Tagged: Roster

Dempster: to Trade or Not to Trade…

After posting a blog suggesting five moves the Cubs front office should make, many fans agreed with my views. However, the most discussion on varying views was that of Dempster. I discussed through the blog, other social media sites and “water-cooler chats” on why or why not the Cubs should move Dempster. Being that fans are seemingly adament on their beliefs of the topic, I decided to devote a post to the discussion.

Fans who support the Cubs retaining Dempster support their arguments by the Cubs needing a workhorse, an All-Star, a dependable pitcher who gives a team confidence on the mound. The Cubs sorely need a vital, confident focal point on a struggling team. As of now, Dempster is that player. Through five starts, his stat line of a 1.02ERA, 0.85WHIP, 36K and only allowing 4ER in 35.1IP is suggestion for an All-Star ballot; yet his record is 0-1 with four no-decisions. Dempster is off to a great start.

However, Dempster is 36 years-young. He has already spent time on the DL this season with a quadricep strain. He is in the last year of his contract, where he is to receive $14 million. Dempster is still pitching strong and clearly the “Ace” of the team. But what is the likelihood that the Cubs front office resigns Dempster and giving him the money he wants or deserves?

If the organization does not plan to resign Dempster after this season, the best option is to trade him. With the Cubs in yet another rebuild mode, trading Dempster will save money for the remainder of the season going into the next. In addition, the Cubs could acquire a RP with potential to be a closer, a young talented SP or any combination of the two.

Any team with money and in the hunt for a World Series Crown would be interested. Of course teams like the Yankees and Red Sox will be in the mix. But other teams like the Rays, Rangers, Dodgers, Braves, Indians, Orioles and even the Phillies should consider adding Dempster to their rosters. Most of these teams are leading their divisions, while others are performing well under expectations. Only two of these teams starters combined are performing in the “Top 5” of the league, with the majority in the lower half of the league.

I would think the leading contenders would be the Red Sox – as Theo knows the young talent in the organization; the Yankees – as they have the money for any player; and the Rangers – after two World Series loses in back-to-back years have them thirsty as ever.

Yet with the Yankees and their star Closer Marino Rivera possibly ending the impressive run, would they be willing to part with a top prospect closer? Would the Cubs organization be willing to make another deal with the Red Sox? I feel the Rangers would offer the most for a SP like Dempster.

It’s too early to tell at this point, but I feel the Cubs will be fielding offers from now until August, hoping Dempster keeps performing the way he is and staying healthy. By August, the true World Series contenders will be known, weaknesses/needs will be at the fore-front of each team and the injury bug will have some teams sweating. This is when the Cubs could get the most for Dempster and better assist with the rebuilding process.

At least, that’s the opinion of this blogger.

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Possible Cubs Roster Moves

I feel sometime shortly before or shortly after the All-Star break that this will be the Cubs lineup:

After some further research and discussions, I changed my perception of the outfield positions. I’ll attempt to explain my reasonings for certain positions.

There is really no need to discuss the infield positions, as many fans understand and mostly agree here. The outfield leaves room for discussion.

I do not believe Campana is an All-Star CF. I feel he lacks power and arm strength needed for this position. However, his speed and presence on base is such a huge asset to this team, he HAS to be in the lineup. I may be crazy, but I would love to see Campana as a 2B, freeing CF for an additional power-hitter.

I feel LaHair would have better success in RF as he is accustomed to seeing the field from this prespective having been at 1B.

With a majority of batters in the MLB being right-handed, I feel speed, reaction and experience is needed in LF. Jackson is best suited here when compared to LaHair.

With all the positions clicking, I would like to see the batting order as follows:

1. Campana/Castro 2. Clevenger 3. LaHair 4. Castro/Rizzo 5. Campana/Rizzo 6. Jackson 7. Stewart 8. Barney 9. P

What are your thoughts?

A Wild Ride with the Bullpen

The Cubs bullpen has caused many heartaches, gray hairs and collective breaths to cease. Dempster and Garza pitched gems in the first two games of the 2012 season, carrying late game leads against the Nationals, while Cubs fans helplessly watched as the bullpen seemingly gave the games away. From this moment on, fans have been overly critical and skeptic whenever a reliever begins to warm-up.

The bullpen is 3-7, with 4 SV, a 3.90ERA, in 80.2IP. Collectively, the have allowed 70H, 35ER, 45BB, 6HR and struck out 61 batters. Most notably, the bullpen has given away 3 games in which the Cubs should have walked away with a win, squandering the lead late in a game. They have also been credited with 4 additional losses when the game has either been tied or the Cubs held a 1-run lead.

To Manager Dale Sveum’s credit, he has given every player on the active roster time to adjust to the 2012 season before making any roster moves. However, Marmol’s latest meltdown prompted Sveum to finally address the bullpen woes.

After Marmol single-handedly cost the team yet another win in a 3-4 loss to the Reds in extras, Sveum announced a change at the closer position, designating Russell and Dolis as a closer-by-committee duo.

Three righties: Dolis, Bowden and Camp, and a lefty: Russell, are now the perceived bullpen rotation. The four relievers have a combined record of 3-3, a 2.37ERA, allowed 14ER, 15BB and 30SO in 48.0IP. In last nights’ come from behind victory, Camp, Russell and Dolis combined for 5.0IP, allowing 3H and no runs or walks. This is exactly how the bullpen needs to conduct business day-in and day-out.

The Cubs batters have proven the ability to get hits and score runs throughout the season, as the team has yet to be shutout. The pen allowed for the hitters to come through late in the game, tie the score and ultimately win in extras. Had the pen been able to perform in this manner earlier in the season, the Cubs could be sitting atop the NL Central, with a record of 18-10.

I would still like to see the Cubs acquire a more experienced closer, one who has confidence and can also mentor a young future potential closer. But for now, at least Sveum finally booted Marmol and I’m certain the front office is looking for trade potentials. I just hope Russell and Dolis can carry the load for the interim.

10 Quick Cubs Stats

Here are 10 quick Cubs stats that you may not have known thus far into the 2012 campaign:

Batting

  • There are 22 MLB players who have batted third in 15+ games; only five have yet to hit a home run, Castro being one of them.
  • As a team, the Cubs best day to hit is Saturday (.269 AVG in 3 games) and their worst is Wednesday (.190 AVG in 2 games).
  • The Cubs have 12 SB in 9-inning games; four of which have come in the 8th inning alone. This accounts for 33% of all successful stolen bases by the Cubs.
  • Although the Cubs are batting only .218 with RISP (6th worst in the league), they have 59 runs with RISP, which is the 10th most in the league.
  • The Cubs are the second worst team to bat with two outs; .187 AVG in 182 AB.

Pitching

  • The Cubs are one of three teams who have one or fewer SV (tied for 28th in the league); they also only have had four SVO (tied for second fewest in the league).
  • The starting pitchers for the Cubs have allowed six ER with a combined ERA of 6.75 when the pitch count is between 91-105.
  • The Cubs pitching staff has allowed 28 ER when there are two outs in an inning.
  • When the pitching staff is ahead in the count, the combined ERA is 2.40; opposed to a 7.45 ERA when they are behind in the count.
  • The Cubs starting pitchers are one of only two teams to have seven losses and seven no-decisions (PIT has seven losses and eight no-decisions).

The more you know…

Cubs Announce Portion of 25-man Roster

The Cubs organization met on Wednesday evening to determine the Opening Day 25-man Roster. On Thursday, the organization announced their decision:

Fielders:

Jeff Baker

Darwin Barney

Marlon Byrd

Starlin Castro

Steve Clevenger

David DeJesus

Blake DeWitt

Reed Johnson

Bryan LaHair

Alfonso Soriano

Geovany Soto

Ian Stewart

While the fielders have been announced, Cubs beat reporters have stated that the bullpen is still undetermined. However, the Starting Roatation has been set and the Opening Day Pitcher has been announced. Here are the pitchers still in contention:

Pitchers:

Lendy Castillo

Gerardo Concepcion

Ryan Dempster (First in Rotation)

Rafael Dolis

Matt Garza (Second in Rotation)

Paul Maholm (Fifth in Rotation)

Calos Marmol

Marcos Mateo

Jeff Samardzija (Third in Rotation)

Chris Volstad (Fourth in Rotation)

Kerry Wood