Category Archives: josh vitters

The Cubs to Trade Starlin Castro, Others?

The Chicago Cubs are 18-32 and have already had a double-digit losing streak this season. They knew going into this season that big changes could be made to their team.

Bob Nightengale of the USA Today reported that every player on the Cubs current roster, except Jeff Samardzija, is available for trade.

The biggest surprise in Nightengale’s story is that 22-year old All-Star, Starlin Castro, is among the Cubs players that the organization would consider trading. He is among the team leaders in nearly every offensive category.

Is publicly announcing that the entire roster is available for trade a smart move? What is the Cubs asking price for Castro?

Theo Epstein signed on as the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs and hired Jed Hoyer as the General Manager. Epstein came from the Boston Red Sox and Hoyer was previously the San Diego Padres GM. To make a long story short, they didn’t draft or sign any of these players, so they are not married to them.

“We’re starting to get some early calls now,” Epstein told Nightengale. “There might be fewer sellers than usual and a lot more buyers. This has the chance to help us. We need core players.”

The Cubs will move Starlin Castro for ‘two impact prospects’ and Bryan LaHair, Matt Garza, and Ryan Dempster are the others that will be highly sought after. Alfonso Soriano was also mentioned, which isn’t a new development, the Cubs has been trying to trade him for three seasons. They would eat most of his contract just to make space in the outfield ($18 million per season through 2014). Soriano is on a hot streak since reducing his bat weight by over an ounce. It could be the perfect time to talk a team into taking him off their hands

Let’s go back to Epstein’s remark that the Cubs “need core players.” Castro has proven that he can produce at the major-league level (over 200 hits in 2011). He has struggled defensively this year and analysts are questioning if he would be more suitable at a third-base. Unless the Cubs think that minor-league shortstop Junior Lake is a better long-term answer at the position, I would rather have Castro than two wild-cards at this point.

If the Cubs make a few moves and clear spots on the 25-man roster, they will bring up some talented minor leaguers. First Baseman Anthony Rizzo is tearing up Triple-A and will be the first player they call up. If Rizzo is their #1 prospect, outfielder Brett Jackson is #1a. Jackson has been touted as the center fielder of the future. RHP Trey McNutt and 3B Josh Vitters could also be considered for a call-up.

Epstein can’t trade the entire roster. They are an 18-32 team, he couldn’t even give away most of them. Publicly announcing that the team is up for trade could lead to disgruntled players and low morale. He could have had personal discussions with other teams’ front office staff. He did it as a message for fans that he will not stand pat and will do everything he can to improve the Cubs. I can understand that, but it just seems pretty early to be making bold statements.

I’m a Cubs fan and I have been very patient with the organization. I am ready for a change, but I hope they don’t trade young established talent for even younger unknown commodities. You can make a bad situation even worse if those prospects don’t pan out and the player you traded away is voted into the All-Star game every year.


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I Give Up: A Manifesto Of A Pissed Off Cubs Fan

This post may be epic and wordy, but I have a lot to get off of my chest. I have stuck by the Cubs through thick and thin, but I am at a point where I may sell my “fanhood” to another team, just like the Cubs have tried to sell the team for the past 24 months. In the following post, I am going to explain why I’m pissed, what the Cubs can do to win me back, why I’m allowed to question my loyalty as a fan, and what the future holds for the Chicago Cubs.

Listen, I am 28 years old, I’ve been through some thin years as a Chicago Cubs fan. I know some people older than me have had even worse experiences than me, but you got to enjoy Jack Brickhouse and Harry Carey longer, so we’re even. The last six years, as a Cubs fan, have been probably some of the best years an Cubs fan could realistically ask for. A few division championships, a few playoff wins, but not one World Series appearance. I know that if a Cubs fan rarely believes that his team has a chance to win the World Series. There is always hope, but you have visions of Steve Garvey, Ivan Rodriguez, and even Augie Ojeda go through your head and grounds your hopes.

This is why I am pissed off. Jim Hendry started off his career as a GM very well. He got pieces that the fans wanted and made everyone excited about the future of the Cubs. We finally had someone that wanted to go out and win right now. That may be the underlying problem with everything that is wrong with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs haven’t manufactured any great talent out of their farm system in years. Mark Grace was the last great player to come through the farm system. They have lacked the expertise to develop their own players, so they traded their young pieces away for mediocre talent in return. If a team is always in the playoff race, young talent will not have the time to develop at the Major League level. My examples are Rich Hill and Felix Pie, I know neither of them are winning post-season awards right now, but they didn’t have time to develop. Rich Hill bounced around the minors and Chicago the last few seasons. He dominated in the minors and had trouble pitching in Wrigley. Pie also bounced around between Iowa and Chicago and was mostly kept around to make Alfonso Soriano comfortable. They were both traded to the Orioles for scrubs and I hope they flourish in Baltimore.

Which leads me to another reason that I am pissed. Why does Jim Hendry always trade with Andy MacPhail in Baltimore? I know that MacPhail was his boss when he was first with Baltimore, but this personal relationship has severely damaged the Chicago Cubs. If they are such good friends, why was it so difficult to pry Brian Roberts away from him? A rumor floated around for about two seasons that they were in trade talks, but nothing ever happened with that, but somehow we ended up with Ryan Freel and Garrett Olsen? Hendry needs to quit being so chummy with MacPhail and talk with other teams when trying to improve the Chicago Cubs.

Ownership changes have drained this team of any emotion. The players knew that they had to play the entire season with the players already on the team, since they couldn’t add any more payroll because of the sell of the team. Injuries hit the team and Geovany Soto, Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Zambrano were all missed time at the beginning of the year. The team lacked emotion and even a Lou Pinella rant couldn’t bring them out of their funk. They attempted to get Jake Peavy from the Padres, but couldn’t take on his salary, which lead to the White Sox getting him at a discounted rate near the trade deadline. I’m not saying that Peavy would have won the NL Central for Chicago, but it could have showed the players that management wanted to do everything to win. With no major additions to the team at either trade deadline (I’m sorry John Grabow doesn’t count), the Cubs slipped down the standings as the Cardinals added Mark DeRosa and Matt Holliday. This ownership change happened at the absolute worst time, since this team was a right-fielder and a dominant closer away from at least a Wild-Card spot.

The Cubs have one of the worst farm systems in all of the Major Leagues. They have been signing Type-A and Type-B free-agents the last few seasons and don’t have many blue-chip prospects. Josh Vitters could be their lone future star, but Wellington Castillo and Tyler Colvin both look promising. The problem there is that Vitters plays 3B and Castillo is a catcher, two positions that the Cubs have a small need for. Colvin could turn into a player that they could use, but they are currently tied up in a few bad contracts in the outfield and there isn’t any room for him. John Grabow, Rich Harden, and Kevin Gregg are all Type-A free agents and if they sign with a team, the Cubs could get that team’s first-round draft picks. Jim Hendry was smart in keeping them, even if they have no interest in re-signing the trio. This could help restock the farm system and build this team from the ground up. If only they had the minor league managers and instructors that could develop any of that talent.

I am allowed to question my loyalty to the Chicago Cubs. They are the only team that I have ever rooted for, but they have let me down in a way that I wasn’t ready for. Selling the team at this point, when their team has elite talent, is such a horrible ending to this team’s arc of improvement. I believe that they need to blow up the team. I said it, I didn’t think that I would get to this point, but just ride out the contracts, trade the pieces away that you can get young talent in return, and give me a product on the field that I can feel good about myself while cheering for you. Milton Bradley’s attitude and racially-filled paranoia added with Zambrano’s lack of focus and his inability to sound like he even cares, has made me dislike this team. Give me players like Kerry Wood, who was willing to take a pay-cut to stay with the Cubs out of loyalty. I don’t know if I am at a point where I can see the greed in the players eyes, but there is something that I don’t like about this team.

I’m not asking for a World Series, I’m not asking for an NL Central crown, just give me a team that looks like they are trying and you will have me as a fan of your team for as long as you’ll have me. If any players read this, go out there, run out ground balls, slide hard into double-plays, dive for foul balls, and have fun out there. The season is officially over at the end of the regular season, you’ll have plenty of time to be lazy this off-season.

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MLB: Potential September Call-Ups

Every fan, even if their team is out of the playoff race, gets excited around September 1st. In 2009, there are a huge list of potential future stars that could be called up. I compiled a list of players that fans would like to see play in the Major Leagues in September this year. A few of the names on the list may not be called up, but they all have a legitimate shot.

1B Brandon Allen – Arizona Diamondbacks

C Robby Hammock – Baltimore Orioles

2B Justin Turner – Baltimore Orioles

C Jeff Fiorentino – Baltimore Orioles

OF Chris Duncan – Boston Red Sox

1B Yonder Alonso – Cincinnati Reds

3B Josh Vitters – Chicago Cubs

P Jeff Samardzija – Chicago Cubs

P John Gaub – Chicago Cubs

C Tyler Flowers – Chicago White Sox

C Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians

SS Jason Donald – Cleveland Indians

OF Matt Murton – Colorado Rockies

OF Wikin Ramirez – Detroit Tigers

P Zach Simons – Detroit Tigers

1B Gaby Sanchez – Florida Marlins

1B Logan Morrison – Florida Marlins

OF Mike Stanton – Florida Marlins

OF Drew Locke – Houston Astros

SS Mike Moustakas – Kansas City Royals

1B/DH Kila ka’aihue – Kansas City Royals

OF Chris Petit – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

3B Blake DeWitt – Los Angeles Dodgers

3B Mat Gamel – Milwaukee Brewers

OF Shelley Duncan – New York Yankees

3B Brett Wallace – Oakland Athletics

3B Pedro Alvarez – Pittsburgh Pirates

P Aaron Poreda – San Diego Padres

C Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants

1B Mike Carp – Seattle Mariners

OF Matt Joyce – Tampa Bay Rays

P Luis Mendoza – Texas Rangers

C J.P. Arencibia – Toronto Blue Jays

P Drew Storen – Washington Nationals

P Clint Everts – Washington Nationals

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MLB Pepper!: Holliday, Reds, Gonzalez

I don’t have any news on Jenn Sterger, but I think I need some more eye candy on this site. She’s a Cubs fan, which I like, plus she is a blog icon. She is in the Sports Blog Hall of Fame with Erin Andrews, Allison Stoke, Jenny Finch, and Maria Sharapova. Anyways, I am going to a rundown of some of the latest news and rumors concerning some teams in Major League Baseball.

Will the Cincinnati Reds be buyers at the trading deadline? They should be in the market for a bat, since Jay Bruce has power, but no average. They like to trade with the Washington Nationals, but at this point, would you trade with a team as bad as they are? Josh Willingham is a rumor that could happen, he’s a cheaper option than Matt Holliday. They would have to give up their top prospects to get Holliday in Cincinnati. The Reds are deep with minor-league pitching prospects and could part with last year’s 1st round pick, first baseman, Yonder Alonso. Joey Votto should be the franchise’s 1st baseman for a long time, so Alonso could be a trade chip to get a major-league ready bat.

Will the San Diego Padres sell off everybody this year? Jake Peavy was already shopped around with no team able to take on his salary. The Padres ownership aren’t shying away from trade talks, but their two best trading chips at this point, Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell, may not be moved. The owners would never hear the end if they ship off their best two players, flirt with trading Peavy all off-season, and letting Trevor Hoffman leave in the same calendar year. The Padres are a long way from being a contender and that ballpark is scaring any big-time hitter from playing there.

Will the Cubs trade Josh Vitters? The injury to Aramis Ramirez might have put a scare in the upper management of the Chicago Cubs. When they were in pursuit of Jake Peavy, Vitters was a big piece of the deal. Vitters was the first round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2008, but with Ramirez scheduled to be at that position in the future, he could be moved to get back help at other positions. The Cubs aren’t have a great season, but they feel that once they get Ramirez back, they could make a run. After the All-Star break, if the Cubs slip deeper into the NL Central, look for them to keep Vitters.

Does any team want Vernon Wells or Alex Rios? Toronto would love to get rid of the contracts of Wells and Rios, but what teams could take on the extra payroll. The short answer is none, but wait a few weeks. If a team is desperate enough to make a move, maybe it could happen. If a division, let’s say the NL East, is very active making trades, a team that is in contention may try to make a splash and keep up with the rest of the division. Rios will be easier to move than Wells, since he’s cheaper and seems to have better 2nd halves of seasons in his career.

Will Lastings Milledge ever live up to his potential? Yahoo! is reporting that the Washington Nationals are offering Lastings Milledge straight-up for the Pittsburgh’s Nyjer Morgan. The Pirates are looking for a second player in return for Morgan, but I could see them pulling the trigger on this deal. Milledge is 24 and has the potential to hit for power and average, but he’s currently in the minor-leagues due to some behavior problems and ineffectiveness in the pros. Morgan is 29 and is clearly at his peak, you know what you have with Morgan, but not with Milledge. The unknown with Milledge could be great or a complete bust. The Nationals need a defensive outfielder and more character guys, Morgan fits the bill. An outfield with Andrew McCutcheon and Lastings Milledge could be too enticing for Pittsburgh’s GM, Neal Huntington, to pass up.

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