Catching Up with Cubs News and Notes Following an Off-Day

Tom Ricketts spoke with Gordon Wittenmyer on Wednesday and “promised no splashy, expensive moves to reverse four consecutive years of losing on the field and at the gate” this off-season. Ricketts told the Sun-Times that the budget he gave Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to work with “isn’t holding back anything” that Epstein and Hoyer are trying to do with the team.

Theo Epstein spoke in detail last Sunday about how the team’s revenues are impacting what can be spent on the big league team right now. Epstein explained that the baseball plan and business plan are in line with one another.

Tom Ricketts confirmed what Epstein said a couple of weeks back that the Cubs’ clubhouse and training facilities at Wrigley are “probably not going to be ready” for Opening Day next season as the team had hoped. Ricketts pointed out that the Cubs are getting better and he feels they are building the organization the right way. But as the Sun-Times reported, a quick fix is not in the cards for the Cubs.

The Roster Shuffle

The Cubs have several new faces on the active roster, which stands at 31 players. Since the Cubs could expand the roster last Sunday eight players have been brought up to the big league club.

Ryan Sweeney and Luis Valbuena were activated from the DL. RHP Alberto Cabrera, RHP Justin Grimm and LHP Brooks Raley were recalled from Triple-A Iowa, along with catcher J.C. Boscan. The Cubs selected the contracts of LHP Zac Rosscup and RHP Chang-Yong Lim from Triple-A Iowa. And for those that missed the news, Chang-Yong Lim’s nickname is “Zero.”

The Cubs could still activate Scott Baker from the 60-day DL but outside of Baker, the Cubs appear to be done with calling players up from the minors.

Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro’s season-long struggles are well documented, but what is not receiving too much press is the fact that he is looking more like Starlin Castro over the past two weeks than at any other point this year. Not only has Starlin Castro played well in the field, he is squaring up the baseball and hitting it with authority.

Starlin Castro is hitting .314/.379/.510 with four doubles, two home runs and a .889 OPS. Castro is 16-for-58 over his last 12 games with four walks, five strikeouts and a .311 BABIP.

The Cubs and Castro need for him to finish the year on a positive note, and if he can keep doing what he has been over the last two weeks, Castro should be happy with the end of his season.

Pedro Strop

Pedro Strop has been very good in a short time in a Cubs’ uniform. Since coming over from Baltimore, along with Jake Arrieta, in the Scott Feldman trade, Strop has pitched in 27 games and allowed only 13 hits in 25 2/3 innings. Strop has struck out 28 batters while walking on nine and five of the six runs he’s allowed came in one outing against the Brewers on July 29 (2.10 ERA, 0.86 WHIP).

Dale Sveum obviously has no idea who will close games for the Cubs’ next season but Sveum said on Wednesday that he may use Strop in save situations over the last 23 games of the season.

Jeff Samardzija

Jesse Rogers posted a report that Jeff Samardzija is not battling enough following his outing on Wednesday against the Marlins. Samardzija struggled with his fastball command again and consistency throwing strikes.

Rogers mentioned an interesting stat about when Samardzija has lost games, he has lost badly.

In games that Samardzija has lost this season, he has allowed 47 earned runs on 79 hits with 10 home runs, 25 walks and 70 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings (6.75 ERA, 1.66 WHIP). In no decisions this year, Samardzija has given up 32 earned runs on 63 hits with 33 walks and 67 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings (4.67 ERA, 1.56 WHIP).

Samardzija has started 29 games this season and in 21 of those starts he has allowed 79 earned runs on 142 hits with 58 walks and 137 strikeouts in 124 1/3 innings (5.71 ERA, 1.61 WHIP). In the other eight starts, Samardzija has allowed 11 earned runs on 42 hits with 11 walks and 53 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings (1.53 ERA, 0.82 WHIP).

Consistency has eluded Samardzija this year. And he must figure out a way to close the gap in his performances in order for his stuff and make-up to match the results.

News and Notes

When Zac Rosscup made his Major League debut on Tuesday night he became the 84th different player used by the Cubs since Opening Day of 2012.

The Cubs have already used 21 different relief pitchers this season … and Justin Grimm and Chang-Yong Lim figure to become numbers 22 and 23 in the very near future.

The Cubs have used 52 different players this season, one short of the franchise record of 53 set last year. The Cubs figure to fly past that mark with Justin Grimm, Chang-Yong Lim and J.C. Boscan on the active roster.

Kyle Hendricks won the Southern League ERA title for this season. Before his promotion to Triple-A Iowa, Hendricks was 10-3 in 21 starts for the Smokies with a 1.85 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP (101 strikeouts, 26 walks and 107 hits allowed in 126 1/3 innings)

Michael Bowden posted a thank you to Cubs’ fans on his Twitter account after he was designated for assignment on Wednesday. Bowden said he was “truly honored to have had the privilege to pitch for you and the city of Chicago.” Bowden indicated he was “thankful” and “content” and said to “take care”. So it appears that Michael Bowden will move to another organization with the opportunity presents itself.

The Cubs have played 48 games this season decided by one run … the Cubs are 19-29 in one-run games this year.

According to a report from Gordon Wittenmyer, Dave Keller does it the right way down on the Cubs’ farm.

Patrick Mooney connected the dots between Giancarlo Stanton and ‘The Cubs Way.’

The Cubs designated Dave Sappelt for assignment on Tuesday to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for LHP Zac Rosscup. Sappelt cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Sappelt will remain in the Cubs’ organization because this was the first time in his career that he has been assigned outright to the minor leagues.

Andre Dawson is not opposed to the changes that are around the corner for Wrigley Field. According to a report from Patrick Mooney, Dawson just wants to see the end result.

Wednesday’s attendance at Wrigley for the finale against the Marlins was 20,696 … the lowest single-game attendance at Wrigley since 2002.

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon
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