Samardzija Named NL Co-Player of the Week … and Other Cubs News and Notes

Jeff Samardzija was named National League Co-Player of the Week on Monday after posting wins against the Nationals and Padres. Samardzija shared the honor with the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez.

Samardzija went 2-0 in two starts against the Nationals and Padres and allowed three runs on 11 hits with two walks and 12 strikeouts in 17 innings (1.58 ERA, 0.88 WHIP). Samardzija notched his second complete game of the season, and third of his career against the Nationals.

Samardzija became the first Cubs player since Ryan Dempster last June to be named National League Player of the Week and the third Cubs’ pitcher to take home Player of the Week honors in the last 10 years. Carlos Zambrano was named NL Player of the Week in September of 2008 after throwing a no-hitter against the Astros at Miller Park.

Jeff Samardzija is trying to finish the season on a positive note. Samardzija put together his best back-to-back starts since the end of May when he held the Pirates and White Sox to one run on five hits with 16 strikeouts and three walks in 16 innings.

Gordon Wittenmyer questioned if Samardzija could turn his recent performance into a lucrative contract. Wittenmyer thinks if Samardzija keeps pitching the way he has for the remainder of the season it will help when contract discussions begin again this fall.

Arizona Fall League

The rosters for the upcoming Arizona Fall League will be released on Tuesday at 1:00pm CDT and the Mesa Solar Sox will have at least three of the top prospects from the Cubs’ system on their roster.

Kris Bryant will join Jorge Soler and Albert Almora on the Solar Sox roster according to Paul Sullivan. Sullivan also reported Javier Baez will play in the AFL again this year. The report from Sullivan is the first one that has indicated Baez will play in the AFL and contradicted earlier reports that stated he would not play in the fall league.

Anthony Rizzo

Anthony Rizzo was glad to be back in the third spot in the lineup despite the success he had hitting in the two-hole. In five games, Rizzo put together a .292/.393/.542 slash line hitting second in the Cubs’ lineup with two home runs for a .935 OPS (7-for-24, four walks and six strikeouts).

Dale Sveum moved Rizzo into the second spot of the lineup to try to relax him and take his mind off of “trying to be the guy.” Sveum said a week ago it would be a temporary move.

Anthony Rizzo did not like hitting second and admitted it had to do more with his ego than anything. But Rizzo did not ask his manager to be moved out of the second spot in the lineup. According to the Tribune, Rizzo said that Sveum “is the manager, he makes the calls.”

Rizzo said, “It’s more an ego thing. I’ve never hit second in my life. If you’re the second hitter, you’re someone who gets guys over and bunts and slaps and what not. I think our lineup doesn’t call for me hitting second. You see the Cardinals and Carlos Beltran hitting second, but that’s because he has nowhere else to hit. I was there and tried to make the best of it. Dale says it best, it’s just a spot in the lineup. I just didn’t like it much.

According to the report from Carrie Muskat, Rizzo hopes he never bats second again.

C.J. Edwards

The Cubs acquired C.J. Edwards from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal and he’s been pretty good since joining the D-Cubs’ rotation. Edwards has five no decisions due to the fact the Cubs are watching his innings. In 18 2/3 innings, Edwards has 28 strikeouts, six walks and has allowed just nine hits … and one of those hit was the first home run he’s allowed in pro ball.

Ben Badler included Edwards in his prospect notebook on Monday. Badler thinks that Edwards “could up being the prize of the haul” the Cubs received for Garza.

Badler said, “With a fastball that sits around 90-94 mph and can get into the high 90s when he needs it, Edwards is a strike thrower who repeats his delivery, works down in the zone, misses plenty of bats and can keep the ball in the yard.”

News and Notes

If Sunday’s game against the Padres would have continued, Brian Bogusevic was next in line to pitch after Hector Rondon. The Cubs would not have extended Rondon past 60 pitches. Bogusevic is a converted pitcher that hopes he never pitches in another big league game.

Kris Bryant is showing why he could be on the fast track to the big leagues according to Paul Sullivan.

Ron Cey is not a fan of trade deadline sell-offs according to a report from the Sun-Times.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"Pitching is the cornerstone of most championship teams." – Roger Craig

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  • Ripsnorter1

    No wonder we’ve lost so many games after dealing King Alfonso…Soriano:
    He was the greatest defender EVER. (Just check his WAR) LOL

    Most double plays turned as left fielder:

    2006 NL: 9 (1st)
    2007 NL: 4 (1st)
    2008 NL: 5 (1st)
    2009 NL: 2 (1st)
    2011 NL: 2 (4th)
    2012 NL: 6 (1st)
    2013 AL: 2 (1st)

    Soriano led all National League outfielders in assists in 2006 (22) and 2007 (19) and ranked second in 2012. The last outfielder with more assists in a season? Gary Ward of the Twins in 1983, with 24. I don’t remember Ward having a good arm, but I don’t remember him having a bad arm; I mean, it’s Gary Ward. Like Soriano, he played left field. It’s not necessarily true, however, that outfielders with weak arms get more assists because people run on them more often. I mean, it’s true to some degree, but most of the outfielders with high assist totals do have good arms — Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur, etc. Jesse Barfield led his league several times, so did Roberto Clemente.

    Soriano, of course, has a bad defensive reputation, mostly owing to his range and some bad routes, but throwing out runners is part of defense and Soriano is pretty good at that. He actually rates at +18 Defensive Runs Saved in 2006 and +17 in 2007. (Another defensive system, UZR, rates his 2007 season as the best defensive season of any position in the past 10 years at +32 runs, and that’s one reason why a lot of people still don’t believe in defensive metrics.)

    Anyway, Soriano has provided a huge lift for the Yankees, both on offense, where he has 29 RBIs in 28 games, and on defense, where’s he played adequate in left field … and has four assists in just 21 games.

    Soriano is two home runs away from 400 in his career and passed 2,000 career hits recently. I would argue that earlier in his career, Soriano was probably a little overrated/overhyped, as everyone focused on the power/speed aspect of his game and ignored some of the negatives. The Cubs did end up overpaying him for most of his contract, but I’ll say this about Soriano: He’s had a pretty fascinating career.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Here’s my question:

      If he has proved to be a huge lift for the Yanks, both offensively and defensively,
      why didn’t he contribute anything to the Cubs?


      • mike1040

        Hey Rip, I think he got complacent or something there for a while along with other complacent players on the team. Once he turned that around and started hustling and caring again, he became a model player and certainly earned my respect. I really like him as a Cub now and wish him well.

      • Thomas D

        He did, haven’t you notice a fall off from the Cubs play since the trade. However it is worth it because we are dropping closer to a higher draft pick haven’t looked lately but the last time I checked we were at 4 and Soriano had a chance to get his World Series ring so it was win win for both parties.

    • Sonate

      Bravo Rip! A bit overrated and certainly overpaid, but he did the job on the field and in the clubhouse. The only year his OPS+ fell below 100 (average) in a Cub uniform was 2009. shows a positive defensive WAR only for 2007, so I’m not sure where you found the +32 number. However, I think we all appreciated his arm while he was here. I tend to give Hendry a pass on Soriano’s contract, partly because Hendry and the Cubs were seeking a “bust out” free agent signing at the time, and Soriano was it. His offensive WAR over his days with the Cubs totaled just shy of 10.5; not stellar but very respectable.

      • Thomas D

        plus Hendry was in the hospital from a heart attack if we all go back.

        • 07GreyDigger

          That was Ted Lilly.

    • Rock

      In addition, great clubhouse guy, not a hint of any PED’s, and when so many clubs were giving away $100 million dollar contract, except for arguably Jeter, Soriano really came close to earning his contract.

      • 07GreyDigger

        How did he come close to earning his contract? Did he win an MVP? Did he win us a WS? Or a playoff game?

        • jtrain23

          He did just as much as anyone else did in this time span. He didn’t ask the Cubs to give him a bloated contract, but he definitely accepted it. He would have been a fool not to.

          And while we’re at it, the Cubs did not necessarily keep their “promises” to Soriano all of the time either. He came here to be a centerpiece for a winning/competing team for the next decade. Then he watched the team fire sale every veteran player after winning the division titles and falling short in the playoffs. He stayed around and played with rookies, guys that should have never been on a major league roster, and three coaches in as many years. Any veterans that were around him in the last few years were traded at the deadline for whatever they could get. During this time Soriano was the most productive player on the team and very positive and professional.

          I’m not saying we should bow down and praise him, but I am saying we should definitely appreciate him and wish him the very best.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I’m not sure what promises an organization makes to a player or a company to an employee. You sign a contract and you do your job. That’s how it works. If the team decides to trade all their players and rebuild, that’s their decision not yours. You’re an employee not a decision maker. So I’m not sure that the team didn’t “keep” their promises.

            In that respect, it was admirable that he never complained and came to work every day doing what he could. I respect that. But he didn’t earn that contract because of it.

            Most players that sign those big deals don’t earn that money back. Doesn’t make them bad players or anything, but its just a fact of the game.

          • jtrain23

            Thanks for the lesson on how contracts and employer/employee relations work. I’m sure that will be valuable to all of us that don’t have your vast knowledge on the topic.

            I don’t really see how it would ever be rational to compare any MLB contract to any other company/employee situation because these guys are celebrities with more financial security than most will ever experience. Most of these big name players hold all the cards when they sign a contract and they pull all the strings while on the team. It is not uncommon for a star player to cost their coach his job or for a front office to pursue certain ventures to keep their stars happy. I hold a respectable, professional job, but I have never even been close to having that much leverage. I would assume most would echo those sentiments.

            That being said, you are right in a way. There are no verbal or written promises made outside of the years and money. However, I would think that it is assumed that when a team drops a decade and 10’s of millions of dollars on a player, they are planning on that player being a big part of ongoing success. If the player doesn’t live up to their end, they get blamed for not earning their contract. So, why would the organization not get some blame when they don’t provide the supporting cast that can get the job done. I know the player always gets the blame because they get the big bucks. But keep in mind, the team isn’t just giving that money to the player as an act of charity. They make plenty off of that player from tv, ticket sales, and merchandising rights.

            Ok, now that I’ve written an essay on a guy that isn’t even on the team anymore, I guess I can move on, lol.

  • JeffD

    One of these days there will be a message board thread on this site where Soriano isn’t mentioned … can we all just move on guys? Seriously.

    • Ripsnorter1


      We sure will. It will be entitled “The Corey Black Page.”
      It won’t have any ML stats on it, because he isn’t going to be a ML pitcher.
      But it will feature all of the players Team Theo accumulated by dealing away
      ML players and getting nothing in return.

      • Theboardrider

        How do you know? And how is any of that relevant to this article? Give it a rest.

        • mike1040

          Everyone is entitled to his opinion, even you. Since when are comments (even yours) restricted to relevancy of the article? You have strayed many, many times and no-one told you to give it a rest.

          • CubbyDenCritic

            Don’t you hate this “censorship” movement that is going on in this country today?…..

          • Theboardrider

            I don’t believe I have strayed like that. I’ve posted once regarding information about visiting Chicago. Otherwise I post about the subject in the report, I don’t remember occasions where I’ve gone off on a completely unrelated tangent to take shots at something Cubs related.

            And as you stated I am too entitled to my opinion and I think a rest is in order on this subject. Especially as the lead post after an article. Typically that post can dictate much of the discussion. I think taking that spot to bash management because of a disagreement in the plan to trade Soriano was completely unrelated to the report. I didn’t see one mention of Soriano in this report so yes, I thought a rest was in order. That is my opinion, of which I am entitled.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      I really don’t know why no one wants to talk about Blake DeWitt any more!

    • paulcatanese

      Probably will happen once the Cub announcers don’t mention him in every game. Seems they are sorry to see him go as well.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Question of the Day……..Who was the Best Cubs Left Fielder since Billy Williams left the Cubs?
    A – A. Soriano
    B – J.Cardenal
    C – D. Kingman
    D. J. Bell
    E – G. Matthews

    • 07GreyDigger

      F. Matt Mieske.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        I was looking for the Brent Brown answer.

  • Vivid_Reality

    Wouldn’t let me reply but its hard to say Corey Black will never be a major league pitcher. Anything can happen in player development and its more about acquiring more “chances” than anything. Just look at the Mark DeRosa trade with the Indians. Chris Archer’s numbers looked terrible but he came over and pitched well and then he took off the next season. All the sudden we had a top 100 prospect for lowly, at the time, DeRosa. We then cashed him in to net a one Matt Garza. Anything can happen.

    • Theboardrider

      There is no reason to think in 4 or 5 years Black won’t contribute. No more than any other player at that level. He could easily become a bullpen guy or maybe more. Or a trade piece. Nobody wanted Soriano so the fact we got anything was good for us. This could of easily been a trade for a bag of balls, so I say good job. We got what we wanted, the Yankees got what they wanted and Soriano is playing the ball of his life in a playoff race. Everyone wins…

  • triple

    Hey look everybody…Rip is sad because his team sucks so he’s gonna post content to try to piss others off too. Kind of trollish if you ask me. Not mature enough to handle that his team’s season is meaningless.

    • Theboardrider

      Trollish has been the word I’ve been looking for a month. Not just Rip. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes Rip posts productive stuff and I enjoy it. This was not one of those times.

  • ZachAttack

    I’m a fan of Rizzo and hope that he can reach his potential for this team, but I’m not a fan of his comments here. I can see how you might admire them as showing a competitive drive, but to me they came off as a bit entitled. For the way he’d been playing, I would hope he’d say something more like “I’m just happy to be able to contribute to the team in any way I can” instead of complaining about hitting in the two hole where is he is no longer “the guy.” Maybe I’m being too hard on the kid, but I just didn’t like it.
    P.S. Batting 2nd seems to have helped get him going again, so maybe he should be grateful instead?

    • paulcatanese

      Even though I agree with comments that should not have been made, he does have an understanding of a number two hitter, And true, he would not be the best choice to bunt, (not a secret among the Cubs, as they don’t bunt)
      but, what he dosen’t realize is that he has toned down his all out swing a bit, and spraying the ball (apparently he does not like that). I agree again it’s helping and should be left there a little longer. Sveum was right on this one.

  • John_CC

    So here is question…and I apologize in advance because I generally don’t like the “win a trade” stuff, but what the hay.

    Archer was seen as the player mostly likely to be missed in the Garza trade. He was in A ball at the time, if I remember correctly and had wicked “stuff” and projected top of the rotation potential. Three years later the Cubs acquire Edwards for Garza.

    Who thinks Edwards’ potential is higher than Archer’s, at the time Archer was traded and equal level as Edwards is now? I’d have to say that the control and big arm of Edwards looks better than Archer did.

    • Vivid_Reality

      There are a lot of things I like more about Edwards than Archer. For one, his career numbers have been much more consistent than Archer to that point in their development. I always thought Archer would end up in the pen because his control was erratic at times. The biggest concern with Edwards will probably be whether or not his skinny frame can handle a 200+ inning pitching load. Edwards doesn’t have the national recognition yet but I would say he is about on par with Archer.

      We really didn’t get anyone comparable to Hak-Ju Lee in the trade. If we could have pulled Sardinas or Odor instead of Grimm, the package would have been better than what we gave up to get Garza in the first place, imo.

      • Theboardrider

        Edwards needs to put on some weight. I’d imagine he can do so to some extent.