shortstop). By the way, let me say I am very glad the Cubs didn't listen to me earlier this year and say sign Julio Lugo, man has he been awful in Boston.

2) They need to either play Pie everyday and let him take his lumps or they need to send him down to the minors and bring up another bat to come off the bench. The way the Cubs are using Felix is helping no one and only going to hurt the Cubs in the long run. Maybe bring up Matt Murton (though he hasn't been showing much in AAA) or go out and trade for CF/RF who can help out, as Angel Pagan is getting too much PT for a contending team.

3) Improve hitting at catching. I don't care if this means calling up Jake Fox or Geovany Soto, but neither Koyie Hill or Rob Bowen are getting the job done at the plate, though Hill has been good defensively and the Cubs are winning with him calling the pitches. I know they say Henry Blanco is coming back soon, but he wasn't a good hitter before and I don't really think he will be much of a hitter when he comes back.

4) Get a reliable lefty reliever. Scott Erye and Will Ohman are not consistent enough or good enough to help the Cubs. I joke around that Ohman's name is perfect because when the Cub fans see him come in they say," Oh man," as the runs cross the plate.

5) What is up with needing 12 pitchers? The Cubs keep saying they need 12 pitchers. Why? I don't get it. Maybe they are thinking that Marquis shouldn't have been given the contract he was given as he isn't eating up many innings, but still no reason to go to 12 pitchers. When that happens, you need to make some changes to the front 11 pitchers as a 12 pitcher is overkill.

6) Stop walking people. The Cubs keep walking too many people, especially the first guy a relief pitcher faces out of the pen. Do the Cubs need to put a guy up to bat in the pen when the pitcher is warming up to get him more ready? I don't get it.

7) Luck. No one wins anything without a little bit of luck and the Cubs will be no exception.

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