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Monday, December 02, 2019

Cubs cut ties with Addison Russell

CHICAGO – The Cubs are letting Addison Russell walk.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein explained the decision in a statement.

“We decided to non-tender Addison Russell today simply because the role we expected him to play for the 2020 Cubs was inconsistent with how he would have been treated in the salary arbitration process.”

 

 

QLE Posted: December 02, 2019 at 08:31 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: addison russell, cubs, non-tenders

Friday, November 15, 2019

Cubs expected to hire Mike Napoli — David Ross’ former teammate — as quality assurance coach

David Ross will not only be managing former teammates with the Cubs in 2020, but he’ll be coaching alongside one, too.

The Cubs are expected to add former MLB catcher Mike Napoli to Ross’ coaching staff, per multiple reports. Napoli will assume the title of quality assurance coach, vacated by Chris Denorfia, who held the position for one season.

Napoli played in parts of 12 big-league seasons from 2006-17 with the Angels, Rangers, Red Sox and Indians. He won the 2013 World Series with Boston — alongside Ross and Cubs starter Jon Lester — and was also a key figure with the 2016 Indians, whom the Cubs defeated in the World Series. He finished his career with a .246/.346/.475 slash line with 267 home runs.

Still trying to figure out what, exactly, a “quality assurance coach” is meant to do…..

 

QLE Posted: November 15, 2019 at 01:10 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mike napoli, quality assurance

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Cubs lower ticket prices by 2.5 percent but what does it really mean for fans?

The Chicago Cubs had a disappointing season on the field in 2019, but they may have found a way to make that up to some of their season ticket holders.

On Wednesday, the team announced that season ticket prices will be down an average of 2.5% going into the 2020 season. Cale Vennum, the Cubs vice president of ticketing, says some season ticket packages will be down as much as 6.5%.

“Our season ticket holders are obviously disappointed that we didn’t make the playoffs last year,” Vennum said Wednesday, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune. “But they look at this team and still see a roster they expect to be really competitive for 2020. The feedback we’ve gotten around (new manager) David Ross has been fantastic. Our fans are really excited to see him lead this team in 2020.”

The Cubs missed the postseason for the first time since 2014. Big changes have already been made to the coaching staff in an effort to refocus the team on reaching its larger goal. The biggest change will have David Ross, who was a member of the Cubs 2016 championship team, replacing Joe Maddon as manager.

You mean, other than them having a bit more money to spend in the eating and drinking establishments of Wrigleyville?

 

QLE Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:46 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, ticket prices

Monday, November 04, 2019

Cubs pick up Anthony Rizzo’s 2020 option

Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs have picked up their 2020 club option for first baseman Anthony Rizzo at $16.5 million. The Cubs also hold a club option for the 2021 season at $16.5 million.

Rizzo, 30, had another terrific season for the Cubs in 2019, batting .293/.405/.520 with 27 home runs, 94 RBI, and 89 runs scored across 613 plate appearances. Towards the end of the season, as the Cubs went on a losing streak that pushed them out of playoff contention, Rizzo dealt with a sprained ankle. He has otherwise been quite durable in his eight seasons with the Cubs.

Not particularly surprising, is it?

 

QLE Posted: November 04, 2019 at 12:16 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony rizzo, cubs, options

Friday, November 01, 2019

Joe Maddon on end of Cubs tenure: ‘I didn’t want to be back either’

Joe Maddon’s future with the Cubs hung in the balance throughout 2019. Despite postseason appearances in four-straight seasons (2015-18), he entered the season with lame duck status after Cubs president Theo Epstein shut down extension talks last fall.

If that wasn’t telling enough, the Cubs underperformed throughout 2019, slipping out of a postseason spot in late September. On the last day of the regular season, Cubs president Theo Epstein made it official: the organization was not retaining Maddon for 2020.

The move didn’t blindside Maddon, however. In a recent interview, he noted that it was obvious he wouldn’t be retained, but also that he didn’t want to return, anyhow.

“When it got down to the last couple days it was really obvious to both sides,” Maddon said to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “I didn’t want to be back either. It was more of a bilateral than a unilateral decision.’’

Mind you, under current conditions, I can’t say that I’d blame him….

 

QLE Posted: November 01, 2019 at 01:19 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon

Cubs Rumors: Yu Darvish Won’t Opt out of Contract, Avoids Free Agency

The Chicago Cubs no longer have to worry that Yu Darvish will explore the free-agent market after the four-time All-Star declined to use his opt-out clause.

Per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Darvish will remain with the Cubs.

When the Cubs signed Darvish to a six-year, $126 million deal in February 2018, it came with an opt-out after the second season that would allow him to explore free agency for the second time in his career.

There were legitimate reasons to assume the Japanese star might walk away and try to secure a new long-term deal. He finished 2019 on a high note with a 2.76 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 81.2 innings after the All-Star break.

Mind you, given both the last couple of years of the free-agent market and his past record, there are reasons why many other commentators aren’t surprised….

 

QLE Posted: November 01, 2019 at 12:12 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, opt-outs, yu darvish

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Yes man? Puppet? Cubs immediately squash that idea at start of David Ross’ managerial tenure

It’s not everyday a Major League Baseball team hires a new manager and the skipper’s weaknesses are readily apparent to even the most casual of fans.

The Cubs are well aware David Ross does not have any managerial or coaching experience. They’re not running from the fact that he was teammates and buddies with a lot of guys still on the roster and will now have to transition into being their boss.

Another common refrain is Ross’ close ties with Theo Epstein’s front office and the concern that he would just be a shill for those guys while standing on the top step of the dugout.

That’s not at all what the Cubs are envisioning here.

Won’t we need to see him in action in order to determine that?

 

QLE Posted: October 29, 2019 at 12:46 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david ross

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Kris Bryant’s 2015 service time grievance to be heard this week

It seems like eons ago that Kris Bryant was a rookie. It was eons plus about two and a half weeks ago, however, when he began the 2015 season in Triple-A despite the fact that there was every single reason to believe that he was major league ready to start the season and no reason to believe that he needed more time in the minors.

The Cubs placed him in the minors for 19 days to start that season because if they had left him down there 18 days or fewer he would’ve become eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. If his service time clock had begun on April 16, 2015, he’d be entering his walk year next spring. Since his service time clock began on April 17, he will not become a free agent until the 2021-22 offseason.

At the time the Cubs, laughably, claimed that Bryant needed more work on his defense and, instead, began the 2015 campaign with the immortal Mike Olt as their starting third baseman. Everyone knew the defense excuse was not true. But hey, major league clubs have complete and total power over such things and only offer up thin lies like that because they feel like “no comments” are rude or something. Besides, they’ve gotten away with service time manipulation for years, so why wouldn’t they get away with this example, even if it was particularly obvious and egregious.

After the 2015 season Bryant filed a grievance, claiming that the Cubs acted in bad faith in keeping him in the minors. We heard nothing about it after that and I just sort of assumed that it had failed or been withdrawn or something.

Any chance that this will be decided by Feats of Strength?

 

QLE Posted: October 24, 2019 at 12:38 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, grievances, kris bryant, service time

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Cubs reportedly had second interview with David Ross

The Cubs’ managerial search is in full swing as they continue to line up intriguing candidates to replace Joe Maddon. In recent weeks, Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada’s name has been floated out as a strong candidate, with reports stating that the Cubs had already scheduled their second interview with the much sought after coach.

While the fact that Espada is such a strong candidate in the midst of a World Series run has led many to believe he is the runaway favorite right now, it is still very much so a wide-open race.

It was reported that while not extremely publicized, former Cub David Ross is believed to have had his second interview with the Cubs organization this week.

Ross, who was extremely clutch in the Cubs 2016 World Series win, has an obvious and extended history with the organization. And while there are no concrete reports on the nature of any follow-up discussions between Ross and the Cubs, it was stated that the two sides have in fact at least had those expanded conversations.

I thought we weren’t supposed to see stories like this while the World Series was ongoing…..

 

QLE Posted: October 23, 2019 at 12:44 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david ross, managerial search

Friday, October 18, 2019

Cubs shake up player-development operation

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs shook up their player-development operation, with Matt Dorey taking over as senior vice president of player development and directors of pitching and hitting being appointed.

Dorey, Chicago’s director of amateur scouting the past six years, was previously a scout for the Boston Red Sox and a college coach.

Any thoughts, either from the Cubs perspective or that of considering the field of player development generally?

 

QLE Posted: October 18, 2019 at 12:41 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, player development

Sunday, October 13, 2019

What the Cubs can learn from the 2019 MLB postseason so far

For the 10 teams that qualify for MLB’s postseason, October represents a chance to climb baseball’s mountain and secure a championship. For the 20 other teams sitting at home, though, October is a chance to evaluate those in the Big Dance.

Less than two weeks into the postseason, here’s some things that the Cubs can take away from the action thus far.

1. Starting pitching matters

With bullpens being relied on more than ever, starting pitchers aren’t used the same way as just a few seasons ago. The Brewers rode their bullpen all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS last season, while the Rays used an “opener” (a reliever who starts a game and pitches 1-3 innings) in Game 4 of the ALDS this season – beating the Astros 4-1.

Mind you, one of these points is one which learning from seems to be avoided at all costs, so…..

QLE Posted: October 13, 2019 at 12:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, managerial decision-making, pitching, playoffs

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Which managerial opening is the most desirable?

As we wait for tonight’s NLCS to kick off — a preview on that will be up later this morning — let’s talk about all the managerial openings, shall we?

With the Dodgers giving Dave Roberts their vote of confidence last night — and none of the remaining playoff teams being even close to likely to can their current skipper — we seem to be locked in at eight openings: Mets, Phillies, Pirates, Cubs, Giants, Padres, Royals, and Angels.

Which one is the most desirable? My take on the pros and cons of each gig

So, which of these jobs would you take if you had the choice?

 

QLE Posted: October 12, 2019 at 12:09 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, cubs, giants, mets, padres, phillies, pirates, royals

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Cubs to interview Joe Girardi, David Ross and Will Venable for managerial opening next week

Joe Girardi expressed interest in the Cubs managerial job on Wednesday. Next week, he’ll get a chance to make his pitch.

The Cubs announced Friday that they’ll interview Girardi, David Ross and Will Venable next week for their managerial opening. The club also said that they interviewed Mark Loretta on Thursday.

Girardi expressed interest in the Cubs’ opening on Wednesday, speaking highly of the organization in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

“It’s always been perceived as a good job,” Girardi said. “A big reason is because of the fans and the opportunity to work at Wrigley Field all the time, and the excitement Cubs fans have brought for many, many years.

Let the scramble for the open managerial positions begin!

 

QLE Posted: October 05, 2019 at 12:24 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david ross, joe girardi, managerial search, mark loretta, will venable

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Cubs leaving no stone unturned as organizational revamp kicks into high gear – The Athletic

It doesn’t take long to fall behind.

It’s important to listen to how Epstein describes what he calls a modernization of the front office — a reshuffling process that’s already begun. One of those changes is adding directors of pitching and hitting.

“I think the goal of someone in the role of director of pitching is to have real clarity on what our pitching philosophy is, what our separators are going to be as an organization, how we make the best use of the most cutting edge technology for the state of modern pitching and most importantly where pitching is going over the next several years,” Epstein said. “And then implement that from top to bottom of the organization — more on the minor-league side, but with a working relationship with the major-league staff so that we have the best possible methods with how we teach pitching, how we maximize our pitching and how we evaluate pitching.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 03, 2019 at 08:48 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, pay site

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Theo Epstein: David Ross ‘1 of Many Candidates’ for Cubs Job After Maddon Exit

As the Chicago Cubs search for a new manager after letting Joe Maddon go, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said former catcher David Ross is a target.

“He’s on our broad list of candidates,” Epstein said Monday, per NBC Sports Chicago’s Tim Stebbins. “He’s one of many candidates.”

Epstein said experience will be a consideration but not a “determining factor,” per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.

“David Ross has a lot of great things going for him,” he said. “His connection to the players on this team, and especially his connection to the 2016 team, are not necessarily assets that distinguish him or are important to us. ... Ross is an attractive candidate, and he’s going to be evaluated on the merits.”

Candidate in the sense of a certain interview, or candidate in the sense that he’ll submit his CV and then hear nothing until they’ve actually hired someone months later?

QLE Posted: October 01, 2019 at 12:45 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david ross, managers

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Paul Sullivan on Twitter: “Theo and Joe announce the end.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 29, 2019 at 01:30 PM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Dynasty Deferred: More Than Just the Cubs’ Playoff Hopes Died This Weekend

The Cubs—and, by extension, the would-be dynasty that looked all but certain upon the final out of the 2016 World Series—are on life support. Undone by consecutive ninth-inning Cardinals comebacks over the weekend, Chicago has dropped six straight games, falling out of NL Central contention and putting its playoff hopes in a perilous place: They now face a four-game deficit for the second wild-card (currently held by the surging Brewers) with just five games to go. If you’d like a dramatic visual representation of what that kind of skid does to your postseason chances, you’re in luck:

....

It’s safe to say, barring a miracle, October won’t feature a trip to Wrigley Field for the first time in five years.

This late September flameout continues what’s been a long and slippery slide for the Cubs since winning it all. Each season has provided diminishing returns: a loss in the NLCS to the Dodgers in ‘17, a loss to the Rockies in the wild-card game last year (after gagging away the division on the season’s final day to Milwaukee, too). This year’s Cubs won’t even get the opportunity to be part of a network’s postseason montage—an embarrassing outcome for a franchise that was poised to rule over the sport for half a decade.

At least, that’s what was easy to imagine, given the young stars celebrating on the field in Cleveland as they closed out Game 7. In Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras and Addison Russell, the Cubs’ player development machine was churning out success at nearly every position. Add to that a capable rotation fronted by Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks, a well-liked manager in Joe Maddon and a savvy front office, and Chicago seemingly had all the ingredients for a long run atop baseball.

So, if not Dynasty, does that make the Cubs Search For Tomorrow, The Edge of Night, or possibly The Secret Storm?

 

 

QLE Posted: September 24, 2019 at 12:30 AM | 74 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dynasties, the sky is falling

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Cubs are living to regret Craig Kimbrel’s $43 million contract

Over his first nine seasons in Major League Baseball, no moment seemed too big for Craig Kimbrel.

The flame-throwing closer dominated in stints with the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox, racking up 333 saves, 868 strikeouts and seven All-Star appearances.

It’s been a different story in 2019.

The now 31-year-old veteran hasn’t just looked human on the hill. He’s looked overwhelmed. As if there were no answers as to why his dominance has disappeared after signing a three-year, $43 million contract with the Chicago Cubs back in May.

Is it just me, or does that title have somewhat unfortunate implications?

 

QLE Posted: September 22, 2019 at 12:18 AM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, craig kimbrel, cubs

Friday, September 20, 2019


Anthony Rizzo made a dramatic return, the Cubs rallied in the ninth and they still lost … again – The Athletic

Surprise return for Rizzo. Does Theo blow up this team if they fail to make the playoffs?

Jim Furtado Posted: September 20, 2019 at 09:24 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony rizzo, cubs

Friday, September 13, 2019

Theo Epstein speaks for all Cubs fans as he sums up the frustrating season to date

If you were listening to 670 The Score Thursday morning, nobody would blame you if you confused Theo Epstein for a random Cubs fan.

But that wasn’t Bob from Berwyn chatting with David Haugh and Mike Mulligan about the infuriating 2019 season the Cubs have played to date — it was the president of baseball operations for the club, who told it like it is and pulled no punches.

Like usual, Epstein was measured in his response, but his frustration was palpable, as he explained how there are simply no excuses for the way the Cubs have played this year and especially lately.

He did not point to the recent string of injuries as a reason or use any other potential excuse in the books to explain away the fact that this team woke up Thursday morning tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the second Wild-Card spot.

On the bright side, there’s now an opening in Boston…..

QLE Posted: September 13, 2019 at 12:24 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasts, cubs, theo epstein

Friday, September 06, 2019

‘It’s My One Claim to Fame’: The Untold Story of the Cubs’ Black Cat Jinx

Fifty years ago this upcoming Monday—Sept. 9, 1969—the Chicago Cubs were clinging to a small but diminishing lead over the New York Mets in the National League East. The two teams were facing each other at Shea Stadium in New York, with their respective aces on the mound—Ferguson Jenkins for the Cubs and Tom Seaver for the Mets. And then, in top of the fourth, something bizarre happened that has become part of baseball lore: A black cat appeared in front of the Cubs dugout and pranced back and forth a few times before disappearing into the bowels of the ballpark.

The Mets went on to win the game, the pennant and the World Series. Meanwhile, the Black Cat Incident, as it was dubbed, became another chapter in the Cubs’ long-running history of misery, with the ebony feline—a notorious symbol of bad luck, of course—blamed for jinxing the team. Countless articles have been written about the incident, coupled with photographs documenting what unfolded 50 years ago this month.

Most photos of the incident show the cat approaching Chicago’s dugout while being eyed by Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, who was in the on-deck circle. Therefore most accounts of the game, understandably, have featured recollections from Santo, Jenkins or other Cubs players who were in the dugout. This one, though, is different.

Take a closer look at the scene and you’ll notice another person in a Cubs uniform standing off to Santo’s side. That was the batboy. Like most batboys, he was anonymous, overlooked and forgotten. His name is Jim Flood, and the improbable story of how he ended up in the catbird seat for one of the most storied moments in baseball history has never been told—until now.

As a cat lover, it seems a deeply unfair call to me.

QLE Posted: September 06, 2019 at 11:53 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cats, cubs, jinx

Inconsistent Cubs Need Uninterrupted Success Soon to Avoid Disappointing Finish

As they go up, they go down. That’s been the Cubs in the second half, ping-ponging between realistic World Series contender and disappointment, between NL Central champion and the precarious position of facing Max Scherzer in a do-or-die playoff game on the road. And for every step forward that Chicago seems to take, it promptly whirls around and walks right back to the start. Thursday’s about-face: a win over Milwaukee, the team’s third in a row, tempered by the news that closer Craig Kimbrel is headed to the injured list with right elbow inflammation.

A month ago, it was the Cubs holding a modest lead over the Cardinals and Brewers, with a high-water mark of 3 1/2 games on St. Louis in the division as of Aug. 8. The Cardinals have gone 21–6 since that date, though, erasing a gap that had persisted throughout the summer. Where once Chicago was the favorite to claim the Central crown, St. Louis now holds the better odds and a 2 1/2-game lead with just three weeks left in the season.

The saving grace for the Cubs is that, while their schedule grows shorter, it still offers plenty of opportunities to make up the deficit—in particular, seven games left against the Cardinals, all coming in the last week-plus of September. Between the first of those meetings (a four-game series at Wrigley Field starting on the 19th) and now, though, Chicago needs to keep it together, and that’s been the hard part. The Cubs continually give off the impression of a Formula 1 car with a cinder block dragging behind it, unable to get up to speed, or like one that, just as it reaches triple digits in miles per hour, has a wheel come flying off.

Either way, the Cubs have struggled to hold what ground they’ve gained, as the lineup, rotation and bullpen all refuse to click together. August saw Jose Quintana post a 2.02 ERA in 35 2/3 innings and Yu Darvish strike out 42 against a single walk; it also featured Kyle Hendricks, Cole Hamels and Jon Lester all putting up ERAs of 5.20 or worse. Offensively, Nick Castellanos has done his best “2017 J.D. Martinez on the Diamondbacks” impression—just as Javy Baez has fallen into a deep funk (.211/.265/.355 since Aug. 8). Even injury replacements come with karmic balancing: Just as Willson Contreras returns from a month-long IL stint (and picked up four hits against the Brewers), Kris Bryant sees his production sapped by a recurring knee problem that’s held him to a .182 batting average in his last 12 games.

Does this mean that all the hype about their building a dynasty and in praise of their methods was naught but a hollow lie?

 

QLE Posted: September 06, 2019 at 07:17 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

September Storylines to Follow as MLB’s Stretch Run Begins

If players are defined by what they do in October, their fates are often sealed in September. This is the month that makes postseason success possible. Divisions will be won, wild-card berths will be secured and MVP races will be decided. Here are the top storylines to follow as summer turns to fall.

1. The Last Division Race Standing

The NL Central was expected to be a three-team race all season, as the Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers expected to be in contention for the division title. St. Louis has been surging in the second half, when Paul Goldschmidt got hot and Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson emerged as a strong one-two rotation duo. Entering play Monday, the Cardinals (76-60) are three games ahead of Chicago in the division after winning eight of their last 10.

The Cubs (73-63), who hold a 2 1/2-game lead for the second wild-card, have been wildly inconsistent for much of the season. Their last three series (nine games) are the perfect example: They got swept at home by the Nationals, then swept the Mets at Citi Field before returning home to Wrigley Field and dropping two of three against Milwaukee. Offensive consistency has been a problem, as has an overworked bullpen with a less-effective Craig Kimbrel as the closer. Chicago is ultra talented, with a lineup anchored by a handful of all-stars. The Cubs are more than capable of rivaling the Cardinals for the division title, making the NL Central a worthy narrative to follow the rest of the way.

So, do we agree with these claims, or are there other stories that could emerge between now and the end of the regular season?


Sunday, September 01, 2019

Cubs activate Zobrist off restricted list following divorce

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs have activated Ben Zobrist from the restricted list to help with their postseason push.

The 38-year-old Zobrist has been out since May 8 while going through a divorce. The 2016 World Series MVP is batting .241 with 10 RBIs in 26 games this year.

Question, for those who may have been keeping tabs on such matters: How common is it to use the restricted list, for these matters or otherwise?

 

QLE Posted: September 01, 2019 at 03:45 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: ben zobrist, cubs

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