Weekend Update … The Countdown to Ricketts

The week ahead will be a very exciting time for the Chicago National League Ball Club. Reports on Friday indicated the Ricketts Family would take control of the organization by the end of next week. Bruce Levine reported Saturday morning Tom Ricketts would assume control on Tuesday … after the final hurdle of the bankruptcy filing takes place on Monday.

Tom Ricketts will be officially announced as the new owner of the Cubs during a press conference at Wrigley Field on Friday, October 30.

Here’s the rest of the weekend update, including notes of Jim Hendry’s time on Talkin’ Baseball …

Jim Hendry on Talkin’ Baseball

The Cubs’ GM joined Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood Saturday morning to talk a little Cubs’ baseball.

Hendry began the segment by saying how happy he is to have Rudy Jaramillo on the staff. Hendry said it was a good week for the Chicago Cubs. Hendry added Jaramillo would be a great addition to the coaching staff that already includes an outstanding pitching coach.

Hendry went on to explain they added the premier hitting coach in the game and after last season he feels this is what the team needed most. He added that you can’t play the game without confidence and he feels Jaramillo instills confidence in the players.

Hendry said Jaramillo is better (hitting coach) than anyone in the game.

Bruce Levine switched the subject to the Ricketts Family taking over next week. Tom Ricketts becoming the organizations new owner is a “great thing” according to Hendry. Ricketts loves Chicago, loves the Cubs and has a lot of passion to be the owner. Hendry admitted he does not know Tom Ricketts too well right now but is looking forward to getting to know him. He added Ricketts will give stability to the organizations for decades to come … even after Hendry is gone.

Jonathan Hood asked Hendry what was the most disappointing part of 2009. Hendry quickly answered with “not making the playoffs.” He is happy that the Cubs made the post-season in two of the last three years and if they continue to make the playoffs in two out of every three years they will “eventually kick the door down.” Hendry, by no means, sounded happy or satisfied with the way the team played.

The expectations have been raised greatly for the Cubs according to Hendry. Teams are under daily scrutiny now with the way the world (and the game) has changed. Hendry explained they feel like they let the fans down when they do not play good baseball … he acknowledged that sometimes the scrutiny can be unfair.

Hood asked about the likelihood of Milton Bradley not being with the team next season. Hendry quickly responded with, “not getting into personnel decisions.” As of now (Hendry’s words), Milton Bradley is still a Cub. The Cubs organizational meetings are in a couple of weeks and decisions will be made then … with input from Tom Ricketts.

Jim Hendry said (and he is 100% correct), “Let’s not blame the season on Milton.”

Hendry said, “I’m responsible for the team not making it in. It is my responsibility and I take it.

Milton Bradley

Bruce Levine stated emphatically Saturday morning that Milton Bradley would not be with the Cubs next season … and beyond. Levine said Jim Hendry would have to work hard to make a good deal for the Cubs, as well as for Milton Bradley. Levine thinks Bradley will have a good season in 2010 (somewhere in the .280-.290 range with a .400 OBP and 90 RBI) but it must be in a smaller market. Levine mentioned, once again, Tampa, Toronto and San Diego as possible destinations for Bradley.

ESPN.com speculated earlier in the week that Tampa, San Francisco, Boston and Seattle could be Bradley’s next club.

Rudy Jaramillo

Rudy Jaramillo joined Bruce Levine and Jonathan Hood during Talkin’ Baseball Saturday morning. Jaramillo reiterated many of the same things he talked with Dave Kaplan about on Thursday.

Jaramillo will overlook the entire Cubs’ organization. He will spend time the Minor League coaches and players … this a good sign for a organization in need of better scouting and player development. Jaramillo will, at least, install a philosophy.

Jaramillo told Levine it’s all about home plate … that’s where it all starts. Video can be overdone but does have value. Jaramillo explained with video, you must know what you are looking for … just not the results produced.

Jonathan Hood asked about Milton Bradley and Jaramillo repeated the same thoughts from his time on Sports Central. He added that is not his decision (on whether to bring Bradley back or not) and he said he did not know what happened last season in Chicago.

Levine turned the discussion to Alfonso Soriano. Levine asked about lighter bats and eye tests. Jaramillo said the weight of the bat a player uses is a comfort level and a lot of times if a hitter can time the pitcher better he would not need a lighter bat. Jaramillo indicated Soriano fell into some of the same bad habits last season like he did when he was with the Rangers.

Rudy Jaramillo is on the world wide web …. www.RudyJaramillo.com

Update from Arizona and the Winter Leagues

While Starlin Castro is improving his stock daily in the AFL, another player to keep an eye on is Blake Parker. Parker did not allow a run before Saturday and has yet to walk a batter in four games for the Mesa Solar Sox. Parker blew the save on Saturday after giving up back-to-back homers in the ninth. Parker is 1-0 with two save. In 4 1/3 innings, Parker has surrendered two runs on six hits (three on Saturday) and recorded three strikeouts.

Parker was the only Cub prospect to play on Saturday. Mesa won for the fourth time (4-7) this season.

Stats from the Cubs prospects in Winter Ball

Well, that’s the latest … and I’m sticking to it!

Quote of the Day

"And if I have my choice between a pennant and a triple crown, I'll take the pennant every time." - Carl Yastrzemski
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