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Cubs Newsbeat

Monday, January 21, 2019

Cubs have considered trading Ben Zobrist

The things folk do to duck the luxury tax….

QLE Posted: January 21, 2019 at 06:13 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: ben zobrist, cubs, luxury tax

Overheard at Cubs Convention: A collection of the funniest and weirdest moments from the 2019 fan fest

The only Harper in attendance at the Sheraton Grand Chicago over the weekend was the Winter Storm Harper, not that dude named Bryce.

The Cubs seamlessly jumped from Cole Hamels to Kyle Hendricks in the alphabetical introductions at Opening Ceremonies Friday night, crushing the dreams of anybody who believed there would be a surprise visit from the superstar outfielder.

“The sad thing is it’s going to be snowing this much in April too,” one fan quipped. And it doesn’t look like Harper will be in a Cubs uniform by then, either, as Theo Epstein reiterated it’s “extremely unlikely” the Cubs sign a mega free agent of any kind this winter.

Scenes from a convention- of interest for those who have an in sport culture as well as sport itself.

 

QLE Posted: January 21, 2019 at 06:13 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: convention, cubs, fans

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Cubs to launch their own sports network

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs are launching their own sports network.

President of business operations Crane Kenney said the team hopes to have it running in time for spring training next year.

“You’ll have a Cubs channel,” he said at the team’s annual fan convention on Saturday. “We’ll launch in 2020.”

Interesting idea, but what do they air when the season’s over?

QLE Posted: January 20, 2019 at 09:48 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, sports television

Epstein thinks Maddon will stay with Cubs past this season

CHICAGO- Joe Maddon’s future is a big question hovering over the Chicago Cubs heading into the season.

President of baseball operations Theo Epstein thinks everything is going to work out just fine.

“My bet is that it goes extraordinarily well with Joe and the whole group and that he’s here for a long time to come,” Epstein said.

However, past evidence suggests that, should things go sour, they will go very sour indeed…..

QLE Posted: January 20, 2019 at 09:48 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon, theo epstein

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Theo Epstein’s Criticism Points to Shortcomings of Cubs Front Office

The Cubs won 95 games last year. Fans need a little perspective. This isn’t a troubled franchise. It’s one with high expectations that are near impossible to meet. Theo Epstein, the steward of those expectations, has a track record that should give comfort and hope to Cubs fans, not generate feelings of panic and doom.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2019 at 09:00 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, theo epstein

Friday, January 18, 2019

Report: Theo Epstein faced pressure from Bryzzo to fire Chili Davis

It’s been 99 days since the Cubs fired Chili Davis, but we’re still hearing new reports on the reasoning behind the decision.

The latest comes from SNY’s John Harper, who explained why the New York Mets were so quick to hire Davis after he was fired from the Red Sox and Cubs in successive winters.

If aspects of what are claimed here are remotely true, it is quite possible that Cubs fans have things to worry about far worse than team spending….

QLE Posted: January 18, 2019 at 07:57 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony rizzo, chili davis, cubs, inmates running the asylum, kris bryant, theo epstein

Thursday, January 17, 2019

After a polarizing offseason, Cubs owners decide to skip fan fest

After a tumultuous offseason, Chicago Cubs fans might have some … let’s go with interesting questions for the team’s owners. Unfortunately for those fans, the opportunity to have their voices heard just got taken away.

The Ricketts family will skip the team’s annual fan convention in Chicago over the weekend. A Twitter user called @crawlyscubs first reported the news, which was confirmed by Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald.

The family will instead be on Ryan Dempster’s late night program Friday night. Dempster has done something similar in the past. While the Ricketts are busy Friday night, the convention lasts all weekend. They could have held a panel Saturday or Sunday.

Granted, if I were a team owner, I wouldn’t be attending events of this nature, so….

QLE Posted: January 17, 2019 at 03:36 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, fans, ricketts

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Cubs hire former MLB pitcher Craig Breslow as front office strategist

A fellow Yale graduate has joined Cubs president and Yale product Theo Epstein in the team’s front office.

Monday, the Cubs announced that they have named former MLB pitcher Craig Breslow as Director of Strategic Initiatives for Baseball Operations. Breslow, 38, is a 2002 Yale graduate with a molecular biophysics and biochemistry degree.

In his role with the Cubs, Breslow will “help to evaluate and implement data-based processes throughout all facets of Baseball Operations. He will also support the organization’s pitching infrastructure in Player Development and the major leagues,” according to a press release.

Ever get the feeling that everyone who somehow managed to get into an Ivy League school has priority ahead of you on the job market?

QLE Posted: January 15, 2019 at 04:31 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: craig breslow, cubs, front office, yale

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Considering Cubs’ budget crunch, was picking up Cole Hamels’ option the right move?

Did the Cubs make the right call in picking up Cole Hamels’ $20 million option?

That question was a no-brainer in the first few days of November — an easy call to pencil Hamels into the Cubs rotation for 2019 even if it meant trading away Drew Smyly and his $7 million contract to the Texas Rangers.

But here on Jan. 8, it’s at least a fair question and the answer isn’t so automatic, as we discussed on Hot Stove Tuesday.

Sincere question: Does Betteridge’s Law still apply in situations where the headline seems designed to get you to say no?

QLE Posted: January 09, 2019 at 08:15 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: budget, cole hamels, cubs

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Explaining Cubs’ budget woes: Why Theo Epstein’s front office is limited this winter

Money makes the world go ‘round.

It’s also been the main topic of conversation during this pivotal Cubs offseason.

Fans want the Cubs to spend more money — namely on a guy like Bryce Harper, but really on anything or anybody that could help the team get back to the Promised Land.

In retrospective, taking his budget to the dog track was not Theo Epstein’s brightest idea….

QLE Posted: December 20, 2018 at 07:58 AM | 110 comment(s)
  Beats: budget, cubs, theo epstein

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Cubs Owners Discussed Moving Team Out Of Chicago During Beef With Mayor

Having trouble finding an article that is both covering this and which isn’t being needlessly inflammatory, but it is an interesting addition to our discussion of stadium-funding games.

QLE Posted: December 19, 2018 at 07:58 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dollah dollah bills, y'all, rahm emmanuel, ricketts

Friday, December 07, 2018

Cubs know NL Central is going to be a dogfight: ‘We have our work cut out for us’

The last time the St. Louis Cardinals played a postseason game, Jason Heyward and John Lackey were wearing redbird logos and had yet to suit up for the Cubs while Trevor Cahill picked up the win and Hector Rondon notched the save for the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

In other words, it’s been a really long time since the Cardinals played in October.

They’re trying hard to change that fact, going all-in for 2019 by acquiring perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt in a trade with the Diamondbacks Wednesday. This comes after they pulled off a big deal with the Marlins last winter by trading for slugging outfielder Marcell Ozuna.

So, who among the Cubs is a first-rate aviator?

QLE Posted: December 07, 2018 at 06:25 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cardinals, cubs, nl central

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

No matter what Cubs do this Hot Stove season, last year’s failures hang over like a dark cloud

If the Cubs truly aren’t able to afford the top free agents on the open market this offseason, the main reason for that is because they’ve had to spend so much money in free agency on pitching the last few years. It’s also because they swung and missed in a major way last winter and are still feeling the effects.

The Cubs entered last winter feeling pretty good about the state of their offense but wanted to augment the pitching staff in a big way. So they went out and handed $198 million to Tyler Chatwood ($38 million), Brandon Morrow ($21 million), Steve Cishek ($13 million) and Yu Darvish ($126 million). They also paid Drew Smyly $3 million in 2018 to rehab from Tommy John surgery before he and the $7 million remaining on his deal were shipped off to the Texas Rangers last month.

The four free agent pitchers (not including Smyly, who didn’t throw a single pitch) combined for 1.1 WAR (FanGraphs) across 244.2 innings in 2018.

Alternatively, cleaning out the vents will get rid of much of that dark cloud in a hurry, especially if they open up a window.

QLE Posted: December 04, 2018 at 07:48 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: bad deals, cubs, hot stove, pitching

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Cubs face non-tender deadline with suspended SS Addison Russell

There are a few layers to the situation surrounding the decision on Russell.

First, Russell is in the midst of a 40-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. He will not be eligible for activation until May 3, meaning the Cubs would still need a contingency plan for the season’s first month, if the team opts to offer Russell a contract for the upcoming campaign.

There is also the decline in Russell’s performance over the past two seasons. Following a breakout 2016 showing, in which the shortstop was an NL All-Star and hit 21 homers with 95 RBIs, Russell has turned in a .245/.311/.376 slash line in 240 games across the 2017-18 seasons.

Red Voodooin Posted: November 29, 2018 at 03:40 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Monday, November 26, 2018

Jed Hoyer Reiterates That Cubs’ Offensive Focus is on Their Current Players

That said, of course I can see a plausible future where, despite not making an impact addition, the Cubs have a great offense in 2019. Heck, it wouldn’t even take much more than a healthy Kris Bryant, a standard Anthony Rizzo, a bounce-back from Willson Contreras, and another step forward from Kyle Schwarber.

It feels to me like most of these Theo/Jed quotes are part of an elaborate negotiation with Boras/Harper, but maybe they are content to sit the major free agent market this year?

 

Red Voodooin Posted: November 26, 2018 at 07:48 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Cubs understand there is no ‘silver bullet’ to fix offense for 2019

The Cubs aren’t sharing exactly how they plan on ensuring their offense doesn’t break in 2019.

Which makes sense: Why make your adjustments and gameplans public months before the season even starts?

But the tone about the lineup has changed a bit since the Cubs managed just one run in 13 innings against the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild-Card Game last month.

Wait, who on the Cubs is a werewolf?

QLE Posted: November 25, 2018 at 04:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, offense

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Rogers: Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs pitching coach

Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey has resigned his position with the team, citing personal reasons, after one year on the job, the team announced Tuesday.

“Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons,” the Cub said in a news release. “We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support, and we all wish him well.”

The end of an era. . .

McCoy Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:43 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Monday, November 19, 2018

Cubs in need of major overhaul? Don’t be silly

The Cubs won 95 games in 2018. To put that number into context, in the last 73 seasons, they have won more games than that exactly four times. Only one National League team won more in 2018. That would be the Brewers, who went into Wrigley Field and won their 96th in a one-game playoff that decided the NL Central.

The Cubs won 95 times despite third baseman Kris Bryant playing just 32 games after the All-Star break. Despite right-hander Yu Darvish throwing his final pitch on May 20. Despite closer Brandon Morrow missing the entire second half.

Their pitching staff had the NL’s second-lowest ERA, and only the Astros in the American League had a lower bullpen ERA. Offensively, only the Dodgers, Rockies and Nationals scored more runs than the Cubs in the NL. That’s it. If this is what qualifies as a train wreck of a season, plenty of teams would sign up. But somehow, in the weeks since the Cubs lost the NL Wild Card Game to the Rockies, the narrative has become that they are broken, that significant change is needed. This is silly.

The rare article that asks and answers the question in the title

McCoy Posted: November 19, 2018 at 11:01 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, hot stove, offseason

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Prospects who stood out in Arizona Fall League

This is a surprising development for the Cubs.

Nico Hoerner, SS, Cubs’ No. 6
The Cubs’ 2018 first-rounder’s inexperience has been a non-factor in the AFL, where he’s hit .321 and looked like a player straight out of Double-A, and one possibly even on the cusp of the Majors. That’s not to say that Hoerner will springboard up the ladder in such fashion in 2019—but he certainly could. At the plate, he has a knack for barreling the ball to all fields, can handle velocity and adjust to secondaries, and he has more juice in his bat than you’d expect. His arm stroke is a little stiff at shortstop, but it plays up because he creatively finds ways to achieve a good slot, has sound footwork and consistently follows his throws with his body. He’s a very, very solid ballplayer.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 14, 2018 at 03:25 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Olney: Cubs Open to Trading Bryant

But it’s possible that the Cubs will trade him, perhaps as soon as this winter. As part of their early offseason discussions, according to sources, the Cubs have indicated to other teams they are willing to discuss trade proposals for almost all of the players on their roster and those sources say that includes Bryant

Chris Fluit Posted: November 10, 2018 at 11:45 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant


Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Redefining a Dynasty : baseballmusings.com

I’ve always thought the best model for a franchise is one of sustained excellence.Unfortunately runs like the 90’s Braves and the current Dodgers usually get viewed as disappointments by typical fans, who possess short memories and poor perspectives.

The Braves and the Yankees showed the past and future in the 1990s. The Yankees won four of five World Series titles and three in a row. They are considered a dynasty, as it was known then. The Braves won the division year after year, but only one World Series. No one talks about them the same way, even though for the decade they were probably the better team. They had a great process for keeping the team good, constantly moving out weak players for stronger ones, often developed from within. That may be the only type of dynasty we see going forward.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 07, 2018 at 09:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Monday, November 05, 2018

Revisiting the prospects: 20 years ago

A consideration of prospects with Cubs ties from close to twenty years ago- wonder what we would find if looking at all prospects from the same period….

QLE Posted: November 05, 2018 at 08:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: 1999, cubs, prospects rankings

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Jason Heyward chooses not to opt-out of Cubs deal that still owes him $100M

Jason Heyward isn’t walking away from more than $100 million. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the outfielder let the opt-out deadline pass for his contact with the Chicago Cubs and will stay with the team for at least another year.

The opt-out is part of the eight-year, $184 million contract Heyward, 29, signed with the Cubs in 2016. He has five years and $106 million left on the deal.

The decision to decline the opt-out was probably a no-brainer for Heyward, though many on the North Side were hoping he would walk away from all that money. Despite the Cubs’ early exit from the playoffs in 2018, the team is still poised to compete in 2019 and beyond. Staying with them gives him a good shot at winning a second World Series ring, and possibly more. And he’s making $20 million in 2019 and at least that much through 2023. After seeing how last year’s free agent market played out for even established hitters, there’s almost no chance that he’d fetch that much on the open market.

So, what would it take for Heyward to do to make this one of the worse contracts of all time?

 

QLE Posted: November 03, 2018 at 09:36 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jason heyward, opt-outs

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Remember That Guy? José Macías

Whether he was number one in your hearts is up to you.  He was number one on the scorecard for the Cubs in 2004-05.  That was his uniform number.

The Panamanian utility man played seven MLB seasons, making stops in Detroit & Montreal before playing his final two MLB seasons on the North Side.

As a Major Leaguer, he played every position except pitcher, catcher and first base.  However if asked what Macías’ true position was, one might say the answer is pinch hitter.  He played in 210 games for the Cubs; 110 were as pinch hitter.

A reminder that more players than the stars merit being remembered.

QLE Posted: October 25, 2018 at 11:47 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jose macias

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