Big Questions in Cubdom: Should the Cubs Re-sign Kerry Wood?

In a tumultuous off-season for the Chicago Cubs, there have been a slew of players who have found themselves on the outside looking in with the new regime of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer doing some serious housecleaning. Aramis Ramirez has departed to Milwaukee, Carlos Pena won’t be brought back by the club, and Carlos Zambrano, Tyler Colvin, Sean Marshall, and Andrew Cashner have all been dealt away. One free agent, however, has Cubs fans torn between their loyalty to him and their willingness to allow the new baseball brain trust to shape the team as they see fit.

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Cubs Trade Tyler Colvin to Colorado Rockies for Ian Stewart

Before leaving Dallas and the Winter Meetings on Thursday, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer did manage to make one move. No, it wasn’t signing Albert Pujols or CJ Wilson (both of whom signed with the Angels), but instead it was a trade, acquiring third baseman Ian Stewart from the Colorado Rockies. They also acquired minor league pitcher Casey Weathers in the deal.

In exchange, the Cubs sent outfielder Tyler Colvin and infielder DJ LeMahieu to Denver.

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New Era in Cubdom: Five Ideas for Theo Epstein

After weeks of speculation and several years of futility, a new era finally began in Chicago baseball on Tuesday as the Chicago Cubs named Theo Epstein their new President of Baseball Operations. He brings with him the obvious pedigree of winning two championships as GM of the Boston Red Sox, but perhaps more importantly, he has shown an ability to make moves that may not seem genius at face value but sell them to a rabid fanbase and end up making them work out in the end. This is a trait that he will need to bring with him to Chicago as he takes on the challenge of what will probably go down in history as the longest championship drought in American sports, but from what we’ve seen early on in his tenure, he seems to be up to the task. [Read more…]

Rotator Cuffs and Forearms Seriously Frustrating to Cubs Fans

With the off day yesterday, the DL debacle and Dempster’s destruction, it is time to just get it all out and rant like nuts about all things Chicago Cubs.

So, let’s get it on …

Dempster does not look good. In fact, he looks bad.

• I feel like with need a real-life version of ESPN’s fantasy baseball commercial, where Quade sits down with Marmol, Wood and Marshall and lets them know that they might pitch in 150 games each.

• That was just horrific on Tuesday watching the Shark and Mateo completely botch that game. Thankfully, the Cubs still won, but it was just plain ugly.

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Some Cubbies Ramblings During a Deep Freeze

Hello again, everybody. We are a week removed from the Cubs Convention, and like they say, there is never really an off-season when the hot stove is sizzling.

More moves, more thoughts, more rumors, and more pontificating from the masses … just another week for the Cubs.

It is cold in Chicago. When it was 20 degrees warmer it is was freezing. Now it is mind numbing, bone-chilling ridiculousness.

So, with all that said, let’s ramble a little bit. Let’s just have the random stream of consciousness coming flying out on paper, or more accurately, an electronic screen.

By: Brian McCabe

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Rambling about the Cubs Convention

The 26th annual Cubs Convention kicks off today. This will be my sixth convention, and it is always fun.

Nonetheless, with the Convention about to kickoff, and the excuses about to come coursing out of “the Management’s” mouth, Cubs fans are ready for a festive weekend while saluting Ronny in many ways.

So, with all that said, let’s ramble on down the road.

By: Brian McCabe

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Chicago Cubs Sign 1B Carlos Pena: 1 Yr, $10 Million

carlos pena

The Chicago Cubs and first baseman Carlos Pena today agreed to terms on a one-year contract.  Reportedly for $10 million.

Pena, 32, has averaged 36 home runs and 102 RBI in each of the last four seasons since becoming a regular starter with the Tampa Bay Rays beginning with the 2007 campaign.  With 144 home runs and 404 RBI as a first baseman the last four years, Pena ranks fourth in home runs and sixth in RBI in that span among all first basemen.  His average of one home run per 13.20 at-bats the last four years leads all major league first basemen while his one RBI per 4.71 at-bats (trailing only Ryan Howard) and his one walk per 6.39 plate appearances each rank second among all major league first basemen since the start of the 2007 campaign.

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The Chicago Cubs, Mickey Mouse and plenty of General Managers

Carlos Pena, Adam LaRoche … or will it be Tyler Colvin?

First base is empty for the first time in a long time. Remember when Hee-Seop Choi was the Cubs first-baseman of the future? Yea, it is darn funny to think about that.

And this is just the first of many questions regarding the 2011 installment of the Chicago Cubs.

Will Tom Gorzelanny be traded?

Will Brandon Webb be signed?

Could Paul Konerko become a Chicago Cub?

Will Sean Marshall really remain in the set-up role?

What is Andrew Cashner’s role in 2011?

Will Kerry Wood come back?

Should the Cubs go after Zach Grienke?

Will Jeff Samardzija get a real chance?

As one can see, questions regarding the Cubs are flying around the Internet and some are most likely traveling around a hotel lobby in Lake Buena Vista, Florida as well.

By: Brian McCabe

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Prince Crowned King of Home Run Derby

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By: Melissa S. Wollering

When a former Milwaukee Brewers prospect faces a current Milwaukee Brewer who eats Texas Toast, ribeyes and BBQ for lunch, said former Brewer loses.  Prince goes yard 23 times measuring 415+432+431+367+343+480+466+395+ 497+397+460+459+434+453+488+503+429+461+416+453+423 feet.  Grand Total=Dominance. Who does he partially have to thank?  Ryan Braun for his bat.

 

Nelson Cruz showed up Monday just to baffle everyone with 11 in the first round. He stuck it to one of his former teams, the Milwaukee Brewers, then hit the front of the Big Mac sign in left center with his second homer to flip the Red Birds the proverbial bird. His appearance in the first round also produced some of the Best of Chris Berman.

 

“This ball just pegged to [insert left/right field].  Gone.”
“This one to Big Mac Land. Gone.”
“This one OVER Big Mac Land. Gone.”
“That’s his jet stream!  Gone!”
“It’s the proverbial SKYSCRAPEHHHR…gone.”
“That’s a short-term long-termer.”  [What?]

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Best of the Best of Chris Berman:

“Fielder?  No fielder is going to catch that one.”
“Once upon a time we had Julio ‘Won’t You let me take you on a Sea Cruz’.  We have Jose ‘Can You Sea Cruz’. This is Nelson ‘sail around the world Cruz’!

 
By the way, did Chris Berman’s haircut and glasses make him look smarter?  Don’t answer that.

 Home Run Derby Baseball

Prince Fielder goes yard for 415, 432, 431, 367, 343, 480, 466, 395 and 497.   Then he decides he’s not done with the first round until he cracks off a 397 and 429 plus cash-money in State Farm donations.

 
 By coincidence, ESPN interviewed Al Pujols during Prince’s batfest and allowed Pujols to analyze Fielder’s swing.  Pujols likes it but says Prince gets in trouble when he tries to manufacture power.  Pujols has observed that Prince shortened his stroke, now knows how pitchers approach him and says that as Prince learns to be more consistent he will become more successful. Prince certainly found more success in this Derby, having hit only three homers in his 2007 appearance.

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Brandon Inge?  Small guys can’t win with the long ball. There is some awkward complex-reference in there. I’m going to Inge-nore it.  Chuckle.

 
Carlos Pena’s pitcher was a McNulty.  Is that the first time an Irishman’s pitched for a player from the Dominican? I bet they’ll swap Anejo Brugal Rum and Jameson with each other before this week is over.

 
Ryan Howard chose Aaron Spink, his high school baseball coach as his pitcher. St. Louis hometown love was oozing as Howard took several years off that man’s right arm. Spink’s wife will have to teach him to eat left-handed for the next eight months.

 
Joe Mauer only has 15 homers this season due to his late start, but he was very enjoyable to watch Monday.  He had a 458-footer with Chris W. from Des Moines’ name on it. And the announcers didn’t call him Justin Mauer.  Or Joe Morneau.   Bonus.

 
Pujols says 397 +  416 + 389 + 400 + 410 = Quality Over Quantity. I say it put me closer to winning lunch on a Fielder/Pujols bet that I didn’t initiate.  Pony up Jim!  Shall we go for a veggie burger? Nope, Fielder’s over that.  It was temporary.

 
The swing-off is allright. Berman decided it should be re-named a bat-off and added to Webster’s dictionary. Then he verbally tried out another version of a double swing-off, apparently called a bop-off. The former sounds like a fight between Batman and Joker; the latter a mafia murder. The graphics and scoring guys in the truck probably wanted to punch Berman in his grill, considering their “box” on the top of your screen is pre-fabbed to say “SWING OFF” and can’t be rebuilt once the game starts. Way to insult your tech crew.

 
In Round 2, the foul pole moved in order to sabotage Pujols.  He jacked six more to tie Cruz and Fielder’s first-round totals, but it wasn’t enough. Ryan Howard looked tired in this round but tacked on 8 to bring his total to 15. Cruz extracted one more “Sea Cruise” reference from Berman to advance to the final round as a huge surprise. Meanwhile, Fielder goes 460 + 459 + 434 + 453 + 488 + 503 (longest of the night).  One of our readers, Jim, is now buying me lunch AND tells me he started cheering for my boy he’s so convinced Prince in King in one more round. Sure enough, winner tabulates 429 +461 +416 +453 +423 having used his teammate Ryan Braun’s bat! Prince’s little boy was also there to see the whole thing, which warms my heart because baseball is a family pasttime.

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Favorite distraction: Erin Andrews interviews, adorable child charity plugs and tossbacks to “Boomer/Boom/Boomey” with wonderful sweetness. But we just can’t refrain from talking about Roy Halladay’s trade potential, allowing the man to pimp himself during Joe Mauer’s bat, can we Erin?  Perfection…so close…

 
Favorite New Toy: the Home Run Tracker was unveiled, allowing the Eastern SeaPort Network to track the distance of pitches. It turns from yellow to green once it verifies it has enough distance to clear the wall.  I love it.  I just with the MLB Network had debuted it instead…

 
Speaking of the MLB Network, I loved their Home Run Derby Batting Practice coverage.  Real interviews with people like Reggie Jackson unscripted, Tony LaRussa talking candidly about how he thinks the Home Run Derby is a complete load of waffle (and WHY in detail) and Matt Vasgersian being intelligent and natural.

 

 

Well-Spoken Player of the Night: Curtis Granderson.  He speaks eloquently and had great things to say about a charity he’s working on.  I was so enamored with him I have no idea what the charity is for… male Erin Andrews, ladies.

 
Do you ever feel like announcers use Home Run Derbies and the All-Star Week to brag about how many baseball greats they’ve met, which ones they’ve played with, what they occasionally talked about while schmoozing with them and how the rest of us mortals are pieces of Grade E ground beef?  I love stories about the greats.  So tell the stories, tell them all.  Just don’t make it a who’s who contest between the people behind the on-field desk.

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Prince Fielder becoming the first in Milwaukee Brewers’ history to win the Home Run Derby is fitting and well-deserved.  He has shed light on one of the smallest markets in the Major Leagues, he’s been a consistent force at the plate, he’s been a leader for members of his team and his combined efforts make him worth the trouble his agent Scott Boras brings.  Well, worth it until now…  The stakes just got higher.  503 feet higher.