Welington Castillo and Casey Coleman will be on their way to Chicago to replace Geovany Soto and Paul Maholm on the roster. The interesting part is we don’t know who is going to take the spot of Reed Johnson. According to many sources it is not Brett Jackson and per Dave Sappelt’s twitter it won’t be him. So who will it be? More to come I’m sure.
UPDATE: Adrian Cardenas will be the third player coming up for the Cubs. Hope he gets some more AB’s wherever that may be.
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So we know the Cubs have traded away Geovany Soto to the Rangers and packaged Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to the Braves, but what did we get back. The Cub got back three pitchers, which we knew they wanted to get deeper at as an organization. Here is a quick look at the pitchers we go back.
Starting with the Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to the Braves deal.
Vizcaino is 21-year old right-handed pitcher who has missed the entire season due to Tommy-John surgery was ranked #3 in the Braves system and #54 prospect in baseball according to Jonathan Mayo. Last year Vizcaino was said to be one of the four untouchable arms in the Braves system. The Cubs are taking a big gamble that he will come back healthy and be durable, but for Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm it is a great chance to take in my opinion. His fastball sits in the low to mid 90’s with a plus changeup and good curve ball. Hope he comes back healthy and at 21, he should have a great chance to. Until he does the Cubs will hope he can be a starter, but time will tell.
Chapman is a 25-year old RH relief pitcher who is currently in Triple-A. He is 3-6 with 7 saves and a 3.52 ERA this season. He also has 60 strikeouts in 29 walks in 53.2 innings. He is not a huge prospect, but hope he can be a quality arm at sometime out of the pen. I like that he is averaging over a strikeout an inning. We will see, he obviously wasn’t the centerpiece of the deal with the Braves, but to get some quality out of the pen would be nice.
Now to the Soto deal.
Brigham is a 24-year old RH starting pitcher who is currently pitching in Double-A. He is currently 5-5 with 4.28 ERA. He has started all 21 games he has pitched in striking out 116 in 124 innings. His last two outing have been really good and the Cubs obviously see something there. He hasn’t had great numbers yet, but we will see what happens. As we know the pitching depth is not great for the Cubs so getting a pitcher for Soto, who has been a disappointment the last couple years is a fine return in my mind.
The Cubs needed to get more pitching depth and they did that with these deals. They didn’t move any of their big names, although Maholm has been pitching really good and it seems they got decent return, especially with Vizcaino coming over even though it’s after Tommy-John. When you work with prospects you never know if it was a good return or not for a few years. I’m sure there will be more coming tonight or tomorrow, so we will as always keep you updated.
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Update: According to many sources Geovany Soto has been Traded to the Texas Rangers.
After the bottom of the sixth inning Geovany Soto was seen in the dugout shaking hands and hugging teammates and in the bottom half was pinch hit for. It is possible Soto has been traded as well or the Cubs are just having fun with trade deadline. Nothing is official,, so we will keep you updated as word comes in.
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Just two weeks ago it seemed that the Cubs would have made a few deals by July 30th, well here we sit, on July 30th and nothing has been done. I attribute this to the whole Dempster saga, if he accepts the Braves deal then I think the Cubs would have made a few more moves by now. But because he declined, at least for now, the Cubs sit in a holding pattern. Here are some of the latest trade rumors involving the Cubs.
Andy Martino is reporting that the Mets have had discussions with the Cubs about Geovany Soto. Odds are a deal doesn’t get done here, but it is nice to see somebody asking about Soto. If the Cubs could move him for anything more than a Manny Alexander life-size cardboard cutout we should all be grateful.
Ken Rosenthal weighed in with some thoughts about the increase in demand for starting pitching, and how it relates to Garza. Even with the news of Garza not starting again until after the deadline team keep calling on him. What teams are looking for her obviously is a discounted rate for Garza, the Cubs aren’t budging. For that reason Rosenthal and a number of sources believe that a Garza deal during the 2012 season before the deadline is “doubtful” but not out of the question. Because the Cubs and Garza have not talked contract extension since the Spring it is believed that the Cubs will move him in the Winter.
Danny Knobler is reporting that the Dodgers and Cubs are at an impasse on Dempster. If I had to guess I thing each team is waiting for the other to cave and accept a deal to just make a deal. Because of the this the Braves have been keeping an eye on the situation and might be ready to start-up talks again with the Cubs for Dempster. Per Knobler, people in the game expect Atlanta to get involved with Dempster again.
Yesterday afternoon Peter Gammons was on MLB Network and was very candid about what the Dodgers need to do, and the #1 thing he said the Dodgers needed to do was trade for Dempster. He said that they should do whatever it takes to land Dempster because he could be the difference for them. Let’s hope he’s right.
An interesting rumor popped up over the weekend, Ken Rosenthal suggests that Alfonso Soriano’s name has come up in the Dempster to the Dodgers talks. The Cubs were rumored to add Soriano to a potential deal to the Dodgers to get a better prospect in return, but nothing has come out of those talks, yet. Rosenthal adds that if the Cubs can’t find a deal before the deadline they would look to deal Soriano in the off-season where they might get a better return.
Things are going to get pretty crazy here as the deadline is only 31 hours away, keep checking back for the latest updates, and maybe a couple trades to announce as well.
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Can’t believe that the Cubs have already played 81 games, seemed like just yesterday the season started. Here is a recap of what transpired over the first three months of the 2012 season, and my thoughts.
Let’s start with the bad –
- When talking about the bad moments of the first half it’s hard to ignore the 12 game losing streak which took place from May 15 thru May 27. Before the streak the Cubs were 15-20, and playing rather well, in fact given how well the Cubs played the majority of their games it wasn’t crazy to think that if the bullpen resembled anything close to Major League caliber that the Cubs would be at .500.
- That leads me to Carlos Marmol. Marmol was a disaster in the first 81 games of the season, although he has been pitching better of late. Marmol was placed on the DL after a May 11th game against the Brewers, at the time he had an ERA of 6.35 and had been removed from the closers role in favor of Rafael Dolis. Marmol had as many blown saves (2) as saves before being DL’d. Since coming off the DL, and being thrown back into the closer role Marmol is 6-for-6 in save opportunities and has lowered his ERA to 4.74, it might have a lot to do with this.
- Chris Volstad has to be mentioned here as well as he had and is having a horrific first half. Volstad finished the first half, which included a trip to Iowa, with an 0-7 record and a 7.94 ERA. Sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole story, in this case I don’t think they tell enough of it. Volstad has completely lost all confidence, he’s pitching as if he expects to lose. I guess that will happen to a guy that hasn’t won a game in a calendar year.
- The record. Coaches, players, fans, and executives alike knew that this season would be a rough one, they didn’t think it would be this rough. I for one have no problems with the 31-50 record because it means nothing, this year was a throw away year, whether the Cubs were 25 under or 15 under, it’s just a necessary season in the process of rebuilding and I’m okay with that.
- Geovany Soto, oh how the mighty have fallen. After alternating good and bad years since his 2008 rookie of the year campaign it seems as though Geo has found some consistency, not in a good way. It looks more and more like Soto was a one hit wonder, as he is in the midst of another wasted season. Soto hit .163 over the first 81 games, with only five home runs. He has been routinely outplayed by Clevenger and Castillo behind the dish. I will even say that Koyie Hill provided more of a spark, that’s how bad Geo’s been.
Now on to the good, yes there has been plenty of that –
- Alfonso Soriano, what a tremendous first half from a player that almost everyone, except Jed and Theo, thought was beyond done. Not only has Soriano provided improved offensive numbers he has been spotless in LF. Think about that for a second, Soriano has not committed an error all season in LF. He has also played an above average defense, getting to balls he could only once dream about getting to. He’s clearly hurt but he has earned a lot of respect back from me after I wrote him off. Soriano finished the first half (again in games, I know the Cubs have 4 games left in the “half”) hitting .269 with 15 home runs and 46 RBI’s.
- Bryan LaHair was another player that was bound and determined to prove himself, but for different reasons. Coming into the season LaHair never had a starting role in the big leagues, an oddity for a 29-year-old with just a handful on major league experience. But he took the opportunity and ran with it in the first month of the season by hitting .390 with five home runs and 14 RBI’s. As expected he cooled off during May and June, but he has been great in July which also coincides with finding out he was elected to his first All-Star game.
- Ryan Dempster entered the 2012 season amid trade rumors, and they just got louder and louder every time he pitched, mostly because he was outstanding. Dempster has been a man on a mission in the first half, he has been slowed by a lat injury but he has pitched at a Cy Young level up until then. If the Cubs bullpen or clutch hitting was consistent at all Dempster might be close to the lead league in wins. He has settled for a 3-3 record with a sparkling 2.11 ERA. I doubt he makes it past July 31st as a Cub, so enjoy it while it lasts.
- Travis Wood who was brought over from Cincinnati in the Sean Marshall deal, didn’t make the team out of Spring Training. He started the year at Triple-A and struggled, leaving some to suggest that Theo got fleeced in the deal. Wood got an opportunity in the rotation at the big league level once is was clear that Chris Volstad was not up to par. Wood has dominated ever since, thus shutting up all those people who questioned his existence on the Cubs roster. Wood made nine starts in the first half and finished with a 3-3 record and a 3.05 ERA. He might be a huge part of the future for this team.
- James Russell and Shawn Camp’s work out of the bullpen cannot go unrecognized. Both guys have been a stabilizing force in the back of the Cubs bullpen all year. Russell sports a 2.27 ERA in 39.2 innings, while Camp has been just as good in his 43 innings, he finished the first half with a 2.93 ERA.
- A late addition to this post has to be Anthony Rizzo. After basically two and three-quarters months of Cubs fans pleading for Rizzo they finally got their wish in late June. Rizzo has not disappointed one bit. Not only is he producing at a high level, and is exciting to watch, he is giving Cubs fans a glimpse of what Theo’s vision might look like down the road. That’s important for Cubs fans to see, to know they are not suffering through maybe the worst season in Franchise history for nothing. In the 8 games that Rizzo has been up with the Cubs he has hit .323 with three home runs and six RBI’s. Not to mention he has had the game winning hit in three of those eight games, and the Cubs are 6-2 since his call up.
The in-between –
- Long time Cub Kerry Wood retired during the first half of the season. It was bittersweet for sure. For a lot of Cubs fans, including myself, Kerry Wood was the face of the franchise growing up, in good times and bad. Kerry worked his tail off to get in shape and put his injuries behind him to have a pretty solid career. He was having a horrible season this year, and it was clear to him and many people surrounding the team that it was time to hang em up. He did the right thing, walked away, and will be apart of this organizations future one way or another.
There were a lot of things in the first half that made us cover our eyes as Cubs fans. But there were also a lot of things that opened them as well, this team competes, rarely gives up and is usually in a lot of games. Right now that doesn’t translate to a lot of wins, but it’s something to hang on to from the first half. This team will look much different in the second half once the trade deadline comes and goes. Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, David DeJesus, Geovany Soto, among others could all be gone. Anthony Rizzo is already here, but he could be joined by Brett Jackson, and Josh Vitters at some point. It’s something to be excited about, we’ve suffered through quite possibly the worst first half in team history, the saving grace is that it shouldn’t be this bad ever again.
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
Over the course of a season certain games stand out, whether it be bad or good, for some reason you remember them, tonight was one of those games. It all started before the game even got underway when D-Backs starter Joe Saunders couldn’t get loose warming up in the bullpen and had to be scratched from his start, so Josh Collmenter was forced into duty. Now Joe Saunders is a left-handed pitcher so Dale Sveum went with his super sweet, and really awesome, and special “left-handed-pitcher” lineup, which featured Reed Johnson leading off, and Jeff Baker hitting fourth. This really neat approach has been used all season long, to the tune of a 3-14 record against left-handed pitchers, so it’s obviously working. Dale Sveum had the opportunity to change his lineup before first pitch, because Josh Collmenter is right-handed, Sveum declined, and the Cubs lost 6-1.
Things started well enough as Geovany Soto hit a 450′ bomb to center field to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Jeff Samardzija has been perplexing as of late, breezing through the early innings, then struggling to the point of having to come out in the 5th or 6th because of pitch count. Samardzija was great in the first three innings tonight then his command went out the window as did the Cubs lead. Samardzija gave up two runs in the 4th, one in the 5th, and two more in the 6th en route to his 6th loss of the season. Geovany Soto who looks like a new man since coming off the DL had another solid night at the plate going 2-for-4 with his 5th home run of the season. The Cubs couldn’t come through with the big hit all night, as they were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 guys on base, including the bases-loaded two different times. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Regardless of where the teams are in the standings it is always fun to beat the White Sox, especially the way the Cubs did tonight. For the first time in what seems like forever the Cubs were on the right side of a blow out as the Cubs pounded out five home runs en route to a 12-3 victory. The Cubs jumped on Zach Stewart early as they got two runs in the third inning to take a 2-0 lead. It didn’t stop there, for once, as the Cubs scored three more in the fifth to make it 5-o. As it always is with this team you never when you can relax, as illustrated by the Sox mini rally. The Sox got one back in the bottom of the 5th to make it 5-1 and plated two more in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-3. That’s as close as the Sox would get as the Cubs would have a huge seventh inning as they scored six times on five hits including a three run shot from Luis Valbuena to make it 12-3 and that’s how it would end.
Matt Garza didn’t need too much help as he pitched very well on a tough night to do so. It was a very hot and windy night which made the Cell play smaller than it actually is, but Garza limited the damage. Garza went six strong innings giving up three runs on five hits while walking one and striking out six. Every Cubs player had at least one hit in the blow out win. Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena each had three hits on the night, with Castro belting a two run homer and Valbuena hitting a three run shot for good measure. Bryan LaHair, Alfonso Soriano, and Geovany Soto all had two hits, and all three guys hit home runs as well. Full box score and highlights after the jump.