From the Wire … Cubs Designate Berg and Schlitter for Assignment, Reinstate Zambrano

On the first day of what figures to be a busy off-season, the Chicago Cubs made three roster moves. The Cubs designated pitchers Justin Berg and Brian Schlitter for assignment and reinstated Carlos Zambrano from the disqualified list. With the three moves, the Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 40 players.

Justin Berg spent a majority of the season with Triple-A Iowa and posted a 4-1 record with a 5.16 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP in 27 games, all in relief, for the I-Cubs … Berg did not post a decision with the big league team and in eight relief appearance he posted a 3.75 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. Berg recently underwent Tommy John Surgery and will not pitch in 2012. The Cubs acquired Berg from the New York Yankees in exchange for Matt Lawton in 2005.

For the second time in 12 months, the Cubs designated Brian Schlitter for assignment. Schlitter was the PTBNL in the deal that sent Scott Eyre to the Phillies in 2008. Schlitter was DFA’d last winter to make room on the 40-man roster for Kerry Wood. Schlitter was returned to the Cubs organization on April 18, placed on 15-day DL and transferred to the 60-day DL on May 24. Schlitter was returned to the organization due to a technicality because an existing injury that was not disclosed. Schlitter spent the entire 2011 season on the shelf.

Carlos Zambrano was placed on the disqualified list on August 13 without pay and was eligible to be reinstated on September 12. Zambrano was paid for the remainder of the season beginning on September 12.

The Carlos Zambrano rumors figure to run rampant this off-season … and they have already begun. Speculation is that Zambrano could end up with the Miami Marlins pitching for his good friend, Ozzie Guillen.

Stay Tuned …

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  • BosephHeyden

    I’m making three predictions:

    1)  One of Koyie Hill, John Grabow, or Ramon Ortiz WILL be back next season (not “back” like “just Spring Training”:  back like “somehow makes the 25 man roster”).
    2)  The Cubs GM will not be one of the numerous highly-touted assistant GM’s mentioned, but either an old-school guy, a GM from completely out of left field, or that chick that’s an assistant with the Dodgers (that one I’d be fine with).
    3)  If Mike Quade doesn’t come back (and I think he will), the Cubs manager next season is Bobby Valentine.  Also, we’ll hear how Ricketts tried to mend things over with Sandberg, only to hear from Sandberg that the extent of the mending was a single text.

    I’m hoping the Cubs prove me wrong, but their incompetence seems to be neverending

    • paulcatanese

      Very astute prediction, not as far out as one would think,but entirely possible.

    • cc002600

      Gosh I hope you’re are wrong on the Bobby Valentine prediction.
      That would be horrible.

      Honestly, I’d rather have Q-ball.

    • cubs1967

      where did you hear Sandberg text??

      and I vote you are wrong on all 3………..OR Ricketts is in big trouble if any are right!

    • cubtex

      I might be in the minority but I really think Ricketts is in it to win. He fired Hendry but they kept everything quiet until the draft class was signed. He spent a lot of money on the draft and they had one of the best drafts in recent history. I get the impression that he doesn’t make rash decisions. He does his due diligence. On Sandberg, I have said this before…but mlb managerial jobs are not easy to get. Look how long it took Don Mattingly. If Ricketts offered Sandberg the job…he would not walk, he would run to sign that contract!
      Grabow- No chance he comes back- FA
      Hill- Very little chance
      R Ortiz- The best chance out of the 3 since you know the state of the Cubs pitching. I actually wouldn’t mind signing him to a non roster spring training invite and keep him in AAA in case of an emergency(like what happened this year)
      I don’t see Bobby Valentine either. If they hire a Friedman or one of the younger GM candidates…I don’t see Valentine being their guy. 

    • Pricewriter

      If Ng is selected, she may run rings around other possibilities for GM. That “chick” has a pretty solid resume, so solid that the term “chick” is out of place.

      • Ripsnorter1

        NO.

  • studio179

    I hope Z to the Miami Marlins is more than a rumor. New name, new park, new manager, ec…let’s make this happen before their excitement wears off. :) 

    • gocubs

      There was a press-conference yesterday.  Its official.  Sox got 2 players in return. 

      • gocubs

        Oops, i thought you meant Guillen!   My mistake!

  • Rob

    Time to get rid of the Jose Maciases & Nefi Perezes!! EVALUATE Talent from top to bottom & lets get rid of bodies that realistically don’t fit into the plans!!!!

  • cubs1967

    TommyCrane are making season ticket holders renew by Nov 16th……..long before anyone knows the team roster; before the winter meetings even!!

    that is a bad sign……NO confidence that the team will be good??……….strike 1 in offseason screwups.

    let’s see if strike 2 is raised ticket prices……..

    strike 3 and 4 can be if they screw up the Gm/Mgr.

    4 and 5 is Z being traded (and not hold up the whole season) and Sori not moved.

    • J Daniel

      The Cubs will not be good next year and you should know that going in.  They still need 1 more year to be out from under all contracts except for Sori’s.  They are going young and therefore will not win much.  So if you renew tickets you should know this already.

      • cubs1967

        and you should know we have not won a world series in 103 yrs. SO you never ever punt a season……..you must be in it to win it.

        going young………….you mean going to lose.  ask a red sox or yank or phils fan if that is OK.

        103 yrs and counting; there is NO grace period.

        • J Daniel

          Hey, I agree with you.  You should be – to borrow a saying – “all in” to win every season.  I am just stating I don’t think it is going to happen.  I think next year will be to find out which of these kids can play.  

          I could be and hope I am wrong.  But the only chance they have to win next year is to sign 2 top of the rotation guys – not 1 believing that Demp is a 1 or 2 – he is not – a 3 at best on a really good team.

          Then they need a third or second baseman – depending on what they are doing with Castro – and this guy must be a stud with power.  Then they need a guy at first, right, probably center.  I don’t see Byrd as a main guy on a really good team.  He is ok on an average team.

          What do you want to do behind the plate?

          Oh ya, are you ok with DeWitt and Baker as your super subs?  Again, probably ok on a average team but I believe much better is needed if you want to compete in October.

          Is Marmol mechanics or just one of those years?

          What is going to be done in lf?  Can you live with Sori out there?  If not, is he going to be a $18 mil pinch hitter – wow, that would be a sight.  Strike one, two, and three on sliders low and away.  Just like Sammy, why would you ever throw him anything else?

          There are so many issues with this team it is sad.  So, what I stated above is what I believe will happen, not what I want to happen.

          If all of these areas of need above are addressed they must be done through trades and free agency.  Please remember nobody wants the guys we have.  If everyone is happy trading BJax and other guys I so go for it, win it next year.  Next year is here.

    • paulcatanese

      I agree that its a bad sign, Ricketts lived off the season ticket holders, but if he has been looking at any of the blogs,(Trib) he would know what is going on.This pushing the deadline is telling me that very few changes are coming.
      Strike two, well he has said he as going to lower bleacher tickets but nothing about other prices.
      3 and 4 that will be screwed up, as Epstein and Beane are distancing themselves(Trib)
      Manager is anyones guess as no one has been fired.

    • Ripsnorter1

      The Cubs have LOWER (I know, shocking, isn’t it?) ticket prices for 2012 on some bleacher seats.

  • frustrated

    I predict that Cub catchers will strike out less than the 164 times this year.

  • Aaron

    WOW….Cubs are becoming the joke of EVERY walk of life, it seems.

    Tonight, we had the tv on, caught the end of Wheel of Fortune, and that Pat guy goes, “we haven’t had a million dollar winner yet”, and Vanna White goes, “it’s out there, someone will win it”…Pat turns to her, and goes, “yeah, and the Cubs are gonna win the World Series”

     

    • studio179

      Coming from Pat, it’s fine. He is a Cub fan. My guess is the Red Sox get plenty of jokes sent their way from the late night TV people. 

      All deserved. 

    • cubs1967

      hmmmmmmmmmmmm………Cubs have been the joke of all sports for 103 yrs of futulity…….just another reason why 2012 needs to a world series winner………..not a “we are going young” season.  when is enough?

      • Aaron

        I respectfully disagree with you on the “going young” thing. 

        The 103 years of futility is PRECISELY why you want to give it a try. Why? It has NEVER happened before. Ricketts even recognizes this. Now….whether or not he’s willing to let the young guys grow together for a year or two until the major prospects acquired in this year’s draft and international market progress enough for call-ups….well, that’s anyone’s guess. Perhaps he goes with a bunch of stopgap veterans on low-risk deals, or perhaps he makes trades which have been suggested for the likes of Morrison, Sanchez, etc.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I’d just say this, Aaron: 

          If we go young, we want to go young with enough talent to go young.

          Doesn’t make much sense to put AAA and AA players out there if they are going to perform at AA and AAA levels. 

          Right now, we have nothing in our system for 2012 to put on the mound as a starter. We have precious little to put on the mound as a reliever
          .
          As for position players, the only thing we have that may make it is Brett Jackson. He fans at a rate that only 4 starting players in all of ML baseball do and still have a job. One of those four is Mr. Carlos Pena. Others are Drew Stubbs, Mark Reynolds (37 taters, 86 RBI–now if that ain’t a “I don’t hit in the clutch at all” stat, what is?), and (drum roll please) Mr. Adam Dudd–177 k in 415 AB!!!–with a glorious .159 BA. (He worked real hard, but he was unable to keep that BA over .160. 11 taters and 42 RBIs). But Adam Dudd would not have a job except for a $56 million dollar contract. Stubbs has a job because he is fast (40 SB) and young (26) and they hope he will develop, and Mark Reynolds has a job only because the LAST CUBS GM go hired to ruin the Orioles. Mr. MacFAIL has done a fine, fine job of collecting washed up Cubs’ players to fill his roster with a last place effort.

          No. It is looks like it will be a long while before the Cubs field a PLAYOFF team.

          • Calicub

            Where are you getting your strike out facts from?  Carlos is 10 on the list of top wiffers for the year with 161Ks tied with BJ Upton and two more than Matt Kemp.

            What about Curtis Granderson #7 with 169k’s but 41HR and 119 RBI or Ryan Howard #5 with 172k 34HR and 116 RBI?  If BJAX can steal 40
             bases, maintain solid outfield defense and maintain an acceptable OBP, his strikeouts wont be too much of a problem.  I feel he will blossom at the Major Leagues, but maybe not right away.  He’s got the potential to do some great things for the Cubs.

            Earlier in the year when the they opened the season with thtat winning streak, I thought it would be funny though if the Oriels were able to remain competitive with Cubs scraps,  Pie, though i think they designated him for assignment, Patterson before the trade, DLEE before the trade, Gregg, Fox, I think theres one more but i forget…Either way that experiment was a major flop.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I am speaking about STRIKE OUTS PER AB.

            SO, if a player bats 100 times, and fans 40 times, that’s more strike outs per AB than a player who bats 500 times and fans 40 times.See?

      • Tony_Hall

        How will it be a World Series winner?  

        Lay out, even 1, realistic scenario, where this team catches the elite teams, in 1 offseason.

        Even if they bought every FA possible, it wouldn’t be enough.

        • Dorasaga

          And this offseason looks like a weak market for FA pitching… By the way, I don’t know if anyone checked the post Moneyball stats, but I found out a few interesting facts:

          The Braves had better pitching than the Cardinals. In fact, those Axemen as a whole compared to none but the Phillies (you know your Oswalt, Halladay and Cliff Lee).

          Axe sucked in batting. The Cards hit like no other but three AL teams (Yanks, Tigers, and TEX all with DH!!).

          If you look at the projected Win-Loss record based on Bill James ‘ “Pythagorean formula” (which has nothing to do with that high school math thing), the Cards was ahead of the Braves since July, the farthest I went back and checked. That means if you average out the runs gave-away with the runs produced, the Cards was a better bet to the postseason.

          Conclusion:

          There are more than one way to win. Good pitching and defense is not the only way.

          Am I looking at Tommy’s balance sheet, where on some column it writes “Fielder”? And at the bottom a line crossed out “Quade,” and between this and Fielder, filled in all the minor league position players.

          I can dream for a change, right?

          • Schwimmer

            I believe that the CUBS would be better off letting ZAMBRANO come to camp next year to win a spot, instead of just releasing him.  Or, if we must trade him — than we should, at least get a team to pay $4 or $5 million dollars (with teh CUBS picking up the rest of his contract).

            Of course, if he has just one more incident of bad behavior — the CUBS can release him immediately.  Meanwhile, he still could be one of the 5 best starters the CUBS have.  Plus, he’s got some pride and I am sure he wants to prove himself.

            Re:  SORIANO.  I don’t understand how some of my fellow CUBS fans (on this website) are quick to want  to just “release” him???

            That has to be a stupid waste of money!  What do you think would happen if he was released?  I’ll tell you:  An American League team would sign him for a league minimum because the CUBS would be on the line for $18 mil a year salary.  Meanwhile, they get a guy who can still hit 25 to 30 HRs and drive in 90 RBIs.

            No my friends…He’s worth about $5.0 mil a year to some Team who needs a DL.  So, we hold out for that.  Meanwhile, I’d rather have him as a “pinch-hitter,” than just releasing him.  Or, he can be the 4th or 5th outfielder on the team.

            Wouldn’t that make more sense?

          • Tony_Hall

            I know it was a typo, but I think you are close on saying if a Team who needs a DL.  

            Soriano can’t pinch-hit!  He only gets stats off of 3rd,4th, and 5th starters and middle relievers.  He get very little production against #1 and #2 starters and the best relievers.  His defense is a massive negative, which makes him not a good pick to be a 4th or 5th OF.  No glove, no pinch-hitting ability, no spot on the bench.

            Not sure why you think he can still drive in 90.  He just had his best year with the Cubs, for RBI’s and knocked in….88.    He will be 1 year older and more likely to be on the DL next year.  No team is going to pay much of his contract, since they know the Cubs are stuck.  No one will $5M each of year, it would be a miracle to get even $10M of his contract paid by someone else.  By all means, the new GM should try, but in the end, if no one will trade for him, then the end result needs to be DFA’d.

          • Dorasaga

            I guess you are right on the money when you said the Cubs are suckers, or stuck, pun intended.

            The thing about this franchise is whatever they’ve done the past 66 years — more the likes of Soriano and Zambrano — it’s clearly not working their way towards a World Series. They really need to go young, at least try, and play the prospects like ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE to know what they got.

            I hope Tom Ricketts weren’t lying when he said he read all the Bill James Abstracts, because that’s one of the first things he would have learned: Proper evaluation of talents.

            The Cubs need to give Soriano away in order to give way to the next in line (I can’t see why LeMahieu can’t handle LF, even if his defense is as reputedly bad, just bringing up a random example). They need change.

          • Tony_Hall

            By the way, tough break on the Bill James Championship.  What ended up being  the greatest 1 night of baseball, was awfully tough for you. Kimbrel having a rough outing and Longoria, hitting 2 HR’s too put Tampa into the playoffs, and you into 2nd.  

            Good season.  I thought you had finally given Polar Bear a loss.  I am looking forward to next season.

          • Dorasaga

            Thanks, man; it was your advice, on the unnecessary limitation of outs-per-week, that I must agree.

            Now that I reviewed my own fantasy team, I found four strategic mistakes:

            - Twice forgot to count my outs per week. Lost 2 moves.
            - Picked up Choo, whom I dropped, only to drop him again.
            - Kept either Werth and Morrison far too long.
            - Traded Hanson for Ethier, when my biggest hole was CF.

            With little margin of error my “Marlins team” could take, I made more cumulative mistakes than ever should. Those came back and bit my team like the Redsox this year.

            I hope to see you next year, too. Maybe I should try draft someone new again. LOL

          • Tony_Hall

            I think my team resembles the Marlins, alot more than yours.

            McCann, Fielder, Pedroia, Zimmerman and Halladay.  None of those guys would be on the Marlins.

            Almost every player I had was under 30.  Hopefully I pick the right 6 keepers, from my young guns.

            You dropped Werth, and I had to add him.  He actually was decent the last  few months.

            As far as as limiting outs, I would go with limiting starts or # of SP each week, and require that RP, do not get starts.  Pitching always needs to be tweaked it seems like.  My league we went to 5 SP each week max, and 2 RP, of which they couldn’t start.  The relief pitchers need to be closers to maximize the points, so there is little worry of a spot start.  I have some people who would like to go back to 7 pitchers each week, and they get to decide the number of SP versus closers.  I will have to look at it. 

            Either way, fantasy baseball, sure helps take the mind off of the Cubs :)

          • Dorasaga

            I tried to manage my teams like the Marlins (draft, add unrated, cheap players). Even the Marlins had their DLee and MigCabrera back when they made Stever Bartman a hero. :-)

            Isn’t your league on espn? Those are good ideas. I was campaigning yahoo to add a max-start option so we can do so on pitching. I’ll campaign again this offseason.

            Boy, 2008 ended on a depressing note. This last season, at least we knew what’s coming and made through as fans. What motivated me to start a fantasy league was the misery of the Cubs. I wanted to know more about real talents in baseball, and nothing better than to observe the best of best through the competitive nature of fantasy realm.

  • paulcatanese

    The longer the Cubs keep Zambrano on the roster the better chance to have him back in the rotation again for 2012. I dont want him there, most on this site dont want him there. But the fact is the Cubs have few prospects to be starters next year and if they dont aquire someone or two, they will cave and keep him, based on some public, team apology,”I want to stay a Cub” sort of thing. I think other than the Marlins picking him up and very cheap on their part, I dont see too many teams out there willing to have him around. Any team with good chemistry will not take the chance to have a guy like this that can disrupt the whole orginization on any given day. If he is free to another team, well that could be a story that may come about. The Marlins may want him along with Aram to create a circus down there, cause thats what it would be, just that.he manager,Zambrano and Aram, no need to hire the hotdogs for the race around the diamond, they will all be there,in the dougout.

  • cubtex

    One possible free agent pitcher who might be a good fit for next year is Paul Maholm from the Pirates. Rumor is that the Bucs won’t pick up his option. He absolutely kills the Cubs and that would help not having him pitch against us :) He had a 3.66 ERA this year and gives up less hits than innings pitched and is Lefthanded. He would be a decent back of the rotation guy imo.

    • cubtex

      In 4 starts against the Cubs this year here is Maholm’s line

      6.2 IP  0 ER
      9 IP     0 ER
      7.2 IP   1 ER
      6 IP      4 ER

      Take out his last start and he absolutely dominated the Cubs.

      • Aaron

        ….and, take out his starts against the Cubs, and the dude’s ERA jumps to 4.12 ERA, so……

        The Cubs have been on this road before with so-called “Cubs-killers”, and it hasn’t been pretty.

        For his career, Maholm has given up 1.09 hits per inning pitched, and he’s NOT a strikeout pitcher. That combination is not going to bode well for him at Wrigley Field full time. He will also be 30 years old next year. I’d much rather take a flier on Scott Kazmir for a minor league invite than someone like Maholm who will likely start declining even more after next year. Zach Duke and Chris Capuano are two of his best comparables. What should that tell you?

        • cubtex

          A 4.12 ERA would still be an improvement on this staff lol. I am not saying he is a stud…but the market is slim.  He only gave up 11 HR’s all year in 162 IP. He’s not a bad option…….. for the right price of course.

        • Griffnbell

          No more left handed pitchers from the Pirates PLEASE!!! I want to trade one of our bloated contracts for Lackey or Burnett. Give these guys a fresh start in the NL and see what happens. What do you have to lose?? Z or Soriano need a fresh start too so it’s a win-win. Also, see if we can get a good deal for Marmol and let Cashner close or bring in a cheaper closer for a year or two like Capps or Broxton (if he’s healthy). I know if we package Marmol, Soto, or Barney in a trade we should get something decent in return. I just think everyone needs a fresh start somewhere else, what we had didn’t work so let’s move on and get a winning culture. 

          • cubtex

            you didn’t like Grabow or Gorzo????

          • Aaron

            You’re right….I forgot about Burnett…that’s another in the list of bloated pitching contracts teams will look to unload this offseason:
            Burnett-2 yrs, $33 million
            Lackey-3 yrs, $46 million
            Matsuzaka-1 yr, $10 million
            Lowe-1 yr, $15 million
            Billingsley-3 yrs, $35 million (including buyout)
            Zito-2 yrs, $46 million (including buyout)
            Santana-2 yrs, $55 million (including buyout)
            Zambrano-1 yr, $18.5 million
            Dempster-1 yr, $14 million
            Marmol-2 yrs, $17 million

            Personally, if I’m the Cubs, I’m doing everything WITHIN REASON to get guys like Jonathan Sanchez, Billingsley, and possibly even Nolasco, as they’re still young pitchers. Who knows what they’d cost, but if I’m the Cubs, I’m dangling Marmol, Marshall, Soto, Barney, and basically anyone else not named Castro, Garza (yeah…I know…I said it, but he’s their best pitcher right now), Brett Jackson, and Vitters (I really think he can be the real deal).
             

          • cubs1967

            vitters hit 10 homers in AA ball…………he’s a real deal like a younger jeff baker.  he’s been in the minors 4 yrs; is older than castro, can’t field 3rd, and is really a bust.  3rd overall pick………can’t be hitting 10 dingers in AA ball.  trade him now…….w/ Z and whatever else to the Fish for nolasco, morrison and bonafiaco to play 2b and add speed.

            vitters……..really??

        • Aaron

          Cubtex,

          I wanted to throw this one out there for you….I read an article about the Giants supposedly considering non-tendering Jonathan Sanchez, and/or making him battle it out with Zito next Spring Training for a roster spot.

          Sanchez is not as hard to get as most people might tend to think. Sure, he’s a strikeout pitcher, and those are pretty valuable, plus left-handed, but he has just one season with a sub-4 ERA, and was coming off injury this year (still had decent stats with a 4.26 ERA in 19 starts, 101 IP, 80 hits allowed, with 102 K’s…but he did also walk 66 batters)

          My thought on the pitching is the Cubs should go all-out to sign Edwin Jackson for a reasonable amount, then turn their attention to reclamation projects like Sanchez and Nolasco, plus exchanges for bad salaries like Lackey, Santana, and even Zito.

          The bad salaries the Cubs have to deal are:
          Soriano-3 yrs, $54 million
          Zambrano-1 yr, $18.5 million
          Byrd-1 yr, $6.5 million
          Dempster-1 yr (option needs picked up), $14 million
          Marmol-2 yrs, $17 million
          Soto-arbitration (likely $5+million…had $3 million this year)

          The Giants might consider moving Posey to 1B, and thus, might consider Zambrano and Soto for Zito/Sanchez, plus maybe the Cubs could convince them to part ways with Belt, if they expanded the deal more.

          Zambrano also makes sense for the Marlins, who could part with Nolasco and Morrison in an expanded deal.

          The Mets’ new management is NOT enthralled with big money players, which is why they parted ways with Beltran, and prior to his injury, were looking at parting ways with Santana. The one question would be…would they take Zambrano on a 1 year deal to get rid of Santana for 2 years plus the buyout? My guess is they would, but then again, Z would have to approve the trade, and that’s not likely, as he probably wants to play in Miami for Guillen.

  • paulcatanese

    Red Sox fire Francona, shows that some team owners have guts,now how could he fit into the Cub plans?

    • Griffnbell

      He’s a good manager and a former Cub but I can’t help but want Sandberg. I want him to work with Castro and our other young infielders. I think he’s old school and won’t put up with the usual laziness and sloppy play. Ill take Francona as long as he’s packaged with Theo!! Not gonna happen though.

      • paulcatanese

        Everyone wants Sandberg, including myself. After reading all the rumors yesterday it may not be in his best interest or the Cubs for him to come back here. Thats a lot of baggage to overcome for both sides.
        Francona, well I think he would choose the White Sox over the Cubs as his knowledge of the American League is better.
        And back to Sandberg, I dont know why people dont let “sleeping dogs lie” and the past is the past. Payton is another example,the man is dead,let him be dead, no reason to bring up all the old mud.

        • Aaron

          I think you might be a bit misguided with not wanting Sandberg. If you read any of the reports from prospects coming up through the system while he managed, they have nothing but the utmost respect for him…PLUS, they grew up together with him as he, in turn, grew up with them as a manager. Barney has been the most outspoken in support of him.

          When a HOF player speaks, you listen, and I think that resonates with a lot of them, especially when they see he had to work his way up through the system just like they did, and he wasn’t handed anything.

          The tough thing for the Cubs might be hiring Sandberg to fire him. In other words, in any pro sport…even college for that matter, you’re hired to be fired. You can delay the firing by putting up good results, but ultimately, winning matters, and if you slip at all, you’ll be pushed out, just as Bobby Bowden found out, and guys like Francona and Guillen have found out, despite breaking the curses of their respective teams, winning championships (Curse of the Bambino for Francona, and Black Sox curse for Guillen).

          I want Sandberg more than Francona, but if Sandberg isn’t going to happen, Francona might be the best choice out there.

          • paulcatanese

            No Aaron, I would want Sandberg for the Cubs, and for the reasons you state, he would be a definite plus as manager. I did not want him last fall as I belive I stated then that he was too good a person to be put in the poistion as you also state, to be fired, or have feelings about him that Qua now possese from fans.. I was reffering to his personal life rumors and unfairly so if they would surface again. Just think he is a nice guy, maybe too nice
            Thats all.

    • John G

      Ain’t that a classic case of “What have you done for us lately?”

      • paulcatanese

        For sure John.

  • paulcatanese

    I predict the Cubs will have a difficult time finding a GM that will fit the needs that they have. After looking at the circus that has been here, why would anyone worth his salt want to come and try to straighten the mess out. Only a person desparate for a GM job would even consider it.  Lame owner, late to act, and a ton of contracts that need to be moved.
    What are the losses in dollars for the Ricketts in buying out these players, Qua, JH and would that prevent Ricketts from making a move or standing pat and hoping fans will buy tickets, and earlier at that.

    • Tony_Hall

      To be the one, who win’s it all…

    • Aaron

      The top names I’m hearing right now for the GM spot are (in terms of likelihood…meaning not Friedman, Epstein, etc.):
      Rick Hahn-AGM of White Sox
      Ben Cherington-AGM of Red Sox
      Dan Evans-former Dodgers GM
      Thad Levine-AGM of Rangers
      AJ Preller-Rangers
      Mike Hill-AGM of Marlins
      Terry Ryan-former Twins GM
      Josh Byrnes-former D’Back GM, current Padres exec

      I’m hoping it’s not Hahn, and rather Cherington, Levine, Preller or Hill.

      Ryan is a bit too old in my opinion (58), as I think the Cubs are thinking about younger candidates…same with the 51 year old Evans. Evans would be a nice pick-up, and understands the Cubs, and COMPLETELY rebuilt the Dodgers thin farm system in the early 2000′s. However, he’s been out of a management role in baseball, instead focusing his attention on the player-agent aspect of things recently with his own agency.

      So, yes, the Cubs will have a very hard time landing the big fish like Epstein, Friedman, Cashman, and Beane, but what Assistant GM in their right mind would turn down a position like this?!? The Cubs basically have the pick of the litter in that regard, and they wouldn’t have to shell out huge money for them.

      The one disadvantage I could see is that teams might prohibit them from taking their own guys with them, and if you don’t have the same supporting cast, then it’s not going to matter who you pick, as with the Cubs, it’d be much of the same, at least in my opinion.

      I think Fleita has done a great job given limited resources under the Tribune, and then Zell, but even so, the Cubs have failed to identify high end talent in Latin America, as well as stateside during his tenure, so signing him to an extension might be more prohibitive than Ricketts even knows. That being said, I’m glad he refrained from extending Wilken, as his drafts while with the Cubs have not been very good, up until this year. And you CANNOT use the excuse about not having the resources necessary to draft high end talent. And while the Pirates and Rays have spent big in recent years, they still managed to have good drafts in the past despite not spending much money.
       

      • paulcatanese

        Very good comeback, but then you and Tony know a lot more than I do about the inner workings. I kind of feed off both posts and try to read between the lines to form an opinion. Not having the knowledge has been a downer but before last fall I knew 0 about the closed door activities and the computer and the posters are enlightning me, and I appreciiate it.

      • studio179

        I just wanted to jump in here on this topic. I have been saying from day one the Cubs will not land one of the big names out there for GM. It will not happen for a few reasons. I agree the new GM will likely be an AGM or maybe a former GM. If I were to guess, it will be a hot shot AGM.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Bruce Levine must be insane. Read his grades on the Cubs for 2011.

    http://espn.go.com/chicago/polls?id=7033211&utm_source=bleacherreport.com&utm_medium=referral

    K. Hill: C
    WOW! A .194 hitting catcher earns a C. He slugged .276–Adam Dudd slugged .277 (shows you just how HORRENDOUS Adam Dudd’s year was, doesn’t it?). 

    T. Colvin: D
    I guess .150 isn’t too bad after all, eh? He didn’t get a chance, you say?
    206 AB…..204 OBP……HORRENDOUS…….58 K in 206 AB.[For those of you clamoring for Brett Jackson....he fans more than Colvin. His stat line would have been 206 AB and 69 K......].

    QQuade rates a C from Levine….

    • paulcatanese

      I took that poll, gave Qua an X.

    • Tom U

      Like Charlie Brown once said :

      “Do they give out any Z’s?”

    • GaryLeeT

      The whole 71 win team averages a C+ ? I guess there is no need for drastic changes.

  • paulcatanese

    Everyone wants Soriono gone,as I but for a different reason, to prolong his career in the American League. But I just want to throw this out here. Granted Aram and Pena supplied a lot of power and I think both will be gone, for one reason,, money. But if one looks at this last year they both were little or no help with the bat for the first half of the season. And Soriono was here hitting home runs when no one else was. Its true Aram ended up with more RBI’s , but then he was in the three spot in the lineup versus Soriono was down in the 6-7 spot with less of a chance to do damage, and the same holds true for Pena in the 4-5 spot, more opportunity to deliver. How much importance does Soriono’s defensive efforts play here? Agree he is not the premire outfielder and falls short of many expectations. But take a look at Arams defense at third base. How many times were balls hit that way and not fielded or when they were bad throws and dropped balls occured. The range that Aram had lost was just as important as the balls that Soriono did not play correctly, but the difference is that Aram had many more plays in the infield than Soriono had in the outfield.Any team will miss the power numbers that have been put up but in reality Soriono tries harder than Aram and is more of a team player than Aram.So if I had to make a choice as to who would remain it would be simple Soriono is already paid and will be here, so why add another long term contract to keep Aram here when he only gives a half year of production. Soriono could be a fourth outfielder or hit off the bench, he is as good as some of the right handed pinch hitters the Cubs have now.

    • BosephHeyden

      I would also have to agree that more games were lost because A-Ram simply didn’t decide to show up than Soriano didn’t decide to show up.  And, purely number-wise, Ramirez had more listed errors than Soriano.  Now, granted, it is very hard to look at that and see how many balls Soriano misplayed, but, at the same time, I would say that Ramirez misplayed more balls than Soriano did, and, since Ramirez is an infielder, those misplayed balls usually lead to a baserunner that should never have reached in the first place.

      For all we’ve gotten on Soriano (and rightfully so, since he is not performing to what he’s been paid), he’s got two thinks working for him that Ramirez doesn’t:  he always put forth an honest effort every game and, even though he’s not a great fielder, he has qualities that make up for that (namely, the fact that he has an extremely accurate cannon for an arm…keep in mind, the man has 40 Outfield Assists as a Cub).

      • paulcatanese

        I am glad that someone agrees at least a little. What really has changed my mind about Soriono are two things, one I have been lucky(or unlucky, depnding on ones point of view) to watch almost the complete season on TV, with instant replay ( although who would want to watch all of that twice?) And two the incident with Zambrano and Soriono’s part in that, he showed there that he is a complete team player, maybe not with all the skills that are required but nontheless a team player. Bad legs are not a complete excuse but a legitimate one and his are gone only to have spurts of feeling good , and if noticed on those times he does give 110% . A little humor here, if Soriono always knew where to throw the ball he would have more assists. It would help if Castro would let him know what to do with the ball, don’t know maybe he does.

      • cc002600

        It’s not fair to compare an OF’er to IF’er when it comes to defense.  Infield is much more difficult, its not even close.  You have to contend with bad hops and make long accurate throws.  Catching flyballs is not that difficult, and when the sun gets in your eyes, they give the guy a hit anyways. 

        Soriano is the worst OF in baseball or close to it.

        • BosephHeyden

          And yet you watch Ramirez and compare him to any other third baseman, and there is a very noticeable difference in skill.  Other third basemen dive for balls in their general area that they can either make a possible catch on or at least make a stop on so a player on first doesn’t wind up on third because the ball got into the outfield.  Ramirez dives on two occasions:
          1)  They’re legitimately in a playoff hunt
          2)  Someone questioned his work ethic loud enough that it made headlines in or around Chicago the day before.
          There’s other situations, too.  On bunts down the third base line, there’s situations where I’ve seen Ramirez stop because he assumed it might roll foul.  Other times I’ve seen him stop a scorcher hit right at him and not throw to first because of how hard the ball was hit when the guy heading to first could have been thrown out (I’m not talking Nyjer Morgan/Michael Bourne speed guys, but at the same time not Ramirez speed guys)
          And then there’s his overall hustle.  How many double plays have we seen the guy hit into where he hits it to second, they throw out the runner at second, and when they throw it to first, Ramirez may as well already be heading back because he’s just jogging?  He’s done the exact same thing on plays in the field coming off of an at-bat that he just hit a big home run or multi-run double.

          Soriano, meanwhile, is a converted second baseman that somehow wound up in left field.  The fact that he has as many outfield assists as he does automatically means that he is outplaying his skill level defensively.  Ramirez, on the other hand, is a third baseman, and has been forever.  He should be better.  And he isn’t.  The only reason we’re not getting on him is because, once the Cubs are out of it, he decides to start trying at the plate and winds up upping his batting average 50 points by the end of the season, ending up as a .280 hitter every year.

          They’re both bad and both have no place on the team for what they can provide versus what they’re being paid.  But, at the very least, Soriano can be sat.

        • paulcatanese

          I cannot add too much to what BosephHeyden had responded to but to say he responded very well. Soriono may be one of the worst outfielders around but he does try with the ability he has. The point I was trying to make was Soriono stands a good chance to be here next year and the Cubs are going to lose Aram anyway. Soriono is the better of two evils as he does put his effort in where Aram is very unpredictable as to which player shows up for a game. Infield is more difficult if,if the effort is made. I cannot count the times Aram has not tried to get to a ball, plays deeper and deeper as the season goes on, and he does not have the arm to compensate for that. I understand what you are saying though, but why would anyone want a player who plays when he feels like playing. If one is looking to add bad hops as an excuse let me add this, I have had the pleasure of taking groundballs on a major league infield and they are groomed like the surface of a pool table and the bad hops are at a minimum and one would have the feeling they could get the balls with a blindfold on,but there are bad hops, mostly from the spin imarpted by the ball coming off the bat and not the ground, or how deep or shallow the infielder plays. Outfielders have wind,sun,and divots to contend with. They both have the same problems, not as often for an outfielder but then the same could be said for a particular infield spot and who is pitching and where they locate the ball. Its apples and oranges, but if stuck with Soriono for next year its not all bad.

  • cubs1967

    according to mlbtraderumors.com; Joel Sherman twitter feed he tweets that every basebal exec he has spoken to (multiple execs) all think the Red Sox will let Theo interview for Cubs GM job and he;ll take it………..which if you win as a Cubbie beating the goat curse after twice beating the Babe Ruth curse……..your a HOF GM………….and that is something to shoot for.  Plus, I think he would be more than just a GM w/ Cubs…….de facto President per se.

    • J Daniel

      Saw the same thing reported on the news tonight.  Let’s hope so this is true.  I would prefer Theo or Freidman first.

      I would also say that if Ricketts does land Theo, it shows he is attempting to win and has a plan.  

      Any thoughts?  Would Friedman be a better choice as he has done it with a low payroll and the Red Sox have a $160 million payroll?

  • Darrenmcculloch

    Where is the article that Mike Quade is fired at?  It needs to come and the sooner the better

  • Tony_Hall

    For anyone that thinks we can rebuild our pitching staff quickly.

    Matt Garza had a very good second half.

    2.45 ERA and a WHIP of 1.18 (of course the majority of his better numbers came in September, the same month we hear over and over not to judge September call-ups, but I’m getting way off topic)

    Ian Kennedy had a CY Young type year.

    2.88 ERA – 1.09 WHIP

    Now that’s a stud ACE for a full season

    But now read this about the combined numbers of the 4 Phillies starters

    “How formidable are these Four Horsemen? Well, they’re coming off a regular season in which their combined ERA as starters was 2.69 and their combined WHIP was 1.07. In other words, the four of them, as a group, were so good, they beat Ian Kennedy (2.88, 1.09) in both departments — in a season in which Kennedy went 21-4.”

    So, to keep up with the Phillies, we only need 3 more Matt Garza’s, who, you know, pitch great all season.

    • Tony_Hall

      One other note about SP and playoff teams.

      “I’ve seen all these teams in the last month,” one scout said. “And I’ll tell you the team I would not want to play. I would not want to face the pitching of Tampa Bay.”  

      The same Rays that let Garza go, and replaced him with Jeremy Hellickson (2.95 ERA – 1.15 WHIP, all while pitching in the AL and the AL EAST)

      Then what do they do, they add Matt Moore, they pitch him 3 times, 1 start, in his September call-up.  

      That’s the end of this story…sit the bench young man, it’s the playoffs…no, this team, says go start Game 1 of the playoffs.  So, he goes out and pitches 7 innings, 2 hits, 2 walks and NO runs against the Texas Rangers offense, in TEXAS.

      You have to love how the Rays, can keep bringing up, young arms, and they all seem to produce.

      • Calicub

        that is why the cubs need Friedman.  Screw Theo.