Chicago Cubs News: Regular Season and Preseason Updates
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4/17/14: The Cubs signed relief pitcher Jose Veras to a one year, $4 million deal over the winter in hopes that he could be the closer for a year while some of the team's prospects develop. Just two weeks into the season and it looks like the signing was a mistake. He has struggled from the outset, yielding five runs on two hits and seven walks in just 3 2/3 innings. He blew his second save of the season last Friday, and that was enough for manager Rick Renteria to pull the plug on this experiment. If Veras can rebound as a set up guy, then maybe he has trade value in a couple months.
4/10/14: At some point in the future, perhaps within the next two or three years, the Cubs could finally catch their arch rival, the St. Louis Cardinals, and compete for division and league titles, and even a World Series championship. The Cubs have a lot of great prospects developing and will be flush with cash from TV revenues. But they are not there yet. After losing the opening in 10 innings (1-0), the team followed it up with a 16 inning marathon that lasted six hours. They lost that one as well. To add insult to injury, Outfielder Junior Lake wore the wrong jersey in the first inning of the Cubs first win. They will get there, but it has to be a frustrating start to the season.
4/3/14: The Cubs hard luck continued on opening day. The Cubs opened the season against the high-powered Pittsburgh Pirates. Both Chicago and Pittsburgh came out strong in the pitching department and took a 0-0 game into extra innings. That ended when Pirates second baseman Neil Walker turned on a changeup to drill a solo homerun, which was the first walk-off homer by a Pirate on opening day since 1965. The game also featured one first games to feature a coach's challenge. The Cubs did not benefit from that this time around. They also were 0-11 with runners in scoring position.
3/27/14: The Chicago Cubs look to have a pretty good prospect in infielder Javier Baez. Baez has enjoyed a pretty good spring training and has been getting praise during the preseason for his quick bat and potential to go deep. Of course, the Cubs already have a shortstop in Starlin Castro, so Baez would have to be in another position. He has .310 with five homeruns in 14 spring games, but has struck out 13 times. The Cubs played him at second base for a few games recently, but announced that he is going to minor league camp for the rest of the spring. Baez is only 21, and if he can be a more disciplined hitter, then he will be in the big leagues soon enough.
3/20/14: It was not too long ago that Cubs president Theo Epstein put the rest of the Central Division on notice. True, the Cubs have been woeful the past couple of years as they purged payroll and brought up developmental players. And they will likely continue to struggle this season with a young roster. They do have seven of the top 100 prospects with them and at some point should develop into a good team. They also will have deeper pockets due to a new television deal, so they will have the financial means to battle with anyone.
3/13/14: There are certain things that can really irritate a manager, like not sticking to the game plan. The Cubs have this situation on their hands as they work with pitcher Edwin Jackson. Jackson gave up three runs on four hits against the Indians in a spring training game last week. The problem was that he threw only fastballs. All 50 of his pitches were fastballs and it was noticed by the manager. Jackson probably wants to improve himself and knows that his fastball has been a feast for opposing hitters over the last few years. Nonetheless, it does not show much to the coaches when you disregard the game plan and just work on what you want to work on.
3/6/14: If it is March, then that means that Cubs fans still think they have a chance at the World Series. Of course, that is probably a pretty long shot for this season, but the team has put together a nice group of players who can develop into a decent team over time. One of those pieces is starting shortstop Starlin Castro, whom the Cubs hope to be a face of the franchise type player. Unfortunately, Castro suffered a right hamstring strain in a spring training game against the Royals, while sliding into second base. The strain is labeled as mild, but could keep him out of action for a week or so.
2/27/14: The Chicago Cubs expect Cuban pitcher Armando Rivero to be part of the long-term future, so it is not shocking at all that he drew a bit of a crowd when he threw batting practice last week. The Cubs have $3.1 million invested in the youngster and came away impressed with his session. The crowd included president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, General Manager Jed Hoyer, and manager Rick Renteria. Renteria noted that Rivero made good adjustments and that he has a live arm. Rivera looks to be just one of the many pieces the Cubs are putting together as they rebuild and try to become a sustainable contender in the future.
2/20/14: Could the Cubs have a sleeper candidate for the closer's role? It is entirely possible should Arodys Vizcaino show that he is totally healed from an elbow injury in 2012 that required Tommy John surgery. It was reported in December that he had his fastball up to 98 miles per hour, which rivals some of the St. Louis Cardinals young arms and looks like the new standard for both closers and set-up men. He has not pitched in two seasons, but a lot of teams will find a place for a guy that can get up near triple digits on the radar gun.
2/13/14: As the Cubs fans have being saying for over a century - "maybe this is the year". Odds are that it is not, but that will not keep the fans from showing up en masse in a few months. They will still have Jeff Samardzija to cheer on, as he has been one of the few mainstays on the team for the past few years. The Cubs and pitcher avoided arbitration by settling on a one year deal for $5.3 million - which is the midpoint between what each side presented the other. The sides have discussed a long term extension before he is a free agent after the 2015 season, but apparently are still pretty far apart on a deal.
2/6/14: The Cubs are tying to make themselves a relevant ball club again, and that will take time. The team famously committed over $300 million to free agents a few years ago, and that did not work out as well as they had hoped. In fact, the Cubs have been at or near the bottom of the NL Central for the last couple of years as they try to purge the ridiculous contracts they handed out. Now they are going with a more developmental route, and that will probably pan out better than the free spending of past administrations. As a side note, they did try for Marahiro Tanaka from Japan, but he ended up choosing the Yankees.
1/30/14: The Cubs gave it their best shot, but were not able to land prized starting pitcher Marahiro Tanaka from the Japanese league. There was a lot of speculation that the Cubs would spend whatever it took to land the 25 year old ace who went 24-0 last season with a sub 2.0 ERA. The final bids have not been announced, and may never be. However, Tanaka chose the New York Yankees, who offered a seven year deal for $155 million with an opt out after the fourth season. While Chicago probably gave a competitive bid, there were reports that Tanaka wanted to be in New York or L.A.
1/23/14: Don't jinx it, but the Cubs could sneak up on some teams this year. They have done a pretty good job of stockpiling highly talented prospects for the last few years (since Theo Epstein has been in charge), and may be only a year or so away from making a major move in the National League. The Cubs are in the mix for Japanese league star Marahiro Tanaka, and that would bolster their pitching. It is not far fetched to believe that with Tanaka and another year of development, that the Cubs could contend for the NL Central title against their hated rival - the St. Louis Cardinals (who always seem to have talent at the ready).
1/16/14: For a team that is rebuilding and could use some starting pitching, the Cubs may have just gotten a wonderful present thrown in their laps. Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka is taking his tour of Major League Baseball and has the luxury of essentially being a prize free agent in a pitching-starved market. Tanaka is renowned in Japan and won 25 games last season (and no losses). He is set to be the next star from Japan and only wants to play in certain markets. Los Angeles, New York, and Boston may be at the top of his wish list, but he will also meet with both Chicago teams. The Cubs could use some starting pitching. Even though he has only played in Japan, he could be a great pitcher - some think he is better than Yu Darvish at this point in his career.
1/9/14: Former Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot retired earlier this week after eight major league seasons. He did not play in 2013 and now finally calls it a day. He had a career line of .281/341/350 and 17 home runs. He played with four teams in his career, but got the most attention when he was with the Cubs. He did find himself in some trouble with Chicago fans after he landed in St. Louis and told a Chicago radio station that he was finally on "the right side of the rivalry". He will never make Cooperstown, but was a fun guy to follow.
1/2/14: The Cubs look like they may be getting into the Japanese import business for the first time in their history. Chicago is no stranger to signing big contracts, but they have traditionally done it domestically. However, they appear to be in the running for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Interest parties must put up the $20 million posting fee (refundable if the team does not sign the player), then negotiate against the other interested teams. Since there is an expensive and high profile player available, the Yankees are interested as well. Recall, Theo Epstein signed Dice-K out of Japan back when he was with Boston.
12/26/13: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro recently had $3.5 million seized in a legal dispute with a baseball school in the Dominican Republic. Reportedly, Castro's father made a deal with the school several years ago promising the school a percentage of his future earnings as tuition. Castro signed a $60 million deal in 2012, so losing $3.5 million should not send him to the soup lines. It may be different in the Dominican Republic, but U.S. law does not allow this type of contract, even with the parents of a teenager. This may take some time to work out.
12/19/12: Whether or not the Cubs had a real interest in Joba Chamberlain may never be fully known. However, it is a moot point as Joba signed a deal with the Detroit Tigers last week. Otherwise, the team has been somewhat quiet. They did sign Ryan Roberts to a minor league deal, though. Roberts had a few good seasons with the D'Backs a few years back then signed his first big contract with the Rays. He then proceeded to struggle for two years. He can play second and third base, as well as left field, so it looks like he would be a bench guy for the Cubs.
12/12/13: As the Cubs rebuild, they must look for pitching values. It appears now that the team is interested in one-time super Yankees prospect and young arm Joba Chamberlain. The Yankees famously mis-managed his early years and he ended up a bullpen pitcher (with some success) as opposed to starting pitcher (which was not as successful - hence he ended up in the bullpen). Chamberlain has missed pretty much all of the past three years with a variety of major injuries. He could be considered an obvious bounce back candidate, but one that comes with major injury risks.
12/5/13: It seems that the Cubs are trying to follow the Boston Red Sox in every aspect. Of course, the Cubs hired Theo Epstein to turn their franchise around, as he was the brains behind rebuilding the Sox a decade ago. The Cubs are now following Boston's lead by getting approval to sell beer outside of Wrigley Field similar to what the Red Sox do outside of Fenway. This allows ticket holders to go in and out of the stadium and still get their libations and concessions. There are still several obstacles to overcome before it happens, but could be a good revenue source for the team.
11/28/13: The Chicago Cubs continue to install a new coaching infrastructure, one they hope will serve them better than those of the past 105 years. The team announced that they added Bill Mueller as their hitting coach and Brandon Hyde as a bench coach. Mueller played 11 season in the big leagues and was with the Cubs in 2001 and 2002. He also won a batting title and finished his career with an impressive .292 average. The Cubs hope that his skill rubs off on their young roster so the can be competitive in the NL Central in the near future.
11/21/13: For over a century, the Cubs' unofficial team slogan has been "Wait til next season". Of course, that is as true now as it ever has been. Chicago is probably a year or more from being a true threat in the NL Central, but they do have some pretty solid prospects developing in their minor leagues. For example, prospect Kris Bryant was named the Arizona Fall League MVP last week. Bryant is a third baseman who was selected number two overall in the June draft. In twenty games in the AZ league, he hit .364/.457/.727 with six homers, eight doubles and 18 RBIs for the Mesa Solar Sox.
11/14/13: The Cubs' managerial search came to an end last week when the team hired Rick Renteria to replace Dale Sveum. Sveum lasted only two years in Chicago and had a problem of losing a lot of games. That was compounded by the perception from the club that the team's young talent was not developing at the proper pace. This is Renteria's first managerial position, though he has been a major league coach since 2008. Most recently, he was the bench coach of the San Diego Padres and is known as a good communicator to young talent.
11/7/13: Another week and another week without a manager for the Chicago Cubs - not that it is critical right now to name a manager. However, once again one of their potential candidates took himself off the market. A few weeks ago the team was obvious about wanting Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Girardi, of course, stayed with the Yankes and the Cubs have been scrambling ever since. The team interviewed Diamondbacks coach and special assistant Brad Ausmus last Friday. However, he was named manager of the Detroit Lions on Saturday. Chicago has interviewed six candidates and is reported to favor someone with whom they are familiar with.
10/31/13: The Cubs are inching ever closer to finding a new manager. Two years ago, it seemed like former Cubs legend and minor league manager Ryne Sandberg was the obvious choice, but the Cubs bypassed him for Dale Sveum - though no one knows why. Sandberg left the organization and is now the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cubs are expected to interview former Seattle Mariners' manager Eric Wedge. Wedge had a nasty breakup with the Mariners, but could be a good choice for the North Siders. With Joe Girardi out of the mix, there are not really any big names left, but that should not be the concern now.
10/24/13: There will be a lot of talk surrounding the Chicago Cubs and their prospects over the next couple of years, so this is just a sampling. Chicago was awful this past season and that is no secret or surprise. They did not call up many prospects in September because most of them were simply not ready. They did call up left handed pitcher Brooks Raley, though. Raley is a finesse pitcher with an unorthodox delivery. He also has command issues and gave up six runs in 11 innings with the Cubs. However, if he can develop, then he could be a thorn in the side of the Cardinals, who traditionally do not hit lefties well.
10/17/13: The Cubs are still in the market for a new manager to replace Dale Sveum. Chicago had hoped to hire Joe Girardi. Girardi has been the Yankees' manager for the past few seasons and has ties to Chicago. However, Girardi decided to stay with New York and signed a four year extension before he could test the free agent market, saying that his family is comfortable there and the Yankees are always competitive. That last remark could be considered a dig at Chicago, but that would assume that Cubs' fans are hypersensitive about their team's dismal record.
10/10/13: The Chicago Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum immediately after the regular season ended - and that surprised no one. Not many managers who fail to win even 130 games in two years are going to last. Sveum was always considered a transition guy until the team could purge its payroll and bring up their prospects. The big question in the Windy City is who is the next one to continue the 100+ year tradition of not winning the World Series. Joe Girardi is on the list and Ryne Sandberg may be considered if the Phillies do not make him the full time manager.
10/3/13: It was not much of a surprise, but the Chicago Cubs fired Dale Sveum on the first day after the regular season ended. Sveum was the manager for the past two seasons, going 61-101 in 2012 and 66-96 in 2013. Sveum cannot be blamed alone for the record - the Cubs have basically fielded a minor league team for the past two years as they try to develop their own players. However, there was apparently concern on how he handled younger players. There will be a lot of speculation on who will be the next manager, and one is named, it all starts with Joe Girardi.
9/26/13: The Cubs have decided against releasing reliever Kevin Grigg after Grigg apologized for his comments to president Theo Epstien. Grigg was upset that the Cubs are going with Pedro Strop in the closer role down the stretch. The Cubs insist that they want to get a look at Strop in live games, which only makes sense. What it may indicate is that Strop may get the closer role next season, so Grigg may very well have a position battle on his hands in spring training. The question is how many save opportunities will the Cubs have next year?
9/19/13: The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals have one of the longest and best rivalries in Major League Baseball. It is similar to Yankees and Red Sox, without the violence. The rivalry has not been too exciting the past few years while the Cubs struggled and now rebuild -- and perhaps it is a bit of truce for now. The Cubs are actually helping the Cardinals. The team scored some important wins, particularly against Pittsburgh, which allow the Cards to get back into first place in the NL Central. St. Louis needs to win the division outright to avoid wild-card status because the Pirates hole the tie-breaker.
9/12/13: It is now official - the Cubs fans can say "Wait until next year" with complete immunity. Chicago was officially eliminated from post-season play this week, though they have not had a chance at the playoffs for the past few years. The team is still rebuilding, and it will probably take a few more seasons before Theo Epstein's vision can come true. The Cubs are mostly playing prospects at this point and getting a read on their future. One thing is for certain, the future is not now. The Cubs are almost 25 games out of first place. Wait until next year.
9/4/13: The Cubs have done an admirable job in shedding their roster of overpaid struggling veterans with cheaper up and coming players. They did decide to ink shortstop Starlin Castro and first baseman Mike Rizzo to long term deals, assuming they would be cornerstones of the rebuilt franchise. Both had early success, but have struggled recently, so the jury is still out on those two players. The team will undoubtedly be better next year - that is just the simple arc of player development. But how much better and when will they be competitive are the key questions.
8/29/13: The Cubs are expected to make a play for Reds outfielder Shin Shoo Choo in the offseason, once he is a free agent. Remember, the Cubs traded away both Alphonso Soriano and David DeJesus this season, so there is a glaring need in the outfield. This is outside the model of internal development that the Cubs have preached for the past two years, but occasionally it pays off to bring in a free agent veteran to provide stability and leadership to a young squad. Choo fits the mold and would be a welcome addition to the North Siders as they continue to rebuild their franchise.
8/22/13: Even when the Cubs do right, they don't do right. Case in point: in a one run game against St. Louis, Matt Carpenter hit a pop up to Cubs' shortstop Starlin Castro with John Jay on third base. The play was ruled as an infield fly. Castro caught the ball and seemed to forget there was only one out. While Castro loafed, Jay paid attention, tagged up, and scored. Castro was pulled from the game at the end of the inning for his mental error. The Cardinals went on to win 4-0. No doubt it has been a tough year for the Cubs, though a veteran like Castro should have known better.
8/15/13: The regular trade deadline passed at the end of July, but baseball has some strange rules that still allow trades in certain situations. The Cubs may be interested in playing this game and have a few chips they may be willing to part with as they continue on with their mammoth overhaul. For starters, a reliever. Closer Kevin Gregg, at age 35, has actually been pretty good this season since he was plucked off of the Dodgers' scrap pile. His battery mate, Donnier Navarro could also be a nice pick up for a team looking for a catcher. So while the big names may be gone, the Cubs still have some inventory left.
8/8/13: Theo Epstein may take the credit for moving second baseman/outfielder Alphanso Soriano at the trade deadline - but that really speaks to the Yankees' desparation to getting an upgrade offensively - even if Soriano is only hitting .254. But the deal is done and the Cubs no longer have Soriano - just $17 million of the $25 million owed to him this year. This was all to be expected though. The Cubs never had a chance this season and their best move was likely to purge the roster and payroll and develop cheaper and younger talent. And as they (always) say in Chicago "Wait till next year".
8/1/13: The Cubs finally rid themselves of Alphonso Soriano, sending him back to the team from whence he originally came. Chicago and the New York Yankees finally agreed on a deal to return Soriano to the Bronx. Soriano was traded to the Texas Rangers a few years ago in the Alex Rodriguez deal, then signed a massive contract as a free agent with the Cubs. Chicago will still pay most of Soriano's contract this year (some $17 million of it), and it will give the Yankees a mild upgrade in offense for the stretch run to the playoffs.
7/25/13: The Chicago Cubs Dollar Days are in full swing, with 29 year old pitcher Matt Garza the biggest trading chip the team has left. Most indications are the that the team will trade the pitcher to the Texas Rangers, though the teams are still working out a deal. It would probably be a good trade for both sides. The Rangers need more pitching to make the playoffs and the Cubs need strong prospects to rebuild their battered team. Alphonso Soriano may be on the trading block as well, but it remains to be seen if anyone still wants him and his huge contract.
7/18/13: Since the Cubs will not be going to the playoffs (again) this season, the trade deadline is about as close as they will come to gaining anything of significance. They still have Matt Garza on the roster, but there is little doubt that the team will deal him in the near future. So far, it looks like the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers are the front runners. Why the Blue Jays would deal prospects in questionable, as they need to rebuild themselves. Texas is more realistic, since they could win their division or at least make a wild card appearance.
7/11/13: The expected fire sale from the Cubs has begun. This time it is starting pitcher Scott Feldman. Feldman signed with the Cubsin the offseason and has had a decent year by Cubs standards so far. He is 7-6 with a 3.46 ERA. He was shipped off to Baltimore for starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, reliever Pedro Strop and international signing slots in a future draft. GM Theo Epstein is proving that he has no emotional ties to any player and is trying to add depth and young talent to his roster to compete in future seasons. It is a far cry from previous GMs who would simply try to sign big names in the offseason.
7/4/13: There is not a lot to say about the Cubs that has not been said already. Everyone and their brother knew that the team would struggle this year. They spent the last two seasons purging the roster and ridding themselves of overpriced and underproducing veterans. They are giving the young guys a chance. It does not show in the standings, but the team is improving. With the trade deadline approaching at the end of the month, players like Starlin Castro and Matt Garza may be on the trade block as the Cubs try to follow the Cardinals' lead in developing a tremendously deep farm system.
6/27/13: The Cubs went down to St.Louis for a four game series, hoping that their natural rivalry would give them some extra pop. The two squads split the first two games, but then the Cardinals showed why they are the best in the business these days. St. Louis easily dispatched the Cubs in the third and fourth games, leaving little doubt about who owns who. Chicago will have a representative for the All-Star Game, but no one knows who. Starlin Castro has been average this year, so he does not deserve it. Possibly pitcher Jeff Smardzja or first baseman Mike Rizzo may make the team as a manager's pick.
6/20/13: There is not much to say about this year's Cubs team except that they show up to the ballpark everyday. That is meant to be taken literally, not in the fashion that they give everybody they face a struggle. But every team must have a representative on the All-Star teams. The best candidate is pitcher Travis Wood, who is among the league leaders in hits per nine innings, ERA, and WHIP. Wood looks to be the cornerstone ace of the franchise as they rebuild. The Cubs will be able to offer him a big contract when that time comes, the question is if they can be patient enough for the rest of their young squad to develop.
6/6/13: While the Cubs continue to develop as a young team, their PR department is busy touting all the prospects that fans will see in the next few years. Head man Theo Epstien seems determined to build the franchise from the draft up and have a competitive team year in and year out. It seems they are taking a page from the St. Louis Cardinals, who seem to be in the playoffs every year. If not, then they are right on the doorstep. The Cardinals also have a tremendously deep farm system, allowing them to bring in replacements at a moment's notice. As much as Cubs fans may hate to admit it, they must be envying the Cardinals right now.
6/6/13: Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija is developing into a strong front of the rotation guy. He had another strong outing over the weekend, holding the Diamondbacks to a single run through six innings - leaving the game in line for the win with a 3-1 lead. But the Cubs bullpen would have something to say about the out come of this game, as they allowed 11 runs in the final three frames, handing the Cubs an embarrassing 12-4 loss. The loss ended the Cubs five game winning streak, though they are still ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers. But this can be expected from a rebuilding team, and it does show that they are improving. Well, except in the bullpen.
5/30/13: Finally something exciting out of the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are better than expected so far this season, but they are still among lower tier of teams in the league. However, that is what long standing rivalries are for. It is no secret that the Cubs, Cardinals, and Reds do not like each other very much. So the Cubs and Reds renewed their hard feelings when Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto threw a ball over David DeJesus' head because DeJesus was taking a while to settle into the batters box. Cubs pitcher Matt Garza called Cueto out saying he should grow up. Reds manager Dusty Baker wants to lock the two in a room and have them fight it out, because, in his words, he is 'old school'.
5/23/13: The best news that north Chicago could hear came true: the Cubs are not in last place. The recent slide by the Milwaukee Brewers has put the Cubs in 4th place. Is this the start of an improbable run to the pennant? Could the young team turn things around over the next four months to gain entrance into the playoffs? Not likely, but it does show that the rebuilding program is in place. Giving the youngsters a chance to play at the major league level will only help their development. Add in a couple of pitchers and capable veterans, and this could be a contender in a year or two.
5/16/13: As expected this season, the Cubs are not putting up much of a fight on the field. The team is in last place in the NL Central at 16-13. But they have gone 5-5 over their last ten. To be fair, they are not as bad as expected, and they are developing talent for the future. One of the benefits the Cubs have is that they will still get crowds and support no matter how bad the team is - so they have the financial and fan cushion to embark on a long rebuilding project. One of those cornerstones is first baseman Anthony Rizzo. The Cubs signed him to a $41 million, seven year contract - which is well below market rate for starting first baseman these days.
5/9/13: Cubs owner Tom Rickets dug into the Owner's Bag of Trick this past week by 'threatening' to move the team out of Wrigley Field. Rickets is crying poverty and says the Cubs need to have a jumbotron scoreboard in the outfield in order to make ad revenue and support the team. Rooftop owners are opposed to this, claiming they will be put out of business. The Cubs are a minority owner in a couple rooftop seat locations. But this is a hallow threat. The Cubs were the most profitable team in the majors last year. As one writer put it, if the Cubs move, they will be the White Sox with out World Series Championship in the past 100 years.
4/25/13: The Cubs are right where everyone expected them to be - in dead last place in the NL Central division. The starting pitching has been solid. They are fourth best in the league in ERA and lead the league in opponents batting average at .208. Unfortunately, their bullpen has been awful and they seem allergic to fielding the ball. The good thing for Cubs' fans is that they are used to this, as they are used to saying 'wait till next year'. In the meantime, they can enjoy the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field and all the amenities the park and neighborhood have to offer.
4/4/13: The Cubs are in first place! Remember that, Cubs fans, when October (or May) comes around. Chicago won on opening day at Pittsburgh 3-1. Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija pitched eight nearly perfect innings against the Pirates. JS got the starting job almost by default, but he may end up being a quality pitcher yet. First baseman Anthony Rizzo hit a two run homer in the first inning and Wellington Castillo added a run scoring double. Many people (especially Cardinals fans) remember that the team has not won the World Series since 1908. But GM Theo Epstein may be building something in the Windy City.
3/28/13: While the Cardinals, Brewers, and Reds are dreaming about winning the World Series, there is a much more subdued tone in Chicago. The Cubs and their fans realize this is a rebuilding year (the 105th consecutive rebuilding year for the club), but Chicago may be better than expected. The team that lost over 100 games last season has been repaired. Theo Epstein looks like he is about finished gutting the roster and purging high priced veterans. This is a ballclub that is rebuilding through internal talent, which means that the Cubs may not compete this year, but will be formidable foes in the near future.
3/21/13: Cubs fans are buzzing about Javier Baez - the 20 year old shortstop who is ranked #16 in the nation by Baseball America. Baez is having a great spring training, with four home runs and batting over .300. Both Mike Trout and Bryce Harper came in at 19 or 20 years old and set the league on fire. Cubs fans think they have the same thing with Baez. They should remember that they also have Sterlin Castro at shortstop, so Baez may need to find another position. Baez will likely start the season at A or AA ball, but most expect the Cubs to call him up to the big leagues some time during the regular season.
3/14/13: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro - possibly the only big league worthy player on the roster - returned to spring training after resting a hamstring injury. Manager Dale Sveum said that Castro would have played if it had been the regular season, but took some extra rest as a training precaution. The team also is reported to try to make Wrigley Field more kid friendly and is even exploring the idea of a mascot. For those that have visited the Friendly Confines, they will surely recognize the heavy use of beer in bleachers, which is popular among young adults.
3/7/13: Chicago has a big decision to make on pitcher Matt Garza. Garza was solid and showed great potential in his early days, but has been hampered by injuries. The team may have tried to move him last season, but he got hurt. Now he has had another setback, so the Cubs need to decide to keep him (possibly restructuring his contract) or trade him at below market value. Keeping him is expensive, and the team is no where near ready to compete for the NL Central this season. On the other hand, if they hold on to him for another couple of years, they could have a strong rotation as their prospects come of age.
2/28/13: Another year, another year without a World Series. At least that is what Cardinals fans would say about the Cubs. And it is probably true this year as well. General Manager Theo Epstein is still cleaning up the roster mess left by his predecessors. He has done an admirable job of purging worthless, aging, expensive veterans and has a few top notch prospects in his pocket. Four were named as Top Prospects by Baseball America, including Javier Baez (#16), Albert Almora (#33), Jorge Soler (#34), and Arodys Vizcaino (#83). So another couple of years and the Cubs may be competitive again.
2/21/13: Chicago is completely redoing their roster. Theo Epstein obviously has his hands deep within the roster bag as the Cubs have acquired four starting pitchers in the offseason: Edwin Jackson, Scott Baker, Scott Feldman, and Carlos Villanueva. Additionally, they have brought in countless free agents at just about every position. This cannot hurt the Cubs. Last season was an unmitigated disaster as the team lost over 100 games. Much of that was due to huge contracts the Cubs gave declining players a few years ago, so it was time to clean house and start from scratch.
11/29/12: The Cubs continue to try to rebuild their rotation, which has lost key members such as Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster over the past twelve months. The team signed a one year agreement with right hander Scott Feldman. Feldman spent the last 8 seasons with the Texas Rangers with mixed results. He was originally a 30th round pick of the Rangers in 2003, yet made the majors in two years, and sported a 0.90 ERA as in bullpen and relief in his rookie season. He notched 17 wins a couple seasons ago, but has had some knee issues in more recent season. He will get a heavy dose of the Cardinals, who abused him in the 2011 World Series.
11/22/12: The Cubs made some moves on Tuesday in setting their 40-man roster. The team signed four minor league players, prospects they hope can contribute sooner than later as the team rebuilds. But the Cubs designated fan favorite Brian LaHair for assignment to make room on the roster. LaHair was a feel good story on a bad team last season. He was a career minor leaguer who was given a chance in the Show. He started off very hot and even earned a spot as an All-Star reserve. He cooled off in the second half and finished batting .259 with 16 home runs. The team now is looking at an opportunity for him to play next season in Japan.
11/15/12: Cubs fans, meet your newest player. Scott Baker. Baker spent the last seven seasons as a starting pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. He is a reliable, if unspectacular, starter, going 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA. Baker missed the end of 2011 and all of 2012 with an elbow ligament injury and underwent Tommy John surgery. In 2011, he posted 23 starts with a 3.14 ERA. Of course it is risky to sign a pitcher of TJ surgery, but it is only a one year deal and several other pitchers have recovered well. If nothing else, he should help the Cubs out in the short term, as the Cubs have a serious need for starting pitching.
11/8/12: As desperate as the Cubs are for starting pitching, there are more desperate teams out there. Like the Kansas City Royals. The Cubs put pitcher Chris Volstad on waivers and the Royals picked him up. Volstad was acquired by Chicago last offseason in the trade that sent disgruntled pitcher Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins. But Chris Volstad had a terrible year in Wrigleyville. He won only 3 game while losing 12 and posting 6.31 ERA over 21 starts. He has chance to make a fresh start in KC, a young and talented team on the rise.
11/1/12: It is no secret that Cubs need pitching, and the team plans to address that through free agency this winter. Both the starting rotation and the bullpen need help at this point, so GM Jed Hoyer is promising to open up the wallet and pay for it. The team has no other choice in the near term, as their prospects are not ready for the big leagues yet. But many fans remember the last time the Cubs went on a spending spree a few years ago and added $300 million in payroll. That yeilded nothing except for the last two seasons being miserable because of overpaid veterans who could not play any more.
10/18/12: After a 101 loss season, the Cubs are probably going shopping this offseason. They still finished ahead of the Houston Astros, but make no mistake, this team is a long way from being competitive. Right now, the only way to find them on top of the NL Central is in an alphabetical listing. Some free agents the Cubs may consider are pitchers Shaun Marcum (Brewers), Jake Peavy (White Sox), Edwin Jackson (Nationals), Joe Blanton (Dodgers) and third baseman Jeff Keppinger. The Cubs do have a lot of resources, but the blank check writing of the previous administration is what got them into trouble in the first place.
10/4/12: Many said it couldn't be done, but the Cubs and Astros proved them wrong. The two clubs became the first teams in the same division to both lose over 100 games in a season. The Astros were a shoo-in to lose those games as they have dumped any legitimate big league player on their roster over the past two seasons. But the Cubs had to come from behind and use their minor league callups in the second half to secure their place in history. Amazingly, even with losing 101 games, that number is still less than the number of years since their last World Series championship.
8/16/12: Look who is back in the playoff hunt. With the Cincinnati Reds not giving up much ground for the NL Central lead, the Cardinals are looking to one of two wild-card spots for the postseason. While the Redbirds have toiled in third place for the past two months, the team has played better of late, is getting healthy, and (most importantly) the Pirates are falling back to earth. With the St. Louis win over Arizona and the Dodgers beating Pittsburg on Wednesday, the Cardinals moved into a tie for both second place in the division and a tie for the second wild-card spot.
8/2/12: In a surprise to no one, the Cubs held a fire sale to purge their roster of high-priced veterans and acquire prospects. After vetoing a trade to the Braves and intense speculation that the Dodgers would be the landing spot, Ryan Dempster was dealt to the Texas Rangers. Dempster gives the Rangers the finishing touches on a rotation that can fend off the Angels down the stretch. The Cubs would like to get rid of Alphanso Soriano and the $44 million he is owed over the next two years. Soriano would prefer to join the Dodgers. Though no trade materialized, it is still possible to move him through the waiver process.
7/26/12: The Cubs came into St. Louis hoping to raise the value of pitchers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza before the trade deadline, but nothing seemed to work. The Cardinals ruined Dempster's ERA and scoreless inning streak with 4 runs early en route to a 4-1 victory. Garza pitched 3 strong scoreless innings before suffering tricep cramps and coming out of the game. Initial rumors were that the Cubs had traded Garza to the Dodgers and had to pull him to avoid injury, but it seems he just had some minor arm issues. The Cubs ended up surrendering 12 runs in the 7th, tying a major league record, and lost 12-0.
First baseman Brian LaHair has emerged as a star for the Chicago Cubs. The 29-year-old has been a late bloomer in only his second major league season, but its better late than never for the Cubs, who are struggling offensively. LaHair currently ranks sixth in the National League in home runs (12), third in slugging percentage (.598) and fourth in OPS (.988). His .311 batting average leads the team, along with his home runs and OPS. The Cubs hope LaHair's offensive production can catch on the the rest of the club as they attempt to climb out of the basement of the NL Central.
5/31/12 - The Chicago Cubs are on a winning streak. After a 12 game losing streak, the Cubs came back to sweep the San Diego Padres. The Cubs will depart for a ten game road trip with stops in San Francisco, Milwaukee and Minnesota. During the three game sweep the Cubs did not score less than five runs in a game, something they only accomplished twice during their losing streak. If the offensive production stays at this level, this winning streak could continue thanks to their already consistent pitching. Shortstop Starlin Castro, batting .317 on the season, is also riding a seven game hit streak.
5/23/12: For over a century, the standings have little to do with Chicago Cubs baseball, and the same holds true at the quarter point of the 2012 season. True the Cubs are in last place in the National League, and are already seven games behind the Reds and Cardinals, but Cubs fans have never let wins define them. The big news this week was the abrupt retirement of long-time pitcher Kerry Wood. Wood was a phenom when he entered the league some 13 years ago, even striking out 20 his rookie season. In fitting fashion, his struck out his last batter.
5/15/12: The Cubs and Cardinals renewed their century-plus long rivalry this week, splitting a two game series. The Cubs won the first match 6-4, but the notable statistic is that pitcher Ryan Dempster made is 15th consecutive start without a win, however he is only 0-1 on the season and entered the game with a majors-best 1.02 ERA. Bryan LaHair continues to own the Cardinals, belting his ninth homer of the season (and fourth against the Cardinals). The Cubs must regroup quickly and head back home to face Philadelphia, and a chance to move up from fifth place in the NL Central.
5/11/12: The Chicago Cubs continue to struggle, standing at 12-17 and 6 games behind the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs headed into a three-game series with Atlanta and had to be concerned about a Braves team that swept Colorado and scored 29 runs doing so. However, in game one of the series, Jeff Samardzija limited the Braves so a solo Jason Heyward homerun and four hits, while blasting three homers of their own. Samardzija, the former Notre Dame star wide receiver, is enjoying his best season as a professional, standing at 5-1 with an ERA under 3.00.
5/3/12: The Cubs are struggling, as expected, this season, starting at 8-15 in their first 22 games, and settling in last place in the NL Central. Chicago may be getting some pitching relief as both Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood have declared themselves fit to resume play. Manager Dale Sveum indicated that Wood may return as a 7th-inning set up man rather than his traditional 8th inning spot. Journeyman Bryan LaHair continues to impress. He had two walk-off RBIs against the Cardinals in the previous week, and leads the team with five home runs, has hit safely in 19 straight games, and is batting .390 on the young season.
4/24/12: While the Cubs are struggling overall this season, they were able to steal the opening game of a three-game set against their archrivals St. Louis on Monday, April 23. Card's lefty Jaime Garcia pitched 7.2 great innings, allowing only one run on 85 pitches. Closer Jason Motte entered the ninth and surrendered a walk-off 2-run single to former Cardinal Joe Mather. The late-inning heroics was only the fifth of the season for the Cubs, and moved them six behind NL Central leader St. Louis. The Cubs lost two of three in St. Louis last week, and look to win the series on Tuesday and Wedndesday.
4/18/12: The Theo Epstein era has yet to yield any tangible returns for the long-suffering Cubs, and the traditional "June Swoon" may have started early. Through 11 games, the Cubs are last in the NL Central at 3-11, having lost 3 consecutive twice already. One of the few bright moments thus far was the 9-5 victory in home opener of archrival St. Louis. The Cubs jumped to a 9-0 lead, chasing Adam Wainwright (returning from Tommy John surgery) after three innings. Bryan LaHair hit his first career grand slam, providing pitcher Jeff Samardzija enough cushion to survive five Cardinal runs in the fifth inning.
Chicago Cubs Tickets - The North Chicago Cubbies of Old!
Take a trip to the north side of Chicago, and you'll see the astronomical and wonderful Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs. As members of the Central Division of the National League, here was a team that had been through so many ups and downs in its history; but without a doubt, the team had its moments. The club was created back in 1870 and was founded professionally the very next year. But for 102 years, the team had never won a World Series.
Chicago Cub Tickets - A Fun-Loving Roster
From the very beginning, the Cubs had their legends -- Hack Wilson, Gabby Hartnett, and Roger Hornsby. But nothing could compare than to later, in the year specifically of 1998 when the indomitable Sammy Sosa started charging for the home run race against the likes of Ken Griffey Jr. and Mark McGuire. Other greats include Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, and Henry Rodriguez.
Chicago Cub Tickets - The Biggest Reason Why to See the Windy City Up North
Forget the whole 'Lovable Losers' moniker for the fact that this was a team that hadn't won a World Series for God knows how long. But you couldn't deny the beauty and history that was Harry Caray singing his baseball song to the crowd right in Wrigley Field. Simply wonderful.
Chicago Cubs Tickets - Team History
Chicago Cubs tickets allow fans the opportunity to experience one of baseball's most storied franchises. The Cubs, based in Chicago since 1870, have won two World Series championships to go along with 16 NL pennants. The Clubs play at legendary Wrigley Field on Chicago's north side and have called it home since the park opened in 1916. Grab some Cubs tickets and enjoy a game at Wrigley this season!
Chicago Cubs Tickets - Season Info
The Chicago Cubs are definitely a team undergoing a transition, but even with some major changes, including a new manager in Mike Quade, high expectations are the norm on Chicago's north side. A strong rotation of Carlos Zambrano and Matt Garza keep the Cubbies right in the mix of the NL Central.
Chicago Cubs- Season Info June
The cubs return home after going 2-8 this week. Hopefully they will have better luck at their home field, but they have some tough competition on the way. In the next two weeks they will be facing the Brewers, the Yankees and the White Sox.
The Brewers took two of three at home over the Chicago Cubs in early April, but the Cubs are fighting back. Two for three in the Brewers series so far, the Cubs have one more game to go. This weekend they will take on the New York Yankees.
After a losing series against both the White Sox and the Royals, the Chicago Cubs are facing off against the San Francisco Giants to finish off the week. The Cubs lost the first game of the series, but are hoping to redeem themselves with the 2 remaining games against the Giants.
The Chicago Cubs have had a tough week, with five losses and only one win against the White Sox. Chicago is now hoping to avoid a four-game series sweep on Thursday.
The Chicago Cubs managed to pull through and get a "W" against the Nationals in the 4th game. They have yet to secure a winning series this month, after a 1-2 series against the Pirates, and a 1-3 series against the Marlins. Hopefully they have better luck against the Phillies this week.
The Cubs finished their series against the Astros with an impressive 3-game sweep. They have not been so lucky, however, against the Brewers. They are down 2, with one game remaining at Miller Park tomorrow.
Chicago Cubs Tickets - Ticket Information
Chicago Cubs tickets ensure that fans see the Cubs playing top contenders throughout the entire MLB season. With matchups with great teams like the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals and non-divisional meetings with the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies throughout the season, the Cubs will have plenty of opportunity to test themselves against top talent in 2011. Be a part of this great tradition and don't miss the action!
Chicago Cubs Schedule & Key Dates
Opening Day / Chicago Cubs First Game 2014
Chicago Cubs Regular Season Last Game 2014
Chicago Cubs Spring Training Beginning 2014
CUBS SCORES4 wins, 9 losses (30.8%)
Apr 10, 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates 5 - 4 Chicago Cubs Apr 9, 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates 5 - 7 Chicago Cubs Apr 8, 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates 7 - 6 Chicago Cubs Apr 5, 2014 Philadelphia Phillies 2 - 0 Chicago Cubs Mar 29, 2014 Spring Training: Chicago Cubs 9 - 8 Arizona Diamondbacks Mar 27, 2014 Spring Training: Chicago White Sox 3 - 4 Chicago Cubs Mar 26, 2014 Spring Training: Chicago Cubs 4 - 14 Arizona Diamondbacks Mar 25, 2014 Spring Training: Los Angeles Angels 8 - 4 Chicago Cubs
Apr 18, 2014 Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago Cubs Apr 19, 2014 Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago Cubs Apr 20, 2014 Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago Cubs Apr 21, 2014 Arizona Diamondbacks vs Chicago Cubs Apr 22, 2014 Arizona Diamondbacks vs Chicago Cubs Apr 23, 2014 Arizona Diamondbacks vs Chicago Cubs Apr 24, 2014 Arizona Diamondbacks vs Chicago Cubs Apr 25, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs Milwaukee Brewers Apr 26, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs Milwaukee Brewers Apr 27, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs Milwaukee Brewers Apr 28, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds Apr 29, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds Apr 30, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs Cincinnati Reds May 2, 2014 St. Louis Cardinals vs Chicago Cubs May 3, 2014 St. Louis Cardinals vs Chicago Cubs May 4, 2014 St. Louis Cardinals vs Chicago Cubs May 5, 2014 Chicago White Sox vs Chicago Cubs May 6, 2014 Chicago White Sox vs Chicago Cubs May 7, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox May 8, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs Chicago White Sox May 9, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs Atlanta Braves May 10, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs Atlanta Braves May 11, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs Atlanta Braves May 12, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals May 13, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals May 14, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals May 15, 2014 Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals May 16, 2014 Milwaukee Brewers vs Chicago Cubs May 17, 2014 Milwaukee Brewers vs Chicago Cubs May 18, 2014 Milwaukee Brewers vs Chicago Cubs